MPG MilePost is the monthly online newsletter of the Motor Press Guild
Dean Batchelor Award Banquet
A Message from the President
Renew Your Membership
What We Drive
Marty Schorr's GT
Contribute to your MilePost
Pete Lyons Editor and Photographer
Lorna Lyons Graphic Presentation
Motor Press Guild
Board of Directors
Laura Burstein President
Mike Levine Treasurer
Aaron Gold Secretary
The Motor Press Guild (MPG) is the largest automotive media association in North America. This exclusive, non-profit organization is dedicated to upholding the highest ideals in automotive journalism and promoting education and information exchange within the motoring press. Members include print journalists, photographers, broadcasters and new media professionals, as well as public-relations representatives, consumer groups, and governmental bodies tied to the automotive industry. Student memberships are available as well. For more information, please visit www.motorpressguild.org.
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MPG Dean Batchelor Award Banquet at the Petersen Automotive Museum, December 13, 2011
SENNA DOCUMENTARY WINS DEAN BATCHELOR AWARD
Other Bests of the Year:
Article, Tom Stahler; Book, Janos Wimpffen; Photo, Reinhard Klein
Brock Yates Honored for Lifetime Achievement
—Report by Pete Lyons, Editor, MPG MilePost; photos by Pete Lyons unless otherwise credited
An extra-large number of members and guests, including numerous celebrities, gathered at the Petersen to enjoy MPG’s annual holiday gala and to honor “Excellence in Automotive Journalism” through the Guild’s premier award, which is named for the late MPG co-founder Dean Batchelor.
After two rounds of judging, this year’s overall winner was the film “Senna,” a moving historical documentary about Brazil’s three-time World Champion F1 driver Ayrton Senna. Accepting on behalf of nominees Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey was former TV racing reporter John Bisignano, who worked on the film. Photo right: John Bisignano (on left) accepts award from the 2010 Lifetime Achievement winner, John Clinard.
Named Best of the Year in three other categories were Janos Wimpffen for his comprehensive marque history book, “Elva,” Tom Stahler for a deeply researched magazine article about 1971’s “Questor Grand Prix,” and Reinhard Klein for a spectacular rallying photo called “Everybody’s a Photographer.”
To conclude the evening, MPG presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Brock Yates, the longtime racer, author, editor and screenwriter. The evening's events are discussed in more detail below. Photo left: Brock Yates holds the trophy presented to him by Tim Considine.
Companies who stepped up to help support our gala were Platinum Sponsor Coda Automotive and Silver Sponsor Mothers Polishes, Waxes and Cleaners, as well as Chrysler/Fiat (parking), Ford Motor Company (award trophies) and table sponsors Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota and truecar.com. MPG is grateful to them all.
MPG members and staffers given special recognition for their yeoman work on this year’s Awards dinner included Rod Campbell, Tim Considine, John Dinkel, Richard Knafelc, Chuck Koch, Chris Poole, Aaron Robinson, Larry Rusznak and Kevin Smith.
Bests of the Year
Stepping to the podium to present MPG Best of the Year awards in two categories, Book and Audio/Visual, was radio host Ed Justice Jr., himself a former A/V winner. Photo right: Best of the Year Book Category Winner Janos Wimpffen on left accepts from Ed Justice.
About the winning Book, Janos Wimpffen’s “Elva, the Cars, the People, the History” (from David Bull Publishing), the presenter repeated such comments from the judging team as “a captivating history with a beginning, middle and end” … “as I read I kept saying, I didn’t know that, I didn’t know that” … and “sets a benchmark for a marque history.”
Wimpffen previously won the overall Dean Batchelor Award in 2000. On accepting this time, he said, “I definitely want to dedicate this to David Bull, who suffered a near-fatal [motorcycle] accident a few months ago. Recently I got a phone call from him and I nearly fell off my chair to hear his voice. He’s well on the road to recovery, and I’m more happy for that than the award! But thank you very much, I am very honored.”
The other two finalists in the book category were Michael Argetsinger for his “Formula One at Watkins Glen: 20 Years of the United States Grand Prix, 1961-1980” (David Bull Publishing) and Stuart Codling, author of “Real Racers" (Motorbooks).
Ed Justice announces finalists in the book category. On left Michael Argetsinger's book and on right Stuart Codling's.
As for the winning film “Senna,” Ed Justice said judges’ remarks included this: “The hardest thing is to engage the emotions. This film does it in spades. It doesn’t matter if you’re a car person or a racing fan, this film is very powerful and crosses over magically to the general audience. Pure and simple, ‘Senna’ is very moving.”
