Friday, May 30, 2014

Off Topic: James May

James May: an authentic car buff, and a worthy successor to the Monty Python comic sensibility in British TV.

Lately I've become weary of Top Gear.  It's become a kind of "Brits do Jackass".  But James May has turned out to be a real find.  BBC America sometimes runs some of his other shows: James May's Toy Stories and James May's Man Lab.  Some episodes are on the internet.  Here's a link to a particularly funny Man Lab segment, "Bunned Aid for Abingdon", which is at the beginning and end of the hour-long show.  The intermediate segments are fine too, just not as hilariously presented.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Killboy's Hot Hatches

This is the final "Best Of Killboy" post--for now, anyway.  And it seems an appropriate one to follow the post on the pint-pot Fiat 600.

Old Mini: the only reason it wasn't the first hot hatch was because it had a laughable "trunk".

"Still The One:" the VW Golf GTI: often imitated, sometimes surpassed, but the progenitor and leader of an entire
market segment, still going strong after almost forty years.

"Fastest Foreigner's" Generation 5 Civic Si eats tourista slayers for breakfast.  Well... actually for lunch and dinner,
because Kamal usually shoots for in the afternoons.

This is one of my favorite Killboy shots.  Love a pic of a car hauling butt in the rain.

As previously posted, this version of the Acura Integra is "the one that got away" from me.  Nobody has built a better-
looking hot hatch.  Honda's world-class engineering and driving experience can be taken for granted.  Alas, I didn't
need a new car when this Acura was in production.

Pushing the envelope again (hot hatches don't have four doors).  But "Fear The Fit." --Killboy
At least when it has aftermarket upgrades...

Just when I was hoping a good shot of the new Fiat Abarth would come along, one does!

Is the Focus ST the upper limit of hot-hatchdom?  An engineer for a major manufacturer said that 220 horsepower is
as much as you can pump through the tires of a front-driver, even with clever design tweaks to the front suspension
and a Torsen diff and stability control.  The Focus ST has 20 more than that and is a hoot to drive on the Dragon.

Point Of Personal Privlege: my Civic Si is a 4-door that thinks it's a coupe.  Nobody shoots Slayer Wannabes better
than  Darryl has trained his photographers in The Killboy Way, which includes framing each shot
and not using motor drives.  I've bought pix from other photographers, but keep coming back to Killboy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Another Pint Pot Post (Fiat 600)

Scale: actual size.

OK, I have a soft spot for pint pots.  When I waxed poetic about the Citroen 2CV, Hotshoe was mystified.  "Why?  What is the point or advantage of that car compared to, say, a Jeep?"  I don't have an answer, except that these cars charm me and Jeeps don't.

A Wheeler-Dealer episode about restoring a Fiat 500 reminded me of pleasant times with the Fiat 600. The dealership where I had my summer jobs sold Fiats: the 1100 sedan, the 1500 Cabriolet, and the 600. The owner's wife drove an 1100, and we sold a few.  The 1500 cabrio had a tough row to hoe against the British sports cars and Alfa Romeos on the showroom floor.  I don't recall that we sold many 600's.  (This was at a time when VW Beetles were becoming a common sight on the streets of the Midwest.)  Some of our 600's were courtesy rentals for service customers.  So there was always one around, and I drove them when the little Morris Minor dealership truck was off the lot.

The 600 was a fun car.  Its 767 c.c. inline 4 engine made it a foot-to-the-floor-all-the-time proposition, even though it weighed only 1400 lbs.  I never saw the 600's claimed top speed of 68 m.p.h., but that little engine liked to rev and was fun to row around town with its 4-speed box.  Braking was only OK with drums behind those 12-inch wheels.  The 600 had a transverse leaf spring in front, cleverly mounted to double as an anti-roll bar, and semi-trailing arms in back with swing axles.  I didn't push the 600 to its handling limits.  The rearward weight bias, swing axles, and gripless cross-ply tires had my full attention and respect.  But inside its envelope, it was agile and precise.

Above and below: A British resale ad might say "No mod cons."  If you wanted a radio, the dealership I worked for
would put one in for you.  But there was no "radio delete" panel in the dash.  This is why a 600 cost about $7000
in 2014 money.  Until I researched this post, I didn't know the car's top speed was 68 m.p.h.  But even in 1963
I knew the 80 m.p.h. speedometer was wildly optimistic.

