Archive for February, 2009

On Offer at Mecum: 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe

Daytona CoupeA 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe serial number CSX2601 finally gives Mecum Auctions a car worthy of the hilarious over-enthusiasm of their Ring Men. Seriously. Watch a single episode of Mecum Auto Auctions: Muscle and More. As far as I can tell, it’s a show about guys with over-gelled hair jumping up and down; with an occasional shot of a muscle car.

The car is a true treasure, especially for American enthusiasts. Bob Bondurant piloted CSX2601 to class victory at Rheims 12 Hours on July 4, 1965—fitting, eh? That class win clinched the Worlds Sportscar Championship for GT+2. The interwebs are all abuzz about the possibility that CSX2601 may bring in the highest ever price for a car at auction, with estimates in 8 figures. Of course, other web sources are speculating that Ferrari Testa Rossa chassis no. 0714TR, also being auctioned this May will be the top draw. I’ll leave that speculation to them.

The Shelby has the more important race history, clinching the World Sportscar title isn’t something to take lightly. The car was driven to 5 class wins and a 3rd overall finish at the 1965 Coppa Citta di Enna behind a pair of Ferrari 250 LMs. She was entered in 8 races, all of them World Championship events, finishing 6, taking class victory in 5. That’s a very good history in anyone’s book.

In contrast, the Ferrari was entered in 34 races, taking class victories in 4, with a highest result of 4th in her debut: the 1958 Argentina 1000km.

Only time will tell which of these remarkable cars will take the top money. I must admit that I have less interest than many online speculators on the actual dollar value these very different, but significant cars bring in.

Either way, I lose. I take consolation, however, that even without the 8 figure investment, I can still get my own. Sorta.

Update:
Rumor has it that CSX2601 failed to sell on Friday night, with bidding stalling out around $6.8Million; well below reserve. Mecum folks have said that they had several bidders with $10Million lines of credit that failed to bid at all. What kind of world do we live in when a handful of Ferraris can bring in much more money that this tremendous Daytona Coupe?

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Auto Motor und Sport – Porsche 550 RS Spyder

The narration isn’t so hot, but I’m not one to turn down footage of my beloved 550.

Update: Watching this again this morning, I particularly find hilarious the narrator’s insistance in saying “Five Hundred Fifty” and “Three Hundred Fifty-Six”. Does she refer to the 911 as the “Nine Hundred Eleven”?

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Waiting for the Thaw

2985517611_acd04989a8Here in the midwest, we’ve just been hit with another battering of snow. At least I can comfort myself with the knowledge that British Colombia has been getting it worse. In a way though, they’re the lucky ones. At least they have the Spring Thaw Classic Car Adventure to look forward to. May 1-3 should provide a snow-free (probably) path enough for a distance run through the beauty of British Colombia. If the photos of the byways in the pre-run planning trip are anything to judge by, the scenery will be tremendous. So get your pre-’79 ride ready and tuned up, head over to their Facebook event page and hit ‘confirm’. It looks like it’ll be a hell of a good time. Send me some photos, won’t you?

By the way, where’s the link to buy the poster? It looks fantastic.

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1967 Daytona 24 Hours in Pictures

021009-2208-196724hours1Sports Car Digest posted a lovely series of photos from the ’67 Daytona race that look fantastic. What is it about 60’s color film processing that looks so romantic?

Here’s Lorenzo Bandini looking regal, poised over the #23 Ferrari 330 P3/4 that he and Chris Amon piloted to victory that year. Looks like Ferrari had the magic for Daytona in 1967. They brought home 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with the Porsche 910s & 906s, and Ford GT40s rounding out the rest of the top ten. Bandini and Amon repeated the feat at the following stop in the World Sportscar Championship, Monza. Despite the strong start, the rest of the season belonged to Ford and Porsche with the GT40 and 910 splitting victories for most of the rest of the season.

Take a look at the rest of the set, The shots of Piper & Attwood’s dull green Ferrari P2/3 alone is worth clicking over for. Maybe it’s the color shift of the film, but the years before TV-happy color shades make this era of motorsport color palettes my favorite. You would never see a car with a dull dark green, Semi-gloss navy blue, or less-than-TV-ready shines today. It makes the era feel all the more familial somehow.

Here’s the program cover for the race; handsome, don’t you think?
_daytona-1967-02-05

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Re-Inventing the Past

viper_concept_1_67Contemporary Brazilian car designer Rafael Reston took on an interesting personal project wherein he asks the question: What would the ’60s ancestral origin of today’s Dodge Viper look like? It’s an interesting idea and makes this vintage sportscar fan wonder what might have been if the Corvette and Cobra had a direct competitor from Chrysler. I think it looks fantastic.

Rafael kept true to the technology and techniques common in the mid-60’s for his theoretical ’67 Viper so that this vehicle could have existed. He did make some logical deviations from the Viper’s hallmarks that might trouble a Viper fan, like substituting the Viper’s signature 10 cylinder with the more period-appropriate 440 Magnum engine that Chrysler used in the Charger R/T. The interior uses true-to-the-era leather and wood, but I find this to be the weakest link in the exercise and looks much more like a muscle car interior than a sportscar—although I feel the same way about 60’s Corvette interiors, so don’t take my word for it.

Rafael estimates the ’67 Viper would have been priced at $4110, putting it in direct competition with the Corvettes of the time. I wonder what one would fetch at Barrett-Jackson today?

Jalopnik has a huge gallery of renderings here.

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The New Porsche Museum Is Open!

020909-1517-newporschem5And apparently it has been for a week—I must be slipping.

