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Walt Hansgen... crew-cut and chewing gum


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#1 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:29

As a young lad growing up in the Antipodes in the 1950's, I was raised on Moss, Brooks and Brabham and our local heroes...BRDC and F1 Pucka racing

However, my interest as a Jaguar boy, via Autosport, was always, apart from from Lofty England and UK Jaguar , in Briggs Cunningham,Alfred Mono and Walt Hansgen.

It seemed to me ,that Hansgen, was every aussie boy's hero..sporting,decent, Jaguar loving and the very best US sports car driver there ever was..from DType, Lister. Birdcage, T70 and GT40. "The Society for the Prevention of Walt Hansgen Victories" ..sure he looked like a marine but he was a nice man.

As much as an Aussie who was brought up on "Road America" et al knows it all, I would love to hear from Americans about those times and how they rate their Walt.

Beware, many Australians will confuse motor racing with their current media corrupted taxicab brain washng..IGNORE ......they can talk elsewhere.

Lets keep this about Walt Hansgen

Stan Patterson
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#2 scags

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:39

One of Walt's earlier race cars was the Hansgen Special, an XK-120 with a home made body. I saw it at Lime Rock a couple of weeks ago, and I'll post a picture of it later today. Also, the Cunnignham D-Type was there, looking totaly un restored. Pictures to follow.

#3 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:57

scags,

Please follow up''

Jaguar's impact on USA racing still has not been fully assessed.

Both Walt and Briggs seem to be misplaced .quite beyond the compression of our 05 aussie wankers.

Ed Crawford interests me also

it seems like u have let a lot of history slide away

Stan
I saw two D types
Patterson








uiasrs

#4 scags

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:01

http://img406.images...lrock002rp7.jpg

#5 scags

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:09

http://img340.images...lrock001zf2.jpg

#6 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:20

Beautiful scags

I assume that is a recent pic at one of your magnificent historic meetings....lovely

So how do you rate Walt, against Hill, Gregory,Crawford, Ginther and Gurney?

Stan
Old Aussie Grump

#7 275 GTB-4

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:21

TNF has a search facility.

http://forums.autosp...ghlight=Hansgen

http://forums.autosp...ghlight=Hansgen

#8 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 12:44

Thanks Mr 275GTB

I am more interested in Walt as a driver and his Jaguar connection...I must say i found the politics of US racing in the book rather tedious.

I am more interested in his relationship with Scott-Brown and Brian Lister, his lap times compared to Moss and even Beub and Jensen.

I admire the guy..he destoyed the mythical 300SL with his XK150S and was a real racing driver and was always sportsman.

The US had amazing sports car racng in that era, with a breathtaking variety of cars and drivers...and to a schoolboy in Au, Walt was always winning in his Jag.

So, where did he stand?

Stan
With his Old Autosports

"Lime Rock,,Road America...."

#9 scags

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 20:04

It was well before my time, but from what I know, his main contempory(and teamate), was John Fitch. He drove past me two weeks ago in his self designed car, but i didn't get a chance to say hello. As far as I know, Fitch, Hill, and Greogory were rated a bit higher than Walt, and had more International opportunities. When the 60's arrived, Walt had the shot with Ford, but also the accident.

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 20:56

I guess you mean Mike Argetsinger's book, Stan?

If so, I'm glad you have it and have read it. Though it seems you have missed the point of the book while doing so.

What Mike has done is he's chosen a driver who was at the forefront of US racing through its formative post-war years, telling the story of the development of racing along with the story of that driver. Hansgen is, of course, the central figure, and the book is devoted to showing what kind of a driver he was and how successful he was. It also weaves his family life and business life into the story.

In other words, it would be hard to write a more complete story on the man. The one area in which Mike could have fallen down, and I don't say that he has, is in his rejection of character assassination. Mike doesn't throw mud at others, if there's anything unsavory about them he simply avoids the issue.

The politics of racing are an intrinsic part of the Hansgen story. They are the reason he didn't run at certain races and the reason he drove certain cars at times. I'm sorry you missed that point.

