Charade 1958

This video could have stopped at the handheld footage of the corners from an airplane passing slowly overhead and it still would have been worth sharing. But then the tours of the pits with some of the most beautiful cars ever made, including a whole suite of various Ferrari 250s and their shirtless pilots. Then they prepared for the LeMans start… and I’m hooked—all before the action even starts. Somehow even though I have such a deep love for vintage racing, the atmosphere of the pits and spectators in these old films draws me in just as much.

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.

America’s Only True Sports Car

From the Suzy Dietrich Archive: 1958 Sebring

What better time than International Women’s Day to showcase more footage from the Suzy Dietrich archive? This time, the 1958 Sebring Endurance Race. Lots of great footage here from the pits of the competitors arriving. Can you imagine this year’s competitors showing up for the race weekend pulling their racing car on an open trailer behind their Cadillac. More should.

Again, many thanks to Cliff Reuter for snatching these precious film reels from the Suzy Dietrich auction and releasing them into the wild.


Ingenuity in Action

The Real Cuba’s 1958 Gran Premio de Cuba

Color photography dates back to the 1890s but the cost associated with it, even after “modern” color film was available to the masses, was typically several times more expensive to buy and process. Even as late as the early 60’s, it was much more common to see black and white snapshots from race tracks. It’s just one more reason why these color shots of the 1958 GP de Cuba uploaded to Cuba Green Screen by The Real Cuba are so precious. Those ultramarine waters and blue skies would lose some luster as medium greys—not to mention the Ferraris and Jags.

The 1958 Gran Premio de Cuba will always be remembered as the time when Castro’s rebels kidnapped Juan Manuel Fangio on the eve of the race. Whenever I read of it, I always try and imagine how that must have affected his team and the rest of the field. I struggle to put myself in their position. Or Fangio’s; locked in a bedroom listening on the radio to the race he should be winning, a guard over his shoulder. I wonder what would happen in similar circumstances today. If Vettel got nabbed before the Bahrain GP, how would the teams; the sport; or the media react? Would the show—as it did in Havana 60 years ago—simply go on?

Fangio was returned unharmed after the race, and even befriended his captors in the years afterwards. The events have cemented the ’58 Cuban GP in the history of Caribbean politics as well as the history of sport. Looking at these marvelous photos though, I may start to remember the event for Carroll “Chicken Farmer” Shelby lounging in his Ferrari in a pair of hickory striped overalls getting gassed up.

Click on over for more shots and thanks to Bring a Trailer for pointing the way.