Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Brief Review: Drawn to Speed : The Automotive Art of John Lander (McFarland, 2015)

I just came across this book by chance as I was searching my library's catalog. Since I had access to an electronic version, I started to leaf through the pages, although I am far from finished with it. The book features the images drawn by John Lander; however, the real treat for me were the short explanations that accompanied each of the artistic representations.

What a wonderful set of stories about the cars depicted, and particularly the people she where integral to the cars! The narratives are a treasure-chest of personal reminiscences and accounts that paint a human side to enthusiasts, race drivers, and owners who were at the heart of the history of the sports car.  Whatever you do, don't miss this book!

What to Make of the VW Crisis?

Hi folks,

I was never much of a Diesel fan. It was the turbo lag in a 2009 VW Golf that got me in trouble in Leipzig and resulted in the car being totaled. But what to make of this episode now in 2015?

First and foremost, we must recognize that with the development of electronic and computer controls related to the internal combustion engine and diesel powered automobiles (which has taken place gradually over the past 20 years or so), there are all kinds of new threats to vehicles that consumers cannot adequately sense or measure. What I mean here is that the owner/driver is so removed or detached the the technology he or she owns because of digital technological systems, that personal control over the car has been for all intents and purposes lost. My 1971 Porsche 911 and even my 1985 Toyota Corolla have carburetors, and for the most part I can control their performance and emissions by turning idle and mixture screws, setting timing, and ensuring the vacuum systems operate correctly. Not so on todays cars, including the diesels. They are black boxes, programmed by geeks, and not to be touched by a shade tree mechanic. Far from autonomous technologies, they are the product of a "democratic centralism" that secedes operation and assumes a kind of technological virtue to the manufacturer whose software is incomprehensible to all but a handful of engineers and computer scientists. In fact, consumers have no way of really knowing what their vehicles are all about.

Much has been said about VW's dishonesty. And it may be that many more of the auto manufacturers practiced similar kinds of strategies to get around government regulators. After all, don't they assume that they are smarter than EPA technicians? It would seem that VW engineers are cats, and EPA analytical chemists are mice?

Is the VW brand hurt beyond repair? Doubtful. If a better product is made, people will buy it. Reminder -- the original bug was Hitler's car!  Diesels now on the decline -- and that is a huge hit for European sales. To put the blame on Martin Winterkorn perhaps specious until investigations are conducted and blame is assigned based on concrete evidence.

Will this be the opening that the green manufacturers like Google are waiting for? Maybe, but petroleum prices need to rise before alternative technologies will flourish.

What does all this dishonesty do for air quality? Yes, some 125+ deaths is the result according to risk experts. And our air (and water for that matter) remains in stress. In sum, the price of our prosperity lead to insults to our public health.

Below are useful links on the VW story:



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bob Poole Orphan Car Show, Young's Dairy, Yellow Springs, Ohio, September 26, 2015

A few images taken on a partly cloudy but overall nice afternoon!

a pair of very nice Mercury Cougars. Hard to believe that Mercury, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac are now considered orphans!

A sparse crowd, with many of the participants bringing the entire family. 

1987 0r 1988 Yugo Convertible. The owner swears that these cars are reliable. He has one with 150k miles!

Nice metropolitan. Note the 8 track player.

The owner of this car has had it since 1982.

a 1974 Javelin Matador

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Can Volkswagen regain its customers' confidence? | Marketplace.org

Can Volkswagen regain its customers' confidence? | Marketplace.org

Images From the Dayton, Ohio Concours, September 20, 2015

The featured marque t this year's Concours was Lincoln, and there were several early 1960s examples.

This 1932 Buick was extra nice. Note the unusual wheels. 

This 1936 Cord was perhaps the most interesting of all cars at the Concours. It is a one off car; sent in 1936 to Citroen along with a black Cord Sedan, it was a test bed for a Citroen 8/15 design. the car has a Citroen front end, Aluminum wheels, its supercharger is removed, and Bendix selector transmission replaced by a conventional column shifter! Behind the drivers's seat is an original Michelin radial tire spare.

