CineCars wonders back to the 1950’s. A time where the quest for the most popular motorsports was still being battled between the all new Formula 1-concept and the renowned long distance races from the pre-war era. Where racing drivers are still genuine heroes. Close shaven lads in cashmere sweaters and pleated trousers who embody a ‘cool’ every hard working citizen is longing for. Many a girls heart beats a little faster at the image of the Farina’s, the Ascari’s, the Brabham’s and the Fangio’s sporting their suntanned faces over stylish Suixtil outfits. Rock ‘n Roll when it hadn’t even been invented yet.
That’s exactly the romantic picture we brought to Modena, to the workshop of 77 year old Giuseppe Candini. ‘Giuseppe who?’ Exactly. Giuseppe Candini, junior member of the Officine Alfieri Maserati, the Maserati Racing Team, in 1954. Not as one of the all time heroes and conqueror of many a craving women’s heart, but as hard working craftsman behind the scenes of one of the most legendary stables in its time. Our witness on an era we no longer know today.
‘In those days, racing drivers weren’t friends!’
Giuseppe Candini’s eyes roll when he answers our apparently very silly question about friendship and camaraderie in 1950’s motorsports.
‘Things weren’t as we know them today. In these days they were sworn enemies. Prepared to cut each others tyres when necessary. On, but most certainly of the track as well, the battle was fierce and ruthless.‘
And within the teams? What was it like? Teams like that must have been one big family? Somehow we now feel like sixth graders writing for the schoolpaper.
‘Mechanics had no direct contact with the drivers. The were way beyond our league. Our foreman was the official test driver of the team and so he was our only actual link to the racing drivers.’
On an old faded photograph of the assembled ‘Officine’ old man Candini points at his former colleagues. Naming them one by one. Many of them no longer amongst us. Still memories of a forgotten era.
‘These were different times. Drivers and mechanics belonged to a different class. Any relation was purely professional. Don’t even think we could sit at the same table, go to the same parties. We didn’t mind. It was a different world. Not our world.’ Giuseppe Candini is on a roll. ‘We were part of a traveling circus. In trucks packed with tools and parts we drove from one event to the next. In the Mille Miglia for example, we were dropped of at strategic points. Each our own. There you’d be waiting for the cars to hurl by. Servicing or repairing whenever necessary. That was it. Then you waited to be picked up again and arrived in the pit in the middle of the night.’
Racing cars is en must have been an extremely dangerous sports. The enormous risks taken must have weighed on the daily routine of any racing team?
‘Sure, we were all very aware of that. I’m a lucky man never to have witnessed one of those fatal crashes. Racing drivers back in the day were true heroes. To drive cars like that, drive them to the limit, you not only had to be very able physically, but had to be mentally strong as well. These lads were very courageous men we all looked up to.’ Giuseppe Candini’s eyes still reflect the admiration after all these years. ‘Don’t forget there were practically no safety regulations back then. Not as we know them. They weren’t even wearing helmets. Just a leather hood or an ordinary cap to protect them from the elements. No safety belts, no roll cages, no protective clothing…’
On photographs and moving pictures of the era we see how the dusted heroes of their time slide out of their machines. Physically knackered. One short moment. After that the spines are straightened, the creases rubbed from their twill pants, losses taken, victory celebrated. The machinery is handed over to the men in overalls, the circus strolls ahead in outfits of Argentinian flair. Comfy, distinguished and of an unequaled ‘cool’.
text: Marc GF Zaan
In the fifties and sixties Suixtil was the leading brand in clothing for motorsport champions. In times where racing cars was still a sport requiring unadulterated courage and pure dedication, when the sport still oozed heroism and chivalry, racing car drivers collectively pointed to Suixtil as their garment of choice. For the comfort and style. To stand out of the crowd. Suixtil, that disappeared after the demise of its Argentinian founder over 40 years ago, is now back in the race. True to it’s original racing heritage they offer a menswear collection that will convince every car enthousiast through its superior combination of history, quality and elegance – At Life Speed!