The Twofer: Arai Open-Face Helmet and 1957 “Black Widow” SEDCO Chevy

An old-school helmet and 283 cubic inches of NASCAR nostalgia.

byMax Prince| PUBLISHED Sep 11, 2015 4:00 PM
The Twofer: Arai Open-Face Helmet and 1957 “Black Widow” SEDCO Chevy

The latest in our recurring series where odd couples become dream teams.

A debate for the ages: Open- or full-face helmet? It’s a matter of safety, sure, but also form and freedom. Any skull-bucket guy will say being isolated from the elements, from the smells and sounds, isn’t worth being at all. Trouble is, functional, open-face helmets aren’t always easy to find. This one from Arai ticks all the boxes. It's vented, with an adjustable peak and removable sunshade. Plus, it’s pre-drilled for a head and neck support (aka HANS) device. Legit.

An open-face helmet is a relic of our go-fast forefathers, too. Foyt. Hailwood. Yarborough. And the lesser-known heroes, like Jack Smith. The man was epic. Smith started off racing local bootleggers across crop fields outside Roswell, Georgia; later, he became an integral figure in early NASCAR, amassing 21 outright wins during a long career. This is his ’57 Chevy. It’s one of the iconic Southern Engineering and Development Co. “Black Widow” cars, immaculately restored, with a 283 cid V8 under the hood and Smith’s No. 47 painted down the door. If you’ve already got the helmet, might as well have the car, right?