The latest from Eric's blog
Jim Clark’s first race with the Jaguar TKF9 was on an airfield circuit at Full Sutton in Yorkshire earning him an early place in the record books. He was the first sports car driver to lap a British circuit at over 100mph. The contrast with bumpy Charterhall was profound. Full Sutton had a long 3.2 mile lap and was in perfect condition. The American Air Force had just spent a quarter of a million pounds - a lot of money in 1958 - resurfacing it.
Lewis Hamilton’s virtuoso performance at the Italian Grand Prix was like Jim Clark’s fifty years ago. Clark didn’t win but gave a masterly demonstration. The field was close, not quite hundredths of a second apart like now, with 5sec between the front row of the grid and the back.
Gull-wing doors I don’t find very uplifting. There was some engineering point to them in the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of 1952. Its space frame was stiffened by wide sills that would have obliged Kling and Klenk to climb in through a window. When they are unnecessary I am wary.
I always wanted an Auto Union. My favourite Dinky Toy was an Auto Union record car. I can still feel its fins and spats with a five-year-old’s fingers. Dinky only made it from 1936 to 1940. This is a later one rebuilt and shown at Geneva in 2009. It was in my teens, as what Laurence Pomeroy liked to call a student of motor racing, that I realised how important 1930s Auto Unions had been.
Albrecht Graf von Schlitz, genannt von Goertz von Wrisberg (1914-2006), signed my menu at BMW’s dinner celebrating the 1996 Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Since this is Pebble Beach week I looked at souvenirs of my visits to the sunlit coast of California and one of the world’s best classic car events. It was a match for Goodwood even then.
Motor Shows are changing. London Motor Shows at Olympia or those I attended religiously at Earls Court have long gone. The Paris Salon is a pale shadow, Frankfurt is biennial. Only Geneva survives in anything like its old splendour. Its press days were an occasion.