Set of 12 automotive illustrations by the artist William J. Sims.
Special folio issue of the 12 prints that were also pictured in the Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, Inc. calendar for 1977. This year's calendar pictures the international flavor and variety of auto competition of the most attended sport of the world:
1. 1975 NHRA Nationals
— Dragster showdown between Don Garlits and Shirley Muldowney
Despite a persistent struggle to achieve respectability, drag racing is now one of America's fastest growing forms of auto racing. Its origins lie in Southern California and early hot rodders—for one reason or another—were generally frowned upon by the racing fraternity. When the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) was founded in 1951, however, the quarter mile drag acquired "social status". NHRA and American Hot Road Association now govern the sport almost entirely. Drag racing's various catergories and classes are too numerous to mention here.
Illustration: From the 1975 NHRA Nationals, a Top Fuel Eliminator AA Dragster showdown between Don Garlits and Shirley "Cha Cha" Muldowney, won by the former.
2. 1976 Baja 1000 Off-Road Event
— Won by
Malcolm Smith and Bud Feldkamp
The SCORE International sanctioned Baja 1000 is a savage test for both man and machine. This brutal, uncompromising off-road event—staged in the wilds of the Baja peninsula—by nature pursues a course that traverses siltbeds and mudflats, twists through cactus and sagebrush, and plows up lava-strewn mountains and plunges into treacherous ravines. In the 1976 event, some sections of the course had never had a power vehicle on them before! And virtually all paved areas were eliminated in an effort to make it the toughest off-road challenge in existence. How tough? Of the 205 four-wheeled starters in 1976, only 69 finished. Malcolm Smith and Bud Feldkamp finally took the Checkered Flag after 18 hours and 56.49 minutes and an average speed of 42.20 mph.
3. 1961 Formula 1 Belgium Grand Prix
— Won by Phil Hill
Perennially popular Formula 1 racing is one of the oldest forms of competition. Its history goes all the way back to 1902, and since that time—guided by governors who have been quick to adapt to change—it has earned the reputation as the ultimate in road-racing, both in car design and driving.
"Formula 1" is the designation applied to the top class of international single-seater racing, and all events for the Drivers' World Championship are now run under its regulations. Presently governed by the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA), all Forumula 1 races have a specified minimum distance of 300 kilometers and a maximum distance of 400 kilometers, though these can be waived by FIA.
Illustrated: 1961 Formula 1 Belgium Grand Prix
Winner: Phil Hill
4. 1973 U.S. Auto Club Sprint Car Races
There are the great races, the standouts, the international attractions. And then there are those lesser-known, hard-nosed events, where aspiring drivers have an opportunity to learn, and the established ones to learn more. Such are the United States Auto Club-sanctioned Sprint Car races, long a favorite of American racing fans. Sprinkled throughout the racing calendar, peppy Spring Car competition is usually held on small (half mile or under) dirt or asphalt ovals, where the driver must be as gritty as his machine, and where desire exceeds the prize. Many a racing superstar owes his status directly to the experience he gleaned from Sprint Car participation.
Illustrated is a typical scene from the 1973 season.
5. 1972 Indianapolis 500
— Won by Mark Donahue
If it wasn't already one of the world's best known auto races, the "Indy 500" would be almost anybody's pick to exemplify the popularity and growth of the sport. The first Indy—run in 1911—attracted 80,000 spectators. Today, attendance annually exceeds 300,000. First place money in 1911 was $14,000. Today, the winning driver pockets about $300,000 out of total prize money of over $1 million. And the winner—aside from his earnings—achieves instant fame. The toast of the world, he alone holds the spotlight, generally acknowledged at that moment as the reigning monarch of his profession.
Illustrated: 1972 event.
Winner: Mark Donahue
6. 1966 Le Mans 24-Hour Race
— Ford GT 40's finished 1-2-3 in 1966 and won again in 1967 and 1968
One of the world's most celebrated international racing events is the Le Mans 24-hour Race, another supreme test for driver and machine. Conceived in 1923, it has been held annually, except for a 1936 cancellation and a nine-year interruption forced by World War II. Cars from France, England, Italy, Germany and the United States have dominated at one time or another. The circuit has been modified over the years, reaching its present configuration and approximate 8⅓-mile distance in 1932. As the circuit changed, so have the rules, and since its inception it has been a "contests within a contest" type of competition. An all-out effort by Ford Motor Company in the 1960s resulted in the first American winner in 1966, when Ford GT 40s finished 1-2-3 (McLaren/Amon first). Fords won again in 1967 and 1968.
7. 1975 International Race of Champions (IROC)
— Won by Bobby Unser, beating out A. J. Foyt by 2 ft., both driving 1974 Penske Camaros.
