Gary Mason’s 1960 SCCA Nationals at Marlboro Raceway

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.

Gary Mason's 1960 SCCA Nationals - Bill Mitchell Stingray

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!

1954 Andrews Air Force Base Races Film

Excellent footage here from the Andrews Air Force Base Sports Car Races. The segment from the (almost) all-MG race—including the LeMans start—at the 8 minutes, 30 seconds mark is particularly great. What a thrill to see such an evenly matched grid competing at full clip.

That looks like Fred Wacker’s Allard at 10:24, two years after his crash at Watkins Glen that killed a 7-year-old spectator, virtually putting an end to American road racing overnight. I thought that Fred gave up the sport after the incident, but this clip and the racing program seem to indicate otherwise.

Once the main event gets underway there are some magnificent shots of the pits, and the gorgeous Scuderia Kimberly transporter even makes an appearance. Perhaps even more than the races themselves, it’s wonderful to see some footage of the environment trackside. While the cars and the race action documentation are rare, the imagery of the press box or the judges and timekeepers booth are even less frequently seen. It looks like we can even see the handoff of the purse at the end of the film. Amazing.

Great to see more film from the East Coast popping up on YouTube. The California road racing scene was so well documented that it’s easy to forget that there were vibrant, passionate communities of road racers from coast to coast.

Hat tip to Etceterini for pointing this one our way. Cliff also has the race results.

Magnificent Period Formula Vee Illustration

1968 Formula Vee Sports Car Magazine Cover

I adore this Formula Vee cover illustration for the November 1968 cover of Sports Car magazine. The late 60’s blend of almost childlike color blocking offset by very accurate proportions and technical details create a charming balance.

Somebody is selling a copy on eBay (no affiliation) and I’m hoping one of you buys it before I have to. Thanks for digging this up, Paul.

Unseen 50s Racing Footage: San Diego’s Fiesta del Pacifico, 1956

The Fiesta del Pacifico road races held in July of 1956 mark an interesting moment in California—particular San Diego—racing. Torrey Pines held their last race a mere 6 months before, but San Diego (and far beyond) racers were undeterred and assembled a track on the runways and service roads of Montgomery Field.

This largely unseen footage sent in from John McClure is a treasure. Sure, John’s thumb may have drifted into a few of these shots, but they’re absolutely priceless. From setting up in the pits, to onboard touring laps, to the race action itself, John used the access afforded him as a member of the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce (a co-organizer of the event) to hit every corner of Montgomery field that weekend.

The two main events of the weekend are well represented here, with the 1.5liter plus race and small displacement races getting some quality footage. Bill Murphy had luck on his side in the large bore race in his Kurtis-Buick, winning after Harrison Evans’ Ferrari Monza had a shift fork failure after leading for 21 laps. Murphy didn’t just inherit the win after poor performance, however. He had a great start that gave him the lead until a spin on turn 7 of the first lap. He then fought back from fourth to take the lead from Evans a second time, but spectacularly spun again on the 11th lap. His win was as much a victory in making it to the finish as it was to come in first. Bill Krause wasn’t far behind in a D-Type, while Ken Miles in a Porsche 550 (giant-killer indeed in this much larger displacement company) and Fred Woodward in his Jaguar Special had a fantastic duel for 3rd place—ultimately finishing within a second of each other.

The small bore race was equally thrilling with an heroic roster of CalClub racers: Ken Miles in his 550 again (He had a very busy weekend, didn’t he?); Bill Pollack in the #4 Alfa Giulietta; Lance Reventlow in a Cooper T39—there’s a marvelous shot of him in the silver #16 car about 7:10 into this clip.

Other drivers of note to keep an eye out for in this clip: Bob Bondurant in the #19 Morgan Plus 4; Jim Peterson in the blue #83 Corvette; Bruce Kessler in the white #23 Aston Martin (beautiful); and Dan Gurney’s #113 Porsche 356.

Here’s a glimpse of the race report, from the August 3, 1956 issue of MotoRacing.

San Diego Fiesta del Pacifico Race Results. 1956

Keep those old film cans, coming in—I’d love to share more these kinds of videos with Chicane readers. More from the McClure Archives here.

Breaking All the Rules

Kiwanas GP at Riverside program coverEverything I thought I knew about motoring poster design has been called into question. Through my looks at program covers and poster designs in previous posts, I’d thought I was narrowing in on a formula for perfection in racing graphic design. I didn’t have the exact equation worked out, but the highlights were: Illustrated not photographed; no giant sponsorship or sanctioning body logos; make the racing cars (not the text) the center of attention.

Whelp, Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for me. Following my previous sensibilities, this program for the 1959 Kiwanas-sponsored race at Riverside shouldn’t work at all. But it’s just beautiful.

1952 Watkins Glen

As precious and rare as it is for these types of videos to surface, it makes it all the more disheartening when they’re pulled from YouTube. Looking back through the archives, I was saddened to see the marvelous footage of the 1951 Watkins Glen GP that we featured in a post earlier in the year has been pulled.

In the interests of maintaining a consistent level of Watkins Glen video on the site, I felt compelled to dig into the YouTubes to find a suitable replacement. This home-movie of the ’52 race should fit the bill nicely.

