A Pause that Refreshes!

Aston Martin, Spa-Francorchamps

For many years both before and after World War II just a few weeks after the 24 Hours of Le Mans another 24 hour endurance race was held in Belgium on the long and fast Spa-Francorchamps public road circuit. However, even postwar the racing was still  run in a relaxed prewar style, much less professional than it would eventually become.

For the 1949 Spa 24 Hours which took place on July 9-10 Aston Martin entered a pair of DB2s, one with a two-liter engine and the other using a Lagonda 2.6 liter unit. The two-liter car, seen above, would finish an excellent fifth overall and third in class driven by Lance Macklin and Nick Haines. The sister and larger-engined DB2 would finish even better, third overall. The outright win went to Luigi Chinetti in a Ferrari 166MM barchetta. Chinetti had just won the Le Mans race in another 166MM.

For Spa Aston had installed large fuel tanks, giving a five to six hour range. The weather on Sunday was very hot and Macklin was feeling it on his long stint. Macklin described what happened in Racing with the David Brown Aston Martins: “A friend of mine, Charles Lewis, was at a roadside café on the Masta Straight and every time I went by he’d hold up a glass of cool lager. After a few laps of this, I made frantic signals to let him know that I wanted a beer the next time round, and as I pulled in he ran to the car and handed me a glass. I grabbed it and shot off into the race again. Funnily enough, Astons never picked this up – they weren’t timing every lap and no questions were asked. Louis Klemantaski happened to be walking up the course at the time and took the photograph you see here. He sent me one at Christmas, saying, ‘What’s it worth not to send a copy to Astons?'”

The famous John Wyer was then not yet the Aston team manager or there might have been trouble!

Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection

To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

 

 

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5 comments

  1. Jim sitz · · Reply

    The racing car that became a road car in short time.
    Your grand photo by Klem shows how casual racing
    was in those times.
    When the first example arrived in California, it was
    1951, with Phil Hill arriving in Reno with his gunmetal
    coupe, I was taken with it, but have to wait some years
    for my ” Dream Car” to become a reality.!

    Hill was then acting as salesman for dealer–hated the job
    but sold himself the $ 5800 demonstrator car !
    Year later i would tease him for being such a Hotshot Salesman.

    Appreciate your photo taking us back to
    another age

    Jim Sitz

    Like

  2. Bob Kendall · · Reply

    Burneville?

    Like

    1. We assume you mean to ask about Burnenville which was the long right-hander at Malmédy, before the Masta straight. Macklin said that the café was along the subsequent Masta straight which ran from Malmédy down through the Masta Kink to Stavelot.

      Like

  3. Miller, David · · Reply

    Brilliant stuff — thank you. I love these posts, and I will be pleased to submit an order request next month. Cheers, David

    Like

  4. Thank you for your kind words, David. We try to make the background interesting.

    Like

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