Archive for the ‘Historic Racing Photos’ Category
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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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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It may not be safe but I’m going say that shirt and tie in pit lane is definitely a fashion “do”.
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Would you just look at all of those Renault-Alpine A110s. Gorgeous!
via Motor Trend.
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You already know that I love these kinds of projects that highlight amateur and unpublished photography documenting our favorite eras in motorsport. From just the few initial shots shared on the Kickstarter project page the MotorBinder project already looks fantastic.
Even just a few years ago, this kind of project would have been impossible and these photos would have remained on a shelf in their tattered binder. If project organizer Roy Spencer were particularly resourceful, he might have shopped the idea to a motoring publisher or two. Chances are stronger, however, that these photos would have remained unpublished. We might never have been able to see greater insight into the growth in American road racing in the 50s and 60s with images from Torrey Pines, Paramount Ranch, Laguna Seca, Riverside and others. What’s more, the team plan to archive and make these photos available to other projects in the future, even those that don’t make it into the final art book.
As is customary with Kickstarter projects, there are a variety of rewards for backers at varying levels, and these are marvelous. The large format prints available to backers are worth it on their own, that you also get the book makes this one a no brainer.
More information on the Kickstarter page.
Update: with several days to go, MotorBinder has been successfully funded!
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New Yorkers like to think of themselves as having seen it all. I can’t help but imagine though that this Ford GT40 driving down First Ave in 1967 turned more than a few heads.
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Over on Motorsport in the 60′s, Kent has dug up a marvelous series of photos of the 1964 running of the Rest & Be Thankful hillclimb.
I’m happy for Kent for this post that he had one of a blogger’s favorite experiences: Peter Garnet commented on his post identifying himself in one of the photos as a young driver on his way to beating the track record. That’s him in the red and yellow crash helmet. I’ve had a few of those moments of connection here on The Chicane and it’s absolutely invaluable.
Head on over to Motorsport in the 60′s for the rest of the photos.
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Look at this behind-the-scenes production photo of James Garner on the set of Grand Prix and tell me that the Go-Pro isn’t a little electronic miracle.
via Time Wasting Machine
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When the winter comes and the European tracks ice over, were drivers content of just let their racing machines languish in the cold workshop? No. Ship them to Nassau, to Tasmania, to Angola, and indeed to Morocco. The exotic locations captured in images like these always make me wonder why we don’t see more of this kind of thing in contemporary racing?
Sure, the street courses themselves may not allow for racing today, but why aren’t we keeping the motors running all winter long. Then it hit me, these exotic races were usually non-championship races. Why wouldn’t Moss or Graham Hill head to the Bahamas and gather up a win or two (and the often large purses that went along with them)? In the modern era, drivers are often dissuaded—or explicitly forbidden—from competing outside their series and the off-season is spent on a bike or in the gym in constant off-track preparation for the “real” racing to come in 5 or 6 months. What a pity.
A shame that we can’t enjoy a race weekend in a location like this gorgeous seaside resort town of Agadir? It proved a fantastic backdrop for this running in 1955.
More than the national racing colors; more than the accessibility of the paddock; perhaps even more than the skyrocketing expense of racing; it may by the hyper-specialization of drivers and the lack of crossover from single-seater to sports car to stock car that is the tragedy of contemporary motorsport.
More Agadir photos at Jewish Community Agadir
Also, is this Enzo Ferrari in a T-Bird? If so, there’s just something wrong (or very very right) about Enzo Ferrari being in a Ford.
Update: Although there is quite a resemblance to Ferrari in that particular photo, a Agadir1960.com identifies that Ford’s passenger as Hubert Terrier, President of the Sports Car Club of Agadir. Many thanks to Autodiva members for digging up the facts.
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