Top 5 Race Cars We Liked As A Kid - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 27.08.2012


LEO PARENTE: I learn a lot when I watch Drive.
For example, Mike Spinelli and I allegedly created Shakedown.
LEO PARENTE: It's in the credits.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, it's in the credits.
LEO PARENTE: So Mike's here on Shakedown.
MIKE SPINELLI: Good to see you.
LEO PARENTE: The last time we were together was Le Mans, 24
or 25 hours.
We were here at this desk, bleary-eyed and talking about
a bunch of crap.
LEO PARENTE: Well, you were on the couch
being somewhat iconic.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, I built a fort.
It was fun.
It was actually fun to build a fort.
LEO PARENTE: Fort what?
MIKE SPINELLI: Fort Manboobs.
LEO PARENTE: And how do you salute Fort Manboob now?
MIKE SPINELLI: I made that up on the spot.
You put me on the spot, and--
That was brilliant.
OK, well, so where was I?
Oh, watching Drive.
You know what else I learned watching Drive?
LEO PARENTE: Kids love cars.
Remember Wira kid?
MIKE SPINELLI: This was great.
LEO PARENTE: He was awesome, right?
It was really cool, because he just articulated it so well.
I'm telling you, I am not as articulate as that kid is, and
I'm an adult.
It's amazing.
Can you imagine?
LEO PARENTE: I don't think you need to say that.
MIKE SPINELLI: No, by saying it, I point it out.
LEO PARENTE: My point is, I was inspired by you being the
Shakedown progenitor--
how's that word--
and this kid.
And I thought you and I should talk about the top five race
cars that inspired us when we were kids and set it up for
you guys to give us your top five race cars that
you loved as a kid.
MIKE SPINELLI: And it's funny, because when you asked me to
do that, it's so vivid, all five of them were just so easy
to-- they just they just rolled right out there.
LEO PARENTE: And mine are so long ago they're all grey.
It's all black and white.
MIKE SPINELLI: Come on, they are not.
LEO PARENTE: When we come back, we'll go through our
list of five, ten cars.
MIKE SPINELLI: You get a break?
Give me a break, and lets move it on.

Inspired by Wira kid, here's our top five race cars when we
were a kid.
And the cool thing is, it's going to be maybe two
My stuff is primarily 1967.
LEO PARENTE: And yours is--
MIKE SPINELLI: Mine's mostly mid '70s, because as a child
in the mid '70s, there were some very cool cars.

Like that one.
LEO PARENTE: There you go.
I was going to invite you to go first.
Let's start.
MIKE SPINELLI: So the Porsche 917/10 ran the Can-Am.
And Can-Am was kind of this rare beast back then, because
you never saw them.
It's not like there was a Speed TV or anywhere you could
actually see these cars.
Bridgehampton, I know they raced.
LEO PARENTE: We were both in the East Coast.
You were New York, I was Boston.
So we had Limerock.
You had Bridgehampton.
But like you said, it was never on TV--
maybe Wide World of Sports, mostly magazines.
Exact-- mostly magazines.
But I fell in love with this thing.
LEO PARENTE: How can you not?
MIKE SPINELLI: How can you not?
Some kid on the school bus had the Matchbox version.
And I didn't know what L&M was.
I didn't know it was cigarettes.
Maybe eventually I read a magazine and saw it in there.
But there was something about it.
I just got grabbed.
And I begged my parents to buy me the larger Corgi one.
LEO PARENTE: There you go.
The next one?
MIKE SPINELLI: Which actually I think is the next shot.
Yeah, so there's the Corgi.
Because it was the larger scale.
LEO PARENTE: Well, this car was so cool.
Penske put this program together with Porsche to
dominate Can-Am.
Turbocharged, huge wings, aerodynamics, this cool nose--
I mean, they even figured out venting the fenders to keep
the thing down.
Like you said, it's just painted on or decal here?
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, well it's just the decal here.
But you're right.
The air flow through there kept the front down.
LEO PARENTE: As a kid, how does that
not get your attention?
MIKE SPINELLI: I don't know.
Just really, something about just the whole look of it--
it's hard to explain.
It's one of those things when you're a kid, it just grabs
you viscerally.
And there's nothing you can do about it.
George Follmer drove this after Donahue crashed?
Mark Donahue started the season, did all the testing
and development.
And in one of the final tests, an air seam in the body work
kind of split it open, knocked off the
tail, flipped backwards.
