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The TACH Report: Consumer Group Bombs Hyundai, Tustin Thunder Races a Huge Success, Isuzu Retaliates, CART Miller 500 Heats Up.

6 August 1997

A California consumer group took it upon themselves to grade car makers ala the popular consumer satisfaction index method to determine what manufacturers were backing up owner complaints in a timely/friendly manner. Saturn won the poll and Hyundai occupied last place. There were so many variables in this survey we will not detail the methodology. Hyundai will, of course, have something to say about their low showing.

The Tustin Thunder vintage car races at the Tustin, CA Marine Helicopter base last weekend were--in spite of the awful heat--a resounding success crowd-wise. The organizers, John/Dick Marconi and their Marconi Foundation for Kids were looking for a turnout of 100,000 race fans to watch vintage racers, Sport Trucks, Stock Cars, Legend Cars, Lawnmowers, et al run constantly for the long weekend. It was announced that the turnout--total souls on the base--was 97,000 for the four days. Not bad. Attendance probably makes this event the biggest vintage car race in the U.S. Racing of some kind or other went on non-stop from 8a.m. to 6p.m. each day, and from the grandstands you could see the entire 2.2 mile course.

The celebrity race was not too well publicized as the "celebs" will not tell the race promoters if they will make the show until the last minute . . . "maybe I will, maybe I won't." For instance, Decathalete Bruce Jenner won in a Legends car on Saturday but was a no show on Sunday. Other celebs driving legends were Jet Ski champ Christy Carlson, Mark Gossett, Shawn Patrick Flannery, Lorenzo Lamas, Grant Show, Perry King, Christy McDonald, "Airplane" Robert Hayes and Chuck Norris' son Lloyd. Lots of money was raised for Marconi charities.

Terry Maloney, senior V.P. of American Isuzu Motors called a press conference last week to reply to Consumer Reports claims of roll over problems with the Isuzu Trooper. Maloney said that while the magazine called for a recall of the vehicle the NHTSA declined to go along and in fact said they wouldn't even investigate the unit. Isuzu called for a retraction from Consumers Reports.

It's "Miller Time" at the Mid-Ohio road race course, and the CART teams will be out in force, racing for championship points. Dublin, Ohio's (by way of Glen Ellyn, Ill) Bobby Rahal--who has Miller Beer sponsorship on his race car--will most likely be trying harder than anyone to bring a win home for his patron, and it will be on his home track. If anyone knows the Mid-Ohio layout it is Rahal. His Michigan 500 race came to an early end as he crashed two weeks ago into the turn 2 wall while in second place. Bobby then jumped on a plane and flew to Scotland to play golf on five courses in five days, including the Royal Troon, recent site of the British Open.

Bill France and his International Speedway Corp have abandoned their plan to build a race track in the Chicago area and now are eyeballing areas around Kansas City.

Mega-Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch wants to buy into Bernie Ecclestone's F-1 company.

Texaco will sponsor the Houston CART Grand Prix, Oct 4, 1998. With the new Motegi circuit in Japan on the CART schedule the season expands to 19 races.

Mercedes Benz introduced a new mountain bike at the Michigan 500. It's made by AMP Research in Laguna Beach, CA. It is traditional MB silver and only 50 will be built, plus it features carbon fiber parts with Shimano drivetrain. It retails for $2500 per wheel.

What Cadillac model was the first to have tail fins ?

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel