Before we get to Gordon Murray . . . In yesterday’s web-only racing roundup, I published a photo sent my way by Ed Moody of Formula Ford driver Dean Baker wearing the war bonnet that’s traditionally been awarded to the winner of one of the classes competing in the annual British Empire Motor Club’s Indian Summer Trophy Races at Mosport.
In recent years, the war bonnet went to the winner of the three-hour Enduro. But this year, a new Totem Pole trophy carved by club member Paul Johnson from a design by the late Bob Brockington was awarded to the Enduro winner and will be for the foreseeable future.
Which explains what Baker was doing wearing the bonnet.
I didn’t look at all my emails received over the weekend. It turns out that the same Mr. Moody had also sent me a photo he took of Enduro champion Nigel Krikorian of Markham with the new Totem trophy.
So, here it is. Congratulations to Krikorian for winning it and to the BEMC for inaugurating it.
Here’s a link to an interesting story about ex-Formula One designer Gordon Murray (click here), who’s switched his talents from producing F1 cars and exotic sports cars (the McLaren F1 is his) to building a road car that will hold three people and is made almost entirely from recycled materials.
Murray says his "city car" will be so small that two of them will be able to travel side-by-side in one lane and three can park in one space.
I guess if you live in a place like Monaco, where there are thousands of people squeezed into a square kilometre, a tiny "city car" like Murray’s would be just the ticket.
But I don’t live in a huge, sprawling, heavily populated European or Asian or South American metropolis. I live in a big place (the Greater Toronto Area) but it’s not big by the standards of the previous sentence. If anybody reading this thinks metro Toronto or metro Montreal is big as compared to metro Paris, they’re mistaken.
Because those places are so crowded, they need city cars like the Mini and the Fiat 500 and Murray’s T.25. And I suppose there’s a place for them around the GTA, too.
But do I really want to drive across the Prairies in one of those things? Do I really want to be all scrunched up in one, with two or three passengers, for a road trip from Toronto to Thunder Bay?
I once drove across much of the United States, from Phoenix to Toronto. I have news. Those 230 million people who live down there all live in the cities. Once you get out on the highway, there are miles and miles and miles of nothingness.
And for a drive like that, or a cross-Canada trip, you need a yacht – something you can put the seat back in, and stretch, and listen to the radio, and inhale the glory of all that space.
You know why they call the wild blue yonder over Montana and the Dakotas and Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta the "big sky," don’t you? Because there is no building over two stories from one horizon to the other and that sky just goes on forever. You probably don’t want to be in a city car in an environment like that.
I’m waiting for a Gordon Murray or some manufacturer to build me something green but is about the size of a 1959 Cadillac. For those wonderful long trips, you understand. . .
George Daszkowski of Mississauga sent me this listing from eBay (click here) of a sprint car built in 1963 by Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Grant King of Victoria, B.C. that is being advertised for sale.
Victoria was a hotbed of auto racing during much of the early 20th Century and King and budding Indy car stars Ed Kostenuk and Billy Foster were just carrying on that heritage when they all went to Indianapolis in the mid-60s in search of fame and fortune.
Kostenuk couldn’t get going fast enough to qualify at Indy but did have some USAC champ car starts. Foster was on his way to the top when he was killed in a stock car at Riverside, Calif., early in 1967. King went on to build and enter sprint cars and championship car (as Indy cars used to be called) in U.S. Auto Club competition for years and years before he died.
Daszkowski says he hopes the car stays in Canada.