Phil Hill Photography Presented in New Books


Richie Ginther poses with the 340 Mexico Vignale Coupe that carried him and Hill in the 1953 Carrera Panamericana. They retired on the third leg with off course damage. The next year, they would ride together again in a 375 MM and finish second. Ginther, who helped Phil the weekend of his first major win at Pebble Beach in 1950, later became his teammate in the Ferrari Grand Prix team. Copyright Hill Family Archive.

Inside Track Reviewed by Historian Michael T. Lynch

There are important new publications that will be of special interest to Cavallino readers. The first is a beautifully produced two-volume slipcase edition of Phil Hill’s photography, entitled Inside Track. The first volume covers 1951 to 1956, with the latter encompassing 1957 to 1962. The two books are impressive, and are of the very highest quality. Each volume has approximately 480 pages and 1200 images.

The imports were run on dirt ovals before road courses could be arranged. The. second book covers the sport coming to maturity when Americans began competing abroad, with Phil primarily racing Ferraris and ultimately winning the World Grand Prix Championship in 1961 in a Ferrari 156.

Phil’s relationship with Ferrari had its ups and downs, but this shows a happy moment at the Modena Autoaerodrome in 1955. Ferrari has just invited Hill to drive for him on the factory team at Le Mans. Copyright Hill Family Archive.

Phil had an early interest in photography, and his enthusiasm for thoroughbred cars was reflected in the images he made. After he bought a used Leica, we are fortunate that he spent the extra money to buy Kodachrome color film in an era of primarily black and white images. He was as good behind the lens as he was behind the wheel and the images are breathtaking. I was surprised at how much more evocative the color was in establishing the impressions of the era, since what we saw of events we didn't attend was almost invariably in black and white. There are obviously numerous pictures of cars, but it is the behind the scenes photos of the various racing personalities, both at the track and in everyday life that brings one inside Phil’s life and International racing at the time. The captions are in Phil’s own words and his comments often go well beyond the image described.

After Phil’s sports car successes, it took much too long for Ferrari to give him a Grand Prix drive. Here, Hill is seen in his first Formula 1 drive for Ferrari, at the Italian Grand Prix in 1958. In the final race of that year, at Morocco, Hill allowed teammate Mike Hawthorn to pass him for second, thus clinching the World Championship for Hawthorn by one point over Stirling Moss in a Vanwall. Copyright Hill Family Archive.

There is a third book that is a conventional autobiography. Like the other two books, it is entitled Inside Track. The subhead is The Racing Autobiography 1927 – 1967. It has 428 pages and 840 photographs. Most of these are by the great photographers of the day and half are black and white. There is some photo repetition from the two-volume set, although from 1963 on, all photos were taken by others.

Most captions in the autobiography are not in Phil’s voice, but supplied by Doug Nye, who also contributed detailed text to all volumes. He was assisted in this effort by Steve Dawson (original print creation), Ian Lambot (design), Derek Hill (Consulting and Archive Assembly) and Paul Vestey (Publishing).

Phil poses with his 1962 Le Mans ride, the four-liter 330 TRI/LM. He was paired with Olivier Gendebien, a logical decision since Gendebien had won there three times before, and Phil had won twice. The two would win the most important sports car race again that year. It was a milestone for both. Gendebien retired immediately and it would be Phil’s last Ferrari factory drive at the French course. Copyright Hill Family Archive.

As I sit here at the keyboard, looking at my library, these books are already among my all-time half dozen favorites. Different editions and packages are available. Please view these at http://www.phil-hill-book.com. It is the holiday season, and perhaps you can prevail on your significant other to make you very happy this Christmas. If not, let some moths out of your own wallet. You will not be disappointed.

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