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1970 Targa Florio: Racing In The Streets

Illustration for article titled 1970 Targa Florio: Racing In The Streets

The monster Sicilian road race was the last of its breed to succumb to world automotive sissification in 1977. Before that, guys were racing 500+ HP sports prototypes through tiny Sicilian villages while locals crowded in, straining for a peek.


This particular shot was taken at the 1970 race, where local boy Nino Vaccarella is on his way to third place in the big Ferrari 512 prototype.

And who beat him? Two of John Wyer’s nimble Porsche 908’s:


Vaccarella would be back the next year in the much more suitable 3-liter Alfa Romeo T33 and take the title. This was the car with the center-mounted rearview mirror sticking out like the love child of a periscope and a Martian fighting machine from The War of the Worlds:

Illustration for article titled 1970 Targa Florio: Racing In The Streets

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There was a great article in the August issue of Classic and Sports Car regarding British privateers that participated in the Targa Florio in the late 60's and early 70's. One of the drivers said he always watched the spectators to see how he was doing. If they took no notice, he wasn't going fast enough. If they paid attention to him, he was on the pace. And if they ran, he was about to wreck.

And, because it's what I do, here's some photos from the 70 TF.

Van Lennep and Laine's Porsche 908-2 #targaflorio