Monday, June 26, 2017

Early Auto Crash Testing, 1953 and 1954 -- Motor Vehicle Research, Epping, NH

During the early 1950s a number of researchers began to study auto safety and design issues.  The most prominent was Hugh De Haven at Cornell University, and Amy Gangloff has told that story in the pages of Technology and Culture. There was one other research group, however, that made a number of studies and pin-pointed safety design features that could have saved thousands of lives during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Motor Vehicle Research was the brainchild of Dean Fales at MIT and A.J. White.   The organization implemented several improvements and also pioneered the remote control of automobiles for the purpose of examining the nature of crash damage to both the vehicle and human occupants. MVR developed a safer baby seat; reinforced automobile roofs and doors. They advocated safety belts more than a decade before such belts were used in most U.S. cars. MVR developed the padded dash and recessed knobs on the dashboard. They understood the value of rubber encased windshields that popped out on impact and breakaway steering posts that wouldn't spear the brain of the driver.  Seats needed to be better find or braced within the car. These researchers also understood the value of a car stripped of chrome accessories, like hood ornaments.

Using cameras and dummies, plenty of crash assessment was done.  Among the conclusions was that car parts absorbed much of the energy at impact, a concept key to the safety of automobiles today.

Sadly, I could find not one photo on the internet to include in this post.

See the following articles in Life:
8/31/53, p.12.
4/12/54, p.1.
4/26/54, p.74.
6/7/54, p.135.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mercedes-Benz at the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classic, June 30 - July 2, 2017


Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle from 1970.