He broke stuff, and Follmer stepped in and won the
And then Porsche went on to dominate Grand Am, probably
hastening its demise in some way.
MIKE SPINELLI: Did I say Grand Am?
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, whatever.
MIKE SPINELLI: It's Grand Am, the Pontiac.
LEO PARENTE: All right, my next one, my
first one, my show.
I'm breaking all the rules.
I'm going to have multiple versions of Ford GT.
It really started with 1964, when I saw the car at the New
York World's Fair.
They took this to Le Mans.
It failed miserably.
But look how it started, wire wheels.
Then it evolved to 1965, the Mark II when they put the 427
engine in it.
Aerodynamically, let's make it make down
force with a long nose.
These were literally called Cadillac fins.
They were done at the track by bending metal to keep the car
on the ground.
MIKE SPINELLI: So at what point in the
development was this?
This was--
MIKE SPINELLI: But I mean Ford had already started.
Did they get Shelby yet to do it?
Or was this pre-Shelby?
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, no, this was part
of the Shelby program.
Shelby took over the FAV Fords, the wire wheel Fords,
turned it into a winning car, Continental.
Already had the plan that it needed more horsepower, so he
engineered this with Car Craft to put the 427 engine in '65.
Still the wrong gear box.
Fastest laps.
Failed miserably, which got us to 1966, where they finally
figured out--
MIKE SPINELLI: The 1, 2, 3.
LEO PARENTE: --and dominated.
But my love of Ford GT didn't end there.
Go to this car.
This was the J car, which was a prototype development car
that also failed miserably but taught them everything about
aerodynamics, honeycomb construction, which got us to
the last Ford, the Mark IV, the car that dominated the
1967 Le Mans.
That the Americans won, in the American-built
Ford GT Mark IV.
And those were the GTs that I remember.
These were the cars.
I know it went on after with wire, but these were the Ford
GTs I remember as a kid.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, they were beautiful cars and hugely
successful and awesome.
LEO PARENTE: Aerodynamic, Gurney bubble, because
he's so damn tall.
Got to love it.
What's next?
MIKE SPINELLI: OK, next, look at that.
Petty's '71 to '74 Charger, which was arguably the most
famous race car of the era, of the mid-'70s.
LEO PARENTE: He was an icon.
This thing won Daytona?
I remember.
And it was at a time when there was some NASCAR on TV.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, there was.
NASCAR was really becoming a staple on
television on Sundays.
Because back then, it seemed that the sports seasons were
not overlapping so much that there wasn't anything--
you could actually watch different things.
LEO PARENTE: And this was all a big Southern thing, but the
drivers were kind of like real heroes.
LEO PARENTE: Speaking of.
MIKE SPINELLI: Petty was the most famous NASCAR racer to
that point.
But he had the mustache, he had the cowboy hat, he had the
LEO PARENTE: All the championships, all the wins.
MIKE SPINELLI: And all the wins and the
championships, too.
And also, this car was just such a cool design.
Not maybe the fastest Charger ever built, because we're
starting to get into the emissions era in--
LEO PARENTE: Oh, the street charging?
LEO PARENTE: Oh, yeah.
It was a pig.
But this thing was cool.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, exactly.
But if you watch Burn Notice, he has the black one.
It's pretty cool.
But my first slot car track was this.
So as a kid, this was by far my favorite vehicle.
What do I have next?
Let's see.
So in F1, I loved the McLaren M23.
I loved because of the shape.
I know that Lotus had the side radiators.
But this car just caught my attention graphically,
And here's how small the world is.
When I was racing Atlantic at the end, the Indy car team
that we were partnered with, Gordon
Coppuck was the engineer.
Now, Gordon Coppuck designed this car.
So I had the luxury of going to Gordon to learn about what
race cars should do and talk about set-up.
And that just sealed this deal.
But I didn't know Gordon as a kid.
I just loved the way this car looked.
And actually--
cheating the system again--
here's the other McLaren.
See the side radiators?
Here's the next McLaren.
I loved Can-Am.
You loved the Penske Porsches.
When the turbos were kicking ass, McLaren decided, we got
to do the best we can.
And they went with the side radiator route on the last
McLaren they built, the M20.
It had a huge Chevy engine aluminum block.
This was a wing.
These were the side radiators for weight distribution.
It maybe won one race.
The Porsches still kicked ass.
But I remember this car aerodynamically, visually.
And just sealed the deal as McLaren being one of those
cool brands in cars that I liked.