Above: the rear-mounted water-cooled inline 4 was quieter than a Beetle's air-cooled mill, and supplied a heater/defroster
that actually worked in winter.  The 600's 32 horsepower wasn't that far off the Beetle's 36, especially in a lighter car.
But the Beetle's 17% larger engine had more torque and made it feel like a faster car.

Below: when Carlo Abarth bored the block to 0.75 or 1.0 liters and added a d.o.h.c. crossflow head with radical cams
and large carbs, the 600's engine became quite the little hot rod.  Especially in a Fiat-Abarth aluminum coupe body
atop a 600 floor pan with fully independent Abarth rear suspension.

The Wikipedia article on the 600 says that it was an "urban car."  Not really.  Or at least no more so than the prewar Fiat Topolino, the 500, the 2CV, the Morris/Austin Minor, the Mini Minor, or the Volkswagen Beetle.  They were the Italian, French, English, and German ways of putting their nations on wheels.  Part of their charm was their difference.  The engineering problems of basic transportation were solved by Alec Issigonis in 1960 with the Mini: a transversely mounted water-cooled engine driving the front wheels.  Everybody makes Minis now.  But not until:

     the Germans tried rear engine (air cooled) rear drive (Volkswagen)
     the French tried front engine (air cooled) front drive  (Citroen)
     the Italians tried rear engine  (water cooled) rear drive (Fiat)
     and the English tried front engine (water cooled) rear drive (Morris)  

The Europeans abandoned separate body-and-frame construction for sheet steel unit bodies long before Detroit did because a small car had to be a light car.  But Volkswagen used 15-inch wheels because the Beetle had to get down Germany's Autobahns.  Italy didn't have Autobahns, so the 500 and 600 got by with 12-inch wheels and smaller engines.  France prizes a comfortable ride, so the 2CV had remarkably supple suspension and was developed in tandem with Michelin's radial tires.  The Morris Minor was, in my opinion, a conventional car because the English are a conventional people.  Issigonis was Greek by birth and his Mini Minor solution was the most radical: a transverse engine and 10-inch wheels to maximize interior space.  While his 10-inch wheels didn't survive--couldn't survive the advent high-speed highways--his basic architecture has become the industry standard.

The Fiat 600 was in production from 1955 to 1969.  And Fiat sold a bunch of them, directly or under license, in Spain and Latin America as well as putting Italy on wheels.  The new Fiat 500 is a worthy spiritual successor, even if its architecture is straightforwardly Mini.  And the Abarth model is a worthy successor to the 600's that Carlo Abarth hot-rodded back in the day.

What could be better in the fun department?  The Abarth Edition, of course.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Alfa Romeo Badge

The cloisonne badge that introduced me to Alfa Romeo in the early 1960's.

For fifty-odd years, I've thought that Alfa Romeo had the coolest badge going.  It imparted a sense of history and exoticism and, in cloisonne rendering, quality and pride.  In the postwar era, it was customary for European cars to have cloisonne badges (from Volkswagen on up to Ferrari).  This seemed much more classy than the American practice of inventing a meaningless new name for a vehicle line or model and rendering it on the car in pot-metal script.

But it wasn't until recently that I looked into the symbolism on Alfa's badge.  I was re-reading Barbara Tuchman's excellent A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century.  On page 240 (paperback edition) she writes:

     "The acme of ostentation awaited in Milan.  To have bought a daughter of the King of France
     for his son and now a son of the King of England for his daughter was a double triumph for
     Galeazzo Visconti and one more marvel in the notoriety of the Vipers of Milan, so-called from
     the family device of a serpent swallowing a struggling human figure, supposedly a Saracen."

That rang the Alfa bell in my head.  Tuchman goes on to explain that the Visconti family did politics in ways that the Corleone family would find breathtaking.  They enjoyed sex in ways that Larry Flynt would find impressive.  Both men and women, over generations.  The story of Jonah and the sea creature is about repentance.  So it's ironic but appropriate that the Viscontis would adopt him as their family symbol.

I decided to research the Alfa Romeo badge seriously--on Wikipedia.  ;-)   Here's a link to an article that told me more than I wanted to know:

It turns out that the Alfa badge has a lot to do with Milan, and not much to do with Alfa.  The red cross on a white background symbolizes Milan (and many other Western Christian entities and service-oriented groups, like the medieval Knights Templar and the modern Red Cross).  The Visconti family adapted the symbol of Jonah (not a Saracen) being swallowed by a sea serpent in the 1000's, later topped by a crown, to symbolize their rule of Milan beginning in 1277.  Milan retained the symbol after the Viscontis no longer ruled.  So the Alfa badge essentially says "Milan" twice.

