Our mid-engine car is a fair-weather friend that won’t let you down in foul weather. On sunny days, the top snaps off in less than a minute, stores under the rear trunk lid and takes up almost no room at all. On rainy days the top locks back on almost as fast. And because it’s fiberglass, it won’t leak or rip. Unlike fabric.
But a friend is more than a fiberglass top. First of all, it’s a two-seater in the classic sports car tradition.
And right behind the two seats is an engine in our race car tradition.
The mid-engine concept gives the Porsche 914 a whole bundle of advantages over ordinary cars.
It holds the road better because its centre of gravity is lower.
It corners better, because there’s no heavy frond end to steer and no heavy back end to slide out.
It brakes faster and saves tire life because all the wheels carry a more equal load.
It also comes with a built-in roll bar, electronic fuel injection, 5 speed synchromesh transmission and two trunks.
Best of all, you can get all of this for a whole lot less than you would expect to pay to own a Porsche. Really.
But don’t just settle for an impression from an ad. Test drive the Porsche 914 yourself. Swing it into a few corners. Pop off the fiberglass top.
I thought I’d seen every possible accessory and customization for the 911, but I’m really digging these Ignition Switch Cover Decals from Car Bone Liveries. It’s such a subtle little touch that is not too ostentatious, not too enthusiastically screaming “outlaw!”. They’re just a nice little detail that pays tribute to a favorite racing livery or Porsche-inspired pattern. I like the tartan myself.. Now I just need the matching seats… and the car.
James Dean would hate that I’m posting this film featuring him as a celebrity participating in a weekend at the track. I don’t doubt that James Dean or Steve McQueen or Paul Newman had a genuine love for the sport, but I can’t help but think that part of the allure was that they weren’t catered to; weren’t ushered to the best table—they were just another competitor on the track that would be given no preferential treatment by their fellow racers. Being just another one of the guys must have been refreshing. That they were each of them skilled drivers and fierce competitors only helps solidify their respect and legend within the racing community.
Although I do enjoy that the pace of used car sales was such that only a mailing address was necessary.. Now I feel like if a Craigslist post is more than an hour old I’ve already missed it… Especially those $5,000 Porsche 550s or $3,200 Talbot Lagos.
Always shocking to see the stark contrast between the glitzy see-and-be-seen fanfare of today’s pits and the casual atmosphere of races of the past. Even a race like LeMans looks more like a club race weekend at your local track than the paramount international endurance event.
Lots of good footage of the LeMans race itself. Rare to see color film from this event. Even with all of the 1955 LeMans disaster documentaries and media analysis, almost everything I’ve ever seen of the race has been in black and white.
By now we’ve already done all the drooling we can over the impending sale of several of Jerry’s Porsches at the upcoming Gooding Amelia Island auction. But let’s at least take a moment to listen to the man himself introducing us to his 1959 Porsche 718 RSK in the style he’s made famous on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I’d be happy to join him for a cup if we can take this there.
Ice racing still happens on the frozen waters near St. Paul, Minnesota. But seeing Siatas and 356s and Allards wheel to slipping wheel is no less a tremendous sight out on the ice in this film of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Winter Ice Races of 1954.
As with many of the races of the period, I’m always astonished to see the variety of machines out there mixing it up. Not just sportscars of various sizes, but several American hot rodders joining the race as well
Worth watching just for the onboard from director Tom Countryman—who was a fixture in the upper-midwest vintage racing scene for decades. It really shows the delicate balance required for this very different kind of off-road racing. Glorious.
These onboards from the Targa Florio during the practice period are always harrowing. When you see the occasional shepherd and daily Sicilian traffic it’s not hard to see why this footage from 1973 was the last year of the event. Let’s ride shotgun with the Claude Haldi/Bernard Chenevière Porsche 908. Almost a shame we can’t see the lovely Toblerone livery of this unusually red P-car. The car didn’t make the main event due to blowing an engine in practice. Easy to believe from where I’m sitting.
The new Boxster is lovely. But sit one next to the old Porsche 718 and it looks like garbage. We’ve talked before about marketers doing this “let’s photograph the new one next to the old one and show our lineage and the power of our history” tactic before. It. Does. Not. Work.