“For Corvette enthusiasts, the real star of ‘Clambake’ is the 1959 Stingray Racer concept— the car that is said to be the opening design salvo in what became the 1963 Corvette Stingray. While Corvette innovation was experience an exciting acceleration, the days of big money movie deals for Elvis were downshifting. Riffing on the similarity of every Elvis movie to every other Elvis movie, a studio executive once quipped: ‘Why do we bother to give his movies titles – couldn’t they just be numbered?'”
“The ’59 Stingray Racer has its own unique history. Designed by Peter Brock and Larry Shinoda, the chassis was provided from one of Duntov’s 1956 Corvette SS tubular frame racers. GM’s styling chief Bill Mitchell purchased the chassis and then directed and funded the design of the car in Chevrolet’s secretive Studio X. Once completed, Mitchell took the car racing as a privateer. The Stingray Racer was raced in 1960 SCCA competition by The Flying Dentist, Dr. Dick Thompson, who would bring home the C-Modified class championship in the car.
Photographer Bastian Glaessner shot these incredibly cool pics of vintage hot rod racing at the legendary Pendine Sands. His eye and unique style has created a strong signature that feels rich and nostalgic. The images are so stunning, I could stare at these all day…
“I was super chuffed when Neil Fretwell of the VHRA recently invited me up to the rugged Welsh headland that holds the infamous ‘Pendine Sands’ for a weekend of vintage racing. Since the early 1920s cars have pelted down this 7-mile stretch of fine golden grains to chase automotive speed records. On this early July weekend a mad crowd of hot rod racers from all over Europe had assembled their beasts at this historic spot. By the time I got there Friday after dark, the field around the Museum of Speed was brimming with glorious pre-1949 rods, glistening in the moonlight, begging to be let loose on the endless stretch of tidal sands below.” ~Bastian Glaessner
“Come Saturday morning and first the Welsh weather gods got their own. Heavy winds and some blistering downpours overnight meant racers had to be patient a little while longer whilst the team of helping hands were busy getting the course up and running. Once the fences were up, the 110 yard timing section established and the mile long track cleared of stranded giant jellyfish, the show got underway. As if on cue the sun popped out from behind the clouds, crowds gathered on the beach and with a mighty “ROOOAR…” our cars rolled out onto the sands to line up in the pits. What an exciting display of vintage sheet metal that was!” ~Bastian Glaessner
“Niki Lauda had raised concerns about the safety of the track at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, but couldn’t convince other drivers to join him in protest. Due to a reported rear suspension failure, coupled with a wet track, his car swerved off course, hit an embankment, and burst into flames. Trapped inside the car, Lauda inhaled toxic gases and suffered severe burns to his entire head, including his scalp and eyelids. Lauda lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Yet just six weeks later, he was back on the track—and on James Hunt’s tail.”via
This past week, Lee Raskin (motorsports historian, author, and vintage racer) wrote and said he’d recently gotten some racing friends together for a Rush viewing night in Baltimore. He shared his educated theory on a deeply intriguing scene that seems to nod to an old school racing superstition. So with all due respect, esteemed Director Ron Howard, there’s a question that begs to be asked here…
“I was a kid that was enthralled with motorsports. When I was 11 yrs old or so, a friend from schools parents took me to Ascot Park. I started sneaking into the pits to be closer to the racers by going around the back where they had a 20m pile of gravel to shield it from the passing cars on the freeway.”
“One issue with sneaking in to the pits is you don’t have anything to do, so I would stand around and talk to one of the guys taking photographs, Dan Mahoney. One night he handed me a camera and placed a little white pebble on the track. He said, ‘when the bikes get there push this button.’ I did and the result is the photo below. I was 12 yrs old at the time. The next week Dan said I had a natural talent and would I like a job shooting the races. I was a part of racing!!! Ok, not on the track, but still…”
The 1956 Formula One Ferrari’s were truly modified Lancia D50’s. The D50 debuted at the tail-end of the ’54 Formula One season, placed in the capable hands of Italy’s two-time and reigning World Champion, Alberto Ascari. He took both pole position in qualifying and fastest race lap in the D50’s very first event. On May 26th, 1955, Alberto Ascari was in Monza to watch friend and fellow driver Eugenio Castellotti test out the Ferrari 750 Monza, which they were to race together in the Supercortemaggiore 1000. About to go home for lunch with his wife, and dressed only in a simple shirt and trousers, Ascari decided to throw on Castellotti’s helmet and try out the new Ferrari. While coming out of a curve on the third lap he lost control– the Monza violently skidded, turned on its nose and somersaulted into the air. Ascari was ejected and thrown onto the track and died on the scene. After the death of their star driver, Lancia fell on hard times and sold to Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari modified the D50, removing many of designer Vittorio Jano’s innovations. It was rebadged as the Lancia-Ferrari D50, and then simply the Ferrari D50. Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 World Championship of Drivers with the Ferrari modified D50. During its competitive run, the D50 raced in 14 Formula One Grands Prix, winning five of them.
