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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER  Issue 299- Nov 19 , 2013
Editor-in-Chief: Mary Ann Lawford www.landspeedracing.com
President of the Society: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139.
Assistant Editor: Richard Parks, Rnparks1@Juno.com
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:
President's Corner; Editorials;

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Dyno Don Batyi:   
     I have spent 40 years in the Material Handling Industry (MHI i.e. forklifts) and we had electric lift trucks since day one. I only say this to show I have some experience with electric vehicles. The MHI has been battling emissions long before the EPA and CARB. When you operate vehicles in warehouses and handle food products it is a necessity.  Early electric lift trucks would go for about 4 hours, far short of an 8 hour shift before needing a charge. When I retired they were going for 8 hours. During that period various new battery technology came along but the old Edison Lead Acid worked the best. The difference between old and new was not the battery but and electronic control unit (ECU) that didn't waste electricity. 
     I have read where Tesla has filled for a patent for a Hybrid Lithium-Ion battery that would go for 400 miles. At an average speed of 40 mph that would be about 10 hours. That is quite an improvement, however it still needs charging and it takes a long time to charge them. The ratio on fork lift batteries was about 1.5 to 1. A four hour battery takes about six hour to charge. Also, these new lithium-ion batteries are not cheap. I have been told these batteries in current autos run between $5000 and $7000. I'll bet the Tesla battery is way more than that. Plus, don't forget Resale Value.  What do you think a five year old electric auto would be worth? 
     I do not think electric autos will ever be more than a local driver and maybe not even that, as extended trips like vacation trips would be too inconvenient. Here is a scenario that really concerns me. A single Mom with two kids has a tough day at work. Comes home, feeds the kids, sits down in front of the TV and falls asleep. Gets up and goes to bed. Gets up the next morning, feeds the kids and they all head for the garage to go to school and work. UH-OOO, battery dead, forgot to plug in to the charger last night.  As for our Hobby; are you ready to replace that small block for an electric motor and the fuel tank for a lithium-ion battery?  Here are some websites to take a look at:
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Governor-approves-6-laws-encouraging-electric-cars-4853459.php, http://inhabitat.com/telsa-patents-electric-car-battery-that-gets-400-miles-on-a-single-charge/.   Dyno Don Bayti
 


STAFF EDITORIAL: by Richard Parks: 
     Although it is only November, mark your calendar for the Grand National Roadster Show at the Los Angeles County Fairplex during the third weekend in January.  For more information check RodShows.com. 

     Here’s a letter that I received from Peter Vincent who has a new book out on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  “You got what I felt and still feel with the work (photography) at Bonneville.  It is also my way of paying respect to all those in the book, many who have become close friends. It is a family out there that people come in and out of. Thanks again for taking the time (to review my book). It is appreciated. Look us up at the GNRS.  We will be in the main building, where the award contenders are, in a booth next to Tom Fritz. But, we definitely will be connected to the Bonneville exhibit.  Peter Vincent.” 
     Bonneville fans will want to be there to see Peter Vincent, one of the best land speed racing photographers in the business and get his autograph and his new book.  It will also be a treat to see Tom and Molly Fritz again.  Tom Fritz and Kenny Youngblood are two of the best hot rod artists anywhere.
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Don West passed away November 10, 2013.  He was a member of the USFRA, BNI, and 200 MPH Club. Services are pending.  Glen Barrett
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From the Spanish Fork, Utah DAILY HERALD, sent in by Glen Barrett.
     Don West, 82, of Pleasant Grove passed away November 11, 2013 at his home. He was the youngest of nine children, born to E. Thomas and Chloe Freeman West in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  Don married Mary Lee Tillery in 1949 and together they had three sons.  Don could fix anything.  He wired the family home when he was nine years old.  He was well known for all the race engines he built for others and especially for the world records in power boat racing and at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  He and his son Marty were members of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.  Don ran 247 MPH and Marty 260 MPH in their blown Firebird.  He was a fierce competitor and never entered a race to be second place.  Don built cars, boats, and engines and his world records were the product of his hard work.  He was voted into the Utah Sports Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.
     Don loved to work at his shop, Don's Automotive in Pleasant Grove.  He loved his customers.  It was common to see several old tractors in front of his shop.  He worked on American Forks fire engine and even the dentist chair.  His customers were his friends.  His surviving son Billy has been his best friend and together enjoyed coffee every morning and night.  Don left a legacy of hard work and a family that he loved. We love him and miss him greatly.
