Sebring in the Rain, 1959.
From Nigel Smuckatelli’s tremendous Flickr stream comes this alarming bit of late-50’s sportscar madness.
The 1959 Sebring 12 Hours practice sessions bedeviled the teams with frequent hard downpours. Despite being able to prepare for rain during the main event, it looks from this footage that the sliced tires that passed for rain-tech in the day weren’t quite up to snuff. The first half of the race started normally enough; with Ferraris and Lister-Jaguars battling it out for the top spots. At half distance though, the sky opened up and that’s when this footage kicks in.
Here you’ll see Ricardo Rodriguez’s OSCA hydroplane and spin. He brought the car home in 47th, which looks from the results to be the second to lowest finishing car—although given the low displacement, it was within 90 seconds of the Index of Performance winning Laureau/Armagnac D.B. Panhard. Later Bob Holbert’s Porsche RSK performs a similar dance move, but he fared better in the race overall with a class win (fourth overall). Robert Roloson’s Stanguellini though, ups the ante with the terrifying crash at the close of the video; Hitting a pole hard and flying up in the air like your little brother’s Hot Wheels. Despite the car being destroyed by the hard crash, Robert can be seen jogging out of harm’s way in the aftermath, after the Stanguellini is lifted up off of him by a group of 6 or 8 people(!). Terrifying!
Nigel says that the car’s owner, Sandy MacArthur, sold the wreck for $100 and the drivetrain and rear axle found its way into a Crosley Special.
We last looked at the 1959 Sebring 12 Hours in August of 2009.