One of the greatest features of the Targa Florio was that the practice laps around the 44.6-mile Sicilian road course were not closed off to traffic. Top flight prototypes shared the roads with oxcarts. It was insane.
Thankfully, no one is running R18 TDis or Toyota TS030s next to unsuspecting motorists as drivers have a hard enough time dealing with other professionals, let alone random people. Still, now that old racing cars are out of duty as sporting equipment, they can live new, unexpected, exciting lives as real cars.
It's tough to get too surprised by anything on the road in L.A.; I used to see Elon Musk's McLaren F1 parked outside the SpaceX offices in El Segundo on a daily basis. However, not too long ago I had a literal heart-stopping moment on PCH in Redondo Beach. As I headed north in light traffic, I spotted something very old and very red parked at the curb in front of a tailor's shop. I kept driving for about a block and a half, perhaps because my brain didn't allow me to acknowledge that I had actually seen what I just had. Then, it hit me like a tazer shot to the groin: that was an Alfa Romeo P3 monoposto, parked on the effing street.
I circled the block as quickly as I could, parking a respectful distance behind the vintage grand prix racer. I walked around it several times - yep, it was real - and then took off in search of the owner. I found him inside the tailor's; he's a somewhat well-known collector of vintage Ferraris, who seemed surprised that I had heard of him. I asked the obvious question: "What is the exact brass content of your balls that allows you to drive that priceless piece of racing history on the street?" I got the obvious answer: "It's a just a car, and it should be driven!"
Turns out, it's his daily driver.
Wait, am I missing the real story? Who else here knew that Musk drove a McLaren?