The 1970s Grand Prix Video Collection. Quadrant Video, £14.99 each.
Remember the days when you were lucky to get a 10-second newsreel clip of a Grand Prix meeting? They weren’t that long ago, actually. It was only in the late ’70s that the BBC went as far as pampering us with half-an-hour of edited highlights on the evening of an F1 race.
Since then, of course, things have taken off. Touring car racing and F3 are now regular Saturday afternoon companions for telly addicts, and the explosion of satellite and cable networks has multiplied the availability of televised motorsport to a level we could only have dreamed about 20 years ago.
If you’ve forgotten how GP coverage used to be, we recommend you dip into this charismatic collection, which covers 1970-1979. Each of the five videos contains two short films (usually around 25 minutes apiece), picking out highlights of a particular season.
On the earlier tapes, much of the footage looks like it was recorded by a bloke running alongside the track, triggering his Kodak lnstamatic for all he was worth. In some ways, the amateurish feel enhances the product; this was all a long time before we had on-board cameras the size of a Rice Krispie, remember, and the haphazard camerawork captures the feel of the period.
Classic period pieces include Jochen Rindt’s Bell Star helmet, with his name clumsily signwritten in felt tip (1970), Reine Wisell’s sideburns (1971) and Jackie Stewart’s sunglasses (1971 and 1973).
In amidst the hit and miss coverage, there is much to enjoy: flashes of the pre-truncated Spa-Francorchamps; a couple of brief interviews with Jo Siffert; Rindt at Monaco in 1970 (make that Rindt just about anywhere in 1970) and so on. A modern-day video producer would quite rightly dismiss much of this as shambolic. If you’ve got a heart, you’ll love it (even if the 1970/1971 commentator, who sounds like he’s fresh from a soap powder commercial, does want to make you wince from time to time anyone ever heard of the English GP?).
Tribute to Stirling Moss/Grand Prix d’Europe, Aintree 1955. Terrific Stuff Videos, £17.99.
More wall-to-wall charisma. The second in Terrific Stuffs recent series, which features reconstituted material from BP’s own archives, is a particular treat for Moss admirers.
The first of two films is an enlightening interview, conducted by Raymond Baxter shortly after Moss had announced his retirement. The second provides stirring footage from Merseyside, as Moss and Fangio trot home to give Mercedes-Benz a British GP 1-2.
As the company’s name suggests, it is Terrific Stuff. They supply tapes direct. Call 081-891 1872 for details.