Archive for the ‘Classic Sportscar’ Category
Car restoration is dirty business, and you feel that grime intimately: There will be chunks of rust stuck between your neck and your collar. There will be endless layers of paint slowly being sanded away. Twisted pieces of steel will be stuck in the soles of your boots from every stupid broken-off bolt you’ll have to drill out. I can understand why restoration shops would rather wait until the car is finished, polished, and with the proper beginnings of a sunset behind her before they get out the camera. What ends up happening, though, is that restorers web sites all tend to look the same: beauty shots of the finished car. There is rarely even a single photo of the car before restoration began.
Germany’s AlpineLAB shows us the kind of beautiful documentation that can happen when a truly passionate restoration workshop has someone on staff that knows a thing or two about curating a web site. Of course, there are miraculously beautiful photos of the finished product worthy of any of the glossies on the newsstand. But the commitment to documenting the restoration and the race history of their Alpine 110 projects is so very refreshing. What I appreciate most, however, is their opening the archives to show us the specific period articles and photography of these cars’ race history. People spend a lot of time establishing a car’s provenance, it’s very appreciated to see those archives opened up for all of us and not just prospective buyers.
The Alpine 110 was an astoundingly capable little machine. I’ve read it described as a car that you wore rather than drove. That kind of machine deserves the treatment that AlpineLAB has given it. I imagine that as more and more restorers enter the community having grown up on the web, the more of this kind of wonderful storytelling we’ll see brought to the world. Clear your afternoon and click over to their site for more of their build stories. These images are but a taste.
Thanks for sending this in, Jürgen!
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I suspect that photo opportunity that the entrance provided was not the key decision factor for the Triumph Works team when they chose the Hotel de France as their accommodations for LeMans in 1963 and 1964, but it may as well have been. I often prattle on about the lack of pit access and being able to wander amongst the teams and cars before or after the races, but this… this is something else.
Whether the factory cars were just pulled out in front of the hotel for a quick photo and then tucked back into transporters or garages and out of prying eyes, or whether they just sat out front, I don’t know. I like to think it’s the latter. The idea of the team cars just sitting out for a night before one last shakedown run on the hour drive to La Sarthe is too wonderful a notion to not daydream about.
Incidentally, Hotel de France’s Facebook page seems to demonstrate their continuing close relationship with vintage motoring and frequently hosts classic car tours.
Photos via Hotel de France. Thanks for sending these in, Willem!
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Close your eyes and imagine your perfect racing workshop.
I suspect that no two of you have the same image in your heads. For some of you, it’s a pristine Garage Life-ready half museum, half garage. A few of you have a neon-bedazzled, diner-inspired, American Graffiti-esque explosion of color. For some, it’s a humble pole barn and a lift. Hell, Garage Journal is filled with hundreds of different takes on seeking perfection in automotive spaces.
This series of photographs of Bob Wilson’s shop that Amy Shore shot for Petrolicious comes as close as I think I’m ever likely to see of the image I have in my mind. Not overly sterile; not overly bright; just a cozy little hobbit hole of a workshop with just the right tools and just the right cars to work on. And that unassuming brickwork just visible outside the shop… Gorgeous.
You really owe it to yourself to click over to Petrolicious for the whole series.
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At least I didn’t have as bad a day as these guys did a few years ago.
Props to Rick Ostman for posting this image to the Vintage Road Racing Archive Facebook group.
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Enter the Austin Healey Sprite
Roy Salvadori takes the Sprite into a bend …a touch on the brakes …drop down to third …into controlled drift …foot hard down in third
On the reverse of this ad was printed the chassis and drivetrain. Holding the ad to a window showed an “x-ray view” of the car. Creating an interactive print ad in 1958 is pretty impressive.
What’s more, here’s video of Roy Salvadori’s referenced road test of the Sprite at Silverstone:
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It’s auto show season. While the latest supercars and minivans are being debuted in Detroit and LA, let’s remember that some of the best racing cars ever made didn’t have so much as a sheet to pull back when they debuted. Today’s vehicle launches are multimedia extravaganzas of celebrity-hosted augmented reality audio visual choreography that seemingly had more effort in their planning than the econobox they’re revealing.
