F1, From Circus to Media Spectacle

James Miller at the 2022 Argetsinger Symposium

James Miller’s engagement with F1 includes chatting about race strategy with Nicki Lauda at the 1977 USGP, where Lauda won his second world championship. Now it involves at-home viewing of real-time, in-car camera images on a flat-screen TV. Has Formula One left behind its gritty, dangerous and somewhat esoteric past to become a cross between the World Cup and Disneyland (think Miami)? How much of its new global popularity can be summed up as (perhaps merely) “media spectacle?” Miller is professor emeritus of communications at Hampshire College. He has studied new media as a Fulbright researcher in Paris and a visiting professor at MIT’s Media Lab.

Steven Rossi

Steven Rossi has worn an impressive number of hats of different makes and models reflecting the all-things-automotive arena in which he has both worked and played practically his whole life, including being an SAH member since 1980.

His work life as an engine development engineer at Ford began in 1976, after he’d earned his mechanical engineering degree. Two years later he moved to Saab where he would fulfill a number of roles for nearly 15 years before spending a bit of time as President of Lotus Cars USA, followed by two years at GM as head of Chevy’s Product Public Relations. Next came four years with Mercedes-Benz at the helm of its corporate public relations. When M-B became Daimler-Chrysler, Rossi was promoted to head of Global Communications. Next, he went to work for McLaren Performance Technologies. Lastly, before retirement, he spent several years at Honeywell.

Rossi’s hobby life has been every bit as varied. He describes his collection with: “The garage has about 20 cars and 30 motorcycles in it. Starting with the more common 1912 Overland and 1924 Ford Model T…to the more unique 1922 Wills Sainte Claire A-68 roadster and 1933 Pierce-Arrow…and then to the really weird stuff like my Tatra 603 and Matra Simca Bagheera. The motorcycles are mostly Italian, with a particular leaning toward Moto Guzzi.” And that doesn’t include his collections of tube-type radios or outboard motors and who knows what else.

Rossi’s been active with the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex in Detroit; has been a trustee of AACA’s Automotive Library and Research Center as well past service as a trustee for the Detroit Public Library’s NAHC. He currently is a trustee of the Historic District Commission of East Haddam, Connecticut, the community in which he resides. He’s also active with the Pierce-Arrow Museum Foundation and editor of that society’s magazine. He writes for the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club and is a regular columnist for AACA’s Antique Automobile magazine where column topics range from those proverbial soup to nuts and back again. A group of them, 48 to be exact, have been assembled in a 2021-published book from McFarland & Company Publishers titled: Gearhead At Large: A Backroad Tour of Automotive History and the Old Car Hobby.

Sixth Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History, November 4-5, 2022

The Sixth  Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History, scheduled for Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th, 2022, at Watkins Glen, NY, will be an event geared to both motor racing scholars and racing enthusiasts alike. Over the last several years the Symposium, co-hosted by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) and the SAH, has established itself as a unique and respected forum and has gained a growing audience of scholars, students and enthusiasts. The open-to-the-public in-person Symposium sessions will be held in the Watkins Glen International Media Center. The Keynote Speaker will be renowned NASCAR historian Buz McKim. Click here for the Call for Papers (CFP). Abstracts are due August 5, 2022. (5/28/22)

Third European Conference for Automotive History, October 14th through 16th, 2022

The Third European Conference for Automotive History will be held at MAUTO, Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, in Turin from 14 to 16 October 2022. The conference is organised jointly by Thomas Ulrich of the AHG in Germany and Anders Ditlev Clausager of the SAHB in the UK. The event is supported by the SAHB and the Culture and Youth Commission of FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens). Seventeen 30-minute English language presentations are tenatively scheduled.

If you wish to attend, please complete the Booking Form and mail or email it to Thomas Ulrich (his postal and email addresses are in the Booking Form). Thomas will send you details of the bank account to use for payment. (5/28/22

Wheels Across the Pacific: transnational histories of the automotive industry, September 18th, 2022

