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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 5, 2015 Comments (0)

Betwixt & Between

Early February is a little like being a teenager between girl friends. Nothing much goin’ on.

And then again ... On Design Courage

Cadillac CTS exterior grill

The Ford GT has prompted much discussion about design and the historical significance of design cues. As part of the Elegance by Design forum at the recent Arizona Concours d’Elegance, former Cadillac Chief Designer Kip Wasenko spoke of the difficulty he encountered trying to get acceptance for a design change involving the Cadillac grille. Despite the fact that his proposed “mesh” design performed significantly better and, even though it had roots in Cadillac’s historic 1931 V-16, he was still met with resistance. Yet like all good designers, he recognizes the value of history if it can be retained without sacrificing efficiency and performance. In a subsequent discussion about the Ford GT, he applauded Ford designers for maintaining the iconic design features of the classic GT40 in the front portion of the new Ford GT.

Acura NSX

Designers need the courage of their convictions and when the word “bold” is attached to a new car design, translate that into “courage” because someone risked to bring it past the expected, or, the status quo. The second big hit of the Detroit auto show was the new Acura NSX. Any thoughts?

And at F1

Honda Formula 1

First tests of the year for F1 cars at Jerez, Spain yielded surprising results. Usually an opportunity to run cars in and determine if everything works as designed these tests are also a clue as to where everyone is in their development program. From that point of view alone, Ferrari appear to have a car that is quick, reliable and satisfying to its drivers. Ferrari powered Sauber was quickest. The general consensus is that everyone must catch the Mercedes engine. Thus far both Honda and Renault have had troubled introductions. Ferrari has not. Early times but a sigh of relief from the tifosi.

Cavallino!

1965 Ferrari P206 SP Dino, Suixtil-USA

Suixtil-USA have been appointed US distributors for Suixtil vintage clothing for modern enthusiasts. Their handsome products were on display at Cavallino and Managing Partner Lisa Smith shot the eye candy we are using this week.

Somewhere in MMR History

Shelby GT350

We have always unabashedly supported those among us who use their toys, be they cars or motorcycles. Beyond that we encourage the use of newer technology and parts to improve the performance and reliability of older cars. Authentic, no. Better, probably. Our story this week is about a Shelby GT350 that has had an interesting life and as a result of it may be a better car than originally delivered. You judge.

BMW M5 Lives

Rahal, Gordon, Hendricks, BMW President

The BMW Car Club of America (CCA) Foundation announced today that the last unsold example of BMW’s most powerful production model ever – the 30th Anniversary Edition 2015 BMW M5 “30 JahreM5” - was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 15, 2015 (Lot #3002) for a record setting $700,000. Famed NASCAR team owner and BMW dealer Rick Hendrick was the lucky bidder.

This Week

1958 BMW 507, by Michael Furman

Michael Furman’s image is a 1958 BMW 507, shot for a private collector.

1957 Maserati 3500 GT Frua Spider

Our featured Classifieds are interesting Maserati 3500 GTs. When introduced, this car was more expensive than its Ferrari rival, the 275 GTB. It was considered a luxury touring car and was the first in its class to have power windows. It has a wonderful engine and is a joy to drive.

Have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa
Publisher


My Word: Slade

Posted on October 2, 2014 Comments (4)

by Denise McCluggage

Way 2 Cool

My friend Ribeye, whom I first encountered skiing at Taos where he was an instructor and then met again sometime later when he was making Way 2 Cool root beer in Santa Fe, was the one who told me this story. He had since returned to California where he was an electrician. Licensed yet. But then a grower of medical marijuana, as intricate and careful an enterprise as making perfect root beer, which Way 2 Cool was. (Ribeye said it was the Madagascar vanilla that mattered most. To Way 2 Cool, anyway.)

All of the above I present as background so you know that Ribeye had a background diverse enough to truly appreciate the scene he described to me. After I tell you about that I will meander off in the fashion writing for websites makes possible and I have come to enjoy. I’ve been at typewriters and keyboards for a long time so I can do precise-word-count and stick-to-the-point journalism. But it’s more fun to amble and ramble… So that’s the route I’ll take. Follow along if you like.

I don’t know what Ribeye was doing sitting on a bench at a bus stop in East Oakland, but he was. To fix the time I’ll say this was the year that Cadillac first built the Escalade. This in answer to dealers who kept whining for an SUV. General Motors didn’t want to build one insisting that the Grabowski branch of the family served that function nicely without involving Cadillac.

Here I am adding to your trivia closet so that you might at some point astound friends and colleagues or maybe even score yourself a beer. So maybe you thought GMC—that branch of the Detroit automaking group who claim to be professional grade and are producers of the Sierra pickup and a string of crossovers and SUVs—stood for General Motors Corporation or some such. Nope. The previous paragraph has the answer. GMC stands for Grabowski Motor Company. Isn’t that cool? Goes back 102 years so you’re forgiven if you didn’t remember.

