Notes From The Archives – Updates to the Archive

October 11th, 2018 by James Chartres


Words by:  Gary Horstkorta – September 2018

Cover Photo: Photo from Jim Crank – Cotati 1957

As the word has spread that the SFR has an archive which accepts all forms of memorabilia, race programs, magazines, photos and basically anything pertaining to  the history of racing in our Region, many individuals have generously contributed items to our growing collection.

The Archive’s webpage presence ( on our Region’s website has been a great asset to inform visitors not only that we have an archive but also how we can help answer historical questions. Not a week goes by without an inquiry arriving with questions about a specific race, driver, car or event, many of them from other parts of the U.S. and from around the world.  It is amazing how many former SFR race cars have survived and found homes overseas.

Over the past couple of years, the Archive has received several large photo collections and many smaller ones which are so important to document our Club’s racing history.  The larger collections are from three different photographers who focused their work on the SFR and cover the last five decades of racing.  They include:

Paul Zimerman – an amateur photographer whose hobby was attending and shooting SFR races including many of the National Runoffs.  Paul passed away a few years ago and his whole collection was donated to our Archive by his wife.  The collection consists of about two thousand 35mm color slides and prints from events beginning in 1981 and through 2014.  Zimerman did a wonderful job of cataloging his collection by year, race and identifying each driver in his photo.

Photo from Paul Zimmerman – Laguna Seca

Barry De Vita –  a semi-professional photographer who shot a wide variety of events including SFR, IMSA, CAN AM, F-5000, ALMS, Formula One and the Monterey Historics.  Besides contributing to The Wheel, De Vita was a freelancer who supplied images to a national racing magazine.  His collection consists of several thousand 35mm color slides and prints. This collection is on long-term loan to the Archive.

Photo by barry DeVita – Laguna 1977

Chuck Kohler – a familiar name to SFR racers since Kohler was a consistent presence at SFR events for sixteen years, 2001 – 2016.  Kohler’s collection is all in digital form and well cataloged for relatively ease access to specific images and consists of several thousand images.

Photo from Chuck Kohler – Thunderhill 2011

Aside from these larger collections, many individuals (former members and non-members) have contributed smaller but none the less important collections to our Archive.  These collections add a great deal since they cover mostly the earlier years of SFR competition from as early as 1950 through the 1970s.  The images are a mix of black/white and color prints but unfortunately, most have no description.

Included among the individual contributions are:

John Blakemore – former editor of The Wheel, contributed several hundred color prints from the 1999 racing season.

Jim Crank – a former member from years ago, contributed several excellent color slides of racing at Cotati and Sacramento in 1957.

Stephen Curtin – donated a collection of 35mm color slides from the early 1970’s mostly from races at Laguna Seca.

Jim Sitz – one of the best known racing historians covering the 1950’s and 1960’s. Sitz has contributed images from that period but of equal importance, his knowledge of the cars, drivers and events for many of the historical columns in The Wheel.

Photo from Jim Sitz – Hill & Ginther

Tony Tobascco – our most recent contributor sent several great color images of a race at Vaca Valley in 1964.  The images show not only the cars but also what the facility looked like for this track that has been unused since the early 1970’s.

Photo from Tony Tabassco – Vaca Valley 1964

In the past year, the Archive has received several requests about specific sections from the General Competition Rules of years gone by.  This is particularly true about international inquires as owners of former SFR race cars attempt to get their cars accepted for historic racing in their countries.  Fortunately, donations have increased the number of GCRs in the Archive covering a variety of years (1954-1987) including general rules, specifications for production, GT, Pro Racing, Solo I & II, Pro-Rally, IMSA, Vintage and Historic.  Don’t throw those old books away, send them to the Archive so we have a more complete collection.

The 1977 SCCA General Competition Rules


The 1963 SCCA General Competition Rules

The Archive has come a long way in the past few years and fortunately we continue to receive contributions, however, we have several gaps that we would like to fill.  As you can see by the above large photo collections, the 1980’s to almost the present is well covered.  What we continue to need are photos for the 1950’s through the 1970’s so check those boxes you have in storage for any old racing photos and donate them to our Archive in either original or digital form.

Thank you to all who have contributed to our Archive, it has become a great service to members, former members and individuals which will continue to get better as time goes on.

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