Mike is currently well advanced with his work on Mark Donohue, who was something of a Hansgen protege and who followed through over the next decade in a similar winning style. His story will also be wrapped in the shroud of the tale of the changes wrought in US racing over that period, I'm sure.






PS. Stan, I doubt that there's more than two or three here who put tintops ahead of openwheelers. How about you lay off the constant jibes?

#11 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 22:13

Thanks Ray,

It is an era that fascinates me and yes, the history of the politics of US sports car racing is necessary to give the complete picture of WH, but I was trying to say, I dont see why it is any more necessary in a book about Walt than it it would be in any other book on a US driver of that period.

The book is a rivetting read and my comments were not meant to be destructive criticism.

We get a picture of Walt the man - not only was he brilliantly and consistently fast, but he seems also to have been a gentleman in every sense of the word - all of which makes his needless loss even more tragic.

Also, Briggs Cunningham comes across as the nicest of men and I am surprised there hasn't been a book written about him - maybe I am wrong there. ( I still have my Dinky Toy Cunningham fC5R from 1955 so maybe I am biased !)

And yes I hope we can keep this thread free of the disease.

Stan Patterson

#12 RA Historian

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 22:55

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
Also, Briggs Cunningham comes across as the nicest of men and I am surprised there hasn't been a book written about him - maybe I am wrong there. ( I still have my Dinky Toy Cunningham fC5R from 1955 so maybe I am biased !) Stan Patterson

A book came out in 1993 about Briggs. It was published by Classic Motorbooks and entitled "Cunningham, The Life and Cars of Briggs Swift Cunningham" by Dean Batchelor and Al Bochroch. A very well done book, with profuse illustrations. I recommend it if you can find a copy.

Mike Argetsinger's book about Walt Hansgen is magnificent. Tells the story indeed. I could list some Hansgen stories and accomplishments here, but really, Mike has already said it.
Tom

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 23:20

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
It is an era that fascinates me and yes, the history of the politics of US sports car racing is necessary to give the complete picture of WH, but I was trying to say, I don't see why it is any more necessary in a book about Walt than it it would be in any other book on a US driver of that period.....


You have to understand Mike's background here, I think, Stan...

He's the son of Cameron Argetsinger, the moving force behind Watkins Glen from 1948 until into the seventies. From his perspective, these 'political' events were unfolding all the time around the racers of the day. And the direction their racing took was dependent on their attitude to the 'political' players.

This makes the book much more of an educational and historical document than any mere biography ever could. And as you have said, it was 'necessary to give the complete picture'.

.....The book is a rivetting read and my comments were not meant to be destructive criticism.....


I'm sure your clarification has ensured that is understood.

#14 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 23:22

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#15 Stan Patterson

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 23:29

Thanks RA,

I will try and get a copy..may be difficult out here in the geat southern land, but i have few sources and of course, EBay!!!!!.

The amateur/professional thing in the WH book reminds me of the hypocricsy that surrounded world tennis throughout the 1950's and 60's thus preventing the world's best players from competing in the major tournaments. The division prevented the best amateurs and professionals from competing against each other and when a really good amateur such as Rod Laver reached the top, he had to "turn" pro to be able to compete agianst the acknowledged best and then it was literally on street corners.

It sounds very much as though Walt Hansgen was in a not dis-similar situation in US sports car racing during the 1950's.

Hmm..very interesting

Stan

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 23:32

Wow! We're into the bump steer here!

Was this car modified for 1965, or a new car built?

#17 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 06:38

Ray,

That is one lovely looking Lotus/Cooper - like car.....

Bump steer occurs when the pivot point for the steering arm is at a different location to the wishbone pivot point. In that case where, Arc = radius x degrees in radians, and iwhen the suspension sweeps a different arc to the steering link, one gets bump steer. If the radius differs,the arc differs and the steering is at odds with the direction of the wheels .

I can speak from bitter experience because CAMS will not let me change my steering link to make my car driveable.....grr

Stan
Bridgehampton, Road America

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 06:43

Stands out like doggys' here, Stanley...

The steering arms are nearly at the same height as the top wishbone, but at a totally different angle!

