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Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Brief Review of Robert Daley's "Cars At Speed: The Grand Prix Circuit" (1961)

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Sometimes you have a classic book right under your nose and don't realize it for quite some time. That certainly was true in the case of Daley's Cars at Speed, a volume totally neglected (Or at least I have not red it in years) on my bookshelf until recently. What an incredible set of chapters on auto racing and the main circuits that were a part of Grand Prix competition to the late 1950s!

First the simple stuff -- there are maps of every major Grand Prix track that was in use during the 1950s:

MILLE MIGLIA


AUTODROMO -- Argentina

MONACO -- Monte Carlo


TARGA FLORIO

ZANDVOORT

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS

















LE MANS




REIMS

SILVERSTONE

OPORTO -- Portugal

NURBURGRING

MONZA


RIVERSIDE


SEBRING

1955


Second are a series of brilliant portrayals of drivers who are linked to each circuit:

Mille Miglia -- Louis Renault (who was bludgeoned to death while on his deathbed foe collaborating with the Germans in WWII) and the mercurial Don Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, seventeenth Marquis de Portage, whose spectacular fatal crash in 1957 ended once and for all this 1000 km  road race.

Autodromo -- the chapter centers on Juan M. Fangio and dictatorJuan D. Peron. I would like to learn for more about racing history in South America, and particularly the racing that Fangio did with Chevrolets and other American cars that shaped his early career. The bloodbath of July 9 is a stunning episode, and with recounting today in some detail.

Monte Carlo -- the focus of this chapter is on Rudy Caracciola, his great successes and the tragedies and accidents surrounding his life. Legs broken, wife lost while on a skiing vacation, Caracciola embodied the driver totally committed to racing -- and the quiet collecting of vintage wines and champagne!

Targa Florido -- A targa is a plaque. First held in 1905, the vision of Vincenzo Florio, from a very wealthy Sicilian family. 630 miles long, it takes 11 hours or more to complete. This race is on public roads. Only death was that of count Giulio Masetti, 1926.


Remainder of chapter summaries will be updated shortly!!
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