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.

Weekend round up – 1st July 2012 #DTM #NASCAR

Hopefully we might have got the duff weather out of the way here in the UK ready for the Grand Prix next weekend, but we don’t hold out too much hope. Hopefully the folks who went to the Festival of Speed at Goodwood didn’t get too wet. This weekend on a global stage the prime action was the #DTM from the Norisring and #NASCAR from Kentucky. Continue reading

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