The Automotive Historians Australia (AHA) and the SAH will co-convene a one-day online symposium for their members on 9/18/22 in North America and 9/19/22 in Australia. The symposium seeks papers that look at transnational histories of the automotive industry – that is, shared histories that extend or go beyond national boundaries. We recognise that the auto industry has, from the late 19th century, been a global enterprise, although that aspect of its history is often submerged in a national story. Hence, we are looking for papers that explore ways in which the Australian and American auto industries shared expertise, skills, design and studio practices, engineering, staff, business structures and management structures, advertising, parts and components, and trade practices. The symposium will take into account the time differences between the two countries. Ten presentations, fifteen to twenty minutes each, are planned for the main session, and then three presentations and a round-table discussion for the second session. Start time is tentatively scheduled for 5:00 PM EDT on Sunday, 9/18/22 in North America, concluding around 1:00 AM EDT on Monday the 19th, for all thirteen sessions and the round-table discussion. Click here for the Call for Papers (CFP). Abstracts are due June 30, 2022. (4/21/22)

Wheels Across the Pacific Symposium

The Automotive Historians Australia (AHA) and the SAH have co-convened a one-day online symposium for their members on September 18, 2022 in North America and March September 19, 2022 in Australia.

Fifteen to twenty minute presentations are being sought that address the shared transnational histories of the automotive industry, exploring ways in which the Australian and American auto industries shared expertise, skills, staff, design and studio practices, engineering, business and management structures, advertising, parts and components, and trade practices. Ten presentations are planned for the main session, and then three presentations and a round-table discussion for the second session.

Start time is scheduled for 5:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 18, 2022 in North America, concluding around 1:00 AM EST on Monday, September 19, for all thirteen sessions and the round-table. (4/8/22)

Click here for the Call for Papers (CFP). Abstracts are due June 30, 2022!

New Login Procedures for SAH Members

New procedures for logging in to the SAH website members’ area are now in place. When you login using the link at top left, you will see a different login box than you are used to and your password will have changed. 

Active members were sent an email about the new procedures on March 22 titled “Website Access Alert from the Society of Automotive Historians.”

The email provides members with instructions on the new permanent usernames and new changeable passwords that will need to be used from now on. All sections of the website are now back online and accessible.

Thank you all for your patience as we continue to upgrade the website. 

Don Capps

Don Capps has been a member of the SAH Board of Directors since 2014 and is now the immediate past president of the Society. He is a member of the Historian’s Council of the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen, New York and is the co-chair of the Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium for International Motor Racing History. He co-chaired event planning for the 2018 and 2019 Historic Vehicle Association International Drive History Conferences in Allentown, Pennsylvania and recruited SAH presenters for the two conferences.

Don began following motor sports at an early age while attending races with his father at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta.  His racing interests and fascination broadened throughout his time growing up in Europe and after returning to the US. In addition to motor racing, military and civil aviation and military history have also been lifelong interests that formed early on. Don has owned a 1956 Porsche Speedster, an MG TF and an MGA Twin Cam, and has an affinity for Corvairs due to his father’s interest and restoration work.

Don has written book reviews for the SAH Journal. More of his book reviews and commentaries, including those that relate to his military and aviation history interests, as well as motor sports, can be found at: https://speedreaders.info/author/donald-capps/.

Don was drafted into the Army where he served in a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol in Vietnam and then became one of the original members of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Military life and service suited him, thus he ended up spending 33 years in the Army, one of the few going from draftee to Colonel. His service included tours of duty in infantry, armor, medical, field artillery, and aviation units, as well as assignments at the Pentagon as a member of the Army Staff, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and assignments at other major Army headquarters including command of the Army’s Training and Training Technology Battle Laboratory.

Don holds graduate degrees from the University of South Carolina and George Mason University and has taught history at both the high school and college levels, the latter being The Citadel. He was a faculty member of the Defense Model & Simulation University and spent over three years in Southwest Asia with the Program Executive Office for Simulation Training and Instrumentation.

Don is currently engaged in research surrounding American national auto racing championships from the begining of the AAA to today’s IndyCar series.

Sixth Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on Motor Racing History

An event geared to motor racing scholars and racing enthusiasts alike, the Sixth  Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History, is scheduled for Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th, 2022, at Watkins Glen, NY.

Over the last several years the Symposium, co-hosted by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) and the SAH, has established itself as a unique and respected forum and gained a growing audience of scholars, students and enthusiasts.

The 2022 Argetsinger Symposium Keynote Speaker will be renowned NASCAR historian Buz McKim.

In conjunction with the in-person sessions held in  the Watkins Glen International Media Center, the symposium hopes to provide virtual capability to allow remote attendance for a modest fee. (3/7/22)

For more information see the Call for Papers (CFP).

Abstracts are due August 5, 2022!