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Murray Michaels was most kind in sending me the wonderful film made by his father Bernie. I have provided the above link on ‘Twitter’ but thought some background important.

Murray wrote....

"Dave Wild was a family friend whom I have not seen in many years. I do remember very well that Dave coached me on how to break in my new Michelin Zx’s on my first car- a 1968 MGB-GT (this was in 1973). Here is a link to a film my father, Bernie Michaels, made with Dave in the early 1960’s.

Dave and my father were close friends. My dad had just received an 8mm home movie camera and Dave had the idea to mount it to the roll bar of his Elva Courier during a race. The results were thrilling, so in 1963 they formed “MW Productions” and set out to make a movie about SCCA racing. The result, “A Look at Sports Car Racing”, is a 27minute color film, with sound, documenting highlights of Dave’s races at Dunkirk and Watkins Glen that year. It was entered in the newly formed Rochester, NY amateur film festival, “Movies On A Shoestring”, was accepted and then shown at the 1964 annual screening to the public.

My father was not a “film maker” at the time, but was intrigued enough with movie making that he and Dave worked out a script and included a soundtrack that set the mood with suitable jazz while using a narrator with an English accent. Editing was done on a simple home viewer/editor, and the audio was recorded using a portable 5” reel – reel tape recorder. Scene transition effects were created with press applied “wipes”, which have really deteriorated! By the time the first transfer to tape was done, the film had gotten quite brittle and multiple splices were failing. You’ll notice several areas where the audio is out of sync, or where there are long gaps- it has actually been like this from the time the film was first “released”.

The running speed of the early sixties consumer projector and tape recorder both varied quite a bit, the tape recorder probably the most. To achieve the best synchronization compromise, I had to pause or advance the tape on several occasions during the transfer. My dad continued his technical writing career, which he evolved into making/producing training films first with Xerox, and then as an independent producer. “A Look at Sports Car Racing” was stored away in a closet for years, dad said it was pretty amateurish, but we all were proud of him (and I think he really was, too).

In 1989 I had the film transferred to VHS tape. The transfer was done with commercial equipment, but the result was nothing spectacular. A DVD transfer was made this year from a copy of the original 1989 VHS tape. Overall, I say its quality is good for “historical” purpose. I’ve sent a copy to Dave, and asked my father for permission to forward this link to you, which he granted. I hope you find the film an interesting addition to the Elva website. It always brings me back to when I was a kid, in awe of the fascinating people and amazing cars around me, during those summers when our family camped at Watkins Glen.

Unfortunately I do not have any other info on the Elva Courier, but as far as I know, Dave Wild is still active in the Western NY Finger Lakes division of the SCCA. I will write to Dave and let him know his presence is on the web, I'm sure he'll share interesting details."

BTW, If viewers report trouble seeing the movie, I found that updating Adobe Flash player to the latest version helps.

Roger A Dunbar (May 2009)


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