» Ryan Jurnecka

Looking for something to fun to do with your kids while watching Chassy Media’s The 24 Hour War? LEGO has come up with the perfect companion piece for the film.

Just released for sale last month, the plastic brick-builder’s 2016 Ford GT & 1966 Ford GT40 set not only looks cool, but should make for an enticing parent-child activity while you sit down to watch The 24 Hour War.

The set is just one of the latest to come from LEGO’s Speed Champions lineup and joins other drool-worthy sets for adults and children alike, such as the Porsche 919 Hybrid and 917k and Audi R18 e-tron Quattro .

This particular set features 366 pieces and in addition to the 2016 Ford GT and 1966 Ford GT40 car, the set includes three minifigures, and a victory podium that includes a mini LEGO replica of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Winner’s Trophy for a nice touch.

Overall, we love the attention of detail in this set. The modern Ford GT comes complete with its racing livery used in last year’s Le Mans (though sadly it’s not the no. 68 that won its class), while the 1966 GT40 features the distinctive black/gray/white color scheme and carries the no. 2 of the real-life car driven to an unintended overall victory by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon. Even the minifigures sport different racing uniforms based on the car – from the modern Sparco-branded uniform to a vintage-inspired uniform synonymous with the Goodyear uniforms from the day.

The set is only $29.99 which is right in line with the price of other Speed Champions sets (usually $15 per car).

While it’s certainly a set designed for children, there’s no doubting that LEGO knows what it’s doing in making sure that parents can be just as excited to own one of these Speed Champions sets. So buy the set, get a copy of The 24 Hour War, make up a batch of popcorn, and enjoy a new kind of family night this week!

 

It was a race of firsts last Sunday when the Trans Am West Coast Championship held its inaugural race at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, CA. The race marked the first time a Trans Am event was hosted at Willow Springs – a track famed for its preserved original layout since it opened in 1953, and was the first time Trans Am has raced on western soil since 2009 at Portland International Raceway.

But there were more firsts to be had, as Chassy Media’s Adam Carolla contested his first professional race, driving an 850-horsepower Corvette C7.R contested by Burtin Racing, calling it, “The best decision I ever made.”

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The opportunity to drive for Burtin Racing occurred when Burtin, a professional chemist and entrepreneur who has founded household name brands such as LINE-X and FOAMETIX alongside a successful racing career, was familiar with Adam’s passion for racing, in particular Trans-Am, through some collaborations for their day jobs and by watching Chassy Media’s documentary, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman. After some talks, Carolla was secured for the ride.

The ride itself was a Tony Ave-built Corvette C7.R-bodied Riley Technology-designed tube chassis for Viper’s factory efforts from a couple of years ago, and powered by a Chevy SB2 NASCAR engine modified to Trans-Am’s liberal engine rules. Adam was to drive the No. 33 Go Share branded Corvette, while his teammate Richard Wall, in his Trans-Am return to Trans Am after decades away, drove the No. 7 Welded Fixtures LLC Vette.

Despite having only one practice session with the beast of a racecar and having to learn how to shift with a sequential shifter, Carolla qualified a respectable fifth position out of the six cars in the top TA class (the race itself featured three different classes). But more challenges were to come for Adam in the High Desert Challenge race event.

With only some Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) races, Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity successes, and historic racing experience under his belt, this race was to be Adams’ longest race he had to endure. The race itself was a 100-mile sprint around the 2.5-mile Big Willow circuit – an almost whale-shaped track that Adam had not had great experiences at when racing in the past.

“Willow Springs is like my Moby Dick,” groaned Adam in his latest CarCast Podcast 913. “The last two times I’ve been there, I went off (the track) violently…I just don’t like the track.”

At the start of the race, Adam dropped to sixth and paced himself and his car as the leaders slowly edged away. Thankfully, a blown engine from one of the leading Corvettes promoted Adam back to fifth, and allowed him to catch up to the pack with the subsequent full-course caution.

