Author Archive

Moss and Hamilton on the Parabolica

Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton demonstrate that there’s still a few serviceable stretches of Monza’s legendary Parabolica banking. I would have thought that Hamilton would have been struggling to keep that W196 that high up the banking at these speeds but he seems positively casual about it. Doesn’t Moss look great nestled into the seat of that marvelous 300 SLR W196R Streamliner?

Edit: Thanks for the correction, Gary. I should have known better than to trust the YouTube uploader

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In the Lobby for Grand Prix

Theatre Lobby for Grand Prix

There is a thriving market for movie memorabilia from John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix on the Internet with movie posters in a variety of languages and programs from various cities’ premiers, some signed by the racing drivers and movie stars in attendance. Because I can’t think of better ways to spend my day I often find myself perusing the offerings from various auctioneers.

This series of photos is currently up for bidding at Heritage Auctions. These lobby displays sure put to shame any mere movie poster or lobby card. I wonder where that imposing display featuring the tracks of the Formula 1 season is today. Hopefully it escaped the landfill and is adorning the entryway to someone’s home screening room.

More information (and more photos) on Heritage Auctions’ lot detail page.

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Lotus Elite: This is the World

Lotus Elite Ad

Lotus Elite
This is the World
1216cc of Aluminum OHC Coventry Climax Engine pumping out 120 MPH, 10 sec. acceleration times—35 to 40 MPG — All in the same car!!! Six-Footers stretch out, the trunk carries a golf bar, or two suitcases — All in the same car!!! the most beautiful car in the World. 30 MPH corners at 45, fantastic braking, a “modified car with a roof on it” — All in the same car!!! And the above is all standard equipment at 4780 POE. For the man who owned an MGTC in 1947, a Jaguar 120 Coupe in 1952, a Porsche in 1953, or an Alfa in 1956. Here is your Advanced World of Motoring — The race bred Lotus Elite……

Exclusive Agents for Southern California, Arizona and Utah
Bob Challham. Ecurie Shirlee Corporation
Showrooms and Service Facilities: 2301 Sepulveda Boulevard, Manhattan Beach, California

Available thru only the finest imported car centers.

Lotus: The blood line is racing. The breed is speed.

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Reader Photos: Joe Sheppard’s Dunnellon FL, 1958

Joe Sheppard. Dunnellon, FL. 1958.

Great shots from the pits of “the Tampa Hotshoe”, Joe Sheppard at the 1958 Dunnellon, Florida race. Wonderful sequence of the LeMans start with a leap into a Porsche 550 and a later (or perhaps an earlier practice session?) stop in the pits. Sheppard was a well known racer in the Southeast and podiumed many late 50’s/early 60’s races in Florida as well as on jaunts into the Caribbean for Nassau Speed Weeks and the Cuban GP.

Joe Sheppard. Dunnellon, FL. 1958.

Joe Sheppard. Dunnellon, FL. 1958.

Many thanks to John Shea for sending these.

Got some old slides or prints gathering dust in your closet? Send ’em in!

Previously: Joe with team Camoradi at the 1960 Sebring in photos and video.

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Bump Starting a Maserati 250F Mid-Race

Now I know how to do that if the situation ever arises.

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Late Night Tinkering

Maserati 250F in the workshop

Edit: Not that I look at this again.. it’s probably not late night. Oh well.

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Reviewed – Klementaski: Master Motorsports Photographer

Master Motorsports Photographer Klementaski

By now you’ve heard me extoll time and time again the need to expose the untold treasures of motorsports photography laying undiscovered in basements and closets the world over. The very idea that there are thousands of photographic slides sitting unseen in their carousels stacked under old tourist trinkets or forgotten wigs drives me absolutely crazy. In expressing my desire to see more previously unpublished racing photography, I’ve frequently decried the lazy practice of just publishing the same well known images over and over. Given that history, you would probably expect me to be nonplussed—even offended—by this collection of Louis Klementaski’s photography. After all, is there a racing photographer that has been more widely published than Klementaski? By that measure alone you should believe that I would hate it, right? Right? You would be wrong.

