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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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Formula One in 2012 – My thoughts.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 9, 2012

Heikki on track

Last year my Father-in-law looked at me and asked me what I thought about the chassis of the Formula One cars. Before I could answer, he told me they were ugly. ‘They are the ugliest cars I have ever seen, they looked like squished bugs.’ I could not see what he was seeing and therefore could not argue the point. Can not wait to hear what he has to say about this year and the new step / platypus nose just about everyone seems to be using. My big pain of the season will be something a little more close to home though. I do not hide my allegiance to McLaren. My son makes no bones about who he wants to see win. I tried hard to raise him right but he has fallen prey to the Tifosi. The good thing is that he is only six and I have plenty of time to correct him before I have to kick him out the house. Not sure what to do about the Ferrari flag hanging in his room or the Scuderia jacket his Grandparents gave him for his birthday.

So as the new season is just days away, I figured might as well throw out my thoughts for what the season may bring. After digesting all the preseason testing, it is easy to see that just about everyone is fast. (Preseason times mean nothing to me.) Well, everyone except Ferrari, who seems to be having a wee bit of issues with the car and its setup. I am sure Montezemolo will blame some obscure rule if Alonso does not make it to the podium. The first rule that comes to mind is new for the season. I like to call it the Schumacher-Monza rule which states that if a driver leaves the racing line after a defensive move, that driver needs to leave space before returning to said racing line. This will be a hoot to watch for the first few rounds. This season we also see the return of in-season testing. Not sure why this was removed, beyond the supposed cost savings, but glad to see it back. I am sure several of the teams are glad as well. The other change, allowing lapped cars to pass and get a lap back under restarts. For the love of Zeus, I am glad to see this. Having slow cars packed between the leaders is plain and simply dumb, as well as unsafe. This should help rein in a certain Bull.

A few other things this season we will see are the return to the U.S. and the Kimster! Come November Austin, Texas will host the return of the USGP on a track designed for the purpose of Formula One. I figure, if I save enough lunch money, Little Man and I can make it out there in a few years. Kimi Raikkonen, the Ice man, is back and driving the Lotus. I really missed the post race interviews that he put on. He will make a difference for the team right out of the gate. We also see a lady back in the ranks with Maria de Villoto as a test driver for Marussia. One thing we will not see this season is Ruebens. The long time veteran has been displaced at Williams and has moved on to IndyCar series. Best of luck Ruebino.

Here is what I predict for the season:

1.) Kobayashi will land a podium or two this season. Kamui is one of the more enjoyable drivers to watch and the boy is not scared to put a pass on anyone.

2.) Caterham will score. The old Lotus team will not just score once but a few times this season. The addition of Vitaly Petrov will be a big boost.

3.) Torro Rosso will continue to prove they are morons. To scrap both drivers cause the results did not meet expectations is usually a good idea. Not in this case. Just because the young protege of Sebastian Vettel managed to eek out a win in a wet race does not make one a top tier team. Buemi and Alguersuari were respectable drivers in a car that is just not up to pace. Marko is living in a dream world. Best of luck to the new boys. Keep your resumes on hand just in case.

4.) Massa is a goner. Ferrari want something more than the poor Brazilian is willing to give. Is Massa a good driver? Yes. Does he deserve to be a ‘Second Driver’? No. This is for the betterment of his career, especially if he wants to stay in Formula One.

5.) Cooler heads will prevail. The Driver’s Title will come down to young Seb and Button, both who drive with a calm style. Mark and Lewis will battle it out for the third spot which should lead to some interesting clashes. Temperament is not on their side.

Driver’s Championship
Button
Vettel
Hamilton
Webber
Rosberg

Constructor’s Championship
Red Bull
McLaren
Lotus
Ferrari
Mercedes

The Driver’s Championship will not be a run away event this season. The battle between Button and Vettel will go to the wire. The same will hold true for the Constructor’s title. Red Bull and McLaren will duke it out until the end but pace themselves well clear of the third place spot which will be a fun battle between Lotus, Ferrari, and Mercedes. Ferrari’s spot will all depend on if they have their mid season pick-me up that they seem to have had lately. If the others make inroads as well, the Scuderia crew may be lucky to manage fifth. Time will tell.