Until now, I had always understood the Biblical Jonah to have been swallowed by a whale.  Not so.  In ancient Greek, he was swallowed by a ketos: a "great fish or sea creature."  Liturgical art depicting Jonah and the Serpent goes back to the 200's c.e.  "Sea creature" got transliterated into "whale" in the Middle Ages when the Bible was being translated from Greek into modern European languages.  The translators were looking for a more concrete word for a "sea creature" big enough to swallow a man.

Many renderings of Jonah being swallowed by the Serpent show him just being gulped down, or holding a tablet
describing his tribulation or its significance.  This rendering shows his arms extended, struggling.  That's the
version that made it onto the Visconti Coat of Arms and the Alfa Romeo badge.

The Visconti Coat of Arms.

Evolution of the Alfa Romeo badge: the stylized laurel wreath around the outside was added when Alfa began to rack
up racing victories in the 20's, 30's, and 40's.  The stylized 'S", for the House of Savoy, was abandoned in favor of a
tildy when Italy ceased being a kingdom and became a republic.  The current badge is simplified and modernized
by omitting the laurel wreath and scales on the serpent, rendering Jonah in red,  and making the crown more
abstract.  Normally, this kind of simplification in graphic design appeals to me--but not this time.

But it's still the coolest manufacturer's logo going...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm With Bruce Meyer (Ferrari 625/250 TRC)

"You can't take 'em with you, but if I could take one car...  It checks every box for me."
Thanks to the Just A Car Guy blog, via Watchtower, for the link to this fine Petrolicious video.  And thanks to John Von Neumann and Richie Ginther for conceiving of and building this Ferrari hot rod almost 60 years ago.

Richie Ginther racing John Von Neuman's Ferrari 625 4-cylinder, before he swapped out the engine for a 12-cylinder
250 Testa Rossa unit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nurburgring Lap Times For Production Cars

Porsche 956 Museum car in a demo run on the Nordschleife.

I was surprised to learn recently that a Porsche 956 still holds the ultimate lap record for the Nordschleife, set by Stefan Bellof in qualifying for the 1983 1000 km race.  His time was 6:11.  Couldn't a modern sports racer better that time?  Maybe not: the ride height would have to be raised, and spring rates softened, which would mess with the downforce and handling.

The ultimate lap record for the old, bumpy, unimproved, course with no safety features was set by Niki Lauda in a Ferrari 312T, in qualifying for the 1975 German Grand Prix.  His time was 6:59.  When I was a youth, anything under 10 minutes was fast and times approaching 9:00 were blistering. 

This got me to wondering about the relative pace of notable production cars.  Certainly the Norschleife is a benchmark for superb handling.  It has it all: decreasing radius, double apex, off-camber, blind, swoopy uphills and downhills incorporating them--you name it.  Manufacturers tout their cars' lap times these days, to the point that the hosts of Top Gear ridicule them for making the ride of an otherwise fine sports car unduly harsh.  Point taken: not every day is a track day.  To enjoy the Tail of the Dragon, you must get to it, with your spine, kidneys, and mental attitude in reasonably good shape.

Anyway.  Here are some lap times of various interesting and desirable cars.  With the Porsche 908/3 thrown in as another benchmark.  The times are not strictly apples-to-apples.  The length of the current course can vary by about 1%.  The old course was longer still, including about 1/2 mile of the former South Loop (now incorporated into the current Grand Prix course).  Times for the same make/model can vary by 5 seconds or more.  And some of these cars had "ringer" tires, or suspension, or both.  All that being said, these lap times are roughly comparable.  Here's a link to a Wikipedia piece that features an exhaustive list:ürburgring_Nordschleife_lap_times

Time           Car

6:11            Porsche 956 (ultimate lap record)
6:59           Ferrari 312T Grand Prix car ("unimproved" course lap record)
7:43           Porsche 908/3 (fastest sports racing car time circa 1970)

7:23           Corvette C6 Z06 (the "famous" Jim Mero in-car video lap)
7:33           Ferrari 458 Italia
7:33           Porsche GT3 RS
7:34           Nissan GT-R
7:57           Honda NSX-R
8:04           Porsche Cayman S
8:06           Subaru WRX STi
8:25           Lotus Exige S
8:25           Mitsubishi Evo VII

What do these times tell us (or at least me)?  Not a lot.  Obviously I couldn't get the most out of a Z 06, let alone a 956.  And I wouldn't want to be Mero's or Bellof's passenger in either!  A 458 Italia is more fun than a GT3 RS, yet they have identical lap times.  The Exige S and the Evo VII are 12% slower than the 458 and the GT3, but I'm not convinced they're 12% less fun.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

As Good As It Gets

Two Veloces dueling at Cumberland (MD) in 1961.

