Track Maps of the Past: Paramount Ranch

Usually in our ‘Track Maps of the Past’ series I try to feature beautifully rendered maps from historic racing programs. There’s always a lot to choose from, as the hand illustrated track maps of the age before satellite views tend to just have more soul than the long-on-accuracy-short-on-spirit CAD rendered maps of today. It isn’t the illustration of this track at Paramount Ranch, though, that drew me in. It isn’t amazingly well rendered or beautiful. It’s is fairly ordinary in its execution and presentation. What it does have though, is the benefit of a marvelous feature of the Paramount Ranch race track: it has a tunnel.

There’s something magical about a track that loops back in on itself, tucking under competitors and passing, figure-8 style, beneath the action above. It recalls the classic Monza, with a tunnel under one end of the banked oval. I can understand why this once enduring track feature went away. It is not, after all, easy to blend run-off areas and kitty litter with bridge abutments. But damn if it isn’t just cool. There is — and I’m talking to the track designers out there when I say this — a reason why almost every slot car track you can find on toy store shelves has a crossover. It’s just cooler that way.

DISCUSS (3 Comments)

  1. Bill Lev

    I went to this track and remember watching NASCAR cars going through the tunnel. They were using convertibles at the time and Evenrude was a big sponsor. Fireball Roberts was there along with Troy Rutman. One thing that is missing is the round swimming pool with a round concrete island in the middle of the pool.

  2. Mike Jacobsen

    I think Bill Lev’s pool is what is labeled the lake on the map. Your comment re slot cars is interesting, since the first ones, made by Scalextric, were ordered by a few enthusiasts (including us) in 1955 having seen the ads for them in Autosport, the Brit weekly mag. The track was laid out by Ken Miles and Dick Van Laanen, who is still with us, and I intend to ask him if he had experienced a Scalextric at that time.By the way, the entire track can still be walked today except the section under the bridge which is filled with mud, and the section near the lake which was wiped out by a flood; the pavement, of course, is badly broken up everywhere, but I drove my MG Spl around a section of it for a German TV film on the Porsche Spyder four years ago. Mike Jacobsen

  3. Paramount Ranch | The Chicane

    […] seen maps from Paramount Ranch before and my sentiment remains exactly the same… Just look at that […]

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