Among the more recently conceived racing programs is the annual International Race of Champions (IROC), a series of four races for worldwide talent specifically structured for a TV format. The 12 entrants drive the same model car, each uniformly prepared and track-tested. The series culminates each February with a 100-mile race at the famed Daytona International Speedway. Illustrated is the 1975 IROC event, considered one of the greatest auto races of all time, when the six finishers (driving 1974 Camaros prepared by Roger Penske) were literally running "bumper-to-bumper" and "doorhandle-to-doorhandle" at the conclusion. The Checkered Flag went to Bobby Unser, whose margin of victory over A. J. Foyt is officially recorded as a mere two feet. Unser's average speed was 167.516 mph. Foyt's speed is anybody's guess.
8. 1975 The American Motorcycle Association (AMA)-sanctioned Daytona 200
— Won by Gene Romero
The motorcycle's origins are closely allied to those of the automobile, and some events (Baja 1000, for example) invite motorcyclists to participate along with the cars. Most speedways used for auto racing also feature motorcycle events on their calendars. The American Motorcycle Association (AMA) which sanctions over 7,000 events each year, is the lone U.S. affiliate to the Federation Internationale Motorcycliste, which promotes international competition. AMA sanctions events for amateurs, semi-professionals and professionals in a wide variety of competition, including track races, off-road races and hill climbs. The annual AMA-sanctioned Daytona 200, an international road-race event held at the famed Daytona speedway, combines the outer tri-oval with an infield course to make up AMA's top event of the year and the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. In 1975, the Daytona 200 was won by Gene Romero.
9. 1973 SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Champion Spark Plug Road Racing Classic
— Won by Sam Feinstein ("A" class Production Cars)
The Champion Spark Plug Road Racing Classic is the finale of Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) annual National Road Racing Program. This event, for amateur racers over a 2.52 mile circuit for a total distance of 45.36 miles, is held at Road Atlanta each November. The top four drivers in point standings from SCCA's seven geographic divisions and four categories of cars (Formula, Sedan, Production, Sports Racing) are invited to participate. Each category is broken down into various classes of cars so that there are 21 racers in all. Participants perform on a "winner-take-all basis" to determine the national champion in each class. Thus, the competition is most intensified and has earned for the three-day event the sobriquet of "the Olympics of road ricing."
Illustrated: Production Cars ("A" class), 1973 event.
Winner: Sam Feinstein
10. 1973 NASCAR Daytona 500
— Won by Richard Petty
The Daytona International Speedway—an enormous sports complex situated on 455 Florida acres—has been a world center of auto racing since it opened in 1959. And though it annually presents a panorama of major racing events, stock car racing is its heart. National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)-sanctioned stock car auto racing—considered almost the sole possession of the U.S. southeast, where it had its origins—boasts one of the busiest racing seasons known. Several of NASCAR's key events are held at the great Daytona complex, including a month-long racing jamboree each February that concludes with the prestigious Daytona 500, a maximum challenge to both man and machine.
Illustrated: 1973 Daytona 500.
Winner: Richard Petty.
11. 1976 East African "Safari Rally"
— Won by Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius in a Lancia Stratos
The rally is a unique form of competition in that it places man and machine into many dimensions: distance, road surface, terrain, speed, weather and time (to name a few). The East African "Safari Rally"—begun in 1953—is billed as the severest rally in existence, and few would dispute the point. With three "legs" all originating and terminating at Nairobi in Kenya—it demands the driver to manipulate his machine more than 3,000 miles across plain and up mountain, through burning desert and frigid cold, in rain, or mud or stifling dust, against an unrelenting clock that continues beating even when the car breaks down. Aside form being one of the toughest and most uncompromising of motor events, it may also be the only one that has had women participants in every running. In 1976, Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius won the the four-day event in a Lancia Stratos.
12. 1967 Can-Am (Canadian-American) Challenge Cup Series
— Won by Bruce McLaren
The highly popular Canadian-American Challenge Cup Series, consisting of six 200-mile races on six different courses, was initiated in 1966 (later expanded to 10 races). Engine size was unrestricted and the big International Group 7 machines, rumbling with more than 600 hp, were capable of reaching 100 mph in less than six seconds, and over 200 mph on straightaways. Little wonder that Can-Am racing became the world's fastest! With this reputation, and cash prizes that topped any other series of auto races, the Can-Am Challenge Cup appealed to automotive talent the world over and became an international attraction. The Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned series was discontinued in 1974 due to the high cost of Group 7 machines, which reduced production of new models.
Illustrated: From the 1967 Can-Am series.
Winner: Bruce McLaren