In 1956, Colin Chapman drove one of his Climax-powered Lotus Eleven sports racers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although only 14 cars completed the full twice-round-the-clock competition that year, Chapman and co-driver Herbert Mackay-Fraser managed 172 laps, or 19th place by modern reckoning.
That 63-year-old Lotus is still racing today. It is owned and driven by Stan Anderes, who at the age of 88 is even older than his car.
At its recent 2019 season-opening event at Laguna Seca, the Historic Motor Sports Association awarded its “Spirit of the HMSA” to “someone who probably goes unnoticed at most events, but does everything with an incredible attitude.”
Yes, the crystal cup was presented to Anderes.
“Stan races for the sheer fun of it and is always at our events,” said HMSA president Cris Vandagriff. “He tows and works on his own car and just has an incredibly positive attitude about sharing the history of his vehicle and being part of what makes HMSA such a special group of people.”
Anderes, born and raised in San Francisco, said he started racing because of the exhilaration, and because he liked working on his own cars. It was back in 1979 that he went searching for the car he still races.
“I had been doing some club racing and I wanted to start vintage racing,” he said. “I saw an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle and I told my wife I wanted to go look at it the next day. She said ‘let’s not wait until tomorrow, let’s go look at it now,’ and we did and we were the first people to look at it. As we were signing the paperwork, someone else drove up looking for the car.
“It was in terrible shape and was filled with Black Widow spiders. The other (potential buyer) still asked if he could give me more money for it but I told him ‘no’.”
Cummins celebrates corporate centennial at Indy
Diesel-engine manufacturer Cummins turns 100 years old in 2019 and as part of its centennial celebration, all five of this historic Cummins Indy racing cars will take part in a parade lap before the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.
The Cummins/Indy relationship pre-dates the participation of Cummins vehicles; at the inaugural Indy 500 in 1911, Clessie Cummins was part of the pit crew servicing Ray Harroun’s race-winning Marmon Wasp. Clessie Cummins owned an auto repair shop and also was chauffeur for the Marmon Motor Company. In 1919, at age 30, he launched the Cummins Engine Company.
In 1931, Cummins entered a car at Indy to show the fuel-efficiency of its engines by running the entire race without having to make a pit stop. The car finished 13th. In 1952, a Cummins-powered car set 1- and 4-lap qualifying speed records at Indy.
In 1987, Al Unser Sr. drove a Penske-Cosworth sponsored by Cummins and its Holset turbocharger division to victory at Indy.
Historic Bugatti returns to Prescott Hill
As part of Bugatti’s centennial celebration, Bugatti’s Works 59/50B racing car will return to the Prescott Hill Climb in England this May 25-26 for the first time in 80 years.
In July 1939, Jean Bugatti accepted an invitation to compete at the inaugural Bugatti Owners’ Club international meeting and brought the Type 59 powered by a supercharged 4.7-liter Type 50B 8-cylinder engine, with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille and two mechanics. The car was specially equipped with twin rear wheels designed for the climb.
Despite being unfamiliar with the course, Wimille finished second, losing by only 0.55 seconds. Bugatti promised to return with a smaller car more suited for the course, but World War II intervened.
The Works 59/50B raced only one more time and has been part of the Schlumpf Collection in Mulhouse, France, for many years.
In addition to the 59/50B, more than 90 other Bugattis are expected to take part in the hill climb reunion at Prescott Hill.
Vintage racers return to Hershey’s hill
The Elegance at Hershey is known for its concours d’elegance, but the weekend starts June 7-8 when the Vintage Sports Car Club of America stages The Grand Ascent, a hill-climb time trial for vintage — some of them pretty ancient — racing cars. The Ascent runs both days from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.