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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 269 - Januray 18, 2013
Editor: Richard Parks, Rnparks1@Juno.com 
President of the Society: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139.
Photographic Editor of the Society
: Roger Rohrdanz, beachtruck@juno.com
Northern California Reporter: Spencer Simon, sparklecraftspecial@yahoo.com
Field Reporter/Historian: Bob Falcon, RFalcon500@aol.com

Click On All Images / Link For more Info / Images

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
Guest Editorial; Staff Editorial; I had met Joe Reath many years back when introduced to him by my cousin Don Fobert (Fobert Engine Bearings, Santa Monica); Joe Reath's Memorial/Remembrance Celebration of Life will be held on February 2, 2013, 12pm-4pm, at the Lakewood Country Club, 3101 E. Carson Street, Lakewood, California 90807; We just lost another pioneer of drag racing; Diane Geisler has passed away; Scooter Patrick is ill and we are having a fundraiser for him, Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1 to 5 pm being held at the Riverside International Automotive Museum 815 Marlborough Avenue #200 Riverside, California 92507; S.C.T.A. Awards Banquet, January 26, 2013, Westminster Rose Center, 14140 All American Way, Westminster, California 92683 (714) 793-1139; As a result of a meeting with the folks at ADM, I can report that the annual automotive literature event will again be held on the last Sunday of June in their El Segundo facility; Stand by for the breaking news from the newly reopened Irwindale Speedway to racing and other events; Does anyone have info on a racer name Wesley Saegesser and know if he has raced since the ‘20's era and if he was from California; Jim W. Price submits this website for the new Vesco streamliner; This year at the Grand National Roadster show we will be displaying the dragsters and Indy car at the same location as last year at the Northwest corner outside building 4 (inside Gate 1); Rod Shows brings the finest cars in the country together for two fantastic shows each year; I actually have the photo of Uncle Joe Nikrent standing next to the Buick in question after the Muroc Dry Lake run; I have an NHRA question; World's fastest hybrid is the downshift Episode 31; A Volkswagen; Martin Squires is a very talented artist who lives in England and he travels around to the car and bike shows sketching all sorts of machines; Feel free to pass my e-mail along to Jim; This is a huge wealth of car info; 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals - The winter indoor car show season is upon us and Full House Motorsports LLC is gearing up for the 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals; Motorama Events - The Nations Largest All Indoor Motorsports Event Featuring 1 Million Sq Feet of Exhibit Space; Good Guys Rod & Custom Association has had a block buster schedule of events for 2012; The National Street Rod Association has a great schedule for 2013; Rod Shows brings the finest cars in the country together for two fantastic shows each year; I found your email address on an online issue of the "Society of land speed racing Historians newsletter" and hope you might be able to help me; Four Aces goes to Bonneville Speedweek every year to try and break world speed records on vintage Triumph motorcycles; The 12th Annual B'ville NW Banquet will be held on February 16, 2013 at the Shilo Inn Portland Airport 11707 NE Airport Way, Portland, Oregon 97220; 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals - The winter indoor car show season is upon us and Full House Motorsports LLC is gearing up for the 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals; Motorama Events - The Nations Largest All Indoor Motorsports Event Featuring 1 Million Sq Feet of Exhibit Space; A friend of mine, Racer Tom from Canada, is documenting all the drag strips in the US; The included seven year study shows that Top Points Championships for both cars and motorcycles have been won by changes in engine class, induction and fuel type; This video is HD so play it full screen; Ed Iskenderian, Gardena, California.

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Guest Editorial: By “Dyno” Don Batyi:  
   I received the below email from my friends Gary L. & Rick G. A few months ago I wrote some Faithful Bulletins regarding the new CA smog system and here is live testimonial. I strongly suggest you warm up and keep the engine running when you go in for a check. You will not pass on a semi warm engine.  "Dyno" Don Batyi   
   “I took my wife’s Lexus in for a smog test a few days ago and discovered a new STAR test program that will identify those vehicles that were close to not passing the last time they were tested and those vehicles that tend to fail more often than others. For those STAR identified vehicles (as noted on the registration renewal form), they will have to go to a STAR certified station for inspection and testing. The Lexus did not fall into that category, but I did ask a number of questions while my car was being tested as well as look online when I got home. From what I gathered from the smog guy, they are looking at 1999 and older vehicles, especially those going back into the 1970’s & 1980’s as they tend to pollute (so they say) and as such are trying to bring them up to today’s standard or get them off the road by performing ‘enhanced testing.’ As most of us have older vehicles (not counting collector or modified vehicles), you may want to glance at the two attached documents. The first document is a simple fact sheet describing the program and the other is a draft copy of the manual one would use to perform the actual smog test. The test manual is the one worth reading as I had witnessed a newer Dodge wagon fail the test due to disconnected intake breather hose.”  (Staff-the documents could not be copied and pasted into SLSRH Newsletter)

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Staff Editorial:   
   Joe Reath has passed away. I don’t have a biography for Joe and so the best that I can do to honor him is to ask all of you to send me your recollection of this wonderful man. His speed shop was called Reath Automotive. I know that he was involved in early drag racing and continued to support people right up to the time that he had to give up his shop due to age and health. His wonderful wife Delma, or Dellie, was his partner and she worked in the office handling the paperwork. If Joe couldn’t make a sale and racers needed a part, he often gave it to them. Joe had a wealth of information to share and I was a major beneficiary. I was trying to find a long lost cousin and for forty years I asked everyone, but with no luck. Then one day I asked my father for like the 100th time and this day he had a clue. The cousin I was looking for married a racer and I immediately thought of the car, which Joe Reath was a partner in. “Gotta go, Dad,” I said. “Joe will know where he’s at.” And Joe did know where this man was and in five minutes I was talking to him and got the whole history of a part of my family. His passing leaves a huge gap in our knowledge of the sport, especially around the Long Beach area.  
   Some members of the SLSRH Newsletter tell me that I’m a nag, but not Jim Miller, because he’s as bad as I am. Yes, we are nags and we’re going to go right on badgering you until you leave your history behind for the next generation. You, the readers of the newsletter are incredible people and you have lived during a time when your fathers and grandfathers knew the men that created and manufactured the first automobile. Jim Miller’s grandfather was a riding mechanic in the Indy 500 just a few years after the first race. What a history his family has. I can go on and on about each and every one of you, the readers and members, and know that you have the knowledge that we desperately need to save. You have to write your biographies. You have to caption your photographs. You have to record your stories, which are often far more fascinating and funny than bios. You have to inventory your prized possessions and leave a will as to who gets what and how important those objects are. I wish that I had nagged my father more; but everyone was nagging him and he put off writing his history. I wish that I had spent more time on the phone with Joe and dozens more like him. Jim Miller and I need your help. We need you to send us material for the newsletter and we need you to work on your bio and photos. No one else can do it for you.

