Mon Dec 30 2013 21:40:27 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
'Riding a bicycle around your living room' was how the Brazilian champion Nelson Piquet described racing on Monaco's cramped Grand Prix circuit. Laid out on public streets, the course is threaded so trickily through the world's second-smallest state that it contains both the fastest and slowest corners on the Formula 1 circuit and twice (in 1955 and 1965) has launched errant drivers into the harbor. The layout tends to yield unpredictable results, too, which makes it remarkable that for 10 consecutive years (1984-93) the winner was one of two men: Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, Formula 1's greatest pair of rivals. The French Mr. Prost was the 'Professor,' renowned for his methodical style of racing, while the Brazilian Senna was aggression and speed. All the more striking is that they were teammates at McLaren for two of those seasons (1988-89). The British team is the subject of the large-format retrospective 'McLaren: 50 Years of Racing' (Prestel, 293 pages, $160), and while the book covers the team's beginnings and continued success today with drivers like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, the days of the rivalry are the leading attraction. We see the Frenchman leading the field at Monaco in 1984, high-rises banked like bleachers behind him (above), and winning at Adelaide, Australia, in 1986, his arms thrust from the cockpit in victory as heat shimmers from the tarmac. Senna, befitting his almost spiritual intensity, is shown in a sequence of solemn close-ups dressing to race. Another shot shows the moment of the teammates' final break: The two sit side by side in their matching cars on the shoulder of the track after colliding at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. Other photos trace the continuous refinement, aerodynamic and mechanical, that has made McLaren cars so successful. But in the end, it is the men who risk their lives at speeds above 200 miles an hour who compel. —The Editors
For race fans who know the sport's history, "e;Parnelli Jones"e; is synonymous with speed. Jones' journey from California jalopy wars to victory lane at the Indianapolis 500 is the stuff of American motorsports legend. Now, at last, Parnelli tells the story of his incredible racing life. Each chapter is introduced by Bourcier to set the scene and ends with a personal reminiscence by a racer, owner, or friend who was there, including A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Bobby and Al Unser, Bud Moore, Johnny Rutherford, Tony Stewart, and more.
Hard cover, 288 pp, B&W and color photos. $39.95
It was a driver's dream: Along with the full factory warranty, your car came with a guarantee of 11.5-second quarter-mile times. It was also Joel Rosen's dream, and in 1964, he set out to make it a reality. First he built fast cars. Then, taking a page from Ford's "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" strategy, he built a reputation by beating all comers on drag strips and in street races. By 1967, Rosen's Motion Performance was the place to go if you wanted a true muscle car—and, if you ordered a Baldwin-Motion Chevrolet, a muscle car with a full factory warranty. Motion Performance tells the inside story of how it all happened. Brilliantly illustrated with period pictures and modern color photos, the book takes readers along as Cobras, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, even Volkswagen Beetles roll into the shop to get torn down and rebuilt into cars unbeatable on the streets and drag strips. Marty Schorr gives a first-hand account of seven years of high-performance life--and of how it all came to a screeching halt at the hands of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. A once-in-a-lifetime tale of power and speed, told by one of the principals who put that performance within reach, Motion Performance makes the story of a briefly and thrillingly lived dream available to everyone. $25 on Amazon.
Sat Jul 20 2013 14:06:51 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The Cars of Vel Miletich and Parnelli Jones
Text by: Jimmy Dilamarter and Ren Wicks, Jr.
Photography by: Dean Kirkland, Walt Kuhn and (many) others
204 pages, 9.25”x 14” $69.00
275 color photos, 66 black and white photos
Published by: Dalton Watson Fine Books
Review by Doug Stokes
Prologue: Two first thoughts related to this book …
One. If had a dollar for every time that I’ve heard, “Hey, I had a Johnny Lightning Slot Car!” in the few days since I received this book … I’d have quite a few extra dollars right now.
Two. The term “iconic” has been overused (and sometimes by yours truly) so egregiously until it has almost the same impact as the word “awesome” does these days. So we are going to have to forge ahead with this review, trying mightily NOT to lean on either of above words for any sort of exposition here. It’s just that I wish that both of them still had full cred as they’d easily be applied here.