Standing in for director Kapadia and writer Pandey, who remained in the UK, John Bisignano (on left in photo right) described them as “journalists who came together with a love of the sport and they transcended all the motor racing movies that haven’t quite told the whole story.”
About the protagonist, “Biz” added that “in 15 years [of covering] 247 Grands Prix, Ayrton Senna was the fastest Formula 1 driver that I ever saw. And the only thing that surpassed his speed was his strength as an individual … his love for the sport conquered the politics, conquered the money and conquered all the other competition.”
Also reaching the finals of this year’s A/V judging were Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker for their "Chevrolet Volt," which was posted at Everydaydriver.com on May 24, 2011, and Michael Mandt, Neil Mandt and David Houston for "Rolls Royce Ghost" on The Car Show, July 13, 2011.
Photos above: Ed Justice announcing the two A/V finalists.
Past MPG President Kevin Smith presented the remaining pair of BOTY awards. He said that the winning article about the Questor event at Ontario Motor Speedway, published by Vintage Motorsport in its July/August issue, is “a wonderful account of a spectacular motor racing event, but it’s inevitably melancholy … it turned out to be a historic one-timer rather than a beginning of great things, as we had hoped.”
When the delighted Tom Stahler bounced up to accept his trophy (on left in photo right), he drew laughs by blurting out, “To my lovely wife Jenny, who has been incredibly supportive despite having absolutely no interest whatsoever in motorsport, now that I’ve won — will you please read the article?
Jay G. Fitzhugh, author of "Protesters Sign Here," Rodders Journal, Winter 2010 and Preston Lerner, "Last Call for the Town Car," Automobile Magazine, July 2011, were the other Article category finalists.
Finalists in the article category. – photos by Myles Regan for MPG
Turning to the winner in the Photography category, Reinhard Klein’s “Everybody’s a Photographer,” published in the September Road & Track, presenter Smith read these judges’ comments: “… the photographer … didn’t fall into the trap of shooting just tight shots of the cars as they splashed by. He had the situational awareness to see everything, allowing the car and the people with their cameras to create a complete story” and “I love images that draw me in and this one drew me way in.” (photo right of Klein's winning entry. –photo by Myles Regan for MPG)
In Klein’s absence, his award was accepted by R&T Editor-in-Chief Matt DeLorenzo. The other photo finalists were Paul Barshon for "Viva Italia," Automobile, March 2011 (on left below), and Brian Blades, "Absolute Power," Road & Track, February 2011.
“SENNA” NAMED OVERALL WINNER
At last it was time to name this year’s Dean Batchelor Award winner. It was done by John Clinard, last year’s recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, who quipped as he opened the sealed envelope, “I’ve been carrying this in my pocket for three hours. I didn’t peek.”
Again “Senna’s” Bisignano came to the rostrum (photo right), this time remarking, “This movie is certainly for the gearheads, that is for sure, but it is also for anyone that understands the dynamics of life, struggle, overcoming those struggles to achieve many goals."
Photo left: Pamela and Brock Yates. –photo by Myles Regan for MPG. Photo right: Brock Yates accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tim Considine.
Organized and MC’d by Tim Considine, another past President as well as Dean Batchelor winner in 1993, MPG’s recognition of Brock Yates began with TC’s own tribute. “I’m honored to be able to present the Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award tonight. It’s the highest accolade that MPG can give. Since 1995 it’s only been given eight times. Dean Batchelor … was a man of many talents and he would be pleased that the MPG Board of Directors has unanimously voted to give the Lifetime Achievement Award to another true renaissance man, a writer, a racer, a columnist, an artist and a television broadcaster ... [Applause.]
“In the world of automotive journalism, Brock Yates is nothing less than an icon. He’s authored more than 16 books. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Ingrassia called Brock’s 1983 very controversial and very prescient book, “The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry,” the best book ever written about Detroit.
“Yates’ columns, original drawings and feature stories have graced the pages of many publications, among them of course Car and Driver and Road & Track … Playboy, Golf Digest, The Wall Street Journal. In 1979, along with his co-hosts Ken Squier, David Hobbs and Ned Jarrett, Brock made history in CBS’s flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500. You may remember that …” [Enthusiastic applause.]
“No matter which of his many talents he employs, Brock Yates’s work has always been colorful, very colorful, fearlessly irreverent, provocative, sometimes even controversial, but never, ever dull.
“A year ago, in typically candid and eloquent column in Vintage Motorsport, he wrote of his personal battle with Altzheimers. That’s a disease that afflicts four million Americans and one out of every eight over the age of 65. The good news is, Brock Yates is here tonight with us to accept this honor. He and his family are here tonight.”