I've linked to The Automobiliac blog before.  Now its owner, Bradley Price, has begun vintage racing an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce.  What could be more fun than that?  Here's a link to two laps at Lime Rock:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Killboy's Supercars

From my Champagne Taste / Beer Income Department:

Allard J2X.  With an overhead valve Cadillac V-8, this car ruled the roost in U.S. road racing in the late 1940's.  It's
other claim to fame was diabolical handling, courtesy of its Ford Model A beam axle in front, sawed in half and
center pivoted.  The car was nicknamed Grendel at least once, in honor of the monster in Beowulf.  This was in
a brilliant piece for Automobile Quarterly, the author of which I no longer recall.  But I well-remember Stan
Mott's hilarious illustrations of the J2X death trap painted bright, light, pink.

If I could afford a supercar, for fun on public roads in general and the Dragon in particular, it'd be an Acura NSX.
Honda billed it as "the supercar you can live with every day," and Honda was right.  A local MD who lives
near me has one.  He drives it slowly, and his gorgeous silver NSX is fine with that.

Lambo Gallardo: the lines don't photograph well, and it's hard to get a good angle on a still shot.  But Killboy does.

Nissan GT-R.  I'll guess that most supercars are musclebound on the Dragon.  Not this one.

The C 6 Z06: a supercar in my book...

Get that Lambo out of the shot, Killboy!  The Ferrari 458 Italia, the supercar of the last decade, and probably two.
I had some red 458's in my Killboy file, but it looks even more badassed in black.

McLaren MP 4 12-C.   This is not a great-looking car, i.m.o., but Killboy makes it look good.

550 Maranello: Ferrari goes back to a front engine, and hits another home run (at least when viewed from the rear).
And who wudda thunk that the 458 Italia would look great even in light metallic blue?

Lotus Exige: maybe not, strictly speaking, a supercar.  But on the Dragon, it's a super-duper car.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Random Thoughts On F-1 So Far In 2014

Unlike recent years, the question of "Who's Number One?" or "Are we Co-Number Ones?" appears to be very much
unsettled at Mercedes, Williams, Ferrari, and maybe even Red Bull.  At least it is in the minds of Nico Rosberg,
Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, and Sebastian Vettel.  This bodes well for racing if the teammates can resist
the urge to try banzai moves on each other.  Or until team managers suppress it.

The most important thing: the races are interesting and entertaining, even though Mercedes-Benz has replaced Red Bull as the team that just drives away to victory.

Apparently there have been complaints in social media about the pace and sound of the new cars.  I like them.  They're slightly better-looking.  The 1.6 liter V-6, with turbos and energy recovery, limited to 12,000 r.p.m., looks to have technology transfer potential for road cars.  Perhaps reflecting this, Honda is jumping back in to supply McLaren's engines in 2015.  Or maybe Honda just wants its logo on a Grand Prix car again.

In Spain, Mercedes got back some of the 3 seconds the 2014 cars lost to the 2013 cars.  But everyone else remains 1 to 2 seconds slower than Mercedes.  Even if the other teams are able to close the gap, this looks like Mercedes's season.  At least it's not Red Bull (or Ferrari, for those who remember the Michael Schumacher era) again...

The cars are harder to drive, and that's a good thing.  It's entertaining to watch some of the cars nearly always on the limit or over it.  There were signs at the beginning of the season that the new fuel consumption rule might limit the racing.  But managing the tires and the car on worn tires appears to be the limiting factor.

In Spain, Lewis Hamilton appeared to get into his own head.  So it's early to anoint him as World Champion.  Fernando Alonso tried to get into Kimi Raikkonen's head.  That won't work, although Ferrari might mess with Kimi's mind.  Valtteri Bottas at Williams is the "find" of the season--Felipe Massa can't stay with him.  Romain Grosjean seems to be getting an improved Lotus back on pace.  Sebastian Vettel is coming to terms with the new Red Bull car.  In Spain, Hamilton (and Rosberg) lapped the field up to 5th place.  But the racing behind them was gritty and suspenseful.  So it looks to be good, and hard, for the rest of the season, as the teams sort out who is "the best of the rest."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kiillboy's Chevies

...Well... mostly Corvettes... More from my own "Best Of Killboy's Highlights" collection, although the selection isn't large.

