Monday, November 17, 2008

Eyes Of The Beholder

There are many reasons why we are attracted to race cars. Sometimes it's simply because it looks fast but there are many more reasons that some cars fall more into the "eye candy" than others. If you have ever been to a high caliber Concourse de Elegance like the one we enjoy here at Pebble Beach and checked out some of the historical race cars then you know what I mean. While I do appreciate some of the finer qualities of some of those beauties if the truth were known I would much prefer to be on a gravel road behind the wheel of a beat up old 57 Ford with open exhaust breaking every law known to man. Like the old saying says, "If it don't go, chrome it." But still, I retain some decorum that allows me to enjoy some of the beauty that is always present in La Carrera Panamericana.

Here are just a few that caught my eye this year in the elegant and beautiful category.

Everyone just loves the 356 Porsches with their rich La Carrera racing history and god knows there were a lot of them this year but here are a couple that really got my attention. The flags painted on these cars were nothing short of eye catching.

#405 Original Panamericana Class Porsche was piloted by F1 driver Jan Lammers and co-piloted by Chris Zegars both from The Netherlands and finished 23rd overall and 2nd in class.

#264 Historic A Porsche piloted by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen and co-piloted by Jeroen Bleekemolen also both from The Netherlands. They finished 22nd overall and 2nd in class.

Another car that really foot the bill was this beautiful #212 Jaguar piloted by Byron DeFoor and co-piloted by David Hinton running in Sport Mayor Class. When I first saw this car the first thing that I thought of was the beautiful BMW that was destroyed last year. Something inside me made me fear this car was just too beautiful to finish this years race and I was sure there was a huge cactus that had the #212 all over it just waiting. They surprised me by finishing a respectable 28th overall and 2nd in class.

Photo Courtesy Of Coop.

Here is another awesome Jaguar. Car #304 running in Historic B Class. Piloted by Juan Osorio and co-piloted by Fernando Gonzalez.

Photo Courtesy Of Coop.

When I was going to Stanford and still racing funny cars Austin Healeys were a favorite choice of car for guys to stuff large V-8's under the hood and go like hell. Had it not been for those days I may never have grown to love the lines on these cars. Great looking #305 piloted by Pascal Devalkeneer and co-piloted by Stephane Dotremont. They did a lot better than Carrol Shelby and Donald Healey did who didn't even finish. They finished 53rd overall and 7th in class.

Photo Courtesy Of Go Fast.

Carroll Shelby once told me about his friendship with Donald Healey owner of Austin Healey. In 1954 Healey and Shelby took one of Healey's cars to Bonneville to set a record and then Healey asked him to race La Carrera Panamericana later that same year. During that race Carroll crashed and flipped 4 or 5 times ands broke some bones. Some Indians got Shelby drunk to ease the pain. Later on after some surgery Carroll teamed up with Phil Hill and raced at Sebring with a cast on his arm which they taped to the steering wheel.

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