• RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BEST!

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BEST

    The Matunes – Maureen & Mike – were on the field of 100 antiques, classics and sports cars to bring us highlights of one of the country’s top Concours.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTRADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTThe Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance limits itself to 100 motorcars each year while recognizing automotive legends. This year four were honored including Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg. Exemplifying those once mighty marques were Dave Markel’s ‘31 Cord L-29 Cabriolet and Sue & Mark Lankford’s ‘37 Cord 812SC Phaeton.

    Team Penske’s ‘73 Porsche 911 RSR was a major attraction. These cars were featured in the first IROC Championship, taken by Mark Donohue. This very car would carry him to a Riverside win. Standing next to the car speaking to a television journalist is Mark’s son David. He is a racer of note in his own right, having both a North American Touring Car Championship and a class win at Le Mans to his credit.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTThe Race Cars of Roger Penske were featured at this year’s event. Among them was this ‘66 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe owned by Kevin Mackay. It’s too bad this car can’t talk. It could tell stories about a cold drive back from the Corvette plant in St. Louis to the Penske shop and then to Corvette legend Dick Guldstrand. Or about completing the Daytona 24 and taking a class win with flashlights taped to the hood replacing crash-damaged headlights!

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTPurists were appalled a few years back when perennial sportscar manufacturer Porsche, added SUVs and a sedan to its lineup. They may have been ignoring a little history, as Porsche once made tractors in addition to their more sporty offerings. Production was started before WWII and continued afterwards by manufacturers who leased the rights to the design. Radnor Hunt had a special class this year for vintage tractors and Daniel Magness brought his Porsche along.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTFrom another time, comes the Delage sales slogan, the “Car with a Reputation”. The origins of that were supposedly in the saying that a Delage was the car you gave to your mistress. The lines of this ‘34 D8S Cabriolet with body by Fernandez & Daren certainly convey a sultry theme. Today it holds a place in the JWR Museum collection. Its past accolades include class awards on two occasions at Pebble Beach.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTFiat has unleashed a modern version of the legendary 124 Spyder Abarth and this is the car which inspired it – Gildo Torchia’s rare ‘73 Fiat 124 CSA Abarth. Conceived and built as a Homologation Special to qualify for Group 4 rally competition, it features an IRS, fiberglass hood and decklid and aluminum doors. Those wheels are real magnesium as opposed to aluminum. Under its hood is a slightly hotter version of Fiat’s DOHC Four.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTSuzanne and John Campion traveled from Jacksonville, FL to show their ‘83 Lancia-Abarth 037 rally car. It has scored multiple wins and podiums in its life. Found in Prague, it is now safely ensconced in the Campion’s extensive collection of pro rally cars. Their trip to Radnor Hunt was rewarded with the Best of Show Sport trophy.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTDiane & Don Meluzio showed their ‘61 Fiat Abarth Bialbero 1000 GT Coupe with body by Carrozzeria Abarth & Beccarris as part of a special Fiat Abarth class. After a successful racing career in Europe this car was sold to Team Roosevelt in the U.S. and continued its winning ways at Nassau and Sebring. As with most Abarths, the engine is diminutive but powerful, drawing 95 horsepower from 948 ccs. The Meluzios are to be congratulated for organizing the outstanding Abarth class.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTIt’s hard to find a bad angle on David Markel’s ‘32 Auburn 12-160A Speedster. From this view, your eye is drawn to the boat-tail styling, wide-whites, wire wheels and flawless paint. The Speedster houses a 160 horsepower, 391 cubic-inch, Twelve and a two-speed rear axle. Top speed is in the range of 110 mph.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTHelen & Richard Harding wait patiently for their turn at the awards podium in their ‘28 Auburn 8-988 Speedster. Their stunning Navajo Red and Black car garnered the Best in Show award at the 21st Radnor Hunt Concours. The Auburn marque dates back to the turn of the 20th Century, later becoming part of Auburn – Cord – Duesenberg.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTChrysler was known for a little craziness during the Ponycar-Musclecar era as shown by Kim Barnes ‘69 Plymouth Barracuda “Mod Top” coupe. One’s eye is immediately drawn to the flower power vinyl roof until you notice the interior is upholstered in a similar pattern. Obviously, this was not for the shy or retiring, as borne out by the fact that only about 900 of these were made in 1969.

    Thanks to Mike Whelan for his help with credentials. And to Founder & Chairman Mike Tillson, his staff, sponsors, presenters, judges, participants and volunteers for another great Concours.

    Words & Photos by Maureen K. Matune & M. M. “Mike” Matune, Jr.

