Written by Dans Son Jus
These past weeks the Northern hemisphere was paralyzed by piles of snow and ice. Who had expected that you could snowboard on Times Square in The Big Apple? Undersigned could even reach his work with constant wheelspin last week. It is often said that only children fancy playing in the snow, but the child in us often comes alive when the snow starts to fall. As our fingers are too cold to work on our restoration project and the children don’t need to get entertained by daddy or mommy, the car owner can let off steam by slipping and sliding.
I have heard of many classic car owners who were not fainthearted, going out to have a spin in their valuable classics (please send me your pics). But in the past snow was pure business. For instance, the race agenda for 1947 showed the Swedish snow Grand Prix. Superstars like Caracciola and Chiron showed up in their SSK Mercedes and Talbot to race on a frozen lake. Doug Nye wrote a very interesting story about THIS.
The only way to beat a Chain Gang Frazer Nash with an SSK was by applying snow chains, what a beautiful picture don’t you think?
This year’s professional snow racer in Austria was F1-superstar Max Verstappen. He took his Torro Rosso up the Kitzbuehel hills for a nice show. A delight for photographers, but I wonder how he would have floored the accelerator if there were no energy drink CEOs to keep him calm. This outing had absolutely nothing in common with the brave racers of the past, except for one thing: they did not care for nature at all. After the show it turned out that Max’s V8 had ruined an official nature reserve, without permission.
The funny thing is that the same happened in the prewar era. Some 40 miles from Kitzbuehel we find the highest German peak, the Zugspitze. It is also an official nature reserve but it was once used as a circuit when the snow had fallen. Privateers in retired racers (of very high standards) joined for a race through deep snow, sliding and drifting like professionals. I had heard of this race, but never found proof of it, but tonight I found a very beautiful short film in which you see these heroes in 1927. You can clearly recognize the Amilcar, the Bugatti T37 and I think a Frazer Nash. But the most interesting thing is that there is again an SSK! I always tought Volvo was famous for its snow ready cars, but I changed my mind: next year’s skiing holiday will be in an SSK.
Tomorrow we continue on with the Paris reports, so stay tuned!