Friday, May 26, 2017

Porsche 1st Qualifying: 24 Hour Race at the Nurburgring

Six teams tackle the Nürburgring 24-hour race with the Porsche 911 GT3 R, an event which is expected to attract more than 200,000 spectators. Prior to the 24-hour marathon in the “Green Hell”, the first two VLN races and the qualifying race on the Nürburgring offered competitors the possibility to reach the Top 30 Qualifying. This session will be held on Friday, 26 May, from 19.50 hours to determine the top grid spots for the Eifel marathon. Five Porsche teams have already qualified for this and hence used the first qualifying session to primarily find the right tyre combinations and to work on a suitable vehicle setup. The focus at the second qualifying on Friday morning will also be on finding the best setup for the race.
Comments on the 1st qualifying
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT cars: “We treated this evening’s qualifying as if it was just another practice session. We already have five cars qualified for the Top 30, so our focus now is to find the right tyre combination and to work out the right setup. It was important to let all the pilots drive once again in the dark, which is certainly a challenge on the Nordschleife. But for this year we’ve again optimised our lights. We’ll see the real results in the Top 30 Qualifying.”
Richard Lietz, 911 GT3 R (911), Manthey Racing: “Like many of the other teams who are already confirmed for the Top 30 shootout, we used the qualifying to find the best possible race setup.”
Drivers 911 GT3 R #44, Falken Motorsports Jörg Bergmeister: “We’re already in the Top 30 Qualifying and therefore we’re concentrating on finding a good balance for the race. The racetrack is considerably warmer than we’ve experienced here before during the preparation phase, hence the car responds a little differently. The atmosphere amongst the spectators seems to be great. You notice from the cockpit that some people have already lit campfires.”
Dirk Werner: “I found the first qualifying session very interesting because I’ve only contested the qualifying race on the Nordschleife this year. I first have to find my rhythm, also because I’ve not driven the Porsche 911 GT3 R a lot. But it was great fun. To drive on the Nordschleife in beautiful weather at night is always a great experience and a challenge. The car feels great and I’m very much looking forward to contesting the race with our team.”
Michael Christensen, 911 GT3 R (31), Frikadelli Racing Team: “That was a good qualifying. We tried out a couple of things, first and foremost the tyres for the cooler evening temperatures. We managed to put in a couple of decent laps and we want to learn as much as possible in the lead-up to the race.”
Mathieu Jaminet 911 GT3 R (12), Manthey Racing: “We tried out a new set of tyres over two laps and I clocked a fast time in the second lap despite the heavy traffic out on the track. The car ran well. We managed to work on the setup and we’re feeling confident for tomorrow.”
Sven Müller 911 GT3 R (59), Manthey Racing: “Driving here at the Nürburgring 24-hour race is something very special. You notice subconsciously that there’s a lot more happening around the racetrack compared to other circuits. We’re already in the Top 30 Qualifying and so we were able to work on the final setup for the car. It was important for me to turn a couple of laps in the dark, because I haven’t done that before on the Nürburgring
The second qualifying session is held on Friday, 26 May, from 9:30 to 11:30 hrs. The Top 30 Qualifying follows on Friday evening from 19:50 to 20:30 hrs.
RTL Nitro broadcasts the Top 30 Qualifying live from 19:25 to 21:10 hrs. The entire race will be televised live starting from 15.00 hrs on Saturday, 27 May. The Eifel classic can also be watched on the Internet under the link:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1917: The Beginnings of the Jordan Motor Car Company

I just became acquainted with the magazine Automobile Topics.  This periodical contains many advertisements reflective of the WWI period and one that really struck me was a 4 page statement that announced the start-up of the Jordan Automobile Company. Jordan, as many auto historians know, pioneered modern advertising, particularly with the copy and image from the ad "Somewhere West of Laramie." Ned Jordan was the master of advertising, getting his start at NCR in Dayton before moving on to other endeavors. Note this ad reveals Jordan's focus on women as key to the purchase of an automobile; of color, an aspect fully developed in low priced cars in the early 1920s with the discovery of DUCO and pyroxylin paints; and of interior details, such as the texture of leather and fabrics. The Jordan was a fully assembled car, using parts made by many suppliers.  

