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.
More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives
. Thanks Gary!
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Let’s dig back in to the scores of photos that Gary Mason sent in from his teenage years spent in Italy in the 1950s. Among them are these magnificent snapshots from a decidedly less documented location than Monza or along the Brescia-Rome route. The Asiago Hillclimb in the mountains of Northern Italy is exactly the kind of event I love seeing imagery from. This looks very much like a locally organized race for local racers—no glitz required.
Of course in classic hillclimb fashion, it’s the variety that makes these amazing shots come together so beautifully. Everything from open-wheeled formula junior cars and little sub-1000cc barchettas to big Ferraris and proto-econobox Fiats (albeit tuned by Abarth) are all well represented here. What an incredible afternoon it must have been for Gary, nestled in among the other fans atop this little wall above a switchback.
Click on through to more of Gary’s photos in our Gary Mason Archives. Another huge “thank you” to Gary Mason for sending these in. More to come.
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Thankfully, yesterday’s Monzanapolis track map forced my hand in sharing some of these amazing images from Gary Mason. In the mid-1950s, Gary was a teenager traveling through Italy with a pair of cameras on his hip—hitting every race he could (and rooting for Maserati whenever possible). What a tremendous opportunity to take in one of the great spectacles of mid-50s racing in Europe—the Race of Two Worlds.
Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.
What a rare chance to see Offenhauser-powered Kurtis and Kuzma sprint cars square off against Jags and Ferraris. Can you imagine seeing Indy cars and ALMS prototypes going head to head on a modern speedway? It’s almost comedic. But incredible. And beautiful.
More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives. Thanks again, Gary! There’s more to come.
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I’m continuing to wade through the box of slides and prints that Gary Mason sent in chronicling his lifelong love of photographing sportscar and formula racing (particularly Maseratis). In addition to these gorgeous images of the paddocks of the 1957 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, there is a large pile of shots that a then teenaged Gary was able to capture from the race itself (they’re coming, I promise). These particular shots of the Ferrari and Maserati paddocks really jump out at me though and are worth sharing on their own.
It’s been well covered here and elsewhere what a shame it is that spectators are all but barred from the paddocks of contemporary Formula 1. But it’s not just the level of access that strikes me about these photos. It isn’t just that Jean Behra’s Maserati 250F or Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari 801 is just sitting right there, a hair’s breadth away; begging you to casually extend a pinkie and touch it and prove to yourself that it’s real. What catches my eye is what surrounds these magnificent machines or, rather, what doesn’t. This isn’t just access to the paddock; it’s access to a nearly empty paddock. Empty of security to be sure, but also eerily empty of other spectators. Plenty of room to stand back and frame up a photo. Nearly impossible today even at club races.
Bonus Denis Jenkinson on the left there gathering notes and photos on the Ferraris for Motor Sport, no doubt. A nearly embarrassing charge of excitement leapt through me when this image slowly revealed itself line by line as the scanner worked its way through the slide: “Hey, that’s Jenks!”
As Gary pointed out in a comment on this similar photo taken a few years later, note the jump from garage 12 to garage 14. Can’t be too careful when you’re looking for luck on the track that day! No unlucky #13 garage for me, thank you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Track photos of the main event and support races for the ’57 Italian GP to come as soon as I can get the images properly indexed and identified.
See more of the Gary Mason Archive.
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A few weeks ago I received my favorite kind of email. Gary wrote in saying these simply beautiful words: “I have found many photos I took from 1957 to around 1962. I am thinking about sending them to you.”
Gary, this is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me inspired to keep this site going. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when a box of slides and photo prints arrived with races ranging from The Race of Two Worlds to the Mille Miglia to Stateside SCCA races. I had planned to wait until everything was scanned and catalogued to start posting them but I’m sure you’ll understand why I can’t wait for all that. This is just the first of many series of Gary’s photos. I can’t wait for you to see them.
I’m sure there are a few of you that are already puzzled by the title of this post—’58 Mille Miglia? What ’58 Mille Miglia? Sure, the dangers associated with high speed racing up and down the boot were already showing signs of disaster before Alfonso de Portago’s dramatic careening off a stretch of road between Cerlongo and Guidizzolo that killed him and his co-driver Edmund Nelson along with nine spectators. As a result, there would be no proper Mille after 1957. But race organizers (and Brescian businessmen, no doubt) cherished the event and the crowds it drew so as soon as 1958 the Mille was re-imagined as a regularity rally with occasional hillclimbs and speed events along the way. A then-teenaged Gary Mason was perched alongside the route, 35mm Kodak Retina in hand.
Thanks again, Gary. These are fantastic! As always, if this is reminding any of you of a box of forgotten photos in the closet, drop me a line.
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