Thanks to Paula Braley for the images!

Trofeo Maserati North America at Leguna Seca, September 23, 2015

Jeff Courtney wins the Trofeo Maserati North America
The Maserati GranTurismo performs well in the Pirelli World Challenge 

Modena, 23 September 2015 - Jeff Courtney came out on top in the Trofeo Maserati North America. The series ended last weekend (12-13 September) at Laguna Seca in what was the final round in the Pirelli World Challenge. Five Maserati GranTurismo MCs, in GTS set up, took part at the California circuit; the mini-championship also saw two other rounds run in the USA: the first at Road America, in June, and at the Virginia International Raceway in August. The special classification was reserved to Us drivers who took part in all three americans rounds. In the end, Courtney triumphed on 77 points, with Patrick Byrne 10 points down. As well as bringing home the title, Courtney also earned the right to dispute the last round in the Maserati Trofeo World Series. This will be held at Abu Dhabi, UAE, in December.
Five Maseratis competed against a pack of GTS cars at Laguna Seca, despite a conservative balance of performance spec imposed by the PWC technicians. The Maseratis continued the form shown at Road America in June as Derek Hill (son of ex-F1 world champion, Phil Hill), in the No. 27, Chase-liveried car, placed seventh after lining up in eleventh spot. Freddie Hunt (his father, James, claimed the 1976 F1 crown) wanted to follow up his Trofeo Maserati appearance at Virginia with a drive in a GTS-spec GranTurismo. Unfortunately for the Englishman, an early crash at Laguna Seca saw him ruled out. In the end, Jeff Courtney came in eleven position, tracked by Patrick Byrne; Vafa Kordestani was 23.
The next stage in the series (on 25 October) will be at Suzuka, Japan. This will be the appetiser before the curtain comes down on another exciting season at Abu Dhabi on 11 December.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fords at the Beavercreek, Ohio Cruise-in, September 19, 2015

A 1939 or 1940?

1948 with engine upgrade?

1966 Mustang

1967 Mustang GT

1955 Convertible



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Porsche at the FIA World Endurance Championship in Austin, Texas

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

Stuttgart. Large Porsche contingent in the USA: Just three weeks after the two Porsche 919 Hybrids and 911 RSR (GTE-Pro class) scored double victories at the Nürburgring, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) now heads into the second half of the season on 19 September with round five of eight at Austin (Texas). Before the six-hour race takes off on Saturday at 17.00 hours local time and continues into the night, first on the programme is the penultimate round of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship TUSC, which starts in the heat of the day at 11.35 hours. 

The 5.513-kilometre Circuit of the Americas on the periphery of the Austin city limits features a spectacular layout with many corners linking, rapidly changing gradients, and fast passages. Motorsport fans can look forward to some top-end endurance racing in the Texas capital at the Colorado River. A total of twelve factory drivers contest the WEC and the TUSC for the Porsche team (919 Hybrid, LMP1), the Porsche Team Manthey (911 RSR, GTE-Pro) and Porsche North America (911 RSR, GTLM). 

Porsche Team, Porsche 919 Hybrid
In the 31-strong WEC field at Austin, Porsche campaigns a pair of 919 Hybrids in the top LMP1 category (Le Mans Prototype class); the trio of Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) crews the #17 vehicle, with Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) sharing driving duties in the number 18 car. The 919 serves as a racing research lab for future sports car technologies and is powered by a downsizing two-litre V4-cylinder turbocharged engine and an electric motor which is fed by two energy recovery systems (brake energy from the front axle and exhaust energy). Combined, the groundbreaking and unique power-train concept for WEC develops a system performance of around 1,000 hp. After clinching one-two at both the Le Mans 24 Hours and at the six-hour race on the Nürburgring, Porsche tackles the second half of the season as the leader of the manufacturers’ classification.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “The upcoming races at Austin, Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain are decisive for the title. Porsche has set its sights on the manufacturers’ crown, but the decision in the drivers’ championship will be just as exciting. With only 17 and 19 points separating us from the currently-leading Audi trio, both of our driver crews are within striking distance. Last year’s race on the COTA proved extremely tough for us. We hope that we’re now in a position to fight for victory there, but we’re not expecting the dominance we saw at the Nürburgring.”

