Juan Manuel Fangio’s epic win at the Nürburgring in 1957 is perhaps the greatest race in the 62-year history of Formula One. After fifty years in a drawer, an American Private’s Kodachrome slides of the race have been published, and they are utterly breathtaking.
Dean Adams was a 24-year-old Private with a love for motorsports, stationed at the US Army base in Baumholder, Germany. On his days off, he and his wife Barbara travelled in Europe to see races, and they were at the Nürburgring on August 4, 1957, when Juan Manuel Fangio came from way behind in a four-year-old Maserati to beat Ferrari’s Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn to claim both his last Grand Prix win and his last world title.
Private Adams attended the race with his Ansco Regent camera and some Kodachrome film, and the photos he took are simply brilliant; wild, saturated splashes of color, red Italian racing cars against the rich glow of the late summer Eifel forests. Here’s how Dean recalled the race:
We watched in amazement as Fangio built a commanding lead, then stopped for fuel and tires, restarted calmly in 3rd place and began setting lap record after lap record, finally passing Collins for second place then out braking Hawthorn for 1st place! We started the race near the South curve and did move around some, but were back near the South curve again late in the race and witnessed Fangio’s famous moves – I sure wish I had pictures of that one, too!
After sitting in Dean’s desk drawer for decades, the photos were recently published by Air Force veteran Bill Wagenblatt’s Track Thoughts, where you can see them all.
Photo Credit: Dean Adams