Central Park Vintage GP: Too Good an Idea to Not Happen


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?

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