Just watching the Beast of Turin’s engine fire up a few months ago was flabbergasting. To see her spin around the grounds at Goodwood is downright magical.
It’s jarring to see a racing machine that is as tall as a man’s shoulder. Climbing up on to the seat of the 28.5 liter Fiat S76 is more like perching in a biplane than easing down into a low-slung racing car. You emerge from a car like this with your whole body numb from the battle—shaking and tingling for hours afterwards.
Thick in the early salvos of the Cobra Ferrari Wars and the Fords were in prime shape. This one, though, wasn’t just about the big boys. There was a healthy field of Porsches, Elvas, Lotuses, a lone Stanguellini, and even one of the ultra-rare Echidnas.
I love seeing old footage of Road America because you can immediately see how little it’s changed in the intervening years: Turn 5 is still tricky and prime viewing; the blind turn into 6; Canada corner managing to get the best of more than a few drivers.
Easy to forget that for a few years the development of spoilers and wings was the wild west. It seems like Formula 1 teams tried a slightly new configuration every race, sometimes with spectacular or terrifying or hilarious results.
You can still make out most of the course on Google Maps. Looks like the 3-4-5 sequence has been completely trashed. Though it looks like you can still faintly see the short straight bit at 7-8-9. I understand that this facility was in use as recently as 2012 for police training and the occasional Porsche Club event. In any event, it looks like it could still adequately facilitate a small bore race.
A few weeks ago we posted about a Richie Ginther trophy that was being sold on eBay. The auction identified the trophy as the 1956 Santa Maria Road Races trophy pitcher that Ginther was awarded for his first place finish in a Porsche 550. I got an email that evening from Andrew that runs the magnificent type550.com, saying he reached out to Porsche 550-09’s current owner. The trophy was quickly purchased and is now reunited with the very car that helped Richie Ginther claim that victory 59 years ago. Andrew sent along these photos and I couldn’t be more pleased to share them here.
It’s things like this that keep me excited about The Chicane after doing it all these years. I love that this can be a place where these kinds of connections are made and re-made. Fantastic… And thanks Andrew!
Will there ever be a way to make the motorsport viewing experience as visceral as it was in this photo from the 1970 Targa Florio? I tell you what, will you let me watch the race from the kerbs if I wear one of those Hurt Locker suits?
The oldest Porsche 901 in the Museum’s collection is undergoing a complete restoration which they acquired following a long-neglected stay in private hands. I hope there are periodic video updates released as she starts to come together.
I wish we could find a way to clone the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and stamp an event just like it in the expansive parks in several major metropolitan areas. Imagine a race calendar that included New York’s Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, Detroit’s Belle Isle Vintage Grand Prix (the course is already there!), A revived San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Vintage Grand Prix, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park Vintage Grand Prix… I could go on. I would love to go on.