The Edgars

The banner photo above is of John Edgar (1902-1972) in his super-charged MG-TC at southern California’s El Mirage Dry Lake speed trials of October 10, 1948. I was there to watch my father crank this little red British import through the timing lights at 93 mph, blowing away other MGs that included one driven by a 21-year old from Santa Monica whose name was barely known: Phil Hill. Nine years later, Hill (1927-2008), raced a Ferrari 410 Sport a couple of times for John while moving onward and upward with Scuderia Ferrari to become (in 1961) America’s first World Drivers’ Champion, and remained a lifelong friend until his death ten years ago.

Here are some words about who I and my wife Sharon are …

William Edgar

I have been associated with motorsport activities for over sixty years. My father was John Edgar, a pioneering force in post-World War II sports car racing in America. During the 1950s, along with the teams of Kimberly, Cunningham, Parravano and von Neumann, the name Edgar became well-known at sports car racing events all over the United States. John Edgar’s cars, transport equipment, and winning drivers became legend, while fielding marques that included MG, Siata, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati, piloted by first-rate racing talent such as Bill Pollack, Jack McAfee, Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill, Pete Lovely, Masten Gregory, Paul O’Shea, Lance Reventlow, Bruce Kessler, Skip Hudson, Jim Rathmann, Chuck Daigh, Jo Bonnier, Pete Woods, and Ruth Levy.

John Edgar was also a professional photographer, and many of his photographs have been preserved and are now held in the Edgar Motorsport Archive.

I became a filmmaker in the early 1960s, first writing and producing historical Biography documentaries for David L. Wolper Production, and, toward the end of the decade, moving into writing, producing and directing sports films, after working extensively on ABC’s Wide World of Sports programming.

My first racing film, as writer, was produced and directed by ABC’s Andy Sidaris, documenting the life and times of Craig Breedlove and his land speed records. Titled The Racers/Craig & Lee Breedlove, the 1-hour special appeared on ABC in 1968.

In 1969, Sidaris and I teamed with James Garner to make a feature-length documentary for theaters titled The Racing Scene, starring Garner as himself and featuring drivers that included Scooter Patrick, Dave Jordan, Ed Leslie and Lothar Motschenbacher, as well as Parnelli Jones, Sam Posey, David Hobbs, Andrea De Adamich, and a special appearance by Dick Smothers. The subject was Garner’s AIR Team in road race competition at Daytona, Sebring, and on the Formula-A circuit at Lime Rock and Canada’s St. Jovite. The film was shot in wide-screen 35mm Techniscope and released through Filmways. In 2003, The Racing Scene was the focus of a special night at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles honoring James Garner, his team drivers and film crew. The gala was a sell-out event with over 450 in attendance.

Throughout the 1970s I continued to write and produce racing-oriented documentary films with subjects including Mario Andretti, Bobby Allison, Bobby Isaac, Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Lothar Motschenbacher, Denny Hulme, Peter Revson, Bob Bondurant, Dick Mann, Don Castro, Sam Posey, David Hobbs, Jackie Stewart, A.J. Foyt, Mark Donohue, Roger Penske, Don Garlits, Joe Leonard and Al Unser, Sr. During this time, I wrote narration for Paul Newman and his Once Upon A  Wheel television special, and narration for Kirk Douglas and The Day They Let The Lions Loose about the opening of Ontaio Motor Speedway.

In the non-racing film world, over a period of several years, I wrote and produced documentaries on subjects ranging from lowland gorillas and pre-historic cave art to Nobel Prize winners. Sponsorships for my various films have included major companies such as American Airlines, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Ford, Kemper Insurance, Rockwell International, and Rolex.

I began writing magazine articles in the mid-1980s, and have had my print journalism appear in a number of publications, with subjects including Craig Breedlove, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Sammy Tanner, Ed Kretz, Sr., Doug Polen, Randy Mamola, Dick Mann, Long Beach Grand Prix, United States FIM 500GP, Willow Springs International Raceway, Love Ride, Rollie Free and the John Edgar Lightning, Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer, and Reg and Jason Pridmore. This period included my authoring a weekly motorcycling column titled Cycle Dreams appearing nationally in Cycle News for a period of 2-1/2 years.

In the 1990s I often sat in as co-host for the KPFK-radio hour on Southern California motorcycling called Centerstand, created and regularly hosted by Margaret Fowler.

In 1995, Michael T. Lynch, Ron Parravano and I began writing and putting together a motorsport history titled American Sports Car Racing in the 1950s. This 172-page hardcover was published by MBI in October 1998, and immediately earned critical acclaim both in the US and UK. At a year-end gala at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, this book and its authors received The Motor Press Guild’s 1998 Dean Batchelor Award “For Excellence in Current Automotive Journalism.” To quote co-author Lynch: “The award is presented yearly to a single work, and is open to writers, broadcasters, photographers and artists.” The late Dean Batchelor was a speed record-setting dry lakes racer, sports car aficionado, former Editor of Road & Track magazine, and author of several books.

For the past twenty years I have written many articles for internationally-known and read motorsport magazines including Bimmer, Forza, Excellence, Corvette, Vintage Motorsport, Sports Car Digest, Classic Driver, MG Enthusiast, The Official Ferrari Magazine, The Pebble Beach Insider, and the UK’s leading car monthly Octane.  

My more recent feature articles are about Jim Kimberly’s Ferrari 166 Barchetta, competition BMW CSLs, Peter Revson’s first Can-Am win at Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen Research Center, Joe Moch/Jim Busby Ferrari 575M Maranello Bonneville speed record car, GM Engineering Retiree/Corvette racing specialist Gibson “Gib” Hufstader, restoration/race prep’s Stephen Griswold, vintage racers Bud Moeller and Ned Spieker, and, currently, a 3-part series of features on America’s first World Drivers’ Champion Phil Hill.

Sharon Edgar

“Riding two-up on Will’s BMW, cruising the Monterey Peninsula on our honeymoon tour, and stopping at Pt. Lobos just long enough to take this photo.”

Sharon and I love this snapshot  It’s got Sharon and a motorcycle in it, and that’s very good. We don’t ride anymore, but we did, 2-up, and it was wonderful nutrition for the soul. She wrote the caption for the picture.

Now we have a Miata, a 1999 Tenth Anniversary Edition. It’s our “four-wheel motorcycle” and has a top that goes up in seconds with a tug, pull and latch for when it rains or gets too cold and we can talk to each other without using our invented “biker sign language” that was a lot of fun but  prone to brevity and misinterpretation.

At home, we have our individually furnished work rooms. We both write, she does art, and we are photographers. When it comes to cars, Sharon’s current favorite is our 2019 KIA Soul. Years ago she had a first-gen Mustang that she drove across country and later an Alfa Romeo “Graduate”. The Miata is our one-&-only sporty car and loves the vineyards-slicing hill-&-valley backroads of Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties.

We hope you enjoy visiting this website and that you’ll be in touch if you have something to ask, or to offer comment.  ♦

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