"Camp Callan" was located at the south end of Torrey Pines and accidentally became a hot-bed of racing from 1951 to 1956. The '51 race was scheduled for the fairgrounds at Del Mar when the negotiations broke down and the suggestion was made to use the asphalt streets of the old Army base at Torrey. Torrey Pines road racing was born.
The races were first organized by the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce and the California Sports Car Club. In the early years the races were sprint contest consisting of 6 lap events around a 2.7 mile course with names such as; the Del Mar Trophy Race, the La Jolla Trophy Race, the Balboa Trophy Race, the Cabrillo Trophy Race and the Torrey Pines Trophy Race. A little known fact about those early years, 3 lap motorcycle races were also held during the race weekends.
In 1955 the Sports Car Club of America joined in by sanctioning the races under the auspices of the Los Angeles and San Diego Regions of the SCCA along with the San Diego Sports Car Club and the California Sports Car Club. To Torrey's merit, it drew the like of who's-who in U.S. racing, Paul O'Shea, Carroll Shelby, Pete Lovely, John von Neumann, Ken Miles, Phil Hill and Jack McAfee driving Ferrari's, Porsche's, Allard's, Jaguar's and more.
On the final weekend of racing at the Pines it was a swan song for the course, it certainly afforded a pleasure for the drivers and spectators alike to come watch. In spite of the usual threatening fog bank offshore, a taxing six-hour endro race was held Saturday followed by six sprint races Sunday. The underbrush had been bulldozed away eliminating the former fire hazard at previous races and a large number of flags around the course gave it a fittingly festive air, with a spectator count of 35,000 at the end.
Shortly after, the San Diego City Council voted to turn the land into two golf courses and the Torrey Pines Road races sadly came to an end.
Just a note: most of these images are from the camera of fellow blog follower Bob Lampert, thanks Bob.
|Classic 50s' program art with an Allard drifting around a Torrey Pine perched on a cliff.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. The location of the 2.7 mile course was just west of Highway 1. The exit from the highway is where the now Torrey Pines Lodge is located.. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. Studying this photo is interesting. Note the number of spectators on the hillside and the incoming stream of cars. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. The Start/Finish as a sprint race gets underway with an Osca, Siata, Porsche left to right. MG in the background making a pass in the dirt. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. John von Neumann readies in the pre-grid with his daughter Josie looking on with the Gmund Porsche. Josie was also a driver. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. One of seven made Glockler Porsches sits in the pits ready for the race. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. Dan Gurney in his Triumph TR-2 leads a Jag and Porsche. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. John A. Porter, Jr. streaks by in his Porsche Spyder. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. Phil Hill in a Ferrari Monza co-driven by John von Neumann in the 6-hour endro. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torry Pines Road Races. Dr. Troy McHenry blasting by the PA system in his Porsche Spyder. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. The Nichols Panhard of Jack Wilder hits the hay to keep cars from going off course. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. Jack Wilder received no injuries, however the Nichols Panhard was not as lucky. Image © Bob Lampert.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. John and Josie von Neumann with the 356SL Gmund. Before the 1952 race at Torrey, John requested to have the roof cut off the coupe to save weight, creating the first Speedster. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
|Torrey Pines Road Races. The loot at the end of the day. Image via, Frank Sheffield.|
Frank Sheffield's photos can be found here.
To share a comment, click here.