Mercedes-Benz Classic is entering two legendary sports cars in the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics (SBSC): the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198) celebrated its premiere in 1957, whilst the experimental vehicle C 111 dates back to 1970. As part of the rally for classic sports cars and young classics up to 1997 the SBSC will also be presenting current super sports cars this year. Mercedes-AMG, the Mercedes-Benz performance brand founded 50 ago as an engineering office, is present here with two models from the Mercedes-AMG GT model series family (fuel consumption combined: 11.4 -9.3 l/100 km CO2 emissions, combined 259-216 g/km*).
Stuttgart. This year the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics (SBSC) rally is offering lively dialogue between historic and modern super sports models. For both at the classic rally through the Bergisches Land region on Saturday, 1 July 2017 and at the Concours d’Elégance on 2 July current super sports cars are joining the impressive parade of classic cars and young classics.
Mercedes-Benz Classic and Mercedes-AMG are offering two special couplings which illustrate the tradition of sportiness in the brand´s genes: unveiled in 1957, the classic 300 SL Roadster (W 198) is as coveted today as the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster which premiered in spring 2017 (fuel consumption combined: 11.4 l/100 km, CO2emissions combined: 259 g/km). And the visionary power injected into the Mercedes-Benz C 111 II experimental vehicle in 1970 also characterised the Mercedes-AMG GT R in 2016 (fuel consumption combined: 11.4 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 259 g/km).
The vehicles are driven and presented by personalities such as the racing drivers and Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors Klaus Ludwig and Jan Seyffarth.
Princely stage for super sports models
Founded in 2009, the Schloss Bensberg Supersport Classics is being held around the Baroque hunting lodge in the Bensberg area of the town of Bergisch Gladbach. Today the 18th century palace houses the Althoff Grandhotel. The hotel, together with the specialist media "Auto Zeitung" and "Classic Cars", organises the SBSC. The event starts with a welcome for the participating vehicles on the Friday evening (30 June).
On the Saturday (1 July) the rally starts at 9 a.m. In total around 260 kilometres are covered in the Bergisches Land in this challenging regularity race. Along the route the participants can expect five checkpoint controls with presentations of the vehicles to the public in Wermelskirchen, Lindlar, Ehreshoven, Bergisch Gladbach and Blankenberg. There are also twelve allocated time stages on the rally schedule. The vehicles are expected back in the palace courtyard at around 4.30 p.m.. The modern super sports cars head the rally in front of the peleton of classic cars and young classics. Entry to all the day´s activities is free.
On the Sunday (2 July) all the vehicles participating in the rally will be presented at the Concours d’Elégance. A special presentation is devoted to the current super sports cars. Individual entry to the exclusive festival of automotive sportiness costs 8 euros (including programme booklet) and the price for families is 12 euros (maximum 2 adults and 2 children, including 1 programme booklet). Children under 14 are admitted free of charge.
Schloss Bensberg Supersport Classics 2017:
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Brand Ambassadors
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.
Jan SeyffarthBorn on 12 July 1986 in Querfurt, Germany
The racing driver Jan Seyffarth is an official Mercedes-AMG test and development driver and an instructor at the AMG Driving Academy. Since 2015 Seyffarth has been involved in developing the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which celebrated its customer sports premiere in the same year. The racing driver brings the requisite experience through numerous successes in motorsport: back in 2003, at the age of 17, he entered the world of professional motorsport after taking 2nd place in Formula König. This was followed by wins in Formula 3 and the Vice Championship in the Porsche Carrera Cup in 2008. Since Mercedes-AMG entered customer sports in 2011 Seyffarth has been committed to this exciting world. His major successes include two 3rd places in the 24 Hours race on the Nürburgring (2013 and 2016), a victory in the VLN Nürburgring long-distance championship (2013) and 2nd place in qualifying for the 24 Hours race on the Nürburgring in 2016.
Schloss Bensberg Supersport Classics 2017:
Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198, 1957-1963)
At the Geneva Motor Show In March 1957 Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Roadster (W 198) as the successor to the 300 SL (W 198) "Gullwing" Coupé unveiled in 1954. On a technical level, the open-top sports car was very like the Coupé, although the modified space frame allowed the installation of conventionally attached doors, which were necessary for open-top driving. The suspension was likewise modified: the single-joint swing axle with lowered pivot point on the 300 SL Roadster was equipped with a compensating spring for the first time. From 1958 onwards the roadster was also available with a detachable coupé roof on request. It was from the standard-production 300 SL Roadster that the Mercedes-Benz engineers developed the 300 SLS racing variant with which Paul O’Shea won Category D of the American Sports Car Championship in 1957. So we´ve come full circle, as the model series 198 of the 300 SL is based on the W 194 racing car of the same name which was used very successfully in motorsport in 1952. Production of the 300 SL Roadster was discontinued in 1963 after seven years, during which time only 1858 units of the highly exclusive sports car were built.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster technical data
Produced: 1957-1963
Cylinders: 6/inline
Displacement: 2996 cc
Output: 158 kW (215 hp)
Top speed: up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle (1970)
Mercedes-Benz presented the C 111 at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in September 1969. With its extreme wedge shape and gullwing doors, the research vehicle had a glass-fibre-reinforced plastic body and was powered by a three-rotor Wankel engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp). This futuristic sports car could reach a speed of up to 270 km/h. The following year, the revised C 111-II version was shown at the Geneva Motor Show – except now with a four-rotor Wankel engine delivering 257 kW (350 hp). This version could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 300 km/h. It was this second version of the research vehicle that served as the basis for a V8 variant of the C 111 containing the M 116 production engine with  147 kW(200 hp). Mercedes-Benz engineers and technicians used the car for the purposes of comparison with the rotary-engined sports car. Despite numerous orders, the C 111 remained a purely experimental vehicle and never entered production. Mercedes-Benz instead went on to develop a series of record-breaking vehicles based upon it: the C 111-II D (1976) and the C 111-III (1977–1978, both with a five-cylinder turbodiesel engine) and the C 111-IV (1979, V8 petrol engine with turbocharging).
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz C 111-II (standard version)
Cylinders: four-rotor Wankel engine
Chamber volume: 2400 cc
Output: 257 kW (350 hp)
Top speed: around 300 km/h

Porsche at Le Mans, 2017






At 18:30 on Saturday evening the Le Mans 24-Hours looked over for the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). Their car had no front axle drive anymore, was repaired for 1.05 hours and rejoined the race 18 laps behind. But the 85th running of the endurance classic in Le Mans produced such dramatic changes that the impossible ultimately came true: After an enormous effort, the trio sliced through the field from 56th position to overall victory. For Le Mans record holder Porsche, it is the 19th overall win in the world’s toughest race and the third in a row meaning the German manufacturer can now keep the famous trophy.

