Tracks Across America: Riverside


This is the first instalment in a new series.

These articles will be relatively brief. They will be cross referenced with existing and proposed A&R articles.

Due to the nature of the subject and some lack of experience by the editors we will use internet information as needed.

The editors consider the American dimension of Chapman’s/Lotus development extremely important.

This dimension has many facets which include:-

  • Moto racing in North America with related rules and governing bodies etc.
  • The home grown and imported brands used in racing / competition
  • The race tracks and their comparison with Europe
  • The connectivity between racing , publicity, reputation , image and sales, particularly with regard to Lotus road cars
  • The Lotus sales dealerships in US
  • Geography and climate that favoured open sports cars like the Lotus
  • The race track attendance /support and following of various series along with the associated financial viabilities
  • Broad cultural exchange between Europe and US particularly with regard to car culture and competition
  • American engines and particularly Ford and V8 engines adopted by Chapman for Lotus ; this to include race tuning
  • US racing drivers ,particularly the owner racers who chose to compete in Lotus

A recurring under current of our study of Colin Chapman and Lotus is the search for objectivity. The editors have deliberate6ly used comparison and benchmarking to evaluate Chapman and Lotus.

In this series we hope we can combine both in an examination of race track, the nature of the competition and the performance of Lotus at a specific venue.

Where possible we will include details of the entry list in order that the range, extent and the contemporaries can be better understood.

The editors will offer some comment and interpretation that they hope will explain a moment in time.

Articles to follow will look at Indianapolis, Can Am and FI GP racing.


Subscribers are directed to the many excellent websites that feature this circuit in Southern California.

The following details are quoted from the net:-

“RIR played host to almost every major racing series in modern history. NASCAR to Can-Am to Cal Car Club to Indy Cars to International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) to United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC) to The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and the AMA Superbikes all called the track home for high-pro?le annual events. In 1960, RIR hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix. Take also into account that no other sports car race in the US was richer than the annual LA Times Grand Prix as notable drivers from all over the world descended on the black tarmac ribbons winding through dessert sands of Riverside.”


It’s worth looking at events to trace the Lotus entries. A programme cover [illustrated above seems to feature a Lotus 19 possibly driven by Stirling Moss.

Riverside 200, October, 1964


The editors invite our subscribers to study the entry list below and make deductions .We reserve ours for comments below.

It’s significant that the race took place in the early mid 1960’s a time of Anglo-American cultural exchange.

1 Brabham BT8 Thomas Hitchcock green open mid
2 McLaren Elva Mark I Oldsmobile Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd. green (+white) STP/BP BP open mid
3 Brabham BT8 Climax Team Elite (’62) Ltd. white/green open mid
4 Brabham BT8 Ecurie Vitesse S.A., Geneva, Switz. green open mid
5 Cooper Monaco T61 Chevrolet Nickey Chevrolet purple open mid
6 Chaparral 2A Chevrolet Chaparral Cars white CHAMPION open mid
7 Brabham BT8 Climax Stirling Moss Automobile Racing Team green open mid
8 Lotus 19 Chevrolet Alan Green Chevrolet, Inc. green open mid
10 Lotus 19 Ferrari Rosebud Racing – Tom O’Connor, Jr. blue mid
11 Brabham BT8 Climax Robert Lamplough red open mid
12 Cooper Monaco T61 Chevrolet Bernice Mc I. Wintersteen green/white open mid
14 Webster 2 Liter Type A Webster Racing Enterprises black/red
15 Lotus 30 Ford Colin Chapman Team Lotus green open mid
16 Lotus 23B Porsche Trans Ocean Motors white mid
19 Lotus 19G Ford Pacesetter Homes white (+black) PACESETTER Ford open mid
21 Lotus 30 Ford Bob Challman – Ecurie Shirlee mid
22 Lotus 23B Ford Bob Challman – Ecurie Shitlee mid
23 Hussein I Dodge John Mecom, Jr. dark blue (+white) ZEREX SPECIAL Firestone open mid
24 Lola Mk.6 GT Chevrolet John Mecom, Jr. blue/white closed mid
25 Genie Mk.10 Chevrolet John Mecom, Jr. blue/white
26 Scarab Mk IV Chevrolet John Mecom, Jr. blue/white open mid
33 Cheetah – Chevrolet Clarence Dixon Cadillac, Inc. silver front
39 Cooper King Cobra Ford Charles C. Cox metallic blue open mid
51 blue/white Goodyear open mid
60 Genie Mk.10B Ford Don Webster Enterprises yellow
61 Genie Mk.8 Chevrolet Paul Reinhart purple open mid
66 Chaparral 2A Chevrolet Chaparral Cars white open mid
69 Lotus 23B Arciero Bros. Racing red mid
75 Platypus – Porsche Hans-Adam – P.A.M. yellow open front
77 Elva – Porsche Oliver C. Schmidt yellow mid
81 Cheetah G.T. Coupe Chevrolet Alan Green Chevrolet green front
90 Genie Mk.10 Chevrolet George H. Koehne, Jr. white
91 Fordette (McKee Mk.III Ford) Shelby American, Inc. blue
92 Cooper King Cobra Ford Shelby American, Inc. blue STP Goodyear STP open mid
93 Cooper King Cobra Ford Shelby American, Inc. blue open mid
94 Cooper King Cobra Ford Shelby American, Inc. dark grey Goodyear STP open mid
95 Cooper King Cobra Ford Shelby American, Inc. blue open mid
96 Lotus 19 Monte Carlo Chevrolet Arciero Bros. Racing red open mid
97 Lang Cooper Monaco T61 Ford Shelby American, Inc. orange open mid
98 Shelby Cobra roadster Shelby American, Inc. metallic blue front
99 Lotus 23B Shelby American, Inc. blue mid
111 Lotus 23B Ford Rick Muther white open mid
146 Genie Mk.8 Comet Jim Wessman green yellow open mid
177 Elva Mk VII Porsche Robert Bosch Spark Plug Special silver/blue
Cooper – Ford open mid
Lotus 30 Ford Colin Chapman Team Lotus open mid
Lotus 23B Ford mid
Cooper – Chevrolet

