MMR Blog

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


MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on February 7, 2014 Comments (0)

This week’s images are from the recent Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach and were shot by our Florida Correspondent Leslie Allen.

MarAlago Overshot

Buano

Aston

Denise McCluggage Sets the Tone for Thinking While Driving.

Thanks to FCA – New England, Aston Martin Owners Club and the Alfa Owners of New England clubs for getting the word out to members about The Centered Driver Workshop. The event was sold out. Read our wrap-up.

Racing…

F1 - Caught with their Parts Down, Red Bull… First to Blush: The teams all had their first run out of the box at Jerez. Mercedes looks good, Ferrari looks indifferent, and Renault appears to have all kinds of problems. Stay tuned, early days yet.

Sebring Logo

Sebring 12 Hours: Tudor Sports Car Series the next Big Bore Race. Very much like Daytona, this is a terrible race to watch on TV. BTW, Kudos to the announce team at Daytona and hopefully at Sebring. They make it hugely better. Bravo!

A Street is not a Road… and Neither is an Oval

Miglia Logo

The first European racing courses were laid out on roads, not always paved or even graveled, generally between towns. As roads got better, the dangers of racing multiplied for both the thrill seeking drivers and the thrill seeking spectators who crowded the roads to get closer to the action. At some point, the roads became loops and the races became laps. Then some form of barriers kept the spectators from crowding the cars, even if little prevented the cars from crowding the spectators. It could be assumed that Europeans wanted to get closer to the action because they got to see so little of it. Events like the Mille Miglia allowed whole towns to see the cars go by once and if you were car mad that could be frustrating. Crowding a car at the apex of a turn became the equivalent of teasing a bull to charge your cape just to see how close you could bring your hip to pointy horn. The disaster at Le Mans in ‘55 heightened awareness among promoters that spectators needed better protection or they might stay away. Little was done about driver safety until the ‘70s because they were more easily replaced.

Damn Few Died In Bed by Andy Dunlop

Early on, American racing history took a different turn. Small ovals, some banked and others banked and made of wood, allowed spectators to see all the cars all the time and although single-seater racing was equally deadly, spectators were generally safe and because it paid well, drivers were more easily replaced. (See our review of Damn Few Died in Bed in the Racemaker Press Book Reviews.)

After WWII, as speeds around the racing world increased and the sport of motor racing became more popular, more purpose-built facilities materialized and some weekend racers became full time racers. Racing on abandoned wartime airfields was a perfect English solution as these locations were paved, had existing infrastructure, and could make for quite safe racing. With a few notable exceptions such as Monza, the French, Germans, and Italians continued to race on closed off roads at Le Mans, The Targa Florio and the Nurburgring. Compare what these guys are doing at the Nurburgring in The Speed Merchants with any three minutes of the 24 hours of Daytona. Buy this video and relive.

The continued popularity of the streets of Monaco, which is not a particularly good race track, has always appealed to promoters happy to disrupt metropoli across America with promises of huge crowds of consumers in exchange for a free track and local TV coverage. In reality Street circuits, (as compared with road courses) such as Baltimore, Toronto, Long Beach and Three Rivers only look Like Monaco from 30,000 feet or higher up. Down on the ground, the bumpy cement barrier bound lanes and twenty foot high catch fences make every corner exit look like a prison break.

Then there are the neither fish nor fowl “road course” tracks like Daytona, Indy, Fontana, and numerous other ovals. These have all paved unimaginative flat turns deep in their bowls and produce, at best, tedium. Bring back road courses like Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, and Laguna Seca.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Peter Bourassa


Jag


Sandy on Assignment:
Cavallino Classic Concorso d’Eleganza
A Gem in the World of Concours

Posted on March 7, 2013 Comments (1)

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

Remember the MMR article, last summer, in search of No. 3 in the world of Concours? I had my own thoughts at the time, and after being immersed in elegance and the spectacular, I hope every Concours devotee will treat themselves to the Cavallino Classic at least once in their lifetime! This four-day weekend held mid-January, in Palm Beach, is a gem in the world of Concours events, with something for every motorsports enthusiast, including and beyond the prancing Cavallino marque.

A Ferrari red sunrise at The Breakers for Concours check-in

A Ferrari red sunrise at The Breakers for Concours check-in.

Why a gem? The breadth and rarity of cars, both on display and in motion, plus the credentials of judges, speak to the respect 22 years of Cavallino holds in the motorsports world. Every event is meticulously planned and orchestrated. Even as an attendee, you feel a sense of genuine camaraderie. By Day 4, when most other multi-day events are winding down, Classic Sports Car Sunday on the lush grounds of Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club is high energy among the guests and entrants.

Behind The Donald is the favorite GT car, a 1954 Maserati A6G Zagato Coupe

Behind The Donald is the favorite GT car, a 1954 Maserati A6G Zagato Coupe.