    For more information about the event and its venue, please visit https://radnorconcours.org/

    http://www.radnorhunt.org/    http://www.thorncroft.org/

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  • NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!

    It’s really not that difficult to organize a competitive race series. But turning down money? Now that’s tough,blogs Stephen Cox.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING! The easy way to run a series is to have an official provider for everything from tires to body kits to engines. Mandatory components (spec parts) are frequently offered as a fix-all solution though in reality, costs are rarely contained. Remember, everyone at every step along the way has to make money. That means the series, parts manufacturers, distributors and on and on. Everyone gets a piece of the action and team owners are stuck with the ever-spiraling bills. The usual result is just what we see in the Indy Lights Series and Indycar – higher costs and lower car count.

    All of this is a result of wrong thinking. The job of a race series is not to put a limit on how much money teams can spend. The job of a race series is to make sure that spending money doesn’t help. NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series is in trouble because competitive engine packages are too expensive. Teams are losing money and closing up shop. NASCAR’s response is to consider a spec engine. Wrong thinking.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!Take away their tires and everything else becomes elementary. NASCAR tires are enormously wide and offer a broad, sticky contact patch with the asphalt. The trucks reach tremendous speeds before they begin to lose adhesion and when they do, the drift is slight and nearly imperceptible to the average race fan. The racing isn’t that good. The tires are just too wide. If NASCAR trucks adopted a narrow, hard compound tire, the importance of horsepower would diminish considerably. Speeds would drop. The trucks would visibly slide on the racetrack and average race fans could see and appreciate the skill of the drivers.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING! Teams who spend fantastic sums on engine power would find themselves gaining little, if any, real advantage because without big, wide tires, it would be impossible to utilize all that engine power. The limiting factor in a truck’s speed would no longer be the engine; it would be the tires. The series should concern itself with reducing mechanical grip and to a lesser extent, aerodynamic grip. When the trucks begin to slide, the real racing begins and the unbridled supremacy of overpriced engines quickly fades.

    The job of the series isn’t to limit horsepower or spending. NASCAR’s job is to limit the amount of horsepower that can be used in a race by eliminating traction. When that is achieved, the enormous horsepower and massive engine budgets will collapse of their own weight and teams will begin considering the Camping World Truck Series as a viable alternative again. That’s how to save truck racing.

    Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. Sponsored by http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/and http://www.boschett-timepieces.com/index.php

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  • Don’t Forget British Superbikes 2017 Starts This Weekend

    The motorcycle race season is now well underway. World Superbikes and MotoGP have already started their seasons. And possibly the best national series, the 2017 British Superbike championship, kicks off at Donington on Friday, March 31st.

    The entry list includes multiple champion Shane Byrne and team-mate Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducatis. Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey are on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis. Honda will again field Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran. And Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Davide Giugliano will both be capable of running at the front.

    Then there’s the returning Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha, John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, James Ellison and Michael Laverty on the McAms Yamahas, and the Bennetts Suzuki team of Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie. And also the debut of Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki.

    Basically, out of a field of 25 riders, you wouldn’t bet against about 17 of them having a chance of winning.

    Anvil Hire Yamaha Josh Brookes British Superbikes 2017
    Anvil Hire Yamaha’s Josh Brookes is back in British Superbikes for 2017

    What’s the Donington Park British Superbikes Timetable?

    The weekend kicks off at 9am on Friday, March 31st. Free practice for all classes takes place throughout the day, and there are qualifying sessions for the KTM RC Cup at 3.45pm, and the Ducati TriOptions Cup at 5.45pm.

    On Saturday, the morning is largely taken up with qualifying sessions and the final free practice for the BSB boys.

    For entry, gates open at 7.30am

    Saturday Races:

    • 12.30: Ducati performance TriOptions Cup 8 Laps
    • 13:00: Pirelli National Superstock 1000 2 x 18 laps
    • 14:30: British Motostar Championship 10 laps
    • 15:05: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
    • 15:35: Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 16:02: BSB Qualifying and Superpole
    • 17:20: British Supersport Championship Sprint Race 10 laps

    Sunday is race day, with all the competing classes getting a morning warm up session. Then racing begins at 10:30am. There are also Suzuki Donington 40th Anniversary parade laps taking place during lunch at 1pm.

    Sunday Races

    • 10:30: KTC RC Cup 8 laps
    • 11.05: Ducati TriOptions Cup 10 laps
    • 12:35 National Superstock 600 14 laps
    • 13:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 14:15: National Superstock 1000 16 laps
    • 14:55: British Motostar Championship 14 laps
    • 15:40 British Supersport Championship Feature Race 18 laps
    • 16:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
    • 17:15: KTM RC Cup 8 laps

    How much does Donington British Superbikes 2017 cost?

