The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The City: Miami #6

Original Caption:

Miami -- Spain's Marquis de Portago concentrates on the engine of his sleek Ferrari as mechanics Giannino Parravicini and Enzo Monari, both of Italy, make final repairs following a recent overhaul. Portago registered the fastest clocked time during warm ups for the Nassau road race, with 2:20 on the 3 1/2 mile runway course at Windsor Airfield. (1954)


Vanwall said...

A not really gifted driver, merely somewhat talented, who spent his whole life trying to kill himself in spectacular ways, and went thru a helluva lot of cars on his way to oblivion - he had a reputation as a ladies man who couldn't hold his johnson in his pants or hold the road well enough either. He was almost always pushing his race cars well past their mechanical limits, and in those days of skinny tires, drum brakes, and no seat belts, it was easy to overheat a tire or burn out brakes by cornering too fast, and then try to muscle one's way out of one's folly.

After walking with Death a few times in other, less fatal endeavors, for the 1957 Mille Miglia he chose to race the Ferrari 335 S, a true beast of a not very carefully engineered car that under the best of circumstances required either a gifted pilote, or a slightly crazy one, and altho he manhandled it almost around to Brescia, he blew one of the always questionable Englebert tires that Enzo insisted upon using, and finally killed himself along with his poor co-driver, Edmund Nelson, and nine or ten other unfortunates, among them five children - and not incidentally, the Mille Miglia itself. They never had another one.

Phil Hill, a contemporary of de Portago's, always pointed out fatal crashes by "Here so-and-so killed himself", meaning they had made the choice to race as close as possible to 10/10ths, knowing the risks. De Portago prolly couldn't resist the addiction of what fellow Ferrari driver Mike Hawthorn described as something very close to sexual climax - but also I think he couldn't resist the lure of meeting Death in a more final manner.

Bob Probst said...

did the math: 3.5 miles in 2:20 = 90 MPH

Vanwall said...

With a lotta curves thrown in, that's not a bad average.

Mr DeBakey said...

I'm thinking,
while our reporter might be in Miami,
that vehicle, crew & Marquis were in the Bahamas when the photows snapped.