Classic Car Capital
Closeup of Porsche 917 hood
Porsche 917 ©2022 Dennis Gray

2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Celebrating 100 years of Le Mans

Ms. Ellen Bareley curated the Le Mans Legends Heritage Display. This display contained close to fifty cars, all with Le Mans history. From the 1929 Bentley Speed Six overall winner in 1929 and 1930 to the 2016 Ford GTLM class winner.

Among the displays was the Jim Hall 1967 Chaparral 2F; push rods, 427 cubic inch Chevy aluminum block, and an automatic transmission wrapped in fiberglass designed and built in Southwest Texas. This is an American Endurance Racing Car. Each of the many times I walked by the Chaparral 2F, I noticed somebody of my age explaining to sons and grandsons what an important car the Chaparral was to them. Jim Hall and his Chaparrals proved that American cars could compete internationally.

Another significant car is Cameron Healey’s 1951 Porsche 356/02-063. This is the car that started the Porsche mystique by winning Porsche’s first international race. The 1100cc Class of the 1951 Le Mans. Later the car was bought by Southern California’s John von Neumann, who eventually cut the roof off, producing the first Speedster. Northern California Porsche racer Chuck Forge eventually raced the car.

Cameron Healey bought the car from the Forge estate and returned it to how it left the factory in 1951. Even down to the rubber hose jammed behind the right front external driving light to stop vibration and the light moving during the race. Compared to the early fifties British and Italian cars here, this sleek racer definitely feels German!

Cameron Healey and SportsCarDigest compatriot Bill Wagenblatt have worked together to produce the book “46: The Birth of Porsche Motorsport,” which covers the history of 356/02-063 from its first production orders to today. The book includes conversations with original mechanics and team members. I have seen the layout for the book; if you are a Porsche enthusiast, you should have this book. It should be available early next year.

1951 Porsche 356 /2-063
The one that started it all. 1951 Porsche 356 /2-063 acelerating out of turn eleven. ©2022 Dennis Gray
Various vintage cars at the Le Mans Heritage Display
Le Mans Heritage display. This was proably the best display of historic Le Mans ever displayed in the States if not world wide. ©2022 Dennis Gray
Chaparrel Mk. 1
For many my age the Chaparrels were our first serious love. I first saw Jim Hall debut his Chaparrel Mk. 1 at Laguna Seca in 1957. Front Chevy engine with three down draft two barrel carbs. Jim Hall and Hap Sharp built the first Chaparral 2 in 1963. This Chaparral 2F was built for the 1967 season. It won the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch that year. Aluminum 7 liter Chevy with an automatic transmision. ©2022 Dennis Gray
1950 Cadillac Series 61 Le Monstre
1950 Cadillac Series 61 Le Monstre. I had to stand next to this car to get a handle on how big it is. At speed, it must be a real kick. ©2022 Dennis Gray
1952 Mercedes Benz W194
1952 Mercedes Benz W194 drops down The Corkscrew. ©2022 Dennis Gray

The Sunday morning Hillclimb or “Backwards up The Corkscrew.” This year the 2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion ran Wednesday through Saturday, leaving Sunday for the “Cars on Grass” people. For the rest of us, Laguna Seca held a Hillclimb running from the start-finish line through turns eleven, ten, and nine, ending just past The Corkscrew. You may notice this is backward from the usual direction the cars run.

With over fifty entrants in this novel event, the hillside behind The Corkscrew was packed with spectators. Once the entrants grasped the technique of driving up the hill, they put on a good show. The Word is that the track is looking to build a Hillclimb series out of this event. I am for it.

1967 427 Corvette
Looking down the hill from The Corkscrew into turn nine on a foggy Sunday morning. Nicholas Colonna in his 1967 427 Corvette at the base of turn 8 The Corkscrew. ©2022 Dennis Gray
1964 Aston Martin DB4 RS
Up The Corkscrew. Philip Bagley’s 1964 Aston Martin DB4 RS Williams LW. ©2022 Dennis Gray
1951 Fabulous Hudson Hornet
The 1951 Fabulous Hudson Hornet made famous by Disney Pixar. ©2022 Dennis Gray
1976 Lotus 77
Chris Locke in his 1976 Lotus 77 up The Corkscrew. ©2022 Dennis Gray
Porsche 911
A Porsche 911 in The Corkscrew. ©2022 Dennis Gray
Cooper Porsche "Pooper"
Cameron Healey in his Cooper Porsche “Pooper” in turn 8 The Corkscrew. ©2022 Dennis Gray

The Main Event

Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca Raceway had 13 groups of cars running this event. Starting with 1923-1955 The Early Years cars to 1981 – 2005 Le Mans Prototypes and GT1 cars. If you’re turned on by ground-shaking, loud, fast cars, how about the Group 12 Historic Vintage Trans-Am group. Or if your thing is the flame-throwing Porsches, there is Group 8 for 1972-1982 Le Mans cars. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Group 1 1968-1963 Formula Junior; buzzy but quick. Further up the open-wheel ladder is Group 13 1966-1985 Formula One. Very fast with the great sound of high revving V8s and even a Ferrari flat-12 in the field.

1976 Porsche 935K3
Steve Schmidt – 1976 Porsche 935K3 ©2022 Dennis Gray
1989 Porsche 962C
Bruce Canepa – 1989 Porsche 962C ©2022 Dennis Gray
1990 Jaguar XJR10
Zak Brown – 1990 Jaguar XJR10 ©2022 Dennis Gray
1964 Alfa Romeo Guilia Ti
Frank Zucchi – 1964 Alfa Romeo Guilia Ti ©2022 Dennis Gray
1970 AMC Javelin
Dirt tracking out of turn five. Bruce Canepa – 1970 AMC Javelin ©2022 Dennis Gray
1976 Ferrari 312 T2
Chris MacAllister – 1976 Ferrari 312 T2 ©2022 Dennis Gray
1973 Chevron B23
John Fudge – 1973 Chevron B23 ©2022 Dennis Gray
1981 Porsche 935
Zak Brown – 1981 Porsche 935 ©2022 Dennis Gray

Enjoy the following gallery. I plan on having a follow-up 2022 RMMR posting in late September or early October with more images. If you don’t see a car or driver you’re interested in, let us know, and I’ll see if I have a picture to include in the future posting. Hope to hear from you.

2022 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Photo Gallery

Show Comments (5)

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  1. Dennis,
    A Chebbie 427 V-8 “…with three down draft two barrel carbs.” You Chappie article; would love to see photos of that intake manifold. Always appreciate seeing photos of the ’67 winning Ford Mk. IV.

    1. Scott
      Scott
      The first Chaparral had a 327 with triple two barrel carbs. A real Southern Cal set up. In it’s first race, at Laguna Seca Hall faced Dan Gurney in the latest O’l Yaller, a Bird cage and a 250 Testa Rosa. I think that was in 1957 and I was in 8th grade. Sitting on the hill outside turn one. The track then had no infield portion but a sweeping long fast fast turn up to turn three what is now six. I think Hall dropped out and Gurney won. Or maybe not. I’ll go to goggle and look it all up.
      Thanks for taking the time to look at the images and read the captions.

  2. Great report of the event Dennis and superb photos! What a kick it must have been to watch those cars go around the track in the opposite direction!