Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 24, 2016, Friday night Beavercreek, OH, Cruise-In: A 1971 Porsche 911T Targa and a Hot Rod

You have to get there early to get a prime place at this cruse-in.  When would that be? 4 p.m.? 3 p.m.?
I got there before 5 p.m. but was relegate to a space open and in the middle of the parking lot. I parked next to a nice blue Hot Rod and the photos for today are of my car and the hot rod.  Lesson?  Get there before 4 if you want to get in the shade.  Maybe even earlier!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Porsche at Lemans, 2016

Before the final lap, Toyota seemed to be coming out on top but then the prototype stopped on track. One lap later it was the number 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) that took the chequered flag first in front of some of the 263,000 spectators that attended the event. It was the same trio that had achieved the maiden win for the 662 kW (900 PS) prototype in 2014 in Brazil.
The success is the 18th overall victory for Porsche at the world’s hardest car race. One of the most eligible trophies on the globe will be homed for the second consecutive year at Porsche’s head quarters because the company came as record holder and title defender. In 2015 drivers Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (DE) and Nick Tandy(GB) won with a Porsche 919 Hybrid. The first ever overall Le Mans victory for Porsche dates back to June 14th, 1970 and was achieved by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood in a 917 KH Coupé.
The second Porsche 919 Hybrid with car number 1, shared by reigning endurance world champions Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), had a long stop for repairs at night, fought back and finished 13th overall. In the LMP1 class it came fifth. Porsche was rewarded in Le Mans with a total of 71 points for the manufacturers’ standings of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). For the Le Mans 24-Hours twice as many points are awarded as for the other eight six-hours races of the championship. Porsche leads the manufacturers’ standings with 127 points ahead of Audi (95) and Toyota (79). In the drivers’ standings, Dumas, Jani and Lieb have now 94 points in total and lead by 39 points.

How the race went for Porsche after Sunday noon:

Marc Lieb had a strong quadruple stint, occasionally leading in the number 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid before he handed the car over to Neel Jani at 11:50 hrs after 331 laps. The Swiss refuelled after 345, 359 and 373 laps. After 381 laps he had to pit because of a slow puncture and then, in the last moments of the race, a P2 finish appeared the best possible result. But then the leading Toyota stopped on track just before the final lap.
The number 1 sister car, that was leading earlier in the race but dropped back by 39 laps after a water pump failure and consequential damage at 23:13 hrs, was in the hands of Mark Webber at 11:20 hrs after it had done 285 laps. Webber refuelled after 298 and 311 laps. After 324 laps Webber handed over to Timo Bernhard, who had his final splash and dash after 337 laps and brought the car home in 13th place overall after it had covered a distance of 346 laps.
Quotes after the race
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “First of all I would like to express my respect for the sensational performance which Toyota gave in this race. It was a great fight with them. Shortly before the finish we had settled for second place until we suddenly claimed our second Le Mans victory in a row. I would like to thank our great team in Weissach, our team here in Le Mans and all Porsche employees and fans which have supported us here.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1: “First of all we certainly feel for our colleagues and friends from Cologne. To give away such a great race this way on the last lap is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. But this is the sport with all its highs and lows and that’s also why we love it for. It was a strong fought victory. We had to put Toyota under pressure and went flat out for the entire race. Also our drivers were on the edge. The frequency with which the leader changed was extreme. Since we have started development and preparation for the 919 Hybrid we have delivered a strong performance. This goes for our colleagues at home in Weissach as well as for the race team. As happy as I am for the number 2 crew, I feel sorry for the guys from the number 1 car. Without the failure and the long repair they would have been able to fight for the win as well. To win Le Mans is the highlight of the season and it is difficult to believe we have managed it twice now in what is only our third year. Now we look forward. We take a lot of points from here and now we want to defend both world championship titles as well.“

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cars that Emanated Masculinity: the 1960 Chrysler 300F.What was the first muscle car?

This statement stuck with me after reading an article from a 1960 Popular Science (April, 1960, p.72).
Ken Fermoyle, "Driving Chrysler's Stick Shift 300F."

"This is a man's car -- big, muscular, and fast. It's handsome; not tricked up, not cute. Its ride isn't boudoir soft. Even its interior, split by an 11-inch-high console, discourages togetherness."

 What car was the first muscle car of the post-war era?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mercedes-Benz at the Silvretta Classic Rally July 7-10, 2016

Mercedes-Benz 280 SL of the W 113 series (1963-1971).

