From an early age, Jack McAfee had the racing bug after joining a local hot rod club where he became a regular dry-lake competitor.
In 1952, McAfee at the young age of 29 was given a dream opportunity by west coast sports car distributor, John von Neumann, to open up one of the first Porsche-VW dealerships in Southern California. With Porsche establishing itself in the early 1950s, both the 356 and 550 became common cars on the SCCA National circuit and also on the streets of California.
Through his racing friends, Jack was introduced to a wealthy racing enthusiast – John Edgar. Edgar put Jack behind some of the best European sports cars such as Ferrari, Siata, MG and Jaguar. In 1954 Jack drove a powerful Ferrari 375 in the grueling five day Carrera Panamericana. In 1955, McAfee expressed his frustrations to Edgar regarding the Ferrari’s lack of good brakes and adjustable suspension which caused him valuable places on the track.
Wanting to drive something lighter with better handling and to be able to enter the 1500 class, McAfee urged Edgar to purchase a Porsche 550 Spyder. Jack was a talented, self-taught driver who drove to cross the finish line and ran what was then an unorthodox wide line through corners, allowing him to get the power on sooner, carrying more speed along the length of the straights. The Spyder’s handling allowed him to slide the car through the corners which enabled McAfee to run down bigger cars which led to his ‘Giant Killer’ moniker in the East.
For the 1956 12-hour Sebring race, Jack was teamed with Pete Lovely who had won the 1955 SCCA F Modified National Championship in his notorious “Pooper,” a Cooper with a pushrod Porsche engine. They duelled with the Hans Herrmann/Wolfgang von Trips Porsche factory entry only losing out in the last few hours but still finishing second in class and seventh overall. Huschke von Hanstein, Porsche’s team manager, was so impressed that he sold the winning factory car to Edgar after the race.
After McAfee winning two national titles in 1956 including the SCCA National Sports Car class F Championship, Edgar sold most of his cars and equipment to Phoenix home builder Stan Sugarman. McAfee called upon his friend Vasek Polak who was a Porsche trained mechanic to work on the complicated 4-cam Porsche motor in the Spyder. With 15 class victories and 3 main event wins, not even Ken Miles could beat McAfee for the West Coast title.
Two years later, Vasek would field his own 550 spyder with McAfee driving. Together the duo would earn an astounding 18 top-3 finishes that year to win the 1958 SCCA Pacific Coast Crown.
With a career record of 47 wins plus and additional 25 class wins over 170 races, Jack McAfee is recognised as one of the greatest SCCA motorsport drivers.