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Racing...What Happened?

If you have been to races with Mark Donhue driving a Javelin, George Follmer in a Mustang, Bruce McLaren in a McLaren, Jim Hall in a Chaparral, Don Garlits in a Swamp Rat. Lets not forget Gilles Villeneuve in a Ferrari, or Dale Earnhardt in #3.

You saw these guys live, not on TV...lets just say that you have been around racing for a few years or is it decades.

There was something about "being there" the sights, sounds, the experience was unique and memorable.

The folks racing had a "brand-image-persona" about them that was captivating. There were always the folks that had less resources, with many wondering what they could/would do with more resources. need cubic money to race, and especially to win.

At some point, racing became the "business of racing". Today it is absolutely the business of racing.

What happened along the way?

Its a huge business with a myriad of stakeholders all trying to make money from racing, through a variety of agendas.

Agreed...there are some racing series that have some ties to the good ole days of racing. While some tracks hark back to the earlier days too.

In general money, corporate PR, TV coverage, the quest for eyeballs, technology, and more money has overcome and surpassed the human side of racing.

Will racing have a compelling human side in 2016? What do you think?





The Strada Walk 

Are we on to something new with a walk around, especially that one increasingly hears about having really important meetings while talking a walk...walking.

Lets see what is on our minds this morning.

Triple Crown

Yes we have an affinity for horsepower, and it was exciting to see American Pharaoh win the Triple Crown at Belmont on Saturday. Fascinating that Penny Chenery was in the stands. If you watched the previous 2 races, Espinosa the jockey changed strategy for Belmont, take the lead, and extend the lead in the stretch.


Its surprising that no one has yet caught up to whatever advantage Mercedes has, all the talk about Ferrari having a additional horsepower. Agreed Montreal was buzzing all of last week with a ton of F1 activities.


By now you know that we have a Ram Big Horn with an Eco Diesel. This pick up is very economical, surprisingly economical. The thought that crossed our minds "If Mercedes-Benz actually builds a pick up it will be a close to this Eco Diesel"

Behind Closed Doors

These past few days we have been reminded of all the activities that go on Behind Closed Doors, and how discreet everyone is about the decisions and out comes. You have to ask pointed questions and even then...


Way back in the days of "mechanical cars" being a good driver was an aspiration. Today with vehicles full of technology, driving is a required evil to get around. Yes...self driving cars might do a better job.




This Is Formula 1

Awesome video...with a bit of nostalgia...enjoy!




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

We have experienced our own climate change bubble, from cold, to colder, snow, rain, brutal winds, while  breaking decades old records. All in the space of 10 days.

Yes...its Black Friday...

Encouraging to see manufacturers "throttling up" for a strong month in November, next week we will see the results. We are especially focused on how the "premium economy" segment is developing.

Ever wonder what the IoT (Internet of Things) is all about? An informative A Strategist Guide to the Internet of Things it also applies to cars.

Here is the Deal for today:

Way back in the day, really way back in the day...accidents were an issue and non issue on vehicles since it required a good amount of sleuthing to uncover accidents. Now with accident reports its common practice to have a comprehensive report with every used vehicle.

The providers of these reports always have enough fine print to protect their position (not all accidents are mentioned, one might appear at a later date). An accident report does not necessairily imply a clean accident free record.

In addition financial service providers that lease vehicles also to protect their positions want as much "background" on any vehicle they offer for sale.

Perhaps you could see this coming, now there are companies that do an inspection of vehicles with accidents on a report to establish the severity of the accident.

We are back to the age old "frame dammage" in an era where most vehicles no longer have a frame, they are uni body (one big shell) and the structural components are engineered to crumple, crush, while absorbing the energy of an impact. The passenger area of a vehicle is rigid, the front and rear are engineered to absorb energy to protect the passengers.

Keep in mind that every vehicle in a reasonable accident the front or rear has crumpled to abosorb energy and protect the passengers. The frames of the old days, are the crumple zones of today. How these crumple zones are repaired is crucial to uphold the integrity of the vehicle. Not just the measurements, but how they are repaired (in many cases they are stretched to comply with the measurements).

Our usual old race cars with brilliant photography of the Old Timer Grand Prix.





With all the recent talk about Ferrari, it is appropriate to end the month with thoughts from The Colonel on Ferrari. Although he already mentioned his opinion a few days ago.

Lets get going...

Q: Colonel Good Morning, how long have you been aware and experienced Ferrari's?

A: Its been a few decades.

Q: A few decades, what an understatement, the plate on that car is from 1965, its almost 50 years.

A: Told you it was a few decades...(sly grin).

Q: It was literally in the early days of Ferrari in Montreal.

A: Yes...the early days, George Wooley, Luigi (Luigi Della Grotta) and Nicola the official mechanics in Montreal.

Q: There must have been something magical about the cars back then.

A: Totally magical, being up close and getting the occasional ride in Ferrari's were memorable experiences that endure a life time.

Q: At one point Ferrari's moved away from the "artisanal" realm into a more structured dealer network.

A: Obvious...they did, and for some reason an element of the magic was gone, although the occasional visit to Luigi's shop in Ville St.Laurent would still fire up the magic.

Q: Luigi had a shop downtown?

A: Originally it was on Ste.Catherine on the second floor, a small place with a sliding fire door, then he moved to Ville St.Laurent...Luigi was a mythical figure in Montreal.

Q: You are still a Ferrari fan.

A: Absolutely...I still vividly remember a ride in a Daytona Spyder on a beautiful sunny day.

Q: What was it with the musica?

A: It was the 12 cylinders, mechanical lifters, Weber carbureters, today its the flat crank on the V8's.

