Archive for the ‘Grand Prix’ Category
Giorgio Oppici sent in his spectacular short film showcasing a perfectly patinaed Cisitalia D46. There are a lot of ways to make a film about a car, but usually they feature quick cuts, loud music, and booming exhaust notes. They get your adrenaline up. They get you excited about the subject. Advertisers and music video directors have known how to pull those emotions out of us for a long time.
Giorgio’s approach is the exact opposite. This isn’t a music video (although the music is perfect). This doesn’t get your adrenaline up. It doesn’t even motivate. What it does do is all the more rare. It forces you to pause… To appreciate… To wonder. It is a love letter to the magnificent Cisitalia D46 that I want to read again and again.
Thank you for sending this in, Giorgio. It’s fantastic. Check out Giorgio’s equally beautiful film on BMW Motorcycles that we featured last year.
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I love how the victorious Nuvolari just shrugs at the end. So confident. And how great is it to see a glimpse of the dancer-turned-racer Hellé Nice?
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I’m continuing to wade through the box of slides and prints that Gary Mason sent in chronicling his lifelong love of photographing sportscar and formula racing (particularly Maseratis). In addition to these gorgeous images of the paddocks of the 1957 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, there is a large pile of shots that a then teenaged Gary was able to capture from the race itself (they’re coming, I promise). These particular shots of the Ferrari and Maserati paddocks really jump out at me though and are worth sharing on their own.
It’s been well covered here and elsewhere what a shame it is that spectators are all but barred from the paddocks of contemporary Formula 1. But it’s not just the level of access that strikes me about these photos. It isn’t just that Jean Behra’s Maserati 250F or Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari 801 is just sitting right there, a hair’s breadth away; begging you to casually extend a pinkie and touch it and prove to yourself that it’s real. What catches my eye is what surrounds these magnificent machines or, rather, what doesn’t. This isn’t just access to the paddock; it’s access to a nearly empty paddock. Empty of security to be sure, but also eerily empty of other spectators. Plenty of room to stand back and frame up a photo. Nearly impossible today even at club races.
Bonus Denis Jenkinson on the left there gathering notes and photos on the Ferraris for Motor Sport, no doubt. A nearly embarrassing charge of excitement leapt through me when this image slowly revealed itself line by line as the scanner worked its way through the slide: “Hey, that’s Jenks!”
As Gary pointed out in a comment on this similar photo taken a few years later, note the jump from garage 12 to garage 14. Can’t be too careful when you’re looking for luck on the track that day! No unlucky #13 garage for me, thank you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Track photos of the main event and support races for the ’57 Italian GP to come as soon as I can get the images properly indexed and identified.
See more of the Gary Mason Archive.
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It’s not just because it’s beautiful. Which it is. It’s not just because of it’s relationship with Ascari. Which it has. For me, part of its allure is because of what it represents as a nod to a time when racing teams wouldn’t let themselves be pushed around.
When the Formula 1 rulebook got too restrictive, constructors embraced Formula 2 as a means to really showcase their engineering prowess. Every few years, this notion pops up again: that Formula 1 is holding constructors back and so begins the threatening and posturing that the series will be abandoned and that constructors will start their own series. Every single time, part of me hopes that they will. This Ferrari 500 proves that racing teams can do just that… and do it brilliantly.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, the ex-Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196 is the most valuable motor vehicle ever sold at auction with a final price of $29.6 million.
I have been guilty of complaining about the skyrocketing prices of classic racing cars (after all, I’m still a buyer in this equation). I have complained about speculators buying these cars simply as investments rather than as an expression of their passion for motorsport… but if ever a car deserved the title of “the most”, it might be this one.
More at Bonhams.
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David Coulthard really seems to be enjoying his post-racing career. Lovely production on this clip. I love the intercuts between historic footage of Jim Clark in the car (and the period race commentary) and Coulthard in the car today.
Truthfully though, the interviews with Clark’s mechanics and team members are just as enjoyable as watching this magnificent machine in motion.
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In 1908 a 14 year old boy arrived for his first morning of his apprenticeship with a Parisian wagon builder. It’s an almost impossible career trajectory in my mind from that first day sweeping up and sharpening files to crafting the luxurious lines of this staggering French Racing Blue beauty. Then again, Giuseppe Figoni may simply have had beautiful machinery in his blood as a crucial part of his DNA that followed him from his native Piacenza, Italian hometown to Paris.
We tend to think of the notion of a “celebrity designer” as a fairly recent phenomenon but Figoni was not unfamiliar with being the center of a rippling design movement. The eliptical teardrop fender and body arced enveloppantes on a Delahaye 135 he presented at the Paris Auto Salon of 1936 caused a minor design explosion. His bodies borrowed from the burgeoning aerodynamic sciences in the airplane industry and gave his machines a slippery silhouette that suggested high speed even when standing still.
If we turn our attention to his Talbot-Lago T150C SS, you can’t help but wonder if it was this particular car of Figoni’s or an amalgamation of the era that helped inform much of the design aesthetic that we so associate with American hot-rodders. The crossover appeal of the 1930s GP cars and voiturettes should be obvious for fans of 1930s Fords—fenders removed or otherwise.
Look at the details of this Figoni’s creation and you’ll recognize many of the design hallmarks of the American hot rod. The close-set headlamps that might well have inspired Clarence ‘Chili’ Catallo to modify his ’32 Ford that famously adorned the Beach Boy’s Little Deuce Coupe album cover. Those motorcycle fenders were fairly common on prewar racing cars and voiturettes but were also popular with American hot rodders trying to skirt fender laws designed to squash hot rods.
And can I get an “amen” on those blue headlamp covers?
There’s no question that cars are cheaper to produce in bulk but part of me yearns for the option to deliver a freshly-built frame and drivetrain to a coachbuilder and craft a truly unique machine. In many ways, these kinds of one-off builds are at an all time high today, and command the attention of not only well-heeled buyers, but television audiences who admire their work. Sadly, I haven’t seen anyone take this common business model for custom motorcycles and extend it to (truly) custom cars.
More on the Figoni & Falaschi Talbot Lago T150C SS Roadster #90115 at coachbuild.com.
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Ringmeisters and Regenmeisters
Ok, so it was on the Sudschleife. And sure, it was a Formula 2 race. But I still wouldn’t want to have to hold a line in weather this wet on tires this thin with that much power behind my spine.
Jo Bonnier won the day in his Porsche 718. His racing suit must have been soaked to the waist. Brave. Wet. And Brave.
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There’s no shortage of love for the mid sixties cigar shaped Formula 1 cars. The levels to which we praise Lotus and BRM and Cooper often unnecessarily push Honda’s debut efforts out of our minds, but these are just lovely.
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Magnificent shot that Bertocchi uploaded to a thread at Ferrari Chat. Prepare to lose the rest of your afternoon.
Update: Back on the FChat thread, Andrea points out that I’m inaccurate on this post’s title. The #14 car being unloaded is the Ferrari 500 of Louis Rosier’s “Ecurie Rosier”, not the factory team. Thanks, Andrea.
Rosier qualified 9th but retired on the 17th lap with engine troubles.
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