Archive for the ‘Italian cars’ Category

The wife wanted a trip to France this year so I figured I’d plan to see some things that might interest me this time. (what a concept!)

Classic and Sports Car magazine had run an article on the Musee de Sanxet not far from where some of our friends are located so the light bulb went on and I proposed the idea of stopping by for a visit. Located in Pomport, it is in the general area of Monbazillac and you can’t swing a cat around there without making contact with a vineyard, chateaux and grape vines. My kind of place in other words.

We found the joint easily enough only  because a friend was familiar with the area and was able to navigate the twists, turns and random wildlife through the vineyards to the museum.

Bertrand de Passemar who owns the Chateau was a gracious host and gave us a guided tour through the stables and main museum. It was a gorgeous old building and was home to some lovely old cars. These kinds of collections had fallen out of favor merely because the cars are in some cases as raced and not restored to within an inch of their lives. These days more and more people are searching for cars exactly like these and I was more than happy to wander around the patinated cars and try to be open to the stories that they could tell.

Since Bertrand spoke almost no English I was glad to have some fluent French speakers with me but it was still difficult to ask the questions I wanted to ask in the alotted time. We only stayed for an hour but I could have spent much longer, it really was a magical place. I was a little cranky that I didn’t even get a chance to buy a bottle of the Chateau Sanxet wine. Fairly priced and I bet it was darned good.

Any way from what I could gather, there was movie filmed on the premises about Jappeloup a famous race horse. You can catch it on you tube. It’s in French so I have to have the wife fill in the details; haven’t watched it yet. The area is beautiful, just like what you’d expect, rolling hills, acres and acres of grapes everywhere and Chateaux abound.



Entrance to the stable on the left and the main museum straight ahead


Carriages, tractors, you name it

Cassimir Ragot racer and Mr Passemar on left. The Speciale racer was 1500cc and ran on a witches brew of alcohol and benzolene. No smoking please…

Supposedly the first supercharged four cylinder motorcycle also produced by the Bordeaux engineering firm Casimir. The 1000cc design was later sold to Vauxhall and reputedly could reach 150mph!

Period pictures of the car and Mr Passemar


A rally takes center stage, popular with the kids due to its diminutive scale

An AC Ace with the correct Bristol BS3 engine, a welcome sight instead of the usual tarted up Cobra.

In this condition you can appreciate the purity of the design which is rare these days

Correct French blue 1968 Matra barquette next to an early Lotus



Ghia bodied Jowett next to a gorgeous Citroen Decapotable


1923 Citroen “Tank”

Pair of Cords

No French collection is complete without a Cadillac.

1911 Clement-Bayard also

Rather fuzzy pic but you get the idea

Beautiful door, tiny electric car and surprised wife…





Well, we made the trip to the Goodings Amelia Island auction. Not because we’re flush but well, just because.

Basically, it was a Jerry Seinefeld event as he had 18 Porsches crossing the block. (!) All went for what I thought was a lot of money, but since the auction I’ve read that he sort of took a bath on some of the cars. Not sure but I’d expect the truth to lie somewhere in between. I can’t believe he didn’t have a carefully considered reserve on this stuff. A 1960 Beetle went for $110,000 so I’m guessing he wasn’t looking under the seat cushions in the hotel for lunch money.

There were other auctions that weekend and the concours which unfortunately I couldn’t attend but it was a few days of R&R in warm sunny weather which was just what I needed.

As we were walking up to the auction venue at the Omni Resort, there was an unexpected parade of vintage cars cruising by. It took me a minute to dig out my phone but I did catch a few.



You have to check out this site, Petrolicious:


Alfa Petrolicious
Lots of articles and short videos to get those juices flowing while you’re looking out the window at the grimy snowbanks.
Some motorcycle content but mostly cars that look so good it makes you reflexively start thinking about just how much there really is in that 401K. I mean when you really think about it, at least collector cars have some intrinsic value. They will never be worth nothing which is unfortunately what can happen to those “rock solid” stocks and bonds you’ve been sitting on.
Just sayin’





Ok now that I have your attention we can proceed
The Museum of Transportation in Brookline MA has a gathering of all things Italian this coming Sunday Aug 2
Well worth a look if you have any interest at all in fabulous Italian cars, motorcycles, espresso, gelato, etc ,well you get the idea.
In past years this event has been postponed due to bad weather etc but it looks to be a scorcher this year.
If you plan on going I suggest doing it early, it will be hot and the place will be packed with cars bikes and people.
Parking will be at a premium for sure.
Click on the picture below to go to the Museum of transportation web site

The folks at KTR Racing were kind enough to have an open house last night and I snapped a bunch of pics.


These are cars that you only see in magazines unless you were blessed with a tidy trust fund or wrote a cheesy but successful app.

Most of all of these cars are used in anger at various tracks around the world.

KTR preps the cars and delivers them to the track for their clients and by the looks of it, do a very respectable job


They put on a very tasty spread with sammiches, beer and wine etc. 

Many thanks for a lovely summer evening.









Open letter to all car/bike magazines

Please stop using the term “comparo” when comparing vehicles.

Splashed across the cover: Gigantic comparo  !

We test drive the new Belchfire 500 and the Whizbang 650!!!!!!

The huge headlines suggest the kind of drama you’d expect at the selection of a pope.

In any event I really don’t care if  one of these machines (which I can’t afford anyway) is .002 seconds faster to 60 MPH than the other one.

At this stage of the game any new motorcycle over 250cc is capable of speeds faster than I normally drive and certainly handle better than race bikes of a few years ago.  The only things that manufacturers could  do to bikes is make them ever faster to the point that people started to wake up to the fact they can’t use all that performance on the street without being a regular in the local ER  or gray bar hotel.

But back to where I started; if you want to use the word comparison you might get my attention, but comparo is just too tragically hip and overused.

Who started using this awful term in the first place? I mean it just takes too much time to click out the full word? Or it sounds so much better to use hip lingo that only the ” in crowd” knows about?

And another thing:

Give me an opinion about whether I’d actually like the damned thing. Sure it’s got enough power to melt down the rear tire in about 5 seconds, but does that mean it has a satisfying urge when passing a cement truck that really would rather you didn’t? Does it have some balance? Some soul? Or is it the kind of power that comes on in the middle of a turn when you really would like a little stability in your life and instead makes you start thinking about how much all you really hate hospital food.

Instead these “comparos” usually end up with: either one of these  bikes/cars will equally please a discerning buyer.



Ok this is a little different I admit, but the man is a legend. Balboni has been THE Lamborghini test and development driver for over 40 years.  This interview for a Danish gearhead mag isn’t too long but it gives some insight to a passionate Italian (is there any other kind?)

What a job, drive Lambos and tell the wrenches to make it better

Anyway, Lamborghini produced this model Gallardo to his taste and interestingly enough, he decided to forgo the all wheel drive in favor of the classic rear drive configuration.

As God intended.