Note on the first page Jordan's understanding of the motor vehicle as a statement of individuality, and how the car expresses individual tastes and status. And color -- how colors remind us of nature, as in the case of green, and sunrise and sunset, as with reds.

 Note on page two Jordan's understanding of the rakish line of a car, and how important lines are in terms of making an impression on a would-be customer. And then there are dimensions, how a woman does not want to sit in a seat where her knees are up. For a man, the control of a car is important, and thus the tilt of the steering wheel, instrumentation and controls, must be just right.

Branding is important to the Jordan -- its suppliers in effect determine the quality of the product, along with a final chassis design that emphasizes balance.  Comparison with an imaginary "other car,"  possessing less features closes the deal.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Another Auto History Legend: the closed car of the 1920s

Historical "facts" are often passed on from generation to generation in automotive history.  Take my narrative on the coming of closed car bodies in the 1920s, from chapter 5 of my The Automobile and American Life:

Almost immediately after World War I, public demand increased dramatically for a closed car that would no longer be a seasonal pleasure vehicle, but rather all-weather transportation. The few closed body cars built before WWI were extremely expensive and the work of custom coach builders. This rise in demand during the 1920s, coupled with a remarkable number of concurrent technical innovations in plate glass and steel manufacture, resulted in a revolution in production methods, productivity and economies of scale. William J. Abernathy has carefully characterized the transformation that took place on the shop floor and assembly line, the first fruits of which occurred when in 1921 Hudson first mass-produced a closed car. The transition away from rag tops (the word convertible was first used in 1927 and officially added to the Society of Automotive Engineers lexicon in 1928) was rapid and contributed to a venerable prodigy of production by the end of the 1920s, as depicted in Table 4.
Table 4. Transition from Open to Closed Cars
Open Cars (%)
Closed Cars (%)
Source:  John Gunnell, Convertibles: The Complete Story (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: 1984), 129.

            Significant improvements in the quality of sheet steel were certainly part of this story, but so too were developments in welding technology, the development of sound deadening materials, and construction of the single unit body. All of these innovations and far more were pioneered by the Budd Manufacturing Company. Typical of the Budd All-Steel ads of the mid-1920s was one that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1926, with the headline “Put the Protection of All-Steel Between You and the Risks of the Road.”43 Like the safety inherent in a home, the steel body protected its occupants, especially women and children. The ad continued, “Self preservation is the first law on Nature. Today, with 19,000,000 cars crowding the highways . . . With the need for safer motoring more urgent than ever before . . . America is turning to the All-Steel Body. It is the greatest protection ever devised to prevent injury in the case of accident. See that your next car is so equipped!”  A second 1926 Budd ad, like the first mentioned, depicted a closed car traveling down a busy city street but in its own clear lane, separated on both sides by huge sheets of steel that prevented the masses of cars on each side from touching the car and harming its occupants. The headline for this ad read in part, “The protection which it [the all-steel body] brings to you and to your families is priceless – yet the cars which have it cost no more than those which do not.”44 Clearly, the message was that Budd-engineered closed body cars were worth the money spent.

Note the second sentence, underlined italicized and in red. Then check out this ad in a 1917 issue of Auto Topics:

Note that my highlighted sentence is inconsistent with above image!  A good reason for the appearance of the 2nd edition of my The Automobile and American Life, slated for the second half of 2017!

2017 Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize for Motor Vehicle Innovation

  • Stuttgart, May 22, 2017 - the Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize was awarded by Vienna University of Technology to Anke Kleinschmit, Head of Corporate Research & Sustainability and Environmental Officer for Daimler AG, for the development of the innovative exhaust gas aftertreatment system in the new four-cylinder diesel engine.