     Don is survived his wife Mary West of Pleasant Grove; son, Billy West, Pleasant Grove; six grandchildren: Tiffany, Danielle, Tony, Bobby, Rose, and Heather and many loving nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his two sons: Bobby and Marty.  Funeral services will be held Friday, November 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM in the Grovecreek Fourth Ward Chapel, 942 North 500 East, Pleasant Grove.   Family and friends may attend a viewing Thursday evening from 6-8 pm at Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove and at the church on Friday one hour prior to services.  Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.  A photograph is at;
http://www.heraldextra.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/don-west/article_ce4c7740-8274-5469-ba31-7978a3ef0aeb.html#.UoOYzvn_L5Q.email

Celebration of Life for Don Rountree, November 30, 2013, 1 - 5 pm, at the Elks Lodge 6166 Brockton Avenue, Riverside, California.  Please bring a dish to share for the pot luck table.  Soft drinks and water provided, no host bar.  Don Rountree, one of the pioneers in the fiberglass dune buggy and off road racing craze of the late sixties and seventies passed away in October from the effects of a massive heart attack. Don was the creator of the Sandwinder fiberglass dune buggy body, the originator of the wide eyed Baja Bug kits and one of the most successful desert and closed course off road racers of the era creating the first mid-engined Volkswagen powered off road racers. Don teamed with Malcomb Smith and Bud Feldkamp for successes at Ascot Stadium, the Mint 400 and Parker 400 among others.  Burly Burlile             
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Would you or your group like to run the Redding Dragstrip?  2014 will be the 60th year of operation for the Redding Dragstrip, and it needs a new operator. The City of Redding asked that we post this Request for Proposal on our website. It’s also available at the City’s site:
http://www.ci.redding.ca.us/supserv/purch/currentbidqte.htm.     Redding is the oldest continually operating quarter mile drag strip in the United States and probably the world. Hope someone picks them up for 2014 as it is a great place to race.  See http://reddingdragstrip.info/wordpress/.   Bob Choisser
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The Eagle Rock Trompers car club book signing will be held Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 9 AM until 1 PM.  See some great rods, meet the owners and hear their tales of early hot rodding.  Bring your hot rod too.  AUTOBOOKS-AEROBOOKS, 2900 W. Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, California, 91505. 
www.AUTOBOOKS-AEROBOOKS.COM.  Tina Van Curen
 


STAFF NOTES: This notice is being published although it will come out too late to be of any use for the SEMA Show.  However, there will be booths for Save the Salt at other events around the country in the future and if anyone can volunteer their time to help this fine group it would be much appreciated.
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     The SEMA Show’s Save the Salt Booth will be located at Booth No. 20000.  This is in the main lobby near the convention center entrance and the SEMA Association Center (between the North and Central Halls) – see map below.  The booth will have a large screen TV playing Bonneville Salt Flats DVDs. It will include a table & chairs, posters & easels, and handout materials.  Please send me a reply e-mail to identify the hours you are available to sit at the booth.  I will then update the list and re-circulate.  Thanks. Stuart Gosswein, Sr Director, Federal Government Affairs, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA),
stuartg@sema.org. (Sent in by Ron Main)
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     I read through issue #298 and on page 7 a name jumped out of the text and grabbed me by the throat; Al "Shakey" McKee.  We attended Hamilton High School at the same time and he also lived in our Culver City neighborhood which was located not far from where Karl and Veda Orr lived.  My latest research indicates that all of our residences were on the grounds where the old Culver City Board Speedway was located.  In fact the Orr's home was across the street from where the main entrance was located.  I even know how that nickname was hung on him.  After we graduated from Hamilton, I lost track of him and of course I entered the Navy and was soon shipped over to Tsingtao (China) where we could observe the Chinese soldiers from both armies shooting at each other.  The last time I saw "Shakey" was at the SCTA Muroc Reunion in 1997.  I'll be contacting Ed Safarik to learn the details.  Another name that jumped off the page and into my memory bank was "The Hustler" boat of Lee Taylor.  My side is information that has never been reported before.   Bob Falcon
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The new video WHERE THEY RACED - THE DVD, will be available to the public on Saturday, November 16, 2013, with a special book signing and meet and greet at 10AM to 2PM, with Author/Narrator Harold Osmer and Producer Harry Pallenberg.  Come and see some of the clips from the video.  The place is AUTOBOOKS-AEROBOOKS, 2900 W. MAGNOLIA BLVD, BURBANK, CA 91505. 
WWW.AUTOBOOKS-AEROBOOKS.COM
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     Video about Aussie Rosco McGlashan who aims to set the land speed record. 
http://media.smh.com.au/national/selections/driver-guns-for-land-speed-record-4913150.html.  Ron Main
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Posted on the News page on our Road Runners Webpage and Facebook Group Page:
     "November El Mirage: Good turnout for the Road Runners at the final El Mirage meet of 2013.  We had 11 race teams on the lake! It's been a long time since we had so many entries at a single meet. At El Mirage for the November El Mirage meet: R.M.H. AA/GC; Ferguson & Carr D/GR; San Berdoo Roadsters C/STR; J. Masson Motorsports G/CGALT; Miller & Miller Camaro C/CGALT; Scott Baxter BSA 350cc/SC-VG; Carling's Dyna-Soar 1650cc/P-PP; Claytech Racing I/GL; Enyart-Huntly Racing G/GL; Dave Bennet Henry J D/CGC; Wortman & Wortman Racing XF/BVFALT.  All these cars and bikes will be racing next season and we will be adding 5-7 more that did not make this final meet, next season. Next season also look for: Riley Racing XO/VGC; Big Red AA/CBFALT; Anderson's Screwball 650cc/SC-PG; Flat Cad Racing XXO/BVGALT; Wendell Burns Racing CGC Falcon Futura; and possibly - Gary McGavin Racing 100cc/M-G motorcycle and Jess Feeback Racing Modified Sports MGB.  How great would it be to see 16 to 18 Road Runners cars and motorcycles at a single meet! 40's-50's-60's deja vous!  November race results will be posted as soon as available."
http://www.ussarcherfish.com/roadrunners/news.htm, https://www.facebook.com/groups/119836333254/.   Jerry Cornelison
 


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THE HUSTLER WSR (Water Speed Racing) Craft.  By Bob Falcon 
     It seems like ages ago but I recall most of the details of the news of Lee Taylor's water speed record attempt, to be powered with an aircraft turbojet engine, came to be known in the SoCal boating industry. What follows is how your writer came to be involved with the news of the quest, in fact it is a piece about how I personally shifted my horizons from that of Hot Rods into the boating world and one of the various avenues traveled in those post military service years of the 1950s.  Around that time I was employed by a small Inglewood company engaged in the design and production of small diesel engines. These power plants were used for a number of tasks such as the auxiliary power source to propel sailboats and as on-board electrical generating plants.  My hiring, unknown to me at the time was a temporary post for the purpose of writing a military style technical manual covering maintenance procedures for a version of their small diesel engine being delivered under a military sub-contract for a US Marine Corps electrical power generator under a military contract. The publication was stipulated to comply with the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Specifications, which I understood well from previous job placements in the military and civilian technical manual industry. 
