Vic Elford, 1935-2022

One of the most rewarding parts of this business is the opportunities it presents to interview, and sometimes know, the individuals who really made history in the dual worlds of automobiles and motorsport. Quick Vic, who died last weekend at his adopted Florida home at age 86, was one of the most rewarding interviews, plural, I experienced as an editor at Hemmings Motor News. In the professional sense, Elford was an immortal: Out of England, Elford began rallying in small-bore cars before graduating to a Mini Cooper, a series of Ford Cortinas and ultimately, a works Porsche 911S that changed Elford into a motorsport deity.

In the space of a week in 1968, Elford wheeled the 911S to the model’s first major international title by winning the Monte Carlo Rally, and then backed it up by sharing the winning Porsche 907 prototype, seen in this Elford collection photo shared by Hemmings, at the 24 Hours of Daytona when he was still a relatively new circuit racer. That win was the first in a stellar career in the World Sportscar Championship for Elford, who tamed the early Porsche 917 by taking one to the first 150 MPH lap average at Le Mans in 1970, and took one on its only competitive laps ever turned at the Targa Florio in Sicily. Before retiring from the cockpit and become a Porsche elder statesman, Elford performed prominently in Formula 1 – he also scored his first F1 points in 1968 – the Can-Am and Trans-Am series, and even in NASCAR, his record including four starts in the Daytona 500. He owned two class wins at Le Mans and a best overall finish of sixth. Quick Vic was acidly witty, urbane and always willing to talk to admirers. Rest in peace, racer.

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