Chaparral, one of the truly great names in American
racing history, will be the featured marque of the
32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races to
be staged August 19-21 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The legendary American marque will be part of the
event's overall tribute to the "Great American
While the major manufacturers have long been the
dominant force in automobile racing, individual efforts
in the American tradition of championing the underdog
have produced special cars to challenge the "big
guns" over the years. Perhaps no one represented
the ingenuity of this industry more than Jim Hall
and Chaparral Cars.
Hall, along with fellow racer Hap Sharp, started
a small racing team in 1962 in Midland, Texas, naming
the team Chaparral, the Spanish word for road runner,
a common bird in West Texas. They designed, built
and tested a series of innovative and powerful race
cars on a private two-mile test track behind their
garages named Rattlesnake Raceway.
It is a bold statement, but nonetheless true, to
say that Hall revolutionized the sport of auto racing
in the 1960s. He introduced the first movable wing
in 1965 and his work with aerodynamic wings, ground
effects and lightweight construction materials transformed
At a time when many of the great race cars were
designed and built in Europe, their success gave
American race fans a team to cheer for. While Chaparral
Cars enjoyed many victories all over the world, maybe
the most prestigious win came when Johnny Rutherford
drove a Chaparral 2K to victory in the 1980 Indianapolis
"Jim Hall and his Chaparral cars certainly
set the standard in racing during their time,"
said Monterey Historics founder Steve Earle. "And
that was around the world, not just in the United
States. Their innovative design, preparation and
presentation caught the imagination of race fans
across the country that grew into a true fan club.
They certainly represent the ultimate in American
Most of the original Chaparral cars are currently
on display in a special Chaparral Wing of the Petroleum
Museum in Midland, and will be appearing at the event
"The first cars, known as the Chaparral 1,
were designed and built by Troutman and Barnes in
California and are now owned by private enthusiasts"
said Earle. The cars designed and built by Chaparral
Cars in Midland, known as Chaparral 2s, are now part
of the Petroleum Museum in Midland. I am very grateful
to them for their support in making this tribute
Names such as "The Ardent Alligator,"
The BuMerc, ONO, "Old Grey Mare," Tahis
Special, Ol Yeller, and Baldwin Special achieved
their place in motor racing history as did Miller,
Kurtis, Edwards, Cunningham, Scarab and Chaparral.
The creative talents and the motivation to win of
individuals like Max Balchowsky, Roger Barlow, Sterling
Edwards, Frank Kurtis, John Fitch, Jack Hagemann,
Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes, Ken Miles, Miles and
Sam Collier, Briggs Cunningham, Brooks Stevens, Lance
Reventlow and Jim Hall, have brought a uniquely American
element to the world of motor racing.
"The best of the American specials are treasures
sought after by individual collectors and museums
alike and an historic gathering of these unique machines
is anticipated for what has become the premier vintage
event in the U.S.," said Earle, whose organization,
General Racing, Ltd., founded the Monterey Historic
Automobile Races in 1974.
Featured displays will include the Rolex Moments
in Time, presenting eight significant cars representing
important moments in racing history. The Chrysler
Heritage and Product Displays will include racing
cars from its past as well as concept cars of the
future. And, other manufacturers will again make
their presence felt with unique presentations in
Four hundred racing cars from the early 1900s to
the 1980s are expected to take part in the weekend's
activities. The entries will be divided into 14 racing
groups, with seven groups competing on Saturday and
seven on Sunday, creating a different show each day.
"The concept of the Rolex Monterey Historics
is to focus on the history of motor racing by encouraging
the preservation of racing cars and putting them
on display in an appropriate manner and setting for
enthusiasts of present and future generations to
see and enjoy," Earle said. "From its inception,
fans have been treated to a steady presentation of
the most famous racing cars in history along with
the personalities who designed, built and drove them.
Year after year, through the "Featured Marque"
and "Special Tributes" programs, the celebration
leaves spectators and participants with a lasting,
Aston-Martin, Auto-Union, Allard, Alfa-Romeo, Bentley,
Bugatti, BMW, Cunningham, Chevrolet, Corvette, Ferrari,
Ford, Jaguar, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Miller,
MG, Porsche and Shelby have all been "Featured."
Juan Manuel Fangio, the five time World Champion
and considered by many as the
greatest driver in history, was also "Featured,"
the only individual so honored.
Phil Hill, Jackie Stewart, Danny Sullivan, Dan Gurney,
Carroll Shelby, Tom Sneva, Joe Leonard, Bill Pollack,
Paul Frere, Roy Salvadori, Maurice Trintignant, David
Brown, Stirling Moss, Froilan Gonzalez, Niki Lauda,
Piero Ferrari, Nelson Piquet, Tony Rolt, Bob Tullius,
Zora Duntov, John Fitch, Jack Fairman, Milt Minter,
Ritchie Ginther, Hans Herrmann, Parnelli Jones, George
Follmer, Bud Moore, Luigi Chinetti, Briggs Cunningham,
Hermann Lang, Bobby Rahal, Marc Surer, Bill Stroppe
and John Wyer are just few of the names of the sport
who have been present over the years.
Tickets for the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile
Races Presented by Chrysler are available by calling
1-800-327-SECA (7322) or logging on to www.laguna-seca.com.