What car do you have trouble with?

#19 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:18

Posted Image
Posted Image

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#20 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:20

why does it have to be so hard??/

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:24

Because you don't look below the pic on the Imageshack page...

'Hotlink for Forums (1)' is the line you copy and paste.

Let's see if I can rescue it:

Posted Image

#22 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:39

Thanks Ray,

Note the pivot point for the steering arm versus the wishbone pivot.....Arc= R x Angle in Radians

Believe me... Calder's main straight is not smooth and every bump is a weave...plus the wind tunnel affect of the NASCAR dome

But the Conspiracsy Against Motor Sport will not let me change it ..better to die authentically i guess...


Stan

#23 David McKinney

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:02

Stan
Like you, my knowledge of US sportscar racing in that period came almost exclusively from Autosport, and left a clear impression that Hansgen was King.
These views were confirmed when I subsequently learned about his domination of the SCCA Championship (or at least his class thereof) for so long.
What I didn’t realise until many years later was that the SCCA Championship was pretty much an east coast series, and Hansgen was an east coast driver.
He rarely appeared in west coast racing (apart from the big ‘fall’ meetings), and this region was largely ignored by Autosport (apart from the big ‘fall’ meetings)
This means we knew little of the exploits in the Hansgen period of Jack McAfee, Bill Murphy, Chuck Daigh, Bob Drake, Billy Krause, Ken Miles, Pete Lovely or John von Neumann, except on the rare occasions they raced in the east. The same applies to Phil Hill, Richie Ginther and Dan Gurney before they made their names outside the US.
And nor was US sportscar racing limited to the coastal states. Every other region had their heroes too: Augie Pabst and Harry Heuer in the Central Region, and Jack Hinkle, Dan Collins and others in the southern states, to name but a few.
Much as I admire Walt Hansgen’s achievements, I don’t think he can be accliamed the best of the US bunch without taking into consideration those other stars against whom he rarely raced.

#24 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:05

Scags,

Walt went to UK in 1958, he matched himself against the World Benchmark, which was honourable, I think we these days,forget just how great Sir Stirling was...the ULTIMATE yardstick

Walt was happy to measure his lap times against Moss...he was a true sportsman.

Later, at Snetterton, Walt saw off New Zealander Ross Jenson , who was no mean punter in his own right, and in so doing, impressed all the Brit media...

I was moved by his relationship with Archie....it was clear that mutual respect and a love of motor racing prevailed.

I just wish he had gone over to Uk earlier and proved himself, i am sure he was of the top shelf

In the meantime, Iam sure, he is an american to be proud of.

Stan
Old Aussie Road America Fan
Bridgehampton

#25 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:44

David,

I am just starting to understand US racing of that period.

Autosport of that time, never mind Motor Sport, who reported on the East Hampshire Mud Trials, gave me an impression of US racing ...multi D types, DB3S's, every Ferrari and Maser imaginable..i was enthralled ...

It seemed to me .Walt was a hero..he always won ..and he always drove a Jag..I now realise it was whatever coast.....

I am not qualified or willing to get into a debate about East versus West...that is really for our American cousins.

I remember reading over and over in Autosprt of the 1958 Riverside GP for Sports Cars,..won by a Scarab..Billy Krause was 3rd in a production D Type, the field included Behra. in a works Porsche RSK and the great British GP driver Roy Salvadori in a works 3 litre DBR1 Aston..but no Walt Hansgen.

I am just begining to understand

Stan
Old Aussie grump

#26 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 14:15

In the Hansgen-1958 Times GP case it was not East versus West, it was SCCA versus USAC, or amateur versus professional. The very reason why Hansgen did not show up in any of the 1958/1959 USAC road racing events. However, in 1957 Hansgen's D-type participate in the SCCA National at Riverside.

