Archive for June, 2012

Pacific Northwest Historics – Kent, WA – 06/29/12

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Triumph Spitfire Engine Rebuild Doesn't Look So Hard…

…When it does it itself.

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Maserati Presenta Silverstone 1948

Disappointingly short, I know.

How about if I throw in these images from the same race of Geoffrey Ansell and his ERA B-Type getting way too well acquainted with the hay bales on the 23rd lap?

With all the (deserved) talk of the dangers of early motor racing, it always surprises me to see images like this (and this) where, despite the terrors captured in the photograph, the driver was uninjured. Geoffrey walked away from this one nonetheless, thumbing his nose at the odds.

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Available in California: A Trove of SoCal Racing Posters

I was contacted last week by an antiques dealer in Southern California that acquired these marvelous Southern California road racing posters from the estate of California Sports Car Club racer Noble Bishop. Bishop raced at these events in Crosleys and Triumphs and has kept these mementos in fantastic shape.

A couple of these are posters that I’ve never seen before and they are just heartbreakingly lovely. There’s a stark simplicity in these earlier generations of posters and handbills that is left lacking in most modern racing ephemera. The cheap availability of full color photographic printing is part of the problem. After all, why bother investing the time and creativity in something when we can just print up a photo?

Good design requires constraints: constraints of budget, of technology, of time. The more we strip those constraints away, there more contemporary racing poster design seems to suffer. Even the events that take the time to hire good designers and artists to craft a program or poster usually end up cluttering it with sponsoring logos. Thankfully, these posters lack most of that clutter. They’re fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re a bit out of my price range otherwise I would have bought them already instead of sharing them here with you. Contact the Blue Heron Gallery in Fallbrook, CA for more information.

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Mid-Ohio Vintage Grand Prix – Lexington, OH – 06/22/12

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11th Annual Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival – Fontana, CA – 06/22/12

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SoCal Road Racing Home Movie Bonanza!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love when home movies of races make it out of the attic and onto the web.

Here’s a perfect example: 15 minutes of footage from Willow Springs, Torrey Pines, Santa Barbara, Pebble Beach, Chino, Paramount Ranch, Pomona, and Riverside. Throw in some bonus shots of ’64 Sebring and this is a fantastic taste of 10 of the best years in American sports car racing. Hallelujah!

Ready for more than a taste of these races? Check out the John McClure Archive.

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Broadcast Map of the Past: Brands Hatch

This track map pulled from the Castrol Book of the European Grand Prix has a fascinating feature that I’ve not seen on any other track map: The location of the BBC Cameras recording the event. Five cameras (and a helicopter) seems almost hilariously insufficient when we consider today’s abundant camera angles of most tracks, but in 1964 it was a struggle to get even this level of coverage.

Since this is from a Castrol book, the oil company was playing up its own efforts in filming the race, with a substantial section of the booklet describing the effort to capture the race; apparently with more cameras than the BBC was using for the broadcast.

Castrol wasn’t just locking their efforts away either, this line concludes the description of the filming: “if you belong to a motor club and would like to see the results of their work, ask the Secretary to reserve a print of the film for showing to you and your fellow members.” The notion of reserving a print of the race film to be enjoyed later by motor club members sitting around the film projector—weeks or months after the race—is utterly fantastic.

Gathering friends to watch a months-old motor race seems ridiculous today, but there’s something reverent and respectable about the scenario that I love. Rather than just tuning in to the live broadcast to see who wins, it’s an honoring of the event; like a football coach re-watching reels of previous games again and again. It’s not watching the race, it’s studying the race.

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Just One More Thing to Make the Monza Banking More Treacherous.

At first glance I thought it was sunny on the Monza banking, and cloudy on the straight—but of course that straight line separating the two shows how ridiculous I was. Then it occurred to me that this dramatic shift in color is the transition from the concrete surface of the banking to the asphalt surface of the start-finish straight. Quite an abrupt transition that must have been felt by the drivers coming out of the extreme suspension distress and jarring bumps between sections of the banking.

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VIR & VSCCA School – Alton, VA – 06/16/12

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