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I had met Joe Reath many years back when introduced to him by my cousin Don Fobert (Fobert Engine Bearings, Santa Monica). Don passed a few years back so no help there. I did not personally know Joe but by all accounts he was a great guy. I know he was involved in drag racing back in the day of Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach. We were notified of his passing at the SCTA Board meeting last Friday night and I was just passing the info along.  Jim Dunn

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Joe Reath's Memorial/Remembrance Celebration of Life will be held on February 2, 2013, 12pm-4pm, at the Lakewood Country Club, 3101 E. Carson Street, Lakewood, California 90807. Please RSVP to 562-427-3273 or email delmareath1@verizon.net.  Dellie Reath

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We just lost another pioneer of drag racing. Joe Reath of "Dunn & Reath" Funny Car fame passed away. Joe Reath was a "hands-on" kind of guy who possessed a wealth of information and advice, and he was known for being quite generous with his advice, giving other racers in the sport friendly help when they needed to be pointed in the right direction (with a build, repair, tune-up or anything he could help other racers with). Long live "Reath Automotive" and way-cool 'Cuda Funny Cars in the hearts and minds of drag strip folk. From Diane Thomas in her website Drag Racing Underground.

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Diane Geisler has passed away. No other information at this time. Glen Barrett
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Diane is Bruce Geisler’s wife. She passed away yesterday morning after a brief illness. There is no official service. The family plans a private memorial on Saturday, 19 January 2013. Condolences can be sent to Bruce and family at 17151 Pinehurst Lane, Huntington Beach, California 92647.  Gary Vail

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Scooter Patrick is ill and we are having a fundraiser for him, Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1 to 5 pm being held at the Riverside International Automotive Museum 815 Marlborough Avenue #200 Riverside, California 92507. If you cannot make the event but would like to donate, please make your check out to "RIAM Legends of Riverside." For more information call Norma at 951-369-6966. Thanks, Norma Jordan, Director, NormaRIAMevents@aol.com

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S.C.T.A. Awards Banquet, January 26, 2013, Westminster Rose Center, 14140 All American Way, Westminster, California 92683 (714) 793-1139.  5PM Banquet room doors open. Appetizers will be served at 7PM; Four Star Dinner 8 PM; Big Screen Video Presentation of the El Mirage Season; 8:30 PM 2012 El Mirage Racing Season Award Presentations $33.00 per person. We need door prizes for our banquet. An announcement will be made for each prize. Any leftover, out of stock item or, toy, bicycle, T-shirts, jacket or white elephant that’s been gathering dust would be appreciated. We’re running out of time so don’t delay. Call me at 818-998-7848 so we can arrange to have them delivered or have them picked up. Thanks for helping make our banquet a success.   Ron Main

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As a result of a meeting with the folks at ADM, I can report that the annual automotive literature event will again be held on the last Sunday of June in their El Segundo facility. So it is time to notify all your car guy pals that during their Spring Cleaning they should gather up their excess Automobilia and arrange to set up a sales table at this event. The cost of vendor space is very reasonable AND the Museum will rent tables and chairs for you at a very low price; so the only stuff the vendors need to bring is their boxes of sales goods and a cash box to store the profit from their sales.
And one other item; If you know any writer who has published a book on anything automotive, ADM will once again establish their "Authors Corner" as a spot where all the published authors can set up to conduct sales of autographed copies of their scribbling. The sales space is complimentary, but space for this grouping is limited. Have your author pal contact me at Scribblerbob@aol.com to reserve space in authors corner.
   In years past this event has been devoted to antique cars and then grew to attract vendors offering sports car oriented literature and photography. One of my goals as the coordinator of this event is to widen the bandwidth to include the auto interests of the area of the world’s most populous automotive history and interests. So we welcome anyone whose focus is on land speed and dry lakes racing, oval track racing, street rods and everything that rolls on wheels; mass rapid transit stuff also. This is the first of a series of news items concerning this event that will be forthcoming on a regular basis over the next few months. Forgot to add that "buyer admission" is free! Thanks for your eyes and ears! Bob Falcon

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Stand by for the breaking news from the newly reopened Irwindale Speedway to racing and other events. The facility will now be operating with new management as The Irwindale Events Center. Doug Stokes keeps me updated and I will pass this information on to you. Bob Falcon

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Does anyone have info on a racer name Wesley Saegesser and know if he has raced since the ‘20's era and if he was from California?  Spencer Simon

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Jim W. Price submits this website for the new Vesco streamliner. Their goal is to reach the 500 mph level. See http://www.teamvesco.com/.

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This year at the Grand National Roadster show we will be displaying the dragsters and Indy car at the same location as last year at the Northwest corner outside building 4 (inside Gate 1). Just look for the Firestone Complete Auto Care EZ-Ups at my new rig (which isn't lettered yet), it's a 30' white stacker trailer and white and black Top Kick truck. We will be fund raising for BARK, check out their website at http://www.readingdogs.org/. This is a program that is growing very fast and a worthy cause. We should have one or two of the trained dogs with us (we'll hide them away from us when we fire the dragsters). Stop by for a visit and a cup of coffee and all donations are accepted!  John Ewald, 714-746-6414

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Rod Shows brings the finest cars in the country together for two fantastic shows each year. The Grand National Roadster show in January is the home of America's Most Beautiful Roadster and showcases the best cars in the country in 7 buildings at the Pomona Fairplex. January 25 - 27 2013.
   Staff reporter: We will be at the GNRS to cover this event and will look forward to meeting you there.

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I actually have the photo of Uncle Joe Nikrent standing next to the Buick in question after the Muroc Dry Lake run. My Dad had it framed years ago and it hangs in my living room. From time to time I surf the web to try and learn more about the Nikrent Bros who were my Uncles and Grandpa. They never once mentioned racing to me as a child. I just thought they had always been old men, as children so often do. What a bunch of characters who made this country great. Nikki Nikrent Robinson
   Nikki: If you are willing to do some researching, we may be able to give you some leads. I have the minutes of the SCTA from 1937-1948, but it is unpublished and will take some time to see if I can find your relatives. The Nikrent Brothers may be listed in other reference books that we have at the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH). The first step is to call our President, Jim Miller and ask him what he knows about the Nikrent's. Then look through all your photographs, papers, letters, things that were left to you by your grandfather and uncles (great-uncles?) to see what they might mean. Talk to all of your relatives who knew them and perhaps lived at that time period. When you have enough material then email me back and I can help you write a biography of their lives and then publish it in our Newsletter to see if that bio triggers any memories in our members, which would give you even more information. One of our major goals at the SLSRH is to compile biographies and add them to our archives. We have about 150 so far and we would love to help you create a bio on your family. Sincerely, Richard Parks, staff reporter