Hansgen drove for Cunningham, who was an ardent SCCA supporter. Briggs stayed away from all non-SCCA events [except Sebring and Le Mans] until 1960, when for the first time he entered his cars in a professional race. Walt beat all Porsches [Miles, McAfee, Holbert, Ryan, Donner, Penske] at Riverside that year with his Tipo 60 and finished 8th overall among the big iron.
all research Willem Oosthoek,

#27 scags

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 19:43

Stan, did you ever hear of a book called "The Last open Road"? It's a fictionalized account of 50's American racing, using a mix of real people and races with fictional characters thrown in. It's by B S Levy(who's also posted here)., it has a good feel for those times, and it's extremely funny.

#28 Stan Patterson

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 22:10

Scags,

Thanks for the tip-off, I haven't heard of the book and I dare say it would not have been published out here originally. I would like to get a copy, it sounds as though it would be fun...might be an Ebay project...yayyy !!

I must admit I am fascinated by what I have learnt ..I had no idea this great chasm existed between the two camps and I only just now realise, after having it pointed out in the book and on here, that Walt hardly ever raced against the guys who went to Europe..Hill, Shelby, Gurney, Ginther etc.

So, I guess my original question still stands " How did Walt rate as a driver against those people?" and obviously an American is best qualified to provide a knowledgeable answer.

Stan

#29 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 23:37

The September 1958 issue of Road & Track says it all. America's top nine drivers are described in one of its articles:
- Phil Hill
- Masten Gregory
- Carroll Shelby
- John Fitch
- Walt Hansgen
- Jack McAfee
- Eddie Crawford
- Paul O'Shea
- Ken Miles [a little poetic license on this one, considering his original nationality]

Too early for emerging drivers such as Dan Gurney, Chuck Daigh, Billy Krause and Richie Ginther to be mentioned, but the above racers were considered the best in American road racing.
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#30 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 23:41

Walt Hansgen did race against most of them in the November 1957 Riverside SCCA National:
Results:

Race 5, 5-lap preliminary:
1. Gregory [Maserati 470S]
2. Shelby [Maserati 450S]
3. Hansgen [Jaguar D]
4. Gurney [ Arciero Ferrari]
5. Ginther [Ferrari 410S]
6. Von Neumann [Ferrari 625 TR]
7. Balchowsky [Ol Yaller]
8. Lovely [Ferrari 500TR]
9. O'Shea [Mercedes 300 SLS]
10. Drake [Aston Martin DB3S]
Walt Hansgen passed Shelby a number of times by going deeper at the end of the straight, but each time the big Maser repassed in front of the pits, thanks to its superior acceleration.

Race 10, 25-lap National:
1. Shelby [Maserati 450S]
2. Gurney [Arciero Ferrari]
3. Gregory [Maserati 470S]
4. Hansgen [Jaguar D]
5. Ginther [Ferrari 410S]
6. Von Neumann [Ferrari 625TR]
7. Lovely [Ferrari 500TR]
8. McAfee [Ferrari 857S]
9. O'Shea [Mercedes 300 SLS]
10. Oker [Aston Martin DB3S]

Probably Shelby's best race ever, coming back from behind to win. Walt Hansgen led a good number of laps, but ran out of brakes towards the end.

All results from Willem Oosthoek's book on the Maserati 450S.

#31 Stan Patterson

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 00:05

Thanks for that Jerry,

If I may be permitted, as an outsider looking in so to speak, to make the following comments.

By 1957, the D type was getting "long in the tooth" and, as is regularly stated, was never really truely comfortable away from Le Mans. On that basis I would venture an opinion that those results of Walt's in that company, both cars and drivers, are very impressive.

I know from the book that the Cunningham team was very professional and that Sir William Lyons virtually used it as a works Jaguar team in his biggest marketplace, but nevertheless, I still feel that those results alone, suggest the WH was an exceptional driver.

Any more of those race results? ......just reading about them still makes me drool.

Stan

#32 Stan Patterson

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 00:15

Oh...speaking of poetic licence and as an aside to this thread

In the late 50's, "Autosport" used to always print the British drivers names in "bold" and, as Jack Brabham began to be successful, yep you guessed it, his name began to appear as bold!...

Stan

#33 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 01:18

John Bishop always rated Walt Hansgen very, very highly. Indeed, when I asked him about drivers, Walt was the first one he mentioned....

" How did Walt rate as a driver against those people?"

