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Motor Sport magazine - is it as good as it could be?


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#901 uffen

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 13:28

Motor Sport really blew it big time this month. They have a big feature article on the Cooper Zerex Special of Roger Penske and go on and on about the car being restored and a wonder to behold. Complete horse manure. They apparently did no fact checking whatsoever. The car that they go ga-ga over is a replica through and through! The real Zerex Special is in Venezuela and has been for decades. It is in decrepit condition. The builders of the car in MS do not have the real car or any part of it. They apparently suckered MS in big time, and to me that is very disappointing. I had always considered MS to be an accurate publication, but printing this bull is simply unforgivable.

 

Tom

I trust you wrote to the editor to inform him, or her, of the issue.



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#902 sabrejet

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 13:49

Had me suckered too then: when I spoke to the owner at this year's MM he did nothing to disabuse my assumption that it was the real thing.



#903 kayemod

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 14:35

I trust you wrote to the editor to inform him, or her, of the issue.


My original complaint a few posts back was that Motor Sport were treating their readers as uneducated fools, but in fact it's much worse than that, our once-trusted magazine has been well and truly suckered, and big time! The car they've pictured and described at some length in the current issue is apparently an out and out fake, it apparently contains not one single component part of the original Cooper/Penske Zerex Special, which the Magazine laughably tries to pass off as "McLaren's forgotten CanAm Racer". Evidence? Well, take a look at the few most recent posts in another current TNF thread The "R" Words, in particularly those from long time TNF member T54, aka Philippe de Lespinay. Philippe knows quite a lot about the car and its history, including current whereabouts. I think he's also still the current owner of the Cooper T54 Indianapolis racer that Jack Brabham drove, and that car is still fitted with what P de L tells us is the sole surviving oversize Coventry Climax engine of the two that originally existed, . Philippe's wise words from the other TNF thread are copied below. This will save the curious from having to search for themselves, and I trust this is all OK under forum rules.


Just for your pleasure and amazement, now we have this replica pretending (at least in this journalistic piece) and claiming to be a "restoration" because of the use of some discarded bones of the original car, that is still in Venezuela to this day. Now, comparing the pictures of said bones published years ago in these very pages, funny but they don't match any part of the original vehicle as acquired by Bruce. Oh never mind...
... In any case, in my opinion, journalistic fraud and a black eye to an otherwise fine magazine, at least until recently.



Dave Morgan did not purchase the car from Roger Penske but from Bruce McLaren. Roger Penske no longer owned the car then, since he had sold it to John Mecom at the end of the 1962 season. Mecom in turn sold the car to McLaren in mid-1963. When the new McLaren Mk1 was first raced, the highly modified Cooper, that did not have much "Cooper" left on it, became surplus to requirement and was sold to Morgan. There could have been one person in-between. Morgan in turn sold the car to Leo Barbozza, who imported the car to Venezuela. It is still there today and many people tried to purchase its remains, to no avail.

Now, calling this brand new fabrication, that bears not a single part of the original car, a "restoration" is pure journalistic FRAUD. This car is a100% replica pretending to claim some form of genuineness from a bit of tubing supposedly left over from the rebuild by McLaren in 1964. It is as far as I and Cooper experts can tell, patently FALSE.
The genuine engine, that did time in the original Cooper-Zerex, has been back in the car for which it was originally built, the Cooper-Climax T54 Indy car, since 1989. It is one of two very special 2.8-liter engines built by Coventry-Climax for the 1961 "Indy 500", and the only survivor of the two.
Not very pleased with this story of misrepresentation, as it damages the high credibility of the magazine.


 

It appears that our previously loved and respected publication has a little explaining to do...


Edited by kayemod, 05 August 2019 - 17:56.


#904 sabrejet

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 16:21

The cover certainly didn't go down well with me, that line, "McLaren's forgotten CanAm racer". Having been involved in the construction of a few of them, and having absorbed a lot of information about the cars and the series history, I wondered how one could have escaped my notice, but it turned out to be nothing more than the Cooper-based Penske Zerex Special, hardly "Forgotten", never a "Secret" and even less a "Mystery". The car was conceived, built and raced by Roger Penske before the CanAm series even existed, and it never raced in it in anything like the form written about in the MS feature. The first lines of the article inside are worse. "The Zerex Special is probably the most important and influential car you've never heard of". I'd agree that it's an interesting creation, and it was certainly important and influential as far as Bruce & Co were concerned, but a serious and mostly respected publication like Motor Sport shouldn't try to be sensational in this way, language like that is hardly appropriate in something aimed at grown-up followers of motor sport.

