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Photographer's Note

The SVRA ("Sportscar Vintage Racing Association") held its 2013 National Championships this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. For any fan of automotive, racing, or engineering history, it was a completely intoxicating experience. Access to the paddock is virtually unlimited (hot pits are restricted, of course); the owners and drivers are generally friendly if you respect their need to work on the cars when necessary; and there were more than 500 historic machines that ran the gamut from recently-retired Formula 1 cars to some of the very first automobiles that were built solely for racing.

Here, we are under the hood with Brian Blain, the owner and driver of this 1911 National Indy racer. Yes, this very car (driven by Charlie Merz) finished seventh at the 1911 running of the Indianapolis 500! And it was racing on Saturday! Mr. Blain and his ride-along mechanic (who spends his time operating the fuel pump, among other duties) had this strong old girl close to 100 mph at points on the new course. I have included as a WS a shot of this car, at speed.

The powerplant here is a reminder of 19th-century engineering. Brass plumbing cools two columns that each hold two cylinders. The "T" head contains dual ignitions (two spark plugs for each cylinder), and the four cylinders displace a total of 460 cubic inches (7.5 litres!) and makes approximately 100 horsepower. And yes, the "firewall" is made of wood!

Mr. Blain was a treat to meet, and indulged my request for a quick portrait while he was working on the other side of the engine.

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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