De Portago’s Life in Racing

Seeing this color photo of Alfonso de Portago (among the last captured before his fatal crash) on Automobiliac last summer, I was inclined to agree with Bradley that there’s something haunting about it; an eeriness about how calm the moment seems, but with the dangerous proximity of the walls and the spectators and the nearby buildings hinting at what might happen when his tire catastrophically deflates moments later. Juxtaposed with this much earlier photo of young de Portago sitting pensively in his kiddie kart—before his legend as a racing driver and playboy would take hold—these bookends of de Portago’s life in motoring somehow makes the tragedy of his demise more palatable. Sure, it’s easy from my comfortable vantage point to romanticize the danger of the era and glorify those who died “doing what they loved”, but these photos of de Portago show that there might just be some truth to it.

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