So let’s ask a hypothetical question. You are a weekend warrior. You have spent all your money on a bitchin’ Chevy Nova, and a plain driver suit. You want to decorate the suit, but can’t afford to give it the professional treatment. What do you do? If your name is James Wells, you get an iron-on and a couple of Sharpies, and you make do!
This unique example dates to the early 1980’s, and shows how a low budget team can have an attractive suit. The front of the suit has a Chevy Bowtie logo with “08 FOLSOM RACING” on the right and 08 JAMES WELLS written in Sharpie on the front. I also love the drop shadow effect that Wells tried to use. On the back, Wells used a NOVA SS iron on. Yes it looks really cool, but there is an issue. This is a single-layer suit. The iron on can clearly be seen on the inside of the suit. I get the feeling that it would negate the fire protection in the event of a fire. It’s a good thing that scenario never took place. I kept this entry short because of this week’s
Released in December of 1966, Grand Prix is one of the best racing movies made, and is very accurate in detail of the racing itself. The plot centers around four drivers, American Pete Aron who is looking to make a comeback. Scott Stoddard is an English driver who needs to make a comeback as well. Frenchman Jean-Pierre Sarti is an older but wiser driver who is nearing the end of his career. Former motorcross rider Nino Barlini is a bright rookie, who is looking to make his mark on the sport.
The main plot centers around the battle for the 1966 Formula 1 World Championship. The season starts at Monacco, where Pete Aron is fighting both his teammate Scott Stoddard and a damaged transmission. The transmission freezes, causing a crash which sends Aron into the harbor, and Stoddard to the hospital. While this is taking place, Jean-Pierre Sarti wins the race and Barlini comes in second. From there, 4 sub plots, each focusing on one driver start.
Aron is fired from British Racing Motors, and is relegated to a job as a TV interviewer for the Federal Broadcasting Company. At the next event, he runs into Pat Stoddard, Scott’s unhappy wife, and the two of them begin an affair. After one race as an interviewer, he is signed by Yamaha Motors, wins the Belgium Grand Prix and starts his improbable run at the championship.
Scott Stoddard meanwhile is out of the car with his injuries, and spends a number of weeks in a British hospital. He eventually learns of his wife’s affair with Aron, and confronts her about it. She openly admits she wants out of the marriage, and leaves. Later, during the British Grand Prix, Stoddard takes a couple of pain killers to help him with the pain, but they cause him to nearly lose consciousness. He returns to the pits, and Aron takes the lead, but catches fire and Nino wins the race, setting up the battle for the championship.
Jean-Pierre Sarti and Nino Barlini race for Ferarri, and are both heavily involved for the championship. At an after race party in Monacco, Sarti meets attractive American fashion writer Louise Frederickson. The two begin an affair that lasts until the end of the season. Sarti is also upset that the cars are not working to his liking, and suffers some setbacks. At the Belgium Grand Prix, he suffers a suspension failure, and crashes into a barn, killing two kids accidentally. This has an effect on him, as he then begins to realize how absurd his life really is. While watching Nino celebrate after winning the British Grand Prix, he laments “I suppose what’s wrong with me is my life. But I can’t change that…or I won’t. I’ve begun to see the absurdity of it. All of us, proving what? That we can go faster, and perhaps remain alive? Nino, gambling his life for a trophy, then filling it with beer and doing tricks. Stoddard filling himself with drugs to drive, and still passing out from the pain. Don’t you see how absurd it is? Who cares?
Nino is a young single driver who comes from motorcycle racing to Formula 1. After the Monacco Grand Prix he meets Lisa, an attractive woman with no personality, and they start a relationship. Nino is a fun loving playboy, who take racing seriously. In the 2 car Ferarri team, Nino is the second car. After winning at Silverstone, he becomes the points leader. But before the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Lisa sees him with two Japanese models, and leaves him for another man. That sets up the final race of the fictional 1966 season, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Before the race, Sarti’s car is late from the factory, and Louise has told him she is going back to America. Sarti’s wife shows up, and is none too happy about the affair.. Nino is sad about Lisa, but is able to put it behind him for the race. After a divorce seems inevitable, Scott and Pat fix their relationship. Pete has been watching footage of his previous races to help him get an edge. When Sarti’s car finally shows up, it is not to his liking. He argues with team manager Agostini Manetta, who says that he will decide to retire Sarti after the race. Sarti leaves, visibly disgusted by the proceedings.
The race starts, and Sarti stalls the car. He is able to get it fired, but loses a lot of time. Nino jumps to an early lead, with Aron and Stoddard, behind him. Sarti makes up a lot of time. During the last race, each driver is heard in voice overs and flash backs explaining why they do what they do. Toward the end of the race, Sarti makes it up to fourth, but then a piece comes off Aron’s car, hits Sartis car, and Sartiis involved in a fatal crash. His wife is shaken, Louise is horrified. Agostini does what no team owner ever wants to do, and shows the black flag to Nino, calling him into the pits as a result of Sarti’s death. Nino sadly complies with the order, visibly shaken. Stoddard and Aron are unaware of what has happened to Sarti, and battle for the win and the championship, with Aron coming out on top. While celebrating the championship, Aron calls Stoddard up, and the two rivals celebrate together. As they celebrate, the track announcer states that Sarti has died, and the celebration is cut short. The movie ends with Aron walking through the now empty race track, and looking at the starting grid, and hearing the engines, and the crowd on race day.
Overall this was a great movie, but it did have some issues. The in-car camera angles were revolutionary for the day, but there were a lot of needless visual effects during races. The use of race footage was a great move, and it looks really good. The schedule for the fictional 1966 F1 racing season, differs significantly from the real 1966 season, but it still looks good. Interestingly, Nomex was mentioned by a track announcer after a firey crash. It was likely added during editing, since in 1966, Nomex was being tested as a material for driver suits. I give this movie an A+