And this really started the whole--
with Can-Am and McLaren, and if you ever have the chance to
go to Woking to their headquarters, you'll see the
early cars just out there in front with
the Formula One cars.
And it's just so striking and awesome.
LEO PARENTE: Funny you say that.
If the [INAUDIBLE] edit works out the way, we
did get that chance.
And I was just a blubbering little kid walking around,
talking about this stuff.
They were cool cars.
You're next.
What's up?
Oh, BRE!
So along with the NASCAR stuff, my next-door neighbor,
I got a lot of the toys that he outgrew.
So his mom would put them in a box and bring them over.
LEO PARENTE: Better than his clothes.
I did get my own clothes, my Toughskins from Sears.
So my mom shows up, or my dad, with a box of slot car stuff--
AFX, slot car stuff.
And I look inside, and there's this unbelievably cool Datsun
in the red, white, and blue BRE livery.
So that's the Peter Brock Enterprises livery.
And John Morton--
oh, and the second car in the box was the 510.
So my uncle had a 510 and a 240.
So it was like the circle was unbroken at that point.
And that's not the actual car I had, but that's
very close to it.
LEO PARENTE: Slot car brush?
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, yeah.
Slot car brushes.
LEO PARENTE: So what I was going to say is, the cool
thing about these cars, these aren't pro series cars.
These were built for the SCCA Runoffs.
At the time, the manufacturers would use the runoffs to
market their brand.
So drivers like--
LEO PARENTE: --John Morton and stuff--
MIKE SPINELLI: And John Morton ended up doing
commercials for Datsun.
So I'd be downstairs playing with these slot cars.
I'd come upstairs, and Wide World of Sports would be on.
And the Datsun commercials in between, there's Johnny Morton
selling 240s.
It was amazing.
LEO PARENTE: Because we never would see the runoffs on TV.
But we'd see race cars on the commercials.
Remember, Gulf had the Ford GT and even the Porsche one time
in their commercials?
Very rarely we saw them work.
We just leafed through magazines.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's the thing.
Think about how deprived we were of
footage of any race car.
LEO PARENTE: I wonder if it was better or not.
MIKE SPINELLI: I don't know.
It definitely made us into lunatics about it.
So any time we saw them--
like now you can just Google or go to YouTube and you find
all these cars.
Usually you find POV footage, too.
So you're always able to satisfy that.
But we were like--
we ended up as fiends.
LEO PARENTE: So my next car--
MIKE SPINELLI: Oh, look at that.
LEO PARENTE: OK, so I was stuck in the '60s.
Most of this stuff is '67.
The McLarens were the early '70s, maybe '74.
But this car in 1967 kicked ass at the Indy 500 with a
crusty old guy that I eventually
met, Parnelli Jones.
And of course, Italians were involved--
Andy Granatelli.
And he's a marketer, which was the whole STP thing here in
the turbine car.
And these pajamas that he made the crew wear--
MIKE SPINELLI: That's hysterical.
Talk about STP, also Petty's car was another STP livery.
But the STP pajamas are priceless.
LEO PARENTE: So this was a car that caught my attention.
It was a helicopter engine, monitor in the side, four
wheel drive.
Had an air flap like the old Mercedes from the '50s, which
everyone complained about, because, the
car's falling apart.
It's scaring me, said Mario Andretti.
Anyway, the car almost won.
A small part broke, and it did not finish.
But I remember loving this car.
And breaking my rules, more versions of the turbine.
The next year, Lotus got involved.
And this is the wedge-shaped aerodynamic
four wheel drive turbine.
They tried to slow the car down with a smaller turbo
inlet or turbine inlet or whatever.
Thing sat in the front row, almost won the race.
This, I believe, was Joe Leonard with his
little yellow markings.
Same thing happened again.
But I just remember these cars.
I had the model.
I should've found images.
I had the model of this and built it all up.
MIKE SPINELLI: But the amazing thing about this is imagine--
LEO PARENTE: Grant Hill.
MIKE SPINELLI: --imagine a modern series that took
technology to the next level this way that they did.
This was amazing that they could do that, taking a
turbine and doing it.
The modern series would never.
The organizers would never let you do anything like that.
LEO PARENTE: And I'm chomping at the bit to agree with you.
Because it goes all the way back.
You loved Can-Am, I loved Can-Am
because it was open rules.
Four wheels need to hit the ground.
Good luck.
And this thing was allowing technology.
They tried to fight it, but people were encouraged to do
things like this.