 

I won't join John Aston in his complaint about promos for hugely expensive car auctions, but it was fair criticism. Just where is the magazine trying to take its readership?

 

More to the point, if the magazine thinks that the Zerex Special (real or fake) is a car I've never heard of, I think that I am well outside of their target readership. So still the UK lacks a decent, quality historic/racing magazine. Surely there must be a significant market for something like that?



#905 bradbury west

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 17:26

I agree with sabrejet above. It amazes me that the journo who wrote and titled it could be so dozy as to write what he wrote and that the Editor let him.... In my 61st year of buying and reading the magazine I often wonder in what direction they or I are now moving.
But then, that is only one of the items which bemuses / amuses / confuses me about MS and its readership. And for the benefit of John Aston, I do not yearn to be back in 1957.
Roger Lund

#906 ensign14

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Posted 05 August 2019 - 20:19

I'm going to defend Motor Sport on the article briefly.

 

One, yes, we have heard of the Zerex Special, but I doubt the casual observer flicking through the magazine in a railway stationer has not.  It never raced in an internationally famous series to the extent of being iconic.

 

And two, the article makes clear that it is basically built around thrown away bits of chassis cut out of the "original" - and says that the ur-Zerex is somewhere in South America.  So it isn't quite saying OMG lolz the genuine car Roger made untouched since 1967.



#907 opplock

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 15:17

I've now read the offending article. It should have been labelled as Advertising Feature being a promotional puff for the Goodwood Revival. The car is a facsimile and MS could have made that clear. As Ensign pointed out however there are enough clues in the article to lead all but the most gullible readers to that conclusion. Unfortunately lawyers and advertising departments have considerably more influence than in DSJ's time.



#908 Sterzo

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 16:31

Sadly, Motor Sport has joined all other publications in showing a mismatch between headlines and content. Books and mags everywhere over-use 'forgotten', 'hidden' and 'secret', words that should (like iconic) be banned from the language. I'm sort of immune to it now.



#909 PCC

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 17:05

Philippe de Lespinay has taken them to task in the comment section of the website promo for the article. To their great discredit, they have not responded - either to defend the article or to admit an error.



#910 nicanary

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 19:01

Didn't Motor Sport once carry the strapline "The authoritative voice of the sport" ?



#911 Odseybod

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 15:57

Today received some e-mail puffery from MS, featuring 'the most important and influential you've never heard of'. Clearly they have no shame ...



#912 kayemod

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:06

Today received some e-mail puffery from MS, featuring 'the most important and influential you've never heard of'. Clearly they have no shame ...

 

It gets worse. On the section of the MS website relating to the current issue, one of the following comments came from TNF's very own T54. He explained at some length what was wrong, both about the Penske/Cooper/Zerex article, and how the car written about was nothing more than a replica, an out and out fake, though this wouldn't have been clear to most readers, not even to fairly knowledge ones.  T54, or Philippe de Lespinay, was the long-term owner of the original Indianapolis Cooper that was raced by Jack Brabham, and he is unquestionably a leading authority of this car and its near relations. There were posts following T54's supporting him, one suggested that Motor Sport should issue a clarification, and maybe an apology for deliberately misleading readers. T54's original post, as well as related ones, all appear to have been removed from the site, which leads one to believe that the Magazine is its own censor, "They don't like it up 'em!" as Corporal Jones might have said.

 

I'm going to defend Motor Sport on the article briefly.

 

One, yes, we have heard of the Zerex Special, but I doubt the casual observer flicking through the magazine in a railway stationer has not.  It never raced in an internationally famous series to the extent of being iconic.

 

And two, the article makes clear that it is basically built around thrown away bits of chassis cut out of the "original" - and says that the ur-Zerex is somewhere in South America.  So it isn't quite saying OMG lolz the genuine car Roger made untouched since 1967.

 

In my original post on this subject, my main complaint concerned the line on the magazine's cover that included "McLaren" and "CanAm". This was just a dishonest attempt to grab the attention of casual readers, as the car could never honestly to be claimed to be either of these things, and the opening sentence of the article, "The most important and influential car you've never heard of" made everything much worse. Even the fairly casual observer on a presumably Clapham station platform is only likely to buy a specialist and fairly narrowly focused magazine like Motor Sport because he wants to learn, to be better informed about the sport's history and background. Sub-standard efforts like this entire Zerex article aren't going to help him very much are they?



