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MMR Community Newsletter

Posted on January 8, 2015 Comments (0)

An Auspicious Beginning

Norman Dewis, OBE, and Jaguar Type C

Last week we joyfully announced that popular Jaguar representative Norman Dewis has received an OBE from the Queen and was to be knighted. We thank Alain de Cadenet for kindly pointing out that there are four basic grades leading to Knighthood and that Norman is on the second. He is an Officer and can now attach the letters OBE to the end of his name. Alain closed his message with a fitting and generous comment about Norman Dewis OBE that we will happily share: “Norman made a tremendous contribution to Jaguar and helped bring it onwards and upwards after WWII. Remember how broke poor old Britain was in 1945 … Norman is an object lesson to everyone with his tenacity, love of his work, and the simple fact that he is still breathing easily. A lovely man all round.”

My Motorsports Resources (MMR)

A number of you wrote to comment positively on our change of nomenclature. My Motorsports Resources appears to have struck a positive chord. Thank you.

A Less than Pleasant Beginning

james Allison, Ferrari

In the past three weeks, Ferrari has, as the expression goes, “cleaned house”. As Motor Sport’s Mark Hughes reports in its February issue, “As things stand, in one season the team has lost one president, two team principals, the engine chief, engineering chief, chief designer, chief strategist and chief tyre engineer.” That leaves technical boss James Allison to put together a team that can supply a car that can win for drivers Raikkonen and Vettel. It begs the question: What was Vettel thinking? And what is he thinking NOW?


Passing Notes

Actor and Master of Ceremonies at Pebble Beach, Edward Hermann

Edward Hermann, TV actor, car enthusiast, the Master of Ceremonies of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and who hosted the show Automobiles on The History Channel, has passed.

Jean-Pierre Beltoise

Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Formula 1 race driver for Matra and BRM died at the age of seventy-seven. He was a teammate to Sir Jackie Stewart for Ken Tyrrell and later had his only GP win at Monaco in a BRM in 1972. He was married to Francois Cevert’s sister. Cevert was also a teammate of Jackie Stewart and was killed at Watkins Glen in 1973.

Image by Gene Ritvo

This week’s eye candy is from the  Gene Ritvo Portfolio in our MMR Photo Galleries. Gene was an excellent photographer and passionate car and motorcycle enthusiast. He helped us launch MMR and we display his work not in sadness, because he also has passed, but in celebration of the beauty he was capable of capturing with a camera.


Monthly Features

Hatch and Sons Mercedes W113 Pagoda SL

This week’s  MMR Classy Classifieds feature four different Mercedes W113 Pagoda SLs. These cars have a devoted following and despite the fact that they were built between 1963 and 1971 are still quite modern and usable cars. The 230SL is available from Fantasy Junction, in California, the 250SL from Cooper cars in NYC, the 280SL from Copley Motorcars, and 280SLR is a V8 powered special prepared by noted restorer Hatch & Sons.

Michael Furman image of 1937 Delage Coupe

Michael Furman’s image this week is the 1937 Delage Coupe from his book Curves of Steel.

Our Home page MMR Video this week is back by popular request, it is film maker Wes Anderson’s (Grand Budapest Hotel) short comedy entitled  Castello Cavalcanti.

Paul Newman Print by Chris Osborne

From the  MMR Goods and Services Directory, we display a page from our most recent publication. It features original artwork by Chris Osborne, depicting Paul Newman at his favorite track, Lime Rock, with his favorite car.

Vintage MGA photo and TR3 image

Our Sixties Retrospective continues. We feature our short personal reminiscence of the sixties British competitors, the MGA and the Triumph TR3.

That’s it for this week. We are in Phoenix for the Arizona Concours d’Elegance and we hope to see you there. If not, we’ll send pictures. Suixtil-USA’s Lisa Smith has scouted out the Phoenix-Scottsdale area for suitable restaurants and her guide follows.

Peter Bourassa


Vintage Racing: Home of the Brave

Posted on September 4, 2014 Comments (2)

Several early Saturday mornings ago I was flipping TV channels between F1 practice and a rainy day’s ride at the Tour de France bicycle race.

Tour de France crash

Co-incidentally at virtually the same time on my TV an F1 car left the track at extremely high speed and hit the barrier wall head on at elevated speed. And several TdF riders went down on a muddy corner somewhere in France. The F1 driver walked away from an impact judged to measure 26 G’s of force which totally destroyed the car. He drove the next day. Two of the bicycle riders suffered broken collar bones, one had a broken arm and all were out of the biggest race of their year.

The following week I was in a modern shop that services vintage race cars. While Vintage racing organizations require the use of more safety equipment than was ever required in the day, it struck me that the cars themselves, as required, were as close to original as possible but most had better, safer tires and reliable engines, several had better brakes, and yet many were as unsafe today as they were originally. Shoulder harnesses are a big improvement over lap belts and helmets and fire suits hugely better, but roll bars appeared to be original and in images posted around the shop, some current drivers’ helmets exceeded them by 2 inches or more. Modern open wheel racing at the highest levels requires tethered wheels on single seaters, not here. Fuel cells are mandatory as are external electrical shut off switches. Very good. During practice three weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway a Porsche race car spun on oil at high speed and hit the tire barrier over a hundred yards away.

Spinning Corvette

Within seconds, a factory Corvette hit the same oil and, following the trajectory of the Porsche, crashed into it. The Corvette driver suffered a mild concussion and the Porsche driver had a broken arm. I shudder to think what would have happened had two vintage cars experienced the same crash. Changes to personal gear notwithstanding, the now faster and better handling 1940-50-60-70s race cars are easily as dangerous in a crash now as they were then.

Vintage racing was dangerous when it wasn’t vintage. At the front end of the grid the cars were prepared by professional race teams with proper equipment and were always in top condition. It would be a stretch to say that today’s vintage drivers, though unquestionably more experienced, could be as quick of hand or eye as they were 40 years ago.

MG-PA Special

Last weekend at Lime Rock, a vintage racer lost his life in an MG-PA Special. We love to watch those old cars race. And we all recognize that this isn’t tennis. Accidents will happen and people will be hurt. We also realize that cars must go through scrutineering before they are allowed on the track. We asked the question earlier in the year when a vintage “Penske” Camaro crashed at the Glen: Is it time for vintage racing governing bodies to take a closer look at the cars and the people who are racing to determine whether either or both are capable of handling the demands of their class of racing? After all, they are not alone out there.


Largo Ocean Reef Club Vintage Showcase

Posted on January 8, 2013 Comments (1)

Photos by Jim Blumenfeld

Jim Blumenfeld is more than just a motorsports enthusiast. A former SCCA and IMSA road racer, kart racer, rally driver and co-driver, he currently is the SCCA pace car driver at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a Stage Captain at the N.E. Forest Rally. As he says, he keeps busy.

But not too busy to take these car shots of the Key Largo Ocean Reef Club’s recent Vintage Weekend showcase of cars, boats, and airplanes. He shot these with his point and shoot Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20.

54 55 56 Corvettes

356 Porsches

1911 Rolls Royce

1938 MG TA

1952 Packard

1956 Jaguar XK 140 FHC

1960 Bentley S2

1962 Corvette

AMRC

AMRC

Bentley Speed Six

Devin Jag Engine

Dual Ghia

Jaguar SS Coupe

Jaguar XK 140 Devin Spl

Jaguar XKE

Mystery Car