Welcome to the final Lazy Sundays for 2017. We haven’t had one for a while, due mainly to the automotive scene in general coming to a close for the year, not to mention how busy this time of year tends to be for everyone including myself. On the bright side, we’ve still managed to compile an excellent collection of videos for your viewing. Let’s start with a question that is always asked in any car community: why are there so few car girls? This video interviews one woman who isn’t into cars at all and three who are – two from the motorsports scene and one from the street car scene – to find an explanation for why women generally shy away from viewing cars as anything more than transportation. What you can extract from putting these interviews together, is that the root of the issue is a longstanding social view that being into cars is not ladylike. This thought is so prevalent that we don’t even think about it. Case in point, while I was watching this video, my 4 year old niece happened to walk by and see Sally McNulty with her Subaru and randomly asked “Why does she have that car? Cars are for boys.” Hearing her asking that really hit home how much this thought is second nature, and it really shouldn’t be. There’s nothing about cars, motorsport or the enthusiast culture that is out of the reach of women; the three women in this video prove that. Also, if you are a female enthusiast who experiences negative treatment or comments from males in your car community, know that they are in the minority. Most of us genuinely respect you for pursuing a passion for cars and would be more than happy to help in any way.
The next video follows the 50th running of the Baja 1000, which took place in November. Predating the Dakar Rally by 11 years, the Baja 1000 is one of the oldest off-road races in existance. It’s also one of the most grueling, running through the harsh deserts of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico in either a loop or point-to-point format. Searing daytime heat and treacherous night visibility are the norm, yet drivers arrive in the hundreds every year – in everything from bikes to buggies to top-of-the-pile Trophy Trucks – to conquer the course. This year’s point-to-point course stretched approximately 1134 miles from Ensenada to La Paz, and took the scalps of some big names; most notably BJ Baldwin, whose truck suffered race ending mechanical failure. When the dust settled though, it was the father/son duo of Juan C. Lopez and Carlos ‘Apdaly’ Lopez in the RPM Chevy Trophy Truck who arrived in La Paz first with a 19:53:36.312; almost an hour ahead of second placed Cameron Steele.
Usually when someone mentions a sub-7 second drag car, you can safely assume that it’s powered by the usual suspects: some form of American V8 or Toyota’s 2JZ-GTE. It’s really impressive then, when people go against the grain and achieve that goal with a less likely powerplant. Take for example the Mazworx SR20 powered Nissan S15, owned by Trinidadian (and epically named) Muhammad Ali. This beast makes around 2000hp at 70psi reliably thanks to a full Mazworx spec engine, featuring a billet block and internals, Mazworx spec head and a Garrett GTX5518R turbo. Helping to keep everything running smoothly is a Motec M150 ecu, tuned by Shane T, the tuner behind cars such as the legendary Ekanoo Racing machines. Ali and the S15 showed remarkable consistency throughout the event with sub 6.6 second passes, and progressed to the finals (with a little luck in the Semis) where they posted a 6.50 pass at 220.94mph. I must say that it feels good to have the record for the world’s quickest and fastest SR20 rest in the Caribbean. The overall 4-cylinder record isn’t too far off either.
Next we take a look at the iconic Maserati Tipo 61, popularly known as the ‘Birdcage’. It’s nickname comes from its intricate tube framed chassis, designed by Giulio Alfieri and made up of around 200 chromoly tubes. This design came about as Maserati wanted the car to be cheap to build and maintain, which ruled out the then new monocoque chassis technology. What the cost cutting didn’t effect though, was the performance of the car. In it’s first race at the 1959 Rouen Grand Prix, at the hands of Stirling Moss, the 61 overwhelmed the competition to score a comfortable win. That win attracted American race driver and race team owner Lloyd Casner, who added three 61s to his Camoradi Racing team. The Birdcage saw the most success under the Camoradi banner with two Nurburgring 1000km wins in 1960 and 1961, as well as wins in the 1960 Havana Grand Prix and Road America 500. It never won the 24 hours of Le Mans or 12 Hours of Sebring however, as reliability issues plagues all three cars. Still, the impact of the Camoradi Birdcages is so important to Maserati’s history that all road going Maserati MC12s were sold in a white and blue color scheme in tribute their livery. Now one of those very cars is owned by Pink Floyd drummer and racing driver Nick Mason, who allowed Marino Franchitti to take it for a spin in the video below.
Finally we look at the first episode of a new series from DriveTribe, called “Pride and Joy”. As you would have guessed, this series showcases the special bond between a gearhead and their car. This episode looks at Frank Cassidy, a Porsche collector whose center-piece is a modified 1974 Porsche 911 RSR named ‘Edith’. Cassidy had arguably the most badass introduction to the wonders of performance driving ever, when in his kindergarten years, his mother chased a group of robbers through the streets of London in the family Porsche 911 Targa. That awakened his longstanding passion for Porsches and led him to owning this RSR. It’s named Edith after Edie Sedgewick, an actress and model who in the 60’s was part of pop artist Andy Warhol’s Superstars; a notorious group of women who were Warhol’s muses and as reckless and dangerous as they were beautiful. In a way that describes the RSR perfectly; a car that constantly seduces the driver into going just a bit faster, but will quickly turn on you when you reach your limits. Given how tragically Sedgewick’s short life ended, it seems like a rather morbid comparison, but flirting with death is usually the experience of driving a classic racing car. As Stirling Moss once said “To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster.”
That’s it for Lazy Sundays for 2017. I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos chosen today and throughout the past year. I don’t know about you but I’m excited for what next year will bring. Till then!