Late on Cyber Monday, I capped off my COMC shopping spree by inching closer to a complete set of 1961 Topps Sports Cars, an all-time favorite non-sports set of mine… And from reactions I’ve gotten when I’ve shared these in the past, many of you enjoy these cards as well.
Of course, those cards I just bought haven’t even been packed up and shipped out yet… But it made me realize that it’s been quite a while since I shared any of those cards here. So, without any further ado, here are several 1961 Sports Cars which I got earlier this year.
My Maserati does one-eighty-five
I lost my license, now I don’t drive
– Joe Walsh, “Life’s Been Good”
This Maserati put out 190 horsepower, according to the specs on the back. My Mazda has nearly that much… but I’m guessing the weight-to-horsepower ratio of the Maserati is a lot more impressive.
The back of this next card mentions this Mercedes winning a world championship in 1955. Unmentioned is the fact that a 300 SLR was involved in one of the most horrific accidents in motorsports history… Something I knew nothing about until I researched this post.
I won’t get into the details – you can find information easily enough by searching on “1955 Le Mans disaster” – but an accident during the 24 Hours Of Le Mans resulted in the death of the driver and over 80 spectators, plus 120 injuries. Mercedes dropped out of direct involvement with racing for over 30 years. Switzerland banned auto racing, something that still stands today.
The specs listed for this Moretti coupe state that it had 45 horsepower and a top speed of 65 MPH… I guess maybe it was one of those situations like they say where it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow.
The card back also refers to the car being “quite small” and “expensive for its size”. For me, “Moretti” makes me think of a character from the now-cancelled TV show “Perception”; Rachael Leigh Cook played an FBI agent named Kate Moretti. At 5’2″, she could also be considered quite small, but I don’t know whether she’s expensive for her size.
In a prior post featuring these cards, someone asked if there were any American cars featured. The answer is “Yes, but not many”. Here’s one of them, the Corvette “Stingray” concept.
…although the card itself doesn’t reference it as a concept, just that “1961 model road Corvettes look a bit like this car”.
As for the small number of American cars in this set, I would guess that a large reason was that Topps wanted to keep things exotic. Even the two Corvettes included were the above concept and a racing version. I also don’t think there were a lot of American cars of the day which would qualify as sports cars. The Ford Thunderbird could have been one. Other than that, I’m not sure. Keep in mind that in 1961 was a few years before Mustangs, Camaros and GTO’s were introduced.