This Class 11 Beetle is gorgeous and I’d love to see more people racing their Bugs. I still wholeheartedly believe that the VW Type 1 engine is the best engine ever made. There are very few engines that you could tear down and rebuild on the side of the road with hand tools. It’ll run on anything—You could probably pour a bottle of Whiskey in the tank if you were desperate. Just a perfect embodiment of my appreciation for simplicity.
Brian Goldman sent in these photos that his father shot at the 1960 Ole Smokey Hill Climb in Lowellville, OH. I’ve been sitting on these for a while, trying my darnedest to color correct the aged photos back to their original vibrant glory. My Photoshop skills were no match for them though and I realized that I really should just let these artifacts live as they are—without introducing the artifice of retouching. I love when I decide these things because it lets me be lazy—it’s a key decision-making factor for me.
What I so love about these community events of the mid-century is the variety of machines that are encouraged to participate: VW Beetle, Corvette, MG, racing specials, and others are separated by only a few runs up the hill. Great stuff. Thanks, Brian!
You’ve heard me extoll the virtues of the Formula Vee racing class. I adore it for it’s simplicity: A stock VW Beetle front beam; a 1200 cc Beetle engine; and a stockish tranny. How could that not be a good time? On top of that, the grids for the vintage Vees tends to be a good spot for tight racing with skilled drafts and dramatic overtakes.
Compared to this image from the support race for the 1967 Monaco GP, though, today’s Formula Vee races are positively tame. Apparently the rough and tumble formula vee racers weren’t a great cultural match with the champagne sipping Auto Club Monaco crowd and went on to prove it by opening their event with the bumping and pushing that you might expect of the unwashed.
This shot of Nick Brittan’s rather unconventional overtake near the yacht harbor chicane really probably didn’t do much to improve their reputation in the principality as evidenced by this bit from the Motoring News GP Report: “The Formula Vee race opened proceedings and proved only that such unstable cars should not be allowed near a race track. The only British driver involved, Nick Brittan, arrived at the chicane on his first lap to find a French-driven car sideways on in front of him; he hit it and rolled, falling back on his wheels, fortunately with no personal damage.”
More history of Formula Vee at Volkswagen Motorsport.