Porsche Team Manthey, Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche Manthey team brings two Porsche 911 RSR to Texas: Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Richard Lietz (Austria), the winners of the Nürburgring round, share driving duties in the number 91 Porsche 911 RSR in the GTE-Pro class, with their French teammates Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet manning the nine-eleven with the starting number 92 in the same class. Richard Lietz leads the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers. Two customer teams take on the GTE-Am class running the 911 RSR: Dempsey Proton Racing with the American actor and race driver Patrick Dempsey as well as Patrick Long (USA) and Marco Seefried (DE), and Abu Dhabi Proton Racing with Christian Ried (DE) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) as well as New Zealander Earl Bamber, who recently supported the squad at the Nürburgring. 

Tudor United SportsCar Championship
Le Mans winner Earl Bamber is on double duty at Austin: In addition to the WEC, he also contests the TUSC for Porsche North America sharing the cockpit of the number 912 Porsche 911 RSR with Jörg Bergmeister (DE). Patrick Pilet also tackles both races. In the second 911 RSR run by Porsche North America (#911), the points’ leader of the GTLM drivers’ classification joins forces with Britain’s Nick Tandy, who clinched overall victory at Le Mans with Bamber. Pilet and Tandy have won the last three races in Bowmanville, Road America and Danville. Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Bryan Sellers (USA), the winners of the six-hour classic at Watkins Glen, again take up the challenge for the Falken Tire customer team. After scoring four wins in a row, Porsche leads all classifications in the GTLM class. 

Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “Porsche brings a large works contingent to Austin again this year. It’s a tremendous event with all three factory teams competing. This is perfect for us, because we’re all at the track together and it’ll be great for the many Porsche fans – they’re in for a real treat. Austin is a fantastic, very demanding circuit and therefore poses a real challenge for our drivers and teams. After a total of five straight wins in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and the WEC we are well prepared and keen to once again give the best possible performance with our 911 RSR.”

The Porsche 911 RSR
The Porsche 911 RSR, which is campaigned in both the WEC and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship featuring different aerodynamic configurations, is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car and crowned its maiden 2013 season with a double GTE-Pro class victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The winning racer from Weissach, mounted with a 3,996 cc flat-six engine in the rear developing 345 kW (470 hp), is characterised by a consequent lightweight design and sophisticated aerodynamics. The insights gained during the vehicle’s development and at race outings are directly incorporated into the design of future 911 generations. Last year the 911 RSR won three of America’s most prestigious long distance classics, the Daytona 24 Hours, the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. 

The schedule
The six-hour WEC race on the Circuit of the Americas takes off on Saturday, 19 September, at 17.00 hours local time (Sunday 00.00 hrs CEST). Eurosport broadcasts the entire race and the podium ceremony live. The Tudor United SportsCar Championship event gets underway on Saturday at 11.35 hours local time (18.35 CEST) and runs over 2:40 hours. It will be broadcast on the Internet under www.imsa.com.

The World Endurance Championship WEC
Sports prototypes and GT vehicles contest the WEC (World Endurance Championship) in four classes: LMP1 (eg. Porsche 919 Hybrid), LMP2, LMGTE-Pro (eg. 911 RSR) and LMGTE-Am (eg. 911 RSR, 2014 homologation). They all compete together in one race but are classified separately. 

