Archives for April 2015
Story and photos by Hugues Vanhoolandt
More than 190,000 visitors attended the 27th edition of Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, making it once again the biggest indoor classic car show on earth, despite the competition from the more recent Stuttgart Retro Classics show.
More than 2,500 classic cars were on sale and 1,250 exhibitors were on stage as well as 220 clubs. Of course, as we are in Germany, the offers of local dealers mainly concentrated on Porsche 356s or 911s as well as Mercedes 300 SL or 190 SL. But the demand on Italian classics remains as strong as the prices.
As ever, the local German manufacturers took the opportunity to show their heritage and every German make had special displays celebrating model or racing victory anniversaries like 30 years of the Porsche 959 and the BMW 3 series or 60 years since the Mercedes-Benz victory in the Mille Miglia.
Mercedes-Benz also focused its exhibition on aerodynamic research through the ages. But enough speeches, let’s see a selection of what was not to miss in Essen.
The Southern racing history of 62 Ferraris, 47 Maseratis, 4 OSCAs
Sports Car Racing in the South, Texas to Florida, 1957-1958, by Willem Oosthoek: 51 reports of airport races in eight states, 343 black and white photos, 121 in color and 264 pages. Large format (13.25 by 9.5 inches) $125
Sports Car Racing in the South, Texas to Florida, 1959-1960 The format of Volume two is virtually identical to Volume one; 453 pages including a slipcover cover 66 events. $155
Sports Car Racing in the South, Texas to Florida, 1961-1962 The final installment of the Oosthoek opus with slipcover, 392 pages, 611 photos, and covering 63 races. $155 [Read more…] about Sports Car Racing in the South: Not what you think
Willem Oosthoek was lucky (good luck being the result of tenacity) to obtain access to the photo collection of Bob Jackson, who was present at many of the events from 1957-1962. This collection provided a core group which grew to include photos form the collections of Jeff Allison, Bob Tronolone, Flip Schulke and others. The following is a selection of photos from all three volumes.
Photos from Sports Car Racing in the South, Texas to Florida 1957-1958
By Miranda Seymour
The Adelaide literary festival takes place every two years. I flew out last year for the first time to talk about my book, “Thrumpton Hall.” Adelaide is a long journey from London; I planned to sleep in on my first morning, even though all the participating writers had been bidden to attend a breakfast in the gardens of Government House. Luckily, I woke early and changed my mind.
More luckily still, when I discovered I would sit at the Governor’s table, I decided to smarten up and wear my new panama from the Adelaide Hatters.
The breakfast was fine. The announcement that I was the breakfast party’s sponsored guest of honour came as a surprise. So did the news that I was now expected to rise and deliver a twenty minute speech–in front of a camera!
If anybody in the audience had a Bugatti, I said, I’d be glad to hear from them.
I can’t remember much of what I said. I admired the gardens, the breakfast, the enticing appearance of the distant Adelaide hills. I praised the Adelaide Hatters. And then I had a brainwave.
Australia has a dry climate and salt isn’t used on the roads. It’s a very good place for vintage cars. Shifting my speech to the subject of Bugattis and the wonderful Hellé Nice, of whom I’d written a recent biography, I described my excitement at having been allowed to drive a couple of these gorgeous cars. If anybody in the audience had a Bugatti, I said, I’d be glad to hear from them.
And sure enough, back at the hotel, Antony Simpson had left me a message to come up to his family home in the Adelaide Hills and see his cars.
Antony and his wife have a wonderful old home, large, cool, and looking out across the city to the ocean. Antony, like many car-owners, has a wife who has gracefully agreed to share him with two beautiful rivals: a Bugatti 57, in perfect condition – and one of the only 99 D8S Delages ever to have been built. And, just for once, I found myself disloyally thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Delage was the more beautiful of the two.
Long, elegant, and the deep blue of the distant ocean, the Delage D8S had to be one of the loveliest cars I’d ever set eyes on. Just to slide into the driving-seat and lean back against the deep blue leather of its wide seat gave me the feeling of being a princess; the sound of the engine starting up was like the roar of a confident jungle beast. In fact, the only time I’d felt this good was when I was taken up the Prescott Hill Climb at 80 mph in a Bugatti Royale (so smooth that I couldn’t believe how fast we’d taken the steep corners).
I found myself disloyally thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Delage was the more beautiful of the two.
The Adelaide Hills are perfect for driving, high, wide roads with generous corners and smooth inclines: Antony Simpson knows every in and out of the route and – even though he wasn’t quite ready to put a perfect stranger behind the wheel of his favourite car – I felt blissful enough to wonder if Adelaide shouldn’t set up a car festival, a concours d’elegance and a hill climb, in the years that the city isn’t running book festivals.
Along the route, Antony told me one of his favourite Delage stories. In February 1932, Louis Delage decided to bring some English journalists over to France to compete in a 24 hour record breaking attempt, using the streamlined D8S, on the steep Montlhéry track. It was a freezing day and the drivers hadn’t prepared themselves for the fact that Delages were made for men of slightly shorter stature; riding around the bowl at 6.30 am with their heads sticking up over the scuttles, the Brits almost froze. Regardless, they drove on to set world records.
