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Forgotten Years


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#1 Wolf

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 22:06

For my 150th message I have decided to treat myself with another topic (anyway it beats posting a maiden post in RC).
Look, I've learned how to insert quotes:

And don't be shy if you're new to the sport and think it poor form to ask what seems to be a dumb question - we are only too happy to help provide you with an answer - or an opinion at any rate.


Just one of my favorites gripes whenever I see a supposed "history" of F1, which almost all seem to start with 1950 even though the formula itself dates from 1947...


Both quotes are from our highly revered Forum Host in RVM, and hint my intentions. I guess (and hope) that I'm not the only one here to be completely ignorant of happenings in this period, although there was a remark on that on this forum, and on Cisitalia thread was a mention of Porsche and Cisitalia preparing a GP car in '47. I, for one, would be very much obliged if you could shed some light on those years, and perchance on reason for them to be ignored.
Many thanks in advance.

O.T. What's up with Ray? He hasn't been around for quite some time.

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#2 Flicker

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 00:26

from Posted Image
by Dennis A. David

After 6 years of war most of Europe lay in ruins including much of its automobile industry. Having been converted to munitions or military-vehicle production they were ready targets to heavy aerial bombing. Germany was still banned from racing when in September of 1945 the first race meeting were held. The winners of the three races that were held were Amedée Gordini in a car made from left over parts, Henry Louveau in a Maserati and Jean-Pierre Wimille in a Type 59 Bugatti. There were few modern racing cars available to compete. Talbot-Lago, the French company, started working on a 4.5 litre single-seater. In all of Europe there were several pre-war Maseratis and Alfas available including a couple of 158s that were hidden in a cheese factory during the war.

There were only four races of Grand Prix caliber held during 1946. The top drivers included Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina, Jean-Pierre Wimille, Louis Chiron, Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari. The Fédération Internationale d'Automobiles (FIA) was formed to organize the sport at an international level. A formula was set for 1947 that allowed 1.5-litre supercharged or 4.5-litre unsupercharged cars. Alfa Romeo would win every race that it entered that year. In 1948 Ferrari fielded their own car, after parting with Alfa before the war Enzo Ferrari promised that Scuderia Ferrari would not compete against their former patrons for four years. 1948 also saw the death of the venerable Achille Varzi while practicing for the Swiss Grand Prix. In 1949 Alfa Romeo was forced to withdraw from racing due to financial woes. Without the Alfa the field was left open to Maserati, Ferrari and Talbot to enjoy some success.


Race results you can find here
http://www.fortuneci...e/54/index2.htm

[p][Edited by Flicker on 09-24-2000]

#3 lynmeredith

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:20

Wolf asked "O.T. What's up with Ray? He hasn't been around for quite some time."

Ray has gone walkabout. He told me (on 12 Sept) that he would be away for about 2 weeks (it has been quiet hasn't it?)

All right, how do you do those quotes?

Lyn


#4 FordPrefect

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 11:55

Wolf, one place to start looking is:

http://www.forix.com...asp?z=0&k=0&l=0


Originally posted by lynmeredith
All right, how do you do those quotes?

Lyn



this explains it:
http://www.atlasf1.c...p?action=bbcode

If you are replying to a post simply hit the quote icon, it's the icon that's furthest to the right.

FP[p][Edited by FordPrefect on 09-24-2000]

#5 Don Capps

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 22:32

This is a fabulous period of racing that gets short shrift for any number of reasons, primarily the imposition of the WDC for the 1950 season. It was a period with a staggering variety of venues, machines, drivers, problems, challenges, and some very excellent racing.

Had I the time to do all my various projects, this is definitely one I would strive to do. Too often periods like these are ignored, but once you start looking, it is fascinating how interesting they are since there always seems to be a few chracters and/or a few incidents that draw you into the story.

Indeed, this period saw the creation of the new Scuderia Ferrari and its initial efforts to combat his old boss, Alfa Romeo. Needless to say, the roots of a lot of things are seen in this period.

Actually, it would be great to spend time on the non-championship & F2 events up to about 1953 as well as the 1946 thru 1949 period since they are all intertwined. That would give you a better picture.

Do I see another Rear View Mirror saga in the making? The GP/FA/F1 story from 1947 to 1953? With a companion piece on F2 racing? Oh, my!


