Several people have expressed interest in the electric valve that I took off
of the Accusump that I used to have. So, in the interests of even a token
move towards cleaning out my "stuff pile", I'll part with it. But I don't
know to whom, or for how much. So...
I'll give it to the person who a: wants it, b: pays for shipping, and c:
writes the funniest philosophically profound statement about the ultimate
futility of driving very old cars around in circles very fast. (that's
vintage racing, in case you missed the oh-so-dry humour)
Contest closes on Thursday PM - I'm testing on Friday, so will be at the
track driving a very old car around in circles (Mosport!) very (to me!)
fast! Those who don't want the valve, feel free to enter as well, just say
that you are participating as Gentlemen, for the love of the sport...
Director, Global Sales
UUNET, An MCI WorldCom Company
OK, I'm gonna get into this contest under the wire. I have not yet vintage
raced, but I'm now preparing a car to race. I hope to complete this car and
be racing before I fall of my perch, and it looks like this may be a close
run thing. I am just under 40 years old (uh-oh), and luckily the car is two
years older (1958).
I have been a car nut since the age of nine. I have been a witness at many
vintage races since 1980, and I haven't missed a single Elkhart Lake July
event since 1981. I have driven the track in Touring with the oft-ignored "60
mph speed limit and no passing, thank you" directive. I eagerly read "The
Last Open Road" at least twice a year, particularly for the thrilling part
where they drive the C-Types to Elkhart from New Jersey. My first car (which
I restored) was an MG. My other vehicles of interest are a 1966 Sprite and a
1968 Bonneville motorcycle. Both are absolutely riddled with Lucas electrics.
I am well acquainted with the concept of futility.
Here's my take on the futility of vintage racing:
Vintage racing is nothing like regular racing, or like most normal sports or
recreational endeavors. We spend a great deal of resources (time, money,
psychic and physical energy) attempting to achieve some internally motivated
satisfaction. Personal motivations seem to vary tremendously, and so you get
to observe some clearly different and highly personal approaches to vintage
So, this is like "A Field Guide to the North American Vintage Racer". Please
keep in mind that I personally don't think one is much better that the
others, just different, and all of them put together is what makes vintage
racing so interesting:
1. I've got a faster car and I'm a better driver: - OK, this guy is a
racer, and wants to win at what he considers to be this sport. Sometimes
these guys cars are a little less respectful of period modifications (Brembo
brakes the size of deluxe pizza's, NASCAR tuned Chevy motors, Carbon Fiber
ashtrays, etc). These non-original aspects don't seem to bother these people,
nor do they seem to understand how much this bothers others. They don't
comprehend the reason they are able to out-brake that Allard into turn 5 is
not superior ability, but because they have put real brakes on their car.
2. I've got a larger central appendage: - Vintage racing for this
person seems to be a business substitute or just another battleground to
prove greater superiority or net worth or something. Usually can be found in
the vicinity a motorhome large and tasteful enough to handle the next Hank
Williams, Jr. US Tour. The level of support these folks provide for their
vintage racing effort makes Briggs Cunningham look like a welfare dependent
skid row vagrant.
3. I like old race cars and race history: - These guys really take the
period aspect very, very seriously indeed, and can sometimes tell you far
more than you will ever need to know about an awful lot of stuff. No really,
I mean lots and lots of stuff. For a long, long time - without any apparent
intake of oxygen. On the other hand, these are also the guys who seem to do
the hard organizational work that makes vintage racing tick.
4. I wanna be Jim Clark: - These folks love the style, feel, and look
of the particular era, and want to recreate the best parts of it. They have
some great fantasy they want to live out, and it often involves famous and
obscure racers who died in fiery wrecks. So these may not always be the
healthiest fantasies, but you have to work with what you've got. I'm firmly
in this camp, with another tentative foot in the "I like old race cars" camp.
I'm not particular though, I don't need to be Jim Clark. I'll settle for
being Graham Hill, if Clarks already spoken for this weekend.
5. I wanna drive a CAN-AM Car: - I can think of no reason why anyone in their
right mind would get into these monsters. In their day, these things made the
top pro racers turn white with fear and wet themselves. Our technological
march assures us we are pulling more power, using better brake material, and
stickier tires than in the CAN-AM hey-day. I can write no more about these
The real futility of vintage racing is not the destruction of hundreds and
hundreds of pounds of expensive tires and brakes, or the shattering of
increasingly rare engine, driveline, and suspension parts. That seems to be
the fun part. I suspect the futility, at least for me, may have something to
do with the eventual realization that there may be more economically
reasonable ways of imitating Jim Clark. Like raising sheep. Until I actually
do some vintage racing, I can't tell you about the ultimate futility of
vintage racing, because I don't know it yet.
But I am willing to learn.
St. Charles, Illinois