The word “awesome” is overused far too often. This is not one of those times.
As the cliché goes, these photos date from an era “when sex was safe and racing was dangerous,” which is a phrase so overused it should be standardized scientific vernacular in describing the 1950s-1970s (and possibly 1980s) epoch. But before the Nurburgring was turned into the daddy of all toll roads, before fearless bad asses like Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill achieved the power of flight, before safety barriers and mile-wide runoffs and Japanese safety cars, men attempted to conquer death in 14 miles and 160 turns merely for the sake of a record, and the Nurburgring looked like this:
Fortunately for us, they still do (as well as any yahoo in an Astra). But if there’s one thing to take away from these archival photos, it that clichés are cliché for a reason.
[Image sources: Speedhunters, History and Legends of Grand Prix Racing]