Fitch was a fighter pilot who survived being shot down. Then he went on to be a successful race car driver—after racing yachts. Fitch socialized with royals—he was kissed by Evita after he won the 1951 Grand Prix of Argentina, and the best line of his obituary might be this one:
He liked to tell the story of how he met the Duke of Windsor at one soiree: they were relieving themselves on a bush at the time. The duke became a friend.
Fitch also was a leader in automobile safety; he invented the impact-softening barrels ubiquitous on highway off-ramps to this day, credited with saving 17,000 lives. He was even tapped to design a Chevy sports car, which led to him being “Nadered” before the term had been invented—Ralph was a consumer advocate at the time and pushed Chevy to stop production. The way this philosopher/Ricky Bobby summed it all up: “I always needed to go fast.” Needless to say, it’s worth a read.
And worth reconsidering the notion of “live fast, die young.”
Shorts Illustrated: Menswear always looks better in pencil form—courtesy of N’East Style. [Well Spent] Reporting Live from Turn 3: At the Indy 500, “where irresponsible behavior is mandatory and clothing is optional.” [Grantland]
Casting Dept.: In case you ever end up on the wrong end of a ski trip: Men of Habit digs up an old editorial spread featuring well-heeled men wearing casts. [Men of Habit]
Where Brooklyn’s At: A new form of urban cartography: mapping NYC by the stomping grounds of famous rappers. [A Very Small Array]
We’ve been jetpack aficionados since The Rocketeer, but for the most part, science has not obliged us. Great minds have been pushing against the idea since the ’60s, but the dream of a backpack-powered commute has yet to be realized.
But as of this week, we’ve got the next best thing: a jetpack racing a car.
It took place on 400 meters of the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, against a Renault Mégane RS. The pack in question only has 30 seconds of fuel, so it had to be a short race—but it’s still one of the coolest things we’ve seen all year.
This Sunday, it finally happens. The glamour. The stars. The roaring engines. Yes, we mean the Daytona 500, which we figured was occasion enough to... run a bunch of photos of his eminence Paul Newman in the act of racing a stock car. Or, you know, standing near one and looking cool.
Part One -- Death of The Original Playboy: Gunter Sachs, Porfirio Rubirosa Part Two -- Style & Grace: Gianni Agnelli, “Baby” Pignatari, Alessandro “Dado” Ruspoli, 9th Prince of Cerveteri. Part Three – The Americans: Howard Hughes, John. F. Kennedy
Part Four: “Easy on the Curve”
In this five-part series, Kempt celebrates “The Original Playboys” of the jet set era – a self-proclaimed ‘elite breed of professional pleasure seekers’ who fascinated the world. Part four highlights two men who went hard and fast right up until the very end (which came all too soon): Alfonso de Protago and Prince Aly Khan.