Racing with the Porsche Spyders 1955

Always shocking to see the stark contrast between the glitzy see-and-be-seen fanfare of today’s pits and the casual atmosphere of races of the past. Even a race like LeMans looks more like a club race weekend at your local track than the paramount international endurance event.

Lots of good footage of the LeMans race itself. Rare to see color film from this event. Even with all of the 1955 LeMans disaster documentaries and media analysis, almost everything I’ve ever seen of the race has been in black and white.

Views of the 1955 Gran Prix d’Agadir, Morocco

Andre Guelfi's Gordini T15S at the 1955 Gran Prix d'Agadir

When the winter comes and the European tracks ice over, were drivers content of just let their racing machines languish in the cold workshop? No. Ship them to Nassau, to Tasmania, to Angola, and indeed to Morocco. The exotic locations captured in images like these always make me wonder why we don’t see more of this kind of thing in contemporary racing?

Sure, the street courses themselves may not allow for racing today, but why aren’t we keeping the motors running all winter long. Then it hit me, these exotic races were usually non-championship races. Why wouldn’t Moss or Graham Hill head to the Bahamas and gather up a win or two (and the often large purses that went along with them)? In the modern era, drivers are often dissuaded—or explicitly forbidden—from competing outside their series and the off-season is spent on a bike or in the gym in constant off-track preparation for the “real” racing to come in 5 or 6 months. What a pity.

A shame that we can’t enjoy a race weekend in a location like this gorgeous seaside resort town of Agadir? It proved a fantastic backdrop for this running in 1955.

More than the national racing colors; more than the accessibility of the paddock; perhaps even more than the skyrocketing expense of racing; it may by the hyper-specialization of drivers and the lack of crossover from single-seater to sports car to stock car that is the tragedy of contemporary motorsport.

More Agadir photos at Jewish Community Agadir

Enzo Ferrari? in a parade lap at the 1955 Gran Prix d'Agadir
Also, is this Enzo Ferrari in a T-Bird? If so, there’s just something wrong (or very very right) about Enzo Ferrari being in a Ford.

Update: Although there is quite a resemblance to Ferrari in that particular photo, a identifies that Ford’s passenger as Hubert Terrier, President of the Sports Car Club of Agadir. Many thanks to Autodiva members for digging up the facts.

1955 New Zealand GP Home Movies

Our look earlier today of Prince Bira on the runways of Ardmore had me hoping that I’d be able to find footage of the race. Thanks, Internet—you’ve come through for me again. The glory of people pulling those 8mm spindles out of the attic and getting them on YouTube truly is a magnificent thing.

Would it be rude of me to point out how much better the view from the grandstands is without having to see a half-dozen sunburnt dudes in Bud Light tank tops?