But what really thrilled me was the possibility that the car Antony Simpson owned could be the very one which Delage had persuaded twenty-year-old Renée Friderich to drive for him, in the Paris-Saint Raphael Rally in 1932.
The story was heartbreaking; Renée’s father, Ernst, was Ettore Bugatti’s right hand man; Renée had learned her skills from her father, driving the light, super-flexible cars that Bugatti was successfully marketing to women drivers. Taking a corner on the steep Pouges hill, Renée swung the Delage around as if it had been the smaller, lighter car that she knew – and lost control. ‘Pauvre petite Renée, toujours gaie, toujours souriante,’ L’Auto lamented, after a devastated Ernst Friderich had identified the twisted remains of his only child. (Hellé Nice, meanwhile, made the record time of the day, and the event, on that same treacherous stretch of road.)
Antony Simpson was good enough to indulge my romantic ideas. He probably knew, even back then, that the actual owner of Renée’s Delage had identified the car as hers by the damage to its panels. The history of his own machine wasn’t clear; only that it was one of the glorious 99 D8Ss that were built – not to make world records – but to dazzle.
Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski
By Paul Parker
Photography by Louis Klemantaski
Hardcover, 272 pages
302 color and B&W photos
12 x 9.75 inches
Price; $75 USD
Order from www.motorbooks.com
Review by Pete Vack
His father was Dutch, his mother Russian and he was born in Harbin, Manchuria. In 1928 at the age of 16, he traveled to England, taking the Trans-Siberian Railway across the Asian continent. There, he graduated from King’s College in London. Little wonder that Louis Klemantaski (1912-2001) was destined to do and see things with a unique perspective.
As Jim Sitz told this reviewer, “Klemantaski was an artist with a camera, not a merely a photographer with an artistic sense.” “Klem”, as he was called, was one of a number of great racing photographers of the twentieth century; some say the best of them all. In an age that would foster Kurt Worner, Jesse Alexander, Pete Coltrin, Bernhard Cahier, and Tom Burnside to name a few, that is saying something. Thankfully for us, in addition to interests in Ballet and the opera, Klemantaski also loved motor racing. Until 1967, when he ‘elected to simply step off the stage’, Klemantaski recorded the world of motor racing in the U.K. and on the continent, concentrating on real life and real people. [Read more…] about A Review: Master Motorsports Photographer Klemantaski
By Roy P. Smith
Silverstone, April 18th 2015…Now for something different…the incredible race meeting that is the VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) Spring Start. Roy Smith brings us the news in pictures of just some of the hundreds of amazing vehicles to be seen in the paddock. Not just the racers, there were parking areas full of exotica. We can say no more other than just enjoy. And perhaps our readers might help us with the background of the last car in this feature.< ERA Type R4A[/caption]
Story by John Wright
The neat little cycle-fendered sports car pictured here is one of a few Bandinis which were exported to the U.S.A. in the immediate post war era. Their creator, Ilario Bandini was born in Forli, Italy, and because he was mechanically inclined, set himself up as a creator of sports cars using Fiat parts only as the basis of his pretty and slinky designs in coupes, roadsters and race cars.
Listen up now…VeloceToday is undergoing an upgrade as well as coming up with a new and (of course) exciting homepage. During the month of April there may not be a normally scheduled Tuesday edition of VeloceToday. Do not fear if you don’t get your weekly fix or if you see glitches on the homepage.
We are on it.
Mid-Atlantic American Sports Car Races, 1953-196
By Terry O’Neil
Dalton Watson Fine Books, February 2015
ISBN 978-1-85443-263-6 320mm by 240mm
393 pages, Hardbound with dust jacket
569 color and B&W photos
$155.00 USD, plus shipping
Review by Pete Vack
This is Terry O’Neil’s third book on racing in the colonies. The first opus covered the Bahamas Races and the second the Northeast SCCA region, 1952-59. His latest book covers SCCA races in the Mid-Atlantic Region from 1953 to 1962.
By Brandes Elitch
A few years ago, the organizers of the Pebble Beach concours, in an effort to dispel the image of the entrants as so called trailer queens, initiated a drive for the entrants around the Monterey Peninsula.
In the event of a tie in class, the car that has completed the drive gets the nod in the judging. As part of this procession, the cars are parked in downtown Carmel for a few hours in the middle of the day, and in the middle of the street, for everyone to see. As I was threading my way through them, I saw something I had never seen before. It was obviously an early fifties car, obviously Italian, and the script said “Cisitalia.” I approached the owner, Urs Jakob, and said, “I’ve never seen a Cisitalia this big before,” he replied. “This isn’t a Cisitalia; it’s a Ford!” Boy, was that a shock.
He went on to explain that in the early 1950’s, Ford was considering the idea of what we now call a personal luxury car, which later became, of course, the two-seater Thunderbird. Keep in mind that, unlike GM and Chrysler, up until then, Ford did not really have any dream cars except the three cars made for Edsel Ford for his own personal use, which were never displayed for the public to see. In the early 1950s, Ford commissioned the building of six prototypes: two were bodied by Ghia, and four by Vignale, including Mr. Jakob’s car. Ford shipped 6 stock Ford chassis to Vignale; this particular car had a straight six, some of the others had the V-8. The current owner told me that he owns two of the cars, and he is hot on the trail of a third.