A few weeks ago we posted about a Richie Ginther trophy that was being sold on eBay. The auction identified the trophy as the 1956 Santa Maria Road Races trophy pitcher that Ginther was awarded for his first place finish in a Porsche 550. I got an email that evening from Andrew that runs the magnificent type550.com, saying he reached out to Porsche 550-09’s current owner. The trophy was quickly purchased and is now reunited with the very car that helped Richie Ginther claim that victory 59 years ago. Andrew sent along these photos and I couldn’t be more pleased to share them here.
It’s things like this that keep me excited about The Chicane after doing it all these years. I love that this can be a place where these kinds of connections are made and re-made. Fantastic… And thanks Andrew!
From the auction’s description: “Richie Ginther’s SCCA Santa Maria Road Races trophy pitcher, 1956, made by Zeister Pewter, Holland, presented to Ginther after his race victory in a Porsche Spyder, engraved with race name and date, “Race V, 1st Overall”, 12” tall, 8” wide, A- cond., (dents, abrasions, adhesive residue).”
Another installment from the John McClure archives, this time it’s the October 1956 Pomona Road Races. The particular turn that features prominently in this film looks particularly harrowing—and fun. Plenty of competitors overcooked it a bit, resulting in a whole lot of drifting, spins and oversteer. Great stuff!
Quite a few Austin-Healeys, Lotuses (Lotuses? Loti?), ACs, and the ubiquitous Porsche Speedsters and Spyders (I just love that there was a time when you could refer to Spyders as ubiquitous).
West Coast Sports Car Journal had this to say about the main event in their November 1956 issue:
At the drop of the flag, Bill Murphy was first through turn one, something he has perfected through the years. But right on his tail was Evans, Gregory, Hauser, Bob Drake in Joe Lubin’s DB3S Aston Martin, Miles, in that order. Following at a more leisurely pace was the rest of the pack led by Mike Kingsley in the Sparks and Bonney Special and Fred Woodward in his Jaguar Special…
On lap sixteen, the first three cars were running tail and nose, still at an incredible pace. They were lapping three and four seconds faster than the under 1500cc cars had; and this short twisting course is more suitable for small machinery!
I won’t spoil the finish for you here, but you can download a pdf of the complete article here. You can also download the complete results and race report from the November 2-9, 1956 Issue of MotoRacing here.
Although it’s been quite some time since our profile of Torrey Pines for our Lost Tracks series, that post has had some interesting action in the past few weeks when I was contacted by a reader with Torrey Pines stories to share. John McClure was a member of the San Diego Jr. Chamber of Commerce and sports car fan and driver. His association with the Chamber put him in a position to combine his passions as part of the team that developed the Torrey Pines Race Course. Thankfully, John also carried a camera around with him for races up and down the West Coast. John has very kindly sent a DVD of his 1950s West Coast racing films to be featured on the Chicane. This is the first installment of this footage from many of the West Coast racetracks.
This film is from the inaugural race at Riverside International Motor Raceway on September 21-22, 1957. There’s a lot of great clips here. Some amazing racing machines, including well known West Coast specials. It’s a 1950s race, of course, which means that there are a few dramatic crashes. The spectators just pile on to the track and right the car. Just another reminder of how very close and immediate the action, and danger, was at those events. Which allows for some wonderfully close camera work. Thanks again, John, for letting us share this footage with vintage racing fans. It is outstanding.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Chicane Shop is currently offering a t-shirt commemorating this very race. Check it out here.
Update: Commenters at Ferrari Chat and The Nostalgia Forum have been spotting some details in the footage. Among them, that some of these shots are actually from the November ’57 Palm Springs race (oops!). There’s particular interest in the D-Type/Troutman-Barnes duel of Pete Woods & Chuck Daigh, both of whom retired allowing Richie Ginther to claim his first victory in John Edgar’s Ferrari (Woods’ D-Type was the marvelous example featured at last month’s Scottsdale Auction).
If this footage is stirring up any additional observations, insights, a story, if you spot a favorite driver… please share in the comments.