RACE CARS by Tom O'Neill / by Ben Maurice Brown

                                             RACE CARS

 

                                             Tom O’Neill

 

Race cars are specificallybuilt machines that combine innovation and invention, engineering, physics, advanced design,  aerodynamics, technology and mechanics; resulting in an automobile that can go fast, have endurance and reliability, handle with precision and predictability, have superior braking capability and do all of these things while providing maximum protection to the driver. As these developments become perfected and cost effective they move into the manufacturing process for the cars that you and I drive on a daily basis. Virtually all of the technical, performance, design and safety features that we generally take for granted in our cars have come from racing cars, through the trial and error of testing, racing and winning on the track. There is nothing extraneous or non purposeful on a race car. A race car is the definition of form following function.

 

There is a convergence of unique characteristics that make these cars so pleasing and compelling to look at. Even a person who knows little about cars cannot help but be drawn to and be curious about a race car. The very fact of form following function, of the aerodynamics that help produce speed, of the smooth fluid lines of the metal skin flowing in smooth, luxurious andin even a sensualmanner that results in an classic beauty that becomes art like.

 

We have with us today a collection of race cars that beautifully demonstrates the full range of the characteristics that make a race car. Starting with modification of normal street cars to make them go beyond their manufactured purpose, we have the likes of the blue Alfa Romeo Guilia Spider and the silver grey Porsche 356 Super 90. The uniqueness of the misty light green Allard bonds the toughness of a race car with the lines of a beautifully crafted street car…similarly, the very special light green 1949 Aston Martin DB2 built as a race car, yet to become the now famous street version DB series of Aston Martins.

 

At the opposite extreme are the almost menacing serious business look of the Alfa Typo 33, the Ferrari 512M and the Porsche 917. Their appearance leaves no doubt as to what these cars do for a living. They go fast, they go hard, and they demand the highest level of driving skill to fulfill their purpose. They live on the race track and are almost incapable of civil behavior on a normal road.

 

Finally, we come to three cars that cross all lines of design, function, art and imagination. The mighty 8 cylinder Alfa 8C exemplifies the art deco period of the 1930’s in which this car set the standard of the day. But, by most car people’s reckoning the epitome ofdesign, function and just plain beauty has never been done better than the fabulous two Ferraris; the spectacular yellow 500TRC and the crème de la crème red 250TR, number 9. Similar in looks, but powered quite differently, the TRC with a 190HP 4 cylinder engine with two sidedraft Webers and the TR250 with 12 cylinder 300HP output fueled by sixdowndraft Webers. The 250TR is readily identified by its distinctive “pontoon” front fenders. SeventeenTRCs were built in 1956 and were replaced by the 250TRs in1957. Only nineteen private owner cars and two factory team 250TRs were built in 1957 and ‘58. In 1958 Phil Hill andOliver Gendebien drove a 250TR like this one to victory at the 24 Hours of LeMans. This TR, here today, also raced in the 58 LeMans, until crashing out on the 72nd lap. See the additional story about David Love and his 250TR.

 

We are glad you joined us in celebration of these glorious cars of yesterday and the men who raced them then and still race them today.