Those readers familiar with the Grand Prix History website know that central to this site is the Hall of Fame. Illustrating that section is a famous photograph by Gary Bramstedt entitled Heroes. Amongst such giants of the sport as Clark, Brabham and Hill is a small freckle-faced driver with crew cut hair looking somehow out of place, but if truth be told beating in his chest was a heart as big as any other. His name was Paul Richard “Richie” Ginther; born in Los Angeles, California in 1930. After finishing school, in 1948 Richie Ginther followed in his father’s footsteps and went to work for Douglas Aircraft, initially in the tool and die shop. In his spare time he worked on old cars and hot-rods and became the friend of another Southern-Californian named Phil Hill. After a brief stint in the military during the Korean War Ginther joined Hill in driving a private Ferrari at the grueling Carrera Panamericana in 1953, a race where 9 drivers and spectators lost their lives. They were involved in an accident during the 2nd stage and failed to finish. In 1954 they returned and scored an impressive second place in an Allen Guiberson-entered Ferrari 375 MM.
Ginther was also an accomplished mechanic as well as driver and he would often trade one discipline for an opportunity doing the other. In 1955 he drove for VW/Porsche dealer John von Neumann and began to make a name for himself.
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