This book is a brilliantly colorful visual compendium of a glorious stable of racing cars that the late Vel Melitich and Parnelli Jones owned and operated; and that Jones recently put into the hands of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. These special racing machines span some 50 years of design, engineering and winning race performance.
Though not couched as a heavy technical treatise on these machines; there’s well enough detail in the accompanying text for anyone not familiar with the era to come to a good understanding of the times and the sort of effort that these cars represent. These are cars that were designed and drawn out on vellum and then hand-crafted by fabricators who understood every tiny detail because they made them on that bench right over there.
Lovingly-written and beautifully-photographed in exquisite detail, every car in this book looks not like a museum piece, but absolutely, positively ready to crank over and get out there and mix it up with any and all comers right now.
Maybe it’ just that I personally see so much of Parnelli Jones himself in each of these cars … He won Indy 50 years ago and only raced the first five cars (or cars like them) portrayed here, but, for me, every car in this book has his DNA, his attitude, his full personality as a total, all-in racer.
We all know that every generation has what it refers back to as a “Golden Era” and the span of the vehicles that came out of the Vel Melitich-Parnelli Jones partnership sure qualifies as one for me. From the first PJ Colt (yeah, THE Johnny Lightning Special) in 1970 to the last of the Torrance-built F1 cars and Indy cars in 1979, this is a classic car show. In between readers will also view “Big Oly”, Parnelli’s Baja-concurring Bronco, and Danny Ongais’ fiercely-beautiful Mustang Funny Car … Vel’s Parnelli Jones machines in every sense of the title.
Indy is Indy … always will be in one way or another … But somewhere along the way, car owners, or maybe it was the big corporate advertisers, stopped calling their cars “The Hot Fudge Pizza Special” or the “Floyd’s Plumbing and Heating Special.
Maybe they stopped calling Indy Cars “Specials” because they had good reason to. No one builds their own car to run against the best that the other guys can build now. You can’t, it’s against the rules. Everyone has the (except for a very expensive corporate colors paint job) the identical car with identical everything and choice of engine brand (pick one from column C or one from column H please). The cars in this book handsome are special in every sense of the word.
And then we get to meet the men who drove for Vel and Parnelli. I’ll let you get the book and go over the full record of wins and championships that they represent, but the driver’s names (here alphabetically) should give any reader a clue as to the prowess that each of the Vel’s-PJ machines was endowed with: Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Joe Leonard, Danny Ongais, Al Unser, and Parnelli Jones himself. These guys, none of them, ever drove junk.
This book could almost be taken as a text book on Indy Car design and the wonderful era that we talked about earlier—each succeeding machine on these pages is a compendium of how this merry band of racing people from (of all places, Torrance, California) kept building, winning races with, refining, and then winning more races with.
Coffee table book? Okay…so yeah, the people lucky enough to snag a copy this book for their coffee table are going to have some wonderful hours paging though pictures that one could almost fall into. There are 18 incredible pure racing vehicles here cataloged. From Parnelli’s winning Indy roadster to sleek Formula One cars, all with one thing in common, a racing bloodline that ran deep and true.
And the writing: (we mentioned it before) it is neither cheerleading nor a dry technical report. Co-author Jimmy Dilamarter was there; he did the work, got the T-shirt and here tells us about it in calm respectful tones that carried forward a very subtle (and very well-deserved) sense of pride. When Dilamarter finished working on this book and stepped back to take it all in it must have been a very special personal moment for him … It damn well was for me. – DS
THE KEY PLAYERS:
VEL MILETICH—First a sponsor of Parnelli’s behind the wheel work, then a partner in a Ford dealership, then a Champ Car owner, and then a partner with Jones and the co-creator of this marvelous stable of racing thoroughbreds. Vel was the most gentle of imposing figures, the prototype big man with an even bigger heart. My recollections of him were always, that, for a car salesman, he was not very forward or talkative. Parnelli was like that too, both of these guys preferred action to gab.