     For background on this unique engine company the following needs to be revealed. The company proprietor was a former British merchant marine sailor named Dennis Kendall, who later became a member of the House of Commons as the legislator from Blackpool, Lancaster. This area is on the UK west coast, north of Liverpool. The US Army Air Force had established an airbase there during WW2. During that period the British government assigned Kendall the post of operating a manufacturing plant, adjacent to the airbase, producing 40 mm anti- aircraft cannon.  The company name was British M.A.R.C. (Manufacturing And Research Company).  When Kendall migrated to the US he purchased a small diesel engine company that was located in the city of Inglewood CA, on the North/South stretch of Florence Avenue between Manchester Avenue and Arbor Vitae Street, where at that particular intersection, the name of Florence Avenue changes to Aviation Boulevard. At least, that's the way it was back in the fifties but, with all the improvements around LAX area, the street name has been changed to Aviation Boulevard northward all the way to Manchester Avenue.   
     Since Kendall was a man of the sea, his newly named company, American M.A.R.C, eventually began the design and development of a unique diesel outboard motor for small boats. Not long after the start of this motor design, Kendall began buying small boat manufacturing companies in the Southern California area.  This corresponded with the time of the "Fiberglass Explosion" in the world of manufacturing similar to the current carbon-fiber craze. The boat manufacturing firms who took steps in their manufacturing to design their boats to absorb the high impacts connected to high speed leaps over wave tops without fracturing the bottoms, went on to do well in the sales of their products. The uninitiated builders trying to capitalize on a fad just fell by the wayside and later many were bought by American MARC who upgraded the designs to make the bottoms hold up to the wave crest shocks.  Their pleasure boat line was named “AMARC.”    
     What does all of this have to do with “The Hustler” WSR Boat?   At the time I was employed by American MARC and had been promoted to the post of Advertising and Public Relations manager one of the media outlets we used was a tabloid size newspaper publication named West Coast Boating News (WCBN) that was published on a monthly frequency. The paper was solely owned by Bob Thomas, a life-long newspaper guy who's father, also a newspaper guy, was the originator and publisher of “The Roberts News”, a newspaper distributed, at no cost, to residential homes throughout communities where the Roberts grocery store chain had store locations. This community newspaper was the first of this type. Each, and every, Thursday morning residents in several Los Angeles neighborhoods would awaken to find a front lawn littered with plethora of different “give-away” newspapers of this type. Roberts News had several imitators. 
     As a client of WCBN I became well acquainted with the publisher, Bob Thomas, and his advert manager, Jerry Tidwell. They were having a problem finding talented staff members and asked if I would like to work for them on a part-time basis during the final production process of each issue.  Faced with the problem of being burdened with the responsibility of keeping our family larder supplied with milk and eggs to go into the tummies of our three hungry children, I gladly accepted the offer.  The WCBN office location was in West LA on Pico Boulevard on the second floor of a liquor store located across the street from a well known Mexican restaurant named Casa Escobar, where the Margarita was invented. During a publishing deadline session, Bob announced that WCBN had been sold to the Santa Monica Evening Outlook newspaper and that a new building was being constructed for our new editorial and production offices which we would share with another department that was in the process of testing a new computerized typesetting system termed Linofilm and phasing this system into daily newspaper production processes.  As far as our publication was concerned there would no longer be more of the wrestling with the severe column edge drifting that prevailed with the lead galleys set on the old Linotype machines. It was the beginning phase to the computer system I am now using to write this story. 
     So we moved to the new facility that was furnished to suit our needs now that WCBN was being converted to a monthly magazine format. At that time our editorial slant covered not only the general yachting interests but we were also following high performance water skiing (SK boats) and the new sport of Boat Drag Racing.  Our “yacht club” subscribers were not very happy with this dual slant to our editorial style and something had to be done to preserve the WCBN market.  I was still part of the casual staff doing advert layouts for our “pub-set” clients and get-ready final production paste-up when Bob Thomas, still our publisher and managing editor, called a meeting to announce that WCBN had just purchased the subscriber list of a Petersen Publishing quarterly marine magazine by the name of "Powerboat" but we did not buy the magazine name and logos, so we had to come up with new designs, in house.  Several suggestions were forthcoming from the staff members when I opened my big mouth and stated, "Since we follow the ski boats and boat drag racing so closely in our editorial slant and this grouping is very close to that of Petersen’s Hot Rod Magazine... why don’t we name it Hot Boat?"  
