More Unseen SCCA Footage: Palm Springs, December 1955

Last 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 starting off with shots of snow en route to the races, which must have come as a bit of a shock to the Southern Californians heading into the desert. Lovely views of a very packed group of Porsches and a Citroen 2CV (!) in the small-bore race before we settle into the main event.

Race Results from the Dec. 16 issue of MotoRacing. (click for larger)

It looks like John was able to get quite close to the action for this race and there are some great shots of a quite famous field. He may have even been a bit too close for Bill Willett’s tangle with the hay bales in his Arnolt-Bristol after losing steering. Also in this race is the chicken farmer himself in a red Jaguar D-Type (#63); I almost don’t recognize Carroll Shelby without his cowboy hat.

A good percentage of the reel, though, is the excellent battle between Ernie McAfee in the blue Ferrari Monza (#76) and Masten Gregory in the Maserati 300s (#207). They were at it all weekend, trading victories in the various heats on Saturday and Sunday. Masten took the Formula Libre race on Saturday afternoon for 1.5-3liter cars, with McAfee taking the victory in prelims. But in the main event pictured here the honors went to Masten, with Mcafee following only a fraction of a second behind. Great Stuff.

Also keep your eyes peeled for: Bill Murphy’s Kurtis-Buick, Dick Morgensen’s Special, Ken Miles’ Maserati 150S, Rudy Cleye’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, and Chuck Daigh’s Troutman-Barnes Mercury Special.

Remember, The Chicane wants to show your footage to the world too. If you have some old film cans stacked in the closet: get them out, and get in touch at

3 responses to “More Unseen SCCA Footage: Palm Springs, December 1955”

  1. John McClure says:

    Fantastic film…brings back good memories!

  2. Mike Jacobsen says:

    The results shown (for Sunday) correctly list Gregory as the winner, contrary to the accompanying blurb which credits Ernie. I was there, but don’t recall if Ernie won on Sat–he may have. The film is surely of Sunday, with Willett’s Arnolt-B on the hay. I do remember that as I was malingering near Sterling Edwards’ pit i clearly heard Ernie McAfee tell Edwards “everything you’ve done to this car is terrible””–referring to his ex-Portago Ferrari Monza. MJ

  3. Harlo says:

    You’re indeed right, Mike. Masten did take the honors on Sunday. I had mis-identified the film as the Saturday race, which had McAfee taking the checkers. I’ve corrected the post. Thanks!

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