From there, Adam was able to stay with the leading pack and made a daring late-braking move on the inside of the No. 64 Corvette driven by fellow rookie Ken Davis at the first turn for the final podium position with ten laps to go. This pass would later earn Adam the COOLSHIRT “Cool Move of the Race” award.

The final ten laps saw Adam drive hold off attacks from behind, first from Davis, and then from the hard-charging sports car veteran Greg Pickett in the No. 66 Mustang that was originally battling for the lead before briefly going off the track.

Adam reached the checkered flag in third position, just a half second ahead of Pickett. After the race, the Adam’s exhaustion was apparent even if he had scored a place on the podium.

“When he got out of the car, he looked a little bit gone,” says Burtin. “I kind of looked at him and asked, ‘Hey, how’s your condition?’ and he just kind of walked the other way…You got to give it to him – he didn’t use any cool suits. He raced the old-fashioned way.”

Adam himself was understandably enthusiastic about his experience:

“For me Trans Am has always been huge,” says Adam in the official Trans Am race report. “I have old Trans Am cars from the 70’s and 80’s. I have some 2.5 Trans Am cars from the 70’s and I have Paul Newman cars that were raced in Trans Am. So just the idea of being asked to race in the modern Trans Am was a huge honor. Just being able to hold my own in modern Trans Am was exciting to me.”

With three more races to go in the Trans Am West Coast Championship presented by Pirelli, the next question is whether Adam will continue to race in the championship for the title.

“We’re in negotiations right now,” says Burtin. “I think the bug bit him a little bit.”

For more information about the Trans Am by Pirelli Championship, check out the official Trans-Am website here.

For Adam’s thorough recounting of the race weekend, be sure to check out CarCast episode 913.

For video highlights of the race, watch the compilation video found here.

For more information about Burtin Racing, check out their website.

 

 

 

 

Chassy Media is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of John Surtees last Friday.

Surtees was born to a motorcycle dealer on February 11, 1934 in Surrey, England, which destined the Brit to an early life of motorcycle racing. In 1949, at age 15, Surtees entered his first motorcycle race on a grasstrack before working for the Vincent factory as an apprentice the following year.

Throughout the 1950s, Surtees would race motorcycles in the 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc classes, earning some impressive accolades along the way: becoming the 1956 500cc Champion, and becoming both 350cc and 500cc Champion from 1958 through 1960, winning 32 of 39 races during those years in a spectacular era of dominance with the MV Agusta team. He also became the first man to win the Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT three years in a row.

In 1960, Surtees made the switch from two wheels to four wheels when he made his debut in Formula One, racing for Team Lotus at Silverstone. The following two years, Surtees raced for Yeoman Credit Racing Team and Bowmaker Racing Team before becoming a factory driver at Scuderia Ferrari in 1963. Surtees and Ferrari would compete in F1 and Le Mans from ’63 to 1965, winning the Formula One World Championship in 1964 and becoming the only racer in history to win world championships on both two and four wheels – a distinction he still maintains.

Surtees and Ferrari split right before the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. As explained by Surtees in his interview for The 24 Hour War, he was due to drive the Ferrari 330 P3, but for political reasons was replaced by (Italian and relative of Fiat’s Agnelli family) Ludovico Scarfiotti. Surtees confronted Enzo Ferrari immediately about the replacement, resulting in the divorce of the star driver with the legendary marque.

Surtees continued the 1966 F1 season with Cooper, winning the Mexico Grand Prix and finishing second in the championship before moving to Honda Racing for the ’67 and ’68 seasons, and British Racing Motors (BRM) in 1969.

From 1970-1972 Surtees raced in F1 under his own name with Team Surtees before retiring from competitive racing.

In addition to his impressive F1 and motorcycle record, Surtees competed in Can-Am, winning the inaugural 1966 championship with Team Surtees in a Lola T70, entered Le Mans four times (earning a best result of third in 1964), and also contested F2, USAC, and a variety of other open-wheel and sports car races during his illustrious career.

