< Back to Album Home 32nd Rolex Monterey Historics At Laguna Seca
Posted (08/27/2005) - Chaparral, one of the truly great names in American racing history, was the Featured Marque of the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races Presented by Chrysler August 19-21 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The legendary American marque was the headliner for the event's overall tribute to the "Great American Specials."

While the major manufacturers have long been the dominant force in automobile racing, individual efforts in the American tradition of championing the underdog have produced special cars to challenge the "big guns" over the years. Perhaps, no one represented the ingenuity of this industry more than Jim Hall and Chaparral Cars.

Hall, along with fellow racer Hap Sharp, started a small racing team in 1962 in Midland, Texas, naming the team Chaparral, the Spanish word for road runner, a common bird in West Texas. They designed, built and tested a series of innovative and powerful race cars on a private two-mile test track behind their garages named Rattlesnake Raceway. It is a bold statement, but nonetheless true, to say that Hall revolutionized the sport of auto racing in the 1960s. He introduced the first movable wing in 1965 and his work with aerodynamic wings, ground effects and lightweight construction materials transformed auto racing. At a time when many of the great race cars were designed and built in Europe, their success gave American race fans a team to cheer for. While Chaparral Cars enjoyed many victories all over the world, maybe the most prestigious win came when Johnny Rutherford drove a Chaparral 2K to victory in the 1980 Indianapolis 500.

Rolex Historics event founder, Steve Earle: "Jim Hall and his Chaparral cars certainly set the standard in racing during their time. And that was around the world, not just in the United States. Their innovative design, preparation and presentation caught the imagination of race fans across the country that grew into a true fan club. They certainly represent the ultimate in American specials."

Most of the original Chaparral cars are currently on display in a special Chaparral Wing of the Petroleum Museum in Midland. "The first cars, known as the Chaparral 1, were designed and built by Troutman and Barnes in California and are now owned by private enthusiasts" said Earle. The cars designed and built by Chaparral Cars in Midland, known as Chaparral 2s, are now part of the Petroleum Museum in Midland. I am very grateful to them for their support in making this tribute possible."

Names such as "The Ardent Alligator," The BuMerc, ONO, "Old Grey Mare," Tahis Special, Ol Yeller, and Baldwin Special achieved their place in motor racing history as did Miller, Kurtis, Edwards, Cunningham, Scarab and
Chaparral. The creative talents and the motivation to win of individuals like Max Balchowsky, Roger Barlow, Sterling Edwards, Frank Kurtis, John Fitch, Jack Hagemann, Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes, Ken Miles, Miles and Sam Collier, Briggs Cunningham, Brooks Stevens, Lance Reventlow and Jim Hall, have brought a uniquely American element to the world of motor racing. "The best of the American specials are treasures sought after by individual collectors and museums alike and an historic gathering of these unique machines is anticipated for what has become the premier vintage event in the U.S."

And mother nature provided just the right amount of sunshine to really show off the 400+ vintage race cars that were in attendance!

Jim Hall in the Chaparral 2E

The 2E

Ferrari 250

A Pair of Austins
Vintage Racers Love Their Track Time!
A Chrysler Product - Not Available in dealers!

John Fitch - racer, pilot, inventor
Dan Gurney's  Can Am car
A McKee Olds

Vic Elford in the Chaparral 2J

The 2F at speed
Brian Redman pilots the Chaparral 2D

Morgan 3-wheeler
Beautiful BMW
And they are off!
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