The Beast of Turin Takes a Spin at Goodwood

Just watching the Beast of Turin’s engine fire up a few months ago was flabbergasting. To see her spin around the grounds at Goodwood is downright magical.

It’s jarring to see a racing machine that is as tall as a man’s shoulder. Climbing up on to the seat of the 28.5 liter Fiat S76 is more like perching in a biplane than easing down into a low-slung racing car. You emerge from a car like this with your whole body numb from the battle—shaking and tingling for hours afterwards.

That pheasant barely made it out with his life.

Thanks for pointing this one out, Ryan.

Art Appreciation: Talbot-Lago T150C SS Roadster

Figoni Falaschi Talbot-Lago T150C SS Roadster

In 1908 a 14 year old boy arrived for his first morning of his apprenticeship with a Parisian wagon builder. It’s an almost impossible career trajectory in my mind from that first day sweeping up and sharpening files to crafting the luxurious lines of this staggering French Racing Blue beauty. Then again, Giuseppe Figoni may simply have had beautiful machinery in his blood as a crucial part of his DNA that followed him from his native Piacenza, Italian hometown to Paris.

We tend to think of the notion of a “celebrity designer” as a fairly recent phenomenon but Figoni was not unfamiliar with being the center of a rippling design movement. The eliptical teardrop fender and body arced enveloppantes on a Delahaye 135 he presented at the Paris Auto Salon of 1936 caused a minor design explosion. His bodies borrowed from the burgeoning aerodynamic sciences in the airplane industry and gave his machines a slippery silhouette that suggested high speed even when standing still.

Figoni Falaschi Talbot-Lago T150C SS Roadster

If we turn our attention to his Talbot-Lago T150C SS, you can’t help but wonder if it was this particular car of Figoni’s or an amalgamation of the era that helped inform much of the design aesthetic that we so associate with American hot-rodders. The crossover appeal of the 1930s GP cars and voiturettes should be obvious for fans of 1930s Fords—fenders removed or otherwise.

Look at the details of this Figoni’s creation and you’ll recognize many of the design hallmarks of the American hot rod. The close-set headlamps that might well have inspired Clarence ‘Chili’ Catallo to modify his ’32 Ford that famously adorned the Beach Boy’s Little Deuce Coupe album cover. Those motorcycle fenders were fairly common on prewar racing cars and voiturettes but were also popular with American hot rodders trying to skirt fender laws designed to squash hot rods.

And can I get an “amen” on those blue headlamp covers?

There’s no question that cars are cheaper to produce in bulk but part of me yearns for the option to deliver a freshly-built frame and drivetrain to a coachbuilder and craft a truly unique machine. In many ways, these kinds of one-off builds are at an all time high today, and command the attention of not only well-heeled buyers, but television audiences who admire their work. Sadly, I haven’t seen anyone take this common business model for custom motorcycles and extend it to (truly) custom cars.

More on the Figoni & Falaschi Talbot Lago T150C SS Roadster #90115 at

Violent Beauty at the Vintage Revival Montlhéry

Grand Prix Cars Thunder Through the 1939 World’s Fair

Grand Prix Racing at the 1939 World's Fair

What a sight it must have been, particularly for Stateside attendees of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Grand Prix cars were never a common site on American shores and the images of these racers bounding through the grounds must have been thrilling to see. Imagine the sounds that would have been echoing off of those arches as they blast through them, inches from the support columns. Makes my annual trip to the Minnesota State Fair seem positively sedate.

Grand Prix Racing at the 1939 World's FairGrand Prix Racing at the 1939 World's FairVintage Racing in 1939!

Santa Monica Road Races 1909—1919

Where They Raced tackled the Santa Monica Road Races as part of their Road Races episodes. Fantastic to still be able to still trace the track on public roads 100 years later and fascinating to learn that the road races were one of the factors that allowed Santa Monica to remain autonomous during Los Angeles’ massive annexation of the surrounding areas.

Pioneers in Racing Air Conditioning