A consumer's guide to sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here .
What: 1958 Sebring 12-Hour Grand Prix video
Producer: Alex Xydias, Historic Auto Racing Videos
Price: $24.95 plus $4.95 S&H; to P.O. Box 11316, Burbank, Calif. 91510.
During the '50s, sports car racing was the hottest motor racing ticket in the country other than the Indianapolis 500. NASCAR was still a regional stock car circuit for boys from the Carolinas, so the big races were on the road at Sebring, Torrey Pines, Palm Springs, Road America and Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Alex Xydias, a pioneer Bonneville Dry Lakes competitor, toured the sports car circuit, filming the races.
After many years, he has put them together on video tape.
For younger racing fans, the tapes offer a remarkable contrast with today's high-tech atmosphere. For older fans, it is another touch of nostalgia. For instance, most amusing are clips of the great Stirling Moss practicing his LeMans start, in which drivers line up across the road from their cars and at the starting gun, race like track stars to their cars.
Obvious is the lack of today's safety net. There are no roll cages, the pit stops are done almost casually with little accent on speed. At one point, when his car stops before he reaches his pit, Carroll Shelby jumps out and starts pushing it himself.
The entry list was filled with exotic names, such as Aston Martin, Ferrari Testa Rossa, Jaguar, Porsche and Lotus, with equally exotic drivers such as Phil Hill, Mike Hawthorn, Roy Salvadori, Jean Behra, Shelby and Moss.
Xydias gives the video a homespun atmosphere when he introduces the race the way a doting uncle might introduce his family in a home movie. For the record, the 12-hour race is capsuled into 36 minutes.