Dipping Into the VM Archives – The 1994 Palm Springs Chrysler Vintage Grand Prix

A Chevy V8-powered, Devin-bodied Ryan Special (White) and a Devin SS (Blue and Silver) looking to navigate the traffic in front of them. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)

Throughout the past few years I have moved what feels like a literal ton of boxes. Magazine boxes, event materials, book boxes, etc. I know that I am not alone in the feeling that sometimes I am moving the same boxes several times without even opening them in between. During the latest round of box moving I came across a few boxes I knew I wanted to investigate further.

Being a bit of a film nerd, I was instantly intrigued by the boxes marked “Slides” Photo: Nick Lish (Vintage Motorsport)

Though I did what many people may do at that point. I added it to my list of things to do and said, “I will get to it later.” Fast forward a few months and enter a global pandemic… now seems like as good a time as any to do those things I have been wanting to tackle, but haven’t quite “gotten around to.” So I put on my headphones, pressed play on Burt Levy’s Last Open Road Audiobook, and dove in.

This box has seen better days, but the contents were unharmed. Photo: Nick Lish (Vintage Motorsport)
There is a lot to look at in here. Much more to come. Photo: Nick Lish (Vintage Motorsport)

The slides are the photographic work of VM’s former editor, Art Eastman. Art covered many vintage race events for the magazine and he was quite an astute photographer. He was also often known to have quite a selection of sudsy libations available for friends on race weekends. You’ll have to ask VM Columnist, Burt Levy, about that one though…

Photo: Nick Lish (Vintage Motorsport)

The first set of slides that caught my eye were labeled – 11/94 P.S. “Palm Springs,” I thought, “there’s a vintage race I am sure people may not have heard about in a while.”

Starting in 1985, the Palm Springs Vintage Grand Prix was held as a revival of the races that ran from 1951 to 1958. Check out this video of the 1987 event to get an idea what it was all about (the on track action starts around the 8:20 mark). The races stopped in 1996 largely due to, you guessed it, noise complaints.

Photo: Nick Lish (Vintage Motorsport)

After opening up the packages it was time to review the shots with my loupe and pick a few to scan/share. Without further ado here are a few photos from the 1994 Palm Springs Chrysler Vintage Grand Prix.

The same Devin-bodied Ryan Special (White) and a Devin SS (Blue and Silver) from above. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)
Then Chrysler president, Bob Lutz giving Briggs Cunningham a ride in one of his C-4R roadsters. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)
The Ol’ Yaller Mark IX which currently resides in the vault of the Petersen Museum. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)
A beautiful Porsche 356A looking quite racy. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)
A 1983 Alfa Romeo 183T Formula 1 car impressing a sizable crowd of onlookers in the grandstands. Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)

Having only attended vintage races for the past half-decade, I find myself longing for an event like this. Big name drivers, factory support, and a variety of cars that we don’t often see in the paddocks anymore. Though I think I speak for everyone in saying that I will gladly take just about any race weekend at this point.

Oh and don’t be afraid to open those boxes that stare back at you every now and again – you never know where they might take you.

The event featured a number of special run groups including ‘Corvettes vs. Mustangs’ Photo: Art Eastman (Vintage Motorsport)