This is a question for which you can probably set up some sort of metrics and then apply them to come up with some set of numbers so as to show how he rated against the others. However, not certain that would actually give you an answer that would be all that relevant.

Personally, I no longer care or even worry about such questions. Those sorts of queries tend to lead the thinking along the well-worn ruts that generally lead nowhere.

This period of American racing was quite complex, as Mike Argetsinger's book makes very clear. When you read Michael Lynch's book "American Sports Car Racing During the 1950s" in addition to Mike's book and then read the contemporary American magainzes -- Road & Track, Sports Cars Illustrated/Car and Driver, Sports Car Graphic, Competition Press, Sports Car, and a slew of others which often came and went within a year or two -- you get a real sense of how literally divided the scene was into the various (often warring) camps.

It was quite an era, one from which a number of outstanding American drivers emerged, Hansgen among them.

It is good that we have Willem, Jerry, Mike, Michael, Dave Friedman, Tom (RA Historian), Bill Green, and several others who are allowing this era to get at least some of the attention it deserves. There is a remarkable tendency for practically any aspect of American racing history that not directly involve the Indianapolis 500 or was a part of formula one to get ignored at both home and abroad. I often wonder why this is, but the answer is usually all too obvious....

#34 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 01:25

Even Cunningham must have thought that 1957 was the final year for his D-types. That is why his team switched to Listers in 1958. But the D-types were still very competitive in 1957. On the same weekend of their crushing 1957 Le Mans victory, the D-types scored a 1-2 at Road America. Hansgen finished 2nd overall behind Shelby's 450S Maserati at VIR, but won at Montgomery, New York, after the 450S cried "uncle" on the starting grid. And the Cunningham D-types cleaned house at Miami in January 1958, with a 1-2-3 in their last appearance for the Cunningham team.

All these races are covered in the 450S book, with complete results and many photos. The book is still available. Since it covers lots of Hansgen action, something to add to your library?
all research Willem Oosthoek.

#35 David McKinney

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 06:13

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
But the D-types were still very competitive in 1957. On the same weekend of their crushing 1957 Le Mans victory, the D-types scored a 1-2 at Road America. Hansgen finished 2nd overall behind Shelby's 450S Maserati at VIR, but won at Montgomery, New York, after the 450S cried "uncle" on the starting grid. And the Cunningham D-types cleaned house at Miami in January 1958, with a 1-2-3 in their last appearance for the Cunningham team.

...in the absence of Gregory, Gurney, Ginther, Pabst, Heuer etc etc etc :D

#36 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 07:30

Posted Image
Here is Walt Hansgen at the 1959 Daytona, Florida National race. Alan Connell and Jack Knab also in picture.

Stan: Walt Hansgen was a mentor to many of the drivers of the day. He was very respected and I have only heard others speak highly of him. I raced against him at the Stardust Grand Prix in 1965, he was very nice

If you can get a copy of Mike Argetsinger's book on Walt Hansgen you will understand the man way better.

above photo lent site Willem Oosthoek collection.

#37 Stan Patterson

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 10:51

Yes Jerry,

I have the book. and the more i read or see of Walt, the more I like..he seems like he was a decent chap all round.

I somewhat whimsically called this thread "Crew Cut and Chewing Gum" because that is how I, as a young teenager growing up in Au, saw the USA at that time...we only got TV in 1956 and Lloyd Bridges, Jackie Gleason and Perry Como ruled, plus my mother seemed to have a particular interest in watching a bare chested chap called "Cheyenne".,Walt Hansgen seemed to fit the bill in every way !!

I love that pic...Walt looks like a thoroughly nice man, while Tenessee Ernie Ford looks cool, as does Miss Bimbo 1959..but who is the guy in the overalls making eyes at Walt?.

Stan

#38 David McKinney

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 11:09

To back up the point I was trying to make in an earlier post, these are the first three placings in US races for one of the years under discussion, 1958.
I stress that there are omissions, and there may be inaccuracies, but the list is near enough to give a more complete picture of US sportscar racing in that year.

