SWD Historic Racing

The Cockscrew

Much of the emphasis of today’s auto racing goes into the most cutting edge formats. Formula One (F1) is amazingly popular globally. Races with long histories like the Indianapolis 500 and other Indy races retail popularity. In the United States NASCAR is extremely popular all over the country. NASCAR in the U.S. is a three event per weekend spectacle that includes a truck event, the Infinity series races and then the main event of the Monster Energy race. The Monster Energy (don’t confuse with Monster Cable – makers of headphones and audio cables OR Monster.com a U.S.-based job site) event is a showplace of some of the best racing and safety technology. While the cars are not open wheeled like Formula One or Indy racing – they are pretty bleeding edge.

This blog isn’t about cutting edge racing. It is about something from a time long ago – historical racing.

While polo is considered the sport of kings and golf is another sport for the well-heeled… vintage auto racing is about as high end of a hobby that one could have.

You start in the hobby (hopefully with a lot of money) by acquiring a vintage race car. These can be found at auction in various vintages and that factors into the hobby quite a bit. Many collectors are drawn into the cars that were popular from their childhood but WARNING: the hobby doesn’t stop there. It is highly addictive.

Monterey History

Once you’ve acquired your first race car, you need a trailer and truck to transport it locally, nationally or possibly internationally. The transportation costs are not insignificant but they are small compared to the crew that you will need. Having people willing, able and knowledgeable enough to work on a vintage race car is where the esoterica really starts to kick in. Vintage race teams don’t often have mainstream sponsors like modern F1 or NASCAR thus some rich guy is paying to keep the car on the track and that is no small feat.

Finding parts for a low-volume race car is the next level of esoterica. Imagine: spending the money that it takes to get to a vintage race with you, your car and your crew. The jet to get you and your buddies to the track is expensive enough but if one part goes sour – this can end your race day very early on. This begins a global search for esoteric and ultra-hard-to-find parts so that you can travel with the backup parts needed to keep you vintage racer on the track. You can see how this is a truly expensive hobby, right?

The next level is in hiring a well-known race driver to actually race your car while you sit in the pit with your buddies drinking champagne. Because you don’t really want to race your multi-million dollar car when the other owners pro drivers blow you off the track.

If you want to take your vintage car collecting to the next level – you might join a country club like Thermal Raceway outside of Palm Desert. You need to buy a home or garage there which starts currently at over $500,000 and has homes priced at over $3,000,000. The club is members-only and comes with support for your car, vast amounts of storage and nearly unlimited time on the track. Golfers know this level of luxury and now car and motorcycle racing people do too. Check out the video below exploring the real estate at Thermal.

If you really want to go to the highest levels of the sport of vintage racing, you might attend the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion every year at the WatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca. This event is truly over-the-top. People fly in with their cars, crews and families to race (or watch the racing) of everything from early race cars to 1950s and 1960s cars that have a lot of meaning to older race fans. The cars get more and more sophisticated, loud and awesome as they get newer. It is like a time machine for exotic auto racing. To see these cars still on the road is sight to behold.

So take your tech money from Silicon Valley or your bitcoin fortune and start spending it. A good place to start is at the many auctions at the Monterey Historic Races. This sets the table for the world’s most famous concourse d’elegance which is held on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links. There you will see the most rare, exotic and exclusive cars the world has to offer on one fine summer day. These collectors are encouraged to take part in modest road rallies with their multi-million dollar cars as well as to show them which is really the spirit of the event.