Sunday, February 20, 2011

Historic Cars of Historic Savannah

Surprising how many interesting little cars cropped up this weekend while in Savannah, Georgia. We cruised up I-95 for a quick weekend getaway and stayed in downtown historic Savannah right off of the waterfront. Most of the trip seemed to revolve around eating at the local places like Uncle Bubba's Oyster House and the Lady and Sons restaurant (if you know who Paula Deen is then you know these places). I'm definitely not complaining though - best Southern food I've had in a long time!

Lady & Sons

On the second day of the trip, I had to get up early and walk from the hotel up River Street (great spot on the waterfront - pinnacle of the Historic area) and over the Congress Street to get in line for a reservation at Lady & Sons restaurant. After about an hour of waiting, I made the reservation and began to head back to the hotel at which point I unsurprisingly got lost. The silver lining was that I stumbled across this original, off-white Toyota Land Cruiser in daily driver shape. I love original SUVs because they were actually built for utility - not hauling kids to school. This particular model is an FJ40 and had a few signs of rust but was in otherwise great shape. I'm unsure of the year but my guess is its one of the earlier model years.

4 Wheel Drive!

I shot these on my Nikon D90 with a NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8 so I couldn't frame these as well as I'd liked but it worked(I also had to get back for breakfast!) After lunch, we stopped by the Murphy House in Chipewa Square and I found this Mercedes-Benz 220 Diesel parked right out front. I wandered around and snapped a few photos of it. This W115 had a great little "200,000KM" badge on the front (almost 125,000 miles) and was accompanied by the earlier "100,000KM" badge. Given the wear and tear of the Benz I'd say it's done far more miles than that. The lamp and bumper over the tail pipe looks like it too quite a bit of soot from heavy diesel exhaust. The paint looked gone and the wheels were showing rust but the car seemed to fit in perfectly amongst the old world buildings in Savannah.

nose of the 220

220 Diesel

After that, I spotted a standard looking but fit E28 5 Series hiding out in the parking deck of the hotel. The 5er came with period square driving lamps under the front bumper. I happened to see a few other E28's scattered around some of the small squares and diving across back alleys. Old German iron seems to be the perfect car of choice for Historic Savannah!

E28 hiding in the parking deck

Monday, February 14, 2011

Racing with Clean Diesels

Found this little gem after poking around for historic racing footage. It's a small documentary of the inaugural season of the Volkswagen TDI Cup from 2008. The TDI Cup pits equally-matched Jetta TDI's against one another with the focus on determining which of the thirty drivers selected should go pro.

Volkswagen's intent is to build a feeder series that whittles 600 drivers down to 100 and on down to 30 as the best of the series. The point being to both highlight the up and coming drivers between 16 and 26 years old and the efficient-yet-still-quite-enjoyable Jetta diesel.

From first glance, one would think that a diesel race series would be a boring but from the footage it appears to be anything but! Cars slamming into each other, flipping, spinning and running into the armco is far more exciting and plays out across some wonderful North American tracks like Mid-Ohio, Road America and the VIR.

This is great little documentary to see what its like in the feeder series in North America. I believe it's two parts - I'm looking for the second part of the documentary. Also attached is the 2009 documentary in full with some of the drivers from the original series reprising their helmets for a few more laps in the Jetta's as veteran drivers. Either way, interesting to see such young drivers compete for a professional drive - some still under 20 years old! The racing seen in this series is in many ways more intense and interesting than many of the U.S.-based racing series' you'll see.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why I'm a Nikon Fan...

I love my Nikon D90 - and my love is reaffirmed through Sir Jackie Stewart's own appreciation of the brand - as exhibited here.

via Tumblr of Coolamundo

Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

At 4:30AM I departed for the 49th 24 Hours of Daytona in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida - mercifully less than 2 hours South of my place. I piled into a tastefully modified E46 330i with heavy Dinan upgrades and was blasted down to Bill France Boulevard and by 8:30AM on race day I was putzing around the paddock.

I ran into a friend, Steve Maguire of United BMW of Roswell, and a handful of instructors from the BMW M School who I'd had the pleasure of learning from previously. After very little coercing on their part, I was seated in the passenger seat of a 2011 E90 M3 Competition Package and off for a hot lap around the freshly paved Daytona circuit. More on that lap is here on BMWBlog - who was nice enough to get me down to Daytona in the first place!

After the lap, we got out and tried to sneak into the Brumos Porsche Panamera S that was pounding around the circuit courtesy of the legend Hurley Haywood. However, after digging for well-fitted helmets in the Brumos bin they shut down the VIP sessions for the historic racers to take some laps.

After the historics the big dogs rolled out and kicked off the 49th 24 Hours of Daytona. I was really happy to see the Brumos Porsche team back in 911's to compete with - theirs was a 997 GT3 Cup Car. I spoke with the team principal(who also owns the team) and their philosophy changed to one that they should only compete in vehicles which they sell on the showroom floor. I especially loved their tribute to former co-owner Bob Snodgrass with the name "Bob" in place of the typical "GT3" badging. I inquired about Hurley Haywood's retirement after last year and apparently as soon as he saw the car for the 2011 season the retirement was off!

As the racing kicked off I found my way into the pits for a while to observe each team's pits - I saw Joey Hand, the soon-to-be-winner in the Chip Ganassi Racing pits and fellow BMW GT driver Bill Auberlen in the Turner Motorsport pits ready to drive the M3 in GT class. Unfortunately, both the the Brumos GT3 and Turner M3 ran into problems throughout the night and spent extended amounts of time in the pits for repairs. Shame to see two great teams sidelined by mechanical issues.

By morning, the BMW-Dinan-powered Daytona Prototypes were on the move and trying to find a gap between the Porsche Action Express Racing DP cars. Joey Hand drove an incredible triple stint and came out complaining of a numb right foot - rightfully so! However, Joey's driving is probably the reason the Chip Ganassi car ultimately won the race.

Even more unbelievable was that after the last caution lap, the final 2 minutes of the race still came down to a sprint race for the BMW's to hold off the Porsche's and taking the 1-2 finish. Ironically, it was the 01 car in first and the 02 car in second! Great to see the youngest Rahal win his first 24 Hours of Daytona and Joey Hand win as well in his first attempt!

I put together a few of my favorite photos below. The full Flickr gallery is here.

BMW M3 burn outs!



Ferrari 330

Vintage Brumos Porsche 911 S



I'm Lazy

Sorry for the long pause between posts - between work and everything else - it's been a busy few months. I hope to be posting more often!