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Have any of you Driven a Race Car on the Road?

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by furmano, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. ClassicFerrari

    ClassicFerrari F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jan 7, 2004
    16,798
    Toronto
    Full Name:
    Vasco
    Thread of the month! Literally ;)
     
  2. BuzzedHornet

    BuzzedHornet Rookie

    Feb 9, 2008
    37
    This thread and this post in particular reminds me of a story that also took place about 30 or so years ago. My uncle owned / raced a McLaren M8D at that time in SCCA Sports Car Class A. It was the big home race of the year (the Rose Cup in Portland, OR) and he grenaded the engine during practice on Friday. It was early enough in the day to get a new Chev crate big block on a truck from Detroit and on the road. They packed up the paddock and took everything back to the shop, his garage at home, thinking there was no way it would arrive in time. Too everyone's surprise a semi pulled in at 10pm Saturday night. Lynn called the crew and they started working on building the engine and getting it installed in the car. He lived in a then sleepy town called Lake Oswego, Or. They got the engine in and got it started, timing set and so on, running a CanAm thunder car in your garage in a small community at 3:30am wasn't the best idea, the cops showed up shortly after they started tuning telling him to shut it down. But they needed to put a few miles on it before going to the race later that same day. So about 30mins after the cops left they started it back up and he went for a rip (no lights on the car either). My mom and aunt were so pissed at everyone (I was just a kid and thought it was cool but I wanted to sleep). The cops got many calls that morning about a loud car running around, but couldn't find him so they just came back to the house and waited. Somehow he talked his way out of getting arrested and they loaded the car in the trailer and headed back to PIR.

    Race day wasn't any better than practice after all that work. In the drivers meeting everyone voted that they didn't want Lynn behind him on the grid, expect pole sitter Monte Shelton, who said he could start behind him. Not bad considering that they missed qualifying all together. Then on the grid the new engine vapor locked and he never even started the race!
     
  3. Terry Buffum

    Terry Buffum Rookie

    Jun 29, 2008
    4
    Bend, Oregon, USA
    Full Name:
    Terrill E. Buffum
    In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I drove the 4.1 liter barchetta back and forth from Berkeley (Steve Griswold's shop) to our home in Palo Alto a few times, and also from home to Laguna Seca, Pebble Beach, and the Sears Point track for events. Usually hung the license plate from another car - was stopped once, luckily had the plate and registration from the Lusso that day.

    Not in the same league as driving the pure race cars on the street, but enough excitement watching out for inattentive drivers or those with far better brakes.
     
  4. OldRacer

    OldRacer Rookie

    Apr 4, 2010
    29
    Miami to Monaco (MM)
    Full Name:
    Allen Markelson
    Ed I believe I raced that 2liter for Chinetti in US or Nassau or 1960 Cuban GP; which was the last CUBAN GP as Castro was already in power. Had lunch with him.

    During lunch i sat just across from him, his english was excellent. A waiter came by holding high one of those large aluminum trays loaded with our dirty dishs. He slipped and the tray crashed to the floor. Thinking he had been shot at Castro dove under the table !
    We drivers never even flinched. I looked at Stirl & we laughed. A rather disheveled Castro crawled out from under the table while all his fellow"Revolutionaries" tried to act as if they hadn't noticed. The man is a coward.
    And yes, we often drove our cars to the track. Thou it wasn't always without incident.
    One time I drove Max Hoffmann's factory 300SL from NYC to Miami Beach to make the boat to the 1955 Nassau Speed Week-a 3 week party occasionally interrupted by racing.
    On the last bit we were following a Ferrari 250GT down Collins Avenue stopping every few blocks at a red lite. I knew the Ferrari's fan was a rule beater and could never cool the engine at th is pace.
    SUDDENLY an arm holding a Lugar came out the right window (all factory 250GTs were RH drive).
    He took aim and shot out the offending red lite ! And so it went all the way down Collins to the boat docks. Where, of course, every cop car in Miami Beach were waiting--guns drawn.
    This fat Police Chief was screaming at the Ferrari driver who calmly reached into his jacket and pulled out a Red (diplomatic) Passport. After we stopped laughing Max's mechanic and I introduced ourselves to The Marquis de Portago. "Fon" was third-in-line to the Spanish throne.
    Boys, those truly were the "Golden Years" of road racing. We were lucky to have been there and even luckier to have survived them. I figured I drove in 320 plus races over 10 years finishing as a pro USAC driver. Only quit cause I got married. It was no fun for the wives, believe me. For example, Stirl lost Katie Molson Moss as she couldn't take the strain any longer; as our friends died one by one. Fon and the entire first 9 man Ferrari factory team died. That's why Enzo stopped going to the GP races.
    All for now.
    Ciao,
    Allen M.
     
