Unseen Film of Riverside ’57 – A Chicane Exclusive!

Although it’s been quite some time since our profile of Torrey Pines for our Lost Tracks series, that post has had some interesting action in the past few weeks when I was contacted by a reader with Torrey Pines stories to share. John McClure was a member of the San Diego Jr. Chamber of Commerce and sports car fan and driver. His association with the Chamber put him in a position to combine his passions as part of the team that developed the Torrey Pines Race Course. Thankfully, John also carried a camera around with him for races up and down the West Coast. John has very kindly sent a DVD of his 1950s West Coast racing films to be featured on the Chicane. This is the first installment of this footage from many of the West Coast racetracks.

This film is from the inaugural race at Riverside International Motor Raceway on September 21-22, 1957. There’s a lot of great clips here. Some amazing racing machines, including well known West Coast specials. It’s a 1950s race, of course, which means that there are a few dramatic crashes. The spectators just pile on to the track and right the car. Just another reminder of how very close and immediate the action, and danger, was at those events. Which allows for some wonderfully close camera work. Thanks again, John, for letting us share this footage with vintage racing fans. It is outstanding.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Chicane Shop is currently offering a t-shirt commemorating this very race. Check it out here.

Update: Commenters at Ferrari Chat and The Nostalgia Forum have been spotting some details in the footage. Among them, that some of these shots are actually from the November ’57 Palm Springs race (oops!). There’s particular interest in the D-Type/Troutman-Barnes duel of Pete Woods & Chuck Daigh, both of whom retired allowing Richie Ginther to claim his first victory in John Edgar’s Ferrari (Woods’ D-Type was the marvelous example featured at last month’s Scottsdale Auction).

If this footage is stirring up any additional observations, insights, a story, if you spot a favorite driver… please share in the comments.

11 responses to “Unseen Film of Riverside ’57 – A Chicane Exclusive!”

  1. Cliff Reuter says:

    Way too cool!! Congrats Harlo!!! Keep up the great work!!!!


  2. Michael T. Lynch says:

    Believe the Riverside film shows both 57 Riverside races.

  3. Jon says:

    Incredible!! Seeing those Gullwings going at in the corner like a couple of ‘normal’ cars…

    Was the lady in the Ferrari (near the end) Josie von Neumann? I recall reading that Competition Motors owner Johnny von Neumann’s niece (?) raced a Mondial at some point.

  4. Harlo says:

    Jon – Could you be looking at Linda Scott in the red #195 AC Bristol?

    • Chris Scott says:

      Yeah, that’s my mom Linda Scott in the AC…the hair’s a dead giveaway…I know this is from a long time ago, but fwiw…

  5. Jon says:

    Harlo, I think you’re correct. I replayed it for a closer look (14:16) and it is a Bristol.

  6. kare says:

    I was wrong about Palm Springs; James Smith’s Ferrari 166 Berlinetta (at 13:56) still wearing #94 from Palm Springs set me off.

    I think clips change at 13:04. From that point on the clips are from November event.

    Best wishes, Kare

  7. John McClure says:

    Ah, those were the days…sportscars everywhere. I was lucky, having the first Austin Healey in the US, bought from Walt Warren of Road & Track…but someone had installed a supercharger on it, so I would had to compete against Corvettes,etc

  8. Mike Jacobsen says:

    Yes there are some curious jumps in the film–not all in chronological order. Opens and closes (except for a few secs) in the paddock, with the Edgar Maserati of Shelby and the 410s Ferrari with Ginther’s number. Then we see Ricardo Rodriguez 550 (who won) et al, with Drake in the Lubin Cooper. Then, alas, John Lawrence’s fatal flip of his MG A–after they turned the car over he demanded a cigar from his crew, but succumbed the next day to head and neck injuries. The Troutman Barnes now has a T-Bird engine and is seen passing Woods’ D types accelerating down the back stretch–but Woods comes around again later ahead. Near the end we see John Edgar talking to wrench Joe Landaker in the Maser and then to Richie in the 410s.

  9. Carlos Jalife says:

    harlo, very nice find. As I wrpte the Rodríguez book, now one of the Scuderia Rodríguez next ´projects is doing a DVD of the brothers racing. We have lots of stuff from mexican races, Salvadoproan races and many things from Porsche but we didn’t know about this material from Riverside 57 where Ricardo won the small Sports races (he is in the Portsche #11). How can I get a copy of those snippets where he appears, I don’t need the whole thing , and it is just for archive purposes we won’t do anything commercial, just for members of the Scuderia and it might taske a couple of years to finish since we do it in our free time.
    Can you let me know who’s the owner so I can talk to heim/her and see if we might “boorrow” those shorts moments where Ricardo appears?
    Carlos Jalife

  10. thomas michael randolph says:

    to whom it may concern joe playan was a driver in many races back then has passed away a few weeks back at home in palm springs ca

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