For Earl Bamber it is his second Le Mans overall win at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid after 2015. Timo Bernhard also scores his second Le Mans overall win. Following on from his maiden win in 2010 when he was loaned to Audi, he had dreamed to repeat it one day with Porsche. Brendon Hartley was arguably the hungriest of this year’s six Porsche LMP works driver squad as his name had yet to be engraved onto the big trophy.

How the final phase went for car number 2:
When the number 1 sister car stops on track soon after 11am after having led the race for more than ten hours, the time for the hunters had arrived. Hartley continuously improves during a multiple stint. After 312 laps, he comes in for his final refuelling stop then after 325 laps he hands over the car in fourth position to Bernhard. At 12:50pm, the 919 Hybrid is back on the same lap as the leading car – it is race lap 330. After all LMP1 hybrid works cars have either retired or been delayed, an LMP2 leads outright. After 338 laps Bernhard comes in for fuel and on lap 347 he takes the lead. His penultimate refuelling stop is after 351 laps before a final splash & dash after 360 laps. After 367 laps in total Bernhard takes the chequered flag to fulfil a dream.

 

Quotes after the race:

Michael Steiner, Board Member Research and Development, Porsche AG:“The ‘triple’ in Le Mans is a dream come true for Porsche and the way this third consecutive win happened is very special. I’m proud of the Porsche Team that kept fighting despite the long stop for repairs. This success also came about thanks to strong E performance and innovative hybrid technology.”

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “One of our ambitious targets for the 2017 season was to achieve a hat-trick at Le Mans. But what we have gone through over the past 24 hours, you could not imagine in your wildest dreams. This 24-hour race just pushed everything and everyone to the limit. It is unbelievable what you can achieve in a focussed team effort. Sometimes it is not the fastest car but the best team performance that makes the difference. This team is the best of all and made today’s success possible. The reaction from everywhere is overwhelming – from Porsche employees and also around the world. Personally I can only say thank you to Porsche for putting me in the position to set up such a great programme and thanks to every single team member for the total support and the great team spirit.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “It’s hard to find words for what happened. The drivers and the entire team have done an amazing job. We can put two tough weeks behind us that provided some highs and lows but we fought with typical Porsche spirit. It will take some time for what we have achieved today to sink in. We’ve now won Le Mans three times in a row which is just sensational. The team worked relentlessly for this over the past twelve months. Toyota was a very strong competitor. They pushed us to the limits and beyond and we both paid the price. It is a sad that Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy retired from the race because they controlled it for a long time. But Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and especially Timo Bernhard deserved to take the race win. Timo was the development driver right from the beginning of the programme. After the long repairs, the three of them kept fighting and were ultimately rewarded.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2
Earl Bamber (26, New Zealand): “I can’t believe we’ve managed to pull this one off having been at the back of the field after an hour in the pit-box. Both Brendon and Timo have been part of the Porsche LMP programme from the beginning while this victory is as much down to the guys in the pits. Without their hard work we wouldn’t have got back racing again so this win is down to them.”

Timo Bernhard (36, Germany): “It feels surreal. When I joined Porsche as a junior driver back in 1999, I carefully developed the dream to perhaps one day get the chance to fight for overall victory at Le Mans. I hoped I would be good enough to really do this one day. Now, 18 years later, we have achieved it together. The final lap was very emotional for me. It will take some time before I realize what has happened.”

Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand): "Le Mans is one crazy race. The mechanics worked incredibly hard on Saturday evening to get our car repaired in super fast time and since that moment Timo, Earl and myself, together with our engineers, have been pushing hard, 100% every second, and desperately hoped that our efforts would somehow pay off.”
GT class
With an admirable debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours witnessed by 258,000 fans, the new Porsche 911 RSR demonstrated its potential and reliability. The race car led the field over long distances and was on course for a podium result until shortly before the flag. However, after 340 laps full of thrills and drama on the legendary 13.629-kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures, Richard Lietz (Austria) and his French teammates Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet had to settle for fourth place in the fiercely cutthroat GTE-Pro class. An additional pit stop due to tyre damage an hour before the finish robbed them of all hopes in achieving a podium spot at the toughest automobile race in the world.

