Monday, June 29, 2015

A Census: Automobiles in the U.S. by Decade, 1900-1990

Taken from U.S. Historical Statistics:

Year         # of automobiles
1900          8,000
1910          312,000
1920          9,239,200
1930          26,704,800
1940          32,453,200
1950          49,161,700
1960          73,857,800
1970          108,418,200
1980          155,796,200
1990          188,797,900

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mercedes at the Silvretta Classic 2015

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version W 121 II, 1955.

Mille Miglia 2012, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Rennsportwagen (W 194, 1952).

Outstanding Mercedes-Benz sports cars of the 1950s from the corporate collection will be taking to the starting line at the Silvretta Classic 2015: models in the guise of the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), 190 SL (W 121 II) in racing trim and an exclusive 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II) will provide highlights at the 18th edition of the vintage car rally. The event, at which 150 classic vehicles will start, takes the competitors through the Montafon, Tyrol, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from 2 to 5 July 2015. 
Mercedes-Benz Classic is offering up a sporty automotive journey through time back to the 1950s at the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon 2015. This decade not only epitomises the most successful motor sport season ever of the Stuttgart-based brand in 1955. Rather, the entire decade is characterised by an inspired, powerful pioneering spirit in the development of sporty motor cars for competition and series production. This is underscored by three vehicles from the collection of Mercedes-Benz Classic, which will take to the starting line of the Silvretta Classic in Partenen (Gaschurn municipality, Vorarlberg, Austria) on 2 July 2015.
“Cars with a fascinating history on breathtakingly beautiful Alpine roads – that is what the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon has stood for since 1988. I am delighted that Mercedes-Benz Classic will tell a very special story with three vehicles from the 1950s at this event in summer of 2015,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Centre.
Of the three classic vehicles, the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) from 1952 stands for the overwhelmingly successful return of Mercedes-Benz to motor racing after the Second World War. The Gullwing Coupé will participate in the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon sporting the authentic colour scheme of the 3rd Carrera Panamericana Mexico race, which Mercedes-Benz finished in 1952 with a one-two victory. The 190 SL (W 121 II) production sports car from 1955 represents a rare racing version with windowless aluminium doors, smaller windscreen and other modifications. The 190 SL will be driven at the Silvretta Classic by racing driver and Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador Ellen Lohr. Finally, the 300 Sc Roadster from 1956 (W 188 II) is the highly exclusive expression of sporty sophistication as a guiding principle in the brand history of Mercedes-Benz. Only 53 of these elegant sports cars were built between 1956 and 1958.
After accreditation and lining up on the starting grid together with the vehicles of the Silvretta E-Auto Rally, the Silvretta Classic Rally Montafon starts in Partenen at noon on 2 July 2015. The first stage is 116 kilometres long and takes the cars on the legendary Silvretta High Alpine Road to the Bielerhöhe Pass, and from there on to Wirl, Tschagguns and Bartholomaeberg to the finish of the stage in Schruns. The second stage, “Around the Piz Buin”, is 336 kilometres long and starts on 3 July beginning at 7.30 a.m. Among other places, it takes the participants to St. Anton in the Montafon, past Vaduz Castle in the Principality of Liechtenstein to Davos, the Flüela Pass, Scuol, Galtür and the Bielerhöhe Pass to Gaschurn. The final Vorarlberg stage on 4 July is 136 kilometres long and starts at 9.30 a.m. It takes the field over the Faschinajoch Pass and the Furkajoch Pass to Vandans, among other places.

The vehicles of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Silvretta Classic 2015
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 1952)
When Mercedes-Benz planned to return to motor racing following Second World War, sports racing cars were initially the only consideration. This was due to the fact that a new rule was announced for 1954, and the limited resources prevented previous development of a Grand Prix car based on the old formula. The new 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) used many existing components such as axles, transmission and engine from the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) Saloon. A brand new innovation was the extremely light yet rigid space frame, enveloped by an elegantly arched, streamlined body made of aluminium-magnesium sheet metal. Because the space frame was built relatively high on the sides, the racing sports car was fitted with the characteristic gullwing doors, which were hinged at the roof. The car was powered by a 129 kW (175 hp) M 194 inline six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2,996 cubic centimetres. Among the major racing successes were the one-two-three victory at the Grand Prix of Bern (Switzerland), the spectacular one-two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) and at the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico as well as the top four places in the “Nürburgring Jubilee Grand Prix”.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) 
Used in: 1952
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2,996 cc
Output: 129 kW (175 hp)
Top speed: 240 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL racing version (W 121 II, 1955)
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 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 starting 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 of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121)
Built from: 1955-1963
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1,897 cc
Output: 77 kW (105 hp)
Top speed: 180 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II, 1956)
The Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster is one of the world’s rarest and most sought-after classic cars, of which only 53 were built between 1956 and 1958. It belongs to the family of especially prestigious vehicles with a sporty note for highest standards of road-holding and speed, which were built as coupés, cabriolets and roadsters based on the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 300 Saloon between 1951 and 1958. The 300 Sc Roadster’s purchase price of DM36,500 made it the most expensive vehicle of a German manufacturer at the time. For comparison: the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sold for DM29,000.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster (W 188 II)
Built from: 1956-1958
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2,996 cc
Output: 129 kW (175 hp)
Top speed: 180 km/h

