Environment affects evolution. Case in point: racing sedans. European sedans, contending with high fuel costs and operating on winding and narrow roads, ended up looking different from their American counterparts, raised on cheap fuel in more open spaces. Racing venues also differed, with sedan racing in Europe dominated by road racing and hillclimbs, while their American counterparts gravitated, for the most part, to drag strips and ovals.
There was little crossover, but instances did occur where American sedans made forays onto the circuits of Europe with varied levels of success. Examples include the Briggs Cunningham-entered Cadillac Series 61 Coupe de Ville at Le Mans in 1950, driven by the Collier brothers, which came home 10th among much sleeker racing machinery. Famed Belgian race driver and journalist Paul Frère would win the Grand-Prix des Voitures de Série, held at Spa-Francorchamps, for both Oldsmobile and Chrysler in the ’50s. Dan Gurney invaded the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with a Chevrolet Impala in 1961. And while there were others, the sight of a hulking American sedan alongside its European brethren, on a European racetrack, was not common.
Become a Member & Get Ad-Free Access To This Article (& About 6,000+ More)
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.