A number of testimonials and greetings came from the journalist’s friends and colleagues. Bob Lutz and also Yates’ former TV colleagues Bob Varsha and David Hobbs kicked it off via video, while appearing in person were Dan Gurney, Jay Leno, Hal Needham and Ken Squier. As each spoke, a projection screen flashed photo after photo showing moments in Yates’ long and colorful career.
Notable remarks included Lutz referring to the honoree as “Maximum Brock” and Hobbs recalling an evening spent “throwing glasses into the fireplace.” Varsha noted that “being younger than my partner Hobbs, my memories don’t go back so far, but we’ll all be quoting Brock Yates for many years to come.”
Dan Gurney (on left at podium) spoke with photos of Brock Yates showing in the background.
Gurney, who partnered with Yates in a borrowed Ferrari Daytona to win Yates’s notorious “Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” in 1971, said this: “Brock has been a hero of mine ever since I got to know him. It’s because he was courageous, adventurous, he’s a pioneer, a trailblazer, a historian, an enjoyer-of-life, a hale and hearty creator, an instigator, he’s brave and a defender of freedom … that’s all!”
Leno next stepped up and quipped, “I’m not used to awards with this kind of integrity. I’m from Hollywood, where you have to sleep with the judges and give ‘em cocaine and crap. To see awards where people win on merit, I’m stunned. …
“You know, we Americans, we like smart people and we like dumb people, but we really like smart people that can act dumb, and that’s the great thing about Brock. He just looks like a good ol’ boy and then, boom, he comes in with that smart thing, he’s very clever. … You need people that can poke the establishment a little bit and he was always great at that.”
Jay Leno and Hal Needham also spoke about Brock Yates.
Needham, director of the “Cannonball Run” films inspired by Yates’s cross-country events, declared that “Brock has given me some things that nobody can ever, ever take away from me, exciting, laughable, funny trips and events and I want to thank him for allowing me to be part of it.”
Finally came Squier, who recalled that the pioneering TV coverage of Daytona “did not get off to a particularly auspicious start” when Yates grew irritable at Floridians constantly saying, “I bet you’re glad to be down here and out of that awful cold weather you have up north.”
Continued Squier, “You know how it is when Yates got his rectal flutter up. By the time he got to Daytona he was totally out of control. [Choosing a gathering of important local people for his strike, Yates drawled] ‘Well guys, let me tell you something. I really think it’s a lot better up north than being down here in a dried-out swamp.’ (photo right by Myles Regan for MPG)
“You could hear Pam [Yates] going, ‘Oh, Jesus God.’ But those are those little moments that built one’s … belief that you’ve got the right guy for the job. We wanted [the broadcast] to have a special feel and who better than Brock… [who] really understood the nuances of how our society works and who could transmit it. He could get ‘ya upset, he could get you really torn up about things, and at the same time he could teach you lessons.”
Considine concluded with two messages from old friends who could not attend. “Carroll Shelby says he loves ya,” and then he read a letter from Bill Warner:
“[There has] ‘always been this aura of irreverence surrounding you, an aura that David E. fired you at least once, maybe twice, an aura that inspired yokels like me to race with you from New York City to L.A. or, worse yet, around the perimeter of the US of A. I cannot think of any one person that could inspire so many lunatics to burn that much fuel and waste that much time than you.
“You exemplify the creative streak that is uniquely American, an in-your-face attitude to authority, and a wonderful ability to express all this in your writings.”
When the man of the hour stepped up to accept his trophy, he seemed at an uncharacteristic loss for words. “I don’t know what to say … but just to tell you I’m very, very proud of it … Thank you to all of you for coming here … I really don’t have much to say.”
Photo on left: Pam and Brock Yates with MPG President Laura Burstein. –photo by Myles Regan for MPG
Photo on right: Pam and Brock Yates with Hal Needham. –photo by Lorna Lyons for MPG
Photo on left: (from left) Dan Gurney, Mary Davis, and Brock Yates. Mary Davis owned the Portofino Inn where the Cannonball Run ended. Gurney and Brock co-drove to a win in 1971. Photo on right: The Yates family (from left): Son Daniel Yates, daughter Claire Lilly, Pam and Brock Yates, daughter Stacy Bradely and Brock Yates Jr. –photos by Lorna Lyons for MPG
Seven sponsor cars on display: Toyota, Subaru, and Mazda, plus Coda, Porsche, Fiat, and Infiniti (2009 Red Bull F1).
