Archive for the ‘Historic Racing Photos’ Category

The BARC Boys Visit the ’57 Sebring

Corvette at Sebring - 1957

I’ve been re-listening to the “Sounds of Sebring 1957” album I posted about last week and all this talk up and down the pit lane about the Corvette entry made me want to see them again. And the Maseratis. And the Lotuses.. And so on.

If you’re familiar with the BARC Boys (Binghamton Automobile Racing Club, that is) at all, you’ll know that if there was a race in the mid-century anywhere on the East coast, there’d be more than a few members there. The group of enthusiasts always had cameras in tow and became chroniclers of the East Coast SCCA scene. Naturally, they were at Sebring in 1957 and had these wonderful photographs to mark the occasion.

Now that I see these photos, I can understand why the racers were abuzz about the new ‘Vette. Sure, the interviewers were asking some questions that were… slightly leading, but you have to remember the context of the arrival of the new Corvettes. After a jittery start, the Corvette program looked like it might actually be ready to take on European road racing stalwarts.

The power and performance of the home-grown sportscar—from the largest carmaker in the world, no less—must have been a thrilling prospect for American racing fans. Perhaps it was even moreso for the American drivers that were scraping together a career on European racing circuits, they must have hoped for a real American racing program that might bring them on. This was always my favorite styling era for the Corvette and it’s marvelous to see her in action at Sebring… and a few more from the more traditional pits for good measure.

More at BARC Boys’ 1957 Sebring page.

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Proto Go-Pro

Jackie Stewart for Nikon

I wonder how Jackie Stewart controlled the shutter on this early attempt at onboard driver-controlled photography at Monaco in 1966. Do you think that cable stretched down to the steering wheel? More importantly, where do you think his photos from the “35mm Helmet” are?

Monaco in 1966 would have lined up nicely with the production of John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix. I’m speculating here, but perhaps this is how some of the stills for the posters, premier program, and other ephemera were captured.

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Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1959 Coppa Città di Asiago Hillclimb

Coppa Città di Asiago by Gary Mason

Let’s dig back in to the scores of photos that Gary Mason sent in from his teenage years spent in Italy in the 1950s. Among them are these magnificent snapshots from a decidedly less documented location than Monza or along the Brescia-Rome route. The Asiago Hillclimb in the mountains of Northern Italy is exactly the kind of event I love seeing imagery from. This looks very much like a locally organized race for local racers—no glitz required.

Coppa Città di Asiago by Gary Mason

Of course in classic hillclimb fashion, it’s the variety that makes these amazing shots come together so beautifully. Everything from open-wheeled formula junior cars and little sub-1000cc barchettas to big Ferraris and proto-econobox Fiats (albeit tuned by Abarth) are all well represented here. What an incredible afternoon it must have been for Gary, nestled in among the other fans atop this little wall above a switchback.

Click on through to more of Gary’s photos in our Gary Mason Archives. Another huge “thank you” to Gary Mason for sending these in. More to come.

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The Less Than Palatial LeMans Garages of 1972

1972 Porsche LeMans Garage

Porsche’s 1972 LeMans garages were a buzzing environment with cars being tuned and prepared, and busy 1970s technicians with 1970s hair. Porsche’s star was bright indeed coming off of two straight years of wins and the factory was shining.

Wait a second. This doesn’t look like the workshop of a winning endurance racing team. These are the garages of the rag-tag up-and-comers in over their heads playing on a stage too big for them. These are the facilities of underdogs. I have been in lone racers’ shops that were better equipped than this.

Just look at this. This could be your garage. There’s no precision instruments here; not even a flashy (albeit utilitarian) immense tool chest larger than a kitchen counter. Just shove that table out of the way, maybe stack the chairs on it to clear up some floor room. Pull that 55 gallon drum over here so I can pop the engine up on it. Let’s start turning some wrenches.

This. This right here is why I love vintage racing. Looking at these guys, you almost get the sense that anyone could do this. That you could hatch a scheme to race in next year’s LeMans and June would roll around and you’d be there. And this is Porsche we’re talking about. Repeat this for Cooper Garages (or Lotus.. or BRM…) heading into Formula 1 and you see that the pinnacle of the sport in every corner was more likely to be filled with dedicated hot-rodders than aerospace engineers.

via Le Container

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The Joy of Carelessness

Low Tech Elf

The problem with digital photo archive tools is that there’s often little context, little attribution, and even less backstory. As a result, I don’t know anything about this image that I stumbled upon on Pinterest (or maybe it was Tumblr) and all image searches just lead me back to other pins or tumbles.

What I do know is this: Red Bull isn’t going to just tip over their Formula car and see what’s going on under there. This glimpse of race (low) tech of the past was a common thread that united hot rodders and shadetree mechanics with the pinnacle of motorsport. Now you’ll see greater kinship between Formula 1 technicians and aerospace engineers.

The same was true then, of course; but aerospace engineers and shadetree mechanics shared that kinship as well!

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Reader Photos: Joe Sheppard’s Camoradi 356. Sebring. 1960.

Joe Sheppard. Camoradi Porsche 356. Sebring. 1960

John Shea sent in this marvelous photo of his friend Joe Sheppard pushing hard in his Team Camoradi Porsche 356 at the 1960 Sebring 12 Hours. Joe went on to finish first in the 1.6 liter class and 9th overall. Not bad considering he also participated in the 4 hours race the day before. I hope Joe got plenty of sleep over the next few days—this must have been quite a long weekend for him.

Thanks for sending this in, John!

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Cobra Ginetta Sandwich

Cobra and Ginetta at Brands Hatch - 1967

Yipe. This photo by Trevor Legate that he captured at Brands Hatch in October 1967 shows that roll bars aren’t just for rolling. As I understand it, no injuries—not for lack of trying.

via Nigel Smuckatelli’s Flickr.

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Triumph’s LeMans Digs

Factory Triumphs at Hotel de France

Factory Triumphs at Hotel de France garagesI 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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You OK Up There?

Cooper on the Roof - 1949

Cooper on the Roof - 1949Major 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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Let’s Get This Going Again

Barnard Formula Six - 1967

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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