     Thomas loved it and all agreed that it was the way to go.  Through history many other individuals have claimed to be the person who coined the name “Hot Boat” as the name for a magazine. But believe me this is how it really happened.  Late one hectic day, while we were busily putting an issue “to bed”, two guys came into the office and requested an audience with Bob Thomas. Their names were Lee Taylor and Larry Lee.  They had a short session with Thomas who then brought them out of his office to the production area to meet his staff and permit them to relate to us the “four W’s” of their story, the elements that are a brief description of an event. They told us of their attempt to set a new world’s water speed record and the details of the turbine powered boat named "The Hustler" which they were going to use to accomplish this feat. 
     Thomas told them that Hot Boat would publish their story in our next issue and do progressive follow–ups in the following issues. The first story was to contain an artist’s conception of their boat at speed and I was assigned to do that illustration. Bob also stated that the issue would have my rendering as a "double truck" illustration in the center spread of the issue. That meant that the illustration would cover two page widths.  During my research on the details of the craft I discovered that Lee was in the locksmith business and his lock and key shop was located in the city of Downey. His pal Larry was a graphic designer and sign painter who specialized in paint schemes for custom cars and boats. I also learned that the turbine engine they were using was a Pratt-Whitney J-57, a type that was used on the North American F-100 Fighter Jet aircraft and on various passenger jet airliners of the period.  The hull was being designed and fabricated by Hallett Boats, a superb local Ski Boat manufacturer. 
     My magazine staff career came to a close when I was retained to do part-time advert and catalog design work for Halibrand Engineering...but that is another story in itself.  If you have an issue of Hot Boat Volume One, Number 1 (or perhaps Number 2 or 3) you will see my illustration of “The Hustler” as a black and white pencil rendering as a center spread and my signature of “Falcon” can be seen on the lower right hand side at the edge of the subject.  For another early issue of Hot Boat, I did a cut-away illustration of Barry McCown's Drag Racing boat. With that job I had the opportunity to shoot detailed 35mm pictures for use as reference as compared to “The Hustler” where the project was in the imaginative stage. The McCown drag racing job was done at the time when Barry lived in Altadena.  In my memory the tale of my involvement with Hot Boat Magazine remains of the utmost importance because the work done to fill our first issue was the conduit that got me reacquainted with Ted Halibrand for the first time since I was a high school student. We reconnected in 1962, or 1963 when I began doing work for Ted and remained involved in his projects for the next 30+ years.
     I also felt the back grounder on Kendall was appropriate because of this very unique outboard motor we were developing at his company. That engine was a single cylinder that had two pistons and a crankshaft at each end and was known as an Opposed Piston engine. The combustion chamber was formed by the crowns of the two piston heads as they came together at TDC where a single fuel injector nozzle is fitted.  News of this engine designs such as this are now being widely circulated via E-mail messages but very few people remember that several souls were toiling in this field in an Inglewood California laboratory in the late 1950's. 
 

SPEED DUEL: THE SCREENPLAY
     Some of the guys in the land speed community, especially those who knew Art Arfons, were upset at the news that came out in October 2012 that an Art Arfons movie was in the works in Hollywood, titled "The Battle for Bonneville."  The problem was that the little bit that was revealed about the script for the film suggested that the real Art Arfons story had been changed a lot.  I didn't hear about this until the spring of 2013, when I got an e-mail from an Art Arfons friend expressing his concern and wondering if I could do anything.   Well, I didn't think there was anything I could do.  But it got me thinking.  Well, about a month later I got a call from Craig Breedlove about a book idea he wanted to discuss.  In the course of our conversation I mentioned that I was interested in trying my hand at writing a feature film screenplay based on my book
Speed Duel: The Inside Story of the Land Speed Record in the Sixties, but that I didn't want to do it if I couldn't get anyone in the film business to look at it.  Breedlove was very encouraging and said that he knows people, and so I went ahead and wrote the screenplay.  Breedlove has now read it and he's given it his seal of approval, so to speak.  And he has passed it on to a Hollywood contact I won't name who reportedly likes it too.  So the thing is out there and, who knows, given a great big dollop of luck--a GREAT BIG dollop of luck--something film-wise might happen.  Breedlove has a new land speed car project in the works.  He's not planning to drive it himself; He's 76.  The car's name: "Spirit of the Americas."  All the best to the LSR community.   Sam Hawley
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If you're on Facebook I've created a land speed group that is now up to 386 members.  I make it a point to maintain as much diversity as possible, including news about wind and human-powered land speed records. 
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151751398161936&set=a.156630776935.115061.100734801935&type=1&comment_id=10157427&reply_comment_id=10178754&offset=0&a mp;total_comments=17#!/groups/243136802490324/.  Franklin Ratliff
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SCOOTS!  By Le Roi Tex Smith (used with permission from
www.hotrodhotline.com)
     The war had not been over long, and there still were practically no new cars available from Detroit.  I was helping my dad in the body shop at Albany Motors, a Ford dealer in exotic Albany, California, right there across the bay from San Francisco.  I had longed for a hot roadster (we called them Gow Jobs), but the quickest way to independence seemed through a motorcycle.  Except the Harley’s and Indians were in short supply, too.  Then I saw the answer, right there in a store front window in Berkeley.  Yep, just the ticket, a brand spanking new Salsbury motor scooter.  Bright red!  Now, I was no stranger to scooters, I had owned a pre-war Cushman for some time, but it was a dullard in capitals.  DULL!  And this was a behemoth in the scoot world, even today when I see a restored beauty, I marvel at how large the Salsbury was/is.