(Image Link – Via Caterham F1)

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Oh, To Hear those Wheels Spinning.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on September 23, 2011

As a parent, it is hard not to want to do things with your kids that they enjoy.  When Little Man informed me that he wanted to go see real race cars, who was I to argue.  Last year, I took both kids to Mid Ohio for the Emco Gears Classic, a Grand AM Rolex series race where multiple classes compete against each other.  As with any race weekend, there are multiple support races to go along with the main event. Last year, we only got to see one of those support series, the Continental Tire Challenge.  It was the middle of June and it was hot.  While Little Man was in his glory, Kid Kid was not so excited to be there.  She really wanted to go but as the day went on and the sun got hotter, her enthusiasm left the building.  As any good parent would do, I brought them home and called it a day, but not before Little Man made me promise to take him back next year to stay for the entire day and see both series that make up the day.  Lucky for me, this race is held less than an hour from my house.

The year had come and gone and it was time for the race weekend to kick off again.  This year was a little more exciting for me than last since Mazda was planning to draw in as many owners as possible for the Owners Corral.  As a proud and vocal owner, who was I to argue.   This particular race weekend is a steal if you have young kids.  For $30, I was able to get a weekend, all access pass with infield parking and get Little Man in for free. We also took my Father-in-Law with us for his birthday. A great guy and an avid race fan who has been coming to Mid Ohio since he was a small boy.  Mid Ohio is a wonderful track where the entire midfield is open to the spectators to walk around and watch the action from just about anywhere on the track.  We would spend most of our time in the aptly named Thunder Valley. Unlike last year, this event kicked off earlier in the day so we needed to get out of the house bright and early if we wanted to do the pit walk and meet the drivers.  There was no need to drag Little Man out of bed on this day, he was up and ready to go.  After a quick breakfast, I got the car loaded, we were ready and Little Man could not get in the car fast enough.

After what seemed like a thousand ‘Are we there yet’ like questions, we finally made it to the track.  Morning practice was going on and Little Man was straining to see the cars in action as we made our way to the Mazda Owners Corral.  After parking, we headed up the hospitality tent to get him a shirt and some goodies.  The night before he wanted to set out his clothes so he could get dressed quicker in the morning.  Last fall, I went to New York for work and got him an M&M t-shirt with several stock cars on it with various M&M characters. He was all set to wear that for the day until he got the ‘cool’ shirt that everyone else was wearing. He got to be like everyone else in the corral and was quite excited by it.  The shirt was just simply green, short sleeve, and had Freedom Autosport across the front. They were a sponsor of the Corral and fielded two cars in the Continental Tire Challenge.  After he let me take a few pictures of the cars and talk to a few owners, we were ready to get to Pit Lane and walk around the cars.  Little Man was the proverbial ‘kid in a candy store’.  So was my Father-in-law once he found out there were several Mini Coopers in the field.  As we made our way though, we would walk by and wave to Boris Said, and stop to look at just about every car on the grid.  We would even stop by the Riley Racing entry and talk to the Riley brothers, AJ and Jameson, for a few before we were ushered out of the pits, so the race could get going.  Little Man knew exactly where he wanted to go, an area know as Madness, turn 8.

Once settled in, the action on the track began.  This may be one of the few times in his short life, the Little Man was speechless. Well, at least for a brief time he was.  Eventually the questions would start to flow and I would have to constantly remind him that Daddy could hear him when the cars were going full speed and his head was point in the opposite direction.   I was not ready to argue with a five year old enthralled with the action on the track.  We hung around Madness for the first few laps, then wandered up to turn 1 and the pit lane exit.  Eventually we made it over to Thunder Valley where his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. This particular area is down in a small valley like area and allows spectators to get real close to the action.  One has no idea how loud a group of Rolex series RX8s can be until you stand a few feet from them as they fly by on track.  At one point he would take his ear muffs off to see what the cars really sounded like and was in awe at how loud they were.  That lasted just a few seconds. During the Continental Race, we got to see a Civic Si get spun right in front of us.  Debris would go flying but don’t worry, there are several safety barriers and fences there to protect those not on the track.

