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Old 21 Jan 2006, 06:58 (Ref:1505734)   #1
Peter Mallett
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Historic Racing

This is prompted by a discussion a few of us had recently.

Really what constitutes an historic race (in terms of age and type of machinery) and when did “historic” racing start?

As many know I race a Capri. It’s a Mark 3 and was built by Ford in 1978 so its now 28 years old. We race in the “Classic” Group 1 Championship and of course the Top Hat 70’s Saloons. But I understand other’s viewpoint that it is not an “historic” car in terms of age yet it is eligible to run in historic race meetings.

So can the car qualify as a Historic-racing car?

And when did we decide that club racing was really “Historic” racing (the TRC championship is perhaps the one true “modern” club racing championship in terms of machinery and regulations). That is a growing perception among many including me. My point being that clubs like the MG Car Club ran meetings catering solely for MG for many years, it was club racing in its purest sense but of course the cars were getting older until eventually there was nothing less than 15 years old racing on the bill.

Whilst that club now includes MGF’s, Rs etc. it can still class its meetings as “historic” race meetings.

So thoughts anybody?
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 09:29 (Ref:1505787)   #2
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Well, the VSCC have been in 'historic' racing for years, and I seem to remember that the Griffith formula races for 1950's sports cars started in the late 60's (I think!). I am not aware of a particular point that we have identified in time when an old racing car becomes 'historic'. However, if I see a grid full of Capris, Dollies, 2002's, Rover 3500's, XJS etc, then I'm reminded of the past; it must therefore be historic. And, is not a Porsche 962, a historic racing car, even though it is from the 80's? Certainly, those races now held, recalling the Group C/GTP period are every bit as nostalgic for some as the GT cars of the 60's or sports cars of the 50's that we see at Goodwood, for example. They are all nostalgic for me as each represents a period of motor racing in my past. They all attempt to recall 'history'; ergo they are a form of 'historic' racing.

It does, of course, become harder to decide when you have a 'spread' of cars as described by Peter, above, but if a grid is predominantly composed of cars built (say) over 15 years ago, is it not, in general, representing the past?
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 10:30 (Ref:1505816)   #3
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I remember watching what was listed as a 'historic single seater' race at Snetterton in 1969. Neil Corner won if I remember correctly in a 250F and I also remember a Lotus 16. What I do distinctly remember about it was Morley's 24 litre Bentley being started on the grid. The mechanic had a sack barrow full of batteries which they plugged in to get her going. It started from the back and was up to 2nd by the hairpin, but then came the time to use the brakes which put the old girl back down the order again!
The 250F for example was only 12 years old or so at the time, they were considered historic then so no worries on the Capri Peter! So would a 1993 Damon Hill Williams or whatever be deemed historic now?
Perhaps the term Historic racing should be renamed by all clubs and associations as 'Historic and Classic' Racing. Afterall, two of the biggest historic (and classic) meetings now are called the Silverstone and the Le Mans Classics.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 10:46 (Ref:1505830)   #4
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As Peter says, there are relatively few contemporary racing championships - although in terms of tin-tops there is certainly more than just the TRC championship that fits this particular bill. It is only natural, too, that as time goes on more and more cars are built, and my definition more and more 'old' cars will be knocking around. In motorsport there may be good reasons for this - modern road cars tend to be a bit bigger and heavier and less suited to racing maybe, so people stick with older models. Older cars are probably easier to fiddle with, too.

I don't think the terms 'Historic' or 'Classic' racing should necessarily be purely determined by age, either. It would be more appropriate surely to define a car in such a way if it was considered a classic car, or an historic one for some motoring, or motorsport, reason - because of a technical leap it made, or particular success on the race track.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 12:04 (Ref:1505911)   #5
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30 Year Rule?

I was under the impression that it was a rolling 30 years. So in 2006 it would anything Pre 1976 that would be 'historic'.

With Veteran and Vintage being clearly defined I suspect it is about time that additional eras were named and standardised. So with terms like Classic and Historic you could easily fill the gap from 1945 to 1975. However as motorsport expanded rapidly in the postwar years each of the new deined eras would have to have multiple classes e.g. F1, F2, F5000, FF1600 etc.

I would have thought the HSCC would be the ideal body to set the standards.