     The ‘bury was about five foot long, with a streamlined step through body. There was a flat floorboard that included the foot brake and the foot throttle. The six and a half horse engine kick start lever was out the front portion of the main body. Nothing unusual, just in a great package. Later in my ownership, I replaced the foot throttle with a handlebar twist throttle. I especially liked the “automatic” trans, which was a centrifugal variable V-belt gizmo that really worked.  I see the same idea being bandied about for modern small cars.  Working in a body shop, I had an almost unlimited supply of unused paint left-overs, in both enamel and lacquer. Naturally, as one does, I painted the scooter every Saturday. That original bright red became every possible color, including one month-long stint in a purple Flock. Yep, trade name of Flock. Intended as a repair of anything Mohair-like. I used it on dashboards, kick-panels, headliners. First I brushed on a thin coat of cement, then using a “spray gun” that looked exactly like a fly spraying pump gun, I would spray a coating of short fiber. The result was a finish that looked and felt like velvet. Kinda. I notice in Hemmings that this product is still available.
     Neat enough, until trying to remove the furry covering. It was hell. Finally, the body grinder and a box of 30 grit grinding discs did the job.  One time, up in Idaho, I had a malfunction. The oil pump gear broke into three pieces, and it didn’t look like I would find a replacement.  A neighbor, whose daughter I was sweet on, was a regional sales manager for a major welding supply company. He suggested he could weld the gear with Eutectic, which is a kind of lower temp brazing/soldering. Incredibly strong, and when I finally traded the Salsbury for a milk separator McCulloch supercharger, it was going strong as ever. You know what they go for now? In the sixteen grand area. I seem to remember I paid 150(?) new.  Next Salsbury I ever saw was at Bonneville, under the command of a major force in street rodding. He had found it buried in a barn somewhere.
     Neat as that particular scoot was, however, I always liked the Mustang semi-motorcycle better. The one with solid wheels. Well, actually I have a hankering for a Powell. Look ‘em up on the net. Then, maybe one of those fold-up paratrooper scooters from War Twice, and in my shop in Idaho I have the end result of a major laydown of a large modern import scooter.  Most plastic body parts departed this life, but mechanically I have the basis of my own stylized body ala Salsbury.  All for the garbage pit take-home fee of twenty bucks.  I do not have, nor want, a Cushman.  That original pre-war push-to-maybe-start version cured me of the brand name.  Buddy Ron Ceridono, he of Street Rodder magazine infamy, has a Cushman he has been rebuilding for at least 20 years. Probably take him that long again to get the thing started.
     Now there is a kind of sub-industry of supplies and information about scooters. Magazines, which include most of the American scoots, while the net is full of sources.  Clubs, registers, associations……and any restoration extravaganza seems to have a small area set aside just for scoot fanatics.  They do make good projects for restoration, since they are basically hammer and tong simple and don’t consume much room. Well, except for Salsbury’s.
 

RUNS VS SHOWS.  By Le Roi Tex Smith (used with permission from www.hotrodhotline.com)
     A car show by any name is still, too often, a snore. The rules for a show are simple: You spend all the money and do all the work, and the car has all the fun. This as opposed to the rod run where the car does the work and you have all the run!  So, exactly when did a rod run become a car show? At exactly the same moment when the run presenter decided to charge a spectator admission.  On the calendar, for street rodding, that would be approximately 1969. For me, that would have been the very first Rod & Custom Street Rod Nationals. Yep, I’m fessing up, because I was one of the organizers.  And we had to charge a spectator admission to help pay the expenses. However, and that is a huge “H”, this very first rod nats was supported almost exclusively by the participants plus a handful of sponsors. Compare this costing to an indoor show where the professional promoter is taking the entire event risk, and is entirely responsible for the venue, the advertising, the awards, the paid personnel…you get the point. 
     In the beginning of street rod runs, the idea was to locate and publicize a venue, get the word to like-minded rodders, and then wait to see what turned up. The professional promoter can’t flip that kind of coin. And there is nothing wrong with a good promoter presenting a hot rod show. I use Gary Meadors as an example. Here is a person (family, really) that has really lived up to the term Goodguys. This is an organization that is unabashedly professional, but when you do a good dudes event, you feel like you have just been to a family picnic. Truly, an outdoor car show with some quirky benefits. But they are laid back affairs where Gary and the crew greet everybody the same. That doesn’t hold true in many shows, whether on the grass or in the dome.  
     Back in the olden days of hot rodding, the show was an EVENT. Because there were precious few of them. And contrary to popular misconceptions, we had rod runs back then, only we didn’t call them as such. But runs were slightly more common than shows, even if a run might be nothing more than a dozen buddies driving somewhere for the day. You get half a dozen hot rods travelling to El Mirage as spectators, you got a rod run, by any standard. And if those same cars stop off in the canyon for an extended gas fill and burger call, you get a show. In a way, that is what we started with on those earliest of recognized runs with the LA Roadsters, etc. 
     Whatever, a car show is not about driving a hot rod or custom car. It is about parking your car wherever someone tells you to. It is about shining the car to please someone else’s fancy. It is about “Lookit mine, it is better than your’s.” In short, a car show is about self-proclaimed elite-ism, and in the end it proves absolutely nothing. A car show is entirely subjective. Unless, of course, you set out to jump into the competition of car showing and go head’s up to win everything there is to win. In this situation, the car show becomes a no holds barred ripper. Which is what Ermie did. 
