Bill Pollack [July 7, 1925-July 16, 2017] Remembered

The above photograph of Bill Pollack was shot by John Edgar with his Rolleiflex at Riverside International Motor Raceway on September 22, 1957. The #8 car is the John Edgar-entered 6-cylinder 300S Maserati formerly driven by Carroll Shelby, but for this inaugural Riverside weekend it was Bill’s to race. He finished 11th the day before in Saturday’s Preliminary, and was now set here to enter the fray in Riverside’s Sunday Main. Bill’s first of a total eight drives for Edgar was seven years earlier in a supercharged MG-TC, with his greatest driving career successes at the wheel of Tom Carstens’ multiple-Pebble Beach race winning Allard-Cadillac, as well competing in sports car racing marques that included Morgan, Siata, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Corvette, Kurtis, Cooper, Lister, and 1950s period Baldwin-Mercury Special. The Riverside Opener’s Main in this Edgar-Maserati became an added highlight for Bill’s racing accomplishments, finishing third behind race winner Richie Ginther in Edgar’s 410 Sport Ferrari and second place Kurtis-Buick driven by owner Bill Murphy.  Speaking for myself, William Edgar: “I think Bill Pollack was unlike so many other well-known sports car racing drivers of his time because he could see himself as a figure in the human comedy, through a third-person kind of way, and he could do that because he was smart and he had honest perspective; he could live outside of himself and was able to look in and see what the car enthusiast/driver Pollack was doing and then find the good or bad or very often funny things about that man seated behind the wheel of a car built to be driven at an unsafe speed and that could very easily and quickly kill him. Of course, we know it didn’t, but instead repeatedly gave him life, and continuing joy for all of us who knew him in person and by what he said and wrote in his columns and autobiography [Red Wheels and White Sidewalls: Confessions of an Allard Racer] in his winning Bill Pollack style.”  [To purchase a large photo print of this image, please see Contact page and email me.]

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