  5. RichardLane

    RichardLane Rookie

    Apr 6, 2009
    32
    Sydney, Australia
    Full Name:
    Richard Lane
    #55 RichardLane, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
    I’ve driven a few race cars on the road – all legally, all “Father Dearest’s”. In “forum interest” order:

    1965 275 GTB “Competion Clienti” AKA 275 GTB/C AKA all sorts of other names. The 1965 Le Mans reserve car, one of the 10 (or 12 – references vary) cars built. This one gets a lot of road miles, Dad drove it Sydney to Melbourne and back again for the Australian Grand Prix, where it appeared in the “classic Ferarri” support event and was (I believe) fastest round the track. I’ve had the pleasure of blasting it around our suburb, but not much else as a driver – I do have some track time as a passenger.

    1931 Type 51 Bugatti. Full-on Grand Prix car from ’31, and one of the last that could be road registered. I’ve done Targa Tasmania as a navigator in this car twice, and driven a few of the non-competition legs.

    1929 Bentley Speed Six. Pre-eminent Le Mans car of the late 20s. The one we had wasn’t a competition car, but still rather quick for something of this era. Utterly staggering amounts of torque... then again, when you’re over a litre a cylinder in a very long-stroke engine, this is, perhaps, unsurprising. Especially when bored out to more like 7.5 litres....

    A late-50s one-off Lotus that was a cross between a 6 and an Eleven. Mark Six bodywork & chassis over Mark Eleven suspension (De-Dion rear-end with inboard brakes. Depends if you call it a race car. Today's equivalent would be an Ariel Atom, or a Lotus Exige.

    A late 50s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder, in full-blown road-rally trim (built for classic tarmac rallies). 105 running gear, race-spec dry sump 2 litre engine, etc, etc. Too heavily modified to be competitive (handicap penalties), Dad didn’t keep it long (we started taking the Bug instead). Technically road-legal....

    I believe Dear Dad may have driven more than one of his Formula One 60’s Brabhams up and down his street “to make sure they’re working” (yeah, right) before loading them on the trailer for a race meet.
     
  6. Ferrarinw2

    Ferrarinw2 Five Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 7, 2006
    54,477
    #56 Ferrarinw2, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  7. VIZSLA

    VIZSLA Four Time F1 World Champ
    Owner

    Jan 11, 2008
    41,190
    Sarasota
    Full Name:
    David
    Might as well retire the thread now.
    No one's gonna top that;)
     
  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Honorary

    Oct 23, 2002
    32,118
    Full Name:
    Jim Glickenhaus
  9. F328GTS/GTB

    F328GTS/GTB Formula Junior

    May 3, 2005
    517
    France
    Full Name:
    Denis
    Sorry no picture to show, but I think most of you know the famous story where Jacques Swaters came back from Maranello to Belgium by road with a 500 F2.

    He drove the car even in the night (should have been a bit dangerous..), and when he had to pass the Belgium frontier, he just pull down the small windscreen, and accelerate. God, the sound of the car should have been fantastic: poor (or lucky!) frontier guard !

    The car and Jacques arrived safe and the car could race the next day. I don't know the race results, even if I expect it to be very good.

    It was other times, other rule. Would you imagine Stefano drive a F2010 till to a GP track ?...
     
  10. sltillim

    sltillim Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 22, 2009
    1,227
    San Diego
    Full Name:
    Spencer Tillim
    Thanks for showing a pic of the old Dino Ed. My mother dated Bill S. for a number of years and I played pit crew for him as a 10 year old.

    Spencer
     
  11. ggjjr

    ggjjr Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    828
    Detroit
    Full Name:
    George
    Allen,
    please only stop typing similar stories for the essentials: eating, sleeping, and......

    George
     
  12. ssperka

    ssperka Rookie

    Sep 23, 2005
    3
    Tryon, NC
    Full Name:
    Scott
    I wish I had something more than an old Turner race car to talk about driving on the streets in my hometown of Neenah, Wisc., Jim and Bill Kimberly's home town, but I don't I did note, however, that the lovely sign commemorating Jim's contributions to the origins of racing in Elkhart, back in Post #8 I think, they put the wrong middle initial on the sign. His middle initial was H, not S. I can't tell you what it stood for.

