We ponder that and other matters in this column of commentary
For those involved in the collector car hobby, these headlines had to be frightening:
Should Classic Cars be modified to meet today’s safety standards?
Kevin Hart’s Plymouth Barracuda crash could shape future CA laws
By way of a quick review, remember that earlier this month, comedian Kevin Hart was seriously injured when he was a passenger in his souped-up 1970 Plymouth Barracuda muscle car, a car nicknamed the “Menace,” which departed from a California highway and rolled down an embankment.
One immediate reaction after the injured were hospitalized and the car went into impound was a call for vintage vehicles, and especially those with higher-power engines, to have to meet contemporary safety regulations if they are going to be driven on public roads.
Or, might there be another solution to the issue? Here’s what Gearhead Garage owner Jason Wairith told ABC10 in Sacramento:
“There is a risk you take when you get on a motorcycle or a hot ride. Don’t act like a moron.”
OEMs prefer classic events to new-car auto shows
Attend one of the major international auto shows where automakers have traditionally unveiled their newest products and you’ll notice that something is missing — the automakers and their cars.
Several import brands quit going to the Detroit show several years ago. Automotive News reports that more than 30 OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) skipped the recent Frankfurt show and that Bernhard Mattes, head of the group that stages the show, resigned midway through the event.
So where are the OEMs showcasing their latest and greatest? Increasingly, it’s at classic car events, such as Pebble Beach, Goodwood and other major concours and collector car gatherings.
Goodwood reports that 17 brands staged 20 new car launches at the Festival of Speed earlier this year, “putting it on a par with global automotive showcases such as the Geneva International Motor Show and Frankfurt International Motor Show.”
Not only does Goodwood’s festival attract more than 200,000 people but, like Monterey Car Week, those in attendance tend to be affluent folks who not only like old cars, but who can afford to buy new ones for daily driving, track days, etc.
Another advantage of Goodwood, Monterey and similar venues is that instead of just sitting up there on a show stand, vehicles can be showcased in motion.
Goodwood added that more than two dozen vehicles unveiled at recent auto shows “made their first dynamic appearances anywhere in the world” on Goodwood’s pavement or on its off-road trail.
Racers remember a bygone era
Speaking of Goodwood, these comments from the Credit Suisse Historic Racing Forum at the recent Goodwood Revival:
Derek Bell on driving the daunting and dangerous Nurburgring Nordschieife: “I don’t believe you (meaning anyone who ever raced at the circuit known as The Green Hell) ever did the perfect lap there. If you said you did, you were lying.”
Gordon Murray on becoming the chief designer at Brabham when the team was owned by Bernie Ecclestone: “I knew I was chief designer because when I turned around, there was no one else in the office.”
Murray also recalled the freedom designers enjoyed in that era: “It was the best decade for me as a designer because there was so much freedom. You could have an idea one day, draw it the next day, get it on the car and go one second quicker. I’d hate to be doing it now, chasing tenths of a second after hundreds of days in the wind tunnel.”
Bruce Canepa gets Murray Automotive franchise
And speaking of Murray, the designer of racing cars and the McLaren F1 supercar, among others, has launched Gordon Murray Automotive to produce the T.50, “the ultimate analog driver’s supercar unlike anything ever created.” If you want to buy one of the 100 to be produced, you need to contact Bruce Canepa in Scotts Valley, California, because the Canepa Group, a racing and classic car business, has been awarded the exclusive North American franchise.
Lamborghini remembers Ferdinand Piech
I was surprised that it took Volkswagen and Porsche a few days to even issue a news release in response to the recent death of Ferdinand Piech and his role in the history and even the salvation of those companies. But another automaker he was instrumental in saving had a different reaction to his passing.
At the recent Frankfurt auto show, Automobili Lamborghini unveiled its first hybrid supercar and announced “the fastest Lamborghini ever will bear the moniker of Sian FKP 37 in recognition of Ferdinand Karl Piech, born in 1937,” because of the role Piech played in acquiring Lamborghini for the Audi brand when he was Audi’s chairman.
“Prof. Dr. Piech innately understood the attraction and potential of the Lamborghini brand and how it could fit within the Volkswagen Group, whilst retaining its unique Italian super sports car identity and design and engineering DNA,” Lamborghini chairman Stefano Domenicali said.
“Prof. Dr. Piëch was an engineer and an innovator, particularly appreciating the appeal of the iconic Lamborghini V12 powertrain on which today, the Sián FKP 37 combines pioneering hybrid technologies. The Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 provides fitting recognition of the role Piëch, and the Volkswagen Group, played in facilitating our flourishing brand today, as well as heralding Lamborghini’s innovative route to the future.”
Most expensive state for speeding is…
“If you have a lead foot, Nevada is not the place to put the pedal to the metal,” GoBankingRates.com says in a news release about its study of the most expensive states in which to receive a speeding ticket as a first-time offender driving 13 mph or more than the posted limit.
“Nevada is in a class of its own,” the website reports, adding that the maximum fine runs up to $1,000. That’s more than three times as much as the runner-up, Alaska, at $300.
On the other hand, there’s Oklahoma, where the fines for speeding while driving less than 20 mph over the limit is only $35.
What would you pay for a Henry Ford-autographed baseball?
I’ve read a few books about Henry Ford but don’t recall any of them mentioning that he ever played baseball. Nonetheless, a baseball he signed sold recently for $23,985 at a Higgins & Scott Auction.
Turns out that the Ford Motor Company commissioned some custom-made baseballs for the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair. The baseballs were stamped with “1903 Ford 1933 Safety Glass Exhibit” and an Art Deco “V8” logo to draw attention to the featured displays at the Ford exhibit, which included a tunnel where visitors threw baseballs at a glass target, only to discover that it was Ford’s new shatter-proof safety glass and the balls simply bounced away.
Ford signed some of the baseballs for students at the Ford Trade School in New York City. One sold at auction in 2016 for $15,000. A second just went for as much as some brand-new Ford cars.
Million-dollar donation for McPherson
As if they likely didn’t spend enough to have Paul Russell and Company restore their 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Figoni and Falaschi teardrop cabriolet, even before the car won the Most Elegant Convertible trophy and was one of the four finalists for Best of Show this year at Pebble Beach, Richard and Melanie Lundquist hosted a breakfast at which they announced they were donating $1 million to McPherson College in recognition of Russell’s work, not only for his amazing restorations but for his work on behalf of the college.
Russell is president of the college’s national advisory board for automotive restoration.
“We are committed to McPherson’s automotive restoration program, particularly since it is the only four-year program like it in the country,” Melanie Lundquist said. “The college strives to provide the best student experiences. We really enjoy the collaborative partnership we have developed with the college.”
A McPherson graduate, Chris Hammond, was senior mechanical restorer on the Talbot-Lago restoration project.
McPherson, located in Kansas, launched its vintage vehicle restoration program in 1976 and offers the only four-year bachelor’s degree program in restoration technology in the country.6 comments