    Advance ticket sales have now ended, so it’s full price on the gate. Children age 13 and under are free, and parking is free for the British Superbikes. Plus you can get 50% off adult entry for the Donington Park museum on the day.

    The paddock will be open. And disabled spectators access is located at Coppice Corner with an elevated viewing and parking area. You’ll need to be displaying your blue badge to get in.

    Ticket prices for the weekend are:

    Friday
    £10

    Saturday
    £15

    Sunday
    £30

    Weekend
    £45

    Grandstand
    £15

    Concessions
    £25 – race day only

    There are a few limited camping spots left for those deciding to stay at the last minute. Weekend admission with camping starts at £75 for those over 14 years of age.

    How to Watch Donington BSB 2017 on TV:

    Not able to make it to Donington Park? Here’s how to watch on TV and online.

    British Superbikes Live Timing is available via the official British Superbikes site for free.

    Saturday April 1:

    • 15:45: Live Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race Highlights – Eurosport 2

    Sunday April 2:

    • 13:00: Live British Superbikes (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
    • 21:00: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 22:00: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2

    Monday April 3:

    • 13.15: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
    • 14:15: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
    • 17:30: Race Highlights – Eurosport 1

    Eurosport is available via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. Or online via the Eurosport Player, which is £5.99 for a one day pass, or £29.99 for access until December 31st, 2017 (Which also includes World Superbikes). That’s a special offer running until April 30th, 2017.

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  • PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD: THE RICHARD PETTY CONNECTION!

    Our man on the track, Stephen Cox, talks with Richard Petty about his connection to the winged Superbird.

    It has been claimed that Plymouth’s legendary winged ‘70 Superbird was the brainchild of NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The rumor has been around for decades but I’ve never found anyone with first-hand knowledge who could absolutely confirm or deny that the car’s origins truly began with The King of Stock Car Racing.

    But opportunity knocked a couple of weeks ago when Petty was in attendance at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL, which I co-host for NBCSN. I found him relaxing backstage late in the show and hollered, “Hey, King!” Although I don’t know him well, he looked up with his trademark smile and immediately held out his hand.

    I asked him point blank whether he was responsible for the development of the Plymouth Superbird. Petty paused and laid the back of his hand across his brow. “Well, let me get the dates right.”

    “We knew in 1968 that Dodge was building a wing car. So I went to Plymouth and asked if they were gonna build one and they said, ‘No.’ I told them that I’d like them to work on one and they said, ‘No, you’re winning all the races anyway.’”

    True, Petty had been dominant, winning 27 of 49 Grand National races en route to the championship in 1968. Rather than cough up the additional funds to stay current in NASCAR’s burgeoning aero wars, Plymouth was content to let Petty struggle against increasing odds.

    Undeterred, Petty tried another angle. He asked if he could stay within the Chrysler family and simply move over to Dodge and drive the new Charger Daytona winged car for the 1969 season. Plymouth flatly refused.

    “So I said, ‘Either build me a wing car or I’m walking across the street,’” Petty continued. “They said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’ So I did.”

    That same afternoon Richard Petty personally walked into Ford Motor Company’s front office. Ford executives took no risks, signing Petty to a one-year contract on the spot. Petty finished second in the points chase while winning ten races for Ford in 1969. It was enough. He didn’t have to return to Detroit to beg Plymouth for a winged car. This time, they came to him.

    “The head man from Plymouth came walking into my shop,” Petty continued. “He said, ‘What do we need to do to get you back? I said, ‘Give me what I’ve been asking for.’”

    Plymouth pledged to have a new winged car completed for Petty in time for the 1970 NASCAR season. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they chose to use a modified version of the wildly successful Dodge Charger Daytona platform. Under NASCAR’s homologation rules, a limited number of Superbird street cars were built and sold through Plymouth’s dealership network.

    Behind the wheel of the car built specifically for him, Richard Petty and his Plymouth Superbird won 18 of the 40 races in which they competed in 1970, led nearly half of all laps and won nine pole positions. Despite being produced for only one model year, the road-going version of the Superbird became a legend in the annals of musclecar history.

    Today, a concours-ready Plymouth Superbird will routinely draw bids from $100,000 to $300,000 at auction. They remain among the most collectible musclecars ever built.

    “So there you go,” Petty told me with a smile. “That’s how it happened.”

     

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