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A flock of “cigar tube” Formula One cars from the rear-engine revolution of the early 1960s illustrate the diversity of a typical HGPCA field. Photo: Roger Dixon
Raymond Mays demonstrates the BRM V16 during an “Ancien Pilotes” demonstration race in the late 1960s. Photo: J Pearson Archive

Aspiration and reality are often diametrically opposed. Dreams, however, do come true every time an amateur driver clambers aboard, or wriggles into, a Grand Prix car once raced by a sporting icon. Such is the unbridled joy evoked in the senses of competitors who unleash their heroes’ magnificent bolides in wheel-to-wheel combat on some of the world’s greatest circuits.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than for members of the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA), which since 1979 has provided the racing platform for a sensational spectrum of machines spanning five decades. Its events showcase the development of these technological tours de force (and the odd blind alley!) from artisan-crafted two-seater Bugattis of the 1920s to spindly rear-engined “cigar tubes” of the early-’60s.

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