Archive for March, 2011

F1 #1. Silverstone 1950

Marvelous short film of the first race of the newly-created World Driver’s Championship.

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Sebring 1960 With the BARC Boys

In March of 1960 Zych, Nicholas, Spankey, Kelley, Kelley Sr. and Tierno of the infamous BARC Boys made the trip down from New York to Florida for the Sebring 12 Hours. Good thing they packed their cameras.

See the rest of the set on the BARC Boys site.

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Toes on the Track

Usually I’d take this opportunity to once again extoll the virtues of closeness in photography; remark on the shooters standing this close to the track; and bemoan that racing today’s photography may be more colorful, but is certainly less dramatic. But instead I’ll do the unthinkable and just shut up and let these shots of photographers crowding the track speak for themselves.

I would love some sort of web tool that would let me click on these photographers and see their shots of the race.

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03/19/11 – Champions Grand Prix – Salinas, CA

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Bandini Tests

There’s a precious shortage of Bandini videos online, particularly those shot in period. Thankfully the Bandini family are releasing some of the archives onto YouTube. This video shows a 1959 Bandini 750 “Saponetta” Sport tested at Modena and a Formula Junior on an airport straight in 1960.


As always, Etceterini’s Bandini page is the ultimate online resource.

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Who Wouldn't Sell McQueen the Original Bullitt Mustang?

Answer: The guy who still has it today.

Imagine yourself flipping through the newspaper classifieds in 1972 when you happen upon the deal of a lifetime: the original Bullitt Mustang, and cheap. That is exactly the scenario that happened to an unidentified (by choice) 24-year-old man who bought up the car—complete with reams of documentation verifying its authenticity—and owns it to this day.

I say THE Bullitt Mustang, although there were really 2 1968 Mustang 390 GTs puchased by Warner Brothers for the Steve McQueen production. One of these was heavily modified with chassis re-enforcement and uprated suspension for the dramatic jumps and crashes that punctuate the legendary Bullitt chase sequence. The other car was left largely stock, aside from the aesthetic enhancements of stripping the driving lights, grille emblem, and most of the trim and badging and replacing the wheels with customs from American Racing. This second car is the one that our lucky buyer picked up in ’72.

Five years later Steve was fresh off his divorce from Allie McGraw and must have been feeling nostalgic. He contacted the owner of the Fastback and attempted to purchase her (letter above). Shockingly, he was denied. I suppose it might be for the best, however, as the current owner has no plans to sell nor restore the car. What’s more, by carefully remaining anonymous he has helped ensure that the car doesn’t become more incendiary McQueen fuel at auction houses. Unfortunately, that means that the Bullitt Mustang sits in a garage, hidden away. I don’t know which fate is worse.

Don’t let that get you down too much though, there’s a vibrant community that have exhaustively studied the film frame-by-frame to identify the parts and mods to make a replica of the Mustang. Here’s Motor Trend Classic’s take on it from their Sept. 06 issue.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t watch the chase scene itself again to compare notes. While I actually come in on the Ronin tunnel sequence side of the “Greatest Car Chase of All-Time” debate, it’s hard to deny the greatness of this bit of film.

I wonder if whatever collector has the Charger today still has all 8 hub caps.

More on the Bullitt Fastback at Mustang Specs. More ‘make your own’ tips at

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03/16/11 – Mobil 12 Hours of Sebring – Sebring, FL

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Let's Ride Along with Walter Röhrl in a Porsche 904GTS

I can think of worse ways to spend the next few minutes than riding shotgun with Walter Röhrl in the Porsche Museum’s 6-cylinder 904 GTS. Love the heel-toe cam!

via Top Gear

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San Fernando Drags

Fairly often in the ’50s the various sports car clubs sponsored drag races at one or another of the strips operating in southern California. Local strips included El Segundo, Saugus, Irwindale (Azusa at that time), Colton, and San Fernando. Here are the results for the SCCA’s event at the latter on April 8th, 1956, as printed in the club newsletter the following month.

“The San Fernando Drags were held on Sunday the 8th of April with the results shown below. Fastest time was put up by Ernie McAfee in the 4.4 Ferrai–12.24. Eric Hauser, in the Victress, went thru in 13.09 as did Jerry Austin in a D Jag. John von Neumann clocked 13.15 with the Monza, and Jay Chamberlain put the Lotus through in 13.43 for fourth FTD.


