Archive for June, 2009

Dino Ferrari’s 166 Mille Miglia Feature Car At The 2009 RM Auction Monterey

166 MM When Owned By Bob Blaske In 1962

166 MM When Owned By Bob Blaske In 1962

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166 MM When Purchased By Jack Reuter In 1965

166 MM When Purchased By Jack Reuter In 1965

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This is the first online announcement of the Feature Car of the 2009 RM Monterey Auction!

For sale is the Dino Ferrari 1953 166 Mille Miglia #0050 (ex 0308M). This 166 Mille Miglia was the personal car of Enzo Ferrari’s son Dino and the first small grill Ferrari. Dino had a major role in the development of this car. To quote the October 2004 issue of Forza: “A fresh impulse came from Enzo Ferrari’s son Alfredo (Dino), who received a spare 166 MM chassis from his father. Dino came up with some ideas of his own to be executed by local coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti: together, they conceived of an aggressive and fluid line for Dino’s 166 MM. Scaglietti bodied the Mondial that scored the early-1954 success based on this design, with its unusually small front grill”.

This is the first Ferrari Jack Reuter purchased. In 1965 he happened to see it partially covered through a window of a warehouse in St. Louis Missouri. He was able to locate the owner of the building (Ed Kaysing) and purchased the car for $1,000. It was in pieces but was “so original it would make you cry”. He then restored the car and took it to the 1966 Ferrari Club Of America meet in Indianapolis Indiana where he won the prize for Best Roadster. We still have the pewter cup…He later sold the car to Ken Hutchison.

Cliff Reuter

Update: This car did not sell at a high bid of $1.1Million against an estimate of $1.5Million-$1.8Million. I’m surprised.

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A Visit to the Mario Righini Collection

Ex-Nuvolari Alfa 8C 2300

Sports Car Digest visited the incomparable Mario Righini Collection outside Modena. It’s an astounding assortment of significant sportscars; including this Ex-Tazio Nuvolari Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 in which he won the 1933 Targa Florio and Monza GPs.

Head over to Sports Car Digest for the complete gallery.

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The Scorpion Tales: Abarth

I was contacted recently by a member of Abarth’s digital media team, who sent along this trailer for an upcoming documentary on the Italian engine tuner. This focuses a bit on the re-emergence of the brand alongside the reborn Fiat 500, and promises that Abarth’s tuning will be a part of Fiat racing for a good while now. Perhaps more intriguing to Chicane readers, are the glimpses of historic footage here with the hopes that finished film will feature a great deal of history of this remarkable engineer and his firm.

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Grand Prix Comics

Grand Prix Comics PanelFrom 1967—1970, American comic book publishers Charlton Comics published Grand Prix comics. They were a hilariously pulpy series of short graphic stories featuring dashing racing drivers dodging murderous rivals on the track and beautiful women off the track. I happened across an issue recently and just had to share this frame with you.

I want it blown up to wallpaper size to cover my bedroom wall.

With the unexpected popularity of the Japanese cartoon Speed Racer pulling young boys to television sets around the world, it makes perfect sense that a series of comic books would follow. I sure would have spent 12¢ on an issue.

Interestingly, Grand Prix comics started with issue #16, having evolved from an earlier Charlton car culture series, Hot Rod Racers. I can imagine the boardroom at Charlton volleying for which motor culture to adopt as these things go in and out of fashion. What came after 1970? Chopper Comics, perhaps.

There are a handful of copies for sale on Ebay right now; some of which even have their opening bids starting at the cover price. With so few issues, I can’t imagine it would be too hard to collect the entire run. They’re certainly good for a laugh.

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9 Days in Summer: The Lotus 49 Development Story

Make yourself comfortable. This video might be the longest we’ve featured on The Chicane, but it is worth it. This 48 minute story of the development of the Lotus 49 truly begs to be watched. From the first touch of pen to paper to the checkered flag at Zandvoort for Jim Clark took only a year, but we’ve been appreciating the simple perfection of this mightiest of Lotuses for over forty.

