It’s been raining at the Dunkirk NY Airport race June 1, 1958, as Jaguar #50 sets up for a corner followed closely by another XK-120.
Photo: Alix Lafontant
While the postwar American sports car scene was inspired by European road racing, it was different in many respects. In America, particularly by the late fifties, we had more racetracks and more cars because we were a bigger country. Americans had more money but had no home-grown production sports cars—with the exception of Cunningham and Corvette—so, we also had no inherent bias against cars of any given nationality; we had them all. If one went to a race in England during the fifties, one mostly saw only British cars, with few exceptions, because the tax on imports was so high. Our customs duty for foreign cars was only two percent, so we had Italian Ferraris, German Porsches, and English Coopers.
Another area of differences and similarities in the fifties was in corner-marshalling. Drivers, who have raced on both sides of the Atlantic speak well of Continental course workers, as Phil Hill notes, “There was more professionalism in European motor sports, so, yes, I believe the race workers were better. More than that, the Europeans had a more elevated place for racing than the Americans did. It was more important to them and it started out at a higher level.”
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