Big V-8’s in low, wide Italian bodywork … who can resist these mean machines?
Scuderia Non Originale and Non Originale are trademarks of Gary Williams, Washougal, WA 2004
Here’s a young Gordon Raymond in a vintage Ferrari. He writes that he bought and sold “old” (now vintage) race cars while in college (Sheesh! I worked in a paint & wallpaper store. Just shoot me now). Gordon mostly bought these cars on the west coast and sold them in the midwest or east. “I was working at Knauz Continental Autos on a college break, and Bill Knauz asked if I knew anything about old Ferrari race cars. I did. He had a customer in Wisconsin who had a 500TRC #702 and wanted a Mercedes. The Ferrari had not run in years; the engine reportedly seized. Bill traded the customer and I ended up with #702 not running. I took it home to find the Webers needed help and the dry sump had filled the cylinders with oil. Fixed the Webers, sucked the oil out of the cylinders and it fired right up!” Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found the photo below showing #702 as owned by William Price four or five years ago.
Scuderia Non Originale and Non Originale are trademarks of Gary Williams, Washougal, WA 2004
Gorgeous, dramatic, striking, beautiful, superb … I’m out of adjectives to describe Richard Lane’s latest addition to his California family (well, it was before he bought the Giulia SS and the Ferrari) . This Bertone-bodied Fiat Dino coupe has the same V6 as the Dino Ferrari.
Then there’s this old timer. While going through family photos, I found a tiny snapshot (2″x2″) that was most likely taken by a Great Uncle in the early 1900’s, at an annual race on the streets of Santa Monica, California. The print itself had nothing to identify the car, so I took to the web. Amazingly, I found Guy Prentice, who identified both the car and the driver. Click here to read the full account.
While going through family photos a few years back, I found a tiny snapshot (2″ x 2″) that was most likely taken by a Great Uncle in the early 1900’s, at an annual race on the streets of Santa Monica, California. The print itself had nothing to identify the car, so I took to the web. Amazingly, I found Guy Prentice, who identified both the car and the driver, a Fiat first owned and driven by Ted Tetzlaff, Sr. Tetzlaff was a Hollywood stunt man at the turn of the 20th century and a race car driver. Guy places the date of my photo (on the right) as circa 1910-13.
He writes: “This car was owned by my family from 1919 to 1999. However, the car I grew up with looks considerably different as the only part of the original Fiat was the chassis. In late 1913 or early 1914, it got a new body and a Pope motor and Bert Dingley drove it. In 1915, Hughie Hughes drove it at the San Francisco Grand Prix. I have not found any record of where it was between 1916 and 1919. I’m attaching a photo of what the car looks like these days for your amusement.
“I have also attached three stills snatched from a Fatty Arbuckle movie from around the time of Tetzlaff’s win at the Santa Monica Grand Prix. These are definitely Tetzlaff’s Fiat, although I don’t think he is the driver in photo # 02-0.”
Guy continues : “I never had the pleasure (or abject terror according to those that did) of driving the car. I’m told that it had ‘hair-trigger’ steering and one slight miscalculation would put you in the ditch. My dad drove the car at the AAA vintage auto races, usually at the fairgrounds in La Jolla, CA from the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s. On a couple of occasions I got to mechanic for him during practice laps (They took a dim view of an eight year old being on the track during actual racing.)
“If I remember correctly, this was one of three identical cars that came over for the 1910 or 1911 American Grand Prix. I dug through my photo collection and found a picture that seems to be taken around the same time as your photo. It shows Tetzlaff and mechanic in the Fiat wearing the number 32. I believe this is from Santa Monica 1912.
Tetzlaff drove it through the 1913 season when he put a rod through the block. War was raging in Europe at the time, so there were no replacement motors to be had. That’s when Bert Dingley raced it as the “ONO” with the Babydoll Pope Toledo motor in it – only 389cid in 4cyls, considerably smaller than the Fiat block. Dingley and his mechanic were nearly killed when they rolled the car at Tacoma in 1914. Hughie Hughes drove the car in 1915. I have a picture of him racing at the San Francisco Grand Prix.
“As the family story goes, my granddad owned a storage garage in San Diego in 1919. The car, at the time, was owned by a naval officer who had a reputation for drinking and driving the car at breakneck speeds through the city of San Diego. The final straw was when he missed a turn, ran up on the sidewalk, took out a light pole and nearly ran over a pedestrian. The judge told him he could get out of jail when he proved to the judge that he had sold the car. As luck would have it, he stored the car at my granddad’s garage, so he offered the car to my granddad, and he accepted. At this time, the car was back in ‘street’ condition with fenders, running boards and headlamps installed. The car sat in storage until 1942 when my dad started restoring it. It wasn’t until the late 1940’s that my dad found out about the car’s racing history and he restored it back to racing trim.”
It was a lazy Saturday in the early 1980’s. My wife and I took a drive to Moss Landing, a quaint little community along California Coast Highway 1, between Santa Cruz and Monterey. We enjoyed the antique shops there and, in particular, browsing in Potter Palmer’s compact store filled with all manner of very old, very pricey jewelry, and a few starter pieces for the likes of young, impoverished couples like us. Potter was a friendly guy and wonderful salesman. He made shopping fun by sizing up his customers and putting on his counter what he thought might be most tempting. Then he’d begin to gently probe to see how far he could bump us up in price, from an inexpensive starter trinket to something much, much nicer … the kind of somethings he kept out of sight in his back room, until the time was right. As Potter worked his magic, he might make three or four trips into the back, each time returning with better pieces than before. We liked to play the game, but were definitely limited to the “cheap trinket” category.