Post-competitive racing, Surtees would continue to drive his old motorcycles and cars in various vintage racing events until his sudden passing on March 10, 2017 from respiratory failure while at a London hospital. Surtees was 83 years old.

Nearly 50 years after the release of the Steve McQueen flick Bullitt, one of the two original Mustang GT 390s has been found.

For decades, the 1968 Mustang GT 390 that was used in the film’s iconic car chase scene was assumed to have been scrapped shortly after production due to the enormous wear and tear inflicted on the Fastbook during the shoot.

The state of the Mustang when found (Photo obtained at Vintage Mustang Forum).

Instead, a partner of body shop owner Ralph Garcia Jr. found the dilapidated car at a scrapyard in Baja California – painted white over its famous Highland Green Metallic paint and in rough shape. Garcia Jr., who specializes in building replicas of “Eleanor” from other cult car movie classic, Gone in 60 Seconds, initially bought the car with an “Eleanor” project in mind and was shipped to a shop Garcia Jr. owns in Mexicali. When Garcia Jr.’s partner Googled the VIN number, they knew they had made an important discovery.

Soon after the find, renowned Ford expert Kevin Marti paid a visit to the car and was able to authenticate it as the missing Mustang.

The Bullitt Mustang as it looks now (Photo: Ralph Garcia, Jr)

Two Mustang GT 390s were used in the making of Bullitt. One (VIN 8R02S125559) was pampered and used in low-action scenes – mostly when McQueen’s titular character, Frank Bullitt, was driving around his neighborhood in picturesque San Francisco. That Mustang has enjoyed three owners since the shoot, and has remained in the same family anonymously for some time now (despite McQueen’s attempt to purchase the car).

This other Mustang (VIN 8R02S125558) was seen flying down San Francisco’s Taylor Street, chasing a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T in what is perhaps the greatest car chase scene in movie history. Despite modified suspension, shocks, and pickup points, the vehicle took an absolute pummeling during the filming and was long-assumed to have been sold for scrap. Instead, it appears the car was actually driven for some time after.

Photo: Kevin Marti

Under the white paint were several other layers that implied its post-Bullitt use. A good chunk of the original modifications have been thankfully preserved, such as the strut tower reinforcements and the holes drilled into the trunk to allow for a generator to power movie lights.

The vehicle has unfortunately already been repainted back to its original color, despite Marti’s advice to leave the car as-is for collector appeal. However, Sanchez Jr. plans to fully restore the vehicle just in time for Bullitt’s 50th Anniversary next year, and then possibly an auction block where it could fetch up to around one million dollars.

Now, to find that James Dean Porsche 550 Spyder..

This weekend, many prominent cars, iconic racers, collectors, and enthusiasts will be visiting Amelia Island for a variety of automotive-related shows, several auctions and other special events that make up the Amelia Island Concours Weekend. Here is a small preview of what one can expect on the small Floridian island:

 The 24 Hour War  Film Screening

One of the first activities begins on the evening of Thursday, March 9 when the Amelia Motoring Film Exhibition kicks off at the Amelia Community Theatre at 6pm. As part of the three-film event, Chassy Media will be presenting The 24 Hour WarTickets are $20 for those interested in attending the event and seeing The 24 Hour War the way it was intended – on the big screen!

 Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance

(Photo Credit: Rashba.com)

Probably the closest rival to Pebble Beach, CA’s legendary Concours, the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance attracts some of the world’s greatest cars and iconic people who were closely associated with them. Adam will be entering two of his vehicles in the show itself.

In addition, Adam will be a featured judge of the Nissan/Datsun entries and will host a seminar on Friday featuring some of the most prominent people that contributed to the success of Japanese auto manufacturers in the US racing scene (John Morton, Tommy Kendall, and Sam Posey to name a few).