#6 Wolf

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 22:37

I'm not quite sure if I can be constidered to constitute a crowd, but if I were the crowd would utter a long and loud HOOOORAY! Anyway, I was inclined to propose such solution, but dared not.

#7 Barry Lake

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 08:47

The publisher of the Brooklands Books series of reprinted road tests (as well as Le Mans, Mille Miglia etc) is a friend of mine and I have been at him for something between 10 and 20 years now to publish however many books it will take to cover the GPs of the 1940s.
I have told him he could title them in similar fashion to his Le Mans books, meaning to sub-title them "The Alfa Romeo Years" etc, which helps to sell them.
He has all the material, but he says they wouldn't sell enough to pay their way.
All we have to do is find 1000 people prepared to buy a copy each and he will do it. Then we would have all of the magazine reports of those 1940s races.
And Jean-Pierre Wimille could finally receive some of the credit for which he has long been overdue.
So, how about it? How many can we sell between us?
I would even go to England and edit the books for him for a nominal sum.
An added incentive is that if they did earn him a dolar or two, he would consider doing the same for all the pre-war races, going back to 1894.
Again, he has the material - at least The Motor and The Autocar and some others, going back to the 1800s. I have seen it.
Has anyone seen his recent Land Speed Record series? They are far superior quality to earlier books of his and he has done hard cover versions as well, which are excellent.
Drop into a motoring book shop and have a look at the LSR books and you will see what can be done. That should get you all excited about the potential for GP books.

#8 Wolf

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 22:02

Barry,
under pain of sundin ridiculous, I'd like to suggest something. Since we are few (by numbers at least), and, as you've said costs are big, perhaps there is a way. Those valuable data, as well as many other interesting stuff, can be burned onto CD-ROMs and then sold. This way costs are kept reasonably, if not pretty, low, it takes a small amount of time to burn it, and sales profits after some time becomes almost good.

#9 Michael M

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 05:23

CD-ROM is a good idea for us, and a bad one for the publisher - can be copied too easy!
In case of a book covering the period 1946-1949 - you can put me on the buyers list. For sure Austria would also be very eager to own one. Austria...? Hello...! You agree??


#10 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 05:53

Barry,
In 93 I bought an excellent book covering the Fourties with good detailed information.
A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing, Volume 4, 1937-1949 by Paul Sheldon, published in 1993.
Comparing the various books, which cover the Fourties, I found above book giving the best account of the events of that period.

#11 Don Capps

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 14:49

Hans,

Paul & Betty Sheldon -- and those who assist them -- are always the first people I thank when it comes to making my life as a racing historian easier! I fully agree with you about Volume 4; it is simply excellent.

The Sheldons have made it easier to focus on all the pieces surrounding an event by providing the core information. Besides, their info is much better organized than my old notes which often would rival the prose of James Joyce... While the Sheldons are not always correct in each & every item, they have done a truly remarkable job.

My copies are just full of my notes and corrections and references and questions, especially the first half dozen or so volumes. Indeed, I am now seriously considering taking all that information and doing something with it. Easier said than done, of course...

For those unfamilar with the series, A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing, it is almost a necessity if you are looking at doing any serious work in this area.[p][Edited by Don Capps on 09-27-2000]

#12 Barry Lake

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 11:46

Hans and Don
I do have this whole series of books, as expensive as they are. I know of people who have been very upset at the number of mistakes or omissions in books that give the impression of attempting to be definitive. On the other hand, if they withheld publication until they had it all absolutely correct they would never have published any of them. They certainly make a good basis for any research, but it is as well to remind one's self of their fallibility when using them as reference.
Something I find annoying, when researching results, is having to go back to the entry list to get details as basic as what make of car the winner was driving.
I think it gives an insight into the real target market for the books - wealthy racing car collectors and dealers who want to trace the history of certain cars.

#13 Don Capps

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 13:59

Barry,

You hit the nail on the head: as we have learned in my business, "good enough" beats "perfection" any day! Why? You can work with "good enough" whereas if you want it "perfect" it will never get done...

This is exactly the strength of the work the Sheldons have done: it is "good enough" to get the job started. Regardless of its errors, it is far ahead of anything that might be in second place. Personally, I think we are in their debt for establishing the lexicon of our field of endeavor. They have laid out for public review what others have long kept to themselves.