While I could write for hours about the action on track, I was more engulfed by my son’s desire to be there.  He was very excited to learn that he would be able to see both races, the Continental and the Rolex.  One of the hardest task in the life of a parent is to get a kid his age to sit still for more than five minutes.  He sat still for large chunks of time and just watched.  Sometimes he sat next to me, other times he would go off just a little bit but still in sight.  Watching your children fall in love with things that you love is something special.    I tried to figure out what was going through his mind during the race.  I would ask but he left me with few clues.  I could only try to watch the pretend I was five and go from there. I can only hope that this will remain an annual event for us. Maybe even have Kid Kid come back with us, but I have my doubts.

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Gas Card Giveaway.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on July 26, 2011

This is not something you will see me doing very often but I am always willing to lend a hand to family, especially my Mother-in-Law.  Her company, Bulldog Security will be giving away a $100 gas card every week for the next 12 weeks. Everyone who enters into the sweepstakes will also receive a coupon for 25% off a Bulldog Security Remote Starter.  Bulldog Security is well know for their ‘Do it Yourself’ line of vehicle alarms, remote starters, keyless entry systems and starter immobilizers.

Click the link below and ‘Like’ them on Facebook to be entered.

Bulldog Security Gas Card Giveaway. 

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My Evolution into Me (with regards to things with wheels)

Posted by Bill Prosperi on July 21, 2011

Everyday I watch Little Man become more of a gearhead and it makes me ponder myself as a kid. I had many Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, and many cheap knock offs. While Little Man plays with them as they should be with his garage and track sets, I was not so kind. I was more interested in seeing what happened when a cinder block fell on them from several feet high. Then there was the off chance that we got our hands on some fire crackers. That never ended well for the car.  Then there is Little Man who was in tears cause he was not allowed to go out in the pouring rain to get one he left out in yard the night before.  There is a point to this rambling and we will get to that. Growing up, I was never all that interested in cars, unlike Little Man is now.  I would watch NASCAR to see the wrecks, Little Man watches road racing and can rattle off manufacturers, drivers and tracks.  I could not tell you what Hot Wheels I had as a kid, but could probably tell you how they met their fate. My son, at five, can rattle off what he has in his collection and even knows when he sees the actual car when we are out.

My father tried like hell to turn me into a car guy when I was young. I tried to play along for a few years but would rather have my head in some science fiction book, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or studying dinosaurs. Yes I just outed myself as a nerd, but just like the Nerd movies, I ended up with a hot girl, so na na boo boo! Growing up on a small farm, we always did our own car maintenance, so we had our own small private junk yard. My dad always tried to have me involved so when I grew up (he is still waiting), I would be able to do things myself. I remember standing there and handing him tools but my mind was off slaying a level 20 troll. Though, I did have the obligatory Lamborghini Countach poster, my collect of identifiable Hot Wheels was far fewer than my dinosaur collection. I give him full credit for planting the seeds that eventually sprouted me into the half wit car person I am now. I think he is a little proud now when we visit and the conversation turns to four wheels, especially from the Sixties. I always played along as a kid because I knew that this was time with my dad. Time he did not always get as a kid and I knew I should be enjoying this moment no matter how little fun I was having. I still have vivid memories using cinder blocks as jack stands when we rotated tires. Cinder blocks were much like duct tape growing up, it’s something I have no answers for.

Cars and the auto industry really did not become part of my life until my early to mid twenties.  I think it was the realization that I would eventually have to purchase my own car someday instead of family hand-me downs.  From there, I would find myself thinking a lot more about cars beyond the sheet metal that made them up.  Simple things like horsepower and mpg started to make sense.  Now look at me, I am a mostly unknown Formula 1 writer and semi-known Mazda enthusiast who may or may not be influential to the brand.  Heck, I even engage in some not so semi-formal conversations about cars on the Twitter now and then. Even run a Tumblr site dedicated to a previously mentioned brand that I may or may not influence.   Even published some blogs post on a few obscure websites some might have heard of.  All this from a level 32 Elf.

