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Cars n' Stars: Lutz's New Book, CART's Driving School, BMW's Awards

1 December 1998

Bob Lutz, recently retired Chairman of Chrysler Corp and now the absolute boss at the Exide battery works, has authored a new book about the No. 3 auto maker. It includes his (Bob's) rules of the (business) road. If you can't get enough info on the car industry this is for you. It's not about motorsport . . . it's about getting cars designed, to the market, and over the curb at dealerships. Great story about the inception of the Viper hot rod, for which ex-Marine fighter jock (never saw action but the title Marine combat pilot looks pretty damned impressive on a resume) takes complete credit.

They should make a movie about the charismatic former top Veep at GM Europe, BMW and Ford Europe. He has all the moves. Trim, six foot 2 inches, works out, loves cars, has a wine occasionally, collects jet airplanes and choppers plus has an old 427 Cobra and a Riley Brooklands sports racer. What's there not to like about a guy who readily admits he did not come from humble midwestern backwoods roots and that his dad, a car guy, was a Swiss banker and drove a Talbot Lago. Because Bobby was reared both in Swiss and American schools, he was always playing catchup and didn't get his high school diploma till he was 22 years old and his sheepskin from Stanford when he was pushing 30. But then, with his direction tentacles firmly beamed, his career took off and he became one of the most important movers/shakers in autodom.

On the side Lutz is trying to resurrect the Indian Motorcycle name and product.

Championship Auto Racing Teams announced at SEMA that they have started CART 101 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It consists of three optional courses wherein you drive look-alike Indy cars at moderate speeds. Info: 702 651 6300

We think it is time for race schools like this to consider adding a couple of lady pro driver/instructors who could instantly relate to woman students who may approach the school (a gift from hubby or a boy friend) with a bit of trepidation . . . that is until they get strapped in and lay rubber.

BMW North America announces they have won some awards: Popular Science's "Best of what's New" for the 1999 3-series; Consumers Digest's "Best Buy of the Year" for the 323I sedan.

The Bavarian Motor Works is coming out with a 5-series Sport Ute. Five passenger, 42 grand and you can catch on the telecast of the Detroit Auto Show in a few weeks.

SHORT TAKES:

Chevrolet will run its new C5-R racer at the Daytona 24 hours in February.

An Martin, Californian Dan Klenke's Austin Healey 100M beat a couple of C-Jags, Allards and a Ferrari at the San Diego Historic races last week. Klenkes '56 AH looks so stock it makes the other competitors running disc brakes, electronic ignitions, etc . . . wince.

SCRAMP, Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula has donated $450,000 to 70 local charities last week at their annual reception at the Monterey Marriott.

Penthouse magazine is sponsoring Kelly Magrath's Funny Car in NHRA next year.

BWS Racing Partners have won the points championship in the 1998 SCTA, Southern California Timing Association series at Muroc Dry Lakes and El Mirage Dry Lakes. They run a Streamliner and had one run at 165 mph but we don't know the motor: Motorcyle, electric, four banger ???

Keep the TACH in the black.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel