For the first time in a long time I missed last year’s Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival. I must subconsciously still be kicking myself over it since I found myself wandering through YouTube clips from the 2011 event. Thankfully, Jeffrey uploaded this clip from the Group 10 (Formula Vee and Fords—among others) session to help get me through the winter.
Jeffrey says: “This was my second race weekend in my 1969 Lynx B. I qualified 11th on the grid (7th in the Formula Vee class) and finished 8th (4th in the FV class).”
I often romanticize the city-street road races of the 1950s and have occasionally wondered why it was only small towns that played host to these magnificent race weekends. After all, many of the racers made their way to Watkins Glen or Bridgehampton or Elkhart Lake did so from New York or Boston or Chicago. Why didn’t larger cities host any of these events?
Then it occurred to me; naturally it’s easier to shut down a little town’s roads for a few days than it would be to gridlock Manhattan for a race weekend. Alas, the oft linked Shell/Ferrari ad has shown us what a magnificent cocktail vintage racing cars and city streets can make. Automobiliac’s recent post entitled Vintage Racing in Central Park, Why Not? has rekindled my desire for this mix of urban vistas and vintage iron. It’s a perfectly good question, “What about Central Park?” Can you think of a more perfect set of roads winding around the beautiful and iconic landscapes that were so marvelously architected by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
Can’t you just imagine it? Sitting on a bench by the Reservoir or at the rooftop sculpture garden at the MoMA while a Cooper-Climax T53 or Bandini Siluro or Ferrari Monza accelerates through one of the sweeping bends of the Central Park Loop.
Bradley does a great job of pointing out the potential difficulties (“closing down Central Park Loop—are you crazy?!”), and addresses them in kind (well, they do it for bike races or for filming movies). It works for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Doesn’t New York deserve a world-class vintage racing event? Just look at the map above from race promoter Alec Ulmann’s 1965 proposal of a Monaco-style race in NY and realize that this event needs to happen—simply must happen.
The Chicane emphatically endorses this brilliant idea. Dear Reader, how can we make this happen?
It’s never surprising when a new no-expenses-spared restoration of a Ferrari is unveiled. Or a Gullwing Merc. Or a Barracuda. What I love so much about Ohio restoration shop Pete’s Custom Coachbuilding is that they often lavish the same level of affection on lesser known and quirkier models. Their restorations of Issetas and a Lambretta Lambro trike and a King Midget are enough to let you rest easy that these marvelous jewels are in good hands.
Their recent restoration of a Berkeley SE492 is no exception. The level of care in reconditioning parts that aren’t available or ensuring that every fastener was period-appropriate is admirable. It’s details like this that usually puts this type of restoration in the realm of not financially viable. But let’s face it, we didn’t get into vintage racing cars because we’re sane people. It always makes me glad to see there’s other crazies out there.
Talk about domination—the Datsun Track Star swamped the field at Daytona.
Seven out of the first 8 spots in Class D Production at the 1969 American Road Race of Champions (ARRC).
Just what you might expect from a real sports car.
Because the stock 2000 has real sports car handling. Real sports car power from a 135 HP “OHC” engine for a 124 MPH top and 0-60 in 9.3 seconds. Real sports car response from an all-synchro 5-speed that Stirling Moss rates… “Really good—the speed with which one could change gears was only limited by the speed of one’s hand.”
Add classic lines. Body-fit buckets. vinyl upholstery, carpets, locking console… even a radio among $300 in no-charge extras. You’ve got a luxury GT that blasts backroads and breezes freeways.
The ARRC champ 2000—and its little brother—Datsun 1600. Real sports cars for people who must drive a winner. Driva a Datsun… then decide.
These photos shot by Jim Miner at the 1960 running of the Nuburgring 1000km caused quite a sensation when his daughter, Kat Miner, uploaded them to her Flickr. There was a tremendous outpouring of interest from the vintage racing community, and it’s easy to see why.
Even in today’s Hipstamatic and Instagram faux-vintage photo effects, there’s something noticeably otherworldly and atmospheric about these shots captured by the young serviceman stationed in Frankfurt. The colors are somehow both vivid and lush, but also cold and chillingly dramatic. The blue tones are amplified, making the greens so vibrant, but also giving everything a foreboding mood. They are haunting.
Even though there’s only these few photos from the day, they hint at a wonderful story. Partly, I think that the fact that there’s so few is what captures my imagination about the event. There’s no shortage of photos from any modern event. Everyone has a camera in their pocket and many spectators spend the bulk of the race looking at the action through their phone’s screen while they snap away hundreds or thousands of images.
These photos though—and I readily acknowledge I’m reading more into this than I should—seem considered and carefully shot. After all, film and processing was never cheap enough to click away with the fury of a digital photographer.
Whatever the case, let’s at least sit back and appreciate how marvelous these photos are… And keep scanning those old slides and negatives, people!
Sadly, 1970 wasn’t the year for Jo Siffert and Brian Redman. After taking pole, a drop in oil pressure on the 22nd lap forced the Porsche 908/3 they shared out of contention. But damn if they didn’t look good doing it.