Good morning class. I know you might think the architect of New Orleans rhythm and blues, Henry Roeland Byrd aka Professor Longhair aka “Fess”, might not have any connection to the history of auto racing. You would be correct. However, the Hooniversity Department of Inter-disciplinary Studies and general cool stuff believes in providing a well rounded curriculum. So, on your own time, get yourself to your preferred source of online music and get some knowledge on this Professor. Every song’s a party, ready to bust loose. And, if you’re wise to Professor Longhair, go to the head of the class. Moving on…
While Professor Longhair was recording his ode to
party patent medicine, “Hadacol Bounce“, in New Orleans, auto racing was continuing it’s resurrection in the aftermath of the Second World War. Enzo Ferrari’s upstart business venture began to challenge Alfa Romeo and Maserati for Grand Prix supremacy, while simultaneously gaining the upper hand in sports car racing at LeMans and the Mille Miglia. A new generation of racers, like Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Frolian Gonzalez, began to challenge pre-war stalwarts like Louis Rosier and Raymond Sommer. Auto racing’s new international governing body, the FIA, established to the new grand prix regulations, called Formula One.
BRM introduced it’s potent, supercharged 1.5 liter V16, designed by the team of Harry Mundy, Peter Berthon, Eric Richter and Frank May. International racing returned to Germany and the Nurburgring for the first time in a decade. Briggs Cunningham’s team makes it’s debut at LeMans, where he runs into stiff opposition from a relatively new British manufacturer, Jaguar. In 1951, Fangio and Ascari dueled to the last race of the season, at Pederalbes, to determine who would be the World Champion.
So let’s, once again, turn to the outstanding Shell Films documentary, The History of Motor Sport, for more vintage racing goodness. As Professor Longhair might say, laissez les bons temps rouler.
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