JIMMY DILAMARTER—On close inspection, one might notice that co-author Jimmy Dilamarter’s name not only appears on the book’s cover and internal credits, but on the flanks of a number of the machines pictured in this book. Dilamarter is the mechanic’s version of Parnelli, a crackerjack fabricator, brilliant tactician, and all-around hale fellow. His “been there, done that” motorsports resume is a deep and board as any, ever. To that, here adds something that very few ever saw coming: he’s an accomplished writer, and better than that, a true historian. His work on the typed part of the page every bit matches his talent in the race shop and at the race track.
PARNELLI JONES—Like a number of people, I used to carry the thought that Parnelli Jones retired from driving racing cars way too early. Of course, that was abundantly not my business, but that never stopped me having the thought. This book now (even more abundantly) reminds me of how important Parnelli Jones’ influence on racing became after he hung his helmet up once and for all. (I was wrong; I admit it … haven’t had the opportunity to mention that fact to the man … maybe he’ll see it here.) Let’s just say that this book is a proper tribute to a wonderful era in American motorsports as well as to the real people who led it.
Editor’s note: To see for yourself what Stokes is so revved up about above, head to daltonwatson.com where they have a number of pages available for on-screen viewing. Our editor at large (who saw many of these car race) tells us that those page views are nowhere as stunning on screen as they are on the printed page. Buy the book.
You can also pre-order the book via Amazon
I'm new to Peter Bourassa's excellent MotorSports Marketing Resources and, wow, am I impressed. Not only personal blog posts of insight and depth, but a great photo gallery to boot. Here's a recent excerpt about a new memoir on James Dean "Jimmy & Me."
Lew Bracker is a first-time author who swore he would never write about what he now writes about—his friendship with James Dean, the talented young American actor and Porsche enthusiast who starred in three movies, raced in three races and died on a California highway driving his new Porsche 550 on the way to run another race. Lew Bracker had met the rising young star through his cousin’s husband, Leonard Rosenman, who wrote the scores for the first two Dean movies. Covering the last 16 months of James Dean’s life, Jimmy & Me: A Personal Memoir of James Dean is a moving story of two young men with a mutual respect for cars and each other. The direct simplicity and honesty in the telling of this developing friendship and its tragic interruption is a sincerely moving story.
From the July 8, 2013 Issue of Autoweek
By Denise McCluggage
Thu Jun 13 2013 13:24:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
“Most successful leaders are mentally and emotionally askew. There’s a good side, which gets the job done. There’s often also a downside that makes them hard to understand or difficult to work for. It’s precisely that they are impatient, stubborn, opinionated, unsatisfied, and domineering that makes them successful.”
When Bob Lutz retired from General Motors in 2010, after an unparalleled forty-seven-year career in the auto industry, he was one of the most respected leaders in American business. He had survived all kinds of managers over those decades: tough and timid, analytical and irrational, charismatic and antisocial, and some who seemed to shift frequently among all those traits. His experiences made him an expert on leadership, every bit as much as he was an expert on cars and trucks.
Now Lutz is revealing the leaders—good, bad, and ugly—who made the strongest impression on him throughout his career. Icons and Idiots is a collection of shocking and often hilarious true stories and the lessons Lutz drew from them. From enduring the sadism of a Marine Corps drill instructor, to working with a washed-up alcoholic, to taking over the reins from a convicted felon, he reflects on the complexities of all-too-human leaders. No textbook or business school course can fully capture their idiosyncrasies, foibles and weaknesses – which can make or break companies in the real world.
Lutz shows that we can learn just as much from the most stubborn, stupid, and corrupt leaders as we can from the inspiring geniuses. He offers fascinating profiles of icons and idiots such as...
Eberhard von Kuenheim. The famed CEO of BMW was an aristocrat-cum-street fighter who ruled with secrecy, fear, and deft maneuvering.
Harold A. “Red” Poling: A Ford CEO and the ultimate bean counter. If it couldn’t be quantified, he didn’t want to know about it.
Lee Iacocca: The legendary Chrysler CEO appeared to be brillant and bold, but was often vulnerable and insecure behind the scenes.
G. Richard “Rick” Wagoner: The perfect peacetime CEO whose superior intelligence couldn’t save GM from steep decline and a government bailout.
