Throttle-Back Thursday: Light the ceremonial tire fire, it’s the Sports Car Olympics!

Cars
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Notably absent from the 2018 Olympic Games? Any event involving cars. That could change by the time the 2020 Tokyo Games rolls around, and oddball events have made the cut in the past — like polo, art (?) and, in 1908, even motorboat racing — but we’re not holding our breath.  

For a while, though, gearheads had their own thing going: the Sports Car Olympics in Squaw Valley, California (incidentally, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics). Participants competed for points in a surprisingly wide variety of events, including funkhana, autocross, a couple of rallies, trivia and a concours. Those with the most points won.

In the 1966 Games, which we covered in the Sept. 24, 1966 issue of Competition Press Autoweek, husband and wife team Rich and Judy Sloma finished 1-2 with their pair of Corvettes. Not a bad showing for the Slomas!

Sure, the concept is goofy and maybe a little contrived, but we like the fact that it brought together sects of the car community that might not otherwise have had anything to do with each other … kind of like the actual Olympic Games, when you think about it. Being a competition, we’re sure some took it all way, way too seriously, but all in all it seems like some good low-key fun.

There are a few events that have used the Sports Car Olympics since the 1960s, but none of them have the same multidisciplinary spirit. We’re not sure when the games petered out; ’66 might well have been the last year. Anybody in our audience know?


Graham Kozak


Graham Kozak

– Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.

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