"Editor's note: The monograph reproduced below was forwarded to us by the Police Department of the City of New York. It was found in the pocket of an unidentified body dredged out of the East River last month. Cause of death is officially listed as drowning, although the weight of a forged steel crankshaft (eight main bearings) wrapped tightly around the neck of the deceased may have been a contributing factor. As a motoring journal, it is not within our purview to present murder mysteries, or to make wild assertions about the financial backers of Automobili Pignatelli di North A merica and the various interests of Big Dino Parenti, the well-known artichoke importer.
Along. with everyone else connected with motor sport, we have heard some odd stories about the
financing plans offered to prospective Pignatelli buyers. After all, you don't often hear of a $18,000 Grand Touring machine being offered at $5 down and the balance in three years. Or factory-bought cars being delivered from a one-car. garage in the Bronx with traces of white powder still in the cylinders. We can understand the desires of a foreign constructor not wishing to discount his notes with unfamiliar organizations like the Chase Manhattan or the Bank of America; nevertheless, collection of finance payments at 3 A.M. by dark-jowled men in pinstripe suits can be unsettling, to say the least.
Because our publisher drives a car without bullet-proof glass, and the staff has yellow streaks a mile wide, we have no comment on the importation, distribution, retailing, or consumer financirJ,g of Pignatelli automobiles, either in the past, present or future. (If there still is one, after they read this.) The document that follows is presented solely as Pignatelli's guide to production car racing. The fact that it was found on an unidentified body means we don't know anything at all about anything at all.
So I have put it all down in simple American, and you might just learn something.
First, why go racing? Well, lemme ask you-what else can you do with a sporty car? Drive it out of your garage and you'll get arrested before you've gone two blocks. The cops are jealous because your second gear is so loud they can't hear their own sirens.
But paint a number on it and you're on the way to that silverware, buddy. And with the silverware comes the blondes in the Capri pants, don't forget. It might cost you a few bucks, but as A. E. Silverspoon, the eminent American sportsman says, "If you can't afford to go racing don't." Besides, this booklet will explain how to cut corners and win trophies for next to nothing. Especially if you steal.
So let's assume that you just might be in the market for a Pig. First thing you do is have a talk with our Sales Manager, Left Tenant Colonel Wintrybotham. You know him, he's been around since the Collier brothers imported their first tricycle from Molsheim. Right after the war, he had his own importing business, but the customers kept insisting that they had paid for new Ferraris and he kept delivering used Fiat Specials. So he closed up shop and came to work for us. Nice chap, even if he is a bit hard to understand. That's because the cavalry moustache keeps getting in his teeth. It interferes with the stutter.
Anyway, give Old Lefty a small down payment and your car is practically on the boat. He'll also arrange the financing for you, which I think is damned nice. We actually don't make a dime on the financing, because the minute you sign the papers, we send it off to the Banking Institution, and from there on it's between you and them, baby. I mention this because some customers complain that they don't like to make payments before the car is actually delivered. You've got to understand that the Institution just isn't interested in your delivery problems. They've bought a piece of paper that says you promise to pay such and such. All they know about cars is that Cadillacs are the nuts, especially for bank heists. My advice to you, friends, is don't write me or the factory. I can't help you. The car's on the boat, I tell you. And don't write the Better Business Bureau. The guys you're doing business with now just ain't listed. Just pay.
You gotta remember you can't drive a car if your arms come out of your shoulders facing backward. And that's just for being a day late.
But let's say you've kept up the payments. Obviously, you must have, or you wouldn't' be here to read this. Finally comes the day that the car is delivered. Left Tenant Colonel Wintrybotham informs you that your Brand New Big Pig is waiting at our Depot and Service Center. He'd accompany you, but he's got a terrible case of the sniffles, and besides, he doesn't want to hear your screams when you see the shape it's in. Hop a cab and tell him to get to the East Bronx in a hurry. At the corner of Bruckner Boulevard and the East Swamp, there is an old garbage scow. Inside the vessel, you'll find a crap game going. Ask the stickman to direct you to Pignatelli's. And don't get sore when he frisks you. You know how Ferrari is always trying to spy on us. He might blindfold you, too, but eventually you'll get to the Depot and your shining beauty.
Better take along a can of kerosene, so you can flush out the cylinder bores before you bolt the head back on. And don't breathe too deeply while you're doing it, unless you want to pick up a hundred dollar habit without even knowing it. Uncle Dino has enough pushers already.
Don't complain about a few dents here and there. After all, we can't be friends with every longshoreman on the docks. Finally, when you've replaced all the wiring, fueled it, and bought a new set of wheels from the Firestone Store on the corner, start her up. OK, so start her up again. After all, an ocean voyage takes a while to dry out. Try again. Well, maybe you ought to come back tomorrow with a new battery. You couldn't drive it anyway. with the gas tank leaKing like that. After the trucking company dumps your Pig into your garage. pick up all the pieces that fell off and pile them neatly. You'll want to make a good impression on your mechanic, because now you're ready for step three-Race Preparation.
