ATLAS F1   Volume 6, Issue 47 Email to Friend   Printable Version

Atlas F1   Rear View Mirror

Backward glances at racing history

Thoughts Upon Reading the
September 1966 Sports Car Graphic
by Don Capps, U.S.A.

From 1961 until 1971, there appeared in the United States an interesting magazine entitled Sports Car Graphic. While never quite the same in stature as Road & Track or Car and Driver to many, it nevertheless was a nice magazine to spend some time with, especially since its coverage of many American events was quite good. Indeed, often only Competition Press outdid SCG in covering many of the domestic event. Recently, I found some of my copies of SCG and as I read through them I decided to share one of them with you.

I picked one completely at random: September 1966. I just happened to be the one I reached in and picked. By 1966, SCG had changed from its earlier days. From 1961 until the April 1966 issue, the Formula Racing Association had a column - the F.R.A. Bulletin Board - in practically each issue. This organization started as a 500cc Formula 3 racing association and was centered on the West Coast - California. Also, the extensive coverage of SCCA National events and other SCCA events was now reduced significantly.

On the cover are three photographs of Jackie Stewart. The top one shows Stewart in the cockpit of his car at Indianapolis. The center photograph shows him in action at Monaco, with the third photograph showing Stewart in "civilian" attire - also at Monaco. The cover announces, "JACKIE STEWART: The Second Sizzling Scot!" However, the story perched above the magazine's title gives a better idea of where the heart of the magazine often was: "TRACO: A Racing Monopoly?"

Did I mention that SCG was a part of Petersen Publishing, who also published the immortal Hot Rod Magazine and many others of that sort?

For those who remember, the advertisement on page three is for MG Mitten, without which no self-respecting MG owner would be without. Own an Alfa? No problem, order an "Alfa Apron." Own a Sprite? Order a "Sprite Spat." Own a ...., well you get the idea. I had a "Healey Hugger" that survived my Healey collection. Facing the page of contents, discover that for a mere $1,765 you can own a Ford Cortina, East Coast Port of Entry. For Lotus Cortina will set you back $3,419.70 on the East Coast and $3,507.25 on the West Coast. On page seven, STP reminds you that the first eight finishers at Indianapolis used their product. Then Goodyear follows with a two page spread announcing its sweep of "Daytona, Sebring, and now Le Mans." In the picture, there are probably a dozen Ford GT cars of various types, GT40 and Mark II.

Hey! I often find the advertisements the best and most entertaining parts of reading old magazines. On page 10, we discover that D-A Speed-Sport Oil gets the endorsement of Norm Nelson. Who? For those not in the know, we are informed that Mr. Nelson is the 1960 USAC Stock Car Champion - as well as the current (1966) points leader, was second in 1961 and 1964, and Car Owner Champion in 1963. On the facing page, the Rootes Division of Chrysler reminds you that for a paltry $2,468 (on the East Coast) they will sell you a Sunbeam Alpine V. Throw in an additional $1,100 and you can have a Sunbeam Tiger - complete with its Ford 260 V-8....

Page 12 finds us reading "Around the World in 30 Days," the SCG news wrap-up. It lists the provisional calendar for 1967. The South African race is listed to be held at East London and the French race at Rouen. Another item notes that after misplacing his "Hertz Sports Car Club" card, Carroll Shelby had to spend over two hours trying to convince the Hertz lady that he was qualified to dive one of the GT-350H machines that he wanted to rent.

Nice picture of Graham Hill in the his Indianapolis-winning Lola in a Raybestos advertisement on page 15. The ad also lists the part numbers and prices per pad for a variety of high-performance pads that could be used. The pads - each - for a "hot" Triumph TR-4 would set you back $9.75.

The Petersen Publishing Company was a tad involved in politics so on page 18 the monthly "Washington Report" had the headline: "Is Your Sports Car Too Small to be Legal?" The headline is the result of the US Senate passing 'auto safety' legislation. The outcry in the column is that the US Government could define minimum standards for motor vehicles which "... could ultimately stop the importation of low horsepower vehicles. [It] could also require power steering, power brakes, and even air conditioners."

On page 22 we finally reach the articles!

From pages 22 to 27 and then continued on pages 68 and 69, John Blunsden covers the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The article touches on the PR goof of Ford and its "dead heat" finish - where Ken Miles and Denis Hulme and then Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon were declared the winners.

Joseph Lowrey has an interesting article for the technical types on pages 28 to 31 and then continued on page 66. Using the stroke/bore ratio of 0.8:1, Lowrey calculated that a 3-litre engine with 32 cylinders with the dimensions of 53.0mm x 42.4mm at 14,400rpm should produce 565hp. Right. And that a V-8 with the dimensions of 84.2mm x 67.4mm could expect 365hp at 9,050rpm. Whatever. On pages 30 and 31 there are some nice pictures of engines that are truly interesting: two are of the 1966 McLaren with the Serenissima or the Ford installed. Others show the bulk of the Maserati V-12 and BRM H-16 used during that season.

Then follows the Jackie Stewart profile by John Blunsden. He was a used quite by SCG and is listed as their European Editor. Then follows another article by the ubiquitous Mr. Blunsden on the 1000 Kilometer races at Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring. Really nice picture - even if the color is a bit sickly - of the Nürburgring-winning Chaparral 2D of Phil Hill and Joakim Bonnier. Another neat photo of the 2D is in the article. There is a nice picture of the Ferrari 330P4 which Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti drove to victory at Spa.

