I liked both the content and the format of Sam’s Scrapbook: My Motorsports Memories, a book published recently by England’s Evro Publishing and distributed in the US by Quarto (aka Motorbooks).
The Sam in the title is Sam Posey, artist and architect best known for his driving of racing cars and his commentating about them on television and in magazine articles.
Posey has been open about his race against Parkinson’s disease, and thus Sam’s words in the text of this scrapbook have been edited by his son, John.
The book is presented in a horizontal 8-by-11-inch format, which provides plenty of room for the photos Posey collected during his years at the wheel. The book is presented scrapbook style, even with what appears to be scotch tape securing many of those photos to the paper.
Speaking of years at the wheel, for those not familiar with the title of Posey’s 1976 autobiography, The Mudge Pond Express, the first chapter in Memories turns back the clock to Posey’s childhood when he and John Whitman raced a sled on wheels down the paved two-track that Posey’s grandfather installed between his house and the Connecticut pond.
Posey’s maternal grandfather was a New York financier and head of an insurance company. Posey’s father died in World War II and his mother let him spend part of his inheritance from his father on a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, even though Posey was only 14 years old and didn’t have a driver’s license. But he drove on an airstrip that an uncle had built.
Posey bought the 300 SL from famed racer John Fitch, and it was through Fitch that Posey began auto racing. The book shares images from Posey’s racing career and some fascinating insights into what it was like to be a driver in the 1960s and ’70s and early ’80s.
There are tales about how being fired by Roger Penske led to four years at Le Mans with Ferrari, about what it was like to do a qualifying run for the Indianapolis 500, and even about how Oldsmobile prepared a car for Posey to drive in a race around the Lime Rock track in which all cars were driven in reverse.
Posey shares delightful stories about how a team tricked him into trying to fit his tall body into Mario Andretti’s racing suit, about how Jochen Mass was so confident a car would fail that he made dinner reservations for midway through a 12-hour race at Sebring, and about the unusual circumstances that caused the throttle to stick on the Can-Am Ferrari.
The book is full of such stories, and much more, and fans of racing in the era likely will be mesmerized by the photo on page 87, which shows the drivers meeting room before an early ’70s F1 race at Watkins Glen.
As I said earlier, I not only like the presentation of the content but the format of the book itself. I’m eager for Evro to expand this scrapbook library with other racers sharing their stories, photos and career mementoes.
As Sam’s Scrapbook ends, it comes full circle, with a concluding chapter on the “Lawn Car,” a tube frame cross between a go kart and a dune buggy that Posey races on his lawn, “about 200 yards from where John Whitman and I began coasting down toward the lake in our Mudge Pond Express.”
Sam’s Scrapbook: My Motorsports Memories
By Sam and John Posey
Evro Publishing, 2021
Hardcover, 160 pages