You don’t often think of the Porsche 914 as a rally car, but this shot from the 2010 Boucles de Spa rally in Belgium shows it’s versatility yet again. She may among the forgotten and unloved Porsches but I’m always impressed by them at vintage races, where they often participate in 4 or 5 different race groups—another sign of their range. This is, after all, a car that finished sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, and deserves more props than it gets.
It’s hard to think of any modern car that would look even remotely good in blue with a red interior. Hard to argue that it isn’t just killing it in this Gullwing Mercedes and the Porsche 356. Wonderful.
I can’t imagine that civil engineers consider the needs of the “road enthusiast” when designing roads today. Let’s all hope that Mulholland (currently closed indefinitely due to erosion) is restored soon.
Here’s more footage from 1982, right before the LAPD helicopters put an end to the nightly Mulholland races for good.
More on Mulholland racing, and the “King of the Hill” custom Porsche 911 RSR at Pelican Parts.
Another installment from the John McClure archives, this time it’s the October 1956 Pomona Road Races. The particular turn that features prominently in this film looks particularly harrowing—and fun. Plenty of competitors overcooked it a bit, resulting in a whole lot of drifting, spins and oversteer. Great stuff!
Quite a few Austin-Healeys, Lotuses (Lotuses? Loti?), ACs, and the ubiquitous Porsche Speedsters and Spyders (I just love that there was a time when you could refer to Spyders as ubiquitous).
West Coast Sports Car Journal had this to say about the main event in their November 1956 issue:
At the drop of the flag, Bill Murphy was first through turn one, something he has perfected through the years. But right on his tail was Evans, Gregory, Hauser, Bob Drake in Joe Lubin’s DB3S Aston Martin, Miles, in that order. Following at a more leisurely pace was the rest of the pack led by Mike Kingsley in the Sparks and Bonney Special and Fred Woodward in his Jaguar Special…
On lap sixteen, the first three cars were running tail and nose, still at an incredible pace. They were lapping three and four seconds faster than the under 1500cc cars had; and this short twisting course is more suitable for small machinery!
I won’t spoil the finish for you here, but you can download a pdf of the complete article here. You can also download the complete results and race report from the November 2-9, 1956 Issue of MotoRacing here.
Flipping through Nicolas’ portfolio of a variety of racing imagery is a real treat. There is a wonderful variety here that really impresses, not just variety of subject matter, but of technique. I’ve always been drawn to well-executed watercolor, largely because the required approach just hasn’t clicked with me whenever I’ve picked up the brush.
Control over the amount of liquid; layering the colors to get the right richness and value of tone; creating strong and well defined lines: all of these fundamental techniques have completely been thrown out the window every time I’ve made at an attempt. Usually my own watercolors become a long and intense study of mud puddles. For Nicolas though, he’s somehow able to create the pits at LeMans or the body of Clark’s Lotus from the humble, yet elusive, watercolor palette. Marvelous stuff—and that’s just one of his mediums.
One of his pieces absolutely leaped off the screen at me. The rendering of Jackie Stewart in a BRM is remarkable. The contrast of the shadows and highlights that we’re so used to rendering in one long gradient on a white canvas becomes so much more nuanced and interesting when broken into a 2 pronged approach on a medium value background. Using the paper color to create the base tone of the BRM’s livery is fantastic. We often think of working in black and white, when usually that means black ON white, actually dividing the tones into black AND white produces beautiful results.
You can see more of Nicolas’ work at his site and see the prints at his blog.
Our recent Paramount Ranch video was discussed on the Pelican Parts forum, where one member brought up their recent tour of the Paramount Ranch track as part of the Santa Barbara Region PCA run, which included a partial lap with the Park Rangers. While it is sad to see her current state, I am pleased that the National Park service is sharing the history with visitors.
This might be a good side trip to add on to this year’s Historic Challenge at Road Atlanta. To celebrate Porsche’s 60th year in North America, the Porsche Museum will be exhibiting the 1939 Berlin-Rome Type 64 at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art exhibit The Allure of the Automobile from March 21-June 20. The car is undoubtedly the spiritual ancestor to every Porsche made since and was the first appearance of many of the design hallmarks that would define the cars. The exhibit will also feature the ’53 550 LeMans Coupe.
The 64 was a prototype hand built special assembled in Zuffenhausen immediately before the Porsche family left Germany for Austria during WWII. The car was designed for the Berlin-Rome race, the nimble and lightweight car would be a perfect competitor for a long overland race through the Alps. Three examples were made: one was destroyed in a bombing raid, one was joy-ridden to death by celebrating American soldiers, the only remaining example holds a prized place in the Porsche museum since it was re-acquired by the factory in 1951.
This is indeed a rare opportunity to see this priceless and important machine in the only setting anyone is likely to ever see it again, a museum pedestal.
CarCulture.com has some marvelous photos of the Berlin-Rome car here.
Update: Still looking into an inconsistency on this bit of news, the High Museum exhibit lists the ’39 on display as a replica, Porsche seems to be listing it as the genuine article – waiting on confirmation from Porsche on this.
Maybe our fretting about lost tracks isn’t all for naught, as the long defunct UK racetrack, Crystal Palace, is reopening. After 10 or 20 years (depending on who you ask) of disuse, the track is set to once again host vintage and modern racing cars for the British Bank Holiday in May.
This is fantastic news. That UK motorsport sanctioning bodies and businesses have found the funds to reopen Britain’s first ever purpose-built track (it opened in 1899) gives us hope that crumbling Stateside tracks like Paramount Ranch and Willow Springs can too find backers to bring racing back to these classic locations. Coupled with major track developments (the racetrack country club phenomenon), and redevelopment efforts (the Brainerd update), there’s hope that we might once again be entering a period of growth for all aspects of motorsport, and not just the super-speedway variety. Octane reports that the track will use much of the old course, including the North Tower Crescent and Big Tree Bend.
More footage from the John McClure archives, this time from the August 56 running of the Paramount Ranch road races. The footage here is nice and close, it seems John staked out the perfect spot for the featured Sunday races.
The under-1500cc consolation and feature races in the first half of the video has some great shots of Richie Ginther absolutely walking away with the feature race in his #211 Porsche 550 Spyder; the aftermath of Rex Huddleston’s crash in his #75 Maserati-powered Lotus; William Binney’s beautiful #359 Doretti; an interesting shot in the pits of someone’s front-engined(!) Porsche 4-cam powered racer (is it a Lotus 11?). Nice to see some Cooper Formula IIIs mixing it up with the road cars and specials in the low displacement race.
In the larger displacement race, there’s some nice shots of the lovely little battle between Eric Hauser, Bill Krause, and Harrison Evans. Each of them took 1st in their classes piloting their #70 Morgensen Special, #27 Jaguar D-Type, and #130 Ferrari Monza 750.
Seeing the track in use really highlights was an absolutely beautiful location Paramount Ranch was, even moreso than when we featured it in our Lost Tracks series.