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Winter 2016 14


Word reaches us that the already

fully-packed Amelia Island Concours

weekend, beginning on March 10, will

be adding vintage racing to their

schedule. They won’t be using Day-

tona, as the picture at the right might

lead you to believe; we got this image

from Darek Stennes, driving 5S424 on

Daytona’s banking, and we have to

admit that we love that track so it

doesn’t take much to get us to use a

picture of it.

The track that will be used at

Amelia is the Fernandia Beach Munic-

ipal Airport (Shelbys raced there in

1966, 1967 and 1969) and the SVRA

has the event scheduled four days

after the Amelia concours wraps up. It

will give some people who desire

sounds to go with the sights. We also

expect the race will prompt a fair

number of vintage race cars to show

up at Amelia. Credit Amelia’s forward-thinking honcho Bill Warner for that.

Using an airport for a sports car race isn’t a brand new idea. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, sports car rac-

ing was going through a major transition. Races had originally been held on public roads which were temporarily closed

at places like Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen, Pebble Beach and Elkhart Lake. After a couple of accidents resulting in

the deaths of spectators, the use of public roads was ended. Since single-purpose sports car race circuits took years to

build, an agreement was reached with the Strategic Air Command’s commanding general, Curtis LeMay (running mate

of George Wallace in the 1968 presidential election). A sports car enthusiast himself, he invited the SCCA to organize

weekend races on SAC air bases and rolled out the red carpet for them. Other smaller, regional airports were also used

through the mid-1960s. Eventually, as the cars got faster the airport circuits were deemed less safe. However, by then

there were enough purpose-built road race circuits to provide venues for racing. With big tracks getting increasingly

expensive to rent maybe smaller airports are the answer to the continually growing costs of vintage racing.


Did you ever get the feeling you

walked into a movie after it had

started and you’re not sure what you

missed? We’ve noticed a growing num-

ber of Cobras showing up with black-

painted mag wheels. No polished rim.

This didn’t happen overnight, but it

seems that way. We feel like we’ve

been caught napping. Trends like this

usually have origins somewhere back

in the 1960s: LeMans stripes, comp

quick jack pads, diagonal fender

stripes. But the wheels on Shelby

American’s cars always had polished

outer rims. Are we seeing the effect of

present day drifting rice rockets with

black-painted mags and coffee can

mufflers? And when did they start

being called “Gangsta wheels”?