Jump to content


Photo

Motor Sport article on the Zerex Special ‘reconstruction’


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 01 August 2019 - 22:26

September 2019 issue out (and it's still July  :rolleyes: ) and I don't think the cover is going to be well received hereabouts.

 

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?



Advertisement

#2 10kDA

10kDA
  • Member

  • 480 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 03 August 2019 - 13:20

... 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".

Seems to me that whenever current journalism types use this kind of phrase what they really mean is "...We've never heard of." You would think their employers have no archives.



#3 RA Historian

RA Historian
  • Member

  • 3,816 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 04 August 2019 - 23:26

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



#4 Jack-the-Lad

Jack-the-Lad
  • Member

  • 2,376 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 05 August 2019 - 00:51

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


Perhaps they should write a retraction and an apology.......and a commitment to proper research in the future.

#5 uffen

uffen
  • Member

  • 1,892 posts
  • Joined: April 04

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.



#6 sabrejet

sabrejet
  • Member

  • 737 posts
  • Joined: January 09

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.



#7 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: August 05

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.


#8 sabrejet

sabrejet
  • Member

  • 737 posts
  • Joined: January 09

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?



#9 bradbury west

bradbury west
  • Member

  • 6,010 posts
  • Joined: June 02

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

#10 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 57,411 posts
  • Joined: December 01

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.



#11 opplock

opplock
  • Member

  • 840 posts
  • Joined: January 10

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.



#12 PCC

PCC
  • Member

  • 934 posts
  • Joined: August 06

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.



#13 Odseybod

Odseybod
  • Member

  • 1,723 posts
  • Joined: January 08

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 ...



#14 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: August 05

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?



#15 Myhinpaa

Myhinpaa
  • Member

  • 417 posts
  • Joined: April 11

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.

 
  •  
  •  
avatar92.jpg?1432139884
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.

 



#16 Odseybod

Odseybod
  • Member

  • 1,723 posts
  • Joined: January 08

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.

 
  •  
  •  
avatar92.jpg?1432139884
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?



#17 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: August 05

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.



#18 2F-001

2F-001
  • Member

  • 4,119 posts
  • Joined: November 01

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.


#19 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,503 posts
  • Joined: November 03

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.


Advertisement

#20 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 24,159 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 28 August 2019 - 22:13

New issue of MS out today.  No sign of any Xerex Special retraction, although someone has written in to comment that the 500bhp claim for the V8 version is far too optimistic.   In another letter,  the captioning of Mouton's Quattro has been questioned and the Editor has agreed it was wrong.  But nothing about the Xerex Special story being wrong.  

 

Elsewhere DCN inveighs about the Mercedes paint-stripping tale so close to our hearts here.


Edited by BRG, 28 August 2019 - 22:14.


#21 T54

T54
  • Member

  • 2,503 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 01 September 2019 - 02:20

 

New issue of MS out today.  No sign of any Xerex Special retraction

 

To their credit, I did receive an email from one of MotorSport's  main story writers in response to my rather strong correspondence, describing that he saw the story, knew that it was total BS and objected to it, but it was too late to stop it from going to print. The Editor's attitude now is to 'let it die', hoping that not too many know or care about the truth about that fantasy, and they do know that they have egg all over their face.
I think that they are also a bit afraid of being sued (like, any two-bit judge would laugh those liars out of a courtroom when shown the clear evidence of their fraud...).

Meanwhile, it will be difficult for Mr. Heacock and Co. to show or race that replica  in important events as the misrepresentation of their replica is now going all through the grapevine. Mr. Penske wants nothing to do with it and has asked persons in charge of certain Concours to refuse its entry.

Morality: if you build a nice replica, don't lie, and you will be far better off at the end of the day.

 



#22 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 5,505 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 15 September 2019 - 12:03

I know this is OT, but to follow up the Zerex special posts, Paul Lawrence in Autosport has now repeated the owner's claims:

 

https://www.pressrea...282754883396117



#23 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 24,013 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 15 September 2019 - 14:44

Very disappointing. The author of that article can’t even write McLaren correctly. :well:

#24 proviz

proviz
  • Member

  • 723 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 15 September 2019 - 15:06

Unbelievable! Who's responsible for subbing that? Answer demanded!



#25 Allen Brown

Allen Brown
  • Member

  • 5,505 posts
  • Joined: December 00

Posted 15 September 2019 - 15:07

Very disappointing. The author of that article can’t even write McLaren correctly. :well:

 

That could be due to it being reformatted by pressreader.  Paul Lawrence is better than that.  



#26 RA Historian

RA Historian
  • Member

  • 3,816 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 15 September 2019 - 16:25

It is annoying to see this crap repeated by people who should know better. It has been demonstrated that this car is a replica, and very little, if any, of the original is in it.



#27 D28

D28
  • Member

  • 1,849 posts
  • Joined: April 14

Posted 15 September 2019 - 17:19

That could be due to it being reformatted by pressreader.  Paul Lawrence is better than that.  

I was wondering the same. Can someone look at a real print copy and let us know of the spelling issue.



#28 Sterzo

Sterzo
  • Member

  • 3,215 posts
  • Joined: September 11

Posted 15 September 2019 - 19:44

The print version renders McLaren correctly throughout. Buried in the text is the sentence: "Some have questioned the car's authenticity, and prefer to call it a recreation, but would they prefer not to see the machine racing at all?" Which seems a bit of a non sequitur to me.



#29 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Moderator

  • 24,013 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 15 September 2019 - 19:57

The print version renders McLaren correctly throughout.


Fair enough. My apologies to Mr Lawrence for attributing the fault to him.

#30 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 10,624 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 04 July 2022 - 05:08

New issue of MS out today.  No sign of any Xerex Special retraction, although someone has written in to comment that the 500bhp claim for the V8 version is far too optimistic.   In another letter,  the captioning of Mouton's Quattro has been questioned and the Editor has agreed it was wrong.  But nothing about the Xerex Special story being wrong.  

 

Elsewhere DCN inveighs about the Mercedes paint-stripping tale so close to our hearts here.

Take that figure and halve it. 215 Olds had about a 120hp when new.

Did Sir Black Jack ever get 500hp out of one of at least the recognisable versions. I doubt it.