A Matter of Style and Substance
Yeah I know… I am sitting in an open wheeled car and it appears on first
inspection not to be a sports car. It is, however, a car from an era when drivers that
pedaled these also hustled those ! I remember as a kid one Christmas getting a
slot car set that came with four cars. The sports cars were an Aston Martin DBR 1
and a Testa Rosa. The other two were a Vanwall ( I think ) and a Ferrari Dino 246
F1. Back then I always thought the Dino was the standard of what all formula cars
should look like. The years have gone by though and aside from leafing through
an old copy of Automobile Year now and then, I forgot about the old front engine
This year’s edition of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races will once again,
feature Ferrari. Held every August at Laguna Seca, it has been the event for those
enthusiasts who expect the best of the unique and rare. My editor at european car
asked me if I had any thing a bit different to write about for the annual Monterey
issue and my answer was I didn’t.
A few hours later I was back at the home office when I had a call from Dirk Layer, a
friend who makes it his business to know about where the good cars are. He was
pumped about a deal he had put together for Alex Gurney to drive a Ferrari Dino
246 at Monterey. I was unimpressed.
“ So what’s the big deal about a Dino, I don’t recall them doing anything of merit”
“ No no no…. I’m talking about a formula one Dino.”
I was impressed. Dirk was going to test the little red beauty in a week. The car
was being prepped and maintained by the very capable Jim Groom in Berkeley
and the Sears Point circuit was only a short distance away.
The first 246 spec F1 Dinos appeared in 1957 and carried the emblem of the
prancing horse through the 1960 season. Horsepower for the four cam six was
between 250 and 280 depending on which motor was in which car. Typical of
Ferrari at that time, along with a few world championships.
One shoots, the other pushes…
I didn’t make that test but arranged to have Bruce Benedict to photograph the Dino
at Sears Point last week. After a short introduction at Groom’s shop, we headed
back to the track. Bruce had a good idea of what he wanted and his usual
procedure is to shoot about 300 images per car. After that, it’s up to the art director
at the magazine. I had suggested shooting near at the Berkeley marina ( shades
of Monaco ) but good sense prevailed and Sears was the locale by majority
decision. As the car was being unloaded, all those visions of the past, slot cars,
sketches on paper during class, etc. came back in a flush of memories. Right car
then and the right car now.
The real Zoom Zoom
And the sound of that wonderful little Dino ?
That’s another story for another time.