     You remember Ermie? Ermie Immerso, who successfully ran plenty of hot rods in the more traditional forms of automotive competitions. Anyway, he decided a few years back to take on the car show crowd, beaming directly at the old Oakland Roadster Show nee-National Roadster Show. He built a track styled T roadster directly to the car show judging sheets then extant. And he knocked the wheels off other contenders, each season changing the same basic car enough to satisfy the rule books and to keep the spectators interested. Even so, Ermie’s roadster was old hat after that initial Roadster Show debut. One of the problems of car shows (as with magazine coverage) is the notoriously short attention span of the so-called Enthusiast. 
     But Immerso proved a point: If you are going to be a car show rod or custom builder, then do it Big Time. That means checking out the game rules, then building to those rules. Which is exactly what changed the early days of drag racing to separate the men from the boys.  You wanna play in the Bigs, you better do the homework, and you better hone your skills, because you go in the Big League you gonna face a whole different class of players.  Of itself, the car show is not anathema to hot rodding. It is just that the emphasis on glitter has insinuated itself into the hobby/sport so much that even rod enthusiasts have distorted the reason for owning and driving a hot rod or custom car. In this respect, I always remind myself “sticks and stones..”.  In the end of it all, doesn’t matter what I think, only what you, the average hot rodder, think.  And do.
 

STAFF NOTES; the following was submitted by Steve Cole. 
                                                    ------------------- 
     The International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, housed at the famed Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida announced the 2014 inductees to the Hall of Fame.   2014 marks the 24th year of honoring those who contributed significantly to the sport in their careers.  The prestigious induction ceremony will take place in Gainesville, Fla. at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites on Thursday, March 13, 2014 preceding the NHRA Amalie Oil Gatornationals.  Popular former NHRA Announcer Bob Frey will again serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.  The six members of the inductee class for 2014 will include the sport’s most prolific Pro Stock winner and six-time NHRA Pro Stock World Champion, a two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion, a racer/turned master sheet metal craftsman, a popular top fuel racer and U.S. Nationals champion, a highly popular Funny Car driver and AHRA Funny Car Champion, a passionate benefactor of drag racing, and one of motorsports’ most popular and prolific artists.
     The Class of 2014: John Abbott (Denver, Colo.) -- Abbott was a highly popular top fuel driver from the early 1960s into the 1980s who successfully transitioned the somewhat difficult conversion from the front engine Top Fuel cars to the rear engine cars.  The highlight of his career was marked by winning the NHRA’s (National Hot Rod Association) most prestigious event, the U.S. Nationals.    
     Al Bergler (Shelby Township, Mich.) -- Al Bergler has been a hot rodder at heart throughout his adult life, racing cars and shaping sheet metal to create some of the most memorable appearing race cars in the sport.  His Competition Coupe, the beautiful yellow “More Aggravation,” is the only race car to win the Detroit Autorama’s Riddler Award in its 49 year history.    
     Frank Hawley (Newberry, Fla.) -- Hawley, the Canadian Top Fuel and Funny Car star, took the famed Farkonas, Coil & Minik “Chi-Town Hustler” fuel Funny Car team to back-to-back NHRA Funny Car World Championships in 1982 and 1983.  Hawley was later tabbed by Jerry and Darryl Gwynn to replace Darryl in the cockpit after his accident in the family’s Top Fuel car.  He currently operates the Frank Hawley School of Drag Racing which has trained thousands of racers.    
     Tom Hoover (Maple Grove, Minn.) -- Tom Hoover and the “Showtime” Funny Cars were highly popular with fans.  Tom was the driver element of the Hoover family racing operation, with his father George (“Pa”) doing the tuning, and Ruth (“Ma”) always present to do what needed to be done.  Across a 30-plus year career, Tom (and his parents) captured five NHRA Funny Car wins, and the AHRA (American Hot Rod Association) World Championship in 1976.    
     Warren Johnson (Buford, Ga.)  -- Warren Johnson acquired the nickname of “The Professor” over his career in the NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock class.  A dogged, determined and crafty practitioner of the art of engine building, chassis and clutch tuning, Johnson’s 97 Pro Stock wins and six NHRA World Championships, and two IHRA (International Hot Rod Association) Mountain Motor World Championships made him the most successful Pro Stock racer in the sport’s history.    
     Forrest Lucas (Corona, Calif.) - Lucas, through his Lucas Oil Products company, has become one of motorsports’ greatest modern day supporters.  He has utilized motorsports marketing, and particularly drag racing, to build brand awareness of his company’s extensive line of lubricants.  He is at the drag strip as frequently as his busy schedule allows, supporting his wife Charlotte’s Super Comp class dragster and son Morgan’s two car Top Fuel team.    
     The Founders Award Kenny Youngblood (Las Vegas, Nev.) – Kenny Youngblood’s career as the drag racing and hot rodding’s leading artist has been fueled by an undying passion for hot rods and race cars -- from designing custom cars and hot rods, developing color schemes for street cars and race cars, racing and owing race cars, to race car paintings.  Youngblood’s selection as the 2014 Founder’s Award honoree is based upon the feeling of Harry Hibler and Don Garlits that his contributions to the art of the race car and the custom car has made a highly significant, and lasting, impact.    