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

1971 Porsche 911T Targa for Sale

For your consideration is my 1971 Porsche 911T Targa.  It is a driver in the true sense of the word. It looks good, drives good, very reliable, and when the top is down it provides an experience like no other. Motor professionally rebuilt 50,000 miles ago. Most everything original. Repaint looks very good but has some flaws. If you are a perfectionist and want a concours car, this one is not for you. Fuchs wheels, Becker Europa radio, the clock works, indeed most everything except the rear defroster works. Weber carbs, a bit balky when shifting to second or reverse (may just need clutch adjustment). I have owned this car for 20 years and have many receipts.
Send me an email at if you are interested in learning more about this car and have a genuine interest in purchasing it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Photos from the Le Mans Event at the Porsche Museum at Stuttgart, June 13, 2015

These photos were taken by Patrick N. at the event.

More on the Le Mans race and Porsche:

The 17th overall victory for Porsche at the Le Mans 24-Hours
395 laps to victory
Stuttgart. On Sunday, 14th June 2015, the trio of Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (GER) and Nick Tandy (GBR) took the 17th overall victory for Porsche at the Le Mans 24-Hours. They were followed across the line by the sister car of Timo Bernhard (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS). This made it the fourth one-two result for the brand after achieving this in 1971, 1987 and 1998. But there are more interesting facts and figures about the race.

• The winning team completed 395 laps (5,382,82 kilometres). This year’s race was only two laps short of the longest distance covered in Le Mans back in 2010.

• The average speed of the winning Porsche 919 Hybrid was 224.2 km/h.

• The highest top speed of a Porsche 919 Hybrid in the race was 340,2 km/h and done by Mark Webber on Saturday at 16:40 hrs. 

• The Porsche 919 Hybrid recuperated and used 2,22 kWh (8 megajoule) per lap. If it was a power plant, a family home could be supplied with electricity for three months.

• The head count for the Porsche Team’s operational crew was 120 people. 

• The Porsche Team made 90 pit stops, 30 per car. 

• At 26 of these stops tyres and drivers were also changed. 

• The longest distance covered with one set of tyres was 54 laps for all three cars. In car number 17 Mark Webber did this ultra long run, in car number 18 it was Neel Jani and in the number 19 prototype it was Nico Hülkenberg.

• 116 tyres in total were used by all three Porsche 919 Hybrids over the race distance. 

• A tyre on a rim weighs 19,9 kilograms. This means, just in relation to wheels, the mechanics moved 2,308.4 kilograms.

• The fastest pit stop, including a tyre and driver change, by the Porsche Team was 1:13.9 minutes.

• The fastest stop for refuelling was done in 51,3 seconds.

• In total all three Porsche 919 Hybrids spent 95 minutes and 36 seconds in the pits. The time for the second best crew entering three cars was over 130 minutes.

• 1,896 litres of fuel have been pumped into the winning car.

• The winning Porsche’s gearbox mastered 25,293 gear changes (up shift and down shift) during the 24 hours.

• The longest time behind the wheel of all nine Porsche LMP1 drivers was for Neel Jani with ten hours and ten minutes. In the winning car it was Nico Hülkenberg who drove most (eight hours, 52 minutes).

• Mark Webber lost the most weight of all nine drivers. When the race began he weighed 81.2 kilograms (including race gear and helmet), after his final stint the scales stopped at 78.2 kilograms. 

• The drivers had 0.85 litres of drink on board for each stint. The drink bottle was changed at every refuelling stop.

• Almost no parts had to be changed during the race. After going off the track, the number 18 car had a new nose twice. On car number 19 at eight in the morning the team did a precautionary engine cover and rear wing change when it didn’t cost any time during a safety car period.

• During the 24 hours each Porsche 919 Hybrid had a refill of one litre of oil.

• For the best possible visibility each of the three prototypes had four tear-offs on the windscreens, which were removed one after the other.

