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The “Tire Photo” taken at each

year’s Monterey Historics weekend

dates back to the 1970s when

Road &


magazine rented a cherry-

picker so they could have their photog-

rapher take a high-angle group shot of

cars representing the weekend’s hon-

ored marque. If Ferrari, for example,

was recognized as the honored marque

that year, all of the Ferraris competing

in the historics were positioned on the

short straight (between Turns 3 and 4)

just ahead of the Michelin Tire foot

bridge. [

Note: the bridge was not al-

ways named after Michelin tires; pre-

vious sponsors were, among others,

Cooper and Bridgestone. The tire

theme was an attempt to replicate Le-

Mans’ iconic Dunlop Bridge, first con-

structed at that track in 1935.


The significance of being named

Monterey Historic’s honored marque

is not lost on any manufacturer; they

are always alert for photo opportuni-

ties and additional publicity, especially

at a high visibility event like Mon-

terey, and most especially when they

have a new product that directly re-

lates to some part of the event. Once

selected, they typically send some of

the special cars kept in their museum

or private collection to be displayed

throughout the weekend – and some-

times driven in demonstration laps by

drivers who had piloted them back in

the day. It’s all part of the show. These

rare and historic jewels are placed

prominently in the front of the tire

photo, befitting their status. Behind

them are row after row of the vintage

racers representing that marque. A

special parking area is also set up dur-

ing the weekend for spectators who

drive cars representing the honored

marque. If additional cars were

needed to fill out the photo, some of

these cars can be invited and owners

are directed to park them at the very

back of the group.

Once the photographer is in the

cherry picker’s bucket, car owners are

moved behind it so the photo can be

taken of the cars without any human

distractions. In some years owners

moved back into the picture to stand

near their cars for a second photo. It

all takes a lot more time to accomplish

than it takes to read about it, here.

Road & Track

used the photo in their

Monterey Historics event coverage

and some years sent enlargements to

those whose cars were in the photo.

This photo shoot quickly became

something of a tradition during the

Historics. The break in on-track activ-

ities at noon on Wednesday was recog-

nized as the time to get the cars into

position for the annual “Tire Photo.”

Announcements were not necessary;

everyone who had entered an honored

marque car was aware of the timing.

More recently, the cherry picker

was replaced with a larger hydraulic

lift platform used by contractors for

high work on ceilings and beneath

bridges. A handful of photographers

could gain the elevation necessary for

unique photos, and getting on to the

platform took some doing. It was not

what you knew but who you knew.


310 Fall 2015

Corporate Ineptitude on Display at Monterey

– Rick Kopec

The “Tire Photo” has come to be an important piece of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Every year this photo brings all of the

cars of the featured marque together at one time. With so many cars scattered all over the track’s infield, it’s not possible to inspect

each one closely over the weekend. Neither is it possible to do each car justice when they are part of a large group positioned for a

photograph, but the sense of just being there among them is part of what gives this event the cachet it has acquired.