     Sponsors for the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony dinner are:  Presenting sponsor -- Lucas Oil Products, Inc. (Corona, Calif.), Summit Racing Products (Tallmadge, Oh.) -- Commemorative Rings, Commercial Power Cleaners (Jerry & Pat Baltes, Richmond, Va.) -- Commemorative trophies, Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC service, parts and customer-care group (Auburn Hills, Mich.) sponsoring the Commemorative dinner glasses.  Additional sponsor opportunities remain available.     A cocktail reception starts at 6:00 PM, with dinner served at 7:00 PM (Eastern).  The event will be filmed for later broadcast by Masters Entertainment of Bristol, Tenn.     The honorees are selected by a committee of veteran drag racing and performance industry figures.  The selection committee consists of: Steve Gibbs (Retired Vice President, NHRA), Harry Hibler (President, UNI-Marketing, LLC), Ted Jones (Masters Entertainment, Retired President, IHRA) and Greg Sharp (Curator, NHRA Motorsports Museum).    
     Corporate table sponsorship programs are available.  A table sponsorship costs $1000, which includes seating for ten with logo on the table, a banquet program listing, and inclusion in 2015 promotional brochures, a pair of free passes to the Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum plus logo placement on the banquet DVD credits.  Table sponsors will receive a DVD of the evening’s event, and additionally, each sponsor will be recognized from the stage during for the televised portion of the event. Individual seating tickets will be available at $100 each.  The presenters will be named in the future.      
     Ticket details and additional information are available by calling or emailing Donna Garlits at: (352) 245- 8661 or (877) 271-3278 toll free, fax (352) 245- 6895, email: donna@garlits.com.  The Don Garlits Drag Racing Hall of Fame is recognized as a 501(c)3 educational not-for-profit organization.
 

The following article is from Veloce Publishing's newsletter ON THE GRID. 
                                             -------------------------
     To celebrate reaching the 100th car milestone on hit Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealers, presenters Mike Brewer and Edd China will restore and drive their dream veteran car, the Darracq 1903, in the Royal Automobile Club London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on Sunday, 3 November.  To mark this incredible milestone Mike and Edd return to their favorite childhood film; 1953 BAFTA winning Genevieve, a charming tale of rivals who race to Brighton and back for a bet. The real star of the film is Genevieve, a Darracq 1904, and for their 100th build Mike and Edd will restore their very own Genevieve to run the 60-mile distance in the Veteran Car Run (VCR).  Mike said: “I’m so proud that we’ve reached this milestone.
     The Darracq is the perfect motor for us to celebrate the 100th Wheeler Dealers car – a car that’s over 100 years old itself. One thing is for sure – Edd’s going to have his work cut out on this one to make sure we cross that finish line!” Edd added: “I’ve wanted to work on a veteran car for years – the Darracq is an incredible machine so I can’t wait to get under the bonnet.  It’s going to be a steep learning curve but I’m determined to get us to Brighton in style.”  Haynes International Motor Museum has lent Wheeler Dealers its rare 1903 Darracq for this special episode.
     The car is one of the most sought after veterans, an instantly recognizable forerunner of today’s motorcar, because of its connection with Genevieve. Built by a French manufacturer the car is well known for its innovative design and engineering.  Throughout the show Mike and Edd will draw parallels between this four-seater, front-engine veteran and the typical car in the driveway of a Wheeler Dealers viewer as they restore numerous parts to make the car road safe in time for the run, the world’s longest running and greatest motoring celebration.  In Wheeler Dealers, now in production for an 11th series, Mike and Edd hunt for rundown classic cars and transform them into sleek, gleaming beauties ready to sell on for a healthy profit. The 100th car special featuring the Veteran Car Run will air next year.
 

     The Board of Directors of the Quarter Mile Foundation has named motorsports television producer John B. Mullin to create an initial pilot for the PROJECT 1320 documentary.  The Board felt John’s experience producing network television productions of drag racing and other motorsports during the period from the mid 1970’s to the mid 1990’s gave him an inside perspective into the racers and other personalities, as well as the performance aftermarket necessary to tell the audience how the sport and industry grew.
     Mullin Production Group (MPG) is headquartered in Westlake Village, California, and is a producer of major network motorsports programming including, most recently, the Champ Car World Series (ABC, ESPN, NBC, CBS), and,  in association with Chet Burks Productions, the AMA Superbike series for CBS Sports Network.  MPG is noted for its vast experience with all forms of motorsport, and for its approach to topflight production that places the emphasis on storytelling, and building the marketplace presence of the sport being covered.  The Quarter Mile Foundation is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit foundation, which is producing PROJECT 1320, a documentary film series about the history of drag racing and the parallel growth of the performance automotive aftermarket.   Steve Cole
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Remembering Allan ‘Bootsie’ Herridge, by Stu Bradbury and Brian Taylor.  
     Chairman of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Stu Bradbury remembers November 6th 1983 when Allan ‘Bootsie’ Herridge made his last ever pass down the world famous Santa Pod Raceway strip. The year 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of Allan’s passing. The legendary ‘Bootsie’ whose image is encapsulated in the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame trophy built one of the UK’s first dragsters and in a long and glorious career proved he could turn his hand to everything from managing a race track to driving race cars and building them.    
     In 1962 when Allan started to build his first dragster, there was no rulebook, no drawings, just pictures in American Hot Rod magazines and Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler. Allan being Allan was already fully engaged in the development of the sport, helping to form an organising club, writing construction rules for participants and spectators. Along with John Harrison and Brian Sparrow he formed a business called Dragster Developments and this company completed the construction of Allan’s first dragster and became renowned for shortening rear axles. When Santa Pod Raceway opened its gates to the public in 1966 Allan became even more involved in the sport.