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I have an NHRA question.  Looks like there are divisions for drivers and cars, 1 through 7 that relate to car numbers?  Are these divisions for geographical areas?  I have hit a dead end trying to find drag race results to help me ID car pix, etc at specific meets from the late 1960's into the mid-'80's.  I'm thinking National Dragster might be the only reliable source.  Any ideas?  Has anyone digitized them like they have Doris Herbert's old Drag News.  Thanks, Jim Miller
     Jim: I am sending your email out to a few others who might be able to help, including Greg Sharp and Bob Frey.  I don't have Phil Burgess' email address, but perhaps one of the NHRA staff might refer this message to him.  There are seven geographical areas in which Division Directors are responsible for overseeing NHRA rules, regulations and policies and they go back to the late 1950's and early '60's and I knew some of them; Poage, Ham, Zimmerman, Partridge, etc.  Even before the creation of the Divisions there were regional assistants that worked with the various drag racing car clubs.  I remember the Safety Safari; Coons, Cannon, Evans and Rickman.  You bring up a good point, besides the National and Corporate office records there are also divisional records.  I just can't tell you whether these records were kept or tossed out when a new Director was appointed.  Also, I don't know if these records are open to the public; NHRA would have to tell you that.  But there is a wealth of information in those files if they are still existent and many of the early drag racers were also land speed racers, like my father.  I also haven't had the chance to go down to my brother's office and look at the records that we inherited from our father.  As you noticed, they are neatly filed and cared for. 
     The seven Divisions in the NHRA are; Division 1 the Northeast states, Division 2 the Southeast states, Division 3 the North Central Great Lakes region, Division 4 the South Central area around the Gulf of Mexico, Division 5 the West Central area in the plains states, Division 6, the Northwest (Pacific northwest) area and Division 7, the southwestern part of the country.  Over the years a few states were moved in and out of various divisions, but the format has remained relatively stable over the past half century.  Foreign dragstrips and regions are sometimes attached to one of those 7 Divisions or to the corporate office in Glendora, California.  The NHRA is also allied with other drag racing bodies around the world.
     In addition there are car classifications and these have changed considerably from the days when you ran a stock, streamlined or modified car.  I remember that it evolved into Little Eliminator, Middle Eliminator and Top Eliminator classes.  They also had Roadster classes, but they were highly modified as they were on the dry lakes.  As drag racers found better aerodynamics, perfected better engines, clutches and parts, the NHRA had to adapt by creating new classes and getting rid of old class designations.  Some of the best information is in the old
National Dragsters that my brother has in his shop.  You can see the evolution of the sport for the National Dragster has a wealth of technical information.  Check with the NHRA to see if the magazine has been scanned and is on disk or the internet.
     There are two other resources that I'm aware of; records and drag strips.  Bob Frey is attempting to find records on as many meets as possible.  It's an impossible job, but he seems very eager to try.  A group of four men in the Midwest are trying to find every drag strip where some form of organization was behind it.  Their estimate for the total number is in the tens of thousands.  If and when those sources become available I will make it known in the
Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter (SLSRH).  Hopefully they will include the names of the drag strip managers so that we can find and interview them.  The IHRA also has operating drag strips, and you would have to google their address and contact them.  The PDRA (PDA) and the AHRA are no longer in operation, as are many other drag racing sanctioning bodies and their records could be anywhere or lost for good.  Records, though, have a way of popping up in the most unexpected places and times.
     I would suggest that you contact Greg Sharp at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.  The number there is 909-622-2133.  Two other sources are the H.A.M.B. and the 1320 Club; they have websites and blogs that you can join and ask questions of a vast number of ex-racers.  Of course, you have the
www.AHRF.com site and it is a rich source of history too.  It is my brother's and my intention to scan and copy our father's records and make it available to the public.  I am already doing that with the SLSRH at www.landspeedracing.com

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World's fastest hybrid is the downshift Episode 31; A Volkswagen. Mark Ortiz sent the link; http://www.youtube.com/user/wickedwagens?feature=em-share_video_user, showing the 185 mile per hour VW factory effort this year at Bonneville. It is 11 minutes long and a great story on a new VW land speed racer that was built from the new 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. The gas engine is a turbocharged 1400cc unit with the normal hybrid electric motor compliment system. VW 36hp & BB CHALLENGE, Volkswagen Land Speed Racing Historian, Society of Land Speed Racing Historians. www.burlyb.com. Burly Burlile.

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Martin Squires is a very talented artist who lives in England and he travels around to the car and bike shows sketching all sorts of machines. His latest work is called Sketchbook Selections Volume 3: Tractors and Machines. For those who would like to see his work email him at mrtnsquires@googlemail.com.  He will put you on his email list and send you updates of his work. Sometimes he also is found on www.BikerHotLine.com and www.HotRodHotLine.com. He is an outstanding artist.

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Feel free to pass my e-mail along to Jim. If he wants to send any pictures I will try to help him identify them. Thanks, Bob Frey
   Bob: I will do so. Please keep us informed of your progress in collecting and saving drag racing times and data.
   Members: Bob Frey is the long-time announcer for NHRA drag racing and other forms of motor sports. His passion is finding all the times, runs, ETs, speeds and other data for every drag race at every drag strip in every country in the world. Quite a challenge and we are anxious to see some of his results.

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This is a huge wealth of car info.  I have only looked at a little bit, mainly the Bloodhound site.  When I sold my funny in England they renamed it Bloodhound, but this is not a funny car.   Paula Murphy
http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.htmlhttp://www.austinspeedshop.com/http://autoculture.org/
http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/http://www.ponysite.de/bullitt.htmhttp://www.pbase.com/xl1ken/cas1
http://www.calautomuseum.org/http://www.carlustblog.com/2010/04/great-cars-of-song-shut-down.html,
http://www.sscustomcars.com/http://www.conceptcars.it/storia/timeline.htmhttp://www.hfmgv.org/
http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Dean_Jeffries,  http://www.mrgasser.com/main_112.htm
http://www.hemmings.com/hcc/stories/2006/07/01/hmn_feature22.htmlhttp://www.lingenfelter.com/,
http://www.landspeed.com/archive/classroom/classlsrcompetitors.htmlhttp://www.petersen.org/
http://p4.hostingprod.com/@vintagetorque.com/http://www.johndagostinokustomkars.com/
http://www.mopar-collection.com/,  http://www.corvettemuseum.org/,  http://www.chevyasylum.com/,
http://www.remarkablecars.com/,  , http://www.shelbyamerican.com/index.asp, http://www.luxury4play
.com/automotive/36568-worlds-most-beautiful-garages-exotics-insane-g arage-picture-thread-50-pics.html.

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3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals - The winter indoor car show season is upon us and Full House Motorsports LLC is gearing up for the 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals!! Coming March 22-24, 2013 to the Greater Philadelphia Expo center in Oaks, PA.

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Motorama Events - The Nations Largest All Indoor Motorsports Event Featuring 1 Million Sq Feet of Exhibit Space. It all goes down February 16th and 17th 2013 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania at the Farm Show Complex. Click on the video to your right and take a virtual tour inside the event that attracts over 50,000 motorsports enthusiasts annually.  