    Actually, I just remembered a better occasion when I did drive the ex-Mecom/Hansgen Lola T70 SL70/6 on my local Tryon, NC streets after I rebuilt the carbs for a friend of a friend, back in the early 80s. I got some great shots of it back in '65 at the Road America 500 and got to drive it years later, yippee!!!

    I am thoroughly enjoying the "real" stories of driving racers on public roads in this thread. Great fun !!!
    -Scott
     
  13. tr0768

    tr0768 Formula Junior

    Oct 28, 2008
    715
    maltby wa
    Full Name:
    Howard Musolf
    My first Ferrari was a 1959 Testa Rossa factory race car. This was the last front engine series cars. I purchased this as a repo from a finance company in 1965 for the princely sum of $2500.00.

    I found and assembled the motor that was missing when I bought the car. I had a wonderful time driving this car up and down the freeways and side streets for sometime in the Seattle area. I sold the car for $12,500.00 around 1970 to buy my first house. What a mistake!!!!!!!! Lost the house in a divorce and the Ferrari was sold a couple of years ago for 4.5 mil.

    Howard Musolf
    1982 400i Cabriolet
    Maserati spider
    2 many brass era cars
     
  14. El Wayne

    El Wayne Global Moderator
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    Aug 1, 2002
    17,966
    San Marino, CA
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    L. Wayne Ausbrooks
    #64 El Wayne, Apr 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  15. JazzyO

    JazzyO F1 World Champ

    Jan 14, 2007
    11,854
    The Netherlands
    Full Name:
    Onno
    Seems like the understatement of the year. ;)


    Onno
     
  16. GrayTA

    GrayTA F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jun 25, 2006
    14,150
    Deep South
    Full Name:
    PDG


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    This is what makes FChat what it is. Two of the most amazing posts ever on FChat - simply epic, IMO.


    PDG
     
  17. dan360

    dan360 F1 Rookie

    Feb 18, 2003
    2,669
    Boston
    #67 dan360, Apr 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Great thread.

    Just had this delivered on Friday to my house after it spent the winter in storage.

    It has a high compression twin spark race motor, and two exhaust options. The "quiet" option has a muffler about the size of a coke can and with this one installed it is comfortably the loudest vehicle I have ever owned.

    When I bought it there was a carbon/carbon clutch and non-existent flywheel installed. It was extremely challenging to drive. I've now downgraded that to a race clutch and lightweight flywheel and its practically civilized.

    I said to my wife "lets go for lunch" and she managed about 4 miles before she requested a change of lunch venue to one only 6 miles from our house as opposed to the planned 30 miles.

    The following day I found out that the fuel gauge is stuck on 3/4 having assumed the boys had kindly put some fuel in it.

    Had to be rescued by my kind wife and a gas can.

    This car really does show how exciting going relatively slow can be :)
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  18. krasnavian

    krasnavian Formula 3

    Dec 24, 2003
    2,124
    Los Angeles/Paris
    My GTO was a daily driver for a few years. Peter Smith of Malibu drove his LM almost daily on the streets and I recall often seeing a Lola coupe owned by a fellow named Bohanon on L.A. freeways. And let's not forget Ettinger with the Breadvan and Ed Niles left a number a race cars out of his wonderful photo post.
     
  19. VIZSLA

    VIZSLA Four Time F1 World Champ
    Owner

    Jan 11, 2008
    41,190
    Sarasota
    Full Name:
    David
    I look forward to seeing, and hearing, it about.
     
  20. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    17,673
    Tauranga, NZ
    Full Name:
    Pete
    Real one? History?

    I'd put a bigger muffler on it and drive it almost everyday :). Lucky man.
    Pete
     
  21. dan360

    dan360 F1 Rookie

    Feb 18, 2003
    2,669
    Boston
    Yes - there are some stories, but it competed in Le Mans in '64 (DNF) and a bunch of other period races. The car has been inspected by Alfa luminaries and it has original chassis stampings and we have the original engine from the Le Mans papers from '64.

    I have the "bigger" muffler installed which is still obnoxiously loud. I will however be driving it to work tomorrow :)
     
  22. billnoon

    billnoon Formula 3
    BANNED

    Aug 22, 2003
    1,176
    La Jolla, California
    Full Name:
    Bill Noon
    Congratulations Dan, many miles of trouble free smiles for you and your family!

