Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pee Oh Tea whY?

We are in that annual period of limbo, as the old year crawls away and the more credulous amongst us convince ourselves once more that somehow next year will be better. If past performance is anything to go by, that optimism is sadly misplaced………….

Two Stops Over Exposed

Another sign of this time is the need for some photographers to remind the public of their work from the past 12 months…………..most, but not all, would do better to keep quiet and hope that the thin fare that they served up would be forgotten in the passage of time…………..even more ridiculous are those who “explain their art” and in the process display their utter cluelessness…….

For my part one image I snapped at the tracks stood out………… shows all that is wrong with motorsport photography, but what do I know?

John Brooks, December 2011


Ain’t No Brakeman

Tree Fellers

Preparing tax returns and generally clearing the office I stumble across a copy of “Pursuit of Perfection” made by an old mucker of mine for McLaren. Of course any distraction is welcome, but this stuff is pure gold, back in one of my favourite times.

The Bells Toil

That year I shot for Harrods amongst others, and their entry was in the hunt for victory right till the end. But it was the Ueno Clinic backed entry, run by Paul Lanzante that triumphed.

Prelude To A Kiss

On the film the first lap was electric, with Yannick Dalmas in the driver’s seat and some of the slickest camera work and editing ever seen on a motorsports video. Add to this the wailing sound track of V12 BMW overlaid by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers pounding out “Ain’t No Brakeman” and it is getting into perfection territory……….JuJu of the strongest kind. You can judge for youreselves HERE


Of the many highlights on the film, two have stuck with me on this viewing. The expression of wonder in the voice of Paul Lanzante at the pace of JJ Lehto during the very wet night. “We set a time to maintain throughout the race, 4 minutes 10 seconds. I think JJ thought he had to do that in the wet……………

Better Days

Then the final scene brings a lump to my throat as Soames Langton, who had helped his friend Lanzante at the race, sprayed Champagne all over those standing in the pitbox. It was a time of great happiness.

Rest in Peace Soames

God Speed JJ

John Brooks, December 2011

956 Anyone?

Full House

Silverstone in 1983 and that year’s must have accessory was the Porsche 956, it was the new black. Even a cack-handed snapper such as I could not fail to capture a gaggle of the wunder cars as they raced around the old bomber base. So here are five in shot, Kremer, Joest, Fitzpatrick and Obermaier entries….the likes of Alan Jones, Vern Schuppan, Bob Wollek, Stefan Johansson, David Hobbs, John Fitzpatrick, Jürgen Lässig and Hans Hayer behind the wheel……………….we did not appreciate how lucky we were………..

John Brooks, December 2011

Bolognese Sauce

Disco Volante?

Earlier this month I paid a visit to the Bologna Motor Show. While not on the scale of Paris or Frankfurt, nor with the slew of product launches that Geneva gives us each year, Bologna’s automotive display is well worth the time and attention of the average petrol head…….like me for instance. OK not all the exhibits work, a Disco Ball Smart? Nightmare Fever indeed.


Of course Northern Italy is FIAT/Ferrari/Alfa Romeo/Maserati/Lancia territory, so a whole hall was reserved for the fine automobiles from this venerable collection of Old Masters. As might be expected it was about the busiest hall of them all.


Proudly displayed was God’s answer to those with too much money…….a $2 million car that you pay for but can only drive on special days that are approved by Ferrari, with others who have have passed the filthy lucre test. Oh, and not on public roads……wear the myth, live the dream indeed.


Another piece of  glorious excess from Ferrari was unveiled at Bologna in the shape of the 599XX EVO, lighter, more powerful and faster than the 599XX, a rocket that managed to beat the seven minute mark round the Nordschleife……………so plenty of oomph. This Ferrari has go as well as show.

For those with 6.58 to spare you can see the lap on board HERE

458 Mate

More conventional was this brace of 458 Italias celebrating GTE success in 2011.


Understatement and elegance were the qualities found at Maserati’s stand. Modena’s finest now producing some of most desirable cars available. Two or Four doors they are the automotive equivalent to the cut and style of Italian Tailoring. We could all look like George Clooney in one of these……errr maybe not.


The FIAT 500 has been a great success, even if it is more than a tad cutsie for my taste. Fortunately help is on hand with Abarth’s take on the supermini. I could be seen in one of these.

4Ceable Future?

Alfa Romeo’s stand was something of a disappointment, there being no sign of the gorgeous new 4C, so I had to make do with this instead. As can be seen the cars on display in the hall all had a “niece” as an optional extra, nice of the Italian car companies to help with the youth unemployment figures and the fostering of closer relations between the generations.

Dindo’s Delight

Perhaps the next biggest presence at Bologna came from the VW Group, reinforcing their aim of being the Numero Uno in the motoring universe and soon. Like FIAT they too had a full complement of nieces to stop the enthusiastic public getting too close to the cars.

Hall of Fame

The VW exhibition also had a hall to itself.


And more nieces…….

Up Swing

A new VW, well new to me at least, the up!, was in yet another location…………more budget….and more nieces………..nice car, terrible branding………….lower case and an exclamation mark……………gosh, the marketeers’ equivalent of photographers tilting the bloody camera and wearing silly hats. How cutting edge and kool!

