Every spring for over a decade vintage racing enthusiasts have descended upon the rolling hills of North Georgia’s historic Road Atlanta for a celebration like no other. With roots going back to the late 70s, the Classic Motorsports Mitty has drawn drivers and crowds from around the country. The event name is a nod to the farcical James Thurber short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in which an unassuming everyman imagines himself among greatness. This is a somewhat correct description of many drivers in the paddock who labor over their vintage racers purely for the love of the sport.
Every year a different auto brand is chosen as the focus. For the 2018 Classic Motorsports Mitty the featured marque was Datsun/Nissan. Famed driver John Morton acted as grand marshall along with possibly the largest collection of Datsun/Nissan race cars ever assembled. Comedian and fellow racer Adam Carolla showed up with his Datsun 610 from the famous Bob Sharp racing team. Auto manufacturer Nissan got in on the celebration by bringing out several cars from their own collection, including John Morton’s SCCA winning Datsun 510 and one of the most famous IMSA cars of the 80s, the GTP ZX-Turbo.
The weekend was filled with vintage racing, parade laps for spectators, a skid pad challenge, movie night, and a very special Concours d’LeMons for those with odd automotive tastes. Not listed on the official schedule were the bountiful vehicles parked all around Road Atlanta by spectators. Some car clubs arrived and parked together, while some brands did the same. A large congregation of Datsuns/Nissans decorated the top of the hill behind the official Nissan race car display.
One of the highlights of attending the Classic Motorsports Mitty is walking through the pits. Road Atlanta has two large pit areas, one inside the track and one outside. Spectators are free to wander through the pits to get a closer look at the cars and meet the drivers. The sheer variety of racecars boggles the mind. It is easy to notice the larger racing operations with their full-blown race haulers, but there are just as many simple operations consisting of a single pickup truck and an enclosed trailer. This is truly an event for anyone who loves vintage racing.