Posts by Joe Farace:
Special Guest post by Jim Hayes
My high school art teacher, who in the 60s drove Alfas and Porsches and shot using Leicas and Hasselblads, got my brother and I started on the right track. My brother went on to run a Ferrari, Porsche, Alfa and Mercedes Benz for dealer that at one point had nine cars racing in SCCA competition and in international events such as Sebring and Daytona. While I went to college and grad school, I spent my spare time as a mechanic on sports racing cars and amateur photographer attending many races, including SCCA, Can Am and the US Grand Prix. I always had my Leica M2/Summilux 35/Elmarit 90 with me and shot thousands of photos.
In 2002, as we were preparing for a move from Boston to Southern California, I began to think about all those photos and all the books I had collected on cars and racing. I had three boxes, almost 100 books, just on racing technique, covering racing sprint cars in the 1930s to brand-new books.
I had been racing vintage Alfas for more than a decade and had met the founders of the new Watkins Glen Racing Library. When I offered them the books, they were delighted to have them. They also asked about old photos. I had already scanned hundreds of the the photos from the 60s and 70s and posted them on my website. I was often asked to contribute to magazine articles, books and websites like this one.
Since then, I have convinced others to make similar donations to the Library. As we get older, we all wonder what will happen to all those photos and other “junk” that we have collected. Finding them a good home like at the Watkins Glen library ensures that they will not get tossed in the trash by someone who wonders “who would want all those old car photos?”— Jim Hayes
We all have cars that we’ve owned and miss because for reasons we can’t quite remember, we sold. Today continues a new series of blog posts about cars that I’ve loved and cars I’ve owned. Today, it’s about Mary’s Miata. If you would like to write a post about one of your favorite cars, drop me note using the Contact tab above.
Mary has loved Mazda Miatas for a long time and thinks that they are just so darn cute. In the past few years she’s test driven several Miata but could never afford one. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago she decided that life was too short to wait and she wanted to start running autocrosses on one condition– in a WHITE MIATA!
We began looking at early Miatas, only some of them were not white but all of them were interesting. It started with the white 1990 model with BBS wheels that we came close to purchasing until the salesman let it slip that the car had recently been repossessed from a stripper who had stopped payment on the check and had hid the car is a stable with some horses. While test driving the car, she noticed that it made some funny noises but when we heard that tale Mary decided to pass.
Mary and I haunted the usual car search websites and one Saturday, we compiled a list of cars and went in search of the affordable Miata. We started with a black ’96 with steel wheels. While the miles were reasonable the car had seen hard use as an urban assault vehicle. The nice old, hippie couple who owned the car pointed at the hump in the hood and said “see that! You wrap a half a chicken in aluminum foil and drive up to the mountains and lunch will be ready when you get there.” I don’t think the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices included Castrol.
We called the next two owners on our list and left messages and decided to go take a look at a car that was further away. Along the way we drove by a Mazda dealer and asked if they had any Miatas. “Nope,” the nice saleslady said but Bob in Parts is trying to sell his ’93.” It’s got a lot of miles (186,000 it turns out) “but the engine is all chrome and get this,” he says excitedly, “It has teeth.” Fresh from the mouth of “Ralph the Shark” there’s stainless steel teeth chomping away in the front grill. The engine is a work of art but when Mary tries to sit inside, the smell of tobacco smoke stops her in her tracks. “We can get somebody to de-stinkify it,” says Bob.
Update: Since this was written Mary has undergone surgery and radiation therapy and last year was declared “cancer free” by her oncologist. The Miata is gone from the garage but it not forgotten and she still talks about this car and misses it. That’s why I’ve been looking for a clean unmolested example, with manual transmission for her but so far have just been ‘kissing frogs.’
For the next three weeks on Wednesday, I’ll be showcasing new auto-themed products that you might find useful or could make a fun holiday gift. Today it’s a book—“Sports Illustrated Kids Wheels 3D”—that’s aimed at kinds but will make a great gift for gearheads of any age.
Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a fan of 3D photography, especially of cars. (If you missed my previous 3D posts on this subject you can see them here and here.) This new book from Sports illustrated photographer, David Klutho, is filled with every kind of vehicle from monster trucks to RC miniature cars, motorcycles to muddy BMX bikes. At 11×11-inches, the book is oversized and reproduction is spectacular and the 80-pages won’t challenges younger reader’s attention spans.
For motorsports fans there’s Klutho’s impressive photographs of NASCAR races and racers but my favorite section is about John Force Racing with images of his racing operation and two knock-your-socks off portraits of his daughter Courtney, a serious funny car racer. These two side-by-side images clearly show the power of 3D photography and the use of pop-off-the-page images elsewhere in the book will keep you and your gearhead offspring entertained during the holidays.
The subject matter in the latter part of the book is clearly aimed at kids and filled with photographs of BMX, skateboards and RC cars. The section on motorcycles is lots of fun with great images of dirt bikes and motocrossers that literally and figuratively jump out off the book. The brief text supports Klutho’s amazing photographs and hey, maybe your kid might learn something too. But reading it together with them—there are two pair of 3D glasses included—will be a guaranteed bonding experience during the holidays and afterwards.
Jaguar Land Rover is celebrating the production of the 1,000,000th Jaguar Land Rover vehicle at its Halewood advanced manufacturing facility, near Liverpool. The 1,000,000 vehicle is a unique Range Rover Evoque, painted in a special one-off color combination and will be donated to Cancer Research UK. The vehicle is a Fuji-White, Dynamic with ebony-black alloy wheels and distinctive and unique Firenze-Red contrast roof, matching Firenze-Red mirror scalps and red/black sports seats and interior door panels.
Between 2001 and 2009, 363,603 Jaguar X-Type and X-Type Estates were manufactured at Halewood. In July 2011 Halewood welcomed the arrival of the Range Rover Evoque. The smallest, most efficient production Range Rover ever made. As a result of demand, Halewood moved to 24 hour production for the first time in its 50 year history. The Evoque has received over 130 global awards and is the biggest selling Jaguar Land Rover vehicle, breaking Jaguar Land Rover production volume records in both of its first two years of production. Halewood has manufactured 255,186 to date.
The 1,000,000th vehicle will be donated to Cancer Research UK, who will take ownership of the vehicle later in the year. The CRUK team will be placing the car in a special auction event in 2014. Details of the event will be revealed in the new year and funds raised from the vehicle will then be spent on CRUK projects in the North West of England.
Cancer Research UK funds world-class research and clinical trials throughout the North West and last year spent nearly £21 million supporting the work of doctors, nurses and scientists at hospitals and major universities in the region. Every hour more than four people in the North West are diagnosed with cancer.