Notes From The Archives – Winter Entertainment
December 21st, 2017 by James Chartres
Words by: Gary Horstkorta
With the racing season over and winter setting in, there may be a need for some of you to find other forms of entertainment to wile away the hours. There are several racing related videos, DVDs and books that you might find interesting. For example, www.youtube.com has many videos uploaded of racing footage from back in the day. Here are just a few links to SFR and other races from the past:
https://youtu.be/hU9BdOb9ESA – Arcata 1956
https://youtu.be/-I8Z6LjLxqg – Candlestick Park
https://youtu.be/dIu3zvDB68k – Vaca Valley – mid 1960’s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFJbLrSvKfo – Stockton 1956
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFjxD8hkt8k – Santa Barbara – 1962
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVGI9SsP0Vs – Pacific Coast Championship 1962
Thanks to Joe Stephan for sending these links.
Racing themed DVDs are also widely available with excellent local material. Two of the best are Hay Bales and Asphalt and Racing Through The Forest – Pebble Beach 1950-1956. Hay Bales is a collection of color, 16mm film segments from a variety of Northern and southern California races in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. It was available on VHS and may have been converted to a DVD. I was unable to find a source for this film but its worth tracking down since the image quality is excellent plus you will recognize many SFR racers shown in the content.
Racing Through The Forest is a more recent documentary by racer Rick Knoop and producer Dean Kirkland, both from California. This excellent program chronicles the racing through the Del Monte Forest at Pebble Beach during the years 1950 – 1956. Using archival film footage, period photographs and interviews with drivers who drove in these races, this is the best program I have seen on the subject. Available through Amazon Video.
There are several other videos in DVD format on three very popular subjects that are worthwhile watching – Bahamas Speed Week, Trans Am and Can Am. Bahamas Carnival of Speed 1962 is available in black and white on DVD from www.raresportsfilms.com. Many SFR drivers competed in these races especially in the late 1950’s when this event drew racers from all over the world. It was race during the day and party in the evenings for a whole week. Must have been worth the trip across country. Also available from the same website is coverage of the Times Grand Prix of 1966.
A good video on one of America’s most popular racing series is The History of the Trans Am Series. This is a seventy-five minute long presentation on DVD, in color with narration including interviews with drivers and personalities. Available from www.fantasymotorcars.com.
Another great series of course was Can Am which several SFR drivers competed in. The video Can Am Memories offers a selection of six DVDs, individually or in a bundles, which covers the drivers, cars, personalities and reunions from the series. Available from www.mcssl.com/store/foxyventures.
For the book readers, there are three books I can recommend, two are relatively new with another published several years ago. The most recent and one British sports car fans will enjoy is Rule Britannia by John Nikas who oddly enough is an American. Nikas’ extensive research included searching through car manufactures archives in the UK which produced a wealth of information most people may not have seen before. Wonderful story on the rise of the British car industry, their devastation due to World War II and their comeback which helped put England back on the road to recovery after the war. An excellent book.
Cobra Pilote covers the history of the man who was not only an accomplished race driver but a successful car dealer. Written by Monterey author Robert Walker, the story is about Ed Hugus, his racing career and the little known fact that he was the first person to assemble and sell AC Cobras. His early relationship with Carroll Shelby was quite interesting.
This next book is not only covers a different era but also primarily one manufacturer and one racing series. The title is Mercedes Benz – Grand Prix Racing 1934 – 1955 and was published in 1983 with text and photographs by noted British motorsports reporter, George Monkhouse. Monkhouse was one of the very few non-German journalists to be allowed inside the Mercedes Grand Prix Team in the 1930’s then again after the team resumed racing after the World War II. Wonderful photos and an excellent inside look at some of the greatest Grand Prix race cars ever made.
Perhaps the best website on the Internet for period racing photos and information is tamsoldracecarsite.net. If you have never visited this site, you are in for a treat since the depth of material will keep you staring at your computer screen for hours. One link leads to another then to another and so on, it’s easy to lose track of time as you explore this site.
Enjoy the videos, books and websites. Happy Holidays.