  A "Two Lane Blacktop" tribute.  One of my favorite cars in my youth was a D-Gas '55 Chevy drag car with an
amazingly high-winding small block that looked like this one.  Except that it was blue, with hood louvers
instead of an air box, and had a solid front axle hung from leaf springs.

Stock!  The 1965-67 Stingrays are my faves, because the vertical vents on the front fenders work better stylistically.
The couple in the 'Vette were doing the Dragon with the late '40's Ford street rod in the background.  Now there's
an interesting combo-plate of car subcultures...

Not-so-stock... but nicely done.  Some cars are more photogenic than others, and the Stingray has to be among the
best.  If it has a "bad angle," I haven't seen it.

Love the Gen 2 Camaro!  When John DeLorean was running Chevrolet and GM styling, he turned out some of the
best-looking cars done in America.

I'm not a fan of the C3: not as pretty as the Stingray, and no improvement in engineering either.  But from the C4 on,
the Corvette got better and better in styling with progress in the chassis department too.  The C7 may be a more
capable sports car than the C6, but this car remains the best-looking 'Vette to my eye.  And Killboy nailed it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Amelia Island 2014 Video (Justin Lapriore)

Thanks again to The Chicane Blog for these links.  Each of these Justin Lapriore videos runs about 10 minutes:

I'm not a fan of self-consciously "artistic" car videos, especially those shot at concours.  Examples of the problem (as I see it) from still photography are below.  They strike me as an automotive version of a Vogue or Architectural Digest shoot.  These two videos manage to avoid some of that effect.  But can't we get away from the reverential, liturgical, cloying tone of so many of these "classics" videos?

Above and below: how not to photograph a classic.  I admire Ralph Lauren's taste in cars--lovely shapes--but not his
taste in over-restoration.  Or his taste in how his collection is photographed.  A classic speaks for itself.  It doesn't
need to be studio-lit, posed, and shot like a Faberge Egg or a Ming Dynasty vase.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Killboy's Fords

A regular reader likes these "Pilote's Best of Killboy's Highlights" posts, so here's another one:

A '32 hi-boy.  The beginning of the beginning of hot-rodding.  Look at those smiles!

Another immortal: the '40.  The sound of a flathead Ford at a cruise night still makes me stop, look, and listen.  And I
never pass up a chance to view finned cylinder heads topped by three Stromberg carbs.  More Dragon smiles!

Encore appearance: my favorite Killboy pic of 2013.

Well... it's a SuperFormance, but close enough.  Besides, we're not likely to see an authentic GT 40 on the Dragon--
even a street-legal Mark III, of which very few were made.

Bullitt tribute--right down to the license tag.

Ford's Bullitt tribute on the S-197 platform.  What's changed in 40+ years?  An all-aluminum o.h.c. engine with
variable valve timing.  Better tranny, suspension, handling, and ergonomics.  But Steve would recognize it.

I regularly say that the Fox Body Mustang leaves me cold.  Well... almost always.  This one corners flat and hard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Flagging Autobahn (05/14)

Per my own request, I worked Corner 6 of the South Loop all day both days.  It is a difficult corner leading onto a passing straight: a fun and instructive place to watch.  And you can get to it on access roads in your own car.  Which means you don't need to stuff yourself, clown-car fashion, into a 10-passenger van carrying 18 workers to their corner stations.

SATURDAY: As always, most of the day was devoted to high speed autocross.  Hotshoe and his neighbor and I had a boring day.  This is a good thing if you're working a corner.  Except that this time, there were no well-driven Nissan GT-R's to relieve the boredom.  Hotshoe and his neighbor had to leave early, having seen only one spin.  A Corvette HSAX-er stuffed his car into the tire wall at Turn 1, with serious damage to the car but not himself.  I heard third-hand (or more) that he said his brakes failed.  More plausibly, he boiled his brake fluid (with similar feel at the pedal).  It's not hard to boil your brakes in a three-lap practice run on the South Loop.