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Good Guys Rod & Custom Association has had a block buster schedule of events for 2012. With some location changes, and new shows... there are still lots of great events for the remainder of the year with Good Guys.
March 8-10 Scottsdale, AZ 4th Spring Natoinals WestWorld of Scottsdale.
March 15-17 Fort Worth, TX 3rd Spring Lone Star Nationals Texas Motor Speedway.
March 23 & 24 Pleasanton, CA 31st All American Get-Together Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
April 5-7 Del Mar, CA 13th Meguiar's Del Mar Nationals Del Mar Fairgrounds.
May 17-19 Nashville, TN 8th Nashville Nationals LP Field, Tennessee Titan Stadium.
June 1 & 2 Pleasanton, CA 20th Summer Get-Together Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
June 7-9 Loveland, CO 16th Colorado Nationals The Ranch Events Complex.
June 14-16 West Springfield, MA 22nd Grundy Worldwide Insurance East Coast Nationals.
July 5-7 Des Moines, IA 22nd Heartland Nationals Iowa State Fairgrounds.
July 12-14 Columbus, OH 16th GoodGuys PPG Nationals Ohio Expo Center.
July 26-28 Puyallup, WA 26th Pacific NorthWest Nationals Puyallup Fair & Events Center.
August 16-18 Spokane, WA 12th Great NorthWest Nationals Spokane Co. Fair & Expo Center.
August 23-25 Pleasanton, CA 27th West Coast Nationals Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
September 20-22 Indianapolis, IN 3rd WIX Filter Speedway Nationals Indianapolis Motor-Speedway.
October 4-6 Fort Worth, TX 21st Lone Star Nationals Texas Motor Speedway.
October 25-27 Charlotte, NC 20th SouthEastern Nationals Charlotte Motor Speedway.
November 9 & 10 Pleasanton, CA 24th Autumn Get-Together Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
November 15-17 Scottsdale, AZ 16th SouthWest Nationals WestWorld of Scottsdale.
November 22-24 Del Mar, CA 3rd Fall Del Mar Nationals Del Mar Fairgrounds.

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The National Street Rod Association has a great schedule for 2013. The NSRA Event schedule is full of street rod events across the country.  Check out the 2013 schedule at www.hotrodhotline.com

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Rod Shows brings the finest cars in the country together for two fantastic shows each year. The Grand National Roadster show in January is the home of America's Most Beautiful Roadster and showcases the best cars in the country in 7 buildings at the Pomona Fairplex. January 25 - 27 2013  

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 I found your email address on an online issue of the "Society of land speed racing Historians newsletter" and hope you might be able to help me.  I recently acquired an unrestored but complete and astonishingly original 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Custom Beverly. Currently I'm researching the car's history.  Between 1949 and 2012 the car had a single owner for 63 (!) years. He bought it from a "Mr. Tilton" in 1949, who lived at "470 Prospect Terrace, Pasadena, California." Back then Arthur C. Tilton (born about 1888) lived at this address together with his wife and her two children from her first marriage.  While googling the name Arthur C. Tilton I stumbled across Arthur C. "Art" Tilton, the co-founder and first secretary of the SCTA, who seemed to be an astonishing young man around 1940.  I wonder if there might be a connection between him and the elder namesake?  Could you perhaps help me in my further research?  Do you by chance have any further data on Art Tilton, e.g. birth date and place, names of parents or known residences or professions?  Is anything known about him or his family owning a supercharged Cord between 1937 and 1949?  Thanks a lot in advance!  Kind regards, Kay Hottendorff.  mbwestwood@hotmail.com, www.TheFateOfTheSleepingBeauties.com.
   Kay: I checked all the records that I have, but couldn't come up with Art C. Tilton's address.  Jim Miller, our Society President checked a 1937 phone book and found 23 people named Tilton, including a Margaret Tilton that we think might be Art's mother, but she lived near Culver City and Art was a Throttler club member and they were from Hollywood.  No one knows who Art's father is or if our Tilton was a Jr.  You might check with the ACD (Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg) club.  I think they are in Auburn, Indiana and they might have a record of Cord owners.  There is also the SAH (Society of Automotive Historians) and they have a chapter here in Southern California.  Art C. Tilton went into the military in WWII, and supposedly died in a training accident.  He was around 26 or so at the time.  There may be an obituary or newspaper notice.  That might tell you something about his father.  I will publish this email for our members, in case someone has additional information to provide.
     I checked your website and it is very impressive and I will refer the link on to others.  There is a great deal of interest in old cars.  Those who started collecting in the 1960's or a bit later have found some outstanding automobiles and race cars.  They still come to light, but they are getting rarer and rarer each year.  Still, the search is half the fun. 

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Four Aces goes to Bonneville Speedweek every year to try and break world speed records on vintage Triumph motorcycles. Champion Spark Plugs has a contest every year to give away $5000 dollar sponsorships to worthy racers. This year we are trying to get one of these coveted awards. If you have a minute, follow this link http://www.alwaysachampion.com/contest/entry/1387750 and vote for the Four Aces Team. Voting accounts for 1/3 of the decision making process on these awards. Please help us get this sponsorship and vote. If you have already voted, thanks so much, but remember you can vote again, every day until the first round of finalists is chosen which is 3 February 3, 2013. Thanks very much and see you on the Salt. Wes White, fouracescycle@aol.com.

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The 12th Annual B'ville NW Banquet will be held on February 16, 2013 at the Shilo Inn Portland Airport 11707 NE Airport Way, Portland, Oregon 97220. The cost for this year’s event is $48 per person. There will be a registration limit of 150, pre-registration only. We cannot take walk-in guests. Make your check out to Glenn Freudenberger and send it to 11113 37th DR SE, Everett, WA 98208. If you have any questions send me an e-mail Fotofreud@aol.com, or call 425-337-4558. Doors open at 5PM. The featured speakers will be Betty and Tom Burkland discussing the path to their over 400 MPH record. Tours are available for the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. On Friday Feb 15, 7PM Marlo Treit and some of the Target 550 crew will give a presentation regarding the Treit and Davenport streamliner. This will be at Shilo Inn. No charge to attend his discussion. Saturday February 16, an open house with the streamliner on exhibit at a location to be announced. 11 AM to 1PM For Shilo Inn reservations call 503 252 7500. We have a block of rooms held for us at a reduced rate and be certain to mention that you are affiliated with the B'VILLE NORTHWEST REUNION. This rate covers several days before and after the event. Make your reservation as soon as possible. Follow Up announcements will be made on www.Landracing.com and www.BonnevilleNWReunion.com. Glenn Freudenberger

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3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals - The winter indoor car show season is upon us and Full House Motorsports LLC is gearing up for the 3rd Annual NorthEast Rod & Custom Nationals!! Coming March 22-24, 2013 to the Greater Philadelphia Expo center in Oaks, PA.