RM Sotheby’s Sports Car Auction

 Since 1999, RM Sotheby’s has been the official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours D’ Elegance and features some of the most desirable cars that enthusiasts love to collect. Last year’s combined sales from the event were in excess of $38M, and this year the auction is bigger than ever before. Extended from one day to two days and featuring more than 150 cars, this RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction is set to be their most successful to date – especially when they have cars like these up for sale:

2005 Ford GT

RM Sotheby's Ford GT

(Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s)

 If you weren’t lucky enough to preorder one of the all-new Ford GTs, here’s your chance to buy the next best thing. One of two early millennium Ford GTs to be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s this weekend, these Ford GTs honor the styling of the original GT40 (perhaps more than its latest counterpart).

This particular GT features a striking red with white racing stripes and has only 2,453 original miles on the odometer. If you’re looking for a pure Ford GT driving experience complete with a V8 and manual transmission, it’d be hard to look past this lot.

“It’s a great car to drive, very comfortable and easy to drive too,” says Alexander Weaver, Car Specialist at RM Sotheby’s. “I could drive one of these cars everyday if it had a back up camera.”

1969 Tasca-Ford Mustang Boss 302 Trans Am “Metuchen Special”

Boss Mustang 302 Trans Am

(Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s)

 This Boss 302 Trans Am is a legendary model that participated in a golden era of Trans-Am, and driven by Dean Gregson in nine races from 1969 to 1972. The car has recently been restored to its original 1969 livery and features all its original sheet metal.

“I could not believe how easy it is to throw one of these around the track,” says Weaver. “They handle amazing, the driver input is so easy, and they feel light and very nimble which is not something you expect out of a big, American Mustang like that.”

1970 Nissan Fairlady Z 432

(Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s)

One of only 420 built exclusively for the Japanese market and with many not surviving, this rare Fairlady Z 432 features four valves per cylinder, three carbs, and twin overhead camshafts (wow!).

“The engine revs so high,”says Weaver. “It just keeps reving and revving. It’s super fun. Probably the most expensive 240Z you can ever find (the car is estimated at $150k-$200k) – but also the best you’ll ever find.”

Imported to the United States in 2013, this car at auction presents a rare opportunity to own an amazing piece of Japanese auto history. Don’t be surprised if even Adam jumps in on the bidding of this beauty.

Speaking of Adam and the RM Sotheby’s Auction, Adam has two vehicles from his collection that’ll be under the hammer this Saturday:

1965 Lamborghini 350 GT by Touring

(Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s)

The Lamborghini 350GT marks the debut of the Italian manufacturer’s production cars and are exceptionally rare with only 120 having been built.

A vehicle that Adam has owned for many years, this 350GT is pleasantly unrestored and original while also well maintained and regularly driven. This 350GT was even lent out to James Franco for his Gucci commercial that the charismatic young star directed and acted in.

“This is a car that people would be very proud to show in a preservation class,” says Weaver. “But also a car that is ready to be driven and used.”

1969 Lamborghini Islero 400GT

(Photo Credit: RM Sotheby’s)

 In typical Lamborghini tradition, the Islero was named after the bull that killed Manuel Rodriquez in 1947 and features its original 4-liter 320bhp V-12 engine with six Weber carbs.

Like the 350GT, this Islero owned by Adam is mostly original and unrestored but very well maintained. The car even features an original well-preserved pigskin leather interior – a special-order from the original owner.

“Great looks, extremely rare production numbers,” adds Weaver. “I think the Islero has been a very underrated car for a long time now.”

The RM Sotheby’s Auction at Amelia Island takes place Friday at 5pm with the Orin Smith Collection, and Saturday beginning at 11am. If you’re unable to make it to the event in person, you can watch both days of auctions online for free at their website.

When all is said and done, the 2017 Amelia Island Concours weekend looks to be an incredible experience for the automotive enthusiast. We look forward to hearing from Adam about his experience when he gets back!