Hutch's Motorhead Weekend continues today with a trip to Limerock for some Grand Am action. Touring Car and Gran Sport action today, along with some Skip Barber, Spec Racer Ford, and Mustang Challenge events. Went up with friends from home, and met up with R2P'ers Bryce Aston and Eduardo Fernandez during the day. Always nice to see Bryce, and a pleasure to finally meet Ed in person. Had a go at iRacing on a Blue Tiger motion platform- I always assumed I'd like motion platforms, but in fact I hated being bounced around, and had a hard time driving while the apex kept moving on me. Other than that, it was a beautiful day at a beautiful track, had a great time watching the Mustangs & BMWs go at it, pictures below to prove it :)
I've been a bit busy this week bringing home a new (and yet old) member of my family.
My grandfather bought this car new off the assembly line where he worked. He drove it for a number of years, then gave it to his father, who converted it to a pickup and used it on the family farm. My dad and grandfather retrieved it out of an open barn in 1956 and restored it to original condition. It went to some local shows until being put into storage in the late 60's. My dad finally brought it home in the mid 80's after his mother's passing. It was still in very good condition, and he would drive it around town from time to time, until it was once again parked due to some health issues in the early 90's. Happy to say that Dad is still doing ok these days, but he doesn't have the energy to handle this car like he used to. So he's transferring it to me.
This week I've been extracting the car from his garage, and cleaning it up in preparation for bringing it to my Lion's Club Antique Auto Show on Memorial Day. It took me a couple of afternoons to get her started, lots of spittin' and sputterin', but finally she lit off on all 4 cylinders and runs like a top again. All I can say is, thank goodness for the electric start, I never would have made it on crank alone!
A good friend flat-bedded her home for me (Thanks Jim!). Started right up when we unloaded, and the first thing I did was take it for a drive up my road- it's a cul de sac private road which is perfect for giving the car a little exercise, and practicing to drive it, which is an adventure itself let me tell you. Well, I get halfway up the road and run out of gas! LOL, what a way to start out. Ran back to the house and grabbed a gas can and was under way again.
The body and engine are still in pretty good condition, but sad to say that some mice did a number on the interior. The cloth seats will have to be reupholstered, but fortunately that isn't such a big job. I'm so excited that I'm doing my best to clean her up, and she's going to the car show regardless. More pics to follow after the show!
Part of the program from the 1953 SCCA race at Bridgehampton, and a newspaper article after the event. Kind of ironic that you can't just tell people to keep themselves safe, it turns out you must go to extraordinary measures to save them from themselves. Interesting also that the event was sponsored by a Lions Club- I can't even conceive of my Lions Club doing anything remotely as risky in this day and age.
I'd never seen one of these before, very sharp! This one looks especially good with the contrasting white top. Read more about this and the more common Type 14 at Wikipedia
Via Bulgogi Bros
Very interesting article over at Hemmings detailing the history of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's joint project. Edison's prediction is finally coming closer to full circle nearly 100 years later.
The Car Logo Game, give it a try!
I had 38 out of 42 in 4:45, then got stuck. Should have got one more; one was too new for an old guy like me; the other two I wasn't international enough :)
Went to the BMWCCA CT Valley Chapter Ice Cream Social last night. Beautiful night for standing around with other car geeks talking about the marque! Spent the afternoon with my friend Phil, who just joined the club and was bringing his E9 coupe. We spiffed up our rides and made the trek up to the meet. Once I realized where we were I rang up Bryce, who lives not that far away. Was good to see him after hibernating for the winter, and to get a look at his M3. Didn't get the camera out in time to snap a pic of it though, and the kids determined that he wasn't going to be able to stay long :) No matter, we'll see him again at Limerock real soon. Nice bunch of guys, looks like I might have to join!
A Performance Package version of my car, with my favorite "Natural Leather" interior color.
The black wheels make this M3 look sinister.
