Enjoy these unique historical motor sport photographs. Extensive online research indicates that these photographs are most likely the only photographs of this event.
1953, Baden Austria. The Second World War has been over for eight years. A very long time. A very short time.
Austria is occupied by Russia, England, France and the U.S. and remains a country devastated with a bleak and unknown future. The Cold War has started heating up with ongoing confrontation in different parts of Europe and the rest of the world.
In this bleak setting a Motor Sport race organized in the spring of 1953 pits friends and foes against each other. The cars and motorbikes are rudimentary at best and the organizers have little available to guarantee the safety of participants and onlookers. There is however a great excitement and the semblance of normality returning to people’s lives if not temporarily.
Most of the race participants are wearing different types of military gear as are many of the onlookers. The 1950’s were undoubtedly a difficult time with few resources available to members of the public to pursue sports or hobbies. Cars and motorbikes would most likely only be available to military personnel and officials.
A note to the quality of the photos: Photography equipment of the times was very basic with optically superior cameras weighing 25 kilograms and more and with their tripods, plates and other accessories requiring several people to transport and setup. They were also expensive and out of the reach of non institutional photographers.
Most portable cameras of the day had inexpensive plastic lenses which could shoot portrait snapshots but were basically useless for landscape or action photography.
Most photographs were long exposures requiring no movement and anything that moved was inevitably blurry. Slow film speeds could not keep up with movement. The Agfa Isopan film used for these photos was manufactured in Germany from 1943 onwards. As a result of technical limitations there are very few photographs of events and races available.
The photographs have been digitally converted and the most obvious signs of damage and scrape lines have been cleared up. Scrape lines are present in older film due to the film roll being processed.