Archive for December, 2009


Tell us about the greatest track in the world won’t you, Sir Jackie.

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Art Appreciation: 1949 Gilco Fiat 1100 MM

Fiat Gilco 1100

Fiat Gilco 1100 Sport MMThis absolute stunner of a Machine participated in the Mille Miglia from 1951-1955. Without the race numbers or chassis number I’m at a loss as to her results, but at least she looked damned good getting there.

Bonus: build your own Gilco chassis for this car — if you happen to be a skilled welder.
Gilco 750-1000 Chassis

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Mille Miglia 2010 Allowing Modern Ferraris?

Pistunzén - a bad idea from marketingThe Mille Miglia legacy and Ferrari are closely intertwined, and with good reason. As such, Mille Miglia 2010 is celebrating the history of the race and the marque by allowing a special 120 car procession of post 1958 Ferraris to precede the Mille competitors from Rome to Brescia. This means, of course, that drivers of contemporary Ferraris can join in the fray, driving through the lovely Italian towns that are otherwise closed to automobile traffic. Pistunzén here sure seems excited about it (what the Hell is up with the cartoon piston?). I suppose this is good news for Ferrari drivers, but I really don’t see the point of it all.

The Mille Miglia isn’t a race anymore, officially anyway ;). It’s billed as a time trial, but even that is a bit of a stretch. It’s a renaissance festival. I’m not saying that to disparage it. The thing I like most about it is that we get out our early sportscars—the Mille ended quite early after all—and we parade them through some of the most picturesque countryside the world has to offer. I think that is what makes the event what it is, extraordinarily rare cars seen in the appropriate environment. Oddly, in this case, it’s the modern cars that are an anachronism. There’s a reason Lord March hides the modern cars indoors during Goodwood.

Don’t spoil the fantasy.

What do you think? Do modern Ferraris add to the fun and I’m just a stick in the mud? Or should the Mille Miglia remain the exclusive domain of period appropriate racers?

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Dino on a Dyno

285 Horses! I’m impressed.

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Vintage Racing Calendar Updated

The 2010 Vintage racing season is going to be packed! We’ve recently added dates for SOVREN and the Ferrari Historic Challenge. Keep an eye on the Vintage Racing Calendar for more as race groups continue to release their event schedules.

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1969 Sidecar Racing

I always thought there was some mechanical reason for mounting the sidecar on the right, but some of these racers have the sidecar on the left. Is this a variation of the right-hand-drive thing?

Regardless, some great footage here. Mostly BMWs and Benellis from the 1969 championship. Sidecar riders show a bravery not often seen since the days of barnstormers and their aerial acrobatics. Their balance, agility, and sheer bravado always impresses me.

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New Nardi Book

New Nardi Book


This book is fantastic and can be ordered at the following link:

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German Grand Prix '67

Great soundtrack in this recap of the ’67 German GP. 1967 was the first year of the Hohrenhain chicane leading into the start/finish straight, which attempted to reduce the speeds. Even so, it’s still the Nurburgring, which with these light f1 cars means liftoff at Pflanzgarten.

Bad luck for Dan Gurney in this race, he broke the lap record 4 times in the early stages of the race (so much for attempts at reducing speeds!) only to suffer from a broken U-joint 2 laps from the finish.

Enough has been written about the differences in modern Formula 1 and the GP drivers of the pre-downforce era, but I’m especially struck by the starts. The narrower cars and wider classic tracks means that the start is a mob scene. Groupings of 6 and 7 wide weren’t uncommon in the dash to turn one. Today’s narrower tracks allows for a much more controlled and less chaotic, and certainly less exciting, start.

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Factories at Work: Preparing for the 1953 Mille Miglia

We’ve had quite a bit of focus lately on the factories and workshops that turned out our dream machines. Winter has hit the upper Midwest and the garage must be calling.

These scenes were photographed in preparation for the 1953 Mille Miglia and the wrenches were spinning furiously amongst the Italian makers. The home race is always reason enough to turn up the heat a bit.

OSCA Workshop - 1953

OSCA Factory - 1953

Maserati Factory - 1953

And of course, the rather more commanding Ferrari floor.
Ferrari Factory - 1953

Here’s Mike Hawthorn checking in on the 250MM Spyder he’d be piloting for the race. He DNFed that year, but his car is still looking amazing 56 years later. The race would be won by the 250’s larger brother, Giannino Marzotto’s 340MM Spyder.
Mike Hawthorn's Ferrari 250MM SpyderMike Hawthorn's Ferrari 250MM Spyder Today

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My First F1 Race: Detroit Grand Prix 1982

Maybe I’m feeling a little nostalgic in the approaching Holiday season. I was about 7 or 8 years old and sitting at the south side of Hart Plaza with my fingers in my ears. If only I’d understood. It wasn’t until years later that punk rock taught me that loud = good. For engines too.

After the race weekend, my dad was able to grab one of those Renault Elf banners you see lining the track. It hung for a couple of years from my ceiling, eventually tearing. It’s near the top of my list of things I wish I’d kept from childhood.

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