Now here I am with a son and task at hand. Luckily my task is nowhere near as tricky as that of my poor father. I did learn a few things and do a bit of my own maintenance. Little Man is usually right there, for as long as his five year old attention span will allow, asking all types of questions. Questions I am sure I should have been asking as a kid. Questions I wish I would have asked but am sure my father answers without issue when I talk to him now. Life has a funny way of doing that, I guess. Here is to hoping that I can take the baton my father had a hard time handing to hand me as a kid and hand it of to my son. Especially since he has a knack for pulling things apart in order to put them back together. If only he didn’t break them beyond repair in the dismantling process. Thankfully, we do not have any cinder blocks laying around.

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The World’s Most Expensive Parade No More.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on June 22, 2011

When the season started, three key things were introduced: new tire supplier in Pirelli, the return of KERS, and the new DRS. When ever there is such dramatic change, the Boo Birds come out in full force.  This time was no different.  Now that there are several  races on the books, the chants are growing more and more distant.  Back this season are aspects that have been missing.  Formula One is once again a spectators sport.  Still think otherwise?  The opening races should give ample proof, with China seeing the most passes and Turkey seeing the most pit stops in a long long time.  Pit strategy all but vanished when refueling was banned.  Bridgestone was making tires that would allow the teams to need two stops, maybe one, to go the race distance.  This would allow the front runners to gain enough of a time advantage to comfortably make the required stop to use both assigned compounds of the race weekend, and be back on their merry way in the lead.  Now we are seeing upwards of four stops! Some events became a parade instead of a race since overtaking points are all but configured out of most of the newer tracks. The only racing to be had, it seemed, was either out of the points or low point paying positions.
Formula One has made its mark by being on the cutting edge of technology. Heck, by being on the very edge of reality when it comes to pushing man and machine to the brink of massive failure in order to achieve maximum results. That is what draws viewers in. No one wants to see twenty some odd cars play follow the leader around some of the most spectacular tracks the world has ever seen. The fans want to see drivers battle it out till the last few laps and pull out the win on the final corner. Ladies and Gentlemen, we may have our dreams answered.
During these first rounds, teams are settling in with the new toys. The last few seasons saw things like rear diffusers that would almost create a force field around the leading car, creating ‘dirty’ air and take away the slip stream and tow. The new Down force Reduction System or DRS is attempting to remedy that. So far so good. Now mix in the extra boost of KERS and look what happens. In China and Turkey we saw Mark Webber and Kamui Kobayashi come from way down in the pack and score points. Webber managed to find his way to a podium finish without KERS, but a change in pit strategy and use of DRS. Both drivers benefited from poor qualifying results by having extra tires the others did not. Add in that both are very skilled drivers and the results speak for themselves. In Canada, Jenson Button gave the drive of his career by coming from dead last to force Vettel into an error and win on the last lap.
The season so far has seen young Vettel pick up where last season left off. The only thorn in his crown so far is McLaren, taking victory in a hard fought China and sloppy wet Canada . Matching Vettel with the likes of Adrian Newey may be a strong case for sugar somehow finding its way into the Red Bull’s fuel cell right before the lights go out. Every one of the front running teams are making full use of KERS except Red Bull, who have had on and off issues but looks to be resolved. That boys and girls is what we call ‘phenomenal race pace’ or if you’re Ferrari, one would call that cheating. The other major head scratcher this season is Michael Schumacher. This once race dominator is now fighting to not be a moving chicane. The race in Turkey saw the veteran driver in a constant battle to not be run over by drivers who were in diapers when he was winning world championships. This is still Schumi so do not count the old man out just yet. Hopefully this is not showing that the old man was just an average driver who got to pilot a well designed car.  Imagine the dreams that would crush. In Canada, Michael just missed the podium, finishing in fourth.
As this season roars on, the hope is that someone will be able to put up a solid and consistent fight to Red Bull. Both McLaren and Ferrari have shown that it is possible. Could we also start to see that qualifying may not be as crucial as in seasons past.  Teams now seem more willing to hold back and save rubber for race day instead of burning them up in hopes of pole. Not having to reuse tires from qualify may save a trip to the pits and in term buy an extra twenty to thirty seconds.  But then there is always the possible turn one carnage that the front runners usually avoid.
There are still a lot of unknowns to this season and as the Formula One circus begins its parade through Europe, a clearer picture will emerge. With more pit stops required to finish a race, there is now more uncertainty involved.  Some drivers have already paid the price in lost time from stops gone wrong.  Hold on to your couch cushions boys and girls, we are in for one hell of a thrilling ride this summer.

