I’ve been trying to figure out why it is that contemporary track maps aren’t imbued with the personality and joy that illustrated track maps like this on of the 1967 Tillamook Naval Air Station Auto Races. On the face of it, there’s no reason why this year’s Grand Prix calendar couldn’t adopt the whimsy of these illustrations. After all, this track map—cartoonish as it is—communicates quite a bit about the track itself.
I’d argue it tells us as much or more about the race track than most contemporary maps: The direction of racing, the speeds and labels of the turns, the start-finish line. They’re all there. Even the subtler features that I thought might preclude this kind of thing like the location of restrooms and food stands are also visible here. If you found a way to incorporate the spectator stands and endless rows of merchandise trucks—this kind of thing could come back.
Classic Race Simulators rents out a variety of handmade replica mid-late 60s Formula 1 cockpits for use with racing simulators for what looks to be an incredibly immersive experience. I’ve long fantasized about crafting a racing simulator station for my home gaming needs but the boy-racer aesthetic of most of the rigs has never appealed… I don’t know why I didn’t think of something like this earlier.
It’s a shame that they only rent them out, because there is almost certainly a market for these on a sales basis. They look to be quite gorgeously executed but there would probably be opportunities for improvement that the incredibly crafty race sim community would leap on—that flappy paddle shifter on the Logitech G27 sticks out like a sore thumb. But the idea of the tube itself as a bare rig… it definitely gets the mental wheels turning. The racing sim community’s demands for realism are unlimited and steering hubs like those made by Fanatec (and I’m sure there are others) will allow you to modify the inputs to match the era and add any steering wheel. Equipped with a quick-release hub, you could even swap your Momo Prototipo or Nardi Classic right out of the sim racing rig and pop it into your car in the garage.
Check out a video of one in action at Race Retro a couple of years back.
I’d love to say I just stumbled upon this stuff, but the truth is I’m typing “Mille Miglia” or “Targa Florio” into eBay’s search fields more often than I’d like to admit. In that moment between hitting “search” and the results load, I say a silent wish that someone out there is just cleaning out grandpa’s attic and has some marvelous little trinket from one of the classic races. Ideally they don’t know what they have. This person, however, does know that he has something special—hence the $5,200 price tag. Still worth it if you ask me. The Press grille badges alone could be the centerpiece of a collection. More information at the eBay Lot Detail Page.
Back when PIR was Auto Sports Park they had a touch more personality and fun in their program ephemera than they do today. Look at all of the little details in Rick Owen’s old hand-drawn and watercolored(?) map. Some are useful information for drivers and spectators alike: the suggested speeds for each of the seven turns; the near-track hazards being cartoonishly confronted by the drivers in the map; US 99 disappearing into the a Seattle filled horizon. Others are there just to make us smile: the sea monster near the front straight; the mechanics dozing under the car at tech inspection; the distracted driver oggling a sunbathing spectator going in to turn 4. Rick’s map reminds us all that motorsport is supposed to be fun. Today’s maps have completely forgotten the fun side of the sport.
Don’t believe me? Check out their current map. I’ve seen golf course maps, or even county platt schematics with more artistry. Come on, Portland! Find Rick Owen and have him do the smallish updates to this gorgeous painterly map he created decades ago.
There is a thriving market for movie memorabilia from John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix on the Internet with movie posters in a variety of languages and programs from various cities’ premiers, some signed by the racing drivers and movie stars in attendance. Because I can’t think of better ways to spend my day I often find myself perusing the offerings from various auctioneers.
This series of photos is currently up for bidding at Heritage Auctions. These lobby displays sure put to shame any mere movie poster or lobby card. I wonder where that imposing display featuring the tracks of the Formula 1 season is today. Hopefully it escaped the landfill and is adorning the entryway to someone’s home screening room.
I don’t know about you, but Intellivision’sAuto Racing was my first experience with motorsport. On a given night, I might still occasionally reach for this before Forza or iRacing. Over on the Gameplay Archive, David has deconstructed the maps from Auto Racing to test the map’s accuracy and give us a complete view of the entire racing season’s (series?) venues. I love this kind of nerding out. It’s a great mashup of my love for vintage racing, classic gaming, and messing about with technology in ways the designers never intended. Here’s a video on David’s process, and head on over to the feature on Gameplay Archive for more. Fun!
At a “Buy it Now” price of $795, these might be most expensive 3-inch pinback badges on the market. If, however, I had a car that ran in the Watkins Glen International Grand Prix in 1954, 1955, or 1956, I’d be mighty tempted.
A week ago, I thought my life was fairly complete, but then I saw this slot car table from Slot Mods. Now when I want to hide something, I usually pick some nondescript, boring piece of the background for my secret to blend in with. The folks at Slot Mods think slightly differently. When they set out to create a slot car track loosely based on La Sarthe, they decided the most inconspicuous place to stash it was in this Gulf-liveried Porsche 917 fiberglass shell. Amazing. This is the same group of mad geniuses bringing you Neiman-Marcus’s $300K slot car table. Now how am I supposed to decide between them?
Neiman Marcus’ Christmas catalog is famous for their over-the-top gift ideas. My favorite from last year was the custom falconry equipment. This year though, I’m actually tempted to put together a crowdfunding campaign for this custom slot car set by Slot Mods. Even better, David Hobbs will attend your opening party.
I can imagine no better evening than sitting around this remarkable slot car table with David Hobbs calling the action. Only $300K. At that price, we can’t afford not to get it.