More Unseen Racing Footage: Palm Springs 1955


Bill Pollock's Baldwin Mk II Special

Let’s take another look into the John McClure archives. This time from the March, 1955 running of the Palm Springs Road Races.

This race is particularly interesting for pop culture fans as James Dean brought home 2nd place in his Porsche Speedster for the under 1500cc class—this was mere months before purchasing the Spyder he would die in. Sadly, while there are a few very fleeting shots of Dean’s white Speedster here (bearing number 23 for this race), there isn’t a clear shot of the man behind the wheel.

The rather grisly rollover accident of Ray Sinatra’s Darrin, while terrifying to look at, left Ray with a dislocated shoulder.

Jack McAfee in his winning Ferrari 375MM


Ultimately in the main event, Jack McAfee took top honors in his Ferrari 375 MM (#211) after a long battle with Bill Pollack in the Baldwin Special Mk II Mercury (#20).

I’m struck by the stark beauty of the Palm Springs desert venue. I’ve never been to the California desert, and it looks like I should definitely make a point of it.

DISCUSS (8 Comments)

  1. Frank Barrett

    Ken Miles is flying in the Flying Shingle…

  2. Frank S

    Program, Palm Springs, March 1955.
    http://home.roadrunner.com/~fsheff/covps355.htm

    My Palm Springs pages.
    http://home.roadrunner.com/~fsheff/palmspr.htm

  3. Jon

    Where is James Dean’s Speedster? I guess “very fleeting” is an apt description…

  4. More Unseen SCCA Footage: Palm Springs, December 1955 | The Chicane

    […] time we dove into the John McClure archives, it was to visit the March ‘55 running of the Palm Springs Road Races. What a difference a few months makes, since we’re […]

  5. Rory

    That is definitely the Alfa Romeo B.A.T 7 at 1:31.

  6. Mike Jacobsen

    Terrific film! Starts with Sat semi, led by Dick van Laanan’s Singer spl, followed by Miles and Harry Hanford in Alan LeMay’s Lotus VI (MG powered at this time), who passes Ken, but comes around behind him on the next lap! Miles’ first win in R2–the other two retired. Then we see Ray Sinatra spin the Kaiser-Darrin and on the next lap flip it–he walked away. At 1.09 Alex Budurin’s Kurtis catches fire and the marshals throw sand on it! Then Bob Estes 35B Bug goes by. I’m not sure whose white J2 Allard spins, but it is not Bamford’s. Steve Wilder spins his blown Jag spl, then Bamford’s Allard chased by Miles (top three semi main finishers could start the main), then winner Jack McAfee in the 4.5, Pollack and Ken again. then we go to Sunday. A nice shot of Johnny Porter’s Aardvark (169). The car had 45 HP but today Don Racine runs it with a 90 horse engine. Then we see Monise in the MG powered ex Barlow Simca, Perry Peron’s Panhard Spl and Joe Playan’s blue MG Spl. The the start of the production jags followed by the race Queen riding in Bill Leydon’s k3 Allard. Bill had a 15 minute TV show on sports cars for about a year–he interviewed me sitting in our Magnette for a pre-Torrey Pines show and was surpirised when I said my Dad would not win! Mike Jacobsen

  7. Erich Schultz

    Who knows anything about the white car #192? It looks like an Allard J2, but it isn’t. It’s near the end of the film. It’s not in the program either.

  8. Mystery Special, Palm Springs, March 1955 at Hemmings Blog – Classic and collectible cars and parts

    […] Schultz is looking for a bit of help identifying a mystery racer spotted in a video of the March 1955 Palm Springs races that The Chicane posted last year. (Worth checking out – ever seen an Alfa Romeo B.A.T. in […]

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