Not so with the Cooper 500 shown here. Just pull up a cafe chair to set the engine on, hand paint a placard with the maker’s name, and park ‘em over by the rollup warehouse door. Done and done.
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As we embark on Maserati’s centennial, this chart tracking the genetics of the 1950s Maserati Grand Prix cars is fascinating. At the time, this might have demonstrated the storied history of Maserati in contrast to the post-war upstarts who’s garages started producing racing machines. Today, however, we can look back at this as quite the opposite: The slow death of Maserati’s monoposto efforts.
Imagine if we could have added another 50 years to to this dynasty of single-seat Maserati racers.
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Bonhams upcoming December auction featuring the Dick Skipwworth Ecorie Ecosse Collection has no shortage of amazing racing cars included (and one Hell of a nice transporter too), and even though this Cooper-Monaco won’t draw in the top dollar bids the way that the D-Type or C-Type will, it might be my favorite of the bunch. The rear-engined Type 57 is surely one of the most beautiful sports-racing cars to come out of Cooper Car’s garages, if not the whole of the UK racing community. Those elegant curves wrapped around that miraculous little 2 1/2 liter Coventry Climax twin cam just make me smile.
Cooper delivered the cars to purchasers as a kit, and if I were to choose any single example I think I’d be most inclined to trust the one built by this legendary team. It won’t surprise you to learn that this little beauty has a magnificent race history with events on both sides of the Atlantic. Formula Libre events at Watkins, Riverside, and Laguna Seca (with Jack Brabham in the wheel for Laguna) wonderfully complement her European history at Goodwood, Oulton Park, Aintree, and LeMans. Arguably her best years, however, came when the car was entrusted to Ecurie Ecosse driver Jimmy Stewarts scrappy kid brother Jackie. He took to the machine wonderfully and racked up a series of victories right out the gate. Can you imagine owning a car that has been driven by both Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart (and Roy Salvadori! And more!)?
Bonhams is offering this car alongside many of her Ecurie Ecosse stablemates at their December auction. I sincerely hope that a very well heeled buyer comes along and nabs them all. They really do deserve to remain together, don’t you think?
More information on Bonhams’ lot detail page.
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“Welcome to Automotive Paint Supplies, Ltd., How can I help you?”
“I would like any two colors of paint, please. Whatever the first two cans of paint you can reach are, I want those.”
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Those mountain vistas! I’ve grown so used to seeing wide runoff areas and flat(ish) topography that when I see these images of the Dolomite Mountains captured in the 1950 running of the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti, I’m just dumbstruck. We always imaging switchback mountain roads and winding valley tarmac as perfect sportscar roads for a Sunday afternoon drive. It’s a shame that so few events still have this kind of scenery to look forward to. Even events like Pike’s Peak or the more mountainous legs of the WRC don’t seem to have peaks quite as sharp and romantic as the Dolomites. Of course, the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti still runs (sort of) today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for bringing back these decidedly less forgiving runoff areas. But even more than small town street racing, I think the loss of this kind of combination of beautiful racing machines and breathtaking mountain roads is a tremendous loss.
Just look at that shot of the 26-year-old Sergio Sighinolfi piloting the #123 Stanguellini 1100. He won his class, finished fourth overall, and beat the previous class course record by over four minutes. Those are just statistics. The fact that he did it in this kind of environment with this level of enchanting beauty and horrific danger around him is heroic. In just the same way, it’s one thing to DNF on the local track, it’s quite another to DNF in the Dolomites. That Supremo Montanari didn’t make to the finish in his outdated #111 Ermini-powered Stanguellini Sport Nazionale doesn’t make his running any less heroic. Twisting along these mountain roads and keeping your foot down is enough to earn my respect.
Am I forgetting about any contemporary events that are run in these kinds of environments? Let me know. I probably need to get more into hillclimbs.
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