We tend to praise the racers of days gone by for their balls of depleted uranium. While still dangerous today, racing in the 1950s and 1960s was damn near a death sentence. It’s not that they didn’t want to be safe, it’s just they didn’t know any better. However, even in those heady days of open cockpits and lap belts some men decided enough was enough.
Dan Gurney was one of those guys. He was tired of getting hit in the face with rocks and other debris flying at him while he dominated nearly every form of racing in the world at the time. So, he devised this Hannibal Lecter-esque face mask to protect him. At the same time, he started working with Bell Helmets to develop the first full face helmet for auto racing.
Just another reason why I’m voting Dan Gurney for President!
[Image Credit: The Chicane. Go read the comments. One of the guys got a reply from Mrs. Dan Gurney about the history of this photo.]