Jack Holliday's Watkins Glen

1954 Watkins Glen Paddock by Jack Holliday

There are few things I love more than an uncovered treasure trove of unseen (preferably amateur) motorsport photography. I wonder about all the thousands of slides and negatives and prints hidden away in attics around the world; worrying if they’ll ever see the light of day; daydreaming about being the one to find them. That this group of photos shot by Watkins Glen resident Jack Holliday over several years of Watkins Glen sportscar races. These amazing shots were discovered when avid photographer John Oliver inherited his grandfather-in-law’s Leica camera that was used to shoot these scenes from the Glen. John has posted about his discovery of his late grandfather-in-law’s hobby on Film Foto Forever.

There are some marvelous images captured here: including Frank Bott’s 1954 Catherine Cup winning OSCA MT4 (#118 above) and several years of preparation in various incarnations of the paddocks. My favorite shot might actually be the rather disinterested-looking ticket and program seller from the 1954 event. It’s scenes like this that are almost never captured. We’re used to seeing images of the cars and the track but ephemeral moments from amongst the fans or support staff are almost never preserved.

John has tantalizingly labeled his post “Part 1”, so I’m hoping that more will be revealed shortly. In the meantime, you can see more of Jack Holliday’s wonderful photos at Film Foto Forever.

Thanks to John Shingleton for bringing this to my attention.

DISCUSS (12 Comments)

  1. Peter Linsky

    Great period photo!So what do we see? Is that a blue Kurtis on the left, and opposite a Healy Silverstone, an XK120, three Ferraris, and perhaps an Allard’s fender peeking out at the right?

  2. Rich

    Great stuff!

  3. Dave Seyse

    Great pictures. They pre-date my Watkins Glen adventures by about ten years. It would suit me if he just posted all of what he finds without culling any of them.

  4. HiRich

    The colour image of the Seneca Cup Paddock, tagged 1955 has me confused as the car numbers just don’t align with what I have. I can see:
    2: A Jaguar C-Type (I’m guessing Wylie), which does match 1955, but:
    9: a pale blue sports car behind 2
    14x: A white Triumph TR2
    141: A pale blue MG T in front of the marquee
    x22: surely a Healey, obscured by the sign
    167: The red car with the square radiator
    171: might be on the door of the red car on the left.
    plus a pair of Cooper 500s in the foreground – the blue one with a lowered engine cover, and the number 145 or 195 on the tail.
    (x means there may or may not be an obscured digit).
    Now one error or late entry I could understand, but I can’t match even two numbers to 1955. Or in fact to any of the appropriate September events.
    So what’s going on?

  5. John Oliver

    Hello all. I apologize about all the confusion. My wife’s grandfather took all of these pictures. He passed away late last year. When I made the original blog post, I was simply going off what the boxes were labeled. The slides have been sitting in the back of the closet for the better part of 30-40 years. I’m sure at some point some of the boxes got mixed together. He shot the races from 1951-1960, thus some of them are mixed together. Admittedly I’m much more of a photography guy than a car guy. Again I apologize for the confusion, chalk it up to ignorance and assumption on my part.

  6. Dave Seyse

    But please keep posting these pictures. No matter that they may or may not be mislabeled or misidentified!

  7. HiRich

    As Dave says, I’m not complaining, so just keep posting. I’d happily date and caption the photo for you, but in this case it doesn’t match the info I have on file. I’d rather have a mystery photo than no record at all.

  8. John Oliver

    Does anyone know what year(s) Briggs Cunningham’s number 20 1954 Ferrari 375 MM raced at Watkins and who drove it?

  9. michael A Jacobsen

    Re. the Cunningham 375MM–probably driven by Sherwood Johnston, who bought it from Briggs, but also drove it before buying it.

  10. John Oliver

    Thank you for the info! Would you also happen to know what Ferraris raced in 1954 besides Jim Kimberly and his Number 5 1953 375mm

  11. Albert Heiles

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