The Sheldons built their work on that of another unsung hero of the History Wars, John Thompson, lead author of the "F1 Reord Book." This book was a look at the 1,500cc F1 period, for which only an article in R&T in the Summer of 1966 was about all that existed is laying out all the players -- but only WDC events. The "Record Book" covered all the F1 events and included the entrants & chassis numbers to boot. As we now realize, there were errors, but at least there was a starting place!

A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing, Volume 4, 1937-1949 is not perfect, but it establishes the baseline to work from. I have been chipping away at some of the blanks and gaps in it for some time now, as well as re-looking some of the data and either correcting it or updating it.



#14 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 17:24

Since I am not so much interested in the Formula 1 years, I only have the first four volumes of Paul Sheldon's A Record of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing, covering racing from 1900 to 1949. Almost everytime I look for some information, I need these books, even though I have many, many others. These are my most important books, unfortunately the Sheldon's never got an award for their hard labour. I could not do without them and would first sell all my other books, including the expensive stuff from Pomeroy, Rose, Gibson, Helck and others before I would part from these black books. They are irreplacable and a must for anybody calling himself a semi-serious historian. There is nothing better on the market right now.

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 18:35

Hans,

Exactly! I have all of them, but the second through fifth or sixth volumes are about worn out, and the first is also pretty tired looking. You need to get the Addena volume since it does correct some of the errors. My little Black Books will probably be the last to go in my library!!!

My interest spans from about 1896 to perhaps 1984/1985, but from perhaps 1921 until 1968/1969 could be considered to be the core area. I also find AAA National Championship racing really interesting. And I am a sports racing person at heart I think, since I would really rather go to a Grand Am or ALMS race than an F1 race! The former two is much, much more interesting than the latter -- at least to me! To say nothing of cheaper to attend!!!

As you might have noticed, I rarely use the term "F1," using "Grand Prix" in its place -- or "Voiturette" for the junior formula. I also look beyond the Championship events since they are truly fascinating and often more interesting.

Quite seriously, the more I look at certain periods, the more I want to delve into them: the 1947 thru 1953 period is one of them (with 1945 & 1946 part of it naturally).

Hans, perhaps one project that you might be of some help on is the look I want to take at F2 racing in the Germanies during the 1948 to 1954 period. Absolutely fascinating stuff and it is murder pulling it together. Indeed, without the baseline that the Sheldons provide it would be even more difficult than it already is, which is hard enough! I had a disk die with much of what I had found on it and the data was not recoverable. I have started piecing the puzzle back together and found some new leads in Watkins Glen this past weekend.

Wolfi, thanks for starting this thread! It has been a pleasure seeing others interested in this era. I owe you one.


#16 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 September 2000 - 20:41

Barry,
your comments about Sheldon's 'Black Books' are absolutely correct and I agree with you. But if you are hungry, then half a loaf of bread is better than none.

As an information source, I know of nothing coming even close to Sheldon's 'Black Books'. Gibson covers the Fourties, but not in detail. The Thirties (34-39) in detail are only covered on Leif's Website, Nixon's book is incomplete in this regard. If you look towards the Twenties, it becomes even worse since there is practically nothing to cover that era in book form except Court and Posthumus with possibly Boddy and Pomeroy, but no details.

This means to me: back to the good old magazines!

#17 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 29 September 2000 - 10:37

Don,
you wrote, Hans, perhaps one project that you might be of some help on is the look I want to take at F2 racing in the Germanies during the 1948 to 1954 period...

Please ask me specific questions, so I know what to look for when I check the formula B races of the Fourties and formula 2 races of the Fifties. I don't have a lot of stuff but you can try me out.

#18 Don Capps

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Posted 29 September 2000 - 20:17

Hans,

My thanks, Kind Sir! I will put something together and send to you very soon. Essentially, there isn't anything out there that puts those races into the limelight. I am looking at both the DBR & DDR events.

About 99% of what I do is because there isn't information available in a coherent form or it isn't organized the way I like it... so I do the way I can make sense out of it or write the things that I would like to know about an event. The situation with the history of German Formel 2 events from 1948 to 1954 is an excellent example...