And now it's all regimented.

It even became an F1 car for a bit.
This is the Lotus 56 turbine.
Stuck wings on it.
I'm not sure who was driving it.
Fittipaldi drove one of it for awhile.
Just trying to save the technology and use it
somewhere, it is just amazing.
MIKE SPINELLI: It is pretty amazing to see.
Turbine was sort of the wave of the future back then.
There were turbine trucks, concept trucks, turbine cars.
There was the Chrysler turbine car in the mid '60s.
So really, a lot of people thought that eventually, we
wouldn't be driving piston engines anymore.
LEO PARENTE: So '67, '68, '69 caught my
attention with the turbines.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, cool.
LEO PARENTE: You're next.
MIKE SPINELLI: What do I got?
All right, so we're starting with the Group
5, but Lancia Stratos.
So this was my first radio-controlled
car, my first RC car.
My first RC car was the Group 5 car, but the one I really
wanted was the Group 4 HF rally car.
So this is the absolutely cool one.
Although the one I had had the yellow.
It was sort of a strange livery.
I don't really remember what--
I think it was probably a made-up livery.
But it had the yellow wheels of the Group 4, but it was in
the Group 5 aerodynamic scheme, the silhouette car.
The Stratos shape itself, just the design when it came out--
I think it was one of the auto shows in the early '70s--
LEO PARENTE: And this won championships.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, yeah.
MIKE SPINELLI: And actually throughout the '70s, into the
late '70s, they were still racing this.
I think it did the African rally in the late '70s at some
point, '77 or '78.
LEO PARENTE: Someone should have run it up
Pike's Peak this year.
LEO PARENTE: Eh, whatever.
LEO PARENTE: All right.
My next--
oh, this is going to be abusive.
And it's going to be abusive because Jim Hall and
MIKE SPINELLI: What's that, a diesel?
What's going on back there?
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, those are injector stacks.
So Jim Hall and Chaparral, and the Chaparral 2, turns out he
kept using the same chassis over and over to build a
number of these cars.
And they were all Chaparral 2 something.
This is the 2C.
And I love this car because it had this wing that
flapped in the back.
And that was the beginning of movable aerodynamics.
He had figured out all this stuff in terms of down force
and really just creating a car that dominated.
MIKE SPINELLI: What year is this, about?
Wait a minute, not to put you on the spot.
There was a 2D before it.
No, there was a 2C before it that didn't have the movable
aerodynamics that had air inlets here.
He cleaned up the aero and went to that 2C with the
movable wing.
Took the same type of chassis, made the 2D to race globally.
This is when he won Nurburgring.
Kept going.
MIKE SPINELLI: Is that him on the carousel right there?
LEO PARENTE: I think it was.
Actually, I don't think it was Jim Hall.
I think it was Phil Hill.
I think.
Check me on that.
MIKE SPINELLI: That was a very cool looking
car, too, by the way.
LEO PARENTE: So the same 2 chassis became the
genesis of the 2E.
He took the movable wing, put it up on stocks, connected it
directly to the uprights to create tire down force.
And that's Jim Hall winning--
I think that could be at Laguna or Las Vega.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, it looks like Laguna.
Could have been Las Vegas.
But was there outcry?
Other teams must've been like, what the hell are you doing?
LEO PARENTE: There was outcry for the movable device.
And then all the F1 stuff started to fail.
So it became a fixed appendage.
And McLaren, if you remember, did the 8D with
the fixed high uprights.
They were bolting them still directly to the upright, not
to the body.
But the movable stuff started to go away.
But he wasn't done yet with the 2 chassis.
LEO PARENTE: Here's the 2F.
Believe it or not, this big car, seven liters, racing
against the Mark IV.
See the numbers?
He tried to run this thing at Targa Florio.
It was just freaking awesome.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's pretty amazing.
By the way, Cox?
Remember the slot cars?
And they had the gas-powered scale model, the big scale
models with the gas engine.
Those were super cool.
I never actually built any, though.
LEO PARENTE: That was a big deal, that he cut that
sponsorship deal to market the cars by having the little
models out there for us kids.
MIKE SPINELLI: You're right.
And it's funny how if you Google around, you'll see the
original sticker for the Cox Chaparral.
And that was our internet.
Toys were our internet.
That's how we got exposed to this stuff.
LEO PARENTE: And then I may be bending the facts here a
little bit, but it was a 2, and it was the
last one, the 2J.
