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 the other MGs that included one helmed by a 21-year old from Santa Monica whose name was barely known – Phil Hill. Phil (1927-2008) nine years later 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 Driving Champion, and remained a lifelong friend.

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

William

I have been associated with motorsport activities for over fifty 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 documentary filmmaker in the early 1960s, first writing and producing historical 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.

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 record programs. 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 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.

In the non-racing film world, over a period of several years, I wrote and produced documentaries on subjects ranging from lowland gorillas 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 ten years I have written many articles for internationally read motorsport magazines including Bimmer, Forza, Excellence, Corvette (all published by Ross Periodicals), Vintage Motorsport, Sports Car Digest, Classic Driver, MG Enthusiast and Octane.  

I am currently working on magazine feature articles about the Jim Kimberly Ferrari 166 Barchetta’s win at Palm Springs in April 1951, today’s vintage racing with iconic BMW CSLs, Peter Revson’s first Can-Am win at Road Atlanta, the Watkins Glen Research Center, the Joe Moch/Jim Busby Ferrari 575M Maranello contender for the GT Class land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and a profile of GM Engineering Retiree/Corvette racing specialist Gibson “Gib” Hufstader … all to be published in print during the first half of 2013.

Sharon

“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.”

She 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 a 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.

We have our own very individually furnished work rooms and we both write, and she does art. When it comes to cars, Sharon’s favorite is her Volvo wagon. Years ago she had a first-gen Mustang that she drove across country and later an Alfa Romeo “Graduate” before she got into Volvos. Our Miata is our one-and-only sporty car and it’s perfectly stock and loves the vineyards-slicing back roads of Sonoma County.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s