Next we find a report on the "On Wisconsin" SCCA National Rally by the rally editor, Jean Calvin. This is something of a holdover from the past where coverage of such events was routine. I rarely read them, but I assume some one did: the two page lead ('continued on page 74') has seven pictures, four in color. This is a time when color photography on the inside of motoring magazines is quite rare.

We finally reach the center of the magazine and a report on the Trans-American Championship event at Mid-America Raceway at Wentzville, Missouri. The SCG answer to Henry N. Manney III was W.R.C. Shedenhelm. While not as witty as HNM, he did know how to operate within the confines of the existing SCG formula: the statistics are in the story... . This meant the readers had to read the stories and not refer to tables or other such aids to find out who ended up where. There is a center spread of a painting by George Bartell of the Trans-Am two-litre cars in action. There is an Alfa Romeo leading a BMW and a Ford Cortina. It is a really nice painting.

Now, on page 44, we get to the article that is still worth reading even today: "TRACO, A Racing Monopoly?" by Bob Kovacik. The lead has a two page spread of a commercial area that could been almost anywhere in the US in the mid-1960's. Very dingy, really run-down looking area. There is a Plymouth from about 1950 or so, a 1962 or so Corvair, a 1961 Ford, a 1959 Ford, an early Dodge, and Ford pickup on the street and a 1966 Mustang parked off to the side. A billboard tells us that "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?" opens on July 1 at the Chinese theatre. There is a sign for Helen's Café ("Open 6:30 to 3:30, closed Sat"). Then there is a sign with Champion spark plugs on the side of a building with "TRACO Engineering" above the Champion logo. This was the place for horsepower freaks in the days when production block Chevrolets were just making their way into cars the ran on road courses. Jim Travers and Frank Coon are somehow forgotten today by most, but to many of us, a small block Chevy in a sports car could only come from one place: Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City, California. A really nice article.

Next: The SCCA Nationals at Mid-Ohio. Anybody here remember G-Modified? Or the Yenko Stinger? How about Formula A, B, and C? The Elva-BMW?

Then there is Road Test 10/66. The subject is the Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider. The article is written by a stalwart of SCG, Jerry Titus. Titus was a good engineer, a good writer, and a better driver than many often credited him with being. In this relatively short report, he practically gushes about the car. So did many others about a year and a half or so later when The Graduate hit the theatres. Yep, this is that Alfa Romeo... . In California, you could roll home in one for a mere $3,950. Unusual for the day, it had a five-speed gearbox.

W.R.C. Shedenhelm returns with an article on the Golden State Slalom at Santa Maria.

The Belgian Grand Prix is covered by the good Mr. Blunsden. The picture on page 57 is one of the few I have seen of the start of the race. I was a bit surprised when I realized that. You can see the camera car with Phil Hill at the back of the grid and the terrible start that Dan Gurney got. He is already several car lengths back from everyone - even the camera car! However, there is a picture of Gurney with a huge grin on his face that is really great. Indeed, I did not realize that this was where the picture was! I wasted weeks looking for it in Road & Track!

Blunsden once again with an technical report on the "Brabham 12 ½" - the prototype of the planned Repco-powered Brabham sports racer.

Then Bob Kovacik writes about the US Road Racing Championship event at Watkins Glen. This article has a photograph of a driver in action that is really quite rare: Buck Fulp in his Lola 70 - Chevrolet on his way to his second USRRC victory that season. And in the same picture is the Cooper of Oscar Koveleski, which has to be seen to be believed. This was the return of Fulp to the series since he had suffered an eye injury when a rock penetrated the lens his goggles during the Las Vegas event and had been sidelined due to a subsequent infection that set in. Fulp was then 28 years old and was from Anderson, South Carolina. I wonder what happened to him since after this season he practically vanishes. This is also the race where Mark Donohue had his new Penske Lola 70 - Chevrolet get crispy crittered after a crash involving John Cannon and Joe Buzzetta.

Then a self-promotion for the "Wonderful World of Wheels" to be seen on CBS on September 8 sponsored by Du Pont ('IN Livid color'). If you were to tune in you would see: Lloyd Bridges narrating from the Silhouette; Fabian in a go-kart race; Bob Fuller 'flailing cross-country on a Honda'; and Ken Miles 'hot-lapping Riverside in a camera-equipped Cobra.' Sadly, by the time the show aired Ken Miles was dead, killed while testing the new Ford GT 'J-Car' at Riverside.

Then we are into the 'to be continued on page whatever' part of the magazine. SCG was one of the few magazines of its type to run cartoons and there are many sprinkled throughout the magazine. Many are really quite funny, even today.

On page 69 there is an advertisement for a model kit of the Mecom Lola T70 in 1/25th scale. On page 74 the Petersen Film Library will be happy to send you in 8mm all the action of the 1964 Grand Prix at Riverside or the 1965 Yankee "300" or the 1965 Smokers (Bakersfield). If you have to ask about the latter, you will never understand... .

One of my favorites in the issue is a teeny little advertisement on page 79. It is for the Terlingua Racing Team (Carroll Shelby, Director). Send your $3 to the Terlingua Racing Team, 1000 Vaughn Building, Dallas, Texas and receive a certificate, card, and 4 x 5 color decal. Wish I could find my Terlingua decal - but that is assuming it is still attached to my Speedster....

Thanks for coming with me on this little jaunt. Magazines are just wonderful time machines. While long gone, SCG is anything but forgotten to some of us. Out of curiosity, I looked at the one just below the issue I selected. It was from September 1964 and had a road test of a Turner Mk. II and you can buy a plastic car kit of a Lotus Mk. 11 from Autobooks for $2.25 - no tools necessary.

See you next time.

Don Capps© 2000 Kaizar.Com, Incorporated.
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