Photo left: Brock and Pam Yates. Photo right: Best of the Year winners (from left): Janos Wimpffen for books, Tom Stahler for articles, his wife Jennie Stahler, John Bisignano accepting for the video "Senna" and Lisa Koch. "Senna" won the Dean Batchelor Award. Not pictured is Reinhard Klein who won the photography category. –photos by Lorna Lyons for MPG
See more photos on the NEWS page of motorpressguild.org and on the MPG Facebook page.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT:
Dear MPG Members,
Happy New Year! This is a time of reflection and resolutions. In that spirit, we will be working this year to further assess the goals and operations of MPG and find ways to make the organization even more efficient and valuable to its members. We made great strides last year, and 2012 will be even better.
Helping us get there will be our three new board members, journalists Joni Gray and Michael Harley, as well as L.A. Auto Show communications director Brendan Flynn. We welcome them to the team and thank everyone who participated in this election. Needless to say it takes many hands to make MPG run, and we look forward to working with many new and familiar faces in the coming months.
Note we will not be meeting on our usual second Tuesday of the month in January because it coincides with the NAIAS press days. Stay tuned for future meeting announcements soon. And for those going, I'll see you in Detroit.
Here's to another great year.
— Laura Burstein
MPG’s Luncheon Meetings are normally at the Proud Bird Restaurant near LAX airport on the second Tuesday of the month, except as noted below. Guest speakers come from every area of the automotive business, and all industry professionals are welcome to attend. Price is $25 for MPG members, $35 for others. Arrive by 11:30 am for networking, with lunch beginning at noon. For latest details see the NEWS page on the MPG site.
January 13: LAST DAY to submit photos for the next Media Guide. See “2012 COVER CONTEST” below.
January xxx, 2012: MPG’s monthly luncheon meetings resume at the Proud Bird. Date and program details still to come. Look for an email shortly.
January 31, 2012: LAST DAY to renew your membership and still be included in the 2012 MPG Membership Roster & Media Guide
February 14: MPG luncheon meeting at the Proud Bird. Program details to come.
RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP
January 31 is the deadline for new and renewing members to be included in the 2012 Membership Roster & Media Guide. To renew your own membership or access new-member application info, click “JOIN” on the golden header bar at www.motorpressguild.org
Satch Carlson, Roundel Magazine/Hemmings Sport & Exotic Cars, 8629 Via Mallorca Unit F, La Jolla, CA, 92037; email@example.com
Carter Jung, Road & Track, 2753 Sleepy Hollow Pl., Glendale, CA 91206; firstname.lastname@example.org
Alicia Jones, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 1919 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90501; email@example.com
Jaime Szegvary, ASG Renaissance, 3188-J Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626; firstname.lastname@example.org
Han Tjan, Daimler, 770 11th Avenue, New York, NY 10019; email@example.com
Amanda Frayer, Kelly Blue Book, 195 Technology Drive, Irvine, CA 92618; firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Lewis, Venture 4th Marketing, 26875 La alameda #1025, Mission Viejo, CA, 92691; email@example.com
Bobby Holland, Right Track Motoring, P.O. Box 12288, Marina Del Rey, CA 90295; firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephan Moran, MD, Huntsville Hospital/University of Alabama School of Medicine, 5699 Macon Drive SE, Huntsville, AL 35802; email@example.com
ALL MEMBERS, note that you alone are responsible for keeping your own profile and contact info up-to-date in MPG’s database. Here’s how to update your own Member Profile at www.motorpressguild.org: Click on the “LOGIN” tab at upper right, enter your username and password, then click on the new “MEMBERS” tab that has appeared (in place of “LOGIN”). Open “Profile” and then click on either “Edit” (top of panel) or “Edit this Profile” (bottom). Don’t neglect to click the “SAVE” button (bottom left) when you’re done. THIS IS THE DATA PUBLISHED IN MPG’S ANNUAL MEDIA GUIDE/MEMBERSHIP ROSTER AND NO ONE BUT YOU CHECKS ITS ACCURACY.
2012 COVER CONTEST
Did you create the perfect picture to grace the cover of next year’s Membership Roster & Media Guide? Something that “says something” about the auto biz? It need not have been done in the past year, but it does need to be in a vertical (portrait) format to suit the cover layout.
Entries must be received by Friday, January 13, 2012. We can only accept a maximum of two entries per photographer. Email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org The file format may be JPEG, TIFF or PSD. To start with, please send low-resolution images only. If we select your image for the cover, we'll ask for the high-res file.
The winner is chosen by a committee comprised of MPG members with expertise in producing the Media Guide. The winning photo will be on the cover of the 2012 edition with a photographer’s credit on the inside. The photo will also be used for the online Media Guide and in the www.motorpressguild.org News section. The winning photographer will also enjoy everlasting fame and adulation in the MPG community! So start reviewing your best images … and share!