In glorious summer weather and temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius, 60 vehicles were sent on their way at 15.00 hours on Saturday in the 24-hour chase in the department of Sarthe in western France. The two new 911 RSR, which were fielded for the first time at Le Mans by the Porsche GT Team, completed the first third of the race with any major problems. The only incident on the Circuit des 24 Heures, which throws very special challenges at drivers with its combination of a permanent racetrack and normal national roads, was when the #92 Porsche 911 RSR became entangled in a collision. In the ultra-fast corner 1, it was hit by a competitor and had to return to the pits. Prior to this, Michael Christensen (Denmark), Kévin Estre (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany) had at times been running in second place. Thanks to a perfect race strategy and fast pit stops, the time that was lost was virtually recovered. Their charge, however, was finally halted during the night: After 179 laps and the occasional stint in the lead, Michael Christensen (Denmark) lost control of his 911 RSR while kerb-hopping in the Ford chicane and crashed into the barriers with the rear of his car.

Shortly before the end of the race, Frédéric Makowiecki was running in third place

In the second half of the race, however, their teammates in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR took up the leadership role. On Sunday morning, Patrick Pilet moved into the top position of the very strong GT field for the first time, with Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki also turning laps at the lead over long distances. In the final stages of the race, all signs looked promising for at least a podium result. With one-and-a-half hours to go before the flag, Frédéric Makowiecki was running in third place. And this is how the race might have ended had a puncture one hour before the end not forced the vehicle back into the pits for an unscheduled pit stop. The fight for the podium was lost.

In the GTE-Am class, Porsche customer teams fielded four 2015-spec 911 RSR. The best result was secured by the 911 campaigned by Dempsey Proton Racing in sixth. Sharing the cockpit of the #77 car was Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) with the German racing drivers Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst.
911 RSR, FIA WEC, Le Mans 24 Hours, Le Mans, 2017, Porsche AG

The Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki

 

Comments on the race

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars: “This was our first time at Le Mans with our new 911 RSR and I think we delivered a good performance. It’s a shame that we lost our #92 car in the night due to an accident. It’s also a pity that our #91 vehicle only managed fourth place at the end, although the drivers and team had done everything and the vehicle had even led over long distances. But then tyre damage hit and on top of that we were a little unlucky with a slow zone. That cost us the chance of a better placing, but we’ll be back next year.”

Drivers 911 RSR #91
Richard Lietz: “It’s tough when you give your best and to stand there empty-handed in the end. Our 911 RSR performed well in the corners as expected, but in the high temperatures we lost time to our rivals on the straights. The whole team deserves a huge thank you, because the preparation for Le Mans was extremely hard. Our mechanics really did everything they could. It was an exciting race and I hope we’ll be able to compete for a podium spot next year. Fourth place this year is okay, it gives us important points towards the championship and things are looking good for us in this respect.”
Patrick Pilet: “It was a hard, difficult race. We all did our very best and we can’t blame ourselves. From our side it was a perfect race. The drivers didn’t make any mistakes out on the racetrack and the team gave us tremendous support. Our 911 RSR ran well on this demanding circuit. Over the entire race we only came in to the pits to refuel and change the tyres. A podium spot would have been a great result for the team, but it wasn’t to be. We’ll return next year even stronger.”
Frédéric Makowiecki: “It was a good race. The whole team worked brilliantly. We tried literally everything to reach the podium. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough. Still, the Le Mans 24-hour race was once again an unforgettable experience.”