‘Allo, ‘Allo

One member of the VW extended family that was not much in evidence on the stands was Lamborghini; however being Italy of course the cops brought along a Gallardo…………

Show Me The way To Go Home

One of the oddest stands was one promoting the Autostrada network……………why?

Outside of the Box

More innovation at the Show from BlowCar…………… the blurb went:

BlowCar, which appears to be a direct competitor (to electric cars) chose the Bologna Motor Show to reveal the prototype of their vehicle announced with a concept car by Dario Di Camillo (former designer at Fiat and President of BlowCar) several years ago.
The BlowCar will be available in light quadricycle (leggero) limited to 45kph or heavy quadricycle (pesante) speed up to 100kph, and with three engines, diesel (Lombardini 442cc), hybrid or electric.
Four trim levels will be available in December 2012: BlowEva, BlowSugar, BlowEco, BlowJeans and finally BlowRoad a convertible version to be revealed later.
The body of the BlowCar is made of inflated rubber panels, this technique provides a very light material, inexpensive, rigid with higher shock absorbing qualities than those we knew until then!
With a weight of only 350kg Leggero, fuel economy is  announced from 2l/100km for the hybrid and 3l for the classic version…

Shakes Head

Obviously the commercial vehicle should be known as the Job, might be very popular. Well they laughed at Frankie Howerd…………

Sweets For My Sweet

More oddities, this time from Isuzu, a Haribo themed pick up………..a hit with the under-five segment…or something more sinister?

Purple Rain

And getting in touch with your inner FunkFather…………..dig the rims………..Man.


And just in case you did not get down that day, we’ll play it again, this time with sign language…….as you will be deaf after this lot.

Door Stop

There was a concept car from Ford, someone got into the medicine chest methinks.

Follow My Leader

And a Mercedes Benz pace car leads Michael, how very 2011.

Yellow Peril

There was a hall for Luxury Cars. Not sure about this lapse in taste from Bentley, normally a safe pair of hands.

The End Of The Road

The Maybach may have looked imposing but was a commercial failure and will be quietly dropped in 2013. More motoring vanity from the Top.

What’ll She Do, Mister?

As old as motoring, kids posing with sportscars; two lucky lads grip and grin with a Pagani………….dreams are made of such days.

il Tricolore

Something that says more about me than the Bologna Show was that the cars I most wanted to see were virtually all in the Icon Hall. That is not to say that there was much wrong with the new stuff, but much of it is blandtastic…………..or maybe I am just old.


Just to prove that the cars do not have to be Concepts or Supercars, one of my all time favourites, a Guilia GTA Junior, what ever was in the water in Arese (probably wine) made the whole operation really special duing the 60’s.

Lounge Lizard

Blandtastic is not an expression that could ever be associated with the finest from Alfa Romeo T33 concept cars  such as the Iguana…find out more about this concept car HERE

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Or the Carabo concept………….more about this concept HERE


Then there is the Pininfarina Coupes HERE, although I have not done justice to the impact of the car in the awful lighting.

Freccia Rosso

More Magic from Alfa’s Museo Historico, a 158 Alfetta dating back to 1940….Wouter once again………HERE


OK I have left my favourite till last, this Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pininfarina Coupe is almost beyond words,  elegance and style do not come close to giving the full description of this automotive art.

Twin Light

Once again the young Dutch Master is on the pace HERE . I featured a sister car dating from 1942 and from Bertone on DDC a bit earlier during the year HERE .
So a successful show and to complete my look at Bologna 2011 I post a gallery of the official images below, plenty of action and plenty of nieces.
John Brooks, December 2011








A Racetrack in France………….

Simply Red

Another look back on Memory Lane, this time to the summer of 2000. Olivier Beretta celebrates victory in LM GTS at Le Mans. It was the high water mark for the Oreca Viper campaign, a third class win at La Sarthe, to go with an outright triumph that year at the Rolex 24. The Corvettes were coming and they would not be denied much longer.

Two great teams, two great cars, one great contest.

John Brooks, December 2011

Italian Banking Crisis

Hang on, lads; I’ve got a great idea.

As the world winds down for Christmas, or at least this part of the world, it is time for a bit of whimsy. Here is a gang of Abarths on the Monza Banking, perhaps in training for a showdown on the Lingotto roof with the cheeky chappies in Minis.

An Italian Job indeed.

John Brooks, December 2011

Ground Control To Major Tom

Rose Tinted?

It has been common knowledge amongst those who follow motor sport that there are more than a fair share of space cadets involved at every level.

Well, now we have the genuine article………..Tom Coronel has signed up for some form of Dutch Space Travel…..sounds like a very complicated position………….I wonder if we will see it illustrated at some stage in Gentlemens’ Trophy?

He is leaving no room for doubts: “This is what I have always wanted!” During the Millionair Fair in Amsterdam, 39-year old Tom Coronel signed a contract with SXC Space Expedition Curacao’s Michiel Mol to become one of the 100 ‘founder’ astronauts to travel into space in 2014, among others with model Doutzen Kroes and DJ Armin van Buuren.

Can You Hear Me Major Tom?

John Brooks, December 2011

A big thank you to David Lister for Tom’s portrait and for tipping me off about this project.