As keepers of the flame here at Sports Car Digest, we relish in the glory of cataloging and sharing classic sports car imagery. Some would argue that digital technology makes our jobs easy. Digital tools are certainly taken for granted these days. Imagine then, what it was like in the late 1950’s to mid 1960’s for Bev Spencer, a prominent San Francisco car dealer. Bev had the forethought to document the golden era of sports cars and road racing through his personal exploits. By purchasing one-year old competition Ferraris directly from the factory, Bev achieved a level of access and involvement worthy of envy. Friendships with driving greats Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, and many other prominent figures are part of the lore.
Encompassing over three thousand period images from two inherited binders, hundreds of rare racing programs, and boxes of road racing ephemera, Bev Spencer’s photo collection reveals a unique insider glimpse of the cars, drivers and tracks. Period shots from California’s great tracks – Laguna Seca, Torrey Pines, Riverside and Paramount Ranch etc. – take us back to this golden age of road racing.
These photos are too good to keep hidden away. Roy Spencer, Bev’s son, is compiling his father’s images and unforgettable tales into an extraordinary book called MotorBinder. As sorting, scanning and publishing the collection is a major undertaking, Roy has initiated a Kickstarter campaign called The MotorBinder Project to fund the effort. Enthusiasts can contribute and follow the book’s publishing process from start to finish. Sports Car Digest supported another excellent Kickstarter project to fruition called The Little Red Racing Car. We believe this venture deserves your attention, as well.
More than just vintage racing photos, the Spencer collection places you in the driver’s seat of an unforgettable period. Imagine driving the first-ever V-12 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa as a street car, and you’ll get a sense of where the MotorBinder book might take you.
Passionate Ferrari Patron
Spencer’s father, Bev, caught the racing bug as a child from his father, Packard Motor Cars Executive Vice President LeRoy Spencer, and passed his enthusiasm on to each of his five boys. Not content to simply drive his latest street Ferrari to the epic races of the day, Bev Spencer added a Ferrari Franchise to his San Francisco Buick dealership in 1963.
He was partial to the new GTO and campaigned both 1963 and 1964 versions at Northern California tracks. The Le Mans-winning 1961 Ferrari Testa Rossa also joined the racing fleet as did a Maserati 151 Le Mans coupe and an ex-Cunningham Cooper-Buick.
Preserving the Legacy
In stark contrast with today’s social media and cell phone cameras, Bev Spencer proactively hired a small army of photographers to meticulously record his exploits. Of course, some of the photography was used to promote the family car dealership. A shiny new Buick Riviera was photographed with a Ferrari in tow surrounded by Spencer Buick Ferrari support vehicles. It wasn’t all about PR, though. Even then, the Spencers knew that these cars were special. They also loved to entertain and would document special occasions. Roy Spencer remembers his mother Josephine frequently capturing memories with her own camera.
Roy Spencer’s MotorBinder project will combine the best images from the “motor binders” with the best shots within the Family Archive and never told stories to create a unique book covering this era of motor racing. He notes, “It’s really time to share this amazing collection of unpublished images with enthusiasts of road racing’s formative decade. I’m excited about the initial images and the thought of creating the MotorBinder book.” Those who contribute to the MotorBinder project will receive regular updates as well as special insider looks at rare images.
Learn more about the MotorBinder project by clicking the link here to their Kickstarter campaign. You’ll love the amazing video footage of Phil Hill chauffeuring Bev Spencer around the original Pebble Beach road course in Spencer’s Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta.
The MotorBinder Project – Photo Gallery
Roy Spencer’s MotorBinder project will combine the best images from the “motor binders” with the best shots within the Family Archive and never told stories to create a unique book covering this era of motor racing.
As Spencer notes, “It’s really time to share this amazing collection of unpublished images with enthusiasts of road racing’s formative decade. I’m excited about the initial images and the thought of creating the MotorBinder book.” Those who contribute to the MotorBinder project will receive regular updates as well as special insider looks at rare images.
For additional information or to help support this worthy Kickstarter campaign, visit the MotorBinder project.
[Source: photos: Roy Spencer]