    T-Zed Ones and Twos remain high on my list of perfect "Machine/Man/Moment." They have few equals, even in our modern age of near perfect production daily drivers.

    By the way... my goodness, I have been pestered enough by so many.... Yes, I get to play on public roads every day with a racer from one era or another. I have not responded before to this post because, I honestly do not remember the last time I did not drive a race car at least once a day on a public road. The nearest race track is four hours a way so not much choice if I want to do some testing or demo runs.

    Today's list included an Ex-Werks Team 910 Porsche, Lotus Le Mans MK IX and a 914/6GT. My regular daily driver remains an homologated FIA GT racer. Of course, I miss the 375MM, Testa Rossa, GTO, 166 Le Mans Berlinetta and oh so many others.

    Earlier this week I had some fun in an FIA Cobra. Those are way more fun than any of the three Cobra Daytona Coupes I had in years gone by.

    Once of the most memorable has to have been the 206SP Dino at full song to the store and then back to my house. Three valves, twin-plugs and Lucas Indirect MFI coupled to the shortest ring and pinion any engineer ever had the nerve to come up with made for some wicked fun. 10,000RPM shifts and a top speed of barely 100mph made for one very interesting ride. Raced that one once in Montery, then drove it back to the hotel when the race was over. Almost as much fun through down-town Monterey as it was though the cork-screw!

    Got pulled over once in the P3/P3-4/330CanAm/350CanAm/412P (whatever Jim wants to call it) by the boys in blue one day and gave them the dead straight answer... "Why yes officer, I do have a racing license. Do you by chance no where there might be a race today?" Traded out of the ticket on that one by letting the gentleman come back to the store on his day off and letting him take his girlfriend to lunch in it. Gave another one of San Diego's finest a ride in an 860 Monza and 250TR one saturday afternoon. He gave me one of his business card's and said to have whoever pulled me over the next time to call him. Got nailed in a 360N-GT a few weeks later for being too loud. (Probably was not following me for very long or the list of infractions would be a bit longer!) Gave him my license and told him what I did. Explained that the car was ludicrously illegal for use on a public road and also asked if he new officer X. He called him and gave me an escort back to the store. Came back when his shift was over and let him play with a tired old Shelby GT350, the car of his high-school dreams.

    Probably wont ever have a more unique run then the one in the 49 Ferrari F1/F2/Formula Libre Supercharged Methanol monster I had at Cavallino a dozen or so years ago. The sounds and smell that car gave off left me and anyone I passed dizzy. Clutchless shifting that darling was to simply die for. Absolutely no flywheel effect at all. The darn thing sounded like 12 scalded chipmunks sprinting to their death on the world's tiniest tread-wheel at 7,000RPM!

    Its hard to imagine that I have been doing this for more than 20 years now. Cant imagine what the future holds in store. Suppose one day I will have my cold dead fingers pried loose from the remains of some twisted and melted Nardi wheel stuck to some burnt out hulk. Could be worse. My chosen and educated profession had me counter-charging mines in less than garden-spot parts of the world. Cant say I really miss that too much.

    Like always... when I die, I still want to come back as me!

    Cheers,

    Bill
     
  23. billnoon

    billnoon Formula 3
    BANNED

    Aug 22, 2003
    1,176
    La Jolla, California
    Full Name:
    Bill Noon
    Almost forgot about the old Phil Hill / Bill Serri 2.9 Alfa MM Spyder. What a hoot! Like usual, Bill was major late on paying dozens back on money he had borrowed and we covered his bills by getting the 2.9 as collateral. My principals got tired of all the excuses on lack of repayment and asked what the car was worth if we had to get lien on it and repo it. I spent a weekend playing with it around town. All I can say is WOW!

    Hope Ralph enjoys it as much as I did before it got scraped and painted shiny red!

    Cheers,

    Bill
     
  24. krasnavian

    krasnavian Formula 3

    Dec 24, 2003
    2,124
    Los Angeles/Paris
    Sounds like you had as much fun with it as anyone could!
     
  25. JazzyO

    JazzyO F1 World Champ

    Jan 14, 2007
    11,854
    The Netherlands
    Full Name:
    Onno
    :)

    Love the TZ1. Lucky man indeed.



    Onno
     

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