Boys of Bonneville is making the film festival rounds, playing the Newport Beach Film Festival next week. Incredible archival footage (remarkably well preserved or perfectly restored) here of Ab & Marv Jenkins and the various incarnations of the Mormon Meteor. Even all this time later, shots of Ab taking notes while making Bonneville runs make my jaw drop.
I usually think of Ruedelsarte as my destination for air-cooled VW and Porsche pics, so these shots of Gordinis at the Coupes de Printemps at Montlhéry in March caught me pleasantly off guard. There’s something about the particular shade of French Racing Blue that Gordini used in the 1950s that is so enchanting; not quite as dark as Bugatti’s blue, not quite as light as Gulf Blue, not quite as saturated as Mexico Blue. I ask you: is this the perfect blue?
A few weeks ago I posted a series of photos from pits of the 1964 USGP and mused about the prospect of wandering the pits snapping photos. I got an email the next day from Dick Lees who had a collection of just the types of photos I’m always rambling on about: close to the action, or just ambling through the pits. No barriers, no velvet ropes around the cars, no security ushering the photographer away from a garage.
Dick was stationed in England in the late ’60s and early ’70s and had an opportunity to attend many races in this glorious era. These are the first batch (he’s promised to dig into his archives—and I plan to hold him to it ).
This first batch is from the 1970 Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Thanks to Dick for sending these in! Very much looking forward to seeing the upcoming sets!
Front row of grid at start. J. Stewart #1 in new March - #16 Jack Brabham and #11 J. Oliver in BRM
Jackie Oliver BRM P153 DNF: Driveshaft. Note the band members covering up their ears
Graham Hill Lotus 49C 5th due to Gearbox problems.
Black Jack Brabham Ignition Problems Finished 3rd
Check out the Pink sunglasses. (Glad to see Dick had his eyes on more than just the track!)
Bruce McLaren in McLaren M-14A DNF Accident
Winner Jackie Stewart with first win for the new MARCH
Alexander headed out to the inaugural LeMans Classic in 2002 with some period film cameras to take in the action and this short film was the result. It’s not hard to see how this led to the Classic Astons at Spa special and, ultimately, GT Racer. While I’m a fan of the HD footage that GT Racer so beautifully captures, I love the look that these old 1950s era Bolex cameras give to the 16mm footage. Were it not for the contemporary clothing in the pits you could be forgiven for taking this as historic 50s and 60s films.
This short of Alexander’s and the Dikayl Rimmasch film of Lime Rock we looked at last year sure make me want to start digging around antique shops for the old movie cameras that imbue the footage with such atmosphere—of course then it’ll be just the small detail of learning to use them as well as Alexander and Dikayl.
Mark’s eye for capturing the spirit of an event is full effect here. Looks like I’ll have to add the Catalunya Classic to my must-do list of events. Even these less well known events in Europe really seem to draw the exotic racing machines. Just look at all of those Matras!
François Cevert was so hard to read. Half the time I look at this shot, I think he’s giving an intimidating glare. The other half of the time it looks like we’re sharing an inside joke. It has to be one of them though, right? There’s either a set jaw or a smirk behind that balaclava.
Edit: Thanks to Kev for identifying the photographer of this marvelous shot as Rainer Schlegelmilch.
Sure, you could use an engine stand next time you’re wrenching on your 4-cam Porsche engine… Or you could be a man about it and just drop it out of your 550 Spyder RS60, pop off the valve cover, and throw it over on its side.
A split second, driving skill, that final touch in tuning, just plain luck. Certainly all of these. And the design and engineering skill that creates a racing machine.
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I know more than a few vintage Formula Vee drivers that would be beside themselves with joy to take a sweeping right through Casino Square or drop to low gear for the Hairpin.
But until today, I’d never seen photos of FVs taking to this most famous track. From 1966 to 1975, the European Formula V Championship was one of the many feeder series that aspiring Formula 1 drivers had as a platform to prove themselves—including young Keke Rosberg who was the FV champion in 1973.
By the mid 60s, the Vee Formula was already popular in the States, and had slowly been making inroads into Europe. In 1966 the Formula was actively being raced throughout Europe with two holdouts: Italy and France. It wasn’t until the French magazine l’Automobil and racing driver Maurice Trintignant got behind it that the formula finally properly launched in France a year later. Finally, the formula found its way to the promised land: Monaco.
Perhaps it sounds silly to have these little 1300cc VW Beetle powered cars puttering around Monaco. Bear in mind though, that 67′s winning average pace of 99.3 kph isn’t far from Fangio’s pace in the 1950 race and is only 16 kph slower than Moss’ 1960 qualifying average.
Werner Riedl, who would later become the Formula champion in ’68, took the race in an Austro Beach (is this the same as the popular Beach stateside?). The rest of the field was a collection of makers that have since become popular in today’s vintage Formula Vee racing (Beach, Autodynamics) as well as a few that I’m not familiar with (Fuchs, Bora, Zarp).