Curvaceous M Coupe
Love the roundel in the hood insulation
The power inside an M5
You've got something in your left nostril :)
A well-preserved M6
Interesting piece about hillclimbing. Some of those events take a special kind o'crazy (hello, Pikes Peak?), but this one looks pretty manageable. I gather they still do one at Mt Ascutney in Vermont every year, might have to venture up there one day to check it out.
A smokin' lap in a Sierra Cosworth. Plenty of air under the wheels up on the mountain.
The soundtrack in the first half is way better than the soundtrack in the second, as it's provided by the Lancia D50 Fangio is piloting.
Also I love the extent of his safety equipment, carried in a little helmet box. The giant outriggers between the wheels on this car, lest you forget, are fuel tanks! Probably no point in much more safety equipment in that car!
An interesting recap of the difficulties of moving the F1 circus from one venue to the next. Monaco, in particular, poses some special problems:
Monaco’s paddock is so cramped that the teams have to wait at a staging area halfway up the mountain, and then the trucks come down in shifts to be unloaded. Several teams were forced to wait 12 hours while crews set up McLaren’s huge hospitality arena, and only then could the likes of Virgin and Lotus begin to set up their hospitality units. Those crews had to work through the night.
NASRL has similar problems getting ready following the Sunday Night Series chapter events :)
Read the rest at InRacingNews
Just how far would you go for an in-car camera shot in the 60's?
Wow! Can't believe you can actually get in this thing and drive! Watch the guy climb out at the end of the video below.
Some fine words of wisdom from the best car commentator... in the world!
1. “I’d like to consider Ferrari as a scaled down version of God.”
2. [On the Porsche Boxster] “It couldn’t pull a greased stick out of a pig’s bottom.”
3. [When driving the Mercedes SLR McLaren through a tunnel] “When they debate as to what the sound of the SLR engine was akin to, the British engineers from McLaren said it sounded like a Spitfire. But the German engineers from Mercedes said ‘Nein! Nein! Sounds like a Messerschmitt!’ They were both wrong. It sounds like the God of Thunder, gargling with nails.”
4. “I’m sorry, but having an Aston Martin DB9 on the drive and not driving it is a bit like having Keira Knightley in your bed and sleeping on the couch. If you’ve got even half a scrotum it’s not going to happen.”
5. “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.”
6. “Koenigsegg are saying that the CCX is more comfortable. More comfortable than what… being stabbed?”
7. [On Detroit] “God may have created the world in six days, but while he was resting on the seventh, Beelzebub popped up and did this place.”
8. “Owning a TVR in the past was like owning a bear. I mean it was great, until it pulled your head off, which it would.”
9. [On the Renault Clio V6] “I think the problem is that it’s French. It’s a surrendermonkey.”
10. [On the Enzo Ferrari] “I rang up Jay Kay, who’s got one, and said: “Can we borrow yours?” and he said, “Yeah, if I can borrow your daughter, because it amounts to the same thing.”
11. [On the Porsche Cayenne] “I’ve seen gangrenous wounds better looking than this!”
12. “The air conditioning in Lamborghinis used to be an asthmatic sitting in the dashboard blowing at you through a straw.”
13. “Whenever I’m suffering from insomnia, I just look at a picture of a Toyota Camry and I’m straight off.”
14. “If you were to buy a [BMW] 6-series, I recommend you select reverse when leaving friends’ houses so they don’t see its backside.”
15. “That [Pagani] Zonda, really! It’s like a lion in orange dungarees. Kind of fierce, but ridiculous all at the same time.”
16. [On a Chevrolet Corvette] “The Americans lecture the world on democracy and then won’t let me turn the traction control off!”
17. [On the Alfa Romeo Brera] “Think of it as Angelina Jolie. You’ve heard she’s mad and eats nothing but wallpaper paste. But you would, wouldn’tyou?”
18. “A turbo: exhaust gasses go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster.”
19. “This is a Renault Espace, probably the best of the people carriers. Not that that’s much to shout about. That’s like saying ‘Oh good, I’ve got syphilis, the best of the sexually transmitted diseases!’”
