Circa 1973 SAAB Sonett Willingly Autocrosses

At the 2010  SASCA Autocross #9 (on 26-SEP-2010), I saw a vintage 1973 SAAB Sonett III.  This car was not parking on site as a poser, but as a willing participant to be flogged & enjoyed by its owner, Chuck.

Chucks SAAB Sonett, carving an autocross corner...

  • It’s actually compilation of parts from SAAB Sonetts of 1971, 1972 & 1973.

Chuck's SAAB Sonett is ready & waiting...

  • Also. this vintage SAAB has a vintage SCCA “package”,  from a 1983 combination of suspension parts that was popular at the time.

Chuck's SAAB Sonett, haunched up & anxious to go!

  • The car is clean & pretty stock, as shown by the cockpit interior.

Chuck's SAAB Sonett,a "just the essentials" cockpit...

  • Chuck loves his car & calls it a “Franken-SAAB” – it even has stitches on a front fender!

Chuck's "Franken-SAAB" Sonett, complete with stitches!

  • This is Chuck’s first time competing at autocross.  He said he’s never worn a helmet in this car – just bought one  day prior to this event!

Chuck, ready to pilot his SAAB Sonett steed!

  • Bottom line – Chuck had fun & that’s the point of autocross for most of us…

Here's the willing SAAB Sonett V4, some call a 'sewing machine' motor!

Racing Ready continues to enjoy seeing older vehicles being put through their still competitive paces.


Why Compete In The South – Winter Conditions

There’s a reason why we compete & stay in the south, as opposed to where I was raised in the Northeastern USA.  Specifically, I was raised in Upstate New York, in a small, Erie Canal town west of Syracuse.  Well, here’s a graphic picture of the 2010 Blizzard in the Northeast – more specifically in front of my daughter Katherine’s apartment in Brooklyn…this morning!

Check it out!

Brooklyn end of December 2010 snow drifts...streetside parking view!

My wife, Isabel, is currently stuck up there, with all flights currently canceled.  We will be competing in autocross, already, next month.  So we’ll be in touch, here at Racing Ready!


Eyewitness Proof of Austin Formula 1 Track

Sunday, November 14th, 2010, I motored up to the environs of Elroy, Texas.  This was to visit the proposed site of the Austin Formula 1 USGP racing complex.

Proposed site for Formula 1 Racing in Austin 2012

I wanted to get a “before” general overview of the site.  I was with my visiting brother, Stephen, and I made the following statement:

“I am both unimpressed & overwhelmed!”

Unimpressed – the location seems to be in the middle of rural nowhere, about 10 miles & 15 minutes east of Interstate 35, & about 2 miles south of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
Overwhelmed – there is SO much that will have to be completed, made up from nothing.  What a HUGE job it will be!

It was hard to get any sort of land site picture from ground level.  Here’s a view from the south, looking to the north northwest – note the existing Exxon gas station off to the right.

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Before Panorama, from the south, looking north, nortwest!

This the mapped location of the panorama view shown above…the traced yellow “V” is the location photographed, the blue arrow indicates north.

Map of FM Road 812 - the southern border of the Austin USGP Formula 1 track site

Upon leaving the area, I saw a heavy truck entrance, identified by small (4″ to 6″) limestone rocks.  They were leading off the road’s shoulder onto the track property.  I noticed this at the last minute, as I drove by, & saw a brilliant flush of green.  I turned around & pulled Karlino over.  This area was what I’ll call an environmental testing site.  See for yourself:

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Karlino at the Environmental Test Site, from across FM Road 812.

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Environmental Test Site close up...

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Karlino at the Environmental Test Site, looking west down FM Road 812.

Based on that stake placed by the culvert (in the picture above), this test site looks to be the work of Terracon, a firm of consulting engineers and scientists.

I had no idea what to expect & was pleased to visit the area.  I can only imagine what things will look like as they evolve the site.  I wonder what will become of this Exxon convenience store…

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - the humble convenience store-gas station

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Looking west from the convenience store.

Racing Ready will continue to keep you up to date on this as it continues to develop!


Gymkhana Grid Int’l, a Ken Block Challenge

This coming Saturday, December 4, 2010, Ken Block (of rally/gymkhana/car maneuvering renown), is putting on a 8-way competition.

Ken Block - Gymkhana Grid Invitational

This will take place at the Irwindale Speedway, located in Irwindale, CA.

Gymkhna Grid International, mirrored courses at Irwindale Speedway, designed by Ken Block

Pretty much all of the details are included in the video below. You may want to lower the volume if you view this at work – it ain’t necessarily PG…

Obviously this is WAY beyond what we as autocrossers aspire to achieve with our own cars, even in the heat of competition.  But damn, it sure is cool to see what can be done to make a car handle!  Racing Ready would not want to foot their tire budget…