SCCA NATIONALS
Miami
Hansgen (Jaguar), Crawford (Jaguar), Boss (Jaguar)
VIR Hansgen (Lister), Crawford (Lister), Reventlow (Scarab)
Cumberland Hansgen (Lister)
Bridgehampton Hansgen (Lister), Crawford (Lister), Martin (Ferrari)
Lime Rock Hansgen (Lister), Oker (Aston Martin), Holbert (Porsche)
Montgomery Daigh (Scarab), Hansgen (Lister), Baptista (Ferrari)
Thompson Reventlow (Scarab), Hansgen (Lister), Sadler (Sadler)
Watkins Glen Crawford (Lister), Hansgen (Lister), Andrey (Ferrari)
VIR Hansgen (Lister)
Palm Springs McAfee (Porsche), Morgensen (Ferrari), Connors (Porsche)

USAC CHAMPIONSHIP:
Lime Rock
Constantine (Aston Martin), Kessler (Ferrari), Markelsen (Ferrari)
Marlboro Constantine (Aston Martin), Said (Sadler), Bunker (Porsche)
Watkins Glen Bonnier (Maserati 250F), Gurney (Ferrari), Kessler (Ferrari)
Riverside Daigh (Scarab), Gurney (Ferrari), Krause (Jaguar)

OTHER RACES
NORTHEAST:
Marlboro
Hansgen (Lister)
Watkins Glen Sadler (Sadler), Martin (Ferrari), Davis (Porsche)
Marlboro Windridge (Lister-C), Penske (Porsche)

SOUTHEAST:
Dothan
Martin (Ferrari)
Dunnellon Casner (Ferrari), Martin (Ferrari), Schechter (Porsche)

SOUTHWEST:
Galveston
Rose (Maserati)
Midland Collins (Ferrari)

CENTRAL:
Wisconsin State Fair
Pabst (Ferrari)
Elkhart Lake Hansgen (Lister), Crawford (Lister), Collins (Ferrari)
Meadowdale Daigh (Scarab), Reventlow (Scarab)

MIDWEST:
Fort Sumner
Collins (Ferrari), Morgensen (Ferrari)

PACIFIC:
Pomona
Ginther (Ferrari), Oker (Aston Martin), von Neumann (Ferrari)
Phoenix Ginther (Ferrari)
Palm Springs Gurney (Ferrari), Shelby (Ferrari), Balchowsky (Ol Yaller)
Tracy McAfee (Porsche)
Santa Barbara Reventlow (Scarab), Balchowsky (Ol Yaller), Ginther (Ferrari)
Laguna Seca Ginther (Ferrari)
Riverside Oker (Aston Martin), Ginther (Ferrari), von Neumann (Ferrari)
Vaca Valley von Neumann (Ferrari), McAfee (Porsche)
Reno Reventlow (Scarab), von Neumann (Ferrari), Ginther (Ferrari)
Santa Barbara Balchowsky (Ol Yaller), Ginther (Ferrari), von Neumann (Ferrari)
Hourglass Field Morgensen (Ferrari), Playan (Porsche), McLaughlin (Ferrari)
Vaca Valley von Neumann (Ferrari), McAfee (Porsche)
Reno Balchowsky (Ol Yaller)
Laguna Seca Reventlow (Scarab), Daigh (Scarab), Ginther (Ferrari)

NORTHWEST:
Shelton
Carstens (Allard)
Shelton Lovely (Ferrari), Rattenbury (Jaguar)
Shelton Lovely (Ferrari), Carstens (Allard)
Deer Park Florence (Kurtis), Meehan (Pooper)
Shelton[/B] Florence (Kurtis)
Shelton[/B] Carstens (Lister), Becker (Ferrari), Meehan (Pooper)
Deer Park Rattenbury (Jaguar), Becker (Ferrari)
Shelton[/B] Ormsbee (Stovelbolt), Becker (Ferrari)
Shelton[/B] Keck (Porsche Special)

HAWAII:
unknown venue
von Neumann (Ferrari), A N Other, Ginther (Ferrari)

