September 2013 Elite Auto Newsletter

Every September I find that I am a little sad about saying goodbye to summer. Although we still have a few official days of summer left, it always feels like it comes to an abrupt halt when the kids go back to school. I always wonder where the time went. There never seems to be enough (hence the absence of newsletters)! We did, however, have a very enjoyable summer. We were fortunate to be able to fit in a few great family trips. One such trip was a visit to Utah. What a beautiful part of the country! We have spent several long weekends there in early spring to enjoy the skiing but this was our first summer trip. Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park were pretty amazing! We also spent a few days at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Fadi successfully completed a two-day Ford Racing School and the Boss Track Attack. What an awesome park! They have several different driving schools available, a motor-cross park, karting and they even hold NASCAR events there. It really is a state of the art facility and if you are ever in the Salt Lake area you should definitely take the drive out there. You won’t be sorry! Reminiscing about my summer with my family brings a lot of joy to me. However, instead of being sad that it is over, I am going to be excited about the seasons ahead and all that they bring.

I hope you and yours will do the same!



How the Newest Crash Test Is Making Cars Safer 
In a flourish of safety-related messaging, Honda has announced that the 2014 Odyssey will be the first minivan to earn a Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s a noteworthy-sounding award, but it’s important to know exactly what’s behind the testing and what constitutes a TSP+ rating.IIHS is an independent, nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers. It puts U.S.-market vehicles through a battery of tests to determine various levels of safety. This is above and beyond testing done by the U.S. Government’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  While IIHS doesn’t have any legal authority over vehicle-design requirements, its ratings and testing carry considerable weight with both car buyers and insurers.  This indirect pressure drives automakers to make sure their newest designs not only meet NHTSA testing requirements, but also perform well in IIHS tests.Many people are familiar with the IIHS front overlap test, in which only 40 percent of the front of a car hits a solid barrier. But in 2012 the Institute unveiled its latest torture test: the small overlap frontal crash. It represents one of the most brutal crash scenarios and one of the most difficult engineering challenges. In the lab test the car impacts a rigid wall at 40 mph with just the outside 25 percent of the front bumper contacting the barrier. Translating this to the real world, think of it as one car colliding with a pole, tree, or another car, but making contact only at roughly the center line of the headlight. Passing this test, along with all of the existing IIHS tests, constitutes exemplary performance denoted by a TSP+ rating.

Click here to read the entire article and view video from the testing scenarios.

Read more: How the Newest Crash Test Is Making Cars Safer – Popular Mechanics
Follow us: @PopMech on Twitter | popularmechanics on Facebook
Visit us at

Eddie’s Money: The Story Behind the $27.5-Million Ferrari NART Spyder

August 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm by  | Photography by John Lamm and Eugene Robertson

Eddie Smith had just $15 in his pocket at the age of 18, when he left the orphanage he’d grown up in and took a bus to Lexington, North Carolina. It was 1937, and Eddie got a job as an usher at the local movie theater, earning $9 a week—$5 of which was dedicated to room and board. Fifteen years later he started National Wholesale, a mail-order service specializing in women’s apparel. Business was good. A decade after that, business was so good that Eddie began buying Ferraris. At this year’s Pebble Beach auctions, his family sold the crown jewel of Eddie’s collection of Ferraris.

Eddie’s first Ferrari was a short-wheelbase 250GT Spyder, which he followed up with a 275 GTB. Then he heard of the 275/GTB-4 NART Spyder. “NART” is short for North American Racing Team, which was devised by Le Mans–winner and U.S. Ferrari distributor Luigi Chinetti to promote sales for the Italian marque. As treasured as they are now, GTBs weren’t hot sellers in their day and Chinetti thought a convertible version would spur on sales. Plans called for a production run of 25, but just 10 were assembled due to a lack of demand. Eddie was the recipient of the eighth NART Spyder in March of 1968 for a price—memories and reports vary—believed to be somewhere between $8000 and $14,500. Around this time, Steve McQueen’s NART Spyder was totaled and the movie star/car guy/cult hero was in the market for another. Chinetti suggested that Eddie pass on the car destined for him to allow McQueen to have it. Eddie kept it.

And he kept it over a number of years, often driving it down to Sebring for the 12 Hours race with his son, Eddie Jr. Dad once swapped seats with Junior on the marathon run and said, “Son, you’re driving too slow; you’re ruining my average.”

There were attempts to buy the NART; Ralph Lauren even flew in to town to drive it once, but a deal never materialized. Eddie once told former Ferrari F1 pilot Phil Hill, “I bought it for the right reasons and kept it for the right reasons. Because I really love it. I feel like it’s a part of me.” Eddie was as proud of that car as he was of the local Lexington barbecue—the southerners among you will understand.

Eddie Smith passed away in 2007 and soon after, Eddie Jr. began to feel that the car, which was kept in a hangar, was “sort of being imprisoned,” so the family put it up for sale at RM’s Pebble Beach auction. Bidding started at $10 million and didn’t stop until Lawrence Stroll, Ferrari collector and owner of the Mont Tremblant circuit, lodged the final bid of $25 million—commission bumped the NART’s total to $27.5 million, a record auction price for a roadgoing automobile.

Maybe the best aspect of this story is the Smith family remembering where Eddie Sr. came from. Eddie Jr. has announced that the proceeds from the $25 million sale price will go to charity. Anyone who knew Eddie Sr. can picture the smile that will have brought to his face.

« June 2013 Elite Auto Newsletter
October 2013 Elite Auto Newsletter »