Photoessay: Museo Alfa, part III

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Continued from parts I and II

In the early days, there really wasn’t that much difference between the race cars and the road cars; often one and the same would be seen at Monza, Le Mans or Spa or the other endurance road courses. The predecessor to Formula One differed a little since those were purpose-built single seaters. But for the most part, there wasn’t anything like the massive differences we see today – even a high end sportscar like a 911 GT3 is still quire different from the actual GT3s that go racing; to say nothing of touring cars, NASCAR and rally – those are basically completely different cars that merely happen to share a deliberately similar looking body. I found the machinery from the early days of racing absolutely fascinating and thoroughly frightening at the same time: notice the lack of seatbelts, tiny brakes, minimal cockpit enclosure, those thin bias-ply radials that would be small on a Prius, and the seat made up entirely of the fuel tank (!). The roll bar is your head, protected by a a very impact-resistant pith helmet. Things got a little better later on, but that spare tire looks to be an unrestrained projectile in the event of a crash. Motorsport is still dangerous today, but nothing near as binary as it used to be. Either you were the champion, or you became one with your machine – permanently. MT

This series was shot with a Nikon Z7, mostly the 24-70/4 S and my custom SOOC JPEG profiles.

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Prints from this series are available on request.

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. In my golden age of cars ( 1949-1970 ), you could buy a sports car to drive during the day and race on weekends…..with a good chance of winning if you were a good driver. Denise McCluggage did that in the early 1960s with her Ferrari 250GT. No need for a transporter, just drive the 500 miles to the track, race the car and drive back home. That changed in the mid 1970s when weekend racers decided that they needed a little extra advantage and bought pure racing tires that were illegal on the street. Then, the wealthier ones ( isn’t that the name of the game ) bought transporters……..then huge bus like campers.
    Too bad, there was something exciting about racing what you drove. I did it for a while in the 1980s with my Ferrari 308 and a few times drove to the track with racing slicks hoping it wouldn’t rain on my way up or coming back. And, hoping that I didn’t smash the car up! To some of us, those were the good old days…….

  2. William Lackey says:

    I really like your take on the rare 1940 Alfa Romeo GP T512 mid-engine 1.5 liter flat 12 cylinder with 2-stage supercharger (photos 2, 3, 4). The car was tested but never raced. Your compositions capture the mechanical beauty of design. Great stuff!

    • Thanks! That was a pretty impressive engine both visually and mechanically…125cc per engine! I can’t imagine it having much torque, but probably a stratospheric rev limit.

  3. What a fine set!

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