Tunnel Vision?

I’ve seen countless images of the Grand Prix legends of the 1960s with a bit of gaffers tape obscuring part of their goggles. I never really thought about it until I saw this rather extreme example of Graham Hill’s. Does anyone know why they did this? Was covering the top half of the goggles done to block out the sun? Was it to isolate the extreme motion of items in their peripheral vision? Was it simply to strengthen the goggles themselves?

6 responses to “Tunnel Vision?”

  1. Bry says:

    My guess says sunshade. With the plastic/glass surface a small distance from the wearer’s eyes, one would suppose that the tape would provide pretty good shading.

  2. Ted Sodergen says:

    Given the fact that this was in the days before tear-offs, it might have been to minimize the area that they had to wipe as oil, etc. accumulated. Pure speculation on my part, of course. I remember reading that some drivers of the era (and before) used to have a powerpuff stitched to the back of each glove for the purpose of wiping goggles.

  3. Mike Jacobsen says:

    Direct sun and glare. Note that all of those photos show bright shadows. For oil, etc., many drivers had an extra pair of goggles around the neck (as Clark does here); they would also be handed fresh ones at pit stops. These procedures represented real progress for some–Fangio wore welder’s goggles until Neubauer gave him a good pair!

  4. JP says:

    From personal experience, it works well for blocking sunlight. The time of day (height of sun) dictates placement of the tape. Simple and effective.

  5. Jeff Downer says:

    Interesting that the Graham Hill’s tape would seem to limit his peripheral vision. I have always figured superior peripheral vision be a trait of a good driver.

  6. pnk574 says:

    Yes, sun and glare are the main reasons for the employment of the technique (which can still be seen today among both vintage and modern drivers). Other tricks included flat black paint on all or a portion of the hood or front panels of a car. Mr. Surtees is also employing a trick commonly found among motocrossers of the day, with tape layered over the buttons on his visor. This served two purposes (or at least it did for the MX’ers): it added extra support to the often less-than-sturdy button attachments, and it stopped splooge from running down the helmet onto the googles during rainy events.

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