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

Twilight of the Dreamboats #24


Roen, France (1968)

9 comments :

Timmy said...

Is it a bird? A plane?

jalexei said...

1968 was the last French Grand Prix at Rouen - While Jo Schlesser* was killed after his Honda overturned and burned, this is what remains of Jackie Oliver's Lotus, an accident he amazingly walked away from unhurt.

*ironically, Jo was in that in car because regular Honda driver John Surtees (who drove the race in the previous year's car and finished 2nd) refused to drive it on the grounds it was too dangerous.

Vanwall said...

Technically speaking, it's Rouen-les-Essarts, a very fast track, where Jackie Oliver's Lotus 49 ended up looking like this - one of the worst-looking wrecks from that era that someone walked away from.

Note the livery, red on top and white on the bottom with a gold divider stripe and nose: Gold Leaf Team Lotus, Imperial Tobacco's game changing sponsorship of a major race team in Europe. Before this the teams ran in generally their countries' designated racing colors - British Racing Green (which can mean a myriad of shades of green, like Vanwall green), French Blue, Italian Red (they often used different color stripes on the very nose of the cars to differentiate drivers), German Silver or White (they even had official silver values to paint your racer to match if you really wanted to be officially German), or special private team owner's colors, such as Rob Walker's Deep Blue with a white flash across the nose, which Stirling Moss used.

The cars had numbers, usually a maker's symbol or name somewhere, then nothing else - just the basic colors chosen - no sponsorship symbols, even tho they had many deals with gasoline, tire, and electrics companies.

Gold Leaf, and Colin Chapman, Lotus's brilliant leader, changed the landscape of racing in Europe, as now there began pouring in huge amounts of advert money to sponsor what became, like racing already was in the USA, billboards on wheels. The gentleman racers, who raced often for what now is seen as pittances, pretty much disappeared, and it became even more of a money-driven sport.

I don't know if that's good or bad, but Jim Clark, the gentlemanly Scottish racing genius and dominant driver of the mid-to late sixties, was already dead by the time of this accident, killed in a Gold Leaf Team Lotus in a minor F2 race at Hockenheim, Germany that he was contractually obligated to race in - the era was ending fast.

Geoff said...

the f1 nuts... always waiting for their moment.. lurking...

jalexei said...

Ha! It's true - the F1 nuts are always poised for their moment in the sun. But look at that picture; men brave (stupid?) enough to strap themselves into those flammable triple-digit-speed missiles with just a seatbelt and a flimsy helmet as the only thing we'd recognize as safety devices. No onboard fire suppression systems, no HANS head restraint devices, no runoff areas or tire walls...hell, not even a damn guardrail. It was a different time, for better or worse.

Vanwall said...

Jalexei - just think of it 10 years before this pic, when they didn't wear seat belts, wore golf shirts, a helmet was a good bonded leather Chapal model, and string-back gloves were good on wooden steering wheels.

Tempest said...

Titans walked the Earth before sponsorship and chicanes.

God - I couldn't do it.

jfallone said...

The F1 Illuminati is more secret and mysterious than even the Dungeons & Dragons Illuminati. Chances are someone very close to you is one. We meet in midnight cabals and lament the loss of privateering and light candles to forgotten heroes like Richie Ginther and Lord Hesketh while chanting "The engine is a stressed member of the chassis". Our Satan is Jean-Marie Balestre and his minion Bernie Ecclestone. Our gods are many from the ancient Baal of long ago Fangio to Hill the father, Hill the son and Senna the Holy Ghost.

Vanwall said...

Long live Tazio! - the ur-F1 God and Drift Master, Nuvolari. I just like sayin' his last name.