Cadillac Escalade

Anyway the Escalade was on the market and not doing all that well. Until. Until the black community in Detroit and then elsewhere began picking up on it. And it became a most welcome financial success.

So Ribeye is on this bench in East Oakland, a neighborhood rather reminiscent of many Detroit neighborhoods. Seated next to him waiting for a bus was an East Oakland resident. And down the street approaching them came another resident. Rather more resplendent than the bench-sitter he wore a bright suit just a glimmer on the shiny side and what might have been a diamond chip gleamed from an incisor. He was clearly well-placed on the world’s surface. He greeted Ribeye’s bench companion. “Hey, man,” he said, “J’see my new Slade?” The man on the bench sat quietly, looking straight ahead. Two beats of silence then he said: “Ah seen it.”

Ribeye nearly choked trying not to laugh at the perfection of it. The shiny guy went on his Bo Diddley way and a bus came.

A few weeks ago I was delivered a press test car—the long, black enormousness of a new Escalade stood in my driveway. I walked around it, opened the door and watched as a full-size running board slide out. A Sir Walter Raleigh gesture that really meant something. A full-sized foot could actually stand on it. No slippy-slidey token little step for this appearing-disappearing act. Close the door, open the door. Come, go.

Cadillac Escalade interior

The black and brown leather interior was as rich as Belgian chocolate. The dash expansive and appealing. GM has so often mistaken glitz for elegance. Hey, they relaxed into it this time. Ah-h-h.

Oh, the space. Useful, accessible. A long slightly sloping but one plane storage area could sleep a small family. With maybe a pony. This is one commodious vehicle. And if that is what you need there is no reason it cannot also be elegant, LED-lighted, comfortable, eye-catching and thoughtful. It is.

adjustable pedals

Driving it I found to be pleasurable as well. I like big cars that drive small. The Slade steering is easy and precise. And guess what? There’s a button to adjust pedal altitude to fit the driver. Like a big rig has. (Though I’d like a little more height on the seat adjustment.)

There are detailed driving impressions on car test sites for you to pore over. Go pore. Or better yet go try on an Escalade. If your life has a lot of dogs and kids and stuff that requires lugging in it they’ve been thinking about you at Cadillac.

I spent some more time after a short drive just feeling and looking and admiring. As I took a last three-quarters stare at the Cadillac Escalade’s long, black presence in my dimming driveway a long-ago story popped to mind. I laughed. Said softly: “Ah seen it.” And went in the house.


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 10, 2014 Comments (0)

Our images this week are by Sandy Cotterman. And so is the main story!

Cadillac! Oh Cadillac! – Where Art Thou?

Thank you all for your candid remarks about the new Cadillac. One is lead to believe that, by and large, most people WANT Caddy to be competitive with the Euro cars but feel that although they have made excellent progress, they are not yet there.

Going Once!... Going Twice!... Yawn…

Things are about to start happening. The Daytona 24 Hours is on for the end of the month. Check the MMR Motorsports Calendar for details of other events. Friends in Scottsdale are looking forward to a new show next week and, of course, the auctions. The Arizona Concours d’Elegance has limited its field of entrants to 77 for its inaugural event. Good beginning and good luck. The absence of agreeable weather and car events for over two months is what draws people to Arizona now. The world of auctions has split into two camps: Bonhams, Gooding, and RM on the snooty Sports and Classic side; and, Barratt-Jackson, Russo & Steele, Mecom and the remainder on the old American iron team.

Auctions, once held in barns and parking lots are now TV entertainment. To his profit and credit, if that is what you take for this, Craig Jackson has made buying or selling a car in front of thousands of strangers entertaining… to a degree. I freely confess that in the beginning I was as glued to it as everyone else. Initially it was all about looking at real cars and the anticipation of the next car on the ramp that I hadn’t seen in 40 years or more. But when, not many years later, the hammer fell signaling the sale of the 20th “rotisseried” Camaro SS of the weekend, or a similar amount of ‘64 Ford Galaxy 500 convertibles with 390 Automatics and chromed undercarriages, I plain lost interest. To me it is about the cars and when all the cars are all the same and all better than perfect, there is little appeal. The only intriguing cars remaining in that show are the hot rods and even they are beginning to look “assembly line”. The Bonhams, Gooding and RM side will sell vehicles that were interesting from birth. Theirs, not ours, and sadly, they won’t be televised. What’s wrong with this picture?

Sandy on Assignment!

This week we feature a story and pictures we saved for just this issue. Sandy (as in: on Assignment) Cotterman, our intrepid globetrotting reporter attended the 2013 Goodwood Revival last fall and shares her story and pictures with us. Read the story and tell us if you would like to go next September. If there is enough interest, perhaps we can put something together with one of the touring companies listed in the MMR Goods and Services Directory under Specialty Services.

