MMR Blog

Duesy’s Dominate Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Posted on March 25, 2011 Comments (0)

Duesenberg, the featured marque, turned up in numbers and walked away with both top honors at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance at which over forty Duesenberg road and race cars were on display.

Duesy’s Dominate Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Duesy’s Dominate Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Duesenberg, the featured marque, turned up in numbers and walked away with both the top honors at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance at which over forty Duesenberg road and race cars were on display.

All signs were positive as Sunday marked the kickoff to the 2011 Concours season. Amelia’s Auctions, seminars and show simply get better every year. Pricing at the RM and Goodings auctions were strong as were the sales rates. These factors bode well for the coming auction and show season and set a positive tone to the weekend. Domestic manufacturer Cadillac was a leading sponsor and had a huge presence on the field and throughout the weekend.

The Nethercutt Collection’s Arlington Torpedo SJ Supercharged Sedan, won the Concours d’Elegance; the portion of the concours reserved for vintage sedans, coupes and convertibles. Dubbed the “Twenty Grand” for its original selling price, the silver beauty is a “one of” car built by the Duesenberg brothers for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

Duesy’s Dominate Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The Concours de Sport prize went to the Duesenberg SJ “Mormon Meteor” which held 24 and 48 Hour speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the hands of David Abbott (Ab) Jenkins. The aerodynamic design and specially built Duesenberg supercharged engine competed against world class competitors, and in 1936 averaged 153.8 MPH for 24 hours. Jenkins and this car became world famous in the day for their accomplishments and so great was his reputation that he was elected mayor of Salt Lake City without ever campaigning. Incidentally, the powerful and low slung single light served to illuminate the black line painted on the white salt which determined the 10 mile oval race course which he marked out in the sand and was illuminated with smudge pots at night.

Duesy’s Dominate Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

It was also a good weekend for New England collector and racer Joe Freeman who won First in Class among Duesenberg Racing Cars with his unrestored 1915 racer. The car finished 2nd at the Indianapolis 500 in 1916.

Joe’s company, Racemaker Press, also held a book signing for their latest release about racing in Cuba in the late fifties and early sixties entitled Caribbean Capers. Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney and author Joel Finn happily signed purchasers' copies and the event was a great success.

An Electric Car in Your Future… Now

Posted on June 7, 2010 Comments (0)

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport at Larz Anderson Auto Museum (photo credit: Greg PC)

It’s no longer a question of whether or not you’ll have an electric car.  The question now is:  When? and what color will it be?

A small company in California has made the strongest effort yet to end your recurring nightmare about battery operated cars:  It’s a dark rainy night and you’re muttering bleakly to yourself as you guide the slowing little electric “econobox” to the side of a dimly lit highway.  The battery is dying, the lights are dimming, and the wipers are slowing. And your heart is sinking because you know there are no electrical outlets or clean bathrooms for miles.  Not a pretty picture.

Tesla Motors, maker of a new breed of high performance electric cars, has addressed your three major concerns. One, Tesla calms I'll-never-make-it-home fears with a mileage range of between 240 and 300 miles per charge.  Far beyond the mileage required for the average daily commute. Two, Teslas perform exceptionally well against what are considered current standards of comfort, safety and speed. And three, rather than looking like mobile meat lockers, both sport and sedan Teslas are unquestionably among the most handsome of cars.

So how does this happen?  Well, for one thing the evolution of the current modern car has laid the groundwork for Tesla’s acceptance.  Cars have changed dramatically from the finned behemoths of the ‘50’s. But our continued demand for greater efficiency in transportation, combined with the volatile politics of fossil fuels and the myriad finicky computers that control every aspect of the modern car, have created a huge opportunity for a simple and innovative solution. Mass transit systems, high speed rail, even bicycles, hold little appeal in this huge country as they are often deemed transport for students, the poor, or the environmentally awestruck.

Enter the Tesla. Forgetting for a moment that coal fired generators supply the electrical charge, this car is attractive, comfortable and environmentally friendly. Surprisingly, the Tesla Roadster Sport model, the only flavor available at this point, can trace its roots to the innovative Lotus Car Company of the Sixties and their popular Elan model. When the Lotus Elan first hit the roads and tracks of America, it had as disruptive an impact on the dinosaurs of its day as the Tesla is having on accepted technology today. At that time, the Elan’s nimble handling, great brakes and Ford Cosworth 1.55 liter twin cam engine pitted it against the likes of Corvettes, M-B 300Sl's, Porsche Carreras, anf Ferrari 250Gt's in SCCA B-Production racing.  It proved to be a very competitive car, setting a standard for small car speed and agility for years to come.

Today, the Tesla’s rolling chassis is built in the original Lotus Cars plant in Hethel, England.  The body is 4” longer than today’s Lotus Elise model, successor in spirit to the Elan. The Tesla is styled after the Elise but its body is made of carbon fiber rather than fiberglass. This adds great structural rigidity and lightens the car by 200 lbs. The “glider”, as it is called at that point, is then shipped to California where battery power components are added and the car is finished to the customer’s specifications.  Customers spec their car on the Tesla website.

That’s right, no local dealerships. This transaction is all done online and you are always a single keystroke from canceling the whole deal. But if you don’t, your local UPS delivery truck will bring your brand new Tesla to your doorstep in somewhere between 90 and 120 days. And your neighbors will all deem you to be either an eco-weenie or a visionary.  Comfort yourself, at some point, whether in reality or in their dreams, you will silently glide by them all at the local Mobil, a spot you wont have visited in months.

While Tesla is currently assembled in the United States from parts made elsewhere, a government subsidy to encourage further electric vehicle development will change all that.  But Tesla Motors’ fate will not be determined by politics and environmental demands alone. This company will also need to succeed on the merits of its products, and its first offerings bode very well indeed for that to happen.