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Motorama Events - The Nations Largest All Indoor Motorsports Event Featuring 1 Million Sq Feet of Exhibit Space. It all goes down February 16th and 17th 2013 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania at the Farm Show Complex. Click on the video to your right and take a virtual tour inside the event that attracts over 50,000 motorsports enthusiasts annually.  

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A friend of mine, Racer Tom from Canada, is documenting all the drag strips in the US.  He has quite a collection of what, when and where the tracks were.  You mentioned you wanted a history of tracks.  Tom was into old Drag Strips.
Wayne King
                                                     ----------------------------
     I'm also trying to document all strips everywhere, I've got 112 countries.  It's me, Bret Kepner and two other guys who are the team. The two others do the paperwork stuff and me and Bret are the track researchers and locators. We have some truly obscure ones. There really isn't much info on the internet about some of the older tracks, even some that were pretty popular. There is also a bunch of wrong info on some, especially regarding dates. We try to find the opening and closing dates for all of them. That is mainly newspaper articles but for many tracks they don't have anything written.  We are also including stillborn track efforts and attempts.  One thing is for damn sure. Santa Ana isn't the first, it isn't even in the top five earliest drag strips. Some of that is even documented in
Hot Rod Magazine. Check the March 1950 letters to the editor about the Blue Island Illinois drags which would have been in 1949 not in winter in Chicago. Dallas and Denver also had drags back then. We also have documented drags at Santa Ana before C.J. Hart opened in June 1950.  That isn't even the real good stuff. I'm not sure what the group would allow me to say on some of the rest of our finds yet. But I can say the term drag racing wasn't used on drag races before 1949.  It meant a hunting dog sport.  Racer Tom 
                                                     ----------------------------
     Wayne, Tom and Bret: I think what you are trying to do is extremely important and I have been encouraging others to write histories on race tracks (Ovals as well as drags).  I'm surprised that Bret has not approached me on this subject.  I am the staff writer and former editor and co-founder of the
Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  Our goal is to publish as much as we can on the history of straight-line racing; LSR and drag racing.  We publish on the website www.landspeedracing.com.  We also publish on www.hotrodhotline.com (mostly reviews, bios and articles).  I would be glad to publish anything on your researches that pertains to early drag racing. 
   The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH) is open to anyone and there are no fees or requirements.  Members simply send in their work to be published on-line or read what others have discovered.  We raise no revenue and we spend no revenue.  I will be glad to print your emails in the newsletter and to refer to you people who may have information that you are looking for.  Track and drag strip historians are rare and very important.  We do not have enough volunteers in this area.  If you are trying to make a for-profit book project then let us know.  I will give you all the free space that you need in the newsletter and refer you to others who can help.  I also do free reviews.  We don't take advertisements, but we will notify the public of your work as a free service.  Please send me your names and email addresses of the four men involved in your project for my records and let me know where you are researching and who you are looking for on the chance that I can provide you with names and email addresses.
     As far as the Santa Ana Airport drag strip is involved, you will notice that I write extensively on it and attend the twice-a-year reunion that is organized by Leslie Long and Gene Mitchell.  We do not consider Santa Ana to be the first drag strip.  What we say about it is that C. J. Hart created a design for racing that was extensively copied and became the prototype for today's drag strip type of racing.  Were there others that predated Hart's Santa Ana drag strip?  Yes, and if one doesn't qualify "motorized" drag racing we can state that the ancient Celts, Sumerians, Egyptians and Central Asian Steppe nomads drove chariots in drag races long before our modern form of racing.  This is a subject for endless debate.  But it is a great debate and one that historians are best known for getting involved in.  The minute trivia is fascinating and instructive.  So please come and join us at the SLSRH and we would be delighted to see and publish your research. 
                                                     ----------------------------
   Tom has given you the gist of what we, as a group, have created…we've confirmed and catalogued over four thousand drag strips and drag racing sites. Far from being a simple list of track names and town locations, each entry includes exact GPS coordinates of the track layout, (including starting line, finish line, timing tower, etc.), opening and closing dates, history of the facility, original aerial images, current satellite imagery, topographic maps, printed material and photographs.
   With this many facilities verified, (and more discovered each month), a traditional book is almost out of the question. Long ago, we decided an electronic format was the only possible end to our means. While publishing our final product is certainly a priority, our main objective is to place a copy of our efforts in the National Archives of both the United States and Canada for use by future historians...not necessarily the historians of the next generation but those in future
centuries. Our goal is to be certain the sport's many facilities are accurately chronicled rather than doom drag racing's history to myth and mystery.
   As for general criteria, we began our search under the simple premise of requiring only that each site charged admission. While we obviously make exceptions for the tracks in operation earlier than 1955 which still presented organized efforts, this formula eradicates the street racing and impromptu sites which never presented true organized promotional events. Still, the number of drag racing sites in operation around the globe prior to World War II is staggering. As Tom noted, there were several North American tracks which existed before Santa Ana but we wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of that track's place in history.
   Under the name Terra Tracks Global Authority, (acronym TTGA), our group has supplied verified information to everyone from Phil Burgess, editor of NHRA's
National Dragster magazine, to track operators who have no factual information about their own facilities. As stated, however, we've kept the actual body of work to ourselves. With no possible way to keep our efforts from being used without our permission, (including, with the current lack of concern for copyrights, having our work stolen right out from under us), we're quite protective of our product. As you know, I read everything you produce and I'm one of your biggest fans, Richard. As you can probably believe, I and the rest of the group praise you for what you've done to preserve the history and integrity of both drag racing and Land Speed competition. By the way, after twenty-eight years, the SCTA saw fit to make me a Timing Official at Bonneville this year. Now, I think I “are” somebody! Thanks so much for allowing us to explain what we do...and for the respect of our efforts. Bret Kepner, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
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     I should point out one thing that seems to be a bone of contention amongst the Englishmen mostly; Sprints. Some sprints qualify as drag racing and some don't. They've existed for over 100 years and the standardized quarter mile distance; not thousand feet, is that old.  The arguments I've gotten about not counting straight line sprints seem to suggest it isn't a race between two cars although some certainly were.
     So say I'm at my local strip, Mission Raceway, an NHRA track following the NHRA rules. I dial 10.25 and my opponent dials 12.59.  He leaves long before me and finishes way ahead with a 12.46 breakout.  Meanwhile my car stalls off the line and I get it going and putt down the track to a 15.44 and get the win.  Next round my opponent broke on the burnout and I slowly run down myself to the win.  With an odd number of cars I get the bye next round and take the green and push back to the lanes awaiting the final.  My opponent red-lights, my car runs out of gas leaving the line and sits at half track with the win light on.
     Question; Did I win a drag race?  At no time was I faster than an opponent or get to the finish line first.  Seems to me several races lately awarded Stock and Super Stock class wins by qualifying position rather than side by side matchups.  The quarter mile distance isn't standard and sanctioning isn't either.  The farther back we go the more we see things that are quite typical of modern drag racing; Even handicap starts and female racers in 1930.
     Richard, your dad was a great guy.  I'm very proud to have met him several times.  I can imagine he must have some interesting information from organizing the NHRA and getting the sport really going.  I'd love to know which tracks approached him for NHRA sanction.  Even though we have found lots of stuff predating his involvement it was not at all widespread.  We know for sure that 1951 was a major boom time for drag racing with strips popping up all over.  Within just a couple years there was almost no place in the US where a dragstrip wasn't available nearby.  That certainly was his doing both as NHRA founder and as
Hot Rod editor.   Racer Tom 
    
