Spyder Garage

Even in an era before ubiquitous photography where everyone has a camera in their pocket (and no film processing!) there are thousands and thousands of moments captured on track. Perhaps that’s why I’m always so drawn in by these quieter, more banal moments.

This bustling workshop preparing for a race conjures so many stories in my mind: mechanics furiously scrambling to get the machines ready; visiting besuited executives quietly observing or barking encouragement; the professional-looking woman making a—for the time—rare entry to a male-dominated environ. I don’t even know what workshop this is (though it looks like some I’ve seen at LeMans) and as much as I want to know who these people are and what they were actually doing, I might prefer the imagined stories I’ve created for them in my head.

I am curious about the woman in the Dior-esque “new look” style skirt suit though—anyone recognize her?

Reader Mystery: Florida Alfa

John Shea wrote in with another photographic head scratcher. Can anyone identify this Alfa-Romeo photographed at Sheppard’s Imports in Tampa, Florida in the mid-1950s?

I think we can all agree that the handwritten “Alfa Romero” isn’t exactly right. 🙂

Petrolicious Visits RM Wilson Engineering

Wilsons Garage

Close your eyes and imagine your perfect racing workshop.

I suspect that no two of you have the same image in your heads. For some of you, it’s a pristine Garage Life-ready half museum, half garage. A few of you have a neon-bedazzled, diner-inspired, American Graffiti-esque explosion of color. For some, it’s a humble pole barn and a lift. Hell, Garage Journal is filled with hundreds of different takes on seeking perfection in automotive spaces.

This series of photographs of Bob Wilson’s shop that Amy Shore shot for Petrolicious comes as close as I think I’m ever likely to see of the image I have in my mind. Not overly sterile; not overly bright; just a cozy little hobbit hole of a workshop with just the right tools and just the right cars to work on. And that unassuming brickwork just visible outside the shop… Gorgeous.

You really owe it to yourself to click over to Petrolicious for the whole series.

911 3.2 Self-Teardown

Garage Watching: Jack Olsen’s Retro Retreat

Jack Olsen's retro garage.I’m afraid it’s true. My car sickness extends beyond the cars themselves; beyond the posters and the slot cars and the models and books. Now I’m sick with places to keep it all. I’m sure this isn’t news to most of you. This is practically a support-group for people with automotive illness.

As a result, I find myself from time to time wading through the projects at the Garage Journal forums. Most of the garages are the stuff of pure fantasy. Pole barns and hangars and “Garage Mahals” of endless square footage. Recently a call was put out on the forum for a return to normalcy—or at least a reduction in envy. “Let’s see your 2 car garage”, seems like a normal enough request.

Jack Olsen stepped up with a fantastic space to house his marvelous track car: a ’73 911 RSR tribute. The car is a beauty; built on a ’72 911 chassis, the engine bay hides a 993 power plant mated to a ’77 transaxle. She’s light too, with fiberglass bodywork and Lexan windows. Plus I’m just a sucker for the duck tail. He’s done a wonderful job on it. Especially after a decent smashup with the tire wall forced him to rethink things a bit (see the link above for the grisly photos).

RSR tribute
But let’s look again at this great little 440 square foot car hole. I love the color palette and it’s a smart use of the space. These colors and cabinets remind me a lot of hanging out with my grandfather in his lawnmower repair shop. Does it seem like everything used to be that shade of Stanley Thermos meets Dickies coveralls green?

I also like John’s clever use of reclaimed cabinets, folding workspaces, and the idea of isolating the air compressor in the crawlspace probably helps conversations in the space. Mostly though, I like that this garage feels homemade and not like a swarm of garage contractors breezed in and manufactured perfection on the spot. It looks cared for and crafted.

Finally I can reset my garage fantasies to come back to reality a bit. Good job, Jack.