     Stu Bradbury says, “When I met Allan in 1963 he instantly struck me with his happy-go-lucky attitude and his enthusiasm for drag racing and hot rods. Without any doubt it was him that got me involved in the sport all those years ago as he did many others. He once said to me that he was ‘just lucky’ being in the right place at the right time to be offered the drive of the Santa Pod owned cars;  legendary names such as Commuter, Firefly, Asphalt Alligator, the Gloworm and Gladiator Funny Cars to name a few”.  
     As the sport became more popular Allan moved to live close to Santa Pod and was its full time track manager. On Saturday and Sunday he’d be driving Fueler, Funny Car, Jet or Rocket Car and on Monday supervising the litter pickers and empting toilets, building, advising, and modifying cars and chassis for others. Allan’s character - his friendly and helpful nature, his unwavering passion to develop drag racing is still stamped right through the sport to this day.  
     Stu says, “Allan’s BDRHoF trophy was the first to be awarded at the joint APIRA/SPRC Dinner Dance in February 2006. He would be so humbled to have the award named after him. If we still had him with us today, he would have laughed, rattled of a half dozen names of people he would think are far more deserve than him. For me, and many, many others, there is no one more deserving than him, that’s why we named the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame award a Bootsie.” 
www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk. Contact Stu Bradbury, BritishDRHOF@aol.com.
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The following is from Brian Taylor and Stu Bradbury.
     The achievements of three British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) members are being celebrated this winter and into next year.  They are Peter Billinton, the Phelps family and the late Tony Densham.  October 3rd 2013 marked the 43rd anniversary of Tony Densham successfully taking the Official Wheel Driven British Land Speed Record on October 3rd 1970 at Elvington York, driving the Densham/Billinton/Phelps Commuter dragster, which was specially adapted for this attempt. This record had stood for 43 years, being held previously by Sir Malcolm Campbell in the Napier-Campbell Blue Bird II on Pendine sands in 1927.  Today Tony’s record of 207.6 mph (the average speed measured over a kilometer) remains unbroken. To achieve this average the terminal speed required would have been well in excess of the record figure and was also required to be repeated within 1 hour in the opposite direction to become an official record.    
     In light of this milestone, Commuter’s owner Antony Billinton has been busy over the last couple of months returning the car to exactly how it looked on those famous record runs on 3rd Oct 1970. So it does not look quite the same as many people would have seen it when last displayed at Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia event in 2013. There are some obvious additions and changes to the car. Fortunately Antony’s photographic archive has many reference pictures to work from for fine details and he also has a very good memory when it comes to this car. Of course his father, Peter’s memory could be tapped into now and again. Peter was a key member of the original team. Now, finally, Antony thinks that it is looking just about right.    
     To further commemorate Tony’s achievement in early 2014 the car will be the center of attraction at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall London. They have kindly invited Antony to put it on display in their Rotunda area for a period of time to commemorate Tony Densham’s achievement of holding the official Wheel Driven British Land Speed Record for longer than Sir Malcolm Campbell and in fact longer than anybody else. They have even taken the time and expense to restore and reunite the original base to the Sir Malcolm Campbell Memorial Trophy which had Tony’s name engraved on it in 1970. There is a bust of Sir Malcolm there too which they have suggested would certainly make an apt backdrop for the car.    
     After that at around Easter time the car continues its travels and goes on to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu to form a part of a Special Land Speed Record display lasting the whole year. Final arrangements for all of this are currently taking place and when the exact dates have been finalized they will be published for any interested parties who would like to see the car just as it looked when it became really famous. 
www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk/members/tony-densham.   The picture credit to Roger Phillips from the Densham-Billinton archives.   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Robin Jackson, MSA British Drag Racing Championship Public Relations Officer will be joining the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) Board of Selectors. BDRHoF Chairman Stu Bradbury said, “The British Drag Racing Hall of Fame has great plans for the future but needs help in the areas of press and sponsorship communication plus event planning and management. Robin has agreed to take on this task assisting Brian Taylor and myself.”  Robin Jackson first encountered drag racing more than 50 years ago on the back-page of a children’s comic (which he now wishes he’d kept). He attended his first drag race at Santa Pod on Easter Monday, 1967 and made the first of many trips to America in 1974 for the NHRA Supernationals/World Finals at Ontario Motor Speedway, with side visits to Irwindale and Fremont – all three tracks long since gone.    
     During the 1980s he photographed and reported on NHRA races for various UK publications, ranging from Autosport to Penthouse (!). In the 2000’s he operated Blueprints For Travel Ltd, developing and managing overseas drag racing tours in conjunction with travel companies Trailfinders and Grandstand Motor Sports. Since 2007 he has served as press officer for the MSA British Drag Racing Championship and, this past season, for the European Funny Car Series.  Robin said, “I’m very pleased to be able to join Stuart and his BDRHoF team. They have achieved much since the 2006 launch and I’m looking forward to being part of their exciting future plans. The history of our sport is rich with stories about people following their dreams and they need to be celebrated. With recent sponsorship agreements in place the BDRHoF is now in a position to set new standards in communication and event organisation. To be a part of this new era is an exciting prospect”.  www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk.  Brian Taylor (UK)
 

Art Evans from the Fabulous Fifties gave me permission to share the following news from his newsletter with our readers.
1) Jim Jeffords will be 87 in December.  In 1944, he was 17 and served in the Army for two years. Jeffords started to race his XK120 in 1954.  In 1956, he was an advertising executive representing Road America. In 1957, Ed Cole at GM offered Jim a ride in a Corvette at Sebring where he placed 2nd in class. During 1958 and 1959, he raced a Corvette for a Chicago dealership