Drivers 911 RSR #92
Michael Christensen: “That was an unbelievably tough race. We were driving at the limit the entire time and you had to take big risks to keep up with the opposition. In the chicane I risked a little too much. It’s a shame because our 911 RSR was running well and we were up with the frontrunners. I’m sorry for the whole team who gave us such great support.”
Kévin Estre: “Le Mans is the world’s toughest automobile race. We saw it again this year. It always hurts when you don’t reach the finish line. But at Le Mans it’s particularly painful.”
Dirk Werner: “We really picked up the pace over the course of the race. At times we were even in the lead. It’s a shame we didn’t make it to the flag. But as a racing driver you simply have to accept retirements. However, we’ll work hard so that we can come back next year even stronger.”

Customer team drivers
Patrick Long (911 RSR #93, Proton Competition): “The handling of the 911 RSR was very good over the entire race. The only place we couldn’t match the pace of our opponents was on the straights. We put pressure on right to the end and the team gave their utmost. We can be proud of our effort. We’ve all enjoyed the unique atmosphere of this race.”
Matteo Cairoli (911 RSR #77, Dempsey Proton Racing): “I was determined to finish on the podium at my first Le Mans attempt. In the beginning everything was going well for us, but in the night we had a technical problem that threw us back. Still, we were able to finish the race and earn important points towards the championship. And I fulfilled my dream to race at Le Mans. I hope we come back in 2018.”
Race result

GTE-Pro class
1. Turner/Adam/Serra (GB/GB/BRA), Aston Martin, 340 laps
2. Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani (GB/GB/BRA), Ford GT, 340
3. Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (DK/E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 340
4. Lietz/Makowiecki/Pilet (A/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 340
5. Rigon/Bird/Molina (I/GB/E), Ferrari 488 GTE, 340
6. Hand/Müller/Kanaan (USA/D/BRA), Ford GT, 339
7. Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (AUS/GB/AUS), Ford GT, 337
8. Gavin/Milner/Fässler (GB/USA/CH), Chevrolet Corvette, 335
9. Thiim/Soerensen/Stanaway (DK/DK/NZ), Aston Martin, 334
10. Mücke/Pla/Johnson (D/F/USA), Ford GT, 332
12. Christensen/Estre/Werner (DK/F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 179

GTE-Am class
1. Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor (GB/GB/B), Ferrari 488 GTE, 333 laps
2. Cameron/Scott/Cioci (GB/GB/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 331
3. Yoluc/Hankey/Bell (TR/IRL/GB), Aston Martin, 331
6. Ried/Cairoli/Dienst (D/I/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 329
9. Long/Al Faisal/Hedlund (USA/KSA/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 329
10. Wainwright/Barker/Foster (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 328

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bob McKenzie -- Transcontinental Speed Record Holder during the 1930s

Cannon Ball Baker -- Abe Jenkins -- and Bob McKenzie.  All transcontinental and endurance drivers during the decade of the 1930s, the last decade that featured these "competitions" until Brock Yates' resurrection of the idea with the Cannon Ball Rally in the early 1970s. So let's learn something about a great driver now largely forgotten, Bob McKenzie.
Bob McKenzie's business card, featuring some of his notable driving achievements.

Bob's last major accomplishment, taking a 1948 Playboy (made in Buffalo, NY) on a New York to LA trip in 62 hours, 20 minutes.


AS A STUDENT AT CARNEGIE TECH IN PITTSBURGH, YOUNG BOB MCKENZIE BECAME INTERESTED IN AUTO RACING AND IN PARTICULAR THE EXPLOITS OF CANNON BALL BAKER. DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL, MCKENZIE PURCHASED A WILLYS 77 IN OCTOBER 1931. ON OCTOBER 30 HE STARTED OUT AT THE BRIDGE IN TOTTENVILLE , LI, AND TIMED BY WESTERN UNION BEGAN HIS FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL QUEST. AFTER AN ACCIDENT IN WASHINGTON PA, BOB'S FIRST TRY ENDED, BUT HE RETURNED TO NY IN A NEW CAR.
WITH JOE HARBERTH AS AN OBSERVER, MCKENZIE SPED THROUGH INDIANAPOLIS; SPRINGFIELD, IL; TOPEDA AND DODGE CITY, KS, AND ON THE THRID DAY ARIVED AT ASCOT SPEEDWAY IN LA. RESTING FOR 15 MINUTES, HE POINTED HIS CAR EAST, BUT SOON LEARNED THAT HTE RETURN TRIP WOULD BE MORE DIFFICULT. EATING ONLY PEANUTS AND STAYING AWAKE BY REMAINING HUNGRAY. HE ROLLED INTO NY 5 DAYS AFTER THE ORIGINAL DEPARTURE, 135 HOURS AND 22 MINUTES COAST TO COAST TO COAST.  BOB DROVE ALL BUT 8 HOURS!