• The highest ambient temperature during the race was 25 degrees Celsius at 16:00 hrs on Saturday. The coolest part of the race was at night between 03:00 and 07:00 hrs with 16 degrees Celsius. 

• The highest cockpit temperature was 27 degree Celsius.

• The night was eight hours long with sunset at 21:59 hrs and sunrise at 05:59 hrs.

• 13.5 gigabytes of data per car have been transmitted to the pits during the 24 hours.

• The safety cars came out four times. Including the so-called slow zones – speed limits at certain parts of the track – the race was neutralized for a total of 195 minutes. 

• After three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, with double points in Le Mans, Porsche now leads the championship with 140 points, followed by Audi (124) and Toyota (71). 

Monday, June 22, 2015

7 Mercedes Benz 300 SLRs at Goodwood, June 25 to 28!

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS (W 198). The vehicle is a special lightweight version of the 300 SL Roadster, two examples of which were produced in 1957 for the American sports car championship. Paul O'Shea won in Category D, having secured a significant lead over the competition. Photograph from the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014.

The most successful racing sports car of the 1955 motor sport season is making a sensational gala appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: 60 years after the Mille Miglia victory by Stirling Moss driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, the world’s largest automotive garden party is celebrating the British racing icon Moss and his erstwhile team colleague Hans Herrmann in their authentic silver racing sports cars from 25 to 28 June 2015. 
“Seven original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports cars reunited with the racing drivers of that era at the fascinating Festival of Speed – a unique reminiscence of the 1955 motor racing season,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Customer Centre. “We are very pleased to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of this most successful season in the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz together with Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, and with the six 300 SLRs from our vehicle collection plus the 300 SLR from the French national motor car museum in Mulhouse.”
Only nine of the 300 SLR racing sports car with which Mercedes-Benz immediately won the 1955 world sports car championship were built. Eight of these 300 SLRs have survived, six of them in the care of the Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection and marked by very different biographies. Apart from the outstandingly successful open racing sports cars of 1955 with chassis numbers 1 to 6, the exclusive family of cars in the W 196 S series includes two coupés intended for long-distance competition, though they never actually raced. They have chassis numbers 7 and 8. The car with chassis number 10 had modified technical features with a view to the 1956 season. The latest research shows that there was never a car with chassis number 9.
In Goodwood, Mercedes-Benz Classic is presenting the cars with chassis numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 (the last on loan from Cité de l’Automobile, Collection Schlumpf in France), 7, 8 and 10. Accordingly the 2015 Festival of Speed will provide a comprehensive insight into the different development stages of the W 196 S in the exciting ambience of past motor racing eras. As a special highlight, Sir Stirling Moss will be reunited with the 300 SLR bearing chassis number 4. It was in this very car, still in original condition, that Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia – the 300 SLR’s very first race outing – in the best time ever achieved for the 1000-mile race. To commemorate this victory, the car in Goodwood bears the legendary start number 722 with which Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson took to the starting ramp for the Mille Miglia at 7.22 a.m. on 1 May 1955.
Historical authenticity – right up close
Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann were two of the drivers who contributed greatly to the outstanding success of Mercedes-Benz in the 1955 motor racing season. The reunion of these two veterans with the seven 300 SLRs at the 2015 Festival of Speed amounts to a fascinating and authentic journey through time. Visitors will experience at first hand how perfect interaction between man and machine still works its magic 60 years on: after more than six decades, both Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann will take to the wheel of their 1955 racing sports cars and drive them on the hill circuit. With his victories in the Mille Miglia, the International Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins), Sir Stirling Moss in particular stands for the race history of the 300 SLR. But in 1955 Hans Herrmann too was a hot favourite for victory in the Mille Miglia, until he was forced to retire by an unfortunate defect when in second place.
In addition to Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, other Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors such as Klaus Ludwig, Jochen Mass, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Susie Wolff will be guests at the 2015 Festival of Speed. The 22nd Festival of Speed will be held from 25 to 28 June 2015 on the estate of the Earl of March and Kinrara in Goodwood (Sussex, England). The motto for this year is “Flat-Out and Fearles”. All in all, the organisers are expecting well over 600 exclusive vehicles and around 150,000 visitors.
Known as “the world’s largest automotive garden party”, the Festival first held in 1993 celebrates the culture and beauty of sporty motor cars and motorcycles against the grand backdrop of Goodwood House. The centrepiece of the Festival are racing and sports cars presenting a veritable symphony of motor racing history and speed. The highlights are the runs on the historic hill circuit beginning from 8.45 a.m. on all three days, as well as the driver’s paddock open to all visitors and providing an unrivalled close-up view of exclusive sports cars from all eras and categories. There are also numerous accompanying events such as runs on the rally circuit in the estate’s forest, the auctioning of precious classic cars by the auction house Bonhams and a fly-past by the Red Arrows display team of the Royal Air Force.