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Old 21 Jan 2006, 12:09 (Ref:1505917)   #6
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Originally Posted by Ian Sowman
I don't think the terms 'Historic' or 'Classic' racing should necessarily be purely determined by age, either. It would be more appropriate surely to define a car in such a way if it was considered a classic car, or an historic one for some motoring, or motorsport, reason - because of a technical leap it made, or particular success on the race track.
Although, I think I understand the point you are making, Ian, I also think that this would prove difficult to obtain a consensus on, and in reality, too restrictive. What about, for example, some of the old 50's saloons that were neither successful nor technically innovative, yet clearly were part of the racing scene then. Or are your comments directed more toward recent cars that have not yet achieved 'historic' or 'classic' status?
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 12:17 (Ref:1505932)   #7
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I wasn't suggesting that the nomenclature be strictly applied to include or exclude cars from competition... It is more the fact that there are some cars that I would find it difficult to call 'historic' or 'classic'. Take Renault 5s that race in CTCRC. Yes, there was a thriving championship for those cars from the 1970s onwards - but to me they aren't historic or classic, just old. Perhaps there is a need for a more general term - 'old car racing'!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 12:27 (Ref:1505946)   #8
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Old car racing- anything over 25 years ,cheap to expensive
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 13:06 (Ref:1506002)   #9
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There are two debates here really aren't there? Firstly, there is the one around classification of certain periods, and/or racing cars, described as Veteran, Vintage, PVT, Classic, Historic or, just 'Old' as referred to by Ian and John. On the other hand, there is the all embracing term 'historic' racing which is the one I'm struggling with. It covers all the above classifications, but where to draw the line? Strictly speaking, last year's F1 cars are part of history, but not yet 'historic'. I rather like John's simple definition, although would probably argue for 15 years rather than 25. Afterall, the GroupC/GTP race series is definitely a 'historic' series.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 13:16 (Ref:1506014)   #10
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I rather like John's simple definition, although would probably argue for 15 years rather than 25.
Just to confuse it more, if we say that Historic Cars start at 15 years old what do we call the bit between then and now - Almost Historic?

My Formula Ford is described as a Classic (It's 26 years old) but could be raced not only in the Classic Championship but with the current cars as well. (Well it would if I had the money)
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 13:53 (Ref:1506045)   #11
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The Germans have the simple answer - they call everything 'oldtimer'.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 13:58 (Ref:1506047)   #12
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The Germans have the simple answer - they call everything 'oldtimer'.
Problem solved!!!!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 13:58 (Ref:1506048)   #13
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Just to confuse it more, if we say that Historic Cars start at 15 years old what do we call the bit between then and now - Almost Historic?
Post Classic or Pre Modern! Seriously though, it's a tricky one. In terms of motor racing, modern cars are only competitive for, at best, if you're lucky, a few seasons in the championship/class for which they were built. They then gradually filter down through the ranks to club level for a few years, and then disappear for a few more before being resurrected for some 'new' historic series.

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My Formula Ford is described as a Classic (It's 26 years old) but could be raced not only in the Classic Championship but with the current cars as well. (Well it would if I had the money)
Yeah, you Formula Ford guys always confuse the issue!! Again, seriously, presumably it wouldn't be difficult to describe your races with cars contemporary with your own as 'historic' but your races with current cars as 'contemporary', if that makes sense!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 14:01 (Ref:1506051)   #14
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Yeah, you Formula Ford guys always confuse the issue!! Again, seriously, presumably it wouldn't be difficult to describe your races with cars contemporary with your own as 'historic' but your races with current cars as 'contemporary', if that makes sense!
Just about - In the end who cares what we call it as long as we have fun!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 14:03 (Ref:1506052)   #15
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Does 'oldtimer' convey the right message, though? Does Lola T400, BMW 635CSI or Jaguar XJR14 fit that description?

Alan, I agree with the 'fun' bit, but I think we need to have headings of some sort, so that we can identify what we are addressing - just take a look at all the forums on 10-Tenths?