#913 Myhinpaa

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:23

Just to be on the safe side, here's the comment(s) :

 

Philippe de Lespinay  12 days ago  edited

Scott Collins, 
Dave Morgan did not purchase the car from Roger Penske but from Bruce McLaren. Roger Penske no longer owned the car then, since he had sold it to John Mecom at the end of the 1962 season. Mecom in turn sold the car to McLaren in mid-1963. When the new McLaren Mk1 was first raced, the highly modified Cooper, that did not have much "Cooper" left on it, became surplus to requirement and was sold to Morgan. There could have been one person in-between. Morgan in turn sold the car to Leo Barbozza, who imported the car to Venezuela. It is still there today and many people tried to purchase its remains, to no avail.

Now, calling this brand new fabrication, that bears not a single part of the original car, a "restoration" is pure journalistic FRAUD. This car is a100% replica pretending to claim some form of genuineness from a bit of tubing supposedly left over from the rebuild by McLaren in 1964. It is as far as I and Cooper experts can tell, patently FALSE.

The genuine engine, that did time in the original Cooper-Zerex, has been back in the car for which it was originally built, the Cooper-Climax T54 Indy car, since 1989. It is one of two very special 2.8-liter engines built by Coventry-Climax for the 1961 "Indy 500", and the only survivor of the two.

Not very pleased with this story of misrepresentation, as it damages the high credibility of the magazine.

 
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Peter Coffman  Philippe de Lespinay  9 days ago

I really think this post demands some kind of answer from the magazine - either an admission that they were hoodwinked by the owner, or a refutation that explains why that is not the case.

 



#914 Odseybod

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 13:07

 

Just to be on the safe side, here's the comment(s) :

 

Philippe de Lespinay  12 days ago  edited

Scott Collins, 
Dave Morgan did not purchase the car from Roger Penske but from Bruce McLaren. Roger Penske no longer owned the car then, since he had sold it to John Mecom at the end of the 1962 season. Mecom in turn sold the car to McLaren in mid-1963. When the new McLaren Mk1 was first raced, the highly modified Cooper, that did not have much "Cooper" left on it, became surplus to requirement and was sold to Morgan. There could have been one person in-between. Morgan in turn sold the car to Leo Barbozza, who imported the car to Venezuela. It is still there today and many people tried to purchase its remains, to no avail.

Now, calling this brand new fabrication, that bears not a single part of the original car, a "restoration" is pure journalistic FRAUD. This car is a100% replica pretending to claim some form of genuineness from a bit of tubing supposedly left over from the rebuild by McLaren in 1964. It is as far as I and Cooper experts can tell, patently FALSE.

The genuine engine, that did time in the original Cooper-Zerex, has been back in the car for which it was originally built, the Cooper-Climax T54 Indy car, since 1989. It is one of two very special 2.8-liter engines built by Coventry-Climax for the 1961 "Indy 500", and the only survivor of the two.

Not very pleased with this story of misrepresentation, as it damages the high credibility of the magazine.

 
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Peter Coffman  Philippe de Lespinay  9 days ago

I really think this post demands some kind of answer from the magazine - either an admission that they were hoodwinked by the owner, or a refutation that explains why that is not the case.

 

 

 

Funnily enough, it was still on their website yesterday. Maybe the e-mail campaign expedited its removal?



#915 kayemod

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 14:56

Funnily enough, it was still on their website yesterday. Maybe the e-mail campaign expedited its removal?

 

 

You're right, it's there again, but I'm sure it disappeared for a few days, I doubt if the two comments Myhinpaa posted here were the only ones they've received. Be interesting to see if there's "clarification" in the next issue.



#916 2F-001

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:36

I’m not sure they were actually removed. At first I thought my browser might be showing me an earlier version of the page that it had cached (with those posts still intact), but having looked from another machine not on my network, it seems that that article appears on two different parts of the website with different comments below it, depending how you access it. Unfortunately the headers on that site don’t readily indicate exactly where you are in the structure.

Nevertheless, the magazine might do itself some good by responding, or at least acknowledging the controversy pending a fuller explanation.

Edited by 2F-001, 15 August 2019 - 11:41.


#917 brakedisc

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 08:26

I was disappointed in the Carlin interview that the subject of him going bust, leaving a few bad debts in the process, before re inventing himself, was not mentioned. 



#918 Sterzo

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 20:44

At which point in his career did that happen, brakedisc; and do you mean bankruptcy or a company going into liquidation?


Edited by Sterzo, 17 August 2019 - 20:45.


