Archive for November, 2010

More on the Bravery of Hans Herrmann

Following up on yesterday’s legend of the Mille Miglia train crossing post, and building upon last year’s post about the incident, I’ve recently stumbled upon more photos of Hans crashing his BRM at the end of one of the long straights at AVUS. The crash at the 1959 German Grand Prix is well known, but while searching for images for yesterday’s post I found these that I’ve not seen before. I didn’t know that the crash was captured at other angles. I’ve seen the photo of Hans crouched beneath the tumbling BRM many times, but these other angles give an even greater impression of how truly close—and how truly lucky—Hans was.


It is not these photos that are the great testament to his bravery, but that he ever got in a racing car again.

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Remarkable Photo Collection from the ’59 LeMans

This astounding collection of photos from Ten-Tenths member Navyflier is well worth digging through the thread to take it all in. What remarkable shots! What excellent access to the pits and paddock! What atmosphere! It’s shots like these that anyone can use to justify their obsession with historic motorsport to their well-meaning and concerned friends. They worry about us. But a glimpse of these images should help them understand.

These are just the tip of the iceberg: more at Ten-Tenths

Here's something that just couldn't happen today. The Hurrell/North team discovered that their Saab's fuel tank wasn't large enough for the race so they swapped out the tank from their street A40 Austin, which necessitated punching a hole in the body work to accommodate the fuel filler. Love it.

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Track Map of the Past: Watkins Glen

Just because something is workmanlike and cleanly executed doesn’t mean it has to be boring. At first glance, this map of Watkins Glen is simple and unadorned; sterile even.

It may look like just another architect’s rendering, but I find it charming. It manages to look both professionally crafted with all the hallmarks of industrial drawing at the drafting table and hand-drawn and personal. It’s as if a friend pulled together a quick sketch to show you the track he raced last weekend, but your friend just happens to be a master freehand draftsman.

This image is from Jeanne Beeching’s biography of Bruce McLaren The Last Season, which focuses on McLaren’s final season of Can-Am racing. Whether the map was created specifically for the book or pulled from some other source, I don’t know.

via automobiliart

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A Legend I Hope is True

Hans Herrmann’s bravery behind the wheel has never been questioned. It certainly wasn’t after the 1954 Mille Miglia when Hans was driving as a railroad crossing just outside of Brescia dropped it’s gate. Judging that there wasn’t sufficient time to stop, Herrmann signalled his navigator, Porsche engineer Herbert Linge, and they ducked their heads beneath the gate as they sped through. It’s almost too Hollywood to believe. Although my hope is that this artist’s interpretation of the event shows the train closer than it actually was, this is how I imagine it as well.

Motorsport is filled with undocumented moments of heroism. That there is no photograph of this unbelievable moment of bravery (or foolishness) is a great shame and makes me wonder what other unseen feats have not been as well remembered as this incident at the railroad crossing.

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Factories at Work: BMW

Sure it’s been overshadowed by it’s bigger brother 2002, but the 700 was a tougher competitor than you’d think. Hans Stuck piloted one to victory in the touring car class of the 1960 German Hillclimb Championship. Class victories were also achieved in the 1960 12 hours race at Hockenheim and the 6 hours of Nürburgring. Not bad for car powered by a 698cc Flat-2 (a bored out R67 motorcycle engine).

Flat-2!

Update: Over on The Chicane’s Facebook page, Jean-Jaques pointed us to this photo of Jacky Ickx in a rather inauspicious entry to his hillclimb career, also in a 700. Thanks Jean-Jaques!

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GTO Ride-along

Want to ride shotgun with Mark Hales in Nick Mason’s Ferrari GTO? Yeah, me too.

Part of Into the Red, which has recently been updated as Passion for Speed.

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908/3 at the 1970 Targa Florio

This was the year of The Flying Finn’s 33 minute 36 second lap. There’s something equally magical and heartbreaking about a record that cannot be broken—Leo Kinnunen’s 79.89 mph average lap of the Targa will never be beaten.

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The Second Best Shape in Italy

The chauvinism of 1960s advertising! You love it in Mad Men, you’ll love it behind the wheel of your Fiat.

“The second best shape in Italy.

at the hottest little price in the USA. You’ve seen the first in films. Now see the Fiat in person. Fiat is the hot one. The Italians did it the way they do most things. With style. With flair. With flourish. And there’s no Germanic thrift showing. This Fiat sport comes with all the extras at not a penny extra. Bucket seats, power brakes, leatherette upholstery, header, defroster, tachometer, dual electric wipers, safety belt anchors, bumper guards, self-canceling turn signals, help-lights and tool kit. And speaking of figures, you can’t even come close to a shape like this at a price so trim and appealing. At $2639, it’s the lowest-priced sports car in its class. Every family should have at least one Fiat.”

Germanic thrift! Safety belt anchors! You can’t come close to a shape like this at such a low price! Every line is pure gold.

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Giacomo Agostini on The MotArt


I’m really enjoying The MotArt’s posts of collected photography lately. Click on over for more from this beloved many-time world champion GP road racer. 122 Grand Prix wins, 15 World championships—the all-time motorcycle leader in career wins.

I love that “Ago” wouldn’t play second fiddle to Hailwood when he was brought on at Agusta. That took some balls. Probably even more than even a MotoGP racer typically has. Fantastic.

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Super Bee

Some beautifully shot footage from Vita Brevis Films. Hey Top Gear USA, put these guys on your call list. This Mopar looks like she’ll break the sound barrier.

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