I think it’s fairly safe to say that of the many films to feature motor racing, few have achieved any artistic distinction, and even fewer have managed to appeal to the vast audience that watch the sport.
For me car boot sales these days are as much about rummaging through boxes of old toys as they are searching for interesting books, and of late, as my son shows an ever-increasing interest in all things both two and four-wheeled, my most valued quarry has become the Tonka toy.
As an impressionable lad who spent his days amidst stacks of old Motor Sport magazines, and his evenings buried in Doug Nye’s biblical tome on Cooper Cars (yup, they were heady days) the discovery that back in ’66 a guy named Frankenheimer had made a three-hour epic about Formula 1 racing was pretty exciting.
Writing this blog on a weekly basis it’s impossible to predict when or how inspiration will strike – if indeed it does – for while there’s much to be said for creative freedom, it can be tough on the indecisive.
On one hand the seventies were a great time to buy something sporty and Italian – there were lots of makes and models to choose from, ranging from true exotica like the Maserati Merak, to pretty Spiders from Alfa and Fiat, plus everyday cars with a bit of poke, like the Giulia Sprint or the Sud Ti.
The other evening I was watching a film called Le Pacha, directed by the late, great Georges Lautner. It’s a typical slice of sixties French policier action, with a couple of big heists, a coldblooded baddie and a slightly grumpy Jean Gabin as the weary cop on his trail,