BAHAMAS:
Governor’s Cup
Reventlow (Scarab), Constantine (Aston Martin), Crawford (Maserati)
Nassau Trophy[/B] Reventlow/Daigh (Scarab), P Rodriguez (Ferrari), Martin (Ferrari)

And I repeat that I am not trying to belittle Hansgen’s efforts, merely to place them in context

#39 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 13:03

Of the "absent" drivers that David mentions -- Gregory, Gurney, Ginther, Pabst, Heuer --, only Gregory would have mattered in competiton with Hansgen in 1958. Gurney and Ginther were essentially up-and-coming drivers confined to the West Coast, while Pabst and Heuer were still nowhere in their careers. Not the best comparison and certainly way off the Road & Track top list of early 1958. Hill, Gregory and Shelby could not run against Hansgen because they were professionals.

Hansgen cleaned up in CM in 1958. In spite of occasional Scarab sightings, it was relatively easy. The Cunningham team had the fastest cars in the Northeast. Also, Walt had a job to run in New Jersey. By concentrating on the point races, he won the CM Championship [a class win, so not particularly meaningful] with help from teammate Crawford.

Looking at David's race schedule for 1958, I noticed that especially the SE and SW races are highly underrepresented. His list shows a total of four Regionals, while there were actually 26 between the SE and SW. And Fort Sumner is in New Mexico, not the Midwest.
all research Willem Oosthoek.

Stan: I am glad that you have Mike's book. As we say over here. " What you see is what you get." You have described Walt Hansgen perfectly. He truly was a very nice man.
The fellow in the overalls is Jack Knab he won the B Production race in a Corvette. He also drove his car home after the race.

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#40 David McKinney

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 13:47

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
Looking at David's race schedule for 1958, I noticed that especially the SE and SW races are highly underrepresented. His list shows a total of four Regionals, while there were actually 26 between the SE and SW

I am aware there were many more races than I listed

And Fort Sumner is in New Mexico, not the Midwest.

According to my information, the SCCA Midwest region comprised Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico
(with Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas in the SW Region)

#41 scags

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 14:30

Originally posted by Stan Patterson
Scags,

Thanks for the tip-off, I haven't heard of the book and I dare say it would not have been published out here originally. I would like to get a copy, it sounds as though it would be fun...might be an Ebay project...yayyy !!

Stan

Stan, Burt's site is www.lastopenroad.com

#42 David Birchall

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 14:58

Stan, Ronnie Spain's book "GT40" gives a pretty thorough description of Hansgen's time with the GT40 and importantly, his last few laps.

#43 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 16:41

In 1958 the Fort Sumner races in New Mexico were organized by the Rio Grande Region, which had most of its officers residing in Lubbock, Texas.

The area safety reps for Fort Sumner were listed as in Area 8, East Rocky Mountain, and responsible for Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Western Texas [the Colorado and Rio Grande Regions]

Jack Knab lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and it would have been quite a drive home from Daytona, Florida to Cincinnati. This was a distance of around 880 miles.

#44 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 20:34

Posted Image

The start of the feature race of the Orange Bowl Sports Car Races, a SCCA National held at Miami's Master Field on January 12, 1958. Scheduling a race that early in the year proved dangerous, even down South. One of the worst storms in history slammed the Florida coast the week before and snow fell in Orlando. A number of interesting entries were no shows, but the field was still a good one and the weather was clear on raceday.

The photo shows Eddie Crawford [D-type #61] and Walt Hansgen [#60] leading Jim Hall [1.5-liter Lotus 11 #66] and Pete Lovely [Ferrari 500TR #25], with Charlie Wallace [#0 Porsche 550RS], Jim Kimberly [#5 Maserati 200SI] and Austin Young [#73 Chevy-engined Ferrari Monza] eating dust.

Cunningham brought D-types for Hansgen, Crawford and Russell Boss. When Shelby retired Temple Buell's Maserati 470S after 14 laps, Hansgen led his teammates across the finish, followed by Lovely and Wallace. A few weeks later the Cunningham team took delivery of its new Lister/Jaguars
all research Willem Oosthoek-photo lent site Willem Oosthoek collection.