(Photo from http://www.f1-pics.com/, an awesome site with images that span many years.)

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Kid Kid and the Goat

Posted by Bill Prosperi on April 11, 2011

I have two wonderful children. Little Man who is just over five and is about as boy as they come. Then there is Kid Kid who is seven going on seventeen and is half tom boy and half ‘we do not know yet’ and this installment involves her. When she was younger, she would cuddle up with me and watch races, oogle over cars in the parking lot, and other such things.  She once saw a ’64 Mustang and told me how she wanted one when old enough to drive. When I had my truck, she would beg me to get on the gas in order to hear the engine roar.  The mazdaspeed6, that was ‘Daddy’s Race car.  Now that her ‘girly’ side is starting to emerge, the desire to go to car shows with the old man is all but gone. I am trying to cope. Then this weekend happened.

On the way to our first soccer game of the season, a car caught my eye, and not just any car. This one was a thing of beauty at its simplest, a shiny red’67  GTO. Kid Kid knew something was up when I cut her off mid-ramble with a long ‘wooowwww’.   She quickly replied with ‘what?’ and all I could do is point. Her next few words made my heart skip a beat. Kid Kid sat up in her seat and said, ‘that’s a beautiful car!’. Yes, yes it is kid. We then proceeded to have a conversation on classic muscle cars and why I love them. She may not know it, but she made her dad’s day with that one. Plus she played pretty darn well at her soccer game too.

I can trace my love of muscle cars to my father and the stories of the white GTO he bought straight out of high school. He loved that car but would have it sold out from under him when he won the wrong lottery back in the late 60’s. I think that may be why the car holds a special place in my heart.  I hope it stays in Kid Kid’s as well.  If anything, it shows that some of the old Kid Kid from a few years back is still there.  If she decides that stuff like this is just boring old ‘Daddy talk’, I’ll still love her anyway.  She may not get the coolest car when she is old enough to drive, but only time will tell.

Posted in Auto, Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Weekend that Wasn’t. A Rant for Race Fans.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 21, 2011

Now that the snow has melted and there is this big ball of brightness in the sky, Little Man wakes up every weekend and asks what race is on today.  This weekend was the 12 Hours of Sebring, the start of the American Le Mans series.  The both of us were pretty excited about this.  That was until I found out that I would not be able to watch it on TV.  After finding out from the boys over at Speed:Sport:Life that the race kicked off at 10:30, I went to the cable guide to see what channel it would be on, with the first thought being SPEED. Nothing. OK, maybe they will have it on later in the day since Chop, Cut, Rebuild is must see TV for a Saturday morning.  Wrong again.  I looked over the guide for the entire day only to find a crap ton of NASCAR reruns and reality TV.  I was upset to say the least.  The only way to catch this American race classic was to either have an XBox or log on to the interwebs and hope my cable company would let me watch ESPN3.com.  In the words of Little Man: “Whaaaat? We can’t watch the race on TV? That’s just not right.”  My thoughts exactly.

What the hell has become of American motor sports lately?  During the weekend of the 24 Hour of Daytona, I sat at home on Friday, working of course, but thought I would turn on the ole’ TV and catch the Continental Tire Challenge support race.  I later found out that I would have to wait till the following weekend to watch that.  What I want to know is why, with all these series out there,  the only time we as race fans can watch them is a week or two later.  Ever since Fox took over the SPEED channel, the ability to watch racing in general has gone down the tubes.  Series like the SPEED World Challenge and the Trans Am series are a mere shadow of their former selves.  I get that NASCAR is popular. It is hard not to go anywhere and see something NASCAR associated.  Its kind of hard to miss when it is on every weekend, all weekend from February to November, with only a few weeks off in between.  Maybe it is just me, but the thrill of watching 30 some cars chase each other in a oval for four to five hours every weekend does nothing for me.  I can sit through about 20 laps or so, then by the fourth caution, I am done.  What I want to see are cars battling it out in the corners and are not trying to be something they are not.  As well, not a reality show that is a marriage of America’s Got Talent and a late night at Walmart. Reality TV was cool, ten years ago.  Now it is overwhelming.  Same with news and analysis.  How many ways can we pick apart the race weekend.