"Mike" replaced them at the end of the day for the wheel-to-wheel races.  He autocrosses his Gen. 1 Ford Focus smoothly and fast.  The last two races were "all skates," one for cars with fenders and one without.  Not long into the first one, an engine went ka-BLAM-O! in our corner.  Complete with a spectacular oil fire (which went out quickly) and a 2-foot slick 200 feet long from the approach to the apex.  The car snap-spun in its own oil and looped into the infield with its nose pointing at the apex. The next three cars into the corner slid off course.  The excitement, recovery, and cleanup shut down the course for a half hour.  The open-wheelers then got a few laps, and we all called it a day.

The day's-end excitement was a classic blew-his-engine-and-spun-in-his-own-oil.  These are a lot more colorful and enjoyable on TV than when you're responsible for corner safety.  And it was a day too long for an ancien.  We were on our corners by 8:30 a.m. and got in after 7:00.  The average temperature was in the low 50's with a stiff breeze.  "Are those your driving gloves?"  "No, they're my winter gloves."

From this picture we learn that the part number of a Porsche 944 oil sump begins with  I was told that
the car's oil pump "blew up," and we did find a fragment of bushing and shaft that looked oil-pumpish.  But we also
found fragments of red-painted aluminum casting that said "sump" to me.  So I'm thinking that this owner/driver
will be writing a check to rebuild the engine's bottom end, not just for a new oil pump.  This fragment now sits on
my desk at home as reminder of the axiom that a race car is a bottomless pit into which you pour money.

SUNDAY: Again as customary the day was devoted to wheel-to-wheel racing.  My club allows many classes but only six Race Groups, with practice and qualifying in the morning and a half-hour race for each group in the afternoon.  The wind was down, the car-count was low, and the drivers were on their best behavior.  It was an easy and enjoyable day for a corner-flagger.  One of the race staff managers, who has flagged corners for decades, assigned himself to me.  So I was able to watch and learn from the best.

He told me he's been on-corner at every one of Blackhawk Farm's stations when it was hit by a race car.  This came up as we mused about the safest place to locate a worker station.  Ideally, a corner station has a clear view up and down track and is located on the inside of the corner, before the apex. That's where an errant car is least likely to come to rest.  Autobahn South 6 is located, unusually, on the outside of the corner.

"You had a car into 3 at Blackhawk?  I've flagged there, and spun there once myself.  Nobody hits the flag stand at 3.  It's well before the apex.  The 'action' occurs well after the station."

"That's almost always true.  But not if you blow the line in Turn 2."

"Who gets out of shape in 2?  It's a soft dog-leg and even fast cars don't have to treat it as a corner--just place the car properly to set up for 3."

"Well, this guy blew Turn 2.  Somehow he got off track, and came right down the grass on driver's right to our station."

The highlight of the day, for me, was helping a wheel-to-wheel driver get better.  This is heady stuff for a former HSAX-er of middling skills.  His car was an Improved Touring Honda CRX.  He was crowding a downshift and late braking into corner-entry, and his line was sketchy too.  I happened to run into him in the paddock at lunchtime.

"How's it going?  Having fun?"

"Yeah, but I'm struggling with 6."

"We're flagging at 6, and watched you.  Why don't you try backing the corner up?  Get the downshift done in a straight line, then you can focus on the line and your braking.  Not busy with three things at once."

"I tried that, but it felt slower.  Maybe I'll try it again."

He did, in the race, when he had a half hour to experiment with the corner.  His line improved and he got smoother.  By the end of the race, he was getting the power down sooner at the apex.  I smiled, not only for him but for me: I had just returned from the Dragon, where I was charging corners and messing them up.  We all know that smooth is fast, and to back a corner up.  But we all forget.  Unless we're good and have a lot of wheel-to-wheel seat time.

Above and below: not just old, but Old School--John Saccameno's Alfa GTA/GTV.  Black numbers in white roundels.
Period-correct Panasport wheels.  John says the color is not Ferrari's Fly Yellow, but it's close enough for me.

Above and below: another of my faves, Saccameno's paddock buddy's Datsun 240 Z.  Car's engine has a great sound
on track.  Their motto (painted on the rear of the cars) is "Dusty, Not Rusty."

Four truckloads of Corvettes, with a sprinkling of Camaros, rolled into ACC on Sunday.  Apparently there was to be
a big press event on Monday.  We had some fun speculating about General Motors's insurance arrangements and cost
for this gig.  Doubtless it was safety-flagged by the youngsters who work full-time for ACC.  I wonder if they get
hazardous duty pay?