Archives for July 2013
What is VeloceToday Select©?
VeloceToday Select© is a 32 page 8.5 by 5.5 landscape formated high quality full color printed folio, center stapled with high gloss paper. It is both a magazine and a book; always in print, it is not a periodical; they are not dated but numbered. New Folios will be published 4-6 times a year and already are gaining collectible status.
I loved the concept and format. The impact of the articles would have been diminished in a larger format, congratulations! Please put me down for one of each in the future. — Frank Allocca, noted car collector
VeloceToday Select© began as means to provide readers with quality hard copy articles from the VeloceToday archives. However, once the series was created, we were encouraged to include material not found in the VeloceToday database. Our future plans include both new and old articles from your favorite authors. [Read more…] about Introducing VeloceToday Select©
By Pete Vack
Photos by Gerald Vack
The 1954 Paris Auto Show (or Salon de l’Automobile), was held from October 7th to the 17th, late in the season but close enough to the next year to draw out the new cars planned for the year 1955. If not the most important auto show of the year, it had a reputation of being the most glamorous.
At that time, the show was still held at the magnificent Grand Palais on Port A, Avenue Eisenhower. Built in 1900, the Grand Palais was and remains a marvel of “Belle Epoque” engineering; massive glass roofs supported by an ironwork structure. What better showplace for the new automobile.
The first auto show was held in Paris in 1898; in 1910 the show moved to the new Grand Palais. Up until 1986 it was called Salon de l’Automobile; it took the name Mondial de l’Automobile in 1988. It was held annually through 1976, after which it has been biennial, and the event was moved to the Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles.
At some point during in early October of 1954, the Editor’s uncle, Gerald Vack, visited the show with a new Leica camera he’d purchased in Germany, where he was stationed with the U.S. Army. A sports nut, but not a car enthusiast, Gerry realized that his car enthusiast brothers back in the States would like to see some of the cars at the show. His new Leica was loaded with Kodachrome 35 mm film, still rare and expensive as until late in 1954, the film was purchased along with the cost of the development. Back in the States, once shown, Gerry filed the show scenes with other slides and forgot about them until his nephew pestered him about it years later.
What we have below are not images taken by a professional photographer; Gerry was also hampered by the huge crowds that journalists could avoid by attending press-only shows. As floor space at the Paris show was extremely expensive, many of the smaller manufacturers had tiny, one=car stands tucked in a back row, further hampering good photography. He knew very little about the cars he photographed. And we are lucky, for not only does Kodachrome have a tremendous shelf life and is remarkably fade resistant, but in searching through contemporary material and the Internet, we see that color images of the show are fairly rare. Thanks to Gerry remembering the guys back home!
The Grand Palais, with its glass ceiling, provided great natural light for the show. In this scene, one can see how many manufacturers were growing and adding a wide range of models to suite the public. Wriiting for ‘Automobile Review’, Gordon Wilkins reported that “The accelerated pace of development in the world’s automobile industries has produced a great increase in the number of new and improved models…” But at the same time, the increased complexity and cost of tooling was also forcing mergers as small firms could no longer afford to compete.
The 2.5 Liter unblown Formula One went into effect in 1954, and one of the lesser known provisions was the alternate use of a supercharged 750 cc engine. One of the few firms to try to compete in this manner was Deutsch Bonnet, who dusted off the old Monomille and upgraded the Panhard Dyna engine with a supercharger. But the power to weight ratio was only about 250 per ton, while the 2.5 liter cars were good for 400 per ton. French Porsche and DB driver Claude Storez raced the car at Pau in 1955, but it was too underpowered to be effective.
By Pete Vack
With the announcement of a new “Formula Junior” class in 1958, there was a remarkable flowering of individual designs to populate the grids of the new formula. Race car constructors from America, Italy, England, Germany and France grabbed whatever engine was close to 1100c–BMCs, Fiats, Fords, Renaults–and served them up in a bewildering variety of concoctions. Among the fastest, and certainly the loudest, are the ten or eleven cars built by Angelo Dagrada of Milan.
Born in 1912, Dagrada earned a living as a mechanic, and built several race cars for the Italian 750 and 1100 cc races so popular after WWII. Building a reputation as a speed wizard, Dagrada improved upon the Fiat 1100-Siata head and combustion chambers. His cars achieved some significant wins, but a series of road accidents in the early 1950’s put further race car activities on hold. But by 1955, Dagrada was once again in the speed business, this time with Alfas.[Read more…] about Lancia Dagrada Formula Junior
Review by Pete Vack
Photos courtesy Leo Schildkamp
In October of 2004, Leo Schildkamp became the owner of a Lancia Dagrada Formula Junior, chassis #001. It had been in an incident at Goodwood in 2003 and had been significantly damaged.
Schildkamp would spend the next several years restoring the car, one of perhaps ten Formula Juniors built by Angelo Dagrada from 1958 to about 1960. When the restoration was complete, Schildkamp gathered the notes and photos of the car’s history and restoration and instead of putting them in a loose-leaf binder, used a vanity press called ‘blurb’ to produce a hardbound booklet. There is very little text, but a great deal of photos and information about Dagradas, most in color.
Story and photos Graham Gauld
From time to time I get emails from people looking for photographs of special cars taken many years ago. A while back I had an odd request from the coachbuilders Zagato who wanted to know if I had any photos of one of their rare one-offs, the Zagato Porsche built for French driver Claude Storez.
It brought back memories of a warm day at the Reims circuit in September 1958. I was on my way back to Scotland from Modena but timed the trip so that I could meet up with the cars on the Tour de France that year. The Tour de France was organized by the Automobile Club of Nice and was one of the favorite events for racing drivers.
It was technically a rally, but all the special stages were actually races on a variety of racing circuits or hill climbs on some of the most famous climbs in France. English driver David Piper told me he prepared himself for racing in Europe by doing the Tour de France because it gave him the chance to get some practice on circuits like Reims, Le Mans and Rouen. Most enthusiasts know that the Ferrari 250GT TdF was named in honor of the Marquis de Portago’s win on the Tour de France with one of the early 250GT berlinettas.
Story and photos by Jonathan Sharp
The Four Days of the Goodwood Festival of Speed June 11-14 2013
The Goodwood Festival of Speed has become a four day affair. In addition, this year was the 20th Anniversary of the Festival of Speed and all of the stops were pulled to celebrate.
Thursday is the Moving Motor Show day, a new style of motor show where if you are lucky and your chosen manufacturer thinks you are a genuine customer, one is allowed to drive a test course around the Goodwood Estate including the hill climb course. The number of chosen is large and getting larger. [Read more…] about Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2013
SportErfolge (Success in Sport)
By Tony Adriaensens
Review by Graham Gauld
Scroll down to see the incredible photos from the book, and “About the Author” after that!
I first came across Tony Adriaensens when I was in Hong Kong nearly twenty years ago and he sent me a copy of his first book on Alfa Romeos for review. Since then he has broadened his scope and done what a lot of us wished we had done. He has travelled far and wide obtaining some outstanding photo collections from amateur and semi-professional race photographers and then crafted them into superbly printed and presented books. [Read more…] about SportErfolge: Porsches by Adriaensens
Goodwood is people too, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to talk to the legends up close and personal.
I had the pleasure escorting Jackie Stewart to the Mercedes-Benz W196; it could not be seen through the throngs of people, but I had seen it arrive. So being a gentleman I stepped in to help, wouldn’t you? [Read more…] about Goodwood Festival: The Drivers