THE FOLLOWING YEAR BOB PLANNED A NEW ADVENTURE, DRIVING A HUDSON ESSEX THAT WAS FITTED WITH AN EXTRA FUEL TANK, STRONGER REAR SPINGS, AND A SPOTLIGHT.  THIS TIME THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY, AS HE WAS STOPPED IN SALINAS KS AS A SUSPECT IN A BAK ROBBERY. THREE HOURS LATER HE WAS EXONERATED WENT ON, ONLY TO ROLL DOWN A MOUNTAINSIDE EAST OF OATMAN AZ.  THE ACCIDENT RESULTED IN A DAMAGED HEADLIGHT, DENTED FENDERS AND TRUNK, AND JAMMED DOORS. HIS RETURN TRIP ENDED WITH  A RECORD OF 60 HOURS AND 26 MINUTES -- AND HE MET CANNON BALL BAKER WHILE DRIVING THROUGH INDIANAPOLIS.


LAER TRIPS WOULD INCLUDE DRIVING AN AUBURN IN 1933, STUDEBAKER DICTATOR IN 1934, A FORD V-8 ROADSTER, AND A 1936 CHEVROLET THAT SET  A NEW REORD.IN 1936 MCKENZIE WOULD TAKE A HUDSON FORM LA TO NY IN 51 HOURS AND 58 MINUTES.

LATER HE WOULD HEAD UP A BLACK CAT THRILL SHOW. IN 1939 HE DROVE THROUGH 48 STATES IN 9 DAYS AND 21 HOURS.

WERE THESE EVENTS MIMICKING AVIATION SPEED TRIALS DRUNG THE SAME DECADE? EMPHASIS WAS NOT ONLY ON SPEED BUT ECONOMY DURING THE 1930S. MCKENZIE  USED A VACUMATIC CARBURETOR  DURING THE 1930S THAT WAS ADVERTISED IN POPULAR SCIENCE MAGAZINE, IN WHICH HE CLAIMED ENHANCED FUEL ECONOMY (BY ADDING A BURST OF OXYGEN)..


Friday, June 23, 2017

Hollywood Star Power and the Jaguar XK-120

There were many reasons why a certain group of Americans became enamored with sports cars during the 1950s.  While we often think of the MG-TC and MG-TD and early sports car racing, with out question the high point of British Sports cars during the early 1950s had to be the Jaguar XK-120 and successor XK-140. Hollywood stars enhanced the desirability of this car, as the following photographs illustrate:

Stephen Bograt says goodbye to parents Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart

Tyrone Power and his Jaguar

Another Tyrone Power photograph note the impressive badges and foglight
Elizabeth Taylor in Michael Wilding's Jaguar XK120, 1952

Clark Gable and his Jaguar








Resistance to the Purchase of Foreign Cars during the 1950s

Hi folks -- there was quite a persistent resistance to the purchase of foreign cars by many Americans during the 1950s.  Later, I remember quite well my cousin arguing with me about the lack of reliability and availability of parts when I considered buying a used MGA during the mid-1960s.

Here is an excerpt from a letter to the Editor of Speed Age, January 1953:

Glossary for the potential owner of a foreign car:

Please don't touch the car -- You don't look prosperous enough.

Can't get enough of them -- Dealer's Car.

Needs a slight adjustment -- Anything falling off or a part.

Filter cartridge -- Expecting them in.

Spare Bulbs and gaskets -- Expecting them in.

Spark plugs -- Just sold the last set.

This guy is a foreign car expert -- He reads Autocar.

He takes his time and does a good job -- See your banker again.

She'll be OK now -- You won't get home.