I’ve been re-listening to the “Sounds of Sebring 1957” album I posted about last week and all this talk up and down the pit lane about the Corvette entry made me want to see them again. And the Maseratis. And the Lotuses.. And so on.
If you’re familiar with the BARC Boys (Binghamton Automobile Racing Club, that is) at all, you’ll know that if there was a race in the mid-century anywhere on the East coast, there’d be more than a few members there. The group of enthusiasts always had cameras in tow and became chroniclers of the East Coast SCCA scene. Naturally, they were at Sebring in 1957 and had these wonderful photographs to mark the occasion.
Now that I see these photos, I can understand why the racers were abuzz about the new ‘Vette. Sure, the interviewers were asking some questions that were… slightly leading, but you have to remember the context of the arrival of the new Corvettes. After a jittery start, the Corvette program looked like it might actually be ready to take on European road racing stalwarts.
The power and performance of the home-grown sportscar—from the largest carmaker in the world, no less—must have been a thrilling prospect for American racing fans. Perhaps it was even moreso for the American drivers that were scraping together a career on European racing circuits, they must have hoped for a real American racing program that might bring them on. This was always my favorite styling era for the Corvette and it’s marvelous to see her in action at Sebring… and a few more from the more traditional pits for good measure.
More at BARC Boys’ 1957 Sebring page.
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When I posted a vintage advertisement yesterday for Everoak helmets, I thought I’d simply stumbled upon another wonderful piece of old racing ephemera. It never occurred to me for even a moment that Everoak would still be out there selling the same helmets. Instead of just another piece of throwaway advertising from an old magazine, I instead found something far more exciting: yet another example of the miraculous little surprises that keep me returning to the vintage racing community.
Everoak is indeed still selling Racemaster and Classic helmets. The grandson of the founder of the company, Bill Vero, was the craftsman who would mold and paint helmets for Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Barry Sheene, Jo Bonnier, and others throughout the golden age of racing… And Bill Vero still molds and paints the helmets today.
They have even produced the occasional replica of those iconically liveried helmets, like the Jim Clark example above, which sold at Bonhams 2013 Goodwood sale for £1,250.
Sure, they’re slightly more expensive than the prices listed in yesterday’s ad… but they’re doubtless worth every penny. Save it for touring—I’m going to go ahead and assume this isn’t FIA approved.
More information and available for purchase at EveroakHelmets.com.
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Wise heads wear Everoak (impact tested) safety helmets. B.S.I. Approved
Everoak T.T 62/-
Everoak Ace 48/-
Cork Everoak 61/-
Standard Everoak 52/6
Made exclusively by
Everitt W. Vero & Co. LTD., London, S.E.22
Renowned for Headgear!
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The Riverside record company, in addition to a large catalog of musical acts, also put out a number of LPs of auto racing field recordings. Perhaps the most well known from their discography are the “Sounds of Sebring” series from 1956—1962.
For the 1957 outing, most of the pre-race interview chatter centered around Corvette’s effort for the race, which brought a huge unknown into pit lane. The concensus among the drivers and teams interviewed (including de Portago, Phil Hill, Briggs Cunningham, Huschke von Hanstein, Shelby, and others) was one of excitement that a huge manufacturer like General Motors was starting to enter European-style sportscar racing. Perhaps it’s just the American-centricity of the production and interviewer, but the interviewees really seemed impressed by the power and speed of the new Vettes. There were doubts (correctly so, as it turns out) as to whether they could go the full 12 hours, but it’s fantastic to see an as-it-happened impression that Chevy was making with people around the circuit.
Despite the gossip and chatter, Maserati was heavily favored and with Moss and Fangio in different cars, the only question was would the smaller 300 of Moss/Schell or the bigger 450 of Fangio/Behra take the checkers. I won’t spoil here, but it’s all there in the audio above.
I’ve started to track down the original LPs of these Riverside releases and when I sit in front of the turntable with the headphones on I imagine what it must have felt like for racing fans around the world—and particularly the United States (who had limited access to racing media)—for whom these recordings were the most visceral way to experience the race without actually venturing to the track. What a thrill it must have been to lie of the floor of a dimly lit room with stack of racing reports and magazine clippings spread out, hearing these astonishing engine notes for the first time.