Tom: You bring up some interesting questions.  The simple answer is that each sanctioning body sets up their own rules, but only the NHRA is an ACCUS/FIA representative.  This, in my opinion, is not necessarily an impediment to smaller drag racing bodies like the IHRA.  The records of competing straight-line racing organizations are all valid in their own right.  Now times are not always equal even within the same sanctioning body.  Certain tracks have longer concrete pads, or are at lower altitudes and the Pomona track goes downhill.  In fact, it goes at a pretty steep angle as I found out when I was in a wheelchair once and had to get back "up" the track.  Weather plays a factor also.  You point out the joys and the sorrows of bracket drag racing.  That's what makes it so interesting. 
     My father accepted, but did not like the term, "Father of Drag Racing."  He had certain talents at the right time to help a new sport flourish, but he would be the first to tell you that there were a lot of men and women responsible for drag racing.  We started on the dry lakes.  My brother and I still hang around LSR.  Drag racing goes as far back in time as the terms we use to describe it.  If it is a description of "motorized" racing, pitting man against man, or machine against machine and all against nature and time itself, there are still problems.  Do we mean steam or the piston driven automobiles of the 1880's?  If we mean any form of locomotion then we're talking chariot racing and that goes back thousands of years.  Would you write in and send us a story on your involvement with drag racing and your meetings with my father.  Every fact that we get adds to the vast database that we are trying to accumulate.

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The included seven year study shows that Top Points Championships for both cars and motorcycles have been won by changes in engine class, induction and fuel type. Vehicles that are prohibited by rule or cost have no chance to compete for top points. We propose that to compete for the Top Points Championship, whatever vehicle and engine class a competitor enters at the beginning of the season must be run with the same set up for the balance of the season. I gave Alan Barbee and Mike Spacek copies of this proposal at the December SCTA Board/Reps meeting. Please contact me if you have any questions/comments. Jerry Cornelison, Secretary - Road Runners, glc311@att.net or 951-500-2079.
                      ---------------------------
Proposed El Mirage Procedures Change: Points Accumulation for High Points Champion (Study prepared by and proposed El Mirage Procedure change submitted by Road Runners)

Top Points Winner Study – Car and Motorcycle, 2006 through 2012

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

 

#690

#493

#493

#2132

#4220

#827

#8

May

F/BFS

H/GRMR

H/BGRMR

G/BGCC

H/GCC

H/BGR

I/GMS

Jun

F/FS

H/FRMR

H/BFRMR

G/BGCC

F/FCC

H/BFR

I/FMS

Jul

F/GS

H/GRMR

no meet

G/BGCC

F/FCC

no meet

H/GMS

Sep

I/FS

H/BGRMR

G/GRMR

F/BGCC

F/BGCC

H/BGR

no meet

Oct

I/GS

class n/a

G/FRMR

F/BFCC

no meet

G/GR

I/BGMS

Nov

I/FS

H/BGRMR

G/BGRMR

F/BGCC

no meet

G/BGR

I/BGMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7601B

#854B

#1B

#4949B

#862B

#3538B

#349B

May

50cc/SC-G

1350cc/SC-BG

1650cc/SC-BG

100cc/SCS-G

1350cc/SC-PG

650cc/APS-G

650cc/SC-PG

Jun

50cc/SC-F

1350cc/SC-BF

1650cc/SC-BG

100cc/SCS-F

1350cc/SC-PG

650cc/APS-G

650cc/SC-PG

Jul

50cc/SC-F

1350cc/SC-BF

no meet

125cc/SCS-F

1350cc/SC-PG

no meet

650cc/SC-PG

Sep

100cc/SC-BG

1350cc/SC-BG

1650cc/SC-BF

125cc/SCS-G

1350cc/SC-PBG

650cc/APS-G

no meet

Oct

100cc/SC-BF

class n/a

1650cc/SC-BF

100cc/SCS-G

no meet

650cc/APS-G

650cc/SC-PF

Nov

125cc/SC-BF

1350cc/SC-BG

1650cc/SC-BF

100cc/SCS-G

no meet

650cc/APS-F

650cc/SC-PG

(red print indicates change from previous meet)

   Conclusion: In every case, the Top Points Car and Top Points Motorcycle winner made at least one engine class, induction type or fuel type swap in order to secure the Top Points award. Often, it involved multiple changes, sometimes swapping and changing every meet. Some race vehicles do not lend themselves to these types of modifications and changes due to Class rules for engine and induction type restrictions and fuel options. These competitors, likely, can never contend for the Top Points Championship given the current advantages some vehicles have making the types of changes as demonstrated in the Study above.
   Suggestion: In order to “level the playing field” and give every competitor a fair and equal chance to compete for the Top Points Championship, we propose changing the El Mirage Procedures as follows:
   Current wording in El Mirage Procedures -
“VIII
C. High Points Champion
2. Points Accumulation for High Points Champion
Points accumulation during the season can only be combined toward the Season High Points Champion if the entry competes in the same vehicle, with the same competition number, with the same owner(s), and within the same body / frame classification for the entire season. Entry form and VLB data reflecting ownership, vehicle number, VLB number, and vehicle body / frame classification must be identical throughout the season.
Engine class, including displacement, fuel used, and induction changes (i.e. blown or unblown) are allowed. Vehicles that race in two or more body / frame classifications during a season may continue to use accumulated points for starting line position but may NOT combine the points earned in the separate body / frame classifications toward Season High Point Champion.”
   Proposed wording in El Mirage Procedures -
VIII
C. High Points Champion
2. Points Accumulation for High Points Champion
Points accumulation during the season can only be combined toward the Season High Points Champion if the entry competes in the same vehicle, with the same competition number, with the same owner(s), and within the same body / frame classification for the entire season. Entry form and VLB data reflecting ownership, vehicle number, VLB number, and vehicle body / frame Classification must be identical throughout the season.
Engine class, fuel used, and induction changes (i.e. blown or unblown) are not allowed. Vehicles that race in two or more body / frame classifications during a season may continue to use accumulated points for starting line position but may NOT combine the points earned in the separate body / frame classifications toward Season High Point Champion.
   In Summary: Simply put, whatever vehicle a competitor enters at the beginning of the season must be run with the same body, frame and engine class, induction type and with the same fuel used (gas or fuel class) for the balance of the season in order to compete for the Top Points Championship.