The Formula 1 world champions meet the heroes of 1955
Mercedes-Benz Classic has a strong, longstanding partnership with the Festival of Speed. In 2014, to mark 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor sport, the Stuttgart-based brand presented numerous winners of famous racing victories from the company’s collection in Goodwood. It was also in 2014 that the sculptor Gerry Judah dedicated his “Central Feature” to the unique motor racing history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Accompanying the original racing cars and racing sports cars from the Mercedes-Benz vehicle collection, many private collectors will by tradition be presenting their outstanding classics and helping the brand’s motor sports history to shine once again.
This powerful historical narrative is counterbalanced by the power the brand represents in modern times: in 2015, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team will be among the guests in Goodwood. The reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team colleague Nico Rosberg will meet up with the motor racing heroes of 1955. Current Mercedes-Benz sports cars and Mercedes-AMG models will also appear in the “Moving Motor Show” on 25 June. Since 2010, the Festival of Speed has always started on a Thursday, with the procession of sporty motor cars.
The Brand Ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Sir Stirling Moss
Born on 17 September 1929 in London, England
With his outstanding victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, Stirling Moss is among the greatest of all Mercedes-Benz racing drivers for all eternity. From early youth he already dreamed of a career as a racing driver, and in 1948 he began to compete in the British 500 cc Formula (Formula 3). In 1949 and 1950, he became British Formula 2 champion. In 1950, he won the Tourist Trophy in a private Jaguar. In 1954, Moss started to drive for Maserati in Formula 1. At the end of 1954, after a number of test drives, Alfred Neubauer secured his services for the Mercedes-Benz works team as a driver for the 1955 season. Driving the W 196 R Silver Arrow in Formula 1, Moss won the British Grand Prix in Aintree, achieved second place in the Belgian and Dutch Grands Prix, and became Formula 1 vice-world champion. But sports car racing was his absolute domain, driving the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car specially developed for that season. In this car, Moss won the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins). Enough to secure the world sports car championship for Mercedes-Benz. When Mercedes-Benz withdrew from active racing at the end of 1955, Moss repeatedly proved himself as a driver of world-class stature with vehicles of other brands. After an accident in Goodwood he ended his active career in 1962. Moss was knighted by the Queen in 1999, and remains closely connected to motor sport. He is particularly active in events organised by Mercedes-Benz Classic as a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador and witness to one of the most glorious eras in motor racing history.
Hans Herrmann
Born on 23 February 1928 in Stuttgart, Germany
The 1955 season might have been a year of triumph for Hans Herrmann in the Mercedes-Benz racing department. He certainly had the talent for it – when the new Mercedes-Benz W 196 had its debut at the French Grand Prix in Reims in 1954, the young driver straightaway made his mark by achieving the fastest lap time. But in 1955 bad luck was the young man’s companion in the cockpit. In an accident during practice for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix in Monaco, Herrmann was injured so severely that he was unable to compete for the rest of the season. Trained as a confectioner, he began his motor racing career in 1952, driving a private Porsche 356 in the Hessian Winter Rally. In the same year, he achieved a class victory in the German Rally. In 1953 and 1954, driving a Porsche, Herrmann won class victories in the Mille Miglia. This brought him to the attention of Mercedes-Benz racing manager Alfred Neubauer, who secured him for the new Formula 1 team as a young driver in 1954. In the course of his career, Hans Herrmann proved to be an extremely versatile driver in Formula 1 and 2 Grand Prix races, sports car races and rallies. Apart from Mercedes-Benz cars, he particularly competed in racing and sports cars by Porsche. He also raced in the cockpits of B.R.M., Cooper, Maserati and Veritas racing cars. Herrmann achieved his greatest successes in long-distance races, e.g. with overall victories in the Targa Florio (1960), the 24-hour race in Daytona (1968) and the Le Mans 24-hour race (1970). His second place, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) in the 1961 Argentinean Road Grand Prix, was also a major achievement. In 2012, Herrmann was honoured by the town of Collesano for taking part in the Targa Florio eight times. The former works driver arrived for the ceremony driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Hans Herrmann crowned his career with the Le Mans victory in 1970, and retired from active motor racing in the same year. As a Brand Ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic, he remains closed connected to the company – and to motor sport – to this day.
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, for which he won two championship titles (1992 and 1994, vice-champion in 1991) with 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. Afterwards he officially retired from motor sport, but in 2000 he once again competed in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM), ending the season and his motor racing career with a 3rd place finish in the overall rating in a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.
Jochen Mass
Born on 30 September 1946 in Dorfen, Germany
