The oldest Porsche 901 in the Museum’s collection is undergoing a complete restoration which they acquired following a long-neglected stay in private hands. I hope there are periodic video updates released as she starts to come together.
I wish we could find a way to clone the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and stamp an event just like it in the expansive parks in several major metropolitan areas. Imagine a race calendar that included New York’s Central Park Vintage Grand Prix, Detroit’s Belle Isle Vintage Grand Prix (the course is already there!), A revived San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Vintage Grand Prix, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park Vintage Grand Prix… I could go on. I would love to go on.
Perhaps no other event shaped the future of motorsport more than the 1955 LeMans crash that caused more than 80 spectator fatalities. Among other things, motor racing was banned in Switzerland as a result of this crash until 2007. Mercedes pulled out of the race and didn’t enter a factory-sponsored team in any race until the 80’s. Certainly track design was forever changed.
It’s not just snow-fencing, hay bales, and sitting on the curb while sportscars fly by anymore. I once paused momentarily while descending the stairs at the Michigan International Speedway during a race just to experience the sensation as a car wooshed past at 200mph only feet away. It was thrilling then, even with that handful of feet, a concrete wall, and high fencing between us. I can only imagine what it must have been like without those physical barriers there—I occasionally wish for it. But looking back at LeMans ’55 is a good reminder of why it simply cannot be. Even in today’s tracks with their 20 foot crash fences, endless runoff, and limited view for spectators, there is still an element of risk just sitting in the stands at the track.
With all the excitement surrounding the new Ford GT that was unveiled this week, I think it’s a better idea to just enjoy these laps of the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype that sold at last year’s RM Monterey auction as she takes in the sights at Willow Springs.
This isn’t for the squeamish. I’ve long been fascinated by the Cuban people’s ability to keep the cars of the 1950s on the road without a steady influx of parts. The ingenuity and determination of Cuban mechanics and their ability to cobble together bits and pieces or wholly create spares that keep those old Dodges and Chevys rolling through sheer force of will is just artistry. Why then, couldn’t one or two devote that masterful ability to this Gullwing? Instead it looks to have been abandoned and cannibalized over her years hiding under a banana tree. It’s heartbreaking.
After 100 years of sitting idle, Duncan Pittaway and his team have breathed life into this former Landspeed Record Fiat S76. More than 100 years after the two S76s were built by Fiat to take the flying mile and flying kilometer records away from the Blitzen Benz, this fearsome hellbreathing dragon has spun up her four valve-per-cylinder, multi-spark, overhead cam 28½ Litre (!) engine and it. Is. Staggering. Without exhausts fitted, this view of the combustion chambers spitting the remains of burning fuel straight into the camera lens makes me feel like Gandalf staring down a Balrog in Moria.
Modern engines are absolutely pushing envelopes. The sophistication of engineering and artistry that powers contemporary racing machines is very, very impressive. But none of them have the Earth shattering brutality of this 104-year-old Fiat. Terrifying. And Gorgeous.
Hat tip to Stefan Marjoram on this one. More to come in the new year, it seems. I can’t wait for more of the Beast of Turin.
Marvelous 20 minute film of Team Shelby’s racing exploits. Even if this film was just the Willow Springs chalk talk with Peter Brock it would be worth the watch. That it’s interspersed with sequences of Dan Gurney or Ken Miles illustrating his lecture on the track makes it mandatory viewing. You might just learn a touch of racecraft that’s just as true today as it was 50 years ago. Of course that first-generation GT40 and a spinning and drifting 289 Cobra aren’t hard to look at either.
Excellent footage here from the Andrews Air Force Base Sports Car Races. The segment from the (almost) all-MG race—including the LeMans start—at the 8 minutes, 30 seconds mark is particularly great. What a thrill to see such an evenly matched grid competing at full clip.
That looks like Fred Wacker’s Allard at 10:24, two years after his crash at Watkins Glen that killed a 7-year-old spectator, virtually putting an end to American road racing overnight. I thought that Fred gave up the sport after the incident, but this clip and the racing program seem to indicate otherwise.
Once the main event gets underway there are some magnificent shots of the pits, and the gorgeous Scuderia Kimberly transporter even makes an appearance. Perhaps even more than the races themselves, it’s wonderful to see some footage of the environment trackside. While the cars and the race action documentation are rare, the imagery of the press box or the judges and timekeepers booth are even less frequently seen. It looks like we can even see the handoff of the purse at the end of the film. Amazing.
Great to see more film from the East Coast popping up on YouTube. The California road racing scene was so well documented that it’s easy to forget that there were vibrant, passionate communities of road racers from coast to coast.
Here’s a smattering of videos that the (remarkable) media team at Goodwood have put together to mark the close of this year’s Revival event. I still don’t know how all those cars that spun in the TT race managed to avoid each other.
RAC TT Race:
Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy:
St Mary’s Trophy:
It’s not quite being there, but I give huge accolades to Goodwood for allowing us to watch the action remotely.