Gary Mason sent us a whole pile of his photographs shot as a teenager during his travels through Europe hitting every motor race he could. His passion for racing, however, did not wane once he was back stateside. Here is a collection of his photos from the 1960 SCCA Nationals at Marlboro Motor Raceway in Maryland. Some great images here from the President’s Cup race which featured a wide variety of machines ranging from the heavy iron of Corvettes and big Ferraris down to Porsches and Lotus Elevens.
I love these mixed grids, especially when the finish order isn’t just a descending list of horsepower. Roger Penske took the day in his Porsche 718 after taking over the lead from fellow 718 driver Bob Holbert on the 3rd lap. If we were giving out trophies for aesthetics I’d be tempted to give a special prize to Bill Mitchell’s Corvette. That Stingray still looks exotic.
There are some photos from additional races that weekend, but I’m not immediately finding documentation about this MGA heavy grid or the little blue Devin.
Our mid-engine car is a fair-weather friend that won’t let you down in foul weather. On sunny days, the top snaps off in less than a minute, stores under the rear trunk lid and takes up almost no room at all. On rainy days the top locks back on almost as fast. And because it’s fiberglass, it won’t leak or rip. Unlike fabric.
But a friend is more than a fiberglass top. First of all, it’s a two-seater in the classic sports car tradition.
And right behind the two seats is an engine in our race car tradition.
The mid-engine concept gives the Porsche 914 a whole bundle of advantages over ordinary cars.
It holds the road better because its centre of gravity is lower.
It corners better, because there’s no heavy frond end to steer and no heavy back end to slide out.
It brakes faster and saves tire life because all the wheels carry a more equal load.
It also comes with a built-in roll bar, electronic fuel injection, 5 speed synchromesh transmission and two trunks.
Best of all, you can get all of this for a whole lot less than you would expect to pay to own a Porsche. Really.
But don’t just settle for an impression from an ad. Test drive the Porsche 914 yourself. Swing it into a few corners. Pop off the fiberglass top.
I thought I’d seen every possible accessory and customization for the 911, but I’m really digging these Ignition Switch Cover Decals from Car Bone Liveries. It’s such a subtle little touch that is not too ostentatious, not too enthusiastically screaming “outlaw!”. They’re just a nice little detail that pays tribute to a favorite racing livery or Porsche-inspired pattern. I like the tartan myself.. Now I just need the matching seats… and the car.
I’m glad someone else has followed The Goodwood Revival’s marvelous example of livestreaming and archiving contemporary vintage races. I can think of no better example of an event to do so than the 2016 Monterey Motorsports Reunion. I didn’t learn that the event was being streamed until the Monday after. Thankfully the archive is already up and running and ready for you to start your week. Throw on your headphones and be ready to quickly switch to a spreadsheet when your boss walks by.
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.
The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering always draws out many of the best vintage racing cars on the planet—so it only makes sense that Bonham’s auction at the event will follow suit. From Duesenbergs to McLarens, there are too many amazing sports and racing cars coming across that magnificent auction block to list them all. I do want to point out a few personal favorites. Some of these may not be the cars that command the high-end bids. They are just some that made me smile as I perused the auction catalog.
1953 Bandini 750 Sport Siluro
1970 Alfa Romeo GTA 1300
1965 Shelby Cobra 289 – I far prefer it’s curves to the 427
1964 Cheetah GT Coupe
1959 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformable
1955 Austin-Healey 100 BN1. I can’t believe that adjustable racing windscreen didn’t get more widely adopted.
1951 Allard J2
1934 Riley 12/4 Special
Ex-Howe, Ex-Nuvolari 1931 Bugatti Type 51 2-Seater Grand Prix Racer
James Dean would hate that I’m posting this film featuring him as a celebrity participating in a weekend at the track. I don’t doubt that James Dean or Steve McQueen or Paul Newman had a genuine love for the sport, but I can’t help but think that part of the allure was that they weren’t catered to; weren’t ushered to the best table—they were just another competitor on the track that would be given no preferential treatment by their fellow racers. Being just another one of the guys must have been refreshing. That they were each of them skilled drivers and fierce competitors only helps solidify their respect and legend within the racing community.