Archive for January, 2009

Truth in 24 – watch it

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Google “Truth in 24” and watch the trailer.  This looks like a great movie for gearheads.

Too bad this won’t air on ESPN until March; I need a racing booster right now.  The real racing season will be in full bloom by then, but now all we can get are a couple of ticklers from Florida.

And what do we get at the car shows this season, but a bunch of mostly boring (from the drivers seat) “green” cars.  Don’t get me wrong.  I find the new propulsion technologies endlessly fascinating, but in their present form there is not much to offer from a driving excitement viewpoint.  Not much Garage Envy there.

January, a crappy month for car nuts.

Car Collector silly season

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

How can this Garage Envy blogger resist tuning in to at least a few minutes of a Barrett- Jackson, or a Russo Steele auto auction?  He can’t.  This is Garage Envy in full bloom.  These enthusiasts are living out each or our fantasy’s  of owning a piece of our own automotive past.

 

Car auctions go on all year long, but without major racing series events to distract me, now seems to be the time that I pay most attention to auctions.  I was first dismayed to see the continuing trend of emphasis on American  muscle cars in the broadcast auctions.  If you read the collector rags, the full gamut of cars are changing hands, but muscle cars are apparently what draw the TV audience.  It’s really awesome to watch the prices some of these cars are pulling down this season; there seems to be no recession in the car collector  community.

One thing I am having trouble sorting out is that many of these cars are too nice.  They get pushed onto the auction block with gloved hands, doors and hoods are gently opened and closed, polishing cloths are always at hand.  These cars are “garage queens”.   They deserve to be driven.  Maybe only gently and on sunny days, but they need to be out there burning up some miles.  Preferably at yours or my hand.  That’s why Jay Leno’s brand of collectorship is at the core of Garage Envy’s  focus; his cars get driven.

I have a personal prescription for the “too nice to be driven” restorers, emulate the ancient Navajo rug maker strategy of allowing a small mistake to remain in the finished work.  That way the result isn’t too perfect to use.  My own  Navajo experience at restoration included an Austin Healey with a “perfect” paint job that had a rocker panel rust breakout shortly after completion and a Karman Ghia that nicked the door jam when being backed out of the paint garage.   Believe me, those restorations rolled up plenty of miles after completion; probably aided by their lack of perfection.

So I stand by waiting for a call from any of those successful auction bidders.  If they want a bit of that perfection to be rubbed off of their “garage queen”, I’m their man.

Less than "perfect" Austin Healey

Less than “perfect” Austin Healey

 

Kimi vs Deweycheatumnhowe

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

 

This news clip from the New York times this week was irresistible.  The text reads roughly as follows:  The Hambletonian winner Deweycheatumnhowe voted trotter of the year, while record earner Somebeachsomewhere voted top pacer of the year.

 

How lucky we automotive race fans are!   Can you imagine David Hobbs describing lead changes between Icemankimipartyboy and Orderofthebritishempirelewish.  Or even more ludicrous, Darrell Waltrip moderating a punchout between mandmsnickerbush and cousincarlaflac.  The possibilities make my head hurt.

 

So next time you view a Formula 1 race or the NASCAR circus think about the possibilities. Suppose racer agents/promoters get in on the game and  sell naming rights to the racers themselves; they could surely come up with even more novel names than the horseracing industry.  And now consider how really, really, really lucky we are that right now we live in an era where that idea has not yet caught on.