When I moved out on my own and got a real cable company that had the SPEED channel, there was racing on all day almost everyday.  I loved it.  I was able to see cars of every make and model battle it out.  Many of the drivers we watch today were just getting their start, and there I was watching them take their rookie knocks.  There were even hours devoted to the series in Europe.  Even a little sprinkle of rally tossed in for good measure.  Is the channel whose sole purpose was to showcase racing now gone the way of MTV?  Well there is SPEED2.  This on-line network looks great but unless you have Time-Warner cable, go put your hopes and dreams back to bed.

One of these days I will be able to give Little Man a good answer as to what race is going to be on. Thankfully Formula One is just days away. If that gets pushed to the side for something else, people better start running cause it will get ugly.  Maybe one of these days I will scrap my already perfectly good TV and go with something Internet capable so we can go on-line and watch TV.  Personally that sounds a bit moronic to me.  Why should I go to the Internet to watch television? I thought that is why I have cable.  Maybe I should bite the bullet and get a dish and hope to hell the wind is calm and there are not any storms in the tri-state area.  That could work.

I just want someone to tell my why.  Is that so hard? I have heard the same argument about money and rights from both sides.  Quit the finger pointing, it is not working and fans are leaving.  In fact, I am point a finger myself, but it is not my index finger.

I am not trying to single out NASCAR in this rant of mine.  But it should be easy to see why someone who is not a big fan of the series can get a little bent when it is shoved into his face at every corner.  Some of those guys may want to take some acting lessons as well, they are making dumb commercials even worse.

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The Story of my First..

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 11, 2011

It was a warm sunny summer day. We pulled into the field next to my parents’ house. There was a row of barns to shield us. I leaned in and mentioned how this was not my first time but was still nervous. I had attempted this once before in van on a back country road. It was tricky and I eventually got the hang of it but as always, things like this can come to a quick end. We started off slowly as I got familiar with our actions, slowly picking up the pace as we moved along. Soon things started moving quickly, maybe a little too fast. My dad showed up to tell me this was not the Indy 500 and I was driving in circles in the middle of a field. Buzz kill.

This was the first time I got to drive my first car, my 1981 blue Chevette. I was rolling in a ‘Vette, envy me. Please. Someone? Anyone? Ok, I thought I was pretty damn cool. We had some fun times together. It was rough for me having a summer birthday and being the youngest of my friends. All my friends had their license and access to a car. Then there was me, living out in the middle is nowhere. I always felt bad asking for a ride since I was 30 minutes away from everyone. This was my chance to finally fit in and get away.  The day we first met is still burned into my memory. It was the summer of 1993 and I was coming home from somewhere and there sat this strange car in the driveway. My parents tried to play it of the best way possible but I was able to put two and two together. This car was mine all mine.

As with any car given to a teen just learning the ropes, it was lacking in a few areas. The stereo would not bounce a dead bug of the speakers, the passenger seat belt did not work, and the fuel tank had a hole in it. As long as I owned it, there was never a full tank, always three quarters. There were a few other things but nothing major.  It was the perfect daily driver for a kid with no money.  This was back in the day where gas was always under a dollar.  When needed, a fill up would run around five bucks and go on to last around two weeks.  The seat belt? Not an issue.  The car had belts for up to five, which several times was a few short as I found that up to nine high school kids could fit in this little coupe.  Clown car? Maybe?

The many memories that were built around my first car. Most of them would have ensured that I never drove under my parents insurance unless it was a medical emergency.  It was senior year in high school, what was one to expect?  There was the time though, that the windows were fogged up one morning and we kinda skidded against a electric pole, running a long scratch down the driver side.  Dad was pissed and I would be grounded for the next two weeks. Grounded? I was a senior in high school and it really was not my fault.  Dad caught his own hell for that one. Thanks Mom. I did take good care of my ‘vette though.  The car was washed regularly but rarely waxed.  I was convinced by my father to just put a little oil in the water every now and then when I washed it.   I think this was he way of saying: ‘Don’t use my Mother’s Gold on your car, ever’.  Shhhh, I may have done that a time or two when he was at work.

