Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

I have been following some Facebook groups that feature the racing cars that I knew in my youth. In all of these groups there are photos posted of the cars in modern times, preserved and run at various historic festivals, but every time I look at a post from any of these groups and see a photo of an open cockpit racer from anything other than the original period when the car raced I am left cold.

The problem for me is that, no matter how hard the current proud owner has tried to follow an original colour scheme there are changes that have been made that spoil the image for me and, to my eye, make the car look wrong.

Leading the charge sheet here are the modern height roll bars behind the driver. That extra height makes the car look too narrow to my eye and, combined with the modern driver’s helmet, completely destroy the look. This is most obvious to me with the Lola T70, but other cars suffer from the same problem. Of course I understand the health and safety logic behind these aesthetic abominations, but they spoil the look completely and I make my choice to avoid offending my eyes and don’t look.

The other offence that I would like taken into consideration is festooning the cars with cameras. OK, they are relatively small and I understand why the drivers and owners might want to have records of their races to watch during the Winter months, but they are not period and again, for me, spoil the look. I don’t want to watch and so I don’t.

I fell in love with motor racing in the mid sixties having had a passing interest since the back end of the fifties. I got to see my first race, the European F2 round at Thruxton, in 1968 and regularly attended races from cubbies to GPs, and for a time marshalled, through until 1977, but marriage and then parenthood gave me other interests for a few years and whilst I would watch any motor racing on TV it was ten years before I went again, this time to a club meeting at Castle Coombe and a couple of hillclimbs at Prescott.

In the 1990s I met, though business, a couple of guys who were involved in the Coy’s historic festival at Silverstone and went there about three times as well as doing the Goodwood hillclimb. There was a magic about some of those events, partly because, unlike some of the American historic events, over here the guys do race; to see a vintage Maserati or Alfa absolutely on the limit through a corner is a sight to behold and I did get to see these cars one more time before some of the appendages mentioned above started to appear.

Should the opportunity arise I might go back to the Goodwood Festival of Speed because a lot of cars will be there in original condition. I could look at them, and maybe touch them, and hear them go by up the hill. It would not bother me if they were not being driven hard for just seeing and hearing them would be enough to bring back memories of when I saw them for real or in pictures. But I have no desire to go to the Revival meeting there because the cars will, in the main, just not look right.

These events are massively popular and I applaud those who put them on, participate in and make it possible for others to see cars from the past driven hard. There is an audience for these things and that is great, but nostalgia ain’t what it used to be and I am happier with my memories.

Le Mans 66, setting the record straight part one

Le Mans 1966 was a special race for me, and it could have been even more so had parental permission been granted for me to join the Model Cars magazine group on their Page & May run trip to the race. Sadly the trip was vetoed (I was only 13), but a slot racing friend had a relative who worked at Alan Mann Racing and he was on their crew for the race so I got a lot of second hand news from the race plus a programme. My French teacher was impressed with my surge of interest in her native tongue even if was just to help me translate the programme’s pages. Continue reading

Tasman Series 1968

The Tasman Series was a winter break for the grand prix circus. Founded in 1964 from a series of local races and a couple of international events, it grew into a substantial series with works entries from BRM, Lotus, Brabham and Ferrari at its height. From its beginning as a 2.5 litre maximum capacity single seater series under the old Intercontinental Formula it was extended to accept F5000 entries from 1970 and the series continued to flourish until rising costs killed it off after the 1975 series.

Here is a great clip showing some of the Australian leg of the series in 1968 with Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Chris Amon, Denny Hulme, Piers Courage, Dickie Attwood, Frank Gardner and more.

Enjoy it here

1966 CanAm fun at Vegas

The 1966 CanAm series was truly a great spectacle and there were seven drivers in with a mathematical chance of winning the lucrative title going into the final round in Vegas. Here is a link to some great footage and driver interviews from that race. Continue reading

stop nagging; we know!

Yes, we know that we need to get on with writing some more of our Setting the Record Straight series, and we will try to dust off the research on the James Hunt v David Morgan story and also the 1966-69 story of Fords at Le Mans so that we can get those stories on here. Continue reading

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