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24 Heures du Mans / Le Mans 24-hour race 24 - 25 June 1950

I bought this iconic photographic print of the start of the 1950 Le Mans 24-hour race in France. I don’t know if is a print from the original negative.

It shows the famous Le Mans start where drivers start across the track and run to their cars, start the engines and drive away. This dangerous and chaotic practice changed in 1970.

I love the spectators in the foreground craning their necks to view the start. One man with his back to the scene appears to be holding a viewing device.

And the cars! No.1 is out of view but No. 2 is a crazy creation – a Cadillac but given the name Le Monstre by the French crowd. Driven by Phil Walters and Briggs Cunningham, described as looking like a cross between a First World War tank and a hovercraft. Powered by a 6.2 litre V-8 engine with five carburetors it won over the crowd managing to work its way up from 35th place to finish eleventh

Le Monstre during the race

At one point in the race Cunningham drove the car into a sandbank - hence the damaged nearside

No 3 was also a Cadillac, a Coupe de Ville, driven by Sam and C. Miles Collier  (father of the founder of the Revs Institute car museum), who, allegedly drove the car wearing jackets and ties, their normal work outfits. Another alleged story says that on sprinting across the track to their car the Colliers found they had inadvertently left the car locked! The Coupe de Ville finished 10th, one place ahead of Le Monstre.

Runners and Results of the cars seen in the photograph(no number 13!) 1          M.A.P                                      Francois Lacour / Pierre Veyron        dnf

2          Cadillac Le Monstre                Briggs Cunninham / Phil Walters       11th

3          Cadillac Coupe de Ville          Sam Collier / Miles Collier                  10th

4          Allard J2                                 Sidney Allard / Tom Cole                   3rd

5          Talbot-Lago                            Louis Rosier / Jean-Louis Rosier       1st

6          Talbot-Lago GS Coupé          André Chambas / André Morel           13th

7          Talbot-Lago MD                      Pierre Meyrat / Guy Mairesse            2nd

8          Delahaye 175S                       Charles Pozzi / Pierre Flahault           Disq

9          Delahaye 175S                       Gaston Serraud / André Guelfi           dnf

10        Delettrez Diesel                      Jean Delettrez / Jacques D                dnf

11        Bentley Corniche                    Eddie Hall / Tom Clarke                     8th                                          

12        Bentley Paulin                         H.S.F. Hay / Hugh Hunter                  14th

14        Nash-Healey                           Tony Rolt / Duncan Hamilton             4th

15        Jaguar XK120                         Peter C. Clark / Nick Haines              12th

16        Jaguar XK120                         Peter Whitehead / John Marshall       15th

17        Jaguar XK120                         Leslie Johnson / Bert Hadley             dnf

18        Delage D6-3L                         Henri Louveau / Jean Estager            7th

19        Aston Martin DB2                   George Abecassis / Lance Macklin    5th

20        Aston Martin DB2                   Eric Thompson / John Gordon           dnf

21        Aston Martin DB2                   Charles Brackenbury / Reg Parnell    6th

22        Riley RMC                              Lawrie / Beetson                                 17th

23        Healey Elliott                          Mann / Morris-Goodall                        19th


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