#45 Stan Patterson

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 23:38

All these interesting contributions and results have raised another issue for me.

Gentlemen,

I am not trying to be controversial here, simply raising a point, but it would seem to me that Caroll Shelby was far more successful at home in the USA than he was when he went to UK and Europe to race.

After having just read the Masten Gregory and the Hansgen books, plus reading the contributions by listers here, one gains an entirely different impression of Shelby than to what us Autosport and Motor Sport devouring aussies were able to form back in those times.

In fact in the period we are discussing, Shelby appears to have been very much the man to beat in USA, maybe the 450S was a big help, but whichever way one sees it, he certainly seemed to be very well regarded and very successful.

Paradoxically, it seems to me his time with Aston Martin in 1959 could only be described as "ordinary" - I know the F1 car was obsolete, but even in the sports car team, notwithstanding the win at Le Mans, he was very much a second-string driver and this appears to be completely at odds with his reputation and results in the USA.

Maybe he was homesick, maybe he couldn't fit in with Aston's regimented approach and I know he had to retire due to a heart condition - end of 1959? I think it is true to say he did not race back in USA after his time with Aston Martin?

I know this is not strictly about Walt but as he was a major rival of WH, I think it is approproaite to raise the issue here.

Any of you USA boys got the answer or maybe I have just got it wrong?

Stan

#46 RA Historian

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 01:53

Carroll Shelby was pre-eminently successful in the US. He won many, many races, especially in the 1956-57 period when he drove principally for John Edgar. He also drove for Tony Parravanno and Luigi Chinetti. He was perhaps the winningest driver in the US in 1957, but since he drove half his races in DM in a Maserati 300-S and half in CM in a Maserati 450-S he did not accumulate enough points in either class to take that class championship. Arguably, had he driven all his races in one class or the other, he would have been that year's champion.

He drove principally in Europe in 1958-59. He drove the occasional F-1 race in 1958 for Centro Sud and/or Temple Buell, and in 1959 for Aston Martin. IN both cases without appreciable results because the cars were non-competitive. In 1959 he did win both LeMans and the Tourist Trophy for Aston Martin.

After 1959 he came back to the US and drove one last season. He only drove half a dozen times or so, but he did win the USAC road racing championship in 1960. In the five race USAC season he won at Riverside in the Camoradi Maserati T-61, won at Continental Divide in the Meister Brauser Scarab, was a DNF at Road America in Old Yaller II, was fifth at Riverside in J. Frank Harrison's Maserati T-61, and 2nd overall on aggregate at Laguna Seca, again in the Harrison Maserati.

AFter that he retired due to heart trouble.

#47 etceterini.com

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 02:37

This is a great thread! I'm loving the SCCA results and will use them
on my SCCA results page. PLEASE post more from the 1950's. Here is a period
ad for the sale of Walt's D Jag for $7,000!

Posted Image


Here is a link to my SCCA results page if you haven't seen it:

http://www.maseratie.....test page.htm

-cliff reuter

#48 Stan Patterson

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:24

Another interesting thing about Walt's career is, that as far as I can tell, he never really had a serious accident right up until the end.

The fact he was he was winning at a consistently high rate in a car that wasnt really suited to tight or rough surfaced circuits and against intense competiton which, in the Ferrari and Maserarti cases were very expensive basically handbuilt 2 seat GP cars, speaks volumes for his ability behind the wheel and for the professionalism of the Cunningham team in general.

What a pity Walt didnt do a full season in UK after Archie's death..Hansgen and Gregory hard at it Listers would have been something else.......particularly as the Lotus XV and Cooper Monaco's were just around the corner.....so to speak.

Stan

#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:34

Of interest to me in it all was the campaigning of the Cooper Formula Junior...

After years of big horsepower cars, this was quite a step down, I would have thought. Even if it did lap faster than a lot of them.

#50 Stan Patterson

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 07:52

Good point Ray,

I too was impressed by how Walt could go from a Lister to a Stanguellini, having never driven an open wheeler and be instantly dominant and then as you say, continue in the same vein in the Cooper FJ's.....a very impressive feat which i think again underlines his ability.

Stan