Q: You saw Gilles Villeneuve win the first Grand Prix in Montreal.

A: Yes...on a cold blustery October day, a magical moment, Montreal, Ferrari, first Grand Prix. 

Q: You had bumped into Villeneuve a few years earlier.

A: the pits at Trois Rivieres in 1976 he was driving in Formula Atlantic, it stuck me that he was a physically small individual. But he was huge and fiery on the track, fearless.

Q: Perhaps a little too fearless.

A: sort of knew how it was going to end, and surely Enzo Ferrari also knew.

Q: Lets fast forward to today and the dramatic changes at Ferrari.

A: Ferrari almost sold to Henry Ford, they had a gentlemen's agreement on the deal, which Enzo at the last minute reneged. Henry got pissed off, and beat Ferrai for a few years at LeMans, with the GT40's of the time. Then Gianni Agnelli bought Ferrari through Fiat. While Enzo remained the supreme ruler of Ferrari.

Q: The Agnelli sphere of influence and style is long gone at Fiat, and perhaps di Montezemolo was the last hold over at Ferrari.

A: Precisely...these folks were like Italian royalty, and automotive royalty.

Q: Today its the Elkann sphere of influence at Fiat, and Sergio Marchionne.

A: is (lets not forget that Fiat was in trouble, Sergio got Wagoner of GM to pay 2 Billions to get out of the "put option" to acquire Fiat).

Q: The global luxury markets are shifting.

A: Absolutely, we all know where, or we should.

Q: Raising Ferrari production might not dilute the brand in established markets.

A: Ferrari is at the top of their game in established markets. Its the new markets that require additional production.

Q: You cannot be a global brand without a compelling presence in the emerging global luxury markets.

A: guys are good. There is an analogy between George Wooley, Luigi, Nicola from way back in the day, to Enzo, di Montezemolo, today, and 20 years from now.




Vroom Room

Good Morning!

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, the cappuccino and biscotti are served, join the conversation, leave a comment.

Its always been part of the Ferrari history that if they do well on the track, they do not so well in the showroom, and vice versa. Its interesting to see Luca de Montezemolo leave Ferrari after over 2 decades, and replaced by Sergio Marchionne. 

From our perspective de Montezemolo was part of the "old guard" under Gianni Agnelli, and Sergio is part of the "new guard" under John Elkann. Obvious the new guard is increasingly exerting its muscles and influence within the FCA empire.

Should we be worried about Luca de Montezemolo losing his job at Ferrari? What do you think?

Within the bowels of Daimler, AMG has become a jumping point for the career vector of individuals. A couple of days ago the AMG GT halo car was presented to the world. The car looks like it was done by someone on a career vector that lacks the passion, understanding, perspective of what they were trying to do. "Lets take the roof line and quarter window of a 300SL coupe, the back end of a 911, and graft it to the front of an SLS"...."As an encore we will come up with a black edition with a carbon fiber spoiler".

Fascinating to see Mercedes win on the track with a superb F1 power unit, while Ferrari philosophically never got their heads around the F1 power unit concept. 

If you are of the opinion that a Corvette Z06 is an abosolute steal for the level of performance, we agree with you.

A cool video on the new Jaguar XE...Click.

We call it the Pontiac Saga, the ongoing court case of GM Dealers vs GM that is developing in Toronto. Its always fascinating when folks start washing their laundry in public.

Tomorrow is the start of the Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Our usual old race cars from the US Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glenn.





Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment. 

Do you ever experience "moments" in a car? What do we mean?

It could be an on ramp moment, or whatever else fires your imagination/emotions for a brief period of time. Yes...some moments are more memorable than others.

Here is the moment deal:

Its a bright Saturday morning driving a cool luxury sedan, Classic Vinyl is on XM, the conversation on channel 26 turns to a concert that will be held near the farm that was the location of the original Woodstock. Agreed that you have to be of a certain age to truly resonate with Woodstock from 45 years ago. 

The conversation turns to the original Woodstock, Soul Sacrifice comes on, up goes the volume of the Bose system in this luxury sedan. Wow cool car, superb sound system, are we trying to blow out the windows, with a Santana classic...lets enjoy the moment.

Its the F1 race in Montreal this week end. Will Mercedes continue its winning streak? What do you think. week end is LeMans...

Canadian Sales:

What can you say...a record May for many manufacturers, by mid month you could sense that it was a strong month. Accompanied by the continued increase of the "truck/utility" segment to solidify the strenght of the month.

Its so competitive in the Canadian auto market that no one is blinking.

If you have the feeling that we will increasingly hear more about the Google Self Driving Car, you are correct. It will gain additional momentum with time, and Google has the resources.


By now you have concluded that we have this thing for horses, we are fortunate to be in an area where there are still some horses. Our favorite horse place was Windways Farm, a great location to photgraph horses, and do photo shoots. The farm has been sold, sadly the horses are gone...a strange feeling to drive by and no longer see horses in the paddocks.

Its the 70th Anniversary of D Day

More great photography of old cars from Villa d'Este.




Remember Senna

When a video captures the moment...



F1 New Rules Explained

Cool video...explaining the new rules for 2014.




Michael Schumacher

An update...

While reports from France this past week revealed that doctors treating Michael Schumacher are in the process of bringing the seven-time Formula One champion out of a medically induced coma, a video released by the BBC in London describes some of the uncertainties facing Schumacher.

Neurosurgeons in the U.K. confirm that it's unusual for anyone to spend more than two weeks in a medically induced coma, and there are fears that chest infections and breathing problems could affect Schumacher's recovery going forward.

Schumacher is beginning the sixth week of his coma after hitting his head on a rock in a skiing accident in the French Alps on Dec. 29