20. “In the olden days I always got the impression that TVR built a car, put it on sale, and then found out how it handled – usually when one of their customers wrote to the factory complaining about how dead he was.”
21. [On the Mercedes CLS55 AMG] “It sounds like Barry White eating wasps.”
22. “I’d rather go to work on my hands and knees than drive there in a Ford Galaxy. Whoever designed the Ford Galaxy upholstery had a cauliflower fixation. I would rather have a vasectomy than buy a Ford Galaxy.”
23. “Usually, a Range Rover would be beaten away from the lights by a diesel powered wheelbarrow.”
24. “Racing cars which have been converted for road use never really work. It’s like making a hardcore adult film, and then editing it so that it can be shown in British hotels. You’d just end up with a sort of half hour close up of some bloke’s sweaty face.”
25. “I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?”
Led by an Opel Manta 400? Nope, wouldn't have guessed that! Have to admire these guys for flogging their beloved classics on the 'ring in the wet, no doubt there were plenty more pucker moments throughout the event...
Going for broke on the streets of Monaco in your classic F3 - sounds like a good weekend to me! More vids and pics at Motorsport Retro
More Group B madness, starting with Ari Vatanen and why drivers continue driving when the risks are so great. Read more and see some great pics at Motorsport Retro
Love that soundtrack- can you identify any of these before they come into view?
The story of one of F1's more painful lessons in track safety: 1973 Dutch GP at Autosport.
Warning: the description of Roger Williamson's tragic demise gets a little graphic in a couple of brief spots, it's definitely not a joyful piece.
The iconic Tyrell wasn't the only one- read more than you probably ever wanted to know about six-wheelers at Autosport
Watch a profile of Jackie Stewart from Murray Walker's F1 Greats. More pics and stories of Jackie today at Motorsport Retro.
Last week I had business in Phoenix for a few days, then my family joined me for a long weekend of sightseeing in Arizona. A good friend loaned me his villa in the town of Surprise (thanks Jack & Mary Ellen!), from which we launched a whirlwind tour of the area.
My business trip concluded a little earlier than expected (in a good way!), so I had most of the day Thursday to do some reconaissance before my family arrived. I got moved into the villa and set out north to see a couple of ancient adobe ruins about 90 minutes north of Phoenix. The ruins are the legacy of the Sinaguan people, who built a small civilization between around 1000 to 1400 A.D., when the people mysteriously disappeared. First I visited Montezuma Castle, an adobe nestled into a cliffside.
This is a very dramatic site- you don't see the adobe until you walk around a corner behind the welcome center, and suddenly there it is! It is quite high up, the lower level maybe 40 feet up the cliff. The Sinaguans kept a series of ladders to reach the dwellings. Below is a beautiful grassy valley and a river where they used to farm.
Next up was a short trip to reach neighboring Montezuma Well. This large crater was created by a couple of underground springs, which pump nearly 1.5 million gallons of water a day into the natural well. The Sinaguans lived here also, building a couple of adobes into the natural caves along the wall, and farming outside the crater at the outlet of an underground stream that drains into the valley below.
Both sites incorrectly carry the name of Montezuma because early explorers attributed them to the Aztec cultures of Central America.
Next up was a drive to Tuzigoot. This site was on a small hilltop in the center of a broad valley, and was home to a larger group of a couple hundred Sinaguans. The topmost room is restored with a sturdy roof, so you can stand on top and survey the valley. It was quite a view!
All of the adobe structures were originally plastered in clay like Montezuma Castle, which is the only one to have been restored to original condition.
My family flew in that night, and the next day we went to the Phoenix Zoo. This was a pretty good zoo- the benchmark for me remains the Bronx Zoo, but the folks at Phoenix have clearly put a lot of effort into making this a nice place, and especially kid-friendly. The highlight exhibit has to be the squirrel monkey enclosure, where you can walk right into a small forest inhabited by 16 squirrel monkeys. The guides at the gate warn everybody not to stand under the monkeys, because they mark everything! We happened to go in at feeding time, and monkey mayhem ensued.
