Race Tech of Yesteryear: Ferrari Craft’s Wool Seals

The team at Restoration & Performance Motorcars has posted a how-to on making wool seals for 1934 Aston-Martin Lagonda M45 Rapide on their blog. Tools required: spoon, ball-peen hammer, scissors and a razor blade. I’ve replaced plenty of cork seals, but I’ve never seen a wool seal before.

I’m sure there’s a long tradition of wool seals that I don’t know about from tractors or something, but this use of natural materials in an application in which we’d never consider using them today fascinates me; and it makes complete sense. Wool is fire resistant, it maintains a lot of its shape and insulative properties when it’s wet—or soaked with bearing grease. It’s this kind of ingenuity that keeps reinvigorating my interest in these machines.

See the complete process on Ferrari Craft. And go put a spoon in your toolbox.

…And Everything in Its Place

If you’d told me a few months ago that I would lose three hours to digging through the archives of a blog about bags and wallets I’d have… Well, I’d have completely believed you because that’s exactly the kind of thing I nerd out over.

What I wasn’t expecting, was to find that the crew over at Carryology also featured an interesting dive into vintage motoring luggage with a particular focus on mid-century Mercedes luggage.

We’ve touched briefly on vintage sports car luggage before, but these guys actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to luggage construction and utility.

Even though these suitcases and trunks reek of impracticality today, I think they’re particularly remarkable examples of sports car ephemera even though they hint at the direction that the sports car industry would take.

At a time when the sporting car was a tool for driving, stripped of all unnecessary frivolity, the practical problem of transporting stuff was a problem. The solution was luggage custom crafted to fit the unusual contours of storage space in the little machines. Naturally the luggage was well made from fine materials—luxurious even. Unfortunately what the industry seemed to take away from this and other luxe add-ons is that they should merge the sports car with the luxury car.

In my opinion it’s a regrettable, but probably inevitable, move away from a purer sporting machine. It may even be one more reason why there’s such a wide difference between a “sports car” and a “race car” today.

Read more at Carryology’s post, which offers additional fascinating tidbits on the 300SL’s clever golf bag holder, and introduced me to Taris Charysyn, who make high quality reproductions of luggage for a dozen or more models of vintage sports car.

Back to Auto Shop: Differentials

Heuer Rally-Master

From the instruction manual:


Perfect timekeeping with the Rally-Master combination.

The combination of an 8 day Master-Time with a Monte-Carlo timer on the same back plate permits simultaneous reading of the following times:

Time of day (official time) or Total elapsed time.

Time of trip or Elapsed time during a lap.

The Rally-Master is of invaluable help when timing check-points are to be passed free of penalties.

All Heuer dashboard instruments are designed to be mounted at no extra cost on double, triple or quadruple plates. Just order the combination desired.

Technical description of the Monte-Carlo and Auto-Rally timers:

Strong lever movement, 7 jewels, incabloc shock absorbers, unbreakable mainspring. Dials with luminous figures and hands. Case with turning bezel with luminous pointer (instruction for use on page 2).

Timing limit:
± 1/2 second p. hour or ± 6 seconds per 12 hours.

Running time:
24 hours.”

New in the Chicane Shop: Hill & Brabham & Gurney & Clark.

It’s been far too long since I added an item to the Chicane Shop. Today I’m thrilled to announce the newest shirt in the lineup—our tribute to the golden era in Formula 1 racing.

Maybe your favorite champion is on this list. Maybe he isn’t. But together this era in motorsport was as impassioned and as fierce as in any age of competition. Individually, these are giants. Together, they represent the reasons I—and I’m guessing that many of us—fell in love with historic racing. Together, they represent the pinnacle of motorsport.

Is that Phil or Graham? You choose!

Made and printed in the USA. Available today in The Chicane Shop.

For the design nerds among you: Helvetica Bold on Black American Apparel. With a secondary tribute to Experimental Jetset’s oft homaged Beatles shirt.

Moss & Jenks’ Path

StirlingMoss.com is offering this meticulous reproduction of Dennis Jenkinson’s innovative roller map that helped revolutionize rally navigation and secure victory for the team in the 1955 Mille Miglia.

I happened upon a photo of Jenks’ roller map and wondered what became of the original artifact, imagining it was the star attraction in an automobilia auction. A few moments of Googling later I realized that this replica is a far better investment. While it would be worth a trip to see the original roller map in a museum, that pesky layer of plexiglass between me and it would preclude me from using it to take the greatest road trip. With the replica, you can strap yourself behind the wheel, make your way to Brescia, and be off!

£749.95 at StirlingMoss.com (shouldn’t that have been £722?)

Look Sharp on the Road

Getting Around Goodwood

Those of you heading to the Goodwood Revival this weekend might find this handy. This iPhone app released by the event organizers offers a venue map and calendar of events. It’s simple, yes, but might prove invaluable if you need to make it to a good corner in time for Saturday’s Madgwick Cup race or know what time to look up to see the P-51 Mustang fly-by.

If you’re heading to Goodwood—controlling seething envy—be sure to send some photos our way. We have to live vicariously through someone after all.

Goodwood Revival Coveralls

Racing Icon: The Momo Prototipo