On this day we were driving our fire-breathing 48-horsepower, 1978 Volkswagen Dasher diesel station wagon. As we came into town I parked behind this stunning Lambo, the likes of which I’d never seen on the road, not even in car rich Silicon Valley. My wife and I made our usual visit to Potter’s store, and as we were leaving he saw me eying the Lambo, which I did not know was his. “Would you like to sit in it,” he asked? What a silly question. Of course I would. So Potter walked over and opened the scissor door. I don’t remember that we bought anything that day, but it was a memorable visit. After that, we always stopped in to say hello when on the way past, and that always led to our browsing while Potter played the jewelry game with us or other customers. He passed away years ago and though his family maintained the store for a long time after, we never heard what happened to the Countach. I don’t know what happened to me, either. As the photo below shows, I used to be much thinner and younger.
For those of you who don’t know him, Felix Petrol is the creation of Guy Allen and is a regular feature in Octane Magazine (www.octane-magazine.com). The irresistibly charming Felix drives a wide range of cool cars, many of which can be seen on Guy’s web site. Guy’s copyrighted art is used with permission. Octane is now edited by James Elliott, most recently of Classic & Sports Car, which also uses Guy’s wonderful art.
How do you pronounce the name of this century-old auto manufacturer (founded in 1906)? Is it Lawn-cha? Lan-cha? Lan-cee-uh? Or something else? We thought we’d clear it up for you:
This Maserati art is copyrighted 2009 by Guy Allen, whose work can be seen …and purchased … at Guy Allen-Art.com.
Starting in 1949 and continuing through 1957, Moretti cars have had a long and exciting history of participation in the Mille Miglia. This car, a Moretti 1500 Freccia d’ Oro, is powered by a Moretti designed and built 1500cc 4-cylinder twin cam, twin plug, twin carburetor, and twin distributor motor. It has both body and tubular chassis by Moretti.
The four speed transmission is Fiat 1100. This car was one of three specially ordered and built in 1955-56 by Moretti for the 1500cc class by an Argentinean group who wanted to compete against Maserati 150S and OSCA 1500, among others. This is the third car of the three built, #001 went to Argentina and was never paid for, but destroyed/crashed; #002 and #003 were bought by the Trustee for Moretti’s bankruptcy as an independent constructor in the sixties.
Moretti survived several more years as a carrozzeria or body designer/coach builder, mostly for Fiat. The #002 was traded in the late sixties by the Trustee for a Renault Alpine 108 and has disappeared. The Trustee sold #003 to a lawyer from whom I bought the car. It is the only one known to exist.
After the Moretti factory closed, the man charged with selling the assets stored the car. The car was purchased from that liquidator, Sig. Nebbia Giacomo, in the most original condition imaginable. With the exception of new paint and engine rebuild, the car is in the same ready to race condition as it was when built. The car was first shown to the public in August 2000, at the Concorso Italiano in Pebble Beach, California. Joel D. Stein, D.O., F.A.A.O., F.A.O.A.S.M.
More Moretti pix
This 1957 Moretti Coupe belonged to a well-known Alfista in the late 1968s. Knowing this, how many of you immediately think, “Hey, he must be talking about Jim Steck?” If you did, more power to you; we have a hard time seeing Jim in this cute little Moretti, instead of behind the wheel of Bonnie, the 230+ mph Alfa Bonneville record holder or 4SFED, his incredible turbocharged “street” GTV.
Daniel Vitesse, who lives in Uruguay, has his work cut out for him with the restoration of the “slightly aged” Moretti shown below. Daniel’s other projects include a Fiat 1100 TV Coupe, a Topolino ( both on the Fiat page), and VW Hebmuller replicas that his company makes for enthusiasts like himself. We don’t usually post non-Italian cars, and the VW shown below doesn’t fit here,but you have to admit that a VW-Hebmuller replica is Non Originale.
This is the famous HWM “Stovebolt” racer now owned by Simon Taylor. The top photo is from a 1995 Road & Track feature on the car. The next is a 2003 shot I took at Laguna Seca, just minutes before Simon took the car out for a Friday practice session, prior to the vintage races (Now known as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion .. until someone else buys the naming rights). So, you’re asking, why is this terrific car on an Italian car page? Certainly not because HWM originally used Alfa engines (They were Alta motors, not Alfa). Not even because the car was built by HWM’s legendary mechanic Alf Francis. No, it’s here because the Stovebolt has a legitimate Italian connection and because the Stovebolt is an example of what happens when a bunch of really good hot-rodders and tuners go to work on an already fine racer. Switching the 4-cylinder Alta engine for a 265 cube Chevy was just a start. Now, about the Italian connection, Simon shares that “in 1950 Stirling Moss had his first Formula 1 race in it, even though it was merely a 2-litre Formula 2 car, and he finished a sensational third to the works Alfa Romeos of Farina and Fangio … that was in the Bari Grand Prix. Then a few weeks later Moss had the first bad accident of his career in my car. He was leading, holding off the pursuing Ferraris, when a back-marker moved across on him and put him head-on into a tree. Among other painful injuries, he knocked out his front teeth on the cockpit edge. In 2000, when I told Stirling I’d bought the car, he said, ‘Have a look in the undertray, boy – you’ll probably find my teeth.'”