Archive for March, 2013

Top ‘er Off

Fill 'er up

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have a 917. But man, I’d sure like one of these Shell Super oil cans—particularly in the condition seen in this marvelous shot in the pits at Spa by Rainer Schlegelmilch.

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A Nearly Private Grand Prix

Rudolf Caracciola at Coppa Ciano
When I see images like this one of Rudolf Caracciola in his Mercedes-Benz W154 at the 1938 Copa Ciano, I am both energized by it and saddened.

Imagine the cacophony reverberating off the buildings of this narrow alley in Livorno, Italy. Imagine the show that this handful of people are having as they peer out from entryways and lean out of windows along the Montenero Circuit. It’s almost an intimate moment captured between driver and spectator as Rudolf glances up from his racing line and makes eye contact with a racing fan poking his head out of a doorway.

It’s most noticeable in the restrictions on pit access, but these opportunities for racing driver and enthusiast to connect are just as lost during the race as before and after. The farther and farther we push fans from the action—for good reasons, as Daytona recently pointed out—the more isolated the driver is from the fan.

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BMW 2002 101

I’ve always loved them for their boxy, quintessential, even rudimentary “car shaped” silhouette, but it wasn’t until I spent some time in my buddy Paul’s 2002 that I realized what a sensational little machine it is. Even my dream garage is getting crowded but there’ll always be room for one of these.

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Porsche 917 Booth Babe

Porsche 917 booth babe

I’m in the market for a new car so I made my way through the Auto Show this winter. It didn’t have anything on this.

I’m trying to imagine a similar scenario with a contemporary racing car being given the full rotating platform treatment at an auto show.
Wireless microphone… Bad jokes… Inane listing of specs… “The only car in it’s class with [insert proprietary technology name here]”…

Porsche 917 on displayPorsche 917 on display

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Masten Gregory and the Art of Looking Sharp

Masten Gregory at Sebring. 1960.

Every year we see a new collection from a fashion designer talking up his inspiration from Steve McQueen. My recommendation: Look to his countryman Masten Gregory. Dude was stylish. Seriously, when you can make two sets of goggles hanging around your neck look badass you’re doing something right.

Masten Gregory in Nassau. 1955.Masten Gregory in LeMans. 1959Masten Gregory in the pits.

Masten Gregory looking determined.

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Sport or Monoposto?

Stanguellini Ad

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

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Plump, Dapper, and Charming

I’m not entirely sure that Alberto Ascari would have loved Murray Walker’s introduction in this clip from Walker’s F1 Greats. Once the stats start rolling in I’m sure the mood would have lightened. Tremendous.

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Santa Monica Road Races 1909—1919

Where They Raced tackled the Santa Monica Road Races as part of their Road Races episodes. Fantastic to still be able to still trace the track on public roads 100 years later and fascinating to learn that the road races were one of the factors that allowed Santa Monica to remain autonomous during Los Angeles’ massive annexation of the surrounding areas.

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A Driver’s Work is Never Done

Brabham, Surtees, Hill, and Clark at the 1966 Miss Motor pageant

Not a terrible day at the office for Brabham, Surtees, Hill, and Clark.

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Shiny Doesn’t Win Races

1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300TI with black steel wheels

Similar to my love for the Momo Prototipo and Jaeger gauges, there is a kinship I feel with BlackSteelies.com. There’s something special about finding a solitary slice of perfection and watching it prove itself in situation after situation. What these items share is an innate ability to improve the aesthetic or performance of any car they’re added to. It’s as true for the Prototipo as it is for simple black steel wheels. Whether on modern Minis or vintage Porsches and BMWs, the desire to throw out unnecessary and frivolous (and oversized) chrome in favor of a more simple solution is a quick route to my heart. Keep at it, gentlemen.

Lancia Aurelia GT with black steel wheelsBMW 2002 with black steel wheels

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