WHAT WE DRIVE
Car guys tend fall in love a lot. But unless they have the cash flow of a Hedge Fund Houdini, consummation is often elusive. My 47-year love affair with the GT40 was pure fantasy until last month, when I purchased a Ford GT, spiritual successor to the car of my dreams.
They say you never forget your first love and I can remember exactly when and where I fell in love with the GT40: April 1, 1964, Ford GT press conference, Essex House Hotel, NYC. I may not remember what I had for breakfast today, but I’ll never forget GT #101, the mid-engine, Lola-built prototype with Ford-designed body and Weber-carbed small-block, the first GT40. I was representing CARS Magazine, taking copious notes as John Wyer and Roy Lunn talked of Ford’s coming GT revolution.
Approximately three years later, after following every step of Ford’s GT40 program and its first 1-2-3 win at Le Mans in 1966, I rekindled my love affair. I spent a day driving the 175-mph GT40-based Mark III in Manhattan and around NYC, for the July 1967 CARS cover story. Here's the link to my Web site where I talk about that story:
Powered by a Shelby GT-350 289/306, it was the actual prototype for Ford’s Mark III program. Because of its eight-inch rear extension (for luggage) and higher-set headlights (for the government), the Mark III is not as seductively proportioned as the Mark I. But I loved driving it.
A long time later, I was finally in a position to acquire a modern Ford GT. Being a GT “newbie,” I worked with friend/GT specialist Shelby Smith of Elite Autos, Jonesboro, AR, to find my dream car. I wanted a stock one-owner, as-new, four-option (only four options: painted stripes & Brembo calipers, McIntosh stereo, BBS wheels) Tungsten Silver GT. Shelby found exactly that and turned my fantasy into reality.
I wanted a GT in Tungsten Silver, Ford’s 2006 launch color created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its ‘66 Le Mans win, the start of a remarkable four-year winning streak. Thanks to the modern GT’s hand-assembled, supercharged, 550-horsepower, 5.4-liter DOHC V8 mated to a Ricardo six-speed transaxle, it delivers more performance and real world driving qualities than vintage models. Plus, ultra-rare street GT40s and Mark IIIs change hands at over one million dollars!
As I write, my dream car was delivered less than a month ago and, because I’ve been traveling, I’ve driven it less than 100 miles. While incredibly impressed with its adrenalin rush acceleration (sub-four-second 0-to-60 mph in first gear!), effortlessly-revving engine and go-wherever-you-point-it racecar handling, I’ve been primarily concentrating on getting in and out without my forehead making contact with the top of the door. Owning a GT also means searching for a parking space that allows you to fully open the huge doors and keeping the front spoiler and rear diffuser from making contact with the ground.
I’m also learning that the rear view in the mirror never changes: It’s always the supercharger! You also have to deal with the blind spots, of which there are many. And, the lack of a trunk (holds car cover and trickle charger), glove box and stowage areas that we tend to take for granted. No, there are no cup holders. Plus, it doesn’t like to be driven until warmed up and that includes the Goodyear FI tires that when cold can behave like hockey pucks.
All in all, it’s a wonderful-driving, delightfully impractical car that I’d love to park in my living room. In the world of exotics and performance cars, Ford’s GT is America’s Supercar. Style-wise, I believe it ranks right up there with some of the world’s most iconic automotive designs: Ferrari 250 SWC and 275 GTB, Jaguar E-Type, Mercedes-Benz Gullwing.
It was worth waiting (47 years) for!
WANTED: MORE WWD PIECES! Are you the proud owner of a neat vehicle? Care to share its story? Send us about 400 words along with a few photos. Please include yourself in at least one of the pix — this is about what “we” drive, after all. Cars, race cars, trucks, bikes, bicycles, boats, airplanes, steam traction engines … c’mon, brag about your baby! Send material to email@example.com
CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR MILEPOST. Any member is welcome to submit items to this monthly newsletter that are of specific interest to fellow members, including letters to the editor, job openings, free Classified Ads, Member News about changes of position or awards received, event announcements and reports, What We Drive stories, etc. Acceptance and revision are at the discretion of the Editor. MilePost does not publish general industry PR or paid ads. Items run one time only unless renewed. Deadline is seven days before the end of the month. Send both words and pictures (small JPEGs, please) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Members who wish to publicize the above and other types of information may do so themselves on the MPG Facebook page: www.facebook.com/motorpressguild.
Motor Press Guild, P.O. Box 4215, Redondo Beach CA 90277 • 323-374-3674