The Tudor United SportsCar Championship 
The Tudor United SportsCar Championship is a sports car race series contested in the USA and Canada which was run in 2014 for the first time. The series was formed from the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series. Sports prototypes and sports cars start in four different classes: GTLM (e.g. Porsche 911 RSR), GTD (e.g. Porsche 911 GT America), P and PC. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The First Miss Hurst Golden Shifter: Pat Flannery Stephens

She was before Linda Vaughn. In 1965 the Hurst Golden Shifter Girl was Pat "Perky Patty" Flannery.

Patty was the first, full-time salaried spokesmodel for Hurst performance Products -- and the first to climb up on the deckled platform, grab the 9 foot handle, and preside as Miss Hurst Golden Shifter.

I caught up with "Perky Patty" yesterday at the Clark County (Ohio) Fairgrounds during the Cars & Parts fall Swap meet. S it so happened, I went into one of the buildings that had a number of vintage racers and immediately sat down, my knees characteristically aching after walking amongst the vendors. Across the way, standing all by herself at a table that had been set up for her was Pat, and so, knowing who she was, want up to her and started a conversation. I couldn't stop her talking once she got going -- pat was that friendly.  She told me about her time after Hurst, her 1995 battle with stage four esophageal cancer, and her current horse fan business. She went through her scrapbook one photo at a time, showing me her pictures with A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, and many, many others. nd she had her gold shoes on as proof of her one-time fame! Talking to her made the visit to the Swap Meet worthwhile (besides getting a bag fill of Mercedes tools) and memorable!

For more on Pat, see Hot Rod Magazine, July 2011, page 64-65.

Below are photos of Linda Vaughn, the girl we do remember:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Problem Solved: Sticking Pin on Rear of Mercedes Benz W107 Soft Top Released!

So here is the deal. The rear pin catch that snags the center pin on the soft top (and I also the hard top if it were in place) was stuck. That means I could not put the top down into its cubby hole. Basically the catch for this has two functions: the large lever that looks like a window winder moves the steel rod and pushes the pin up. The small lever is attached to a cable and that cable, when properly moved to the 6 O'Clock position moves the little catch out of the way, thus releasing the pin. If that catch is stuck, the best way to push it out of the way to the passenger side of the car is to get this cotter pin extractor tool from Sears and push it in the empty gap in the hole, then move it right (as you look from the back to the car).
This was a quick fix. Once I got at my latch I sprayed it with W-D 40 and worked the lever back and forth. I don't know how to adjust the cable to get move moment out of the lever, so if any of you know how to do that please add comment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sculpture "Inspiration 911" located in front of the Porsche Museum, Zuffenhausen

The heart of Porsche beats in Zuffenhausen. It was here in 1963 that the first 911 rolled off the assembly line. No other sports car sparks as much fascination, no other vehicle thrills more automobile enthusiasts worldwide. It is the essence of the Porsche marque. Taking inspiration from this heritage, the British artist Gerry Judah has created a sculpture. It consists of three pillars up to the height of 24 m, each crowned with a Porsche 911 mounted at the top. The vehicles hail from different 911 generations as a tribute to the history of the classic. The sculpture on Porscheplatz will become the new centrepiece for visitors from all over the world. 

This evening marked the public presentation of the sculpture entitled “Inspiration 911”. Cordoned off specifically for the occasion, the Porscheplatz offered an impressive setting. A combination of lightshow, film and vehicle choreography. With the glass facade of the Porsche Museum used as a screen, the film clips could be projected on to an area of more than 200m². A moving display included vehicles that are also components of the art piece: An F-series from 1970, a G-series from 1981 as well as the latest generation 911. Spectacular light effects utilising the special architecture of the museum fascinated spectators. As a finale, the current model range of Porsche was showcased to guests on the grandstands.  

Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche AG, said during his address at the event: “The sculpture that we present today is more than a work of art. It is also a symbol for our company’s close ties with Stuttgart.” In recent years, Porsche has invested around one billion Euros in facilities in the greater Stuttgart area. Furthermore, an additional 1.1 billion Euros have been earmarked for the recently-established safeguarding of locations – a large proportion of which is to be invested in Zuffenhausen. The commitment to the Swabian roots could not be clearer.