They have a good-sized group of giraffes also; if you go there, make sure you get over to the north end of the giraffe enclosure between 10-11am, and you'll be able to feed the giraffes by hand. Unfortunately we missed out on that because we didn't find out in time.
This would be a good time to talk about the heat- because it was 97 degrees that day! Yes, there is something to the concept of dry heat; here in Connecticut, 97 degrees would be accompanied by near 100% humidity, and would be pretty much crippling. In Arizona it is still hot, no question, but if you can get out of the direct sunlight it is still fairly tolerable. Locals tell us their limit is more like 105 degrees before it gets unbearable. Definitely have to be careful with your sunblock, and keep up on your water intake in any case.
After the zoo we went into the city proper. The downtown area felt deserted- I've never been in a city with so few people out and about on the sidewalks. We're in and among skyscrapers in the middle of a business day, and I doubt we ever saw more than a couple dozen people at once in any direction. Don't know if the people stay inside and air conditioned at all costs or what, but it was very strange. There are a lot of financial offices, and cultural centers such as museums, theatres, and sports arenas, but there wasn't much retail space; maybe people only go downtown to work or for special events?
Anyway, we were in the city to kill a little time before attending a Diamondbacks game that night, vs the Milwaukee Brewers. Chase Field is very nice stadium, with a roof that can be closed if necessary (I guess it must rain there once in a while!). We got a table at TGIFriday's Front Row, which is built right into the upper deck of the stadium, and had dinner while watching the game through the open front of the restaurant. It was very cool!
The next day it was off to the Grand Canyon. We stopped in at Montezuma Castle, which was about halfway there, so the rest of my family could see it, and then made the rest of the 3 1/2 hour trip to the South Rim. The trip is full of dramatic scenery changes from arid desert at around sea level, to beautiful grasslands on the mesas, to pine forest on the Colorado plateau, and a view of the southernmost tips of the Rocky Mountains. But you'll forget all of that the first time you stand on the rim of the canyon. The size and beauty are only half of it- you also can't help but be impressed by the forces of time that are manifested here, as the river has worked for millenia to create this majesty.
It can also be scary as heck if you're the least bit afraid of heights. You're free to wander all around the rim, and fall in as you see fit. Many lookout points are fenced by a low railing, but many are not. If I had small children I'd definitely put them on a harness.
There are miles of lookouts along the south rim. We spent all day and could have spent another just trying to take it all in.
We hiked a bit down Bright Angel Trail, but didn't have time to go all the way to the bottom, which is at least a full day adventure. You can camp at the bottom if you like, which is the way to go, I think. The famous mule rides are overnight adventures, and also a significant investment at $500 per person. Maybe next time!
See the slideshow at the bottom of this post for more canyon pics.
The next day we were off again- this time we stopped at Montezuma Well, then headed west into Sedona. Route 179 into Sedona is a spectacular drive through red rock canyons and distinctive buttes.
Nestled into these canyons is a nice little tourist town full of art enclaves and some exclusive spas. We had lunch at a nice brew pub with a view of a butte, and wandered around for the afternoon. What a beautiful setting.
That's about it- the next morning we packed up and had a little time to spend by the pool.
Visiting the canyon especially is something I've always wanted to do, and I'm glad I got to share it with my wife and children. I can see why Arizona is such a popular spot, sometimes I wouldn't mind getting away from New England winters, and that would be a good place to do it. With any luck we'll get out there again someday with a little more time to spend.
More pics in the slideshow below:
For sale in Connecticut, your guaranteed ticket to any concours or vintage event. I love the sweeping lines and understated simplicity of Siatas. Does it get any better than a short-windscreen roadster like this one?
See it at Hemmings. Price, as you might imagine, is by inquiry only...
A Triumph with a rumble seat and second windshield? Who knew? Sure is pretty!
See it at Hemmings
Giving new meaning to the term:
Mercedes-Benz 300SL W194 returns to the scene of its 1952 Carrera Panamericana victory.
See more pics and read about the legendary collision with a vulture that prompted the installation of the windshield bars at SportsCarDigest