#919 john aston

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 06:00

It's a given isn't it , in this business ? I remember reading Virginia Williams autobiography and being appalled at the cavalier way creditors were ignored , customers ripped off and so on in the early days . 



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#920 brakedisc

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 10:33

At which point in his career did that happen, brakedisc; and do you mean bankruptcy or a company going into liquidation?

 

Happened at the end of 2009.  "Restructured" was the phrase that was used.   :lol:  :lol:  :lol:



#921 sabrejet

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 12:20

On a related topic I saw another one of those, "...you've never heard of" headlines on a Welsh newspaper website at the weekend (sadly can't find it now), along the lines of, "The Welsh sports car you've never heard of". Luckily my limited knowledge of Welsh sports car does go as far as Gilbern, so yet another massive assumption made by said rag.

 

I didn't look at the article (so maybe it was worth reading) but my reaction was one of annoyance at being taken for an ill-informed idiot.

 

Now why would a paper or magazine go out of its way to annoy its readership? Disinform yes; mislead obviously. But annoy? Strange.



#922 john winfield

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 12:58

On a related topic I saw another one of those, "...you've never heard of" headlines on a Welsh newspaper website at the weekend (sadly can't find it now), along the lines of, "The Welsh sports car you've never heard of". Luckily my limited knowledge of Welsh sports car does go as far as Gilbern, so yet another massive assumption made by said rag.

 

I didn't look at the article (so maybe it was worth reading) but my reaction was one of annoyance at being taken for an ill-informed idiot.

 

Now why would a paper or magazine go out of its way to annoy its readership? Disinform yes; mislead obviously. But annoy? Strange.

I think it's the current journalistic style, Sabre, and I find it infuriating too. Along with 'All you Need to Know', 'The Essential Bla-Bla-Bla...', 'Why We All Love xyz...'. Nowadays nobody dares write a straightforward article. I understand the attraction of trying to humanise your work, and connect with your audience but, if the reader is left wanting to thump the author on the nose, something may have gone awry!



#923 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 15:25

I think it's the current journalistic style, Sabre, and I find it infuriating too. Along with 'All you Need to Know', 'The Essential Bla-Bla-Bla...', 'Why We All Love xyz...'. Nowadays nobody dares write a straightforward article. I understand the attraction of trying to humanise your work, and connect with your audience but, if the reader is left wanting to thump the author on the nose, something may have gone awry!


Another annoying journalistic habit is the by-now common conceit of beginning an article or story with an anecdote or perhaps some seemingly unrelated reference, and then at the end of the piece circling back to the original anecdote or reference, thus putting a nice bow on a neatly wrapped package. I imagine the writer closing his laptop and feeling quite satisfied.....or in the case of a good writer, thinking, "I wish my editor wouldn't insist on this dross....."

#924 BRG

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 15:40

Another annoying journalistic habit is the by-now common conceit of beginning an article or story with an anecdote or perhaps some seemingly unrelated reference, and then at the end of the piece circling back to the original anecdote or reference, thus putting a nice bow on a neatly wrapped package. I imagine the writer closing his laptop and feeling quite satisfied.....or in the case of a good writer, thinking, "I wish my editor wouldn't insist on this dross....."

I have tried, but I still can't see why this is anything but decent writing.

 

Perhaps you would prefer the old school style:  "Fog in Channel:  Continent cut off"



#925 T54

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 23:10

"

Peter Coffman  Philippe de Lespinay  9 days ago

I really think this post demands some kind of answer from the magazine - either an admission that they were hoodwinked by the owner, or a refutation that explains why that is not the case."

I actually sent a letter to the magazine by email, denouncing that absolute fraud of a story, and plan to write a personal letter to the person who wrote that pack of lies.
Just to keep you posted.


Edited by T54, 19 August 2019 - 23:10.


#926 john aston

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Posted Yesterday, 06:24

Another annoying journalistic habit is the by-now common conceit of beginning an article or story with an anecdote or perhaps some seemingly unrelated reference, and then at the end of the piece circling back to the original anecdote or reference, thus putting a nice bow on a neatly wrapped package. I imagine the writer closing his laptop and feeling quite satisfied.....or in the case of a good writer, thinking, "I wish my editor wouldn't insist on this dross....."

 It's called writing, it isn't a conceit and if you read  guys like David E Davis Russell Bulgin or  Pete Lyons (but not Bill Boddy ) you'll note that it's a common trait . And it is far preferable to the linear style of starting at the beginning and plodding on from there .