Archive for June, 2010

Track Maps of the Past: Lockbourne AFB

Look at this map from the program for the 1953 National Sports Car Races at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio and try and tell me that it isn’t perfect. What could have that family returning from the rest rooms so grumpy, I daren’t guess.

Bring back the airport races!


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It's a Plaid Plaid Plaid Plaid World

Much maligned and misunderstood, the plaid interior isn’t always a crime against design. In the right car, at the hands of the right designer, it cannot be matched for charm. Every few years VW releases a Rabbit with plaid seat inserts, but I think it’s even been several years since we last saw them. Like our earlier look at blue cars with red interiors, it can look amazing in classic sportscars.

Sadly, I’m having a hard time imagining this looking good on a contemporary supercar. It looks fabulous in this Gullwing Mercedes, but I’m not sure it would be such a showstopper in a modern Mercedes SLR. I’d love to see someone do this in their modern 911. The car has enough of it’s heritage appearance (barely) that it might be able to pull it off.

Ok, so maybe it doesn't always work

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Listen Along With the 1959 Monaco GP

There is something beautiful about an imageless audio recording such as this. I don’t know that I’d want to sacrifice the immediacy of the live video from the track, but there’s something about simply hearing the audio that is lost in the satellite feed. Maybe, by leaving something to the imagination, we’re a more active participant; taking the information we have, and filling in the gaps with our mind. I’m surprised that in the age of the podcast this type of field recording hasn’t made a resurgence.

As you know, I’m a huge fan of old racing film. Often they’re homemade 8mm film canisters with no accompanying audio. They’re lovely. Audio recordings such as this LP from the Sound Stories series are much the same. For me, these audio recordings are every bit as precious as the film canisters. Often, I think they communicate more than the film does.

But enough media philosophy—let’s get on with the 17th Monaco Grand Prix. In this first recording, it’s the run-up to the race, with recordings from the pits and brief interviews with the drivers. Stirling Moss tests and discusses the BRM. Von Tripps whips the new Porsche F1 effort around the bends. Phil Hill gives us his impressions of the track—amazing that 50+ years ago, there was still this notion of ‘only in Monaco’. It was already considered by some drivers an outdated racing course even then, but the romance of Monaco continues to win out half a century later.

Nevil Lloyd’s narration of the qualifying is excellent, noting the pieces of audio where we hear gear changes or hard braking. Listening along, it’s amazing how much easily you can imagine yourself sitting behind the giant steering wheel of a ’59 BRM.


Ok then, let’s get down to business: it’s race day, and I won’t spoil the drama by telling you too much. Throw on your headphones and give a listen.


Via Valve Bounce, where you can download the files as well.

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06/27/10 – Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – Colorado Springs, CO

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06/26/10 – Historic Challenge: Road America – Elkhart Lake, WI

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06/26/10 – 9th. Annual Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival – Fontana, CA

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06/25/10 – Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix – Lexington, OH

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1971 4 Hours of Monza

Great footage here from the pits and on track of the 4 Hours of Monza, 1971. What a wonderful grid for 1971’s first event on the European Touring Car Championship, with a pack of Alfa GTAMs, BMW 2002s and 2800s, Fiat 500s, Escorts, and a Camaro for good measure. All the more exciting, this video has real audio with some great engine screaming!

How much would I like one of the Dunlop Racing Division jackets seen in this 1st video at 55 seconds? Very much. Very, very much.

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Chopard's Monaco Historique 2010 Film

The watchmakers at Chopard sure were able to get some great footage last month thanks their sponsorship of the Monaco Grand Prix Historique. Visit their sponsorship site here. Fantastique!

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A Weekend at the Blackhawk Vintage Classic XVIII

I made the trip down to the VSCDA’s Blackhawk Farms event this past weekend and had a wonderful time. This was, somehow, my first visit to the track and I enjoyed the laid-back environment and comfortable size of the place. This smaller track might be less suited to the big bangers than Road America, but as a spectator it is nice to be able to comfortably wander from corner to corner in the infield and easily take in a variety of vantage points. The adjoining airstrip was hosting a vintage event of their own on this particular weekend. Few things add to the atmosphere of a vintage race weekend than a steady flow of biplanes flying low overhead—it was our own miniature Goodwood!

Also fantastic about this particular weekend is the large numbers of vintage Formula Vees that arrive. Their numbers are such that they have their own grid, without the larger Formula Fords and Bs in the mix. Their event was the highlight of the action on-track of the weekend, with front runners Garrett Van Camp, Frank Newton, and Mike Kitsmiller trading positions at nearly every lap.

Making a return to competition was the H-Mod Crosley Special that we saw at the Intermarque car show in St. Paul, MN a few weeks back. It was an absolute treat to see her back on the track Saturday competing amongst the pre-war group after a very long dormancy.Even better, I was offered a ride in her for the Sunday touring sessions! Unfortunately it simply wasn’t meant to be; the rotor came apart and a replacement couldn’t be sourced in time to get her on the track on Sunday. C’est la vie.

This TVR was my pick of the weekend: gorgeously prepared!

Often the racing community focuses on the large races: the KIC at Road America, The Lime Rock Historic Festival, the Monterey Historics. The biggies certainly bring out the crowds. Their high profile draws the exotic machinery. Do yourself a favor and try to make it out to the smaller vintage events in your area. The atmosphere is more familial, the smaller crowds means you’ll have better opportunity to chat with the drivers, and the tracks themselves feel somehow cozier.

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