"Just to see what would happen," says Grauer, "we put some of it on a record and called it Sounds of Sebring
. It sold like mad."
So now there is also Pit Stop (made at the Nassau Trophy Races in December 1956) and Sports Cars in Hi-Fi made at Watkins Glen). The latter album has a program note for each car: notice the valve surge on the PBX: whish-whoosh, whish-whoosh.
The market for all this sound and fury is as precisely limited as the market for surgical instruments. Hi-fi purists buy the records because the deep roar of the engines is ideal for showing off their equipment, and sports car owners buy them because, as Grauer explains it, "They are a well-heeled lot and they all like to own every scrap of material that concerns their sport."
Encouraged by the salability of pure noise, Riverside Records decided to try plain talk as well and so issued a series of almost sloppily relaxed conversations with top racing drivers. Each man is allotted an entire LP record on which to speak his thoughts about himself and his profession. The Marquis de Portago, musing about death on the race course, said, "Every driver believes it can never happen to him. I know it won't happen to me." (A few months after he made the recording, Portago was killed in the Mille Miglia in Italy.)
Carroll Shelby, speaking with affection of the old striped overalls he likes to wear in competition, says, "They've been in something over 100 races now and won about 88 of them." Stirling Moss admits that for touring, he would settle for "a Lincoln or a Caddy with air conditioning and reclining seats and a radio."
Only the sports car fans seem to care for the talking records. The hi-fi bug sticks to the engine sounds. He likes to start his turntable, close his eyes and hear a wide-open Maserati come screaming up from the turn, plunge through his living room, and fade away down the stretch.
A ROCK FOR ROCKY AND THE REF
The most boring fight of the year was inflicted on a Madison Square Garden crowd and a network of U.S. living rooms Friday night when Rocky Castellani alternately clutched and backpedaled for 10 rounds in an effort to escape the fists of Rory Calhoun, No. 5 middleweight contender in the National Boxing Association rankings. If rankings mean anything in matchmaking, there was no good reason for the fight, presented by the International Boxing Club ( James D. Norris, president), since Castellani is so rank as to be unranked and unlikely to be ranked.
Referee Harry Kessler made a noisy effort to persuade Rocky to fight, but got nowhere. "Come on, Rocky," he pleaded, loud enough for ringsiders to hear, "let's make a fight of it." Castellani ignored him.
He might not have ignored him, though, if Referee Kessler had wielded a power that pre-TV referees have exercised. He could have threatened to stop the bout and award it to Calhoun and he could have carried out the threat if Castellani persisted in his preposterous retreat.