We would go on to spend a good year and a half together.  The final days came when I moved to Columbus to go to college.  I arrived early to work with my uncle and get a little extra cash in my pocket.  While attempting to follow his directions to a job site, this was pre-GPS days, I drove through a red light and was hit in the driver side door.  Luckily this was low impact and everyone was just fine, except for the car.  The door was pretty caved in.  I would go on to inherit my late great grandfather’s Citation, which had very low miles considering the age.  The age would prove to be the downfall but that is a story for a later time.  Just put these two words to mind, float and carburetor.

The freedom that came with your first car is something that will always be there in the back of your mind.  The ability to go anywhere instead of having someone else take you is liberating.  Those were the days. We were young and not a care in the world.

(This was not exactly my car but similar.  I am not even sure if I have any pictures of my first car since there were no such thing as digital cameras back then.)

Posted in Auto, The Other Side of Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How I Plan to Get to Soccer Practice..F1 Style

Posted by Bill Prosperi on March 2, 2011

It is Saturday morning.  I am the coach.  I need to be at the field…… NOW!  HA!! No worries, we just picked up this nice ’95 Renault Espace.  Its a little old but it will do the trick. Luckily I was smarter than the average bear this time around and packed everything last night.  It is an early game and all. Who schedules a game at noon on a Saturday? I just got to bed a few hours ago.  Oh well.  We throw the kids in their seats, strap them in, and off we go.   We (I) could have planned better and woke up on time but what fun would that be?  It would be very un-Prosperi like to be on time for something.  The Espace quickly breezes through traffic and around all the slow lumbering ‘SUVs’ the other soccer moms are driving.  We looked at the usual suspects for our new ride but I decided this was the one for us.  Its French! What could ever go wrong?

So what makes this minivan so special? It is packing a World Champion Williams engine. (MORE POWER!)  The same one used to power the Williams-Renault FW15-C to the Formula 1 title in 1993.  This beast might not be a 4×4 like all the other soccer moms but are they packing an 800hp (upgraded from its original rating of 700hp), 3.5-litre, 40-valve Renault RS5 V10 engine?  I think not!  And the Smiths thought they were the cool ones with their Equinox SS.

We had thought about going with this one but thought that it might be a little too ‘loud’.  Didn’t want to get the neighbors talking.

Guess who never misses a tee time?

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Stung by a Hornet

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 25, 2011

Not sure what it is but there is just something about the early 1950’s Hudson Hornet (the first generation) that has me mesmerized. I can not put my finger on it but I would have one in a minute. Maybe it is the ‘Step Down’ design that was used, where the body and frame were merged into a single structure, allowing the floor pan to sit between the frame. This design aspect had passengers ‘step down’ into the cab, which to me would make it feel more like I was part of the car.  The long curvaceous flow of the body might do it as well or maybe the iconic front grill. All combined, a sinister look starts to appear.  Sleek and classy
This early Hornet is a well known favorite of collectors. Jay Leno has called it ‘one of the top ten of all time’, while Richard Langworth has called it ‘one of the industry’s all time great’.
Sadly, the merger with Nash-Kelvinator in 1954 to form what would be known as AMC, brought the demise of this classic. The Hudson nameplate would die off a few years later as Nash would re-badge them as AMC.

 


In its few short years of existence, the Hornet would leave its mark on motor sports history, specifically during the early years of NASCAR. In the infancy of the sport, specifically the early 50’s, with Hudson being the first manufacturer to compete in stock car events, the Hornet was the car to beat, winning race after race. One of the better know drivers, Marshall Teague, would create the well know ‘Fabulous Hudson Hornet’, a name known throughout many a racing circle.

 

 

 

Then of course, maybe it has something to do with Pixar and that grumpy old Doc Hudson. Pegging the late Paul Newman to voice this character could not have been played any better. It would come to serve as a lasting tribute to the great actor and well accomplished racer. The Cars film created a character that many kids today, as well as adults, will never forget. This alone should ensure that the beauty of the Hornet lives on for many a generation to come.

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