The automotive engineering prize is awarded once every two years to people who have made a significant contribution to the development of the motor vehicle with their innovation(s). The four-cylinder diesel engine (referred to internally as OM 654), which has been developed under the leadership of Bernhard Heil, is designed to meet future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions) and stands out for its exemplary efficiency and low nitrogen oxide emissions. This is made possible by, amongst other features, a newly-developed stepped-bowl combustion process, exhaust treatment technologies configured directly on the engine together with multiway exhaust gas recirculation using cooled high-pressure and low-pressure technology. This innovative technology package significantly reduces the engine's untreated emissions across all characteristics.
The four-cylinder diesel engine has already earned a good reputation for its performance out on the road. The engineers for the industry magazine auto, motor und sport "were surprised by the four-cylinder's extraordinarily low nitrogen oxide emissions*". And ADAC commented, after road tests of the diesel engine: "The exhaust gas treatment works extremely well, regardless of whether the vehicle's on the test station or driving in real traffic.**"
Since 1977 the Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize has been acknowledged as one of the most prestigious and – at 50,000 euros – one of the best-endowed awards for pioneering research and development work in the area of vehicle technology. Vienna University of Technology has awarded the prize, endowed by Louise Piech, the daughter of Professor Ferdinand Porsche, to Mercedes‑B enz engineers before: for the development of ABS, the airbag, of ESP as well as the first large-scale series production in the world of the Li-On battery technology in a hybrid vehicle – all of them milestones in automotive technology that have had a lasting and beneficial effect.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Porsche GT3 Supercup Season is Underway

In the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team) celebrated a perfect start to the season with two victories. On Saturday, he relegated Porsche Junior Dennis Olsen (N/Walter Lechner Racing Team) and Daniel Cammish (Lechner MSG Racing Team) to positions two and three; on Sunday Olsen again finished on second ahead of Porsche Junior Matt Campbell (AUS/Fach Auto Tech). Thanks to Ammermüller’s two wins, Germany leads the newly created Nations League. “It couldn’t have gone better, but in the last laps I came under huge pressure from Dennis. I didn’t make any mistakes and held on to my lead until the end,” explained Ammermüller.
Spectators on the well-filled grandstands were treated to a spectacular and action-packed second round. Porsche Junior Campbell started from pole position, however the 22-year-old Australian was not able hold onto his lead and had relinquish the front spot to Cammish in the first lap. With an adroit overtaking manoeuvre, Ammermüller swept to the front of the field and Cammish fell back to position four. Over the next twelve laps, the trio Ammermüller, Campbell and Olsen formed a spearhead at the front and battled for honours using every trick in the book. “I got off the line well but I opted for the wrong outside racing line and lost positions. After that I had to really fight hard. Finishing twice in second is a very good start to the season,” concluded Olsen. His junior colleague Campbell was pleased, as well: “I very happy with third place, especially since not everything ran as well as it could have. It’s my first Supercup season and you notice how incredibly close the competition is in this series. I’m excited to see how things continue.”

Germany holds the lead with 40 points

Cammish followed Ammermüller, Olsen and Campbell over the line in fourth. Contesting his second Supercup season, Dylan Pereira (L/Lechner Racing Middle East) from Luxembourg secured his best result so far with fifth. Guest driver Tom Oliphant (GB/Lechner Racing Middle East) saw the flag in sixth place. The best amateur driver on the 4.655-kilometre racetrack was Roar Lindland (N/MRS Cup-Racing). In the newly created Nations League, Germany holds the lead after two of eleven races with 40 points. Norway ranks second with 36 points, with Great Britain in third (30 points) followed by Australia (28 points).
Monaco hosts the next round on the Supercup calendar from 25 to 28 May: Round three of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will be contested on the legendary racetrack of Monaco. The 3.340-kilometre street circuit is a highlight on the race calendar, not least due to the unusual location of the paddock: All the vehicles stand under the big-top of the permanent circus tent Chapiteau de Fontvieille right next to the heliport. “Unfortunately I haven’t yet experienced a win at Monaco. This year I hope I have a little more luck in qualifying and then I’d like to bring home my first victory,” declared Ammermüller, who travels to the Principality as the championship leader after Barcelona.
A look back at race 1
Michael Ammermüller has won the season-opening round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Barcelona/Spain on Saturday evening. The German from Rotthalmünster finished on first place for the Lechner MSG Racing Team and also secured maximum points towards the newly-created Nations League. Second place went to Porsche Junior Dennis Olsen (Walter Lechner Racing Team) for Norway, with Daniel Cammish (Lechner MSG Racing Team) from Great Britain bringing home points for position three and his home country. “The race ran perfectly for me. Following the short safety car phase after the first lap I was able to pull away from the field and bring victory home. I’m thrilled that I was able to earn 20 points for Germany today,” says Ammermüller.
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Barcelona, 2017, Porsche AG