Entered cars that did not arrive:

No. Car Entrant Colour Sponsors Tyres Lubricant Body Engine
9 Brabham BT8 BRM Rosebud Racing – Tom O’Connor, Jr. blue open mid
13 Ferrari Special Robert R. Stevens gold
17 Lotus 23 Alfa Romeo G.R.T. Enterprises white mid
18 Ferrari Prototype John Surtees red
20 Lotus 30 Ford Bob Challman – Ecurie Shirlee mid
34 Elva – BMW Benz Racing Team white mid
36 Cheetah G.T. Coupe Four Jays Racing Team red front
38 Front Runner ‘I’ Chevrolet Beach City Chevrolet orange red
41 Elva Mk VIIS BMW Rev – M. Racing blue mid
43 Lotus 23B Frank Monise Motors red mid
44 Lotus 23B Frank Monise Motors green mid
48 Porsche 718 RS 60 Ralph Wood blue/white mid
55 WRE II Chevrolet Prince Sat green
57 Lotus Seven Haddad Enterprises green front
58 Cheetah G.T. Coupe Bill Thomas Company white front
64 Lotus 23 Reg Parnell (Racing) Ltd. blue/red mid
67 Cooper Team Corvette white open mid
70 Genie Mark I Roadster Climax Harry L. Banta yellow
71 Ol’Yaller Mk II Jerry Entin yellow
76 Elva Mk VII Porsche Oliver C. Schmidt yellow open mid
78 Elva – Porsche Oliver C. Schmidt white
79 Elva – Porsche Oliver C. Schmidt yellow
82 Shivley Special Ford Troy Clem red
83 Pegasus I Ralph Wood green/white
87 Elva Mk VII Porsche Ralph Wood yellow/black open mid
88 Merlyn Mark 4A Porsche Ken O’Neill green
121 MG Special Frank G. Blachly bronze
123 Lotus 23F Paul Scott silver mid
141 Lotus 23B Osca Special W. F. Goodrum/Enduro Speed, Inc. white/blue mid
169 Genie Huffaker Thomas M. Tobin, DDS coral
170 Lotus 23B Ernie Gravelle blue mid
178 Cooper Monaco Grizzly Engineering blue open mid
187 Cooper – Chevrolet Jim Gravelle red
221 Lotus 23 James W. Paul blue mid
222 Porsche Spyder Masterson Racing Enterprises blue mid
444 Lotus 23B Dio Brothers white mid

The editor’s note the range and capacity variation of potential Lotus entry which includes the 19, 23, and Seven.

