Archive for March, 2012

High Desert Challenge – Rosamond, CA – 03/31/12

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1937's GP Season

Silver Arrows hitting over 200 mph on the straights at AVUS. That seems impossibly fast for 1937 but maybe I’m just underestimating the arrows. Hard to imagine that today’s Formula 1 is no faster than it was 75 years ago.

(Some marvelous footage of the same year’s action in the States at the end of this clip.)

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Brand New Porsche 4-Cam Engine Anyone?

That gorgeously presented puzzle above is the work of the German motorsport product company, Capricorn. Their original intent seems to have been to manufacture parts to replenish the dwindling stocks of spares that threatened to make authentic 4-cam rebuilds all but impossible. The net effect, however, is something much more precious. It is now possible to build a brand new type 547 engine from off-the-shelf parts.

That they have managed to leverage their long relationship with Porsche into making complete reproduction 4-cams available to consumers is nothing short of remarkable. After all, this legendary little box of awesome powered the 356 Carreras, the Spyder series, and the 904 to a string of victories that was Porsche’s introduction into the top tiers of motorsport and resulted in us still referring to Porsche as “the Giant Killer” even all these years after they’ve become a giant themselves.

It’s not all good news and sunshine, however, the Capricorn build will set you back nearly as much as an authentic 547—somewhere in the neighborhood of €120,000. That’s no small figure, of course, and the renowned difficulties of the 4-cam will come along with it. Looking at these pieces, something tells me that the oft-quoted anecdote of the 20-hour valve adjustment aren’t that exaggerated. But I have to think it would be worth it to hear her sing once the revs get up.

I find it tremendously encouraging that there are organizations that will take this kind of production on and get the licenses to do it. What’s next? Colombo 12-cylinder, anyone?

More info on Capricorn’s Carrera Engine detail page.

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Modena's Ferrari Museum is Open

Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena

The juxtaposition of the modernity of Czech architect Jan Kaplický’s design of the main museum with the restored Ferrari workshop makes for a marvelous set of bookends that describes Ferrari’s progression as a manufacturer. I can’t help but think that Kaplicky’s design (brought to fruition after his death by his protegé Andrea Morgante) considered the power of that; of showcasing the humble industrial-era workshop that was Ferrari’s foundations alongside the bold color and sweeping technological sophistication of the museum building.

On it’s face, I’m not terribly fond of this architectural style, despite it’s echoes of a Ferrari bonnet. But, this splash of hyper-modernism within the more gritty industrial landscape of this section of Modena makes such a powerful architectural statement not as a building, but as a part of the wider geography. It’s just incredible.

Oh, and there are Ferraris in it.

More at Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari

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BMW 2002Tii. Have a Look and a Test-Drive.

Quicker than schnell!

BMW 2002Tii.
Bavarian Motor Works.
Munich, City of the Olympics.

It’s the new BMW 2002Tii. This brilliant new BMW has fuel injection! Come on in and have a look and a test-drive. You’ll have a schnell of a good time.

Car and Driver. March 1970—’The BMW will run the wheels of ANY of the under-$4000 sports cars without half trying.’

Erhard Motor Sales, Inc.
32715 Grand River Avenue, Farmington, Michigan 48024
(313) 477-6400

Nice find, Chromjuwelen.

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'66 Vette Falls off a Trailer on the Interstate… It All Went Better Than Expected

I can only imagine what it must feel like to look in your rear view mirror and see that the ’66 Corvette you were pulling has fallen off your trailer and your beloved machine is now traveling down the freeway driverless. That unfortunate scenario played out on a stretch of I-35 in Texas.

Corvette Forum member Sonny557 was there to see it go down: “So I am watching in my mirror as his 66 is rolling along the highway with no driver !!! It slowly reaches the grassy part of the shoulder and slows down somewhat before going into a concrete drain and goes on for several more feet before coming to a stop. Miraculously only the whitewall had a major scuff mark on it, the car had no scratches or rash!!”

Sounds like the owner was pretty nonchalant about it, just hopped in an drove to the next exit. I might have fallen to me knees in euphoria.

Click on over for the complete story, and double-check triple-check your tie-downs.

Hat tip to TurretOpera’s post on Reddit for digging this one up.

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Wrong Side Up in a Porsche RSK

This sequence of images of a Porsche 718 RSK going shiny side down is the kind of thing we don’t often see. Not because there weren’t horrific crashes in the era—quite the opposite—but because there simply wasn’t the kind of camera coverage we’ve come to expect today. Even the most popular events had spotty photographic coverage, nevermind film. The only reason we can see these harrowing sequence of photos from Spa today is that this event was being shot for the 1960 film L’ennemi dans l’ombre.

Take special note of the last photo. Can you believe that this driver just stood up and dusted himself off after this series of acrobatics?

More commentary on the film and this photo sequence on the Internet Movie Cars Database. From that discussion, a commenter named Dodo seems to have identified the race as the May 3, 1959 running of the Grand Prix de Spa, where Christian Heins crashed one of the three RSKs entered. Another RSK piloted by Carel Godin de Beaufort went on to win.

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Etceterini Begins Releasing Clips from the Suzy Dietrich Archive

When last October’s auction of Suzy Dietrich’s lifetime of mementos from her remarkable racing career drew to a close, I thought we might have lost a great possibility to release her archive of film into the world. For all we knew at the time, a collector had snatched up these precious film cans only for them to be viewed once or twice and sealed away in the deep wells of a closed collection.

You can imagine the sigh of relief I experienced when friend of the blog and occasional contributor, Cliff Reuter announced that he had won several of the film auctions and started to digitize and release them on Etceterini. Thank goodness!

The above is but a taste and Cliff says that there’s more to come, check his Suzy Dietrich video page on

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Factories at Work: Triumph Preps the LeMans Spitfires

I have a Triumph GT6 sitting in my garage that I keep coming this close to selling, but when I see these technicians from the Triumph Experimental Division in their neckties and shopcoats lovingly laboring over these crisp white frames it makes me want to abandon my plans to sell and instead suit up and get her properly prepped.

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Jaguar XK-E. Now with Ignition Warning Buzzer.

XK-E Coupe

A sleek, classic masterpiece, praised by the Museum of Modern Art. Large rear window door opens for plenty of luggage.

Principal Dimensions: Wheelbase 96ins. Track, front 50 ins., rear 50 ins. Overall length 176-5/16 ins. Overall width 65 1/4 ins. Overall height 48ins. Ground clearance (lade) 5 1/2 ins. Dry weight 2,570 lbs. Fuel 16 3/4 galls. Oil 9 qts. Water 19 1/4 qts.

Optional Equipment: Power assisted steering. Radio. Chrome wire wheels. Tinted glass. Whitewall tires. Heated rear window for demisting and defrosting. Air conditioning.

Transmission: Four-speed, all synchromesh. Ratio 3.54 to 1. Limited slip differential. Suspension: Four-wheel independent, torsion bars front and paired coil springs rear. Brakes: 4-wheel discs with quick-change pads. Steering: Rack and pinion. Adjustable wood-rimmed steering wheel. Steering lock. Wheels: 15 ins. 72-wire spokes with Dunlop Aqua-Jet radial ply 185×15 tires. Electrical Equipment: 12-volt battery. Alternator. Back-up lights. Ignition warning buzzer.

Body: 2-door, all-steel. Twin bucket reclining seats with adjustable headrests, upholstered in leather over foam rubber. 7-dial instrument panel, including tachometer. Heater and demister standart equipment. Rear windows hinged for ventilation. Twin padded sun visors. Lockable glove compartment. Twin package shelves.

Thanks, Chromjuwelen for the heads up.

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