Considering there are 550 entries at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, nailing down the 15 coolest isn’t easy. Try it in a bar loaded with car enthusiasts and they might come to blows.
We’re not in a bar, so we wade in unafraid with 15 that we think say a great deal about vintage car racing. They range from a bellowing racer from 1917 to a few from the early 1980s. There are sports cars, GT machines, and even a pair of Formula 1 cars.
1. One of Ferrari’s most beautiful, the type of 312PB that won the 1972 Worlds Sportscar Championship.
2. A legend, the Ferrari-beating, Lance Reventlow-built Scarab MkI from 1958.
3. This Porsche 980/2 won the famous Watkins Glen 6-Hour race in 1969.
4. One of Dan Gurney’s 1991 AAR/Toyota Eagle MkIII GTPs that dominated IMSA’s GTP class in the early 1990s.
5. This very noisy Mazda 767-B is very similar to the 787-B that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991 for the Japanese automaker.
6. The best of Britain? Greg Whitten’s 1935 ERA B that was once raced by–now get this–Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh. Better known as Prince Bira.
7. Great memories of Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve thanks to this Ferrari 312 T4.
8. While Chevrolet’s Monza wasn’t that special as a street machine, the Dekon-built Monza race cars from the mid-1970s were terrific, taking IMSA titles in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
9. We just can’t resist this 1917 Hall-Scott The Four-A-7A. Is that Professor Fate behind the wheel?
10. How can there not be a Ferrari 250 GTO…a $35 million race car?
11. One of the most beautiful of the small-displacement sports cars, a 1956 Lotus Eleven, body design by Frank Costin for Colin Chapman.
12. A noisy surprise, a rotary-powered 1970 Mazda R100.
13. We cheated, this is a twofer. On the left is a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, the other a 1981 Porsche 935.
14. Look powerful enough? Ferrari’s 512BBLM.
15. During Roger Penske’s 50 years as a team owner he took on Formula 1, beginning with one of these 1976 March 761s. Flying the red, white and blue in Europe.