Archive for October, 2013

Over-the-shoulder Onboards Are So Passé.

One of the best things about the GoPro is that you can cram the thing anywhere… like the nosecone of a Cooper T-33. Let’s take a spin around the 2013 Silverstone Classic in the JD Classics prepped Cooper.

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Dropping the Flag at the 1960 Cuban GP

Formula Junior start at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix

Formula Junior start at the 1960 Cuban Grand Prix

Castro had been sworn in as Prime Minister a year before but the transition to totalitarian regime was slow enough that there was still time for one last Cuban GP. A brief series of races for various classes was held between February 21 and 28, 1960. In a not-too-subtle metaphor for the nation as a whole, the race moved from the bustling and vibrant esplenade Malecón along Havana’s coast, to a closed runway of Columbia Military airport. What a marked transition that must have been for the diehard racing fans that stuck with it through the political transition.

Stirling Moss’ Birdcage Maserati took the win in the featured race. In this image of the Formula Junior event, Stanguellinis ruled the day; taking the first 9 positions. Which sounds incredibly impressive until you realize that they made up 73% of the field.

Via the Nostalgia Forum.

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Octoberfast Spooktacular – Fountain, CO – 10/26 – Pikes Peak International Raceway – USA

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Stanguellinis at the 1950 Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti

Supremo Montanari's Stanguellini S1100 at the 1950 Coppa d'Oro Dolomiti

Those mountain vistas! I’ve grown so used to seeing wide runoff areas and flat(ish) topography that when I see these images of the Dolomite Mountains captured in the 1950 running of the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti, I’m just dumbstruck. We always imaging switchback mountain roads and winding valley tarmac as perfect sportscar roads for a Sunday afternoon drive. It’s a shame that so few events still have this kind of scenery to look forward to. Even events like Pike’s Peak or the more mountainous legs of the WRC don’t seem to have peaks quite as sharp and romantic as the Dolomites. Of course, the Coppa d’Oro Dolomiti still runs (sort of) today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for bringing back these decidedly less forgiving runoff areas. But even more than small town street racing, I think the loss of this kind of combination of beautiful racing machines and breathtaking mountain roads is a tremendous loss.

Sergio Sighinolfi's Stanguellini S1100 at the 1950 Coppa d'Oro Dolomiti Just look at that shot of the 26-year-old Sergio Sighinolfi piloting the #123 Stanguellini 1100. He won his class, finished fourth overall, and beat the previous class course record by over four minutes. Those are just statistics. The fact that he did it in this kind of environment with this level of enchanting beauty and horrific danger around him is heroic. In just the same way, it’s one thing to DNF on the local track, it’s quite another to DNF in the Dolomites. That Supremo Montanari didn’t make to the finish in his outdated #111 Ermini-powered Stanguellini Sport Nazionale doesn’t make his running any less heroic. Twisting along these mountain roads and keeping your foot down is enough to earn my respect.

Am I forgetting about any contemporary events that are run in these kinds of environments? Let me know. I probably need to get more into hillclimbs.

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East/West Championship – Austin, TX – 10/24 – Circuit of the Americas – USA

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Watch…No. Listen to this Porsche 917

This video of a Porsche 917 lapping is great in a way that most videos I’ve seen of 917s—or any other racing machine, really—usually aren’t. It’s because of what isn’t in it. There’s no damned royalty-free terrible music. There’s no barely understandable commentator over the barely audible track loudspeakers. There’s no clapping or “oohing” and “aahing” from a crowd. There is only that miraculous engine note.

It’s why Victory By Design was so great and why most AutoWeek segments aren’t. Cars—particularly racing cars—particularly Porsche 917s—are visceral things. They live in all of our senses. There is a sight, a smell, and my goodness there is a sound. We can feel the air move as they pass. When they pass by quickly, all is a blur. We can rarely capture it in our mind in perfect clarity. The lines of the bodywork are lost in the shake of a car under hard braking or acceleration or turning. We can just make out barely discernible graphic details as they blur by in an instant; often little more than a flash of color.

But that sound… That sound is crystal clear.

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Stance Works' Day at the Beach

Stance Works: Pebble Beach Maserati

Stance Works photographers visited the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the results are magnificent. Somehow I think that photographers Mike Burroughs and Andrew Ritter made the slightly gloomy weather work to their advantage. Beautiful images. Click on over to Stance Works for the complete gallery.

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An Update on Recent Posts

Sample from the MotorBinder projectWith less than three days left, the MotorBinder project of archiving and publishing never-before-seen photos of American racing in the ’50s and ’60s has exceeded it’s Kickstarter goal by more than 50%; guaranteeing that the archive will be published. Congratulations, guys! There’s still time to get in on the rewards offered to backers at various levels at the Kickstarter page.

70s Legends ShirtIn other crowdfunding news, the Legends of the 70s shirt that we’re organizing at TeeSpring is only one precious shirt order away from its production goal. If you’ve been considering this one, now’s the time. It will only take only one more order to ensure that everyone that has pre-ordered the shirt will get their hands on it. Check out the Tee Spring project page for details and to order.

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Pitwear

Carroll Shelby at the 1965 24 Hours of LeMans

It may not be safe but I’m going say that shirt and tie in pit lane is definitely a fashion “do”.

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Paramount Ranch

Paramount Ranch Track MapI typically take this opportunity to ramble on tearily reminisce over the hand illustrated aesthetic of vintage track maps that seems to be lost in the modern era. After all, it’s easier to output a quick render or line art from the track designer’s plans and call it done. Rarely would we think today of commissioning an artist to illustrate a custom map for an event program.

Today, though, I want to focus on something else happening in this image scanned from a Paramount Ranch program. A recent design movement has made me think that all may not be lost; and it’s the wonderful handwritten lettering on this map that helped me notice it. In the past couple of years there has been an enormous resurgence in hand lettering throughout all levels of design.

Why in the age of digital typesetting, when even the most amateur computer user has dozens of fonts at their fingertips, would the professional hand letterer be back in demand? Because it has soul. There’s something behind that ever-so-slightly-wiggly hand lettered headline that hints at a humanity and a playfulness that you just don’t get from perfectly set Helvetica Neue Light. Why couldn’t it also be so for hand drafters or illustrators? This map has soul.

We’ve seen maps from Paramount Ranch before and my sentiment remains exactly the same… Just look at that tunnel.

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