To give you a lay of the land, the weekend basically kicks off on Thursday, Day 1, at The Breakers Hotel, so if you aren’t the car nut in the family, there is still more than enough to hold your attention and make you ooh and awe. For registrants, morning “classic lectures”, tech type and historical sessions with the realclassic cars on hand, start the day. Classic competitors are already at the Palm Beach International Raceway for car inspections and practice. After lunch, the magic unfolds as the Ferraris line up and down the imposing entrance to The Breakers, poised for a tour of Palm Beach with their final destination, the Jet Reception… one huge hanger party with Ferraris on the tarmac and private jets to tour at Palm Beach International Airport.

Top pick at the Jet Reception, a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

Top pick at the Jet Reception, a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder.

A photo finish for Jim Fuchs in his Ferrari 512 BBLM No.447 in the 1961-1980 Disc Brakes category

A photo finish for Jim Fuchs in his Ferrari 512 BBLM No.447 in the 1961-1980 Disc Brakes category.

Friday at the track becomes my all day itinerary. It was a little light this year, with the added Ferrari Challenge Series at the Daytona 24, but a plus for me to get close to the track and drivers. Only in its second year, this annual classic competition for the vintage and classic racing Ferraris and Maseratis added a new event for 2013—a Pre-War race for Alfa Romeos and Bugattis. Close your eyes and picture a hand full of Bugattis and a couple of Alfas positioned for the start. I was transported into another time and place!

An impressive line-up for the 1947-1960 Drum Brake group

An impressive line-up for the 1947-1960 Drum Brake group.

First in line gets a push!

First in line gets a push!

A treat to see so many Alpha’s up close, this year

A treat to see so many Alpha’s up close this year.

Ever stylish, the Bugatti T35’s came in blue and silver, my track favorites

Ever stylish, the Bugatti T35’s came in blue and silver, my track favorites.

It was all about the Alpha’s when it came to pre-war podium finishes

It was all about the Alpha’s when it came to pre-war podium finishes.

After a day at the track, the Palm Harbor Marina is the place to be for the traditional Yacht Hop. The night before, I learned the price tag to order a private jet. In comparison, a yacht is a bargain! So what’s a yacht hop? Exactly that! Shoes off, as you hop on deck to get a tour of these sailing beauties while sipping champagne at sunset.

At the Yacht Hop, everyone picks a favorite

At the Yacht Hop, everyone picks a favorite.

Saturday is the day… Concorso d’Eleganza, sprawled out over the croquet lawn and adjacent golf fairway of The Breakers with little treasures even in the parking lot! A dawn patrol of its own, you can watch the 100 or so Ferraris systematically line up for check-in and judging placement before the actual event begins. I’ve become fascinated by the Italian body builders… opps, coachbuilders. This year’s event paid tribute to the Pinin Farina designed Ferraris.

This 1957 red and white Ferrari 500 TRC was definitely a winner

This 1957 red and white Ferrari 500 TRC was definitely a winner.

My choice as an elegant favorite was the 1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale Coupe

My choice as an elegant favorite was the 1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Vignale Coupe.

Owner Andreas Mohringer and his No.9 Ferrari 375 MM Spyder are familiar favorites among the Concours and vintage racing circuits

Owner Andreas Mohringer and his No.9 Ferrari 375 MM Spyder are familiar favorites among the Concours and vintage racing circuits.

The finale to the weekend is worth the splurge, Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago and yes, The Donald was there! This beauty contest of multi-marque cars brought out the spectacular! Marque awards are chosen by a Committee of honored judges but the real pleasers for the day are all people’s choice awards. I definitely had my favorites. Agreeing with the Ladies Choice award, I was taken with the 1958 HRG Twin Cam Spider, a British car I had never seen before. America’s pride was strong as the 1929 DuPont LeMans Speedster walked away with the American Best in Class as well as the people’s choice overall favorite, “If I could Take One Home”. The stunning 1946 Talbot-Lago T26 Cabriolet took my breath away along with this year’s Best of Show and Best in Class.

The 1954 XK120 OTS Jaguar enjoys the calm before Classic Sports Sunday begins

The 1954 XK120 OTS Jaguar enjoys the calm before Classic Sports Sunday begins.

Ladies Choice and British Excellence in Class winner, the 1958 HRG

Ladies Choice and British Excellence in Class winner, the 1958 HRG.

If I Could Take One Home, the people’s favorite award, the 1929 DuPont LeMans Speedster

“If I Could Take One Home”, the people’s favorite award, the 1929 DuPont LeMans Speedster.

Best in Show and Best in Class, the 1947 Talbot-Lago Cabriolet

Best in Show and Best in Class, the 1947 Talbot-Lago Cabriolet.

The people I meet make my motorsports adventures. Among Sunday’s featured marque, winning both Pre-War Excellence and Open Excellence in Class was the stunning 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I Springfield and its owners, Robert and Agata Matteucci. Seeing the Matteuccis and the car that took me on a dream come true at Pebble Beach made my Cavallino Classic weekend sparkle!

The Pebble Beach Rolls Royce back in Florida

The Pebble Beach Rolls Royce back in Florida.