Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1958 Los Angeles Times G.P. Riverside, Calif.

The late 50's was an idyllic time in Motor Racing in So Cal. The perfectly located Riverside Raceway drew huge crowds to the annual Times G.P. to watch local guys who built their own cars take on the International Stars in their factory entries. It was a time of innocence and danger. Powerful, fast cars with no safety equipment other than the drivers helmet and driving skills.
 Maserati 450S. In the early 80's I lived in Redondo Beach and I spotted an ad in Cycle News for two H.D. Sprint Flat Trackers that were for sale in Torrance. I get to the location which is a big tin shed down by the Harbor Fwy on PCH . When I walk in this Maserati is the first thing I see. It was war torn and mean looking, I was mesmerized. I was told about all the races it had won and the long list of famous drivers who had the pleasure of whipping it unmercifully. It was for sale, $100,000 ! which seemed crazy at the time.
I didn't buy the Sprints either. He wanted to sell his whole package, two beautiful identical nickle plated Rigids and all the gearing, tools, spares, oodles of stuff. It was a mistake not buying everything including the big red Maserati.
 The Scarabs of Lance Reventlow, built in Los Angeles by a bunch of Hot Rodders to take on the world.

 Von Newman in his Ferrari bunted Reventlow under braking, putting the Scarab into one of Riverside's red dirt walls
 There were three Scarabs in the race. No.16 being left hand drive. Later became Lance's street car.
Another aside, my old friend Ron was Reventlow's next door neighbor in Pacific Palisades when he was kid
and looked after his horses when he was away, which was a lot. Ron tells great stories about the times and his famous neighbor. Reventlow was the heir to the Woolworths Company.
Johnny Von Newmans Ferrari TR250 and a 412 behind it. Von Newmann made his money by being the first
distributor on the west coast of the VW bug after the war.