You can almost hear the footfalls as the drivers run across the street and leap into their cars for the famous LeMans-style start. Glorious.
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This is much, much newer than the typical fare here on The Chicane, but I think I include it here for good reason. This machine has already proven itself to be one of the great collectable sportscars of the modern era and examples will doubtless be drawing top dollar at auctions for decades to come. This distinction, however, is not without a curse all its own. This car was masterfully constructed by McLaren in 1995. In the 19 years since, this poor neglected piece of perfect has driven a scant 1,000 miles. That’s just over 50 miles a year.
What’s the point?
When this McLaren F1 crosses the block at Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach auction next month, there’s a very good chance that it will achieve the estimated hammer price of $12,000,000 – $14,000,000. If you’re the one to take her home, do yourself a favor and drive it a little, wouldja?
More information at Gooding’s Lot Detail page.
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Check out this magnificent look behind the scenes at Repco-Brabham, and “Black Jack” Brabham’s stewardship of both the team and relationship with Repco, the Australian engineering company that somehow became a world class engine supplier. You can always count on midcentury film narration for quality platitudes like this gem: …”the new owner is assured that his Repco-Brabham is right—not only according to the jigs and the gauges—but also in its personality and temperament. Subtle qualities checked by the sensitive hands of the maestro himself.”
No Repco-Brabham film is complete without an introduction to the Tasman Series, and it thankfully comprises the bulk this film. For the impatient: jump to 10 minutes in for some shots of bonus New Zealand tikis as introduction to Formula 1′s best known off-season diversion. But really, the whole doc is worth a watch. Dust off your Dunlop blues, and make yourself comfortable.
Thanks for pointing this one out, Brian!
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You have seen this production model Morgan victorious in competition. A consistent So. Calif. Winner (Bok Oker, Driver)!
The same outstanding performance is available in any new Morgan.
See and test drive the car considered one of the finest hand made class E roadsters.
’56 Morgan + 4 on display
- Hand Made by skilled craftsmen
- Sliding pillar front suspension (Pat. by Morgan over 40 yrs.)
- Proven 90 H.P. TR2 engine
Ed Savin Worldwide
312 So. Soto
475 So. Atlantic
1968 S. Sepulveda
West Los Angeles
Published in MotoRacing. August 1956.
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The Monday after Monterrey weekend, you’ll be bombarded by these photos and the accompanying headlines from the media regarding how much this Ferrari 250 GTO will sell for at Bonham’s Quail Auction. For just a minute, lets ignore the investment grade of this hotly desired piece of kinetic sculpture. Lets ignore the sound business rationale that might drive this purchase—and will certainly drive the journalists that write about it post-sale. Let’s simply pause for a moment before that frenzy begins and just appreciate this gorgeous GTO for what it is: an incredible example of a beautiful racing car.
Let’s just cross our fingers and hope her new caretaker gets her out of the vault and onto the track occasionally.
More information at Bonham’s lot detail page.
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Here’s a round of auctioneering you don’t often see. Watch the bidding floor as Porsche SA purchases Kyalami for R205Million.
Thanks, Porsche for keeping Kyalami out of our Lost Tracks series.
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Is there some way we can pool our money together to hire the committee that created the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and ship them to cities around the country reviving true road course vintage race weekends? I just don’t know how they did it. Can you imagine the administrative dance required to gain approvals for this kind of thing? If we could only discover their secret for accomplishing this minor miracle in today’s litigious society, just think of what we could do.
I believe these visionaries could make flights of fancy like the Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, a revived Golden Gate Park Road Races, or a return to Bridgehampton’s or Elkhart Lake’s or Pebble Beach’s street circuits a reality. Hell, they even managed to get the state of Pennsylvania to issue a PVGP license plate!
Thankfully, Robert Ristuccia’s beautiful photos from the 2014 running of the PVGP let us tag along on something more immediately real. Just seeing these lovely racing machines from a wide variety of classes running on the closed streets of Schenley Park passing by stop signs and approaching the curbs is a wonderful reminder that real road racing can still exist.
Check out Robert Ristuccia’s entire set from the weekend for more. Thanks Robert!
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