I’ve been to more than a few automotive museums and occasionally I am struck by the exhibit ornamentation. The settings in which the cars are placed in certain sections of the Petersen, for example, are incredibly well done and have served as inspiration for the garages of many gearheads, I’m sure. The new Porsche museum, however, eschews elaborate exhibits and displays 80 Porsches in 60,250 square feet of spare white space. The net result is that this museum feels more like a modern art museum than a car collection. Which I’m sure you’ll agree in this case is appropriate.

The vast array of 356s, 550s (mmmmm), 917s, 904s, 908s, and others are, of course, the main attraction, but the building also houses the Porsche Archives: A collection of more than 1,000 hours of film and 3,000 books. Just think of what I could put on the Chicane with just a few hundred hours of research time there. Now where did I put that grant application?

Sports Car Digest has some wonderful photos (including the photo above)
Flickr member tericee visited the museum and has a lovely collection of photos as well.

Porsche’s official information page is here.

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Sleuthing Grand Prix

Manetta's FactoryI thought I was a fan of Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, but I must admit I’m a rank amateur compared to a group of commenters on Atlas F1’s Nostalgia Forum that have created one thread that digs deeply into the minutia of every scene, outtake, driver, and disguised model after disguised model to unearth a trove of information about every aspect of the film. Particularly impressive is a series of observations by forum member Macca, who pulled from his well of information of the Ferrari factory at the time to determine the very month that the film shot in the factory itself.

You’ll remember, that Sr. Manetta, the film’s stand-in for Enzo Ferrari, takes a meeting with driver Pete Aaron who is down on his luck after his crash with teammate Scott Stoddard leaves him dropped from his Jordan B.R.M. team. I know it’s difficult to keep straight the difference between actual teams and events and the fictional events of the film—which probably speaks more than any review could of how well the film has captured the spirit of mid-sixties Formula racing.

Macca did a little trainspotting in these scenes and noticed a few things about the cars and parts on the factory floor. The factory floor shows three neatly placed 36-valve engines. In the background, we see a 246P Dino bearing racing number 44. This car was given #44 for Giancarlo Baghetti to use in the practice sessions for the Italian GP. From this sparse information Macca, unbelievably, determined the scenes were shot at Maranello in September! Fantastic detective work!

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It Didn’t Happen Like This in “Grand Prix”, Did It?

James Garner absolutely caught the bug making “Grand Prix” and returned to the States to start a racing team of his own with a Surtees TS5 driven by Scooter Patrick. This footage, pulled from the longer film, “The Racing Scene”, chronicles the team’s trip to Lime Rock in 1970 to take in the action. Garner narrates.

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Bob Burman, 1909

Bob BurmanHere’s a photo from the Library of the Congress that looks ready for The Impossible Cool.

Bob Burman and his Benz rocketed down the beach at Daytona and held the world landspeed record for 8 years at 141.732 mph.

More on Burman and his landspeed record here.

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Available in the UK: Ferrari 296S “Dino”

Ferrari 296SThat’s right friends. 296.

I know when we see “Dino”, we automatically think of the simply stunning 60s-70s mid-engined, Pininfarina designed, Dino 246, and with good reason; the 246 is an absolute masterpiece of automotive design. This Dino, however, is a bit earlier and every bit as beautiful. The 1959 296S Dino (chassis # 0746) has a fascinating history of her own to be proud of.

She debuted at the 1958 Silverstone race with racing’s best dressed driver Mike Hawthorn at the wheel pushing her hard to a 3rd place finish. Some sources, however, claim 0746 actually had an earlier race at the hands of Wolfgang Von Trips; finishing 3rd at the January, 1958 Nurburgring 1000km. In either event, the Scuderia quickly sold 0746 to retired racing driver, N.A.R.T. founder, and America’s first Ferrari distributor, Luigi Chinetti. Luigi soon had a handful of North American talent driving talent throughout the US and beyond. The car’s primary drivers in this era were Mexican phenoms the Rodriguez brothers, who had early success with 0746 in Nassau (1st and 2nd in various races that weekend) and Sebring (3rd).

Sebring 296SPedro Rodriguez, of course, went on to major international success as a Formula 1 driver for the Scuderia, Lotus, and BRM in various seasons from 1963-1971. He also won the LeMans 24 Hours race in 1968 with co-driver Lucien Bianchi in a Mk. I Ford GT-40. His brother, Ricardo, had his promising career tragically cut short in a fatal crash in 1962 during a practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix. Ricardo’s potential was staggering, barred by the LeMans officials from driving in 1958 because he was too young, Ricardo returned in ’59 to claim 2nd in an OSCA with co-driver André Pilette. A string of Formula 1 races for Ferrari followed, making Ricardo the youngest-ever Formula 1 driver at the time. He also claimed outright victory in a Ferrari Testa Rossa in the 1962 Targa Florio. With such an amazing string of successes, it’s all the sadder to think of the amazing career he might have had.

Following Luigi Chinetti’s stewardship of 0746, The car went on to further successes with American driver, George Constantine, who had top-five finishes with the car in three 1961 SCCA National races and won the 1961 Grand Prix Watkins Glen.

Today, UK dealer Duncan Hamilton offers Ferrari 296S #0746 in fantastic condition in her Rossa Corso N.A.R.T. livery. She’s a sight to behold. Included with the car are two of the underrated Ferrari V6s and wrapped in disc brakes all around. Sure, Ferrari means V12 to most, but I have an affinity for the early 6 and 8 bangers. She’s an absolute beauty and I hope to see her slicing around Goodwood or the Monterrey Historics soon.

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