Actually there was another one, but it was a real
But I think basically the same genesis of the chassis was
used to create the fan car with the downforce.
You can see the skirts.
So Chaparrals caught my attention in Can-Am.
And I just remember all these cars.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's amazing.
LEO PARENTE: All right, enough of that.
What did I do, five cars in my list of five on one car?
MIKE SPINELLI: What do we have next?
Do we have anything next?
Oh, look at that.
Is this the last one?
Is this my last one?
LEO PARENTE: This is your last one.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, so the Lotus 77--
this is the Andretti car.
And that's sort of when I got into it.
Because my dad was a gigantic Mario Andretti fan.
And this also was in a Corgi scale model thing.
So I think I got this as a gift.
I actually didn't know it existed.
And I was too young to even know what John Player was.
It was like, who's John Player and what's he playing?
LEO PARENTE: All these cigarette brands around all
these race cars, and we as kids would just eat it up.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, eventually my dad's friend
showed up at the house with John Player cigarettes,
because he was British.
And he brought his John Player cigarettes over.
And they came in this cylinder.
And it opened up, and you had like your John Player
cigarettes in there.
Other than that, there was a little bit of F1 on TV also,
but again, it wasn't like they were showing every race.
LEO PARENTE: They'd show us Monaco.
MIKE SPINELLI: They would show Monaco.
LEO PARENTE: That was it.
MIKE SPINELLI: And what was the other one?
Yeah, I think Monaco, and I kind of remember Spa.
And maybe Watkins Glen?
MIKE SPINELLI: Maybe Watkins Glen.
They probably showed Watkins Glen.
LEO PARENTE: So did you like this for
the graphics or just--
MIKE SPINELLI: I liked it for the graphics.
This is the thing.
I was too young at this point to really be enough of an F1
geek to know what was going on too much.
But it was just so cool.
The black and gold was just mind-blowing.
LEO PARENTE: So my last car is also F1.
There were drivers that I liked.
There was Jimmy Clark.
And believe it or not, I didn't like Lotus because it
kept killing off drivers.
And I liked Lorenzo Bandini.
And I loved this 1967 Ferrari.
MIKE SPINELLI: Oh, this is '67.
This is before the aero revolution.
LEO PARENTE: All before aero.
Maybe you can see the treads on the tires.
Huge V12.
All the bundle of snakes exhaust that they were doing.
There you go.
And unfortunately, this was at Monaco where he perished.
And all of that caught my attention, when Jimmy passed,
when Lorenzo passed.
But it somehow didn't taint my love of cars and racing.
And this car just caught my attention.
How do you not love a red Ferrari?
The basics of this, it's just a cigar shape with the gold
wheels, the white exhaust, very visceral.
And I just remember the car I loved.
MIKE SPINELLI: And really, to me, this is the most
attractive period for F1 cars, because it was before the
It was all about the tires and the cigar-shaped body.
And then the spaghetti, and just the engine porn coming
out the back there, it was just amazing.
LEO PARENTE: And I remember my dad-- you're going to remember
this, too--
my dad made the biggest mistake ever when he took me
to the Grand Prix movie.
Because that was the other thing that sucked us all in to
love this stuff.
We didn't have the internet.
We didn't have Drive.
We had magazines and movies.
And toys.
MIKE SPINELLI: And toys, that's right.
And we didn't have that many movies.
In the '70s there were a lot of made for TV movies about
race care driving.
LEO PARENTE: Horrible.
MIKE SPINELLI: And horrible stuff.
There were movies about the racers on Mulholland Drive and
all kinds of car culture stuff, vans, Corvette Summer.
LEO PARENTE: I saved a comic book about Mulholland racing.
I still have it.
I should've brought it in.
MIKE SPINELLI: Oh, you got to show me that.
LEO PARENTE: OK, point is these are our five.
We want your list.
What five do you like?
What race cars, as a kid, caught your attention and were
your favorites?
Those are ours.
MIKE SPINELLI: Let's see what the next generations were
inspired by.
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, maybe.
LEO PARENTE: I got the '60s done, he got the '70s.
You give us the more modern stuff.
Mike, thank you for creating the Shakedown.
MIKE SPINELLI: It's great to be here.
I like being on this side of the desk.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, it's kind of nice.
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, cool.
And you did only one Manboobs joke.
MIKE SPINELLI: Just one a show.
By the way, I'm at Baltimore right now.
So that's why it may sound the way it does.
LEO PARENTE: Baltimore.