The TACH Report: First Lady Of Racing Honored, Monterey Historics, Lincoln Town Car VS Mercury Marquis

28 July 1998

Curvaceous Linda Vaughn, long considered the 'First Lady Of Racing'
was honored at SEMA's annual spring salute (to themselves) in
Washington, DC.  With several U.S. Senators and Congressmen in
attendance SEMA V.P., Sam Jackson told the assemblage that Linda is
one of our most passionate ambassadors of the sport. She started as a
race queen and spokesperson many moons ago with Hurst Performance and
now represents Mr. Gasket and Prolong additives. She has been SEMA
'Person of the Year' and is a member of the SEMA hall of fame.

If you like Porsches, the place to be August 14-17 is Laguna Seca
Raceway in Monterey, Calif at the 25th Monterey Historic races, where
Porsche will celebrate its 50th birthday.  It is expected that as many
as 1000 Porsches will make the trek to northern California for the
3-day carnival of speed and show cars.  Some of the famous drivers
expected to make demonstration runs in famous Porsches (including Mark
Donohues 1000 h.p. 91K) are: Hurley Haywood, three-time LeMans winner;
Vic Elford, ex-F1 driver; Brian Redman; Derek Bell; George Follmer;
and Joe Buzzetta.  There will be over 350 vintage racers strutting
their stuff on the 2.2 mile road course and the weather is always
fantastic.

The 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis is a Lincoln Town Car clone. Right ?
Wrong!  True, both cars have the same wheelbase, four doors, similar
interiors.  4.6 liter V8 motor but that's where the similarity
ends. The Cartier packaged Town Car goes out the door loaded for
$44,262 and the Merc stickers at $28,235.  You would think there is no
way that two similar sedans could be priced $12,000 apart.  Like what
the heck can be worth 12 big ones when both cars look alike?  Gotta
tell you that was my question also, UNTIL I got out of one car, the
Marquis, and into the Lincoln.  It's magic . . . immediately you are
aware that you are now seated in the lap of luxury.  The Link has a
sunroof, heated seats with memory, burled walnut everywhere, CD
player, and gold accents abound (on a midnight blue finish, they look
classy).  Leather, ten-way seats, power everything, and for some
unknown reason the Town car SEEMS to have superior performance.  We
can only attribute this to the final gear ratios, which are tighter
then the Merc's 3.27 ratio-axle. Whereas the Mercury has recently been
listed as one of the least stolen cars on the street today, its
counterpart, the Lincoln Town Car, is coveted by thieves everywhere.
If you want a ton of interior room at a decent price, pick the
Marquis.  If you want this same cavernous six-passenger capability and
prestige and pride of ownership, then buy the Town Car. Lots of people
are.

IROC at Indy on Friday.  It should be a good one. First time back to
the Brickyard for CART drivers Al Unser Jr, and Jimmy Vasser. I'm
a-thinking those nimble 600 h.p. Pontiac Firebirds are going to get
around the flat 2.5 mile oval as fast as the Winston Cup cars. Tire
wear on the Goodyears will be important, and there are no scheduled
pit stops.

The Route 66 Rendezvous in San Bernardino takes place September 17-20.
There is a search on for the cars that appeared in the cult classic
movie, American Graffiti. It will be a four day cruisin' celebration
with celebrities and 250,000 hot rod and show car fans. For info: 909
889 3980.

Chip Ganassi's Chicago Motor Speedway on the site of Sportsman Park
thoroughbred track near notorious Cicero, Il is coming along fine. It
will be ready for a CART race on Labor Day, 1999.  It was christened
on the fourth of July, and CART car owner Ganassi said he's going to
make the straights real wide for more passing and same for the turns.
It will be a flat track and some of the existing horse racing
grandstands will be used for spectators.

Intellichoice, a web site and car buying information service has
selected the 1995-1997 BMW M3 models as the Best Overall Value.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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