Mystery Footage of the 1951 Watkins Glen GP

This film would surely have disintegrated in its can if Fred Weinberg had not picked up at a yard sale. I like to imagine the thrill of discovery as Fred held that film reel up to the light and unspooled a few feet of film. That slow realization that those tiny shapes are racing cars; then taking it home and loading it into the old projector and beginning to recognize the streets of Watkins Glen. Then there’s trying to catch glimpses of racing numbers as he poured over archives of race results trying to figure out which running of a race this was. The ultimate realization that there’s footage here from the Queen Catherine Cup, the Seneca Sup, and the main event. Magnificent. Despite all of this archeology the original photographer is still unknown, but at least we can all appreciate his or her contribution to our precious little media of early American road racing.

DISCUSS (6 Comments)

  1. Pilote

    That was a LOT of fun!

  2. Hemmings Sunday Cinema – Watkins Glen found footage, cross-country Econoline, | Hemmings Daily

    […] awesome, but some of the videos put together with that footage rather lacks. Not so with the one The Chicane recently spotlighted, which shows the action at the 1953 Watkins Glen Grand Prix. Some music to […]

  3. Captain Ned

    1951-vintage 8mm film through a crappy lens and you’re bitching about the low-light performance? Yeah, if I had one of those megabuck Canon cannons I could have done better but this was done in 1951 and it still exists.

  4. Graham Clayton

    As an historian who has been chasing footage of my local speedway track, I can imagine the thrill that Fred felt when he saw what was in the tin. I wonder how much more historic motor racing footage is sitting undiscovered in cupboards?

  5. Bo

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/182482280549

  6. Bo

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/182482280549

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