Class B Mod.
172 Hauser, Eric Victress 13.09
27 Salat, S.W. Jag 140MC s/c 14.10
10 Hagerty, Bob Wildfire 15.26
19 Sloan, Dan Olds Allard 15.85

C Mod
4 McAfee, Ernie Ferrari 4.4 12.24
133 Austin, Jerry D Jag 13.09
26 Cannon, John Cannon Spl 14.19

C Stock
3 Anderson, B.C. Thunderbird 14.50
28 Eurengey, Al Jag XK120M 14.74
163 Friedman, Bill Jag XK120M 14.81
42 Kinner, Bill Corvette 15.39
2 Peterson, Ralph Corvette 16.22
9 Dair, Jack Thunderbird 16.45
226 Hall, Cameron Jag XK120C 16.97
22 Watelet, R.P. Jag XK120 17.23
7 Wogan, J.C. Jag XK 140MC 17.42
21 Matheson, James Jag XK140MC 17.64
15 Fullien, F.J. Jag MK VII 18.48
14 Krueger, Rudolph Jag XK 120M 18.52

D Mod
111 Von Neumann, J Ferrari Monza 13.15
87 Anderson, Michael Hairpin Spl 15.29

D Stock
5 Jones, Harry MB 300SL 14.54
18 Buchanan, G MB 300SL 16.26
80 Weber, Ch Lancia Spyder 17.71

E Mod.
112 VonNeumann, Josie Ferrari 1.9 14.85
50 Sawyer, Bob Frazer Nash LeMans 16.34
24 Jacobsen, Lars MG NA s/c 17.23

E Stock
113 Bracker, Lew Porsche 1600 14.99
11 Bethell, Alan Triumph TR 3 17.16
29 Verrecchia, V Siata 208S 18.73

F Mod
159 Eschrich, Dr. W Lotus 15.14
23 Timanus, John MG Spl 16.91

F Stock
8 McArthur, S.G. Porsche 1500 18.73
30 Davis, D MG TF 19.73

G Mod
16 Chamberlain, J Lotus 13.43

G Stock
129 Lawrence, J MG TD MK II 18.38
13 Garlick, W Porsche 1300 19.86
20 Herrmann, Ben Volkswagen 20.32
25 Sargent, Earl MG TC 21.30
6 McKenzie, Dr A Porsche 1300 20.70
1 Gebhart, Art MG TF 20.24”

Your writer was present at this event and was quite astonished at the announced time of Jay Chaimberlain’s Lotus XI climax, a quite impossible time no matter what the gearing was and remains my thinking. This was the first Lotus XI on the coast and it did well racing, but it did not beat the Porsche 550 engined Lotus of Bill Eschrich whose time seems about right–a wee bit quicker than Road and Track’s road test of John Porter’s 550. Other surprises are the time of anderson’s TBird–way too fast for stock, and Bracker’s Porsche, which was a frequent winner on the track and did have the lowest gears available as well as expert tuning. Remeber that “stock” really meant stock at that time-but some makes provided factory options for racing that made the difference between some of these results where two of the same model have significantly different times. A bit slower than expected are Sawyer’s LeMans replica F-N (the same car had won Sebring 5 years earlier!), and, alas, my Dad in the Magnette at 17.28 was more than a second slower than the previous drags we had run. Incidentally, I have transcribed this as printed, and several of the times for G Stock are listed out of order or the times are typos! The Canon Spl was the gull-winged car with a 240 Offy. Ernie McAfee was, alas, killed in the same Ferrari at Pebble Beach a few weeks later. The car was a beast to handle; those who saw it say he missed a shift and locked up the brakes coming into the bottom tight turn. He was a first-rate driver at this time. –Michael Jacobsen

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Relying on Lucas

Grand Prix Drivers & Manufacturers 1962 World Championship

Won by B.R.M. and Graham Hill

Relying on Lucas

  • • Electronic Ignition
  • • Petrol Injection
  • • Alternator
  • • Starter
  • • Batteries

Results subject to official confirmation

United States Factory Branches
Lucas Electrical Services, Inc.
501-509 West 42nd Street, New York 36, N.Y.

Apparently Graham had to do it without the official replacement smoke.

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