European marques are well represented with Lola, Brabham, McLaren, and even Ferrari.

American marques of note are Chaparral, Webster, King Cobra and Shelby Cobra.

Also significant is the adoption of American engines into British marques.

Many of these marques competing in 1964 would go on to join the Can am series of 1966 [see dedicated A&R articles on both Can-Am and Chaparral].

Lotus 30

On this occasion we discuss the Lotus 30.The Type 30 driven by Jim Clark obtained one of its best results. There was a competitive field and engines of similar performance were included.

Equally there were some international level drivers competing against American talent that might have had more experience of the track.

The holistic combination of track, driver might have assisted Lotus to be well placed.


Figure 1.This is Spark scale model of the Jim Clark /Lotus 30 see entry details above. Car identified by race number. See:  A fine Spark 1:43 scale model.
SK2187 M8

The Lotus Type 30 Ford as raced to 3rd place in the 1964 Riverside 200 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix for Sports Cars by the great Jim Clark.

Rather than duplicate we suggest subscribers look at several of our dedicated articles on the Lotus 30&40.

Learning Opportunities

Our learning /educational opportunities are intended to be challenging thought provoking and requiring additional research and/or analysis.

These opportunities are particularly designed for a museum/education centre location where visitors would be able to enjoy access to all the structured resources available in conjunction with any concurrent exhibition.

In this instance we suggest the following might be appropriate:-

  • Consider the content of an appropriate exhibition designed around American Country &Western anthems like “The Race is On”, Don’t Fence Me In”, “Fast as You”, “Looking at the World through a Windshield”
  • Explore the economics /viability of circuits discuss circumstances of how and why Riverside was closed and redeveloped
  • Study the origins of race circuits and assess their importance in the development of the automobile? Does the same apply today?
  • Explore the economic geography of road circuits – how can the best sites be identified?
  • Plot the location/distribution of the main North American road race circuits. Estimate the distances between and what population base did they serve
  • Explore the social dimension of attendance , estimate popularity and motivation for attendance –drivers and spectators
  • Compare / contrast oval and road racing circuits in North America
  • Enumerate the marque/ brands that became Anglo-American hybrids adopting American engines in the 1960’s
  • Debate the interrelationship between large capacity engines , modest outputs , cheap fuel and sustainability
  • Contemplate the Who,Where,When and Why ,Which Lotus models helped establish the British brand in the US
  • How might a virtual track experience of Riverside be created to generate user participation?

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

The editors consider it important to introduce a British and European audience to North American racing and its experience. This is more important as circuits get redeveloped like Riverside. For this reason it would be important to mount education and rewarding exhibition experiences connecting audiences with historical perspectives.

The following might be appropriate:-

  • The American Dream: of motor racing
  • Route 66
  • California Dreaming: Racing in the sun
  • Car Culture in the US
  • Ford’s: The Engine of Change
  • Mavericks of Racing Car Design
  • Wild ,wild Horses:BHP of American engines in 1960’s


For brevity, impact and to avoid duplication in future pieces in the series; the editors use bullet points to summarize our evaluation of Riverside and the Lotus connection.

  • Riverside was an important circuit and well regarded by drivers and spectators
  • Race circuits across the world face threats of redevelopment but this can be a the loss of social capital
  • Tracks like Riverside provided a neckless and chain assisting the development of American and later international motor racing
  • Circuit variation and complexity was good for drivers and spectators
  • Racing assisted automobile development and provided branding /publicity /advertising opportunity for manufacturers
  • Related was engine development and particularly how the specialist European marques adopted American engines [think of examples like Jensen,TVR, AC and earlier Allard]
  • Racing circuits provided driver experience, performance tuning to specific layouts and nurtured driver talent , often offering a stepping stone /springboard to international level
  • Race tracks like Riverside were steeped in drama, excitement and visual spectacle. The live on in the memory and register as a competitive arena
  • The race tracks provided a social and cultural exchange of ideas , machinery technology , experience and in the more amateur days a meeting place for direct and indirect participation
  • The race circuits can also be studied as prism to examine social and cultural habits along with technological advances

The editors will enjoy developing this series. We invite subscribers to share experiences, photographs or to suggest tracks or events in North America which connect with Lotus.

The editors will then research these and write them up.

European audiences will be richer, more informed and culturally aware from the experience.