“The only things that I would say about the week were that no matter who you are, you need to experience it at least once. There is something surreal about having all your senses that you normally rely on shattered from not being able to gauge distance on the salt flats or hearing a car that is not where it should be because it is going so fast or watching a little black streak pass you and not being able to fathom that a car could go that fast. All in all an amazing place and an amazing time.”
In all of history it has happened only once. Only one man has ever won the World Championship in both motorcycle and auto racing– John Surtees. In 1956, at the wee age of 22 yrs old, he became the 500cc motorcycle World Champion. Then in 1960, he switched full-time to auto racing, and was crowned Formula One World Champion in 1964. At 26 yrs of age, he’d become the only man ever to win a World Championship on two wheels and four. There has been no one since, and perhaps nevermore.
Jack Johnson. The American boxing great still awaiting a pardon, on long ago trumped-up charges, that he’s more than due to receive. Obama, for some reason, is dragging his heels– causing many to speculate that it’s because his old foe John McCain is the one strongly behind the effort to bring exoneration to the Black champ’s legacy. Democrats or Republicans– it’s always the same circus, just different clowns.
Arthur John “Jack” Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas on March 31, 1878– the first son in a family of six children born to Henry (a former slave) and Tiny Johnson. Jack Johnson grew up poor– dropping put of school in the fifth grade so he could work on the Galveston docks to help support the family. As a teen he began boxing in Negro matches organized to entertain proper white folk. The winner of the match would collect whatever money was thrown in the ring by the appreciative spectators.
Johnson soon rose to the rank of Negro boxing’s heavyweight champion, and was called the “Galveston Giant.” Johnson wanted a shot a Jim Jeffries, the current White heavyweight champ, who refused to fight a black man. In 1910, they finally squared off, with Jeffries coming out of retirement to challenge Johnson– who had become the “unrecognized” heavyweight champion by knocking out Tommy Burns in 1908. Jeffries was hailed as the “Great White Hope” —a rallying cry started by none other than famed author, Jack London. He, and scores of Whites like him, wanted to see the boastful Black boxer beaten in the ring by a White man, in order to erase that “golden smile” from Jack’s face, and restore White America’s pride and position in what was being billed as– “The Fight of the Century.”
“If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbours.” –The New York Times
The tales of James Hunt are the stuff of legends– on and off the track. “Hunt the Shunt” was widely known for his wild indulgence in sex, drugs, booze, women– which redlined in Tokyo the two weeks leading up to his famous battle with Niki Lauda for the 1976 Formula One championship. Hunt’s favorite hedonistic haunt in those days was the Tokyo Hilton, where he and buddy Barry Sheene (world motorcycle champion that year), settled in to party. Like clockwork, every morning British Airways stewardesses were delivered to the hotel’s door for a 24-hour stopover. Hunt would charm them as they checked in, and invited them up to his suite for a party — they always said yes. Allegedly, James Hunt went on quite a run during this two week binge (33 BA stewardesses). But, as Stirling Moss, who used to carouse with Hunt in Monte Carlo before he was married, said: “If you looked like James Hunt, what would you have done?” via
When Henry Ford II’s quest to buy Ferrari back in 1963 was spitefully squelched by Enzo, the mandate was given to, “Kick Ferrari’s ass.” And not just anywhere– at Le Mans, the world stage of auto racing. The ass-kicking would finally come in the beautiful & brutish form of the iconic Ford GT40–America’s most incredible racecar ever.
Originally developed in England by Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd under the direction of Aston Martin’s former team manager, John Wyer, the GT40 failed at Le Mans in ’64 & ’65, as Ferrari finished 1-2-3 both years. With failure no longer an option for anyone who wished to remain employed by Ford, Carroll Shelby was tapped to give the GT40 the necessary bite to beat the Italians. Shelby’s success at Le Mans in his own Cobras, and again with the GT40, was not about technology, but by being crafty. He replaced the 289 c.i. GT40 engine with the same powerful, big block 427 c.i. V-8 that powered his Cobras. The lower revving, larger displacement V-8’s were more able to take the stress of long endurance races than the higher-revving, small displacement engines used by Ferrari.
Shelby not only ended Ferrari’s racing dominance, he exacted sweet revenge for Enzo’s snub– and garnered Ford a remarkable four-year winning streak from 1966 – 1969.
Two massive American automotive legends — Carroll Shelby and the iconic Ford GT40. Originally labeled GT, ’40’ was added due to its incredibly low 40-inch stance.