Jochen Mass began his varied career in motor sport in 1968, racing touring cars for Alfa-Romeo and as a works driver for Ford between 1970 and 1975. During this period, he won the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in 1972. At the same time, he also took part in Formula 2 racing (1973) and competed in 105 Formula 1 Grands Prix (1973/74 with Surtees; 1975 to 1977 with McLaren; 1978 with ATS; 1979/80 with Arrows; 1982 with March). After winning the German Sports Car Championship in 1985 and a stint as a works driver for Porsche until 1987, he joined the Sauber-Mercedes team as a works driver. He drove for this team in Group C until 1991. In the new Silver Arrow, the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, Jochen Mass won the 24-hour race at Le Mans together with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens, and finished as the runner-up in the 1989 world championship. Three years later, in 1992, Mass joined the team management for the DTM. To the present day Jochen Mass is regularly behind the wheel for Mercedes-Benz at historical events.
Sir Jackie Stewart
Born on 11 June 1939 in Milton, Scotland
The racing career of three-times Formula 1 world champion John Young “Jackie” Stewart began in 1964, and was extremely successful right from the start. Just one year later he was driving in Formula 1. In 1969, he achieved his first great triumph: the Formula 1 world championship for the Matra International team. He won it again in 1971, and for the third time in 1973, in both cases for Elf Team Tyrrell. For more than 14 years he held the record for the most Formula 1 victories, 27 in all, which was only broken by Alain Prost in 1987. Again and again he also drove with great success in other race series. He ended his active career in 1973. In view of the frequent fatal accidents in that period, it is no wonder that Jackie Stewart actively campaigned for more safety in motor sport from early on. In 1996, together with his son Paul Stewart, he founded the Stewart Grand Prix team which competed in Formula 1 from 1997 to 1999. At the end of 1999, the team was taken over by Ford and continued racing under the name Jaguar Racing in the 2000 season, and under the name Red Bull Racing from 2005. In 1971, Jackie Stewart received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his achievements.
Susie Wolff
Born on 6 December 1982 in Oban, Scotland
Susie Wolff is equally at home in the cockpits of DTM racing sports cars and Formula 1 racing cars. Born as Susie Stoddart in Oban on the west coast of Scotland in 1982, she began her racing career at the age of eight, initially in karting. Her parents, the owners of a motorcycle business, awakened their daughter’s interest in sporty vehicles early on: she was not yet three years old when she was given a small quadbike as a present. Moreover, both her father and grandfather competed in motorcycle races, and brought the petite young girl into contact with the motor racing world at an early age. Susie Stoddart’s commitment to kart racing became a British success story: at the age of 14, she became British lady kart driver of the year for the first time, subsequently winning this title another three times. In 2000, she entered formula racing, competing in Formula Ford, Formula Renault, and British Formula 3. Mercedes-Benz engaged Susie Stoddart for the 2006 season as a works driver for the German Touring Car Masters. For six years she drove for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series. Today, as a Brand Ambassador, she continues to be closely associated with the company. In 2011, she married Toto Wolff, who became head of motor sport at Mercedes-Benz in 2013. In 2012, Susie Wolff’s dream of a cockpit in Formula 1 came true: she became a development driver for Williams F 1, and has been a test driver for this British racing team since 2013.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic cars at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S)
In 1955, Mercedes-Benz won the world sports car championship with the 300 SLR (W 196 S). In principle, the car is a model W 196 R Formula 1 racing car fitted with a two-seater sports car body. The main technical difference lies in the engine: the racing sports car, which was not bound by the Formula 1 rule, was powered by a three-litre version of the in-line eight cylinder engine and had cylinder blocks made of light alloy rather than steel. In addition, the 300 SLR did not run on special methanol-based racing fuel, but rather on regular 4-star petrol. An output of 222 kW (302 hp) plus great robustness and reliability made the 300 SLR far superior to its competitors in 1955, as it demonstrated with double victories in the Mille Miglia, the Eifel Race, the Swedish Grand Prix, and the Targa Florio (Sicily). In the 1955 Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson (start number 722) won with a still unsurpassed average speed of 157.65 km/h. The results achieved by this sports racing car are unparalleled even today: the W 196 S won every race started and finished by a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S)
Period of use: 1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,982 cc 
Output: 222 kW (302 hp)
Top speed: over 300 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupé (“Uhlenhaut Coupé”, W 196 S)
Mercedes-Benz had actually planned to build the 300 SLR racing sports car for the 1955 racing season only as a coupé. Instead the drivers opted for a roadster, above all in view of the expected noise level in the cockpit. Nonetheless two coupés were built in 1955 under the aegis of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, with a design very close to that of the 300 SL sports cars. Their intended use for long-distance races in the 1956 season, beginning with the Carrera Panamericana scheduled for November 1955, suggested that a closed vehicle would be more comfortable and therefore suitable. However, the long-distance race in Central America was not approved by the Mexican government, and was not held in 1955. The Coupés were therefore only used for practice runs – for example in Sweden, Northern Ireland, and Sicily. Later one of the two Coupés was registered for use on the roads as a test and business car for Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Dubbed the “Uhlenhaut Coupé”, this car capable of up to 290 km/h became the absolute dream car of the 1950s. It was just as famous as the two-seater 300 SLRs used on the racetrack.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupé (W 196 S) Period of use: 1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,982 cc 
Output: 228 kW (310 hp)
Top speed: over 300 km/h