Start at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona

Thirty-one pilots took off into the 2017 season in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the Circuit de Catalunya. In Saturday’s qualifying, Porsche Junior Matt Campbell (Fach Auto Tech) posted pole position. The Australian, however, fluffed his start and after the first lap was running in position six. From second on the grid, Ammermüller inherited the lead, which he defended over 14 laps to the flag. Behind the seasoned Porsche specialist, a fierce battle for the other grid spots raged. Cammish in second place came under repeated attacks from Olsen and it was only in the twelfth lap that the youngster managed to squeeze past Cammish. “I put him under constant pressure. Daniel made a mistake and I overtook him. It’s a great feeling to stand on the podium in the Supercup,” said Olsen.

Drivers from 18 countries tackle the races

Cammish ultimately finished in third on the 4.655-kilometre circuit. “I wanted to find my rhythm, but Dennis hampered me from doing this. Still, I’m thrilled to be on the podium.” In fourth place, Robert Lukas (PL/Olimp Racing by Lukas Motorsport) collected points for Poland. Porsche Junior Matt Campbell (Fach Auto Tech), who won the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and advanced to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, brought home fifth place. “Unfortunately I botched my start a bit. I let the clutch out too soon and almost choked my engine. I’ve learnt my lesson; I have to work on my start. Hopefully it’ll go better for me in Sunday’s race,” explained Campbell. His British teammate Josh Webster was flagged off as sixth. Victory in the amateur category went to Egidio Perfetti (NL/Momo-Megatron Team Partrax).
The grid at the Circuit de Catalunya features the most international lineup in the 25-year history of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Drivers from 18 countries tackle the races throughout the anniversary year, with 16 of them contesting the newly-created Nations League. “We’ve seen huge interest in the Supercup this season and we’re thrilled that many newcomers from the national one-make race series and new teams are joining the experienced regulars,” says Oliver Schwab, Manager of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Race results
Race 1:
1. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team)
2. Dennis Olsen (N/Walter Lechner Racing Team)
3. Daniel Cammish (GB/Lechner MSG Racing Team)
4. Robert Lukas (PL/Olimp Racing by Lukas Motorsport)
5. Matt Campbell (AUS/Fach Auto Tech)
6. Josh Webster (GB/Fach Auto Tech)
7. Mattia Drudi (I/Dinamic Motorsport)
8. Dylan Pereira (L/Lechner Racing Middle East)
Race 2 :
1. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team)
2. Dennis Olsen (N/Walter Lechner Racing Team)
3. Matt Campbell (AUS/Fach Auto Tech)
4. Daniel Cammish (GB/Lechner MSG Racing Team)
5. Dylan Pereira (L/Lechner Racing Middle East)
6. Tom Oliphant (GB/Lechner Racing Middle East)
7. Philip Morin (S/Martinet by Almeras)
8. Daniele die Amato (I/Dinamic Motorsport)
Nations League:
1. Germany, 40 points
2. Norway, 36 points
3. Great Britain, 30 points
4. Australia, 28 points
5. Poland, 23 points
The next race of the the Supercup will be contested from 25 to 28 May in Monaco.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Key Fob Jammers -- An Easy Way to get at the Valuables in your Car

These devices are readily available over the internet and will block your fob from locking your car. Once you walk away thinking your car is locked, thieves can take what they want from the car, or use another device to start it and drive away.

