In the Workshop

McLaren Racing HQ: 1973 Vs. Today

Factories at Work: Lamborghini

Carroll Shelby Goes Racing

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.

Thanks for sending this one in, Craig!

Factories at Work: Lamborghini 1968

If you thought that vintage track footage was hard to find, you should try digging up old tours of sportscar workshops. I can’t help imagining that this precious film is the result of an expectant Miura buyer visiting the line to check in on their purchase. Whatever the reasons or motivations for the filming, it’s a wonderful artifact of Lamborghini’s early days.

Listen to that Super-8 projector whirr.

Factories at Work: Jaguar, 1961

Porsche 550 Spyder Workshop

Factories at Work: In The Ford Wind Tunnel

Ford J Car in the Wind Tunnel

You’d think that Ford would have rested a bit after achieving their drubbing of Ferrari and bringing LeMans victory home. But whether it was just momentum or to silence critics that suggested that the GT40 was more Lola than Ford, FoMoCo decided to bring the design of the next iteration of the GT car more in-house. Keeping the mighty 7 liter of the previous generation, they sculpted a new shape around it in partnership with Kar Kraft. Getting those strings placed right to measure the wind movement over the shape helped refine the aerodynamics of the project that would eventually become the GT40 Mk IV.

More at The Magnetic Brain. Thanks for sending this in, Skeeters.

Factories at Work: Building the Spyders

Spyder prep at the Teloché Garages near LeMans Circuit.

I make no bones about the fact that the Porsche 550 Spyder is my all-time favorite racing car. I’ve been collecting photos and pouring over reproduction shops’ brochures for this sexy little thing since I was 15 years old. With that in mind, it’s hard to believe that I’ve never showcased the Spyder’s build in our “Factories at Work” series. Partly this is due to the complexity of coachbuilt construction. It’s difficult enough to find photos of just one workshop hammering out the bodies for historic sports and racing cars. With the 550, there were 8 prototypes built in various locations. Truthfully, I don’t know which of these images are Zuffenhausen, which are Wiedenhausen Karosserie and which are Wendler. They all had a hand in early 550 builds.

Porsche 550 Spyder assembly

It’s always a bit jarring to see these machines under construction. Particularly seeing the rear half of the Spyder frame. A bit like the Birdcage, it’s striking how delicate and fragile she looks. Imagining the 4-cam type 547 engine revving high, fighting to break free from the motor mounts that buckle her in place. It’s almost difficult to believe that this little box of toothpicks can hold it in there. Racing bicycle frames have thicker tubes than this. Even so, it’s that delicate nature of her that is part of the allure; the danger that it hints at and the grace that it seems to lend to her movements.

Of course it’s also just a treat to see this many of ’em in a room together.

Wendler Workshop assembling the first Porsche 550 Spyder customer carsPorsche 550 Spyder buildsPorsche 550 Spyder builds

Most images via, where Andrew has put together an extensive list of the particular Spyder builds, with information for several specific chassis. Fantastic as always.

Factories at Work: Stanguellini

The Stanguellini Workshop

Expectations and reality have this way of clashing spectacularly. I always have a dream, a fantastic notion of what something might be like. Then I’ll discover that the actuality of it is far more simple; far more ordinary.

This, though, is one of the thankful exceptions. This space is exactly what I imagine when I think of the etceterini workshops. Seeing a few gorgeous Stanguellinis in various stages of completion only makes the point that much more clear: This was no production line factory. This was hot-rodding.

The Stanguellini Workshop

The rough-hewn post and beam construction of the Stanguellini workshop is in many ways a perfect metaphor for this era of Italian sportscar manufacture. Its cleanliness and bare walls suggest practical engineering and luxurious, uncluttered design. The mottled walls and old stumps to panelbeat against remind us that it was no more sophisticated than a repurposed barn. I think one of the things that draws me to the barchettas of this period was that they so exemplify this perfect marriage of the engineer and the artisan in ways that larger manufacturers struggled to hang on to. They’ve got soul.

Thanks, Wheels of Italy.