From the diesel as the class winner in the 1955 Mille Miglia to the exclusive high-performance E 500 Limited Saloon: at the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2016, Mercedes-Benz demonstrates the variety of the sporty brand tradition with classic cars from various eras. One thing characterises all five vehicles: an affinity with their standard-production counterparts. The three rally stages from 7 to 10 July 2016 cover around 600 kilometres, taking in picturesque alpine roads through Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Stuttgart. Throughout the brand's history, Mercedes-Benz has consistently developed standard-production vehicles into winning racing sports cars or exclusive high-performance cars. At the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2016, the Stuttgart-based brand demonstrates with five cars from the company's collection just how close standard production and successful sportiness are in the brand tradition. Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors Klaus Ludwig and Karl Wendlinger will also be lining up at the start.
The 180 D (W 120) "Ponton" achieved a triple victory in the diesel class at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Compared with the road version, the saloons were hardly modified for the legendary road race from Brescia to Rome and back.
The racing version of the 1955 190 SL Roadster (W 121) also symbolises the close link between tried-and-tested standard-production technology and racing success. With the competition version of the 190 SL, Douglas Steane achieved a class victory at the 1956 Macau Grand Prix.
At the turn of the 1970s, the 280 SL "Pagoda" marked the most sophisticated development stage of the W 113 series. It was the first SL generation that took forward the common heritage of the 300 SL and the 190 SL, both direct motor racing offshoots. Eugen Böhringer, for instance, took the chequered flag at the 1963 Liège–Sofia–Liège Rally in a 230 SL from this model series.
The AMG 300 SEL 6.8 (W 109) dates from the same time as the 280 SL. Designed as an uncompromising high-performance touring sports car, it was affectionately nicknamed the "Red Sow". The racing touring car derived from the former Mercedes-Benz luxury class 300 SEL 6.3 Saloon took second place and a class victory at the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps in 1971.
Finally, the Mercedes-Benz E 500 Limited (W 124) highlights the perfect combination of sportiness and exclusive equipment and appointments. Only 500 units of this special model of the high-performance saloon with V8 engine were built in 1994.
Classic car meet
Classic car aficionados have been enjoying the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon with its route along grandiose alpine roads since 1998. This year 160 teams are lining up on the grid. The field of participants stands out with its wide range of classic vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is a Premium Partner in the regularity race and is also sponsoring the Silvretta E-Auto Rally for alternative drives.
Following accreditation and technical inspection (from 5 July 2016) the Silvretta Classic 2016 will set out on the first stage on 7 July. From Partenen over the Silvretta High Alpine Road, the Bielerhöhe Pass and Gargellen, the route takes the participants some 115 kilometres to Schruns. A 296-kilometre stage from Partenen via St. Anton in the Montafon valley, through the Principality of Liechtenstein into Switzerland and back to Gaschurn follows on July 8. Sights to be savoured along the route include the Schwägalp Pass at 1278 metres and the 1487-metre-high Faschinajoch Pass. The third and final stage gets underway on July 9 in Partenen and takes in the Bielerhöhe Pass, the 1793-metre-high Arlberg Pass and the 1773-metre-high Flexen Pass to the finish in Vadans. On 10 July, the rally ends with a farewell event in St. Gallenkirch.
Mercedes-Benz drivers at the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2016
Klaus Ludwig
Born on 5 October 1949 in Bonn, Germany
Honoured with the title of "King Ludwig" by his fans, the outstanding racing driver and three-times DTM Champion Klaus Ludwig began his motor racing career in the early 1970s with slalom races, orientation rallies and touring car races. His first major successes included the German Motor Racing Championship (DRM) title in 1979 and 1981, and victories in the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1979, 1984 and 1985. Ludwig came to the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1985, where he initially competed for Ford and won his first title in 1988. In 1989 he moved to the AMG-Mercedes team, with which he won two championship titles (1992 and 1994, runner-up in 1991) and a total of 19 race victories in the years up to 1994. In 1995 and 1996 he competed in the ITC (International Touring Car Championship) for Opel Team Rosberg. He subsequently returned to AMG-Mercedes, winning the driver and team trophy in the International FIA GT Championship together with Ricardo Zonta in 1998. He subsequently officially retired from motor sport, but competed once again in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2000, ending the season and his motor racing career with a third-place finish in the overall rating in a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.
Karl WendlingerBorn on 20 December 1968 in Kufstein, Austria
Karl Wendlinger's motor sport career began in go-karting at the age of 14. In 1989, he won the German Formula 3 Championship. In 1990 and 1991, the Austrian was a member of the Mercedes Junior Team, along with Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and competed in the sports car world championship. In 1991 he moved on to Formula 1. From 1994 Wendlinger drove for the Sauber-Mercedes team together with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Racing assignments in the DTM, Formula 3000 and the Le Mans 24-hour race followed. His most outstanding successes on the racetrack include winning the FIA GT Championship (1999), 1st place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTS Class (in the same year), overall victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 and a second-place finish in the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring (2003). From 2004 to 2011, Karl Wendlinger competed for various teams in the FIA GT Championship; with Jetalliance Racing he was the runner-up in 2007.
Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles at the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2016
Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120, 1954-1959)
The first diesel-engined version of the Mercedes-Benz 180 "Ponton" (W 120) had its debut in January 1954. This meant that the Stuttgart-based brand now also offered its modern saloon with the characteristic "Ponton" silhouette with a diesel engine. A total of 114,046 units of the 180 D saloon were produced up to the facelift in autumn 1959. Mercedes-Benz entered several 180 D vehicles with start numbers 04, 09 and 010A in the 1955 Mille Miglia. These diesel-engined saloons, which were capable of speeds of up to 110 km/h, cannot be compared with the racers and sports cars that raced to overall victory in 1955. However, the 180 D was an ultra-modern vehicle at the time, with a self-supporting body and a "subframe" on which the front wheels guided by double wishbone axles were suspended. It demonstrated its strengths and great dependability in the Italian road race: Mercedes-Benz achieved a triple victory in the diesel class.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120) - road version
Production period: 1954 to 1959
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1767 cc Output: 29 kW (40 hp), from September 1955 32 kW (43 hp)
Top speed: 110 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version (W 121 II, 1955)
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL standard-production sports car embodies the attitude towards life in the "Swinging Fifties", a colourful joie de vivre and lightness. The SL became the dream car of the 1950s primarily against the economic backdrop of the fledgling recovery and the advent of individual mobility. The open-top two-seater was built starting in 1955 and set new standards for comfortable touring with a sporty note by delivering a refreshingly new take on the "Gran Turismo" idea. Even though the 190 SL, unlike the 300 SL (W 198), was not based on motor racing technology, it also made its mark in motor sport. This was especially true for the racing version available until 1956 with windowless aluminium doors, a smaller windscreen and other modifications. The bumpers and soft top on this variant could be removed for races. The major successes of the vehicle included the class victory achieved by Douglas Steane at the 1956 Macau Grand Prix.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121) - road versionProduction period: 1955 to 1963
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1897 cc
Output: 77 kW (105 hp)
Top speed: 180 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (W 113, 1968-1971)
The "Pagoda SL" series W 113, thus called by enthusiasts because of its pagoda-shaped hardtop, managed the difficult balancing act between high-performance sports car and comfortable tourer. It combined the qualities of its two predecessor models: the uncompromising 300 SL (W 198) standard-production sports car and the 190 SL (W 121), which was aimed more at sporty, comfortable touring. These attributes won the "Pagoda SL" the hearts of a very ambitious clientele, who wanted the extraordinary performance and superior power delivery of a thoroughbred sports car as well as the spaciousness and ride comfort of a luxury tourer. The most highly developed variant, the 280 SL launched in 1963, had a displacement of 2.8 litres and boasted an output that was 15 kW (20 hp) higher than that of the preceding 230 SL and 250 SL models. Thanks to greater flexibility, this above all made the six-cylinder in-line model more refined. Hence the 280 SL model in the "Pagoda" line-up was almost as popular with buyers as the 230 SL and 250 SL combined, the latter of which was only built for about a year.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (W 113)Production period: 1968 to 1971
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2778 cc
Output: 125 kW (170 hp)
Top speed: 200 km/h
AMG 300 SEL 6.8 (W 109, 1971)
It was at the wheel of the AMG 300 SEL 6.8 touring race car that Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz won a surprising class victory and second place in the overall classification at the 24-hour race at Spa, Belgium, on 24 July 1971. The winning car was developed by the then virtually unknown AMG, founded in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Großaspach. The modified vehicle was based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 which, with an output of  184 kW (250 hp), was absolutely unrivalled in its day. But Aufrecht and Melcher made the fastest German standard-production car of the period even more powerful: engine capacity grew from 6330 cc to 6835 cc, and the output of the improved V8 engine increased to 315 kW (428 hp). The win in the race at Spa marked the breakthrough for AMG and was to be followed by further victories. To this day the car is still known by its nickname, the "Red Sow". The original car from 1971 no longer exists, but in 2006 the AMG 300 SEL 6.8 was re-developed in a detailed reconstruction. It has been an immensely potent ambassador of Mercedes-AMG history on each of its appearances ever since.
Technical data for the AMG 300 SEL 6.8 (W 109)Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 6835 cc
Output: 315 kW (428 hp)
Top speed: 265 km/h
Mercedes-Benz E 500 Limited (W 124, 1994)
With its presentation in 1984, the 124 series in the Mercedes-Benz executive segment set the standard for safety and efficiency. In 1990, the top-of-the-line 500 E made its debut. The high-performance saloon came with a powerful eight-cylinder engine. When the W 124 was renamed the E-Class in June 1993 - similar to the S-Class and C-Class –, the model designation was changed to E 500. The E 500 Limited was brought out in 1994 as a special model with a particularly exclusive equipment line, with just 500 units being produced.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz E 500 Limited (W 124)Production period: 1994
Cylinders: V8 Displacement: 4973 cc
Output: 235 kW (320 hp)
Top speed: 250 km/h