Last edited by John Turner; 22 Jan 2006 at 09:43. Reason: an 'are' too many!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 18:39 (Ref:1506181)   #16
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As an aside to this debate, I was browsing through some editions of Thoroughbred and Classic Cars magazine today. Dating from 1975 they were cheerily reporting on the CSCC's fledgling saloon series which was allowing cars of pre-1957 design. Meanwhile the magazine was sponsoring a sports car series which allowed Cobras, Elva Mk7s and Ferrari GTOs. Some of these would have been but a decade old at the time.

And yes, the letters page was getting very animated with the debate over whether a Ford Zodiac or an MG Magnette could ever be classified as a classic car!
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 18:46 (Ref:1506185)   #17
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And yes, the letters page was getting very animated with the debate over whether a Ford Zodiac or an MG Magnette could ever be classified as a classic car!
Well 'classic' or not, they would certainly be welcome additions to any current historic saloon car series, now. The same applies to later generations of saloon cars, as well.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 20:04 (Ref:1506231)   #18
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UK Historic rallying uses 3 categories. These used to be called (and still are by some) Historic, Post Historic and Classic but are now offficially Historic 1, 2 and 3. It is more than coincidence that the cut off date of 31.12.67. keeps all Escorts out of the first category and the date of 31.12.74. keeps Mk2 Escorts out of the second category too. The final cut off date of 31.12.81. is the end of the previous FIA Appendix J (that preceded Groups N, A and B). The new categories of 1, 2, 3, make it simpler to add further ones as time moves on.
Historic racing is somewhat more complicated and needs to go back a lot earlier but might benefit from a more widely recognised standardised period split?
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 20:23 (Ref:1506233)   #19
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I understand the view that a Renault 5 is hard to construe as a 'Classic' or infact any Hatch back (maybe this is the cut off point, when they introduced front wheel drive hatchbacks and/or cpu's). However the mid engined Renault 5's I would definitely call classic. So therfore I think it is (or should be) as much the model of car than the actual age. Take my old pre-73 Camaro, it seems to please a lot of people trackside and I would classify that as a classic, powerful two door coupe that looks sharp and makes all the right noises, a model with a lot of racing history but if you took say a Chevrolet Caprice saloon from the same period and as old I would say old tub and definite at least not in motorsport circles, NOT a Classic. Same as Pete's Capri or a Ford RS2000 Mk1 or 2, a classic undoubtedly, Mk 3 or 4 Cortina same year, old tub.
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Old 21 Jan 2006, 21:28 (Ref:1506276)   #20
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........Historic racing is somewhat more complicated and needs to go back a lot earlier but might benefit from a more widely recognised standardised period split?
>>>Like the periods defined in our very own Blue Book on page 223 for instance?
with ref to another thread, I suspect many of the folk that love to knock the BB have never read it...
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Old 22 Jan 2006, 00:11 (Ref:1506356)   #21
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Its worth remembering how the categories came into being: Vintage was coined by the VSCC in 1933 to apply to cars prior to Dec 31 1931 because there was perceived to be a difference in cars after that date. The same can be said of Historics; After about 1960 all racing cars became rear engined. Thus, although a 250F was only 12 years old in the late sixties it was an anachronism. Thats what we should call it! Anachronistic Racing!!
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Old 22 Jan 2006, 10:29 (Ref:1506509)   #22
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>>>Like the periods defined in our very own Blue Book
Exactly the point. They aren't widely recognised - or universally used, it seems, in racing.
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Old 23 Jan 2006, 10:20 (Ref:1507144)   #23
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its difficult as some cars of similar ages are most definitely not, take early 70's, Capri, Escort etc . . .classic cars in every sense . . . Allegros and Marinas on the other hand, just aren't ( although there are some Quantity surveyors out there who consider them desirable )

generally 25 years old is getting on for classic status I think

as for old timer . . .is that referring to the cars or the owners/drivers ?
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Old 23 Jan 2006, 19:20 (Ref:1507537)   #24
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My escort was built 36 years ago and is still the same today as it was then, but because it had a rover engine fitted and raced in special saloons it is neither regarded as historic or classic and has to race against modern cars or not at all !!!!!
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Old 23 Jan 2006, 20:11 (Ref:1507582)   #25
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Peter maybe some of you guys with these old cars could form a Historic Special Saloon registry and try to get a couple of meetings going. From what I have seen here there will be a lot of spectator interest at least.
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