Friday, July 31, 2009

The Mechanical Dysfunction of Wolfgang von Trips

Wolfgang von Trips was a ferocious competitor, but he had none of Phil Hill’s nuanced sense of speed and maneuvering, and he was oblivious to the most basic mechanics. His genius resided in his guts: he was willing to lay it all out at any time.

When von Trips pulled into the pits one day during practice runs at Sebring the Ferrari crew leaned in for consultation. “It runs fine unless I do this,” von Trips said. He leaned across the dashboard and flipped a switch on the far right side.

Phil Hill, who was listening in, smacked his forehead in disbelief. “That’s the fuel pump,” he said.


  1. Wolfgang was perhaps not very mechanical, but he was still not a fool.

  2. Sorry, but this bullsh** seems to go on for ever and ever... Phil Hill had a solid mechanical background, but so had Taffy von Trips. Nursing and assembling his bikes and early Porsches, he went on to even become a manufacturer of the TCA, a Formula Junior. He might not have been a rocket scientist, but the complete lack of mechanical knowledge is just a myth. As there are so many others about him...

    Roger Moench (

  3. Roger, this story may in face be apocryphal. I will say for the record that it was reported as fact by the Herald Tribune beat reporter Denise McCluggage in her memoir BROOKS TOO BROAD FOR LEAPING.

  4. I've read Denise McCluggage's book and I think that is not meant in a bad way. Compared to others and given a certain "language barrier", things may have come across a bit odd. I am researching the Taffy story for almost two decades now and came across the same myths againa and again. Anyway, I'll put a bit of it straight by shooting a short film in Agust 2012 at the "Ring". If "The Limit" is still in development hell by then, give me a ring! ;-)