Onboard for Bridgehampton’s Inaugural Race in 1957

“If you’ve known The Bridge at speed, you’re now in for an emotional jolt.”

True words. In addition to the truck motor under the bonnet, Daniel Stanfill’s hopped-up Austin Healey was also equipped with a miniature camera lens mounted under his rearview. It’s hard to remember how precious and rare this kind of footage was before the GoPro came on the scene and made this kind of footage a matter of course. Footage like this—particularly amateur footage—from 1957 is almost unheard of.

It’s amazing to me how very much these kinks and bends look like rural roads and how little they look like a world class racing facility. We’ve grown so accustomed to wide runoffs and debris catching fences that we’ve forgotten that the greatest racing courses were inspired by twisting country lanes and not inspired by maximum camera angles.

The insightful commentary by John Connolly speaking from his experience with Bridgehampton as his home track is a welcome peek into the track and her history. Hard to believe that he’s describing Bridgehampton of thirty years later as being just as sandy as we see here, where sections of the track are almost completely obscured by windswept sand drifts.

This was one of the good ones. Remember the Bridge.

via Andy Hartwell, who posted this to the Vintage Road Racing Archives.

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The Track that Might Have Been: Brands Hatch at Early GP Length

Brands Proposed layout 1952

The Half Liter Car Club has a marvelous article on Brands and its inextricable link with 500cc racing over at 500race.org. The original kidney shaped “Indy” circuit at Brands Hatch was a favorite among spectators who could see virtually the entire track from anywhere on the grounds. This plan, published by the club’s 1952 annual report demonstrates just how quickly there were plans in place to expand the track to accommodate Grand Prix racing. The above visualizes an expansion of Brands to meet the minimum length requirements for the fledgling Formula 1 series. After a series of expansions (and change in racing direction from counter-clockwise to clockwise), Brands Hatch hosted her first Formula 1 World Championship event 12 years later.

Head on over for more of Brands fascinating growth and her early dominance by a young Stirling Moss.

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72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting Televised this Weekend

Grover Williams Trophy start

In case you thought that Goodwood started and ended with the Revival and Festival of Speed, these photos from the 72nd Member’ Meeting demonstrate that the Goodwood Road Racing Club is a non-stop vintage racing extravaganza. To help make sure none of use ever forget it, this time the Meeting will be televised in two half-hour shows on Channel 4. Sunday’s episode will feature the Gerry Marshall Trophy for Group 1 touring cars; the Surtees and Moss Trophy races; Group B rally; and turbocharged Formula 1 cars. Next weekend it’s the astounding all-Bugatti grid you see above.

It’s times like this (and of course when the actual events are happening) that I wish I lived in the UK.

Tony Gaze Trophy start

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Against All Odds: Datsun BRE Racing

It must have seemed absurd at the time when BRE and Datsun decided to take on Alfa, BMW and the other more established sports sedan racing teams. Naturally there’s great film here from Road America, Riverside, and other iconic tracks, but the interview footage and shots from the shop and offices give a fantastic peek into the team and the challenge they faced.

From the grindhouse narration; John Morton and Mike Downs at the top of their game; and the atmosphere of the golden era of the Trans Am Series: this sure is fun to watch. The trackside bikinis don’t hurt either.

One of the great liveries of the 70s. Thanks for sending this in, Craig!

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1950 Silverstone Map

Silverstone Track Map 1950

You can clearly see Silverstone’s history in this 1950 map of the circuit. That triangle of runways so typical of RAF Class-A airbases during the second World War is clearly evident. Even if you’re familiar with the many changes at Silverstone over the years, the start/finish position is defining characteristic for this period between ’49 and ’51 before it was relocated to between Woodcote and Copse.

There is more than the track itself to point to the era on this map. The “buffets” identified on the map conjures images of something more than a beer and pretzel tent. I’m also mildly surprised to see a “missing persons” tent, which I wouldn’t have thought would have come into play until much later, corresponding with the shorter leash that people tend to keep on kids with each generation.

And that lettering(!): hand-rendered but striving for draftsman’s perfection. The detailing surrounding the Silverstone titling is reason enough to covet this thing and is reminiscent of vintage stock certificate lettering or book title pages or bank notes. Wonderful.

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Available in California: Maserati A6GCS Engine (Reproduction?)

1953 Maserati A6GCS Engine #2053

I suppose it’s possible that out there somewhere is a Maserati A6GCS roller sitting in the back of the race workshop just waiting for an appropriate lump of iron to be dropped in. Maybe there’s an empty frame and fiberglass body from a properly established sports and racing aftermarket maker out there in need of some proper racing grunt: a Bocar, a Devin, or the like. Or perhaps, as the seller suggests, you don’t want to risk your numbers matching engine should you decide to race or rally your already restored or preserved A6GCS. If you have one of these situations, jump on this.

This engine though… I wish more vintage sportcar enthusiasts thought a bit more like vintage hot rod enthusiasts and could see this beautiful engine not as final piece to a project, but as a beginning of a new one. I’ll grant you, a $160,000 Maserati engine is a very different thing from a $500 Hemi FirePower slowly rusting in a junk yard (or even a $15,000 professionally prepped example). But part of what made racing so amazing in the 1950s and 60s was that spirit of experimentation and tinkering away at home brewed racing specials.

Look at this engine. Doesn’t it make you want to start pulling steel tubes out of the pile and start laying out lengths on the garage floor into the vague shape of frame rails? … To grab a stick of chalk and start sketching body silhouettes on the workshop wall? It worked for Frank Kurtis and Max Balchowsky. There’s more in this engine than the history and the legacy of the Maserati brothers. There is also the twinkling of promise for what it can be.

More information at Fantasy Junction’s inventory detail page. Gorgeous stuff.

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Arthur Schening’s Historic Racing Car Prints

Lotus 49 illustration by Arthur Schening

I find the relationship between the medium and the subject of an artist’s work fascinating. In an Instagram filtered landscape, we’re used to seeing contemporary imagery processed to look vintage. Illustrator Arthur Schening has taken the opposite approach. These representations of 50 year old (and more) racing cars crafted in a very modern aesthetic makes for a compelling balance. Arthur’s illustration style is something akin to what we’re used to seeing as a representation of architectural renderings or a more polished take on fashion illustration. Schening has taken this aesthetic reminiscent of Wallpaper Magazine’s hayday under Tyler Brûlé and applied it to old sheet metal in brilliant technicolor saturation. I dig them.

Prints of these and more at his site.

Ferrari 250 GTO illustration by Arthur Schening

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James Garner’s “The Racing Scene” Streaming Free for Amazon Prime

If you liked that taste above of James Garner’s 1969 documentary The Racing Scene, and you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you’ll be pleased to know that the film is streaming for free on Amazon Instant.

I have a feeling I know what I’ll be doing over the lunch hour today.

Thanks for letting us know, Heath!

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Magnificent Period Formula Vee Illustration

1968 Formula Vee Sports Car Magazine Cover

I adore this Formula Vee cover illustration for the November 1968 cover of Sports Car magazine. The late 60′s blend of almost childlike color blocking offset by very accurate proportions and technical details create a charming balance.

Somebody is selling a copy on eBay (no affiliation) and I’m hoping one of you buys it before I have to. Thanks for digging this up, Paul.

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Gordinis at Interlagos

Damn those little Gordinis are cool.

via Bandiera Quardriculada.

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