Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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World’s Most Notorious Race Car Sells for $1.3 Million

Posted December 05, 2011 9:00 AM by dstrohl

The Austin-Healey 100S at the center of the crash that sent Pierre Levegh and his Mercedes-Benz 300SLR flying into the crowd in the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans sold for $1,327,051, including buyer's premium, at the Bonhams December Sale, held Thursday at Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands, U.K. According to Bonhams, that constitutes a new world record for Austin-Healeys.

Early in the 1955 Le Mans race, Mike Hawthorn, in a Jaguar D-type, braked hard to make the pit entrance. Lance Macklin, in the Austin-Healey 100S swerved to avoid striking Hawthorn's D-type, but did not see a hard-charging Levegh coming up behind him at a much greater speed. When Levegh struck Macklin's Healey, the tapered rear end became a ramp and Levegh's 300SLR flew through the air.

Levegh was killed when he was ejected and the car came crashing down, its flying debris and subsequent fire killing 83 spectators and injuring more than 100 others. Macklin's car came to a stop and he emerged unscathed while Hawthorn and teammate Ivor Bueb went on to win the race, which was not stopped by authorities, allegedly to keep fans from streaming out and blocking access to the track for emergency responders.

Motor racing changed forever after that day. Mercedes-Benz withdrew from top-level motor racing at the end of 1955 for more than three decades. Switzerland outlawed all motor racing, a ban that stands today. Other nations temporarily banned racing until safer, closed-course circuits could be built. Other manufacturers quit racing and most street racing was abandoned on both sides of the Atlantic.

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