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Photos from the Porsche Event Around the Stuttgart Museum, June 13

Thanks to Jacob Browning! Taken during the Le Mans Race Celebration

Friday, June 19, 2015

The last Porsche 918 Spyder Comes off the Assembly Line

Stuttgart. Today, the checkered flag marked the finish: after 21 months of production time, the final Porsche 918 Spyder came off the line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen according to schedule. But the legacy of this technology pioneer will reach far beyond its production time. Future generations of sports cars will benefit directly from innovations of the 918 Spyder.

The 918 Spyder was systematically developed to be a performance hybrid with plug-in technology. The hybrid super sports concept car made its debut at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show where it met with overwhelming approval. In the summer of 2010, the Supervisory Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG gave the green light for its production development. When the car was launched on the market in late 2013, the 918 Spyder represented a continuation of a series of super sports cars in Porsche history. As technology pioneers they were, without exception, among the ultimate sports cars of their respective decades: the 904 Carrera GTS, the 959, the 911 GT1 and the Carrera GT. In 1963, for example, Porsche created a steel and polymer body for the 904 Carrera GTS that is a prime example of how to unite stability and lightweight design. In 1986, the 959 successfully introduced an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system to the sports car world. Ten years later, the 911 GT1 paved the way for implementing carbon-fibre technology in production vehicles. In 2003, the Carrera GT made its debut as the first production vehicle whose monocoque and subframe were made entirely of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP).

Even more than any of its predecessors, the 918 Spyder is now providing strong impetus for the advanced development of technologies for the sports cars of the future. The key technology is a drive concept which combines a high-performance combustion engine with two electric motors; its ingenious operating strategy is one of the unique aspects of the 918 Spyder. It considers the various requirements ranging from an efficiency-oriented driving profile to maximum performance. In doing so, it is providing important know-how for future production developments. To realise the most benefits of the large spread between power and fuel consumption, Porsche developers defined a total of five operating modes. As in car racing, they are activated by a "map switch" on the steering wheel. Porsche applied its leading hybrid know-how in preparing the characteristic maps and the algorithm stored in them for controlling the three drive units and other systems. This know-how will also be applied to future hybrid drives. 

The car also creates an important foundation for the hybrid drive of tomorrow in its thermal management concept that features five separate cooling loops and the innovative hybrid cooling of the rear electric motor with air and water. Another example with future implications: the Porsche 918 Spyder can convert far more kinetic energy into electrical energy than other hybrid vehicles because of its intelligent control of generator functionality and conventional brakes. Its enormous regenerative power boosts efficiency and driving range. A similar form of this recovery system is implemented in the LMP1 prototypes of the 919 Hybrid which Porsche raced to an impressive 1-2 victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans. The 918 technology platform also blazed new trails with spectacular solutions like the all-carbon body, fully variable aerodynamics and adaptive rear axle steering. Adaptive aerodynamics and rear axle steering have already made their way into production sports cars, such as in the 911 Turbo models and in the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS.

The 918 Spyder embodies classic Porsche virtues and sets cornerstones for the future. On the one hand, the car embodies performance. In September 2013, the super sports car – with 887 hp of system power – set the lap record for street-legal vehicles with production tyres on the North Loop of the Nürburgring with a time of 6 minutes 57 seconds – a record that has never been equalled by any other car since. On the other hand, the car embodies efficiency. With a fuel consumption figure of around three litres of petrol per 100 km, the 918 Spyder consumes less fuel than most small cars in the standardised NEDC cycle. It convincingly illustrates the potential of plug-in hybrid technology – not only for economical driving, but more importantly for the typical sports car driving pleasure it can offer.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The New GM, Recycling Volt Batteries, and Energy Initiatives

