Lynch at Lockbourne, 1953

by Lynch on May 25, 2011

Michael Lynch took a Stepping Back in Time while dong the one lap of Marin, and briefly recalled watching the races at Lockbourne AFB outside of Columbus Ohio in 1953. With the help of Doug Chadwick’s photo collection, Lynch put captions to the photos below.

Not many single seaters were seen in early SCCA racing. This is Woodie Garber’s Alfa 308 at Lockbourne. Even then, it was well traveled, having participated in European Grands Prix, U.S. ARCA racing, the Indianapolis 500 and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. It did not finish.

Lockbourne AFB, 1953. Here’s one of the great Italians of the 50s in U.S. racing. This is Fritz Koster’s Maserati A6GCS. It won its class in the main event that day and was later owned by historian/auto executive Karl Ludvigsen. It now is back in the Koster family and is still racing.

Again, this Bugatti is just another car in the car park, although some of the juveniles present seem to think it’s neat.

Now you have to go to Pebble Beach to see something like this Delahaye. In the old days they were simply parked among the spectator fleet.

Here’s a photo op if there ever was one. This XK-120 Jag won the standard production category driven by Roger Wing.

This was an MG special commissioned by Dave Uihlein, the scion of an old Milwaukee beer family and a relative of Augie Pabst. Dave liked road racing cars, but his passion was Indianapolis cars from Harry Miller forward. Perhaps his greatest legacy was the founding of the Miller/Offenhauser Society with my old high school buddy, Bob Sutherland. The group still puts on a vintage meet featuring hot laps for Indy cars at the Milwaukee Mile that is a great spectacle, especially since most Indy car collectors unfortunately do not race their cars.

This is likely the Briggs Cunningham 750cc Siata that won its class and the Index of Performance at the Vero Beach 12 Hours in 1952. It was driven at Lockbourne by George Roberts.

A rare situation in the U.S. where two 1400cc Siata Gran Sports were pitted together. Number 36 was W.L. Adams and the unnumbered car is likely Robert T. Keller. Neither made an impression.

This Jag Special was the brainchild of driver John Fitch and artist Coby Whitmore, best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers. Whitmore owned the car and Fitch oversaw the transformation that took 800 pounds out of it, much from a lightweight body done by Andy Salada. The car was well thought out and fast in class, but after its first season, Fitch joined the Cunningham team and it was never driven as well.

This is the C-Type of Masten Gregory at Lockbourne. After being black flagged at Chanute AFB earlier in the season, Masten tweaked the SCCA’s nose by using black flags as a background for his race numbers.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

cowfy May 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

look under the bug. oil galore.reminds me of the leaky old you just ’bout every car pictured left oil on the what.

James Etzkorn May 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for the photos and memories of the first major sportscar race that I attended. There was an announced 114000 spectators. The 1954 race was even better with the Cunningham team and several Ferraris.

Douglas Chadwick May 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

Wonderful presentation here, thanks. I still have not come up with the name of the gentleman who sent me these negatives, but I am looking. I did come across the negatives this morning (these scans were done from the contact sheets) so I am guessing the envelope with his return address is in the same pile.
Imagine my surprise when someone comes in my drive, looks at me working on my Elan and offers to send me some “old negatives he has no use for”. And imagine my further surprise months, or maybe a year later when a small envelope shows up in my PO box. I open it immediately, and start looking at negatives. MG, MG, and now what’s this, a Bugatti 35 in street trim! And a few more and the Koster Maserati turns up, a car I knew of from Karl Ludvigsen’s article in Road & Track.
What a find, and it’s been fun to share them.

Jerry Lehrer May 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I was there in 1953 (or was it 1954?) in John Bentley’s pit crew. He was driving a 750 Siata with a 1100 cc engine. Car # 77, Any pictures of that one in the stack?

I may be getting a stack of John Bentley memorabilia soon.


David Thompson May 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

“If it isn’t leaking oil, then it is out of oil.”
Gaskets have come a long way.

Fred Puhn May 26, 2011 at 10:21 pm

These are wonderful photos. You should pass them on to Tam’s Old Car Website to join a massive collection for everyone to see.

Douglas Chadwick May 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm

@Jerry Lehrer, I don’t have a picture of a Siata with that number, but I have a number of Siatas that perhaps do not yet have numbers. Pete and I guess that these pictures were done on the first day of the event, so cars were not all numbered yet. And Jerry, is the Porsche Continental in one of the Maserati A6GCS pictures John Bentley’s?
@ Fred Puhn, I don’t know about the Tam’s site, but a lot of these pictures are on the Etceterini site, click the link on this page or Google “Doug Chadwick Lockbourne”

Jeff Allison May 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Kudos to Michael T. Lynch and Doug Chadwick for bringing such wonderful photos to life again. It was even more interesting for me as I was stationed at Lockbourne (now called Rickenbacker) in 1965 and recognize some of the buildings as I was a maintenance officer and roamed the hangars and flight line. I’ve always wished photos like these would just drop into my hands as it appears to have done in Doug’s case. I find them priceless…

Peter Linsky June 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Re: Doug Chadwick’s comment – That’s a 356 America Sports Roadster behind the Maserati. Since the car is in the paddock, it may well be John Bentley’s #77, which was entered in F/Modified.

Karl Ludvigsen June 2, 2011 at 3:53 am

Simply awesome to see those great shots of my old A6GCS. It stands as one of the very last cars to have the grille shape that Maseratis had before and after the war. A great little machine that both Koster and I drove to and from the races on the road.

Jerry Lehrer June 13, 2011 at 9:22 am

Peter and Doug,

That is indeed a Porsche Amerika Roadster. John got one at cost from his employer,
Max Hoffman.

A look at the program would confirm that.

Don Struke April 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I was going to say seeing these cars has made my day but it’s more like has (almost) made my year. Thank you, Doug, for the link. R&T ran my story “Racing Spirits” once upon a time (illustrated by the great Ken Dallison) and some of these machines would have blended right in.

Jim Sitz July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Marvelous..just too …Marvelous !
Woody Garber had the mostt Beautiful Bugatti 57 convertible
(salon car in R&T in same year)…and early delivery of new Jaguar
XK 120 in 1950. His Alfa 308 done blew up..details in his letter
to MOTOR LIFE magazine for Feb 1956.sorry photos did int inc winner Bill Spear
in his unique Ferrari Mexico spyder.

gj squire July 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

i don’t see it in these pictures but there was a fiat ballila roadster the running with the TD’s.

Doug Chadwick December 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

John de Boer just sent me a listing of some of the cars at this race and also on the list was a Bugatti type 37 owned by Phillip E. Miller of Columbus Ohio which is likely the car in the photo above.

Doug Chadwick September 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm

I was under the impression that Fritz Koster’s A6GCS had unique bodywork, the sole transition between the cycle fendered cars and the full bodied cars.

However there seems to have been another one, and it was also in the US. I saw it on the movie “The Fast and the Furious” from 1954. (which has a rather fine selection of sports cars) It’s available on NetFlix streaming and is well worth watching.

So there was another one which belonged to Bob Gillespie, but we seem not to have a serial number.

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