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A Devin Bodied Bandini Crosley 750cc

Chuck Hassan Bandini At 1952 Vero Beach

Chuck Hassan Bandini At 1952 Vero Beach


Bandini With A New Devin Body For 1958

Bandini With A New Devin Body For 1958


Bandini Devin As She Sits Today

Bandini Devin As She Sits Today


In 1952 Chuck Hassan imported a Bandini Motto Crosley to compete in the newly formed 750cc Hmod class in the American SCCA. His first race was a total success as he won his class and the index of performance at the 6 hour Vero Beach race. He competed in many more events including Sebring and ended up 24th overall in the 1952 national standings. He then sold the car to James Riley who raced a couple of times in 1953. In 1954 the car was purchased by the great Sandy McArthur (the 1950′s Hmod King) who raced it to 6th in the national Hmod class that year. McArthur also raced it in 1955 and for the Sebring 12 hour event had a Mercury outboard motor installed by the factory. He was leading the index of performance after 6 hours when the fiat 500 gearbox let go. He competed in a few more races that year and in 1956 sold the car to Clair “Sonny” Reuter of Naperville Ill. Reuter raced the car a few times and then installed a new Bill Devin Monza body for the 1958 season. This great car was in his possesion till his death in 2006. My father Jack Reuter purchased it from his estate to compliment his other Bandini racer, 1955 Bandini #358 DOHC. We are now restoring the car with its Devin body.

Cliff Reuter

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Racing with Headphones

Riverside Grand Prix LPThe upcoming online auction at l’Arte et l’Automobile offers some fantastic opportunities to do some armchair racing at 33rpm. The auto racing album is a bit of an anomaly, at once so antiquated and of-the-moment. These audio recordings put us right in the racing seat while at the same time putting in the head of a 12 year old racing fan appreciating these recordings again and again. They’re a simple reminder of the days before HD television put races live in our living rooms and we could only absorb the international sportscar scene by reading the race reports, attending a Grand Prix when it happened to be near enough, and staying up late into the night in a darkened bedroom flipping this record over again and again to imagine yourself behind the wheel.

Bidding starts on June 17, with the gavel falling on July 15. Looks like there’s plenty here worth a bid.

The Big Sounds of Sportscars LPThe Race LP

Monaco Grand Prix Sound Stories LP

The Marquis de Portago LP

Sounds of Speed LP

Mercedes-Benz LP

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Yee-Ha!

Georg Meier wins 1939 Isle of Man TT
Sports Car Digest featured this brilliant photo of Georg “Schorsch” Meier on his way to winning the Isle of Man TT in 1939. This is the 70th anniversary of BMWs win.

I think we can all agree that there’s not enough airborne in modern motorsport.

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Jeroen Booij’s Compendium of Mini Oddities

Jeroen Booij's Maximum MiniBooij’s ‘Maximum Mini’ collects in 500 photos on 128 pages a masterful group of Mini based cars; from coachbuilt one-offs to production based racers, to simple fiberglass rebodies. Some of these are absolutely remarkable looking little machines.

I particularly like the Deep Sanderson 301, a GT bodied little beast that competed at the ’63 LeMans. It’s a terribly beautiful little racer, but sadly its race record failed to live up to the promise of her bodywork. She DNFed at LeMans—and every other major sportscar race the team entered. But that doesn’t take away from the sheer beauty of the thing.

Several years back at the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, I spotted a curious little rebodied Mini racer, the Unipower GT and was immediately drawn to it’s lines and proportions that, from a distance, made it see a much bigger and meaner machine than it’s Mini bones would suggest. One of 75 built, the little yellow machine was as much a pleasure to the ears as the eyes. The Unipower faired slightly better in the world of sportscar racing, with a career best of a 14th at the Trophée des Ardennes Spa 500km. Unipower GTs were entered in a number of major races (Sebring, Targa Florio, LeMans), but either crashed out early or failed to make the race distance. I’m not sure if Jeroen covers the Unipower in his book, but it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t be in there—this truly seems to be the final authority on Mini specials. Actually, that little yellow number in the lower-right on the cover looks like a Unipower, so I think that answers that question.

Via Coachbuild.

Unipower GT at the 2007 Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival

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The Chicane’s Server Upgrade Is Complete

The Chicane has been in the garage the past few days while we’ve been performing a fairly exhaustive server upgrade. Hopefully what this will mean for you is that the site will be more reliably available and quicker. There are a handful of exciting developments going on in our corner of the web in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more.

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