Sound of Speed

Sound of Speed is a fantastic, 20-minute, 1958 film documenting a test session of Lance Reventlow’s Scarab Formula Racer at Riverside International Raceway. It’s very understated with creative shots and camera angles. RIR opened in 1958, so this video captures what it was like before the wall was added at turn 6, before the Champion bridge and turn 7A was added, and Turn 9 was revised. Just a great short film.

Thanks to Peter Brock.

  1. The pre-credits say 1961.

    The engineer wrote 1958, and there’s a ’58 Ford in the film, so I’d say it was shot in 1958 no matter what the credit states.—Gary

  2. Norman

    Just one reset: I think the film is dated 1961 (“MCMLXI”) and not 1958.

    I saw this film, probably the last “short subject” I ever saw in a theater, at the State Theater (“An RKO-Keiths Theater”) in Harrisburg PA. The feature was La Dolce Vita, which had taken a while to get to the Capitol City.

    Can we start a crowd-source to have it color-corrected?

    The engineer wrote 1958, and there’s a ’58 Ford in the film, so I’d say it was shot in 1958 no matter what the credit states.—Gary

  3. Norman

    …to clarify the opener, which didn’t say it was made in ’58. We have to for the young folks who might not know that..

  4. James Rice

    I have a copy of this on a CD someplace. Wonderful remainder of days long past.

    Karl Ludvigsen drove the car and wrote about it in the Nov 1962 Car & Driver. Road & Track did a one pager about he film in the June 1962 issue.

    This car was in the Cunningham Museum for some time. When it closed, it was sold to Bill Mitchell, who rebodied it and drove it on the street! He called it the X-15. Post Mitchell, it was returned to the original body work at some point. I’m not sure where it is these days. It was at the Chicago Historics one year, a long time ago now.

  5. Clark Lincoln

    Pretty cool old film! Amazing how relatively primitive race tracks were back in the late 50’s…I do wonder about the soundtrack of this film (this is from a guy who built these cars on his Hollywood mother’s money) Sure sounds like a small block Chevy V8 race motor, rather than the Offenhauser 4 cylinder the car had in it… Here’s a link to what that engine sounded like in the restored car at Goodwood.
    I was a devoted fan of Scarabs since they were designed (not to show my age…)

  6. Hervé Smagghe

    On voit bien le mécanicien en chef ou ingénieur écrire la date: 16 mai 1958.
    Merci pour cette vidéo, ou cependant, il manque les noms et fonctions de 3 autres que L Reventlow.
    HHS de Lambersart -Lille- France

  7. This film was made by Bruce Kessler, a very good racer and also a first-class film maker. It was just great to see it as I drove the same car over the same track not long before. It was loaned, not sold, to Bill Mitchell to be restyled as the X-15, which you can see in my latest Corvette history. I drove it in that form also! Before its X-15 career it was given a sharp valeting for display on the Chevy stand at the New York show.
    Not long after the film came out I was working at GM with Styling Staff and arranged for the film to be projected in the big dome for the benefit of all. Cool days!

  8. FYI, the film along with Bruce Kessler, Lance Reventlow, and the car was featured at Art Center in 1961. It was my understanding at that time that the film had just been completed. One of my favorites.

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