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This video is HD so play it full screen. There are several cockpit shots at 8:01 into the video and later on a run. See http://vimeo.com/56321370. Don Garlits

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Ed Iskenderian, Gardena, California. Story by Richard Parks and Photos by Roger Rohrdanz. This biography was done in 2006
   Ed Iskenderian, the famous ‘Camfather’ to generations of hot rodders and racers, is known affectionately as just Isky to his friends. Ed is a charming and friendly man who inquisitiveness is well known. From the day he ground his first cam to the present day, Isky has never lost that desire to learn more and to do more. He was born on July 10, 1921, in Cutler, Tulare County, California, to Dick and Armine Iskenderian. His parents were born in Turkey, but left before the Armenian population was rounded up by the Turks and exterminated. After World War I, the defeated Turks retreated in a xenophobic rage and the scapegoats that they blamed were their own Armenian Turkish people. The Armenian Turkish people were forced from their homes, shot at, bayoneted and sent on a forced march that ended in the Syrian Desert where over a million and a half innocent people were systematically murdered. Ed’s mother survived when her family sent her to a German Christian convent to protect her from the Turks. His father was a blacksmith in Turkey, but after he immigrated to America, Dick Iskenderian started a grape farm in California’s wide San Joaquin Valley. In 1922 the family moved to Los Angeles, California, near Western and Exposition Avenues.
   Ed grew up in a rapidly growing area of Southern California, known for the emergence of the hot rodding culture in the United States. He went to Mount Vernon Junior High School, and then graduated up to Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, before transferring to Dorsey High School to complete his education. The SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) was just getting started around that time, and those that had a hot (fast) car, would join and race at the dry lakes, preferably Muroc. Dry lake racing had begun in the 1920’s, developing an organization and standardization with the influence of George Wight and George Riley in the 1930’s. In 1937, Wight and Riley decided to stop promoting the speed trials and the car clubs got together and formed the SCTA to continue racing at Muroc, now known as Edwards Air Force Base near Mojave, California. Ed hung out with the Bungholers car club. In the club were Bud Hines, Bob ‘Baldy’ Baldwin, Eugene Van Arx, Ike Williams, Si Perkins, Stringfield and Leaman. Each neighborhood had their own club, strictly male and typically devoted to the car culture. Usually the leader was the one whose father had a garage they could work in. Girls weren’t allowed to join in this inner sanctum of the male car culture during the height of the Great Depression.
   Their hangout was Hugo’s Hot Dog Stand on Pico Boulevard. It was their world, removed from the horrors of an oncoming war, and the desperation of a world faced with a vicious depression. Ed was only 14 when he first went to Muroc to see his first race. He went to the dry lakes from 1935 until war broke out in 1941, and the dry lakes land speed racing was to have a lasting impact on the man who helped to make cam grinding an exact science. He took every shop course he could and did very well in the auto and electric shop courses. So well did he master what he was taught, that he was allowed to work on the wiring for the school buses. Ed graduated in 1940 and apprenticed at a tool and die shop for 50 cents an hour, a huge sum of money in those days. One hours pay at that rate could buy nearly 4 gallons of gasoline, or a meal of a hamburger, fries and malt for two people, back in the days when a hamburger was huge and a malt the size of a quart. Ed was learning how to be an electric welder in a shipyard on the day that the Japanese attack force struck Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. That day changed his life as it changed the entire country. No longer isolated from the world’s problems and wars, America was now at the forefront of World War II and the fight against the Great Depression. He remembers how our soldiers lined up the Japanese Americans, before sending them to camps to wait out the war, on the suspicion that American citizens of Japanese ancestry might be spies for the Imperial Japanese Army.
   Isky was incensed at the sneak attack, and like millions of Americans, men and women, he tried to enlist in the Navy Air Corp, but they turned down his request to be a flyer. Ed joined the Army Air Corp and was assigned to Ground School, at the old Santa Ana Air Base. He was an air cadet at last, but the military reassigned him to be a flight traffic clerk on air transports in and out of the theatres of war. He flew 5 trips between San Francisco and Australia in a B-24 Liberator. Then he was stationed in Australia for runs up to New Guinea and the Philippines. After VJ day, he was reassigned to Japan with flights to Manila. He saw US prisoners of war as they were released from Japanese labor camps, emaciated, in pain, starved and beaten by their captors, and a marked difference from how we treated those enemy combatants that we captured. With the war ending, men were being discharged from the military in vast numbers as fast as the government could send them home. Ed returned to California with a desire to return to dry lakes racing and the car culture that he loved. With a military discharge severance payment of $20 a month for 52 months, Ed decided to go racing. He tried to buy a cam from Clay Smith, who had learned the craft of cam grinding from Pierre Bertrand. Clay was well known for his cams, but so great was the demand from all the returning servicemen for parts for their hot rods, that the best Clay could do was to tell him to wait a month. Ed thought to himself, “I could do this myself,” and turned to another cam grinding genius, Ed Winfield, for advice and help. Winfield was a success at whatever he put his mind to, whether it was oval track racing in the 1920’s, his famous carburetor, or his equally famous cams.
   Ed absorbed all he could from Winfield, then bought an old cylindrical grinder at an auction. Machine shops all over the country were closing down after the war as government contracts came to an end. Machines were plentiful, and Ed devised an attachment of his own design to alter the configurations of the grinder to accommodate what he wanted to achieve in grinding cams. As Isky and his son Richard explain it, early cam grinding was more art than science. A steady hand and a good eye were important, but the great cam grinders, like Winfield could visualize the problem and solve it in their minds. One could always copy a cam but custom grinding a cam to a specific engine was an art.
   Over time specific designs and engineering formulas would solve many of these problems and throughout the 1950’s there would be great advances in scientifically creating the programs that brought cam grinding to an exactness. Ed states that his first cams were noisy, but they were popular and the kids heard about him and bought his cams. He also sold to speed shops, notably Karl Orr, a legendary racer and a true curmudgeon. Karl’s wife, Veda, was equally his match at land speed racing, but she was famous for sending a newsletter to the hot rod soldiers in the war, keeping them updated on the car scene back home. Isky was there at the 1st Hot Rod Show at the National Armory, in Exposition Park. Bob Barsky had brought Pete Petersen and Bob Lindsay together to publicize the event, with the SCTA providing the cars and manpower. Petersen and Lindsay would form a team and create Hot Rod Magazine, and the young Ed would take advantage of the hurricane of interest in this magazine with his innovative ads for his cams.
   Ed fell in love and married Alice Garbooshian on May 17, 1947. Ronald Iskenderian was born a year later, in the great Baby Boom following World War II. Richard was born in 1951, followed by Timothy and Amy. Ed had witnessed the Great Depression, World War II, the beginning of the Atomic Era, and the start of a cam grinding business that would grow ever more successful. The family was living on West Adams Avenue, in Los Angeles, and Ed was producing cams out of his garage for a living. His business was beginning to grow larger than the garage could handle and he took out a lease on a shop on Culver, behind Mercury Tool and Die, owned by his good friend and high school buddy, John Athan. Ed and Athan are inseparable friends. Athan is an innovator, inventor and master craftsman, who is often called upon to solve mechanical problems. Athan built the roadster that was on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, which the actor, Elvis Presley used in his movie ‘Loving Me.’
