Paul Newman wasn’t born a car guy. “It all came to me very late in life,” he told Motor Trend magazine in a 1970 interview. “I guess I’ve been interested in sports cars and bikes for about ten or twelve years, but it’s always been kind of Mickey Mouse with me. ” Paul Leonard Newman was born January 26, 1925, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Like so many young actors in the postwar era, he moved to New York to study and pursue his craft. In the early 1950s, he appeared in numerous on- and off-Broadway productions. He made his television debut in 1952 in a futuristic, sci-fi television show called Tales of Tomorrow, and his fi rst movie role came along two years later in a romance/drama titled The Silver Chalice. Newman’s fi rst car was a 1929 Ford Model A. It was followed by a 1937 Packard, for which he paid $150 sometime in the late 1940s. He was married, still living in Ohio, and renting a two-bedroom apartment for the princely sum of $10 per month. After moving to New York, he bought his fi rst of many Volkswagens in 1953. It remained factory stock for the next eight years or so, but then he got the notion to hop it up a bit. He had by then relocated his primary residence to Connecticut with second wife Joanne Woodward (see sidebar) and their growing family. The VW was still serving faithfully, but Newman had grown tired of all the gear shifting required during his commute. It was then that his enthusiasm for high-performance cars began to manifest itself.
“I was complaining to my mechanic about driving the VW back and forth to the theater in New York and my home in Connecticut,” he told Motor Trend. “He said, ‘Why don’t you dump a Porsche engine in it, and you’ll still retain your back seat but have all the power you need. ’ So we dropped in a stock Porsche engine, installed sway bars, Konis [shock absorbers], and Dunlop Super Sports [tires]. The car handled so well that we put in a Porsche Super 90 engine and then put Porsche brakes up front. Later we bored out the Super 90 to 1,800cc and put a hot cam in it. It was a neat little bomb. I guess that was my fi rst so-called hopped-up street machine. ” In a 1976 Saga magazine interview, Newman said, “It’s only partially true that Winning got me interested in racing. I was interested before that, but I hadn’t done anything about it. ”
“Who was faster, Steve McQueen or Paul Newman? Dick Barbour, a driver who raced with and against both, gives the nod to McQueen. He says that while McQueen was “a natural,” Newman was “methodical.” This is but one of many illuminating insights in “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” a timely new book about the legendary actor who died last year at 83.” – Jerry Garrett, The New York Times
Great read. My Paul Newman 1979 Datsun 280ZX race car in book . Skip PanzarellaPublished 1 month ago by Frank
Paul Newman. the "Real Deal." Automobile racing is one of the last "Blood Sports." (Everything on the Line...Senna, one of riches Racers, dead on the track. Read morePublished 2 months ago by T. K. Nagano