All posts by Howard Koby

Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on amazon.com.

Brooklands Museum working to save world’s first purpose-built race track

There is an automotive gem nestled in the ultra green countryside of the leafy village of Weybridge, Surrey in southwest England. For the past 26 years, the Brooklands Museum has provided a tribute to the motoring phenomenon of the original Brooklands motor racing circuit and aerodome.

The original racing circuit, built on 30 acres in 1907, was the Ascot of British motorsport. The outer circuit was 100 foot wide and 2.75 miles long with two straights joined by two sections of banked curves up to 30 foot high at 30 degrees. The track was the world’s first purpose-built motor-sport venue and for 32 years “was the crucible for the celebration of all things motorized” where the first British Grand Prix was held in 1926.

Allan Winn, director and chief executive of Brooklands Museum states his passion was for “elderly motorcars” and notes that he “fell in love with a 4 1/2-litre Bentley in 1958 and ended up playing with old motorcars.”

The restored 1907 Clubhouse | Museum photo
The restored 1907 Clubhouse | Museum photo

In 1996, with his extensive background in vintage motor racing and aviation interests, Winn became chairman of The Friends Association of the museum. He served as a volunteer for seven years and in 2003 was became the director, and a major force in saving and restoring the museum, starting with the successful negotiation and purchase of one of the British Airways Concorde aircraft which once carried 100 passengers at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2).

Today at the museum you can have a Concorde Experience with a virtual “flight” in the supersonic icon. The success of the Concorde project drew new interest and attendance to the museum and started a new path of exciting new endeavors and projects that led the museum to new heights in everyday traffic.

1923 Aston Martin Razor Blade | Museum photo
1923 Aston Martin Razor Blade | Museum photo

Brooklands Museum displays a wide range of motoring and aviation exhibits, from the huge racing cars such as the 1933 24-litre Napier-Railton (between 1933 and 1937 the car, driven by John Cobb, broke 47 world speed records at Brooklands, Montlhéry and Bonneville Salt Flats) and the 1923 Aston Martin “Razor Blade,” to a striking collection of Vickers-BAC-built aircraft including the WW2 Wellington bomber and the Barnes Wallis Stratosphere Chamber (test aircraft components under environmental conditions prevailing at 70,000 feet altitude).

Wolseley 10 Moth | Howard Koby photo
Wolseley 10 Moth | Howard Koby photo

In the paddock area, the motoring village as been fully restored including the workshops, tuning sheds, and petrol pagodas of the 1920s and ‘30s with displays of historic racing cars, motorcycles and bicycles alongside photographs, racing suits and memorabilia telling the stories of the people that designed, built and maintained them.

Education is of major importance to Brooklands and offers curriculum-based activities for schools, colleges and universities.

Children especially don’t just learn about history at Brooklands but also through the technological achievements of the facility are able to stimulate an interest in science and technology.

“I want to use the legacy that Brooklands created back in the day to inspire future generations to do things!” Winn said.

The museum has been raising funds toward a $10.8-million restoration of parts of the original track. A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has already resulted in a partial restoration of the Finishing Straight, which long had been covered by an aircraft hangar.

Peugeot Type 172 Quadrilette Grand Sport | Howard Koby photo
Peugeot Type 172 Quadrilette Grand Sport | Howard Koby photo

Greystone Mansion presents the Hollywood of concours

This youngster is enthusiastic about Ferraris displayed at the Greystone concours d'elegance | Photos by Howard Koby
This youngster is enthusiastic about Ferraris displayed at the Greystone concours d’elegance | Photos by Howard Koby

An 18-acre slab of real estate called the Greystone Mansion estate is the epitome of Beverly Hills opulence and elegance and is tucked away in the lushly landscaped hills of the “rich and famous” with a magnificent panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles. Built by Ned Doheny, heir to one of the country’s great oil empires, the estate was the location last weekendfor the 8th annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance. Continue reading

It’s nitro madness at the nostalgic March Meet

Sabrina Capps' 'The Heart Breaker' Ford dragster competes in the 2017 March Meet | Howard Koby photos
Sabrina Capps’ ‘The Heart Breaker’ Ford dragster competes in the 2017 March Meet | Howard Koby photos

Mother Nature sings a song in Kern County, California, during March when the beautiful peach blossoms signal the start of NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage series and the 59th annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway just 10 miles north of Bakersfield.

The March Meet has become a four-day speed fest of nostalgic drag racing that fans call “the jewel of nostalgic racing.” Continue reading

Driven: 2015 Kia K900

2015 Kia K900 at Hidden Springs Ranch | Howard Koby photos
2015 Kia K900 at Hidden Springs Ranch | Howard Koby photos

Having covered the Copperstate 1000 vintage sports car road rally for the past 15 years, I know the Arizona landscape and that you can snow on the mountains and blistering temperatures on the floor of the desert, so I always make sure the car I drive is capable to handle the varied environments and weather.

I own a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider (which did the Copperstate with its prior owner), and would love to drive on the rally, but… Alas! I can’t afford for a 52-year-old car to break down while I’m on assignment.

When I found out my vehicle for the 1,000-mile event would be a new and luxurious Kia K900, I thought, “Wow, a luxury automobile on a thousand-mile rally, that ought to be an experience, and unusual but very, very comfortable. Continue reading

Eye Candy: 6th annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance

Hollywood movies such as Star Trek 2, The Muppets, Spiderman III, Batman & Robin, The Body Guard, Ghostbuster II, The Witches of Eastwick and many more were filmed at the Greystone Mansion, former home of the Doheny family and built by Ned Doheny, heir to one of the nation’s great oil empires. Continue reading

Eye Candy: 25th annual Bell Lexus North Scottsdale Copperstate 1000 vintage rally

‘On the Road Again…” and for the 25th time, the Copperstate 1000 celebrated 25 consecutive years of some of the finest, most pristine sports and classic cars manufactured before 1973 challenging over 1000 miles of some of the most scenic mountains and deserts that Arizona (and this year southern Utah) has to offer. The Copperstate gives more than 90 vintage cars and their drivers and navigators the opportunity to explore Arizona’s spectacular back roads in their prized automotive treasures. Continue reading

Eye Candy: March Meet vintage drag racing

A present-day rear-engine Top Fuel Dragster’s 500-cubic-inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first four rows at the Daytona 500. While on its ear-splitting burnout, done just to heat the huge, slick rear tires, nearly 23 gallons of nitro-methane fuel is consumed. It burns yellow; the white flames seen above the engine stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, separated from atmospheric water vapor by the intense heat of the exhaust gases. Each run costs an estimated $1,000 or more per second with the driver enduring at the launch about 8g’s (gravity) before reaching 330 mph at the top end. Continue reading