When I started The Chicane, it was mainly as an outlet for all of the vintage racing research I was doing. A way to do something productive with all the hours I’d spend Googling obscure racing drivers or collecting images of favorite racing machines. What I didn’t count on, though, was how much I would enjoy the commentary and conversations that arise in the comments section of many of the posts. I’m consistently delighted when a post will prompt someone who raced in the discussed event; or owned the discussed car; or had photos from a discussed race meeting; will comment on a post and takes the conversation in a new, thrilling direction.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a set of photos that reader Brian Goldman sent in of the Put-in-Bay races. The comments, though, are why I love the post. Several of the racers checked in or enquired about particular cars. One of whom, Edward Eichenlaub, was looking for any photos that might include his own winning run at that event. Only a short time later, Manley Ford delivered—emailing me the photo you see above of Ed’s victory.
When I see Chicane readers connecting and fueling each other’s love for vintage racing, I… I don’t know how to describe it… It just makes it all seem so much more worth doing. Thank you all for that.
Speaking of the Meadowbrook Historic Races, here’s some video from the 1998 running of the event. The shooter here must have been there to support #55 and has a bit of a wandering camera but it’s still a fun artifact from an event that is precious to me. I grew up not far from this track and spent many Sundays in the bleachers at Hilltop Turn, hot dog and soda in hand, falling in love with vintage racing.
Keeping goofy “title sponsorship” logos off of program covers and event posters wasn’t a conscious design decision in the 60’s, but it’s one I wish more poster designers would make today.
I have a poster hanging in my house for the 1999 running of the Meadowbrook Historics at the Waterford Hills Road Races. Like the brilliant imagery presented here, it’s beautifully illustrated with bold colors and finely executed imagery of racing cars. Bugatti was the featured marque for the race and the poster features a gorgeously realized Bugatti-blue Type 35.
The color and composition are quite lovely, but then the sponsoring corporation’s logo is slapped across the bottom. “Tech-Sight”, it says, in anachronistically severe quasi-contemporary logotype. It tarnishes the poster with its poor design and placement and late-90’s generically futuristic branding.
I had to look up what the company was to write this post: It’s a subsidiary of defense contractor General Dynamics. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing people want hanging in their automotive art gallery: graphically dated defense contractor logos.
Thankfully, we can always look back at these marvelous American Road Race of Champions program covers to give us the essentials: evocative illustration, uncluttered typography, and the sanctioning body’s logo – if necessary. That’s it. Follow that equation, poster designers.
They got them both (and saved a garageful of money!)
The FIAT 1200 SPIDER is all the car a man could want. A tiger on the road. Stunning Italian style by Pinin Farina. Careful Italian craftsmanship in every detail. A humming 1221 cc. engine that delivers plenty of zip and about 27 miles a gallon. Roll-up windows, plenty of legroom, tuck-away soft top and optional hard top too, if you want it. Best of all, a price tag that lets you drive it instead of dream about it—only $2595. (And it’s the only car also available with the winging new version of a famous 1.5 liter racing engine! WHOOSH!)
The FIAT 600 is everyone’s ideal car, perfect for scooting to the supermaket, dropping the kids off at school, or taking the whole family to grandma’s for the weekend. It parks in spaces that don’t look big enough for a bike. Delivers about 40 miles a gallon. Includes almost $300 worth of accessories at no extra charge. And costs only $1398—about $200 less than the leading French and German imports.
Spider or 600, a FIAT will keep your family happy. Your budget, too. Try either one tomorrow. Better yet, try both.
The Bubble Visor blog has done a marvelous dive into the Dutch National Archives for a series of posts on The Netherland’s relationship with the motorcycle. Naturally, I was most interested in the racing photography, but they dig much deeper into imagery of motorcycle police, recreational riders—the complete gamut. I’ve picked a few favorites here but click on through to eachandeverypost for the complete curation.
How is it possible to look at this stunning 1949 De Luca Fiat-Lancia Sport Special and not fall in love? It’s an Italian representation of a hot-rodding zeitgeist that was taking hold worldwide in at the end of the 1940s.
This bare utility is one of the things I so love about early barchettas. The interior could not be more sparse. The exposed backsides of the door skins attest to the lightness that was built into this special for (by?) Senore De Luca, “the wolf of Calabrese” (note the amazing wolf head mascot). I’ve had no luck in finding De Luca’s racing history, but sellers Cristiano Luzzago say the car has period appearances at the Circuito di Posillipo (probably the ’49 running of the GP Napoli though I find no matching car in their entry list) and Grio delle Calabrie.
I adore everything about it—the Stance, the utilitarian design, the minimal embellishment. I have no real reason for this, but the leaf-spring front end is something I’m kind of obsessed with lately. I think it’s something to do with the backyard shed and garage engineered use of the leaf-spring front suspension in everything from the T-Bucket to the Cooper 500s. I just see those leaves poking out where we’re used to seeing A-arms, and my head spins. That’s what this Fiat frame meets Lancia Ardea drivetrain really is when we get down to it: The early Italian version of the later hated Garagistas.
Let’s face it, if this didn’t have the words “Fiat-Lancia” attached to it, you might think it was a garage-built Southern California custom with a Ford V8 under the hood. In many ways, it is. And I love this little street rod for it.