As Lutz writes:
We’ll examine bosses who were profane, insensitive, totally politically incorrect, and who “appropriated” insignificant items from hotels or the company. We’ll visit the mind of a leader who did little but sit in his office. We’ll look at another boss who could analyze a highly complex profit-and-loss statement or a balance sheet at a glance, yet who, at times, failed to grasp the simplest financial mechanisms—how things actually worked in practice to create the numbers in the real world.
The result is a powerful and entertaining guide for any aspiring leader.
Thu Feb 28 2013 00:27:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Come on guys and gals, help support this new book with your donation. "The Little Red Racing Car is a picture book story of a 1955 Maserati 300S discovered in a barn by a son and rebuilt with his father."
Fri Feb 22 2013 21:38:41 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Alan Mann was one of the great motor racing team managers of the 1960s. A successful race driver himself, he played a key role in Ford's 'Total Performance' program, preparing and running iconic cars like Ford Falcons, Mustangs, Cobras, GT40s, Cortinas and Escorts for racing and rallying and building the sensational Ford F3L sports-prototype and monster Can-Am racers. His drivers included star names like Frank Gardner, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Stewart and John Whitmore. This is his personal story of one of the most exciting eras of motor sports. Around forty bucks on Amazon.
Fri Feb 22 2013 21:40:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Forty years in the history of the Porsche 917-021 described by an enthralling investigation that includes a journey to the heart of deepest Germany, trips to Stuttgart and Hamburg as well as the Black Forest, the Moselle region and the Rhine!
In 1970, 917-021 raced at Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, the Nürburgring, Le Mans, Hockenheim, Watkins Glen and Kyalami in the Endurance World Championship and the Interseries. Read all about its victories and its two lives! Piecing together the story of this car led to meetings with exceptional people including Gijs van Lennep, Bobby Rahal, Kurt Ahrens, Gérard Larrousse, David Piper, team managers Hannu Kahi (AAW team), Hans-Dieter Dechent (Martini Racing team) and Porsche engineers Walter Näher and Herbert Staudenmaier.
Discover the history and the technical secrets of its legendary 180° V12 engine, the car’s soul. Also pictured are its liveries and decorations starting with the classic red and yellow Shell paintwork and finishing with the two psychedelic colour schemes that marked its 1970 racing career.
This book also describes the meeting with Joachim Grossmann, the only other man (with Count Rossi) to have registered a 917 as a road-going car!
The story of the Porsche 917’s exceptional restoration and its return to the track will give the reader never-before published insights into one of the greatest racing cars in the history of motor racing!
Fri Feb 22 2013 21:44:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
This really quite extraordinary book from Bernard Viart records every detail for both LHD and RHD models and all body styles of this popular Jaguar sports car of the 1950s. The text is in English, having been translated from Bernard Viart's original French by experts.
Absolutely invaluable for both professional and amateur restorers – identify what should be where and what's missing!
All types of XK 120 are covered, starting with the aluminium-bodied Open Two Seaters and their wood frames, and moving on to the production steel-bodied Roadsters (early and late types), then the Fixed Head and Drop Head Coupes.
Above: the book's dust jacket
The cars are dissected by means of some 2,500 individual drawings in some 413 plates, most in colour, and almost every part, nut, bolt and washer is shown - and, of vital importance, where they are located on the car. These books make it far more practical to buy and restore a disassembled or incomplete XK, because Bernard Viart provides these vital visual references to what every part looks like and where it should go, including all the wiring in colour. Even if you won't be restoring an XK 120, this book gives an absolutely unique analysis of how the XK 120 was made and assembled.
In addition to the drawings, conventional chapters provide a full description of the car and its production and competition career, plus special bodied examples. The evolution of the XK engine which powered it is also told in detail. All chapters are profusely illustrated with superb period photographs and literature. Many of these illustrations will be unfamiliar even to the expert.
Below: example pages:
The book is of the highest quality as regards printing and paper (the latter from accredited sources), and is available in standard and slip-cased leather bound form (the latter limited to 120 copies only). Prices are £110 for the Standard Edition and £175 for the Leather Bound Edition, both plus Shipping. Availability will be November 2012.