John McFarland says, “Here is some really cool video shot back in 1952 (nearest I can figure from cars/numbers vs. program) by my Grandfather at the Watkins Glen Grand prix. The number 54 car at the end of the video is a Cunningham (sick!). The races were held on September 19-20 and my Grandfather was filming with experimental color film from Kodak. Color home movie footage of the racing in 1952 is extremely rare.”

Might want to consider hitting mute on this one as the 1952 footage and the 1979 soundtrack don’t exactly fit perfectly.

Road America ’59

A half-hour of 1959 Road America footage? Yes, please.

With all the changes that happened to America’s great racing courses over the years, I am reminded what a treasure Road America remains. Riding onboard this Porsche in the opening minutes of this clip, it’s plain to see how much of the course is virtually unchanged. Turn 5 is still harrowing, complete with a little wiggle as we close the gap on another driver. We need some radical correction as we overcook it into the always tricky Turn 6, half-obscured as it is by the crest of the hill up under the Toyota Pepsi bridge.

Be sure to stick with the video until the main event, watching the Alfas of William Wuesthoff and Chuck Stoddard mix it up with the dominating Porsche Carrera GTs of Blanchard, Rickert, Collins, and Jennings might be one of the best things you do today.

We’ll go back onboard late in this video, and start overcooking it again through 5 and 6… well, at least it’s an accurate depiction of my own lines on Road America.

I still don’t know why this staccato rhythm of voiceover hasn’t make a tremendous comeback—even just for the kitsch factor.

Finishing order and more for the June 1959 Class F/G/H/I/J race at Racing Sports Cars.

Unseen 50s SCCA Footage: Agoura Hill Climb ’55

Here’s a short but important film from the John McClure Archives. This was the 2nd annual Agoura Hill Climb presented by the Singer Owners’ Club on February 6, 1955, and I think it can be safely described as a smashing success. West Coast Sports Car Journal reported in their March ’55 issue that the event drew 160 competitors and over 2,000 spectators. Even if those numbers are an exaggeration, that is still incredibly impressive. Can you imagine 2,000 spectators coming out to the secluded mountains for a hillclimb? Unless it’s the Goodwood Festival of Speed, or maybe Pikes Peak, the public simply doesn’t care about hillclimbing—not in those kinds of numbers anyway.

I also think this film is incredibly important because it captures something we’re unlikely to ever see again; high performance sportscars driving as fast as they can up a dirt road. Have you ever driven behind a sportscar on a dirt road? Chances are they are driving VERY slowly, just crawling in 1st gear, repeating a silent prayer that no stone is kicked up to mar their paintwork. Even Pikes Peak is almost completely tarmac today. Boo!

Not so in ’55. These drivers are putting everything they have into taking their factory fresh XK120s from the bottom of the hill to the top; bodywork be damned. I think this is what I most enjoy about these vintage club racing films, sportscars just weren’t the luxury status symbol that they are today. They weren’t precious jewels to be polished and parked in front of the dance club. They were simply tools—tools that were built for a purpose—and in 1955 that purpose was to get the Hell to the top of Agoura.

Race Results:
1. Frank Livingston in the Eliminator Model-T Hot Rod (anyone know this car?) at 27.83 seconds
2. Ennals Ives Jr. in a Cad-Allard J2X at 27.86 seconds.
3. Paul Parker, also in the Eliminator, at 28.03
4. Paul Poole in a Jaguar XK120M at 28.63

A young Richie Ginther took the Austin-Healey class victory at 29.66 seconds.

Update: Chris sheds some light on the Eliminator Model-T in the comments, which quickly lead to this article from Street Rodder. Another example of the greatness of the era; when a T-Bucket shares the track with Siatas and Ferraris. Thanks, Chris!

More Unseen Racing Footage: March AFB 1954

In this installment of the John McClure archives, the November 7, 1954 running of the Orange Empire National Sportscar Races at March Air Force Base. It is a real treat seeing the racing action ahead of scores of aluminum planes in the background.

Unfortunately, the Briggs Cunningham team that swept the previous year’s race was a no-show. This race, however, was significant for Porschefiles as the first US race run by a 550 Spyder. Sadly, the car crashed and burned in practice with the driver escaping reasonably unscathed. Instead, Ferraris ruled the day, with 7 of the top 10 spots in the featured over-1500cc race. Also in the film is a parade lap of Historic cars (teens and 20s).

Cliff has race results over on Etceterini.

More Unseen 50’s SCCA Footage: Paramount Ranch 1956

More footage from the John McClure archives, this time from the August 56 running of the Paramount Ranch road races. The footage here is nice and close, it seems John staked out the perfect spot for the featured Sunday races.

The under-1500cc consolation and feature races in the first half of the video has some great shots of Richie Ginther absolutely walking away with the feature race in his #211 Porsche 550 Spyder; the aftermath of Rex Huddleston’s crash in his #75 Maserati-powered Lotus; William Binney’s beautiful #359 Doretti; an interesting shot in the pits of someone’s front-engined(!) Porsche 4-cam powered racer (is it a Lotus 11?). Nice to see some Cooper Formula IIIs mixing it up with the road cars and specials in the low displacement race.

In the larger displacement race, there’s some nice shots of the lovely little battle between Eric Hauser, Bill Krause, and Harrison Evans. Each of them took 1st in their classes piloting their #70 Morgensen Special, #27 Jaguar D-Type, and #130 Ferrari Monza 750.

Seeing the track in use really highlights was an absolutely beautiful location Paramount Ranch was, even moreso than when we featured it in our Lost Tracks series.