Introduction to Racing Classics

Personal Insights

I grew up around cars because my father owned and operated one of the first auto repair shops on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and I spent many hours there, hanging out after school. As I became old enough, I worked in my dad's shop on Saturdays and during the summer, eventually becoming skilled enough to perform routine tasks like service and oil changes, tune-ups, brake pad and exhaust system replacement. I also helped out the trained mechanics with more technical jobs like transmission and engine rebuilds.

The first exposure to auto racing that I can remember came in 1963, when I found the Armed Forces Radio Service on my dad's shortwave radio and was able to listen to the Indianapolis 500 broadcast for the very first time. (Back then, the race wasn't broadcast live on TV and, besides, there was no ABC network station in the Virgin Islands.) That year's winner, Parnelli Jones, became an instant hero for me. Three decades later, his son PJ Jones attracted my attention when he became a team driver for Dan Gurney's Eagles.

By the time I was in high school, Carroll Shelby's Cobras were starting to make their presence felt in the world of international road racing, and my best friend (Carlyle Bennerson, now of Henderson, NC) and I used to haunt the local radio station's newsroom, checking out the international race results as they came over the teletype machine.

To me, the era of the mid-60s to the mid-70s was the "golden age" of auto racing, at least in the United States. There were the Cobras and GT-40s kicking Ferrari's butt in places like Le Mans and Spa, Dan Gurney struggling with limited financial resources to become the first American to win a Formula One race in a car of his own construction and to conquer the Indianapolis 500, and spunky AMC challenging the mighty Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler in the Trans-Am series. Follow the links below to some of the best in auto racing history!

Racing Classics Menu

-Carroll Shelby's Cobras & GT-40s

-Dan Gurney's Eagles

-American Motors' Javelins

-Jim Hall's Chaparrals

-Enzo Ferrari's Sports Cars

-Dan Gurney: All American Racer

-Past Racing Champions

-Recommended Reading List


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| Intro | Cobras | Eagles | Javelins | Chaparrals | Ferraris | Dan Gurney | Champions | Bibliography |

Copyright © 1996-2015 Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr.
Email comments or suggestions to: arnoldvb@islands.vi.
Last Updated: January 1, 2003