The roar of engines set to sub-standard audio and an authentic script has the ability to mesmerize any petrolhead. Add in the familiar punchy twang of Mario Andretti and the soothing tones of Vic Elford, then top it off with an award-winning soundtrack, and you’ve got a classic racing documentary that will please any watcher with a drop of oil in their veins.
The two iconic drivers narrate Michael Keyser’s The Speed Merchants, a documentary which covers their efforts in the 1972 World Sportscar Championship. This glimpse into the past shows scenes of Sebring when it was little more than an airfield lined with a few mounds of earth to slow cars careening off the track, the antiquated safety measures at the Nordschleife, and the flowing but unforgiving curves of Sicily’s Targa Florio.
Focused on the American and the Briton contesting the Ferrari 312P and Alfa Romeo T33TT/3, respectively, The Speed Merchants also follows the director’s own campaign. Partnered by Jürgen Barth, Keyser himself entered a 911 2.5 S/T that year and stared a racing career that would culminate in an overall victory at Le Mans 1977.
The riveting first-person shots come courtesy of a 16mm Bolex camera bolted to a steel frame installed in the S/T—a car with a colorful history. With input from Jacky Ickx, Helmut Marko, and Brian Redman, the film is considered one of the classics of its genre and certainly worth a gander.