Jenks in Master Motorsports Photographer Klementaski

Call me inconsistent, but in the case of Louis Klementaski, there is damn good reason we’ve seen some of his images again and again. As I thumb through Paul Parker’s volume, Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer, I am just as happy to see those iconic images as I am to see little-published examples of his work. This text is aptly named. Can you think of any other motorsport photographer more worthy of the moniker “Master Motorsports Photographer”? I submit to you that there is none. Certainly his work stands above even the greatest motorsports photographers, perhaps even above all sport photography.

When I see images like his shot of Norman Wilson piloting a ERA R4A at Brooklands in 1939 (page 54), it’s easy to see why it has been called the best racing photograph ever taken. You can just imagine a young Louis sitting at the infield corner peering through the viewfinder of his Leica as Wilson looks past him and into his racing line. The emotion of the shot is more than just racing eye candy, it is unequivocally as high art as any photograph.

Master Motorsports Photographer KlementaskiKlementaski is so associated with the warm black and white hues capured through the lens of his Leica or Box Brownie or Ermanox Press camera that it is almost jarring to see his color work—some as early as 1938. Each photograph has an associated caption that helps tell the story of the era, the driver, the race, and the surrounding history. It is here that my one real complaint about the volume is highlighted. While I do appreciate this context for the subject of the photo, I do wish there was more information about the artist in these captions. It is good to know, for example, that Ascari was preparing for an already difficult race when the rain started to fall—but what I would love more would be to know more about how Klementaski captured this image, what equipment was used in each shot. These photographs should be treated with the same reverence any art museum would treat them, and that has to include more information about the artist alongside the already well documented subjects.

Master Motorsports Photographer Klementaski

Each chapter does, however, include vital information about Louis Klementaski and his relationship to racing in the era discussed. I particularly like the validation from him for the same sense that I have often felt when looking at later racing photography. As he started to move away from race photography, he describes his disillusionment with the racing world: “Several other factors contributed to my decision: the more horizontal the drivers became in their cars the less you could see of them and so one’s pictures became more impersonal. The big disappointment, however, proved to be the gradual restriction of viewpoints afforded the photographer, which took the fun out of the job…” This only reinforces what I have long believed about Klementaski: he wasn’t a racing photographer, he was a portraiture artist that happened to capture racing driver’s portrait in the most difficult circumstances possible. The strongest of his photographs have always captured the driver’s face so beautifully and with such intent that the surrounding race happening became almost incidental.

This is a fantastically assembled volume of some of the very best racing photography ever captured. If you have just one spot on your coffee table; just one book that you can point out to your guests, have them open to any page, and better understand your obesession with racing; you couldn’t do much better than Klemantaski: Master Motorsports Photographer.

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Track Maps of the Virtual Past

Intellivision Auto Racing track map

GPA_Course 1withCrossing2and4map_largeI don’t know about you, but Intellivision’s Auto Racing was my first experience with motorsport. On a given night, I might still occasionally reach for this before Forza or iRacing. Over on the Gameplay Archive, David has deconstructed the maps from Auto Racing to test the map’s accuracy and give us a complete view of the entire racing season’s (series?) venues. I love this kind of nerding out. It’s a great mashup of my love for vintage racing, classic gaming, and messing about with technology in ways the designers never intended. Here’s a video on David’s process, and head on over to the feature on Gameplay Archive for more. Fun!

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Chris Harris’ All 911 Field at Goodwood 73rd Members Meeting

The track action starts at about 4:20. I’d love to have participated in this field.

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Gran Premio di Napoli Footage

Small displacement. Tight courses. Community involvement. Participatory spectators. Pick any one two these and apply them to a contemporary racing series and I’ll be a fan. I’m envious of these residents of Napoli that they got to have all of them.

Possillipo, Napoli, Track Map

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