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Reinterpreting Automobile History: Myth and the Relative Safety of the Ford Pinto

The last of the early 1970s subcompacts and perhaps the most demonized car of all time was the Ford Pinto. Known during its development as Lee Iacocca’s car, it is only briefly in his An Autobiography. History was been kind to Iacocca, however, as his legacy remains tied to the resounding success of the Mustang. Iacocca is known as the father of the Mustang, but not the Pinto.
The Pinto, like the Vega, was a highly innovative car in its day.[1] It was the first so-called “World Car,” assembled in the U.S., using engines from Britain and Germany, and transmissions from Germany. Thus, the Pinto’s assembly line was spatially global; Eli Whitney’s early 19th century idea first implemented at his Mill Rock, Connecticut, armory was now manufacturing that crossed national borders and continents.
I owned a 1973 Pinto between 1974 and 1985. It was equipped with the smaller 1.6 liter English Kent Engine and a four speed transmission. It was barebones -- no air conditioner in this vehicle, even though part of the time we lived in New Orleans.  It never failed us, and was the object of a failed theft at the Baltimore Pimlico Park and Ride lot. The cars clutch made a shrill noise for years, as its throw-out bearing needed help but also did not give up. The passenger side door developed a terrible rust rash, and I eventually replaced that door with one bought at a junk yard. When our daughter Lisa was born, my wife insisted we sell the car out of fear that the vehicle would be rear-ended and burn.
During the 1970s more Pintos were made than Vegas and Gremlins combined.  By the end of the decade, however, the National Highway Traffic Administration deemed the car unsafe, an article on it in Mother Jones  was titled “Pinto Madness,” and several major lawsuits had resulted in high value monetary settlements and criminal indictments.  Its reputation – deserved or not – frightened the public for good reason.  Even a minor rear end collision, it was claimed, pushed the bolts from the rear differential into the gas tank, causing a fire, that might kill occupants, who could also be trapped in the vehicle due to simultaneously jammed doors. An Elkhart, Indiana, fatal accident involving teenage girls brought the issue home to an angry public, enraged by the release of a Ford cost-benefit analysis memo asserting that it was less expensive for the fatalities to take place than to remedy the design with a $11 modification.  Subsequent historical work has shown that the Pinto case has a mythical element to it, and that many of the smaller cars of the day were as unsafe as the Pinto.  The Pinto fire and explosion episode has been said to usher in a new era of corporate responsibility and accountability to consumers. Recent events, including Takata airbag injuries, seem to belie the claim that corporate ethics in the automobile industry have dramatically improved over the past four decades.
My point in bringing up the Pinto story is that the simple tale tells of a car egregiously unsafe; yet, it has been shown that it was no less safe than many of its competitors from the 1970s. Media and government, however, shaped the Pinto's fate, and to this day an uncritical commentator will fall into the trap of misrepresenting what really happened.  I am not saying that the Pinto was an exceptionally safe car -- for it was not. But it was not an outlier as well. It did reflect a time in automobile history when quality was far lower than what we now expect, and risk was very much a part of being a car owner. The milieu was different. 
Finally, so much of auto history remains well-worn stories recycled  from one author to the next. This includes me -- get to archives, and mine them deep!

[1] See Mark Dowie, “Pinto Madness,” Mother Jones, (September, 1977). Accessed 6/20/16; Gary T. Schwartz, “The Myth of the Ford Pinto Case,” Rutgers Law Review, 43(1990), 1013-1068; Dennis A. Giola, “Pinto Fires and personal Ethics: A Script Analysis of Missed Opportunities,” Journal of Business Ethics, 11 (May, 1992), 379-89; Matthew T. Lee and M. David Ermann, “’Pinto Madness’ as a  Flawed landmark Narrative; An Organizational and Network Analysis,” Social Problems, 46 (February, 1999), 30-47.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cars & Coffee, at the Greene, Beavercreek, OH, June 18, 2016

Hi folks -- a beautiful morning!  This time around I got there early and had  my choice of parking spaces.  Some great cars are my "Heitmann's favorites" for today.  A 1954 Oldsmobile 88, a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster, and  a V-12 Jag XKE.