The VW "Dieselgate" Story Continues

Hi folks -- I love to think that business ethics as taught at universities is nothing more than political correctness detached from reality. Money trumps (maybe an inappropriate word right now) DOING THE RIGHT THING 9 TIMES OUT OF TEN.
FROM: the
German prosecutors said Wednesday they had opened a new investigation into Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Müller and others over market manipulation in the wake of the carmaker's 'dieselgate' scandal.
"The accused are suspected of knowingly delaying telling shareholders about the financial consequences for Porsche SE of software manipulation in diesel vehicles by Volkswagen AG," the prosecutors in southwestern city Stuttgart said.
Holding company Porsche SE -  separate from VW subsidiary Porsche AG - owns a controlling stake in the world's largest carmaker, with its stable of 12 brands ranging from luxury Audi to generalist Skoda.
Along with Müller, former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and Porsche SE chairman Hans-Dieter Poetsch are also suspected of failing to share information about the emissions cheating affecting 11 million cars revealed in 2015.
Investigators opened the dossier in February, in response to charges levelled by German financial supervisor BaFin in summer 2016.
It is the first time Müller has been targeted by prosecutors over market manipulation, while Winterkorn, Poetsch - a former chief financial officer at VW - and VW brand chief Herbert Diess already face probes.
Volkswagen faces an array of legal challenges in Germany and worldwide relating to its software, designed to fool regulatory nitrogen oxide emissions tests.
Shareholders and car buyers have launched suits seeking compensation, while prosecutors in Brunswick, north Germany, are investigating 37 individuals at the company for fraud

Tuesday, May 16, 2017




In order to encourage research and writing effort among university students in the area of automotive history, the Society confers its annual award for the best student paper in the auto history field.  The award is named for Richard Scharchburg, the late Professor of History at Kettering University, eminent automotive historian, and past vice president of the Society of Automotive Historians. Persons submitting papers must be enrolled at educational institutions (upper-class undergraduate or graduate level) at the time of submission.  This competition is international in scope, but papers must be in the English language.  Papers already published or scheduled for publication will not be accepted.

Manuscripts should not exceed 10,000 words, and should be double-spaced.  An abstract is requested.  Judging criteria include clear statement of purpose and testable hypothesis, accuracy and thoroughness of research, originality of the research, documentation, quality and extent of bibliographic resources, and writing style.  Diagrams, graphs, or photographs may be included.  Submissions are to be electronic, in Word 1997-2003 format or pdf files only, to the e-mail address below.

Possible subjects include but are not limited to historical aspects of automobile companies and their leaders, regulation of the auto industry, financial and economic aspects of the industry, the social effects of the automobile, highway development, environmental matters, and automotive marketing, design, engineering and safety.

A cover letter should be included stating the student’s address, school, program, advisor, and stage in studies.  The student should indicate how the paper submitted will relate to his or her professional future.  Submissions must e-mail dated by June 10, 2017.  All papers submitted will be acknowledged.

Recent Previous Award Winners:
2016 – Alison Kreitzer, University of Delaware
2015 – Patrick Nicolello, University of Dayton
2014 – Sarah Seo, Princeton University
2013 -- John Emerson Mohr, Auburn University
2012—Samuel Kling, Northwestern  University
2011 – Andrew Mabon, James Madison University
2010 – No award
2009 – Peter Cajka, Marquette University

Upon recommendation of the judges, the winning paper will considered for publication in the Society’s Automotive History Review.   The award consists of a plaque and a cash prize of $500.00.

Submissions should be sent to:      John Heitmann, Chair, Student Awards Committee
                                                Department of History
                                                University of Dayton                    Tel: 937-229-2803
                                                300 College Park                        Fax: 937-229-2816

                                                Dayton, OH 45469-1540                e-mail:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Assembly of the 1 millionth Porsche in Photographs

Hi folks -- the color of this car is the same as my 1971 911T Targa!