No. 1009
August 14, 2019

About The Autoextremist


Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. I get a lot of feedback about these "Favorite Racing Cars" columns, but one recurring question is ever-present: Does contemporary racing still hold my interest? Yes it does, but only up to a point. What's going on in the newly-invigorated IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is really exceptional. I still follow IndyCar closely, and MotoGP remains my favorite. The rest? It's just hit-and-miss for me, especially with F1, because the cars and the sanitized circus leave me cold. And there are still a few NASCAR races worth seeing, but then again, only a very few. 

I've been doing these "Favorite Racing Cars" columns for a few weeks now, including Part I, Part II and Part III, and the response has been overwhelming, both here and on my Twitter feed (@PeterMDeLorenzo). Part of it has to do with enthusiasts of a certain age remembering what first grabbed them about the sport. Where they were, who they were with and what was seared in their memory about the machines when they had the opportunity to see them, not as vintage racers, but "in-period." And part of it has to do with the fact that machines of previous eras undeniably had more visceral appeal, both in terms of the diversity of the looks of the machines themselves, and the sounds they generated as well. 

It's no secret that once technology started to swallow the sport whole, and the "spec" era of motorsport took hold, a lot of that visceral appeal was lost in translation. It is what it is, however, and the clock can't be turned back. Make no mistake, there are some stunning machines in contemporary motorsport as well, and I will get to them eventually. This week, I have no real pattern, just some random images of memorable racing machines in no particular order. I hope you enjoy it.
(Dave Friedman photo)
Nassau, Bahamas, December, 1964. Ken Miles in the No. 98 Shelby American Cobra powered by a 390-cu. in. V8. It was blistering fast, but cooling was obviously an issue!
Monaco, 1967. Jim Clark (No. 12 Team Lotus 33/Climax) races ahead of Dan Gurney (No. 23 Eagle T1G/Weslake) during the Grand Prix of Monaco. 
Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Sunday, August 6, 1967. Bobby Unser in the No. 6 Rislone Eagle/Ford, during the USAC Champ Car race.
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, 1960. The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray racer in its early red livery at Road America.
The magnificent 1938 Auto Union Type D Grand Prix car.
(Petersen Museum)
The fabulous 1954 Mercedes-Benz 196R "streamliner" Grand Prix car photographed at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
The Brabham BT24-Repco, 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.
(Dave Friedman photo)
12 Hours of Sebring, 1964. Ken Miles in the No. 1 Shelby American 427 Cobra prototype (that he shared with John Morton) leads A. J. Foyt in the No. 2 Mecom Racing Team Corvette Grand Sport (that he shared with John Cannon).
(Dave Friedman photo)
Allen Grant in the No. 96 Coventry Motors Cobra, 1963. That's a young George Lucas in the passenger seat. Yes, that George Lucas.
(Bondurant collection)
Bob Bondurant (No. 614 Washburn Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray) is pursued by Ken Miles (No. 298 Shelby American Cobra) in the Dodger Stadium sports car races in 1963. 
Bob Bondurant (No. 614 Washburn Chevrolet Corvette), Riverside, 1961. 

(Dave Friedman photo)
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, September, 1963. The Shelby American Cobra Racing Team transporter as it arrived at Road America for the 500-mile USRRC Race. Things were decidedly different back then...