From the Detroit Free Press:

General Motors is betting that using electric vehicle batteries for generating and storing electricity after the car is scrapped will save money for the company and others.
It could also bolster the case that vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, and the upcoming all-electric car, the Chevrolet Bolt, are about more than garnering credits toward meeting the government's fuel-economy standards.
Tuesday, at its Renaissance Center headquarters, GM executives showed how five Volt battery packs are already helping light offices at the company's Milford data center.
Because the Volt typically draws its power from a band of energy in a battery pack, there is a lot of leftover electricity.
A new solar array and two wind turbines feed the Milford data center's circuit breaker panel, where the Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building.
"Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80% of its storage capacity remains," said Pablo Valencia, senior manager of GM's battery life cycle management. "This secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale."
The batteries also can provide back-up power to the building for four hours in the event of an outage and stores it when it's unneeded. Excess energy is sent back to the grid that supplies the Milford campus.
The 74-kilowatt ground-mount solar array coupled with the two wind turbines generate enough power to provide all of the energy needs for the office building and lighting for the adjacent parking lot. Together, these renewable sources generate approximately 100 megawatt-hours of energy annually, roughly equivalent to the energy used by 12 average households.
The company's first application of re-used Volt batteries is happening at the new Milford data center partly because of its size. It's small enough for this renewable energy to provide adequate backup power and save money.
By using the combination of wind, solar and battery power, the Milford center earned coveted certification for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.
GM is working on other projects using the same technology. One challenge is the limited number of first-generation Volts that are no longer driven.
The five batteries used in the Milford project came from early development models of the first generation Volt.
"The supply today is very small," Valencia said. "The importance of this announcement is that we are preparing for the future. This is a preparation for that time. Typically the lifecycle of a vehicle is 10 to 12 years."
GM s working with unidentified partners to validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.
Production will begin soon on the redesigned 2016 Volt with an improved battery pack which can power the car for up to 50 miles before a gas-fueled engine kinks in.
In April Tesla unveiled a product it is calling the Powerwall that stores electricity for home use, to be used during peak consumption times when utilities charge the most.The device comes in multiple glossy colors including white, charcoal, red, and blue. There are two options -- a 7 kilowatt-hour package using nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries and a 10 kilowatt-hour unit with a nickel-cobalt-aluminum battery.
Chevrolet will price the 2016 Volt at $33,995, which can be reduced by a $7,500 tax credit.
The original Volt went on sale in 2010 and received positive technical reviews, but its sales have been disappointing.
Contact Greg Gardner: (313) 222-8762 or Follow him on Twitter @GregGardner12

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mexico is the place for future auto jobs

From: Detroit Free Press

Mexico is the auto industry darling, Canada is struggling to retain a manufacturing footprint, and the U.S. is a house divided with most of the new automotive investment and jobs headed south of the Mason-Dixon line.
The three countries are a united trading block under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, but they're fierce rivals in the boardrooms where auto executives decide where to invest in the latest equipment and additional jobs.
The relative fortunes of the three countries have changed over the years, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, the farther south you are located, the better.
Of the vehicles built in North America last year, Mexico produced about one in five, or double the rate from 2004. WardsAuto, which tracks production data, expects the rate to increase to one in four by 2020.
"The U.S. South and Mexico are winning the battle," said Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants near Toronto. "Over half the capacity and 80%-90% of investment dollars are going to the U.S. South or Mexico."
Where is your car made?
The auto industry is global, but increasingly companies want to build in the region where they sell. Which means chances are your new vehicle will continue to be built in North America but may not be made in the U.S.A.
Back in 2004, 11.6 million vehicles were built in the U.S., or 74% of the 15.8 million industry total. Canada built 2.7 million, or 17% of the capacity; and Mexico contributed only 1.4 million vehicles, or 9%, according to WardsAuto.
In 2014, signs were evident the tide had turned.
Mexico's production had more than doubled to 3.2 million units, or 19% of the 16.9 million industry total. It came at the expense of the U.S., which dipped to 11.4 million units, or 67%; and Canada, which was down to 2.4 million, or 14%.
And the trend will continue. Wards forecasts new plants will add 1.2 million units of capacity in North America by 2020 and it is not evenly split.
Building boom in Mexico
Virtually every automaker is adding capacity in Mexico, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Hyundai and Mazda.
The country is a "massive untapped market" that could grow by another 1 million to 2 million vehicles a year, DesRosiers said.
By 2020, Mexico is expected to build one in four vehicles in a North American industry of 18.6 million units. The U.S. will hold its own at two-thirds of the output, or 12.2 million vehicles. Canada is the big loser, down to 1.6 million vehicles and 9% of the output.

