Dick Russell's Photos

Website visitor Dick Russell contributed these interesting photos.

Does anyone know what this pretty little car might be?  Maybe it's an MG Special?  The craftsmanship & detail work (louvers, etc.) might mean it's one of the Italian "Etceterini".

Historian Ron Cummings thinks this might be Joe Playan's Hagemann MG Special at Torrey Pines Oct. 22-23, 1955.  The program shows a 6 hour enduro for Saturday, Oct. 22.

Dick Russell confirms both the car's identity and the race:  "The MG Special pic's are of Joe Playan doing LeMans start, 6 hr. endurance race, at last (?)Torrey Pines race, before track was turned into golf course."

Wild looking LeMans start!  There's our little car among a huge field of under 1500cc competitors: note Jack McAfee in #88 Porsche Spyder.   I wonder if this was an enduro limited to smaller cars or if the big bangers were just gridded farther ahead and aren't shown here.  Does anyone know where & when this event took place?

Here's the entry list for the Oct. 22 1955 Torrey Pines 6 hour enduro.  It shows plenty of "big bore" cars entered and #145 as the "MG Playan Special" with drivers Marion J. Playan & Bob Mauser.

Website contributor & historic racer Bob Engberg remembers the Enduro:

"I was at that six-hour enduro at Torrey Pines with my brother Chuck and Fred Puhn.  The little red and white car just visible next to the McAfee Porsche is an Abarth 207A, the very car that Fred bought some 30 years later and restored. It was one of about 12 of the Fiat-engined cars and while they were beautiful to look at, they were underpowered and heavy and no match for the Lotus Mk IX in competition. In the enduro, a D-Jag won after being chased hard by Phil Hill in a two-litre Ferrari Mondial.

I asked Hill about the race when I met him at last year's Coronado event, to see if he remembered it. Sure enough, he told me he was gaining on the Jag when the engine finally blew."

My guess is that Ken Miles in #50 550A Porsche Spyder makes short work of these two Lotus Mk.9s.  Does anyone know where & when this was or who's driving the two Lotus cars?

From Ron Cummings:  "This looks like Turn 3 at Palm Springs. With Miles in von Neumann's 550A, it had to be late 1957 at least."

From Dick Russell:  "Ron is correct about the 550 spyder #50 being Ken Miles, turn 3, at Palm Springs in 1957."

From the program for another event: Class"G"  #91 Lotus Mk.IX is 1100cc. and is driven by Harvey Mayer.

From Bob Norton's 4-CD compilation of "MotoRacing" magazine: Class "G"  #150 Lotus Mk.IX is driven by Fred Newman.

Fun photo!  From Dick Russell:  "#131 is Jim Parkinson spinning out on last turn of Torrey Pines, not sure of date, probably 56." 

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