Archive for the ‘Historic Racing Photos’ Category
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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Major Peter Braid had quite a ride during this Formula 3 race at Blandford Army camp in August 1949.
Presumably Braid had some flight experience because I can think of no other way he might have gotten his F3 Cooper up on the guardroom house, but apparently a bus stop and a tree gave him a boost along the way.
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Unfortunately this clipping from Popular Mechanics didn’t include the build blueprints. Anyone have one of these in their attic and want to restart the series?
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Thankfully, yesterday’s Monzanapolis track map forced my hand in sharing some of these amazing images from Gary Mason. In the mid-1950s, Gary was a teenager traveling through Italy with a pair of cameras on his hip—hitting every race he could (and rooting for Maserati whenever possible). What a tremendous opportunity to take in one of the great spectacles of mid-50s racing in Europe—the Race of Two Worlds.
Can you believe how empty these stands are? What a tragedy.
What a rare chance to see Offenhauser-powered Kurtis and Kuzma sprint cars square off against Jags and Ferraris. Can you imagine seeing Indy cars and ALMS prototypes going head to head on a modern speedway? It’s almost comedic. But incredible. And beautiful.
More of Gary Mason’s photos in the archives. Thanks again, Gary! There’s more to come.
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I know that increasing safety at racing events was a long, hard road and a heroic fight by Jackie Stewart and others who were just plain sick of seeing all of their friends die. I also know that the transition from haybales and snow fencing to endless runoff areas and HANS was not as knee-jerk as it seems in hindsight.
I sometimes wonder, though, if we could go back and introduce later safety technologies earlier, if we might have avoided sanitizing the sport so much. If we could have given Graham Hill a HANS device, might we have avoided cutting all the hedges out of the run up to Nürburgring’s Antoniusbrücke? If we could give Ascari a modern puncture-resistant fuel cell, could we have avoided endless run-off areas that place spectators so far from the track?
Don’t get me wrong, this photo of Henri Louveau’s Talbot-Lago after overrunning a corner on the 30th lap of the 1951 Swiss Grand Prix doesn’t look pretty. It must have been terrifying… But it also shows that when fire wasn’t a factor, grand prix cars of the era weren’t so very fragile. If Henri also had a HANS, and a decent roll cage, and some crumple areas, maybe the sport would still be a more visceral experience today.
I know that there a lot of very differing opinions on the topic of racing safety. I know that even with the sport being as safe as it is that drivers and spectators still get killed in the modern era. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this. Have we taken too much excitement out of the sport in the name of safety? Have we not yet made the sport safe enough? Is there anything that can even be done about it?
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Seeing vintage images from Goodwood really drives home how good a job the Goodwood organization has done in keeping the spirit of the old track very much alive. I can almost shift these photos to color in my mind thanks to the coverage and imagery from the contemporary Goodwood races.
Some of these photos (maybe all of them?) are by Alan Smith, who has prints available at Rosenstiel’s.
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I hope this cameraman got paid well.
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There was a time when this roll hoop passed tech inspection. Eesh.
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I adore this shot of Bill Spear’s OSCA MT4 thundering past the start-finish line of the Watkins Glen street circuit in 1952. Bill went on to win the Queen Catherine Cup race for small displacement cars.
The composition of the photo though, puts it in a different light that makes me love the photo all the more. The biggest thing in this photo isn’t that gorgeous little barchetta. Just as important in the photo are the three spectators crouched behind a streetlight, ready to leap out of the line of danger.
I don’t think there’s many of us that would want motorsport to return to the closeness and peril of this spectator experience, but there is a sense of loss that we’ll never feel the adrenaline rush those three spectators felt as a passing racing car sent a blast of air over their bodies. It’s a sense of immediacy that connected racing fans to racing drivers. If you found yourself at the Seneca Lodge after the race, you’d have been able to swap stories with drivers and other spectators in the same way that drivers talked amongst themselves. You had your own harrowing experience. You had your own adrenaline coursing through your veins—not in support of your favorite driver, but for your own very real brush with death.
Does part of me want to be able to watch a race this way?
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Castro had been sworn in as Prime Minister a year before but the transition to totalitarian regime was slow enough that there was still time for one last Cuban GP. A brief series of races for various classes was held between February 21 and 28, 1960. In a not-too-subtle metaphor for the nation as a whole, the race moved from the bustling and vibrant esplenade Malecón along Havana’s coast, to a closed runway of Columbia Military airport. What a marked transition that must have been for the diehard racing fans that stuck with it through the political transition.
Stirling Moss’ Birdcage Maserati took the win in the featured race. In this image of the Formula Junior event, Stanguellinis ruled the day; taking the first 9 positions. Which sounds incredibly impressive until you realize that they made up 73% of the field.
Via the Nostalgia Forum.
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