Al Unser’s 1987 Indy winner was fresh off a hotel lobby’s floor …
If you’re familiar with the Indianapolis 500 at all you know that Al Unser Sr. became a surprise four-time winner in 1987.
The bigger surprise though may have been that he did it in a car that weeks before had been on display in a Scranton, Pa., hotel lobby.
History is twisted and sometimes good things come to those who wait. Despite being a 3-time Indy winner Al Unser was without a ride for the 1987 Indy 500, but was waiting and watching in Gasoline Alley in case a good opportunity arose.
While doing sports on Green Bay TV during the 80’s and 90’s I had some fantastic opportunities to meet really interesting people. Sure, all the Green Bay Packer players of that era, but my main passion was auto racing. Anytime there was anything going on at Road America, I was down there. I loved being there and still do.
On the list of nice guys were Roger Penske, Walter Payton, and Tom Cruise. He’s a short guy. The nicest on that list, and also short, was Mario Andretti. I interviewed him a bunch of times and it was like we had known each other for ever. Check out this story on Mario done a week ago today on CBS Sunday Morning. Enjoy.
Collectors who like to create scenes for displaying their models will be thrilled by three new items from Replicarz, a 1968 Chevy C10 pickup and tandem race trailer, plus a figure of Andy Granatelli. All are sold separately, so you can create your own diorama to fit your display needs.
Best of all, these are all in STP trim, which means the shocking Day-Glo Orange that STP used on so many of its sponsored racers in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, Replicarz has created at least four Indy Cars that fit the trailer and time period. There’s the new Paxton STP Turbine model, Mario Andretti’s 1969 Indy 500 winner along with the 1973 Eagles of winner Gordon Johncock and his teammate, Swede Savage.
Unlike today when race teams haul their cars and other equipment to racetracks across the country in giant semi-trailers that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the 1960s and 1970s, many teams still used a pickup and trailer. Some even stuck with station wagons and trailers until about 1980.
Eye-catching paint job and high value for this Camaro SS
I learned to drive a stick shift on my Uncle Wink’s 1967 Camaro SS, so I’ll forever have a soft spot for 1960s Camaros. Auto World seems to too, creating numerous muscular 1960s die-cast Camaros in various scales.
Serious model car builders love their muscle in 1/24 scale and Auto World now delivers a handsome 1969 Camaro SS in bright orange in that scale. This isn’t as detailed as Auto World’s fine American Muscle series in 1/18 scale, but the body is well shaped and the car has the aggressive Camaro stance. Pricing is value minded too and there’s a lot to like about that.
Chevy’s Camaro was launched in fall of 1966 to compete with Ford’s exceedingly popular Mustang. Camaro and Mustang were affordable sports cars, which we later decided were muscle, or pony cars.
My days as a TV sports reporter in Green Bay provided me with opportunities others dream about. Almost all of them came because I spent lots of time at my favorite place, Road America, located about an hour south of Green Bay. I loved when there was a race coming up because it meant I’d be down there a bunch of times that weekend. Nobody else in the Green Bay television market covered motorsports like I did. I loved it. I got to interview some cool car guys. While some people might be intimidated by their names, I’d just walked up to them, videographer in tow, and asked them if I could chat with them. Hey they put their pants on the same way I do, one leg at a time. The only one who turned me down was Bobby Rahal who was having a crappy practice day at Road America. So here are the ones that did talk to me and I still remember to this day. Continue reading Cool car guys I’ve met→
CMC’s new Ferrari a masterful recreation of a racing beauty
By 1969 Ferrari had already been embarrassed by Ford and its GT40 for several years at LeMans and at various other endurance racing venues. It also had boycotted the 1968 sports car endurance season after its 4.0-liter 330 P4 was banned, after winning the 1967 championship.
So hopes were high when the proud Italian racing team rolled out the 312P Spyder and put open wheel hot shoes Mario Andretti and Chris Amon in its cockpit. This racer was based on Ferrari’s successful Formula 1 racer, the 312. The P here stands for Prototype and behind the driver was Ferrari’s 3.0-liter naturally aspirated V-12, that’s where the 312 nomenclature comes from.
First time out Andretti put the car on the pole for the 12 Hours of Sebring and he and Amon managed to finish second overall, first in class. This gorgeous 1:18 scale CMC model is of that racer, chassis No. 0868. Two other 312P Spyders were made and raced, one being badly damaged in an accident and never returning to the track. By the time Ferrari got to LeMans, its intended target for the racer, it had decided to reconfigure the car with a covered cockpit, for better aerodynamics. CMC also offers that model, the Spyder Berlineta now.
It’s hard to put too many superlatives in front of a description of any CMC model. This Ferrari 312P is both beautiful in its design execution and in the detail that CMC delivers in a model containing more than 1,000 diecast and brass parts.
First, its shape and Ferrari blood red finish are exquisite, plus the racer’s nose pops off to expose the finely detailed chassis, radiators, front suspension, copper lines, cooling intake hoses for the brakes and the steering mechanism. One surprise though, the wheels are fixed, not steerable. However, the wiring, plumbing and monocoque chassis are excellent. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC 1969 Ferrari 312P Spyder→