Sandy Cotterman

Screaming Down the Years

Check out this week’s video. We haven’t featured it in a little while. Thank you Shell.

From the If we waited any longer they would be reports not predictions! Department

Some folks take longer to think than others. So, at long last, some thoughts on F1, IndyCar, and the Tudor Sports Car Racing series. Take your time, share your thoughts and have a great weekend.

Peter Bourassa


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 3, 2014 Comments (0)

Welcome to the New Year!

Our images this week are some of our favorite leads of MMR Newsletters past. If you are reading this on the MMR blog and want to see more images, simply subscribe to our MMR Newsletter and we will forward this issue. For subscribers, simply click on the images below to be taken to the issue that featured them and learn more about the photographers and what they were shooting.

While this is unquestionably the first MMR Newsletter of 2014, it somehow still feels like the final MMR Newsletter of 2013. In keeping with that, we will follow up on stories recently begun and cast a prescient eye on the horizon of events to come.

Sadly, as we write this, Michael Schumacher is in an induced coma in a hospital in France. The most recent news is more hopeful and we wish him well.

Cleaning up some of the leftovers from 2013, we offer a sampling of your responses from the query about purchasing a Cadillac vs. a Euro sedan.

Looking Forward…

Stay tuned, while this issue has no room for our 2014 predictions. As threatened, we will share them with you next week. Meanwhile check out this week’s video, a Porsche 908 cockpit view of one lap of the Targa Florio. Thanks to Michael Keyser, co-author of Racing Demons.

Going to Scottsdale? Tony Singer, founder of Automobilia Monterey is launching a similar event, Automobilia Scottsdale, with the same excellent vendors. Most are listed as suppliers in the MMR Goods and Services Directory. See poster below for details.

Also in January, Denise McCluggage comes to New England for dinner and The Centered Driver Workshop  at European Motorsports Exhibit Center in Lawrence MA. Tickets are still available, but not many.

Here’s wishing you all good health and a wonderful 2014!

Peter and the MMR Team


Cadillac Responses

Posted on January 2, 2014 Comments (3)

Our recent article on Euro drivers prompted us to ask, why not Cadillacs?

These were some of the responses:

Peter: The big response to the Bronson article proves the demographic, herein. ;) The good folks trying to follow "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" have a long way to go in trying to beat the social stigma generated by others; be it film, local behavior or the racket they make. I like the new Cadillacs a lot. They're good looking, plus handling and power are very impressive. That level of ostentation is not for me. There's nothing subtle about them either. But a manual trans. with all that power! Good fortune, B~

Cadillacs. It's a fookin' Cadillac. My father-in-law used to drive Cadillacs. It now has the same problem of perception Volkswagen had with the Phaeton. Great luxury car, that. But it's a Volkswagen. We're not buying a luxury car with that brand name on it. So the new Cadillac is a high performance driver's car? That's just too bad. You know, BMW got around this issue... their front wheel drive turbo small car is called a Mini Cooper S!

For me, there is more to this question than handling. Of course, in the end, that is the best reason to buy any car, but image is also important. Cadillac is not what I want to be identified with. As a woman of a certain age, the brand has a long-standing repugnance for me. Too big, too lumbering, too glitzy, too aged-Florida-resident (sorry) who needs a lot of metal for protection.

Thank you Peter. I'll never forget the moment that Eldorado puked its headbolts (all 10 bolts on the rear head). I was in the middle of the Howard Frankland Bridge east bound over Tampa Bay at 90 mph plus and saw the temp. gauge spike to the red zone. I said to myself "you gotta be s****in* me!" All ten bolts in the rear head. I was able to pull the six center bolts out with my fingers! A fine world class engine design cheapened by poor quality, porous block castings. Do like the new Cadillacs very much but it would take a lot to get me to give up my two Jaguars.

God man! Think what you just wrote! You’ll have people peeing their pants all over America! (Peter)

About the Cadillac ATS: They'd sell more, at least to idjits like me, if they would get rid of the bling. Dump the phony Cadillac crest on the grille and trunk, soften and shrink the hey-look-at-me sea-of-chrome grille, itself. Hang big banners in the styling department proclaiming; AFTER 1938 HARLEY EARL LOST HIS WAY.

You could get an argument on that date. If gas was still .40 per gallon I would kill for a 1958 Cadillac Biarritz.

Cadillac El Dorado

Cadillac's new offerings are superb automobiles. I own a CTS V coupe which is fantastic, and I'm now deciding between the new CTS V sport or the upcoming ATS V as a replacement. Cadillac is definitely working its way back to the top, but admittedly does have a lot of baggage to overcome. I do get tired of the unenlightened looking incredulous when I tell them I drive one......they stare downwards looking for the SansaBelt and white patent leather shoes. However, I love to promote American design and technology in the process of explaining my choices.