Motorsports Photography Holy Grail Open to Public

5,000 photographs from the golden age of racing by William Edgar are now available as custom prints for serious gearheads.

If you are of a “certain age” (like me) and remember these days (1948-1960), the people, the places, and the races as vividly as I do, the above is a pretty darn big deal. 

If you’ve read about the adventure and romance of the early days of sports car racing and you find that you need a real artifact from that era, keep reading because this is a new and wonderful opportunity to upgrade a wall at home or in your office (or if you’re a generous friend, give as a gift to a likewise appreciative individual).

California's Palm Springs Airport, November 1956. Publicity photograph for the November 4, 1956 SCCA National Road Races at Palm Springs. This is the John Edgar Enterprises souped-up 110-mph Pontiac V8-powered cab tractor and Fruehauf trailer, with John Edgar's Ferraris parked in display: #78 Ferrari 375 Plus s/n 0396 AM rebodied by Scaglietti, and #98 Ferrari 410 Sport s/n 0598 CM. Photograph by Lester Nehamkin for the John Edgar Collection.
California’s Palm Springs Airport, November 1956. Publicity photograph for the November 4, 1956 SCCA National Road Races at Palm Springs. This is the John Edgar Enterprises souped-up 110-mph Pontiac V8-powered cab tractor and Fruehauf trailer, with John Edgar’s Ferraris parked in display: #78 Ferrari 375 Plus s/n 0396 AM rebodied by Scaglietti, and #98 Ferrari 410 Sport s/n 0598 CM. Photograph by Lester Nehamkin for the John Edgar Collection.

This writer, without giving away my age, was (very young) and around back then and well remembers many of the iconic events that many of these photographs represent.

 “Classic” is a very easy word to spell and even easier to toss around. In this case my use of the word to describe these amazing photographic treasures is precise and wholly accurate.

That’s plenty enough from me … I’m going to let Mister Edgar himself explain the concept and the content and then direct you to the archive’s new site where you can see for yourself the sort of camera work I’ve been rhapsodizing about above … Here you go:

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“Why This Website? Good question. Yes, it’s an enterprise. It’s also our way to offer quality enlargement photographic prints made from iconic Edgar Archive images for motorsport enthusiasts everywhere to display in their office, home, garage, shop, car and motorcycle collections, or to give as gifts to family and friends.

The Edgar Archive is the motorsport-themed photograph collection begun 72 years ago in 1948 by my father, John Edgar, when he first entered the post-WW2 racing scene in the United States with his Ernie McAfee-tuned and modified British MG-TC, along with the John Edgar-commissioned Vincent-HRD one-off factory build of the very first Vincent Black Lightning, designed and engineered by Phil Irvine and Philip Vincent in Hertfordshire, England to set a new American Class-A motorcycle land speed record on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Speed specialist Rollie Free accomplished that by riding “The John Edgar Lightning” flat-out wearing only wind-smoothing swimming trunks and tennis shoes for an official 2-way average of 150.313-mph on September 13, 1948.

This Archive’s earliest photographs from that mid-20th Century era are the foundation of what was the John Edgar Collection and, after his death in 1972, the William Edgar Collection, then more broadly the Edgar Motorsport Archive and ultimately today’s William Edgar Archive with over 5,000 photographs by father-and-son Edgars along with those that were photographed in period (1948-1960) specifically for my father and his John Edgar Enterprises motor-racing organization.

From these collected B&W and Color photographs existing in negative, transparency, and print formats presently held in the Edgar Archive, come the various images exhibited here and offered for reproduction enlargement print purchase, having been selected for this website by merits of interest, historical significance, and pictorial rarity. Many of the images offered here have appeared in my magazine articles and used in books published by others over the past twenty years, while some of the images found in this Archive’s nine photograph galleries have not been seen for decades.

Prints ordered from the Edgar Archive are for personal display only, and are not to be reproduced in any form of media that would include magazine, book, film, video, or digital use. Please note:If interested in media use of any of these photographs, please email me, William Edgar, directly (see CONTACT page on site).

When viewing the photographs a good way to view them is by clicking on the image expansion tool [i] above the upper right corner of the photograph. Once made full-screen, other images in the selected gallery can be scrolled forward or back in their largest possible viewing form. Please note:each of these sample photographs are copyright protected and are embedded with the marking words: “William Edgar Archive Photograph”.

The Example Photographs on this Website are posted in relatively low-resolution for quick loading when viewed here. All ordered prints will be made as high-resolution unmarked images from Edgar Archive originals for best possible picture quality.

Photographs from the Edgar Archive have for many years been licensed to illustrate articles, books, films, event programs, private collections, and special projects. That media and personnel are:

American Sports Car Racing in the 1950s, Auto Aficionado, Automobile, Autoweek, Bimmer, Brock Yates, Brown Fox Books, Canepa, Car Graphic Japan, Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, Cavallino, Checkered Flag 200, Classic & Sportscar, Classic Driver, Classic Motorcycle, Copley Motorcars, Corvette,CSRG, Cycle News, Dalton Watson Fine Books, Excellence, Fabulous Fifties Newsletter, Ferrari, Ferrari: A Champion’s View, Forza, Flat Out, Free-to-Wheel, Gooding & Company, Goodwood Festival of Speed, General Racing’s Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, HSR West, iMotor UK, Intrepid Motorcar Company, Inside Track, James Dean: Forever Young, James Dean: From Passion for Speed to Immortality, Men’s Journal, MBI Publishing, MG Enthusiast, Museo Ferrari Maranello, Paramount Ranch Remembered, Petersen Automotive Museum, Octane, Porsche Panorama, Rick Cole, Rider, Riverside Raceway, Road & Track, Robb Report Collection, Robb Report Motorcycling, RPM Auto Books, Screen Icons, Speed Age, Spirit of America, SportRider, The Official Ferrari Magazine/Conde Nast UK, The Pebble Beach Insider, The Pebble Beach Company, The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, TheUltimate Classic, Tom Peck, Sports Car Digest, Sports Car International, The Other Moss, VeloceToday.com, Vintage Motorsport, Vintage Racecar Journal, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Weekend Heroes I & II, Maserati 450S: The fastest sports racing car of the 50’s.

So that’s it, and a fairly long one to have read all the way through.

Next stop:

www.william-edgar-archive.com

Thanks for hanging in, the photos you’ll see will take far fewer words to surprise and delight and, as you’ll soon see, and in many cases none. -DS

Featured photo: Carroll Shelby driving the John Edgar-entered Maserati 450 Sport [s/n 4506] during the April 12, 1958 Preliminary Race at Palm Springs, which Shelby won, but used up the car’s drum brakes in the process of pushing the Maserati hard to win. Photograph by Lester Nehamkin for the John Edgar Collection.

 

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