   Ed’s business was booming now as his quality cams and his natural PR and advertising genius was creating a huge demand. He moved to a larger site on Western and Pico Avenues, in Los Angeles, but that was only temporary as the orders began to grow larger and larger. He moved to Jefferson and Harcourt Avenue, in Los Angeles, across from Vic Edelbrock’s shop. The orders grew and the need for even more space forced him to move to a bigger shop on West Slauson in Culver City, then to a building in Inglewood. Finally he spotted a building on Alondra and Broadway in Gardena that covered half a city block and would give him the space to expand as he needed, and Isky Racing Cams found a permanent home there in 1966.
   Today Isky Racing Cams is in the top 3 among American Cam manufacturers, with a reputation for quality and performance. Part of the success that Ed had was due to the quality of the finished products; cams, valve lifters and valve springs. But Isky is successful because he has that type of inquisitive mind that is forever learning, growing and adapting. He is a man hungry for knowledge. He never stops in a quest to find markets, products and better ways to produce those goods and services. Finally, he has a charisma, charm and character that attracts attention and a following. His first ad in Hot Rod Magazine was in the second issue. He realized that this magazine would be a huge success with the hot rodders after the war ended. In the late 1940’s, Ed was one of the first to understand the power of marketing, and few did it better. He was selling cams to the racers now, as well as the kids on the street, and to a fledgling racecar circuit called NASCAR, where the big Hudson dominated the stock car circuit. He said he was ashamed at how noisy those early cams of his were, but they had a stronger mid-range power curve that the kids loved. His sales stagnated at the lakes but took off in stock car racing, which opened doors in other areas for him. “Flathead engines were simple in those days,” he said. The early 1950’s saw the rise of a new sport called drag racing and he sold a lot of cams. It was also the heyday of oval track racing and the demand for his products kept him too busy to go dry lakes racing.
   “I got real boisterous with those ads,” he would say. Parts makers and specialty equipment makers would battle each other in ads in racing and car magazines, trumpeting their successes and the inability of their competitors to keep pace. Pete Millar, the drag and hot rod cartoonist, drew a cigar chomping Isky, and named him the ‘Camfather,’ portraying Ed as the leader in his field. Exaggeration and hyperbole reached crazy limits. The government, with truth in advertising, would probably not allow it today. But it was Grand Theatre for car buffs back then to see the ads, which were far more entertaining than the articles in the magazines and newspapers. Isky’s skill at ad and marketing drove his business to the top and the racers and car fans loved this genial man and his products. Those were the days when magazines were first starting to tap into the car market, and competition exploded from that first Hot Rod Magazine to dozens more, and ad rates were negotiable. “I got great deals,” said Ed, “and I exploited them to the fullest.” Ed also made cams for the boat racers, sponsoring Ed Olson in the Cream Puff. Olson was a baker, and named the boat after his specialty, but the Cream Puff was no easy boat to beat. With Isky Cams and backing, the Cream Puff was one of the fastest in marine dragboat racing. At that time Ed’s biggest competitor in cams was Harman and Collins, and the fight was fierce.
   The 1950’s may have been all expansion and fun, but the 1960’s saw the continued dominance of car racing, especially dragracing and oval track racing. His new competition was with Herbert Cams, which devised the new roller cams. When it became apparent that the new cams would be successful, Iskenderian Racing Cams came out with its own roller cams. Ed has 5 patents for his special hardening of the lobes in his roller cams. Devising, innovating and inventing better cams has kept Isky at the forefront of the cam grinding business. “All the cam grinding companies buy the cam core from a cam core making company. That’s not unusual, but it is the skill of the grinding that determines the end quality of the product,” he said. Some of the cam manufacturers have the cam core makers do the grinding and produce cams in mass produced quantities. The cam core makers then put on the name of the company they are producing the cams for, thus the cam grinding companies never actually have any control over the finished product. If the work is done in India or China, as many cheaper cams are, then the quality suffers and the buyer has little recourse. Isky cams are all done in-house, with American cores, and every step of the process is overseen by men who have been in the business nearly as long as Ed has.
   Isky may not have started the Contingency Racing programs, but he was an early adherent and user of the system. The Contingency Racing programs in motorsports racing is where a manufacturer offers a prize, product, or cash payment for any racer using their product while winning the race. The racer has to display the decal of the product he is using so that fans and fellow racers can see what products the winning racer has in his car or boat. Ed used this program to its fullest, sponsoring a wide range of racers, leagues and products. The result was to spur a growth in sales that pushed him past his competitors. His battle with Crane in the 1950’s and ‘60’s was legendary in the battle of the Contingency Wars. In 1949, at the first Bonneville Nationals Salt Flats Time Trials, Doug Harrison and Norm Lean asked Isky for sponsorship money to make the trip from Southern California, to compete. With part of the money that they received from Isky, Harrison and Lean created a design on their T-shirts extolling the car, the team and Iskenderian Racing Cams. There is no one better at seeing a great idea and borrowing it for his own use that Ed. He began making up Isky T-shirts to sell or give away, and business stayed strong all year.
   There is another facet of Ed Iskenderian that probably goes back to his days struggling with the Great Depression, or to the fact that so many of his family were brutally murdered and robbed by the Turks in the 1920’s. Ed is fascinated by bargains, whether it is machinery, appliances or some bizarre type of mechanical equipment or part. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s a deal he will buy it and bring it home. In the storage area behind the 50,000 square foot (more than an acre) manufacturing plant is another acre of stored treasures. He owns another 5-acre lot with additional things he has bought and saved. Ed is a recycler and conservationist. He doesn’t waste anything and constantly looks for ways to use ideas and objects that he collects. But he is also a very generous man, with his time and with his money. He sponsors many racers and race teams, and gives generously. He is quick to spot the up-and-coming racedriver, and understands that it benefits both the racing community and his company to spend generously. Stories abound about his habit of acquiring and saving things that many of us would just casually toss away. Isky doesn’t toss anything away, especially his friends.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM

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Land Speed Racing Websites:
www.hotrodhotline.com, www.landspeedracing.com

 [Email Land Speed Racing]

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Members:

Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Mike Bastian, Lee Blaisdell, Jim Bremner, Warren Bullis, Burly Burlile, George Callaway, Gary Carmichael, John Backus, John Chambard, Jerry Cornelison, G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Bob Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Bret Kepner, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Eric Loe, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Bob Morton, Mark Morton, Paula Murphy, Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth, Frank Oddo, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Maggie Summers, Gary Svoboda, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone, Jim Travis, Randy Travis, Jack Underwood and Tina Van Curen, Richard Venza.
 

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