Jean Shepherd At 6th Voice Car Rallye

Categories: Clip Job, Featured

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Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

August 2, 1962, Vol. VII, No. 41

Sports Car Rallye

Several contestants in Sunday's Sixth Annual Village Voice Sports Car Rallye, two of them subsequent winners, nearly earned a free trip to First Precinct headquarters for mild dicing (racing) in the hushed streets of the financial district. Patrolmen in the area, unadvised as to the presence of a rallye in their bailiwick, were startled to hear the bark of high-revving engines and the squeal of tires downtown on Sunday. A quick explanation and an apologetic mien kept the rallyists rolling onwards at legal speed, but the checkpoint personnel who tended to lounge in doorways were questioned from time to time by passing officers who assume loiterers below Park Row are seeking out Bache & Co.

Many of the contestants missed the Rose Street checkpoint entirely, because of its barely visible beginnings off Park Row, and mistakenly returned to the course under the Brooklyn Bridge and around the Municipal Building, thereby disqualifying themselves as possible winners regardless of times posted at the finish line. Yet another hazard, this one unintended, was an enormous air compressor with which workmen had cunningly blocked a narrow downtown street.

Jean Shepherd was at the microphone at noon as the rallye started from the east side of Washington Square Park.

A large crowd heard his analysis of national characteristics as expressed in automotive design and his descriptions of the 45 contending cars. Among the mechanical sights were an air-cooled 1929 Franklin Airman touring car, a 1933 DeSoto in mint condition, and Dan List's 1922 Dodge station wagon. Several elderly MG's were on hand, and the host of newer machinery included a 1962 Volvo P-1800, a 1962 Hillman Minx Special, a Daimler SP-250 roadster, and the new Austin Healey Sprite Mark II.

Several of the rallyers were equally gawkable. A red MG-A was occupied by top-hatted Nick Pinto and bearded Sam Rubin, the latter with an enormous brass alarm clock hanging around his neck. Pinto and Rubin piloted their picturesque way into second place. With third-place navigator Suzy Aaron, they constitute the Fazool Racing Team ("No one passed a Fazool").

The terminus of the circuitous thirteen-mile rallye route was in front of the Limelight restaurant on Seventh Avenue South, where participants and onlookers quenched their thirst while waiting for results. Jean Shepherd was unable to remain for these festivities; consequently the prizes were given out by rallyemaster Daniel List, auto columnist for The Voice and producer of the Voice rallyes for the past five years.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

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