You'll need a mechanic who is courteous, loyal. hard-working, thrifty and intelligent. Because of my official position of having to be friends with everybody, I can't tell you just who to hire. Actually, there arc only three types. and you can take your choice. They're all incompetent-but in different ways. That's what makes it so interesting. And expensive, too.
First, there's the Loudmouth. This guy is usually as wide as he is high, but every bit (except the gut) is pure muscle. Especially bctwf.'en the ears. His only elothes are a greasy T-shirt with "I'm a Hot Rod" stencilled on the belly. He smokes two for-a-nickel cigars and has terrible B.O. He's self-educated. And he hasn't learned anything since he cannibalized his step-father's Model A to make a self-propelled gun carriage in the rumble with the 112th Street Purple Lords.
Then there's the Italian. You know the costume: Pirelli overalls and fifty-dollar pointy shoes. He'd likE to get under the car, but the tassels on the shoes might pick up some oil. This guy doesn't speak a word of English, which is a very good thing for him indeed. Otherwise, you'd find out right away that his last job was shoeing mules in the Italian cavalry.
The third type is the pur-sang British racing mechanic. This guy at least speaks almost the same language as you do, but don't think that means he's actually going to talk to you. First of all, he doesn't have to do this for a living, because his Daddy is actually Lord Montginz. It's just that he likes to be around motor cars. Then, he's convinced you are a bloody clod who can't drive a truck successfully, so why bother with the spanners.
By now, you are probably getting a bit discouraged with the prospect of racing your Pig, and you haven't even got it off the boat yet. Let me encourage you by pointing out the only other avenues open to the prospective production car driver. What it comes down to, is that you've got to have a car. At least that's what I think. There's a small group of ex-drivers' who have lived through bankruptcy court and can still make it to the cocktail parties, if not the races. They claim that instead of a Pignatelli, you should invest in an espresso machine. One of those coffee- house models-chrome plate over solid brass, with a silver eagle sitting on the top. You need the same kind of mechanics to keep it running, but the chances of a total washout on the way to a race course are practically nil. Also, you can drink espresso, but what can you do with sump oil, especially if it's thickened with piston tops?
Of course, if you don't want a Pig, you can build your own machine. Try to make it look like a production car, or at least make some friends on the classification committee. Here are a few hints on making and keeping friends: Make the frame out of Upmann Cigar containers. There's nothing like 8000 one-dollar Havanas to soften up the technical inspector. The effect of rol1-up windows is achieved with a thin strip of plexiglass glued to the tops of the doors. Send ten cents to any Alfa driver for a set of templates and instructions.
On the other hand, if you aren't very mechanical, you can always get a car built for you by Colin Chapsworth. This automattcally involves two problems: how you get the thing classified as a production car, and how you get the dough to pay old Chappsy.
The first answer is reaUy quite complex. What you do, is get to be the Eastern distributor of an imported Economy Car, say the Semi Demi Mini Weenie. If you can prove
'Levantine ancestry and a couple of falls for breaking and entering, you're practicaIly appointed. Chappsy's roaring rear-engined monster automaticaIly becomes the prototype of the new Semi Demi Mini Weenie sports (13 bhp. ) sedan. And you are going racing with a King Cobra Eater! Or at" least you can start a race with one. By the third lap you've dusted off everybody and it's a Cup of Tea. Then they pull you into the pits. .One of your lady customers is' on the phone. Wants to know the meaning of that little red light on the dashboard of her Semi Demi Mini Weenie Mark XXI. It could mean Stop, because her Semi Demi Mini Weenie Mark XXI doesn't seem to want to start. And you, hot shot, are the distributor. So go take her a new battery.
I could go on and on. Equipment suppliers, for example. They're not satisfied that you've got "Mama Esposito's Instant Pasta Fazool" in neon on the side of the car. No, you've got to win all the time, too. Or no more nice hot Pasta Fazool waiting for you in the pits.
You can see, then, that buying a Pig is stiIl the best way to the silverware. And to a coIlection of Capri pants. So now you're fixed up with the very best that Commendatore Pignatelli and his importer friends can slip past the Narcotic Squads. You've got a mechanic, God help you. And your next payment isn't due until tomorrow when the Pool HaIl opens.
Now, you're ready to go production car racing: Go straight up to Driver's School and insist on that Temporary Permit. Insist that you can see as good as the next guy even with your glasses off. And when Fearless Harry Crashem-Bashem takes you around a Familiarization Lap, keep yeIling "Faster! faster!" But don't fasten your seat belt. When he slams that Pig into the bridge abutment, you might just get thrown clear. And maybe survive.