Korea - The New Center of Automotive Quality

From: Detroit Free Press:

Korean brands are winning the quality race as Japanese brands fall to below average for the first time in 29 years and a few domestic brands climb the ranks, according to the influential J.D. Power 2015 Initial Quality Study released today.
"This is a clear shift in the quality landscape," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power.
"For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality," Stephens said. "While the Japanese automakers continue to make improvements, we're seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement. Leading companies are not only stepping up the pace of improvements on existing models, but are also working up front to launch vehicles with higher quality and more intuitive designs."
The Hyundai and Kia brands erased any quality doubts as they continued to widen their lead over the rest of the field with another significant year-over-year improvement in scores that measure problems reported by new buyers in the first 90 days of ownership.
Conversely, Japanese stalwarts including Toyota and Honda, which many consumers perceive as the quality benchmarks, have collectively fallen below the industry average for the first time in the 29 years of the study that was released at an Automotive Press Association event today in Detroit. Only four of the 10 Japanese automakers improved their quality over the past year.
GM had four 2015 models ranked highest in their segment: the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu, Spark, Silverado and Equinox. It was not as impressive as last year's accomplishment of six top models, the most of any automaker. While no automaker exceeded GM's accomplishment this year, Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen matched GM with four segment leaders as well.Among the domestic brands, General Motors had two above-average brands: Chevrolet in the seventh spot and Buick was 11th while GMC was below average in 17th place and Cadillac placed 21 of the 33 brands.
Ford's luxury Lincoln brand was in the eighth spot and the mainstream Ford brand was also above average in the 12th slot as the automaker has worked to improve the MyFord Touch infotainment system that brought down its quality scores in the past. And Ford has introduced its third-generation Sync 3 system for the 2016 model year which is designed to be more user-friendly.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did not fare as well. The Ram brand was above the industry average, squeezing into the 13th spot but the rest were below the curve: Dodge placed 18; Jeep was 29; Chrysler was 31 and Fiat was dead last at 33.
FCA's quality chief Doug Betts left the automaker last fall after the automaker had scored poorly in the 2014 J.D. Power study and then the Consumer Reports reliability survey.
Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles, with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Overall, the industry saw a 3% improvement in initial quality, which shows continued diligence for a sector fighting for integrity in the wake of a historic number of recalls including older models from GM with ignition switch problems and 34 million vehicles across the brands of 11 automakers with air bags from Japanese supplier Takata.
The industry average is 112 problems per 100 vehicles. The Korean brands collectively averaged only 90 problems -- down from 101 a year ago -- giving them a wide lead over the competition.
The 10 Japanese brands recorded 114 problems per 100 vehicles -- putting them in a dead tie with the domestic brands for only the second time. And for the first time, European brands at 113 problems per 100 vehicles, outperformed the Japanese brands.
Across the industry, many complaints continue to be centered around infotainment technology in cars as consumers expect their smartphones to connect and operate seamlessly within the car. The top complaint for the third year: pairing phones and using voice recognition, which is now in 67% of new vehicles.
"Smartphones have set high consumer expectations of how well technology should work, and automakers are struggling to match that success in their new vehicles," said Stephens. "However, we are seeing some (automakers) make important improvements along the way. What's clear is that they can't afford to wait for the next generation of models to launch before making important updates to these systems."
The results are based on responses from more than 84,000 people who bought or leased a new 2015 vehicle.
Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle
Top brands in initial quality
1. Porsche is the top brand for third consecutive year.
2. Kia is the highest nonpremium brand for the first time. Last year Jaguar placed second.
3. Jaguar drops a notch to third. Last year Lexus held the bronze position.
4. Hyundai's strong showing puts both Korean automakers in the top 5.
5. Infiniti is one of the most improved brands.
Brands and models of note
General Motors' Chevrolet and Buick brands are above average; GMC and Cadillac are not. Among individual models, the Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, Silverado and Spark are top performers.
Ford is 12th and Lincoln is 8th. The Escape and the Super Duty pickup are top performers.
FCA: Only the Ram brand placed above average but the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger are top performers in their categories.
Toyota falls to 10th; Lexus is ninth compared with third place a year ago. The Lexus LS, Toyota Tacoma and Sequoia are top performers.
Honda is barely above industry average in the 14th spot while Acura is well down the pack at 26. No models led their fields.
Highest quality plants around the world
BMW 3-Series plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, builds vehicles with the fewest defects.
Toyota's Cambridge North plant in Ontario (Toyota Corolla) is the best North American plant.
Kia's Kwangju Plant 1 in Korea (Kia Soul) is the best in Asia Pacific.