European Travels

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by D.S.J.

A great part of the enjoyment of Continental race coverage for Motor Sport is the time between races, motoring about from circuit to circuit, criss-crossing Europe in circles, triangles and figures-of-eight. During these travels there is much to see and enjoy, even if some of the journeys call for 12 to 15 hours of non-stop motoring.

Crossing Southern France the long tree-lined straight (above) near Arles is a must, not only for a burst of 130-m.p.h. motoring, but to recall that Edwardian novel by the Williamsons called “The Lightning Conductor” in which a giant racing Mors was seen “out on a speed test on the long poplar-lined straight”.

Parking meters are a growing disease of modern times and rise up like Triffids. At Nice airport (below) they are protected by a tubular wicket-like structure, but if you accidentally reverse into them the whole lot keels over!

In Calabria the Autostrada del Sole is being built at an incredible rate and this 300-foot high concrete tower (above) was being constructed by hand. On the scaffolding at the top were a myriad of Italians being fed concrete by an aerial ropeway from the top of the valley. The huge iron bucket was also their transport to and from work. Soon there will be an autostrada road, bridging the valley, on top of these towers.

Near Stuttgart the dis-used Solitude circuit is still well kept and the house of the time-keepers and race organisation still stands by the start (below). A drive round this circuit keeps my sense of proportion on what a racing circuit should be like.

Passing through Luxembourg I met friends from another motor journal “on test” with a Chevrolet Corvette (above left). They were about to take acceleration figures and leave interesting black marks on the road. In the foothills of the Vosges mountains at Malmerspach stands this large factory (above) belonging to Mon. Schlumpf. There are rows of sheds housing one of the largest collection of historic cars in Europe, including all the cars and materials from the Gordini works. The Stelvio pass (left) is always fun, especially in offpeak tourist periods, and a climb in a vintage s.v. Anzani Frazer-Nash was memorable, as was a climb in a Fiat 124 Sports Snyder when I acted as “lookout” so that the driver could throw it into the hairpins knowing no-one was coming the other way. In Italy you can still see traces of the Mille Miglia race, such as this inscription (below left) on a wall near Verona. Repairs to the wall have obliterated part of the words, but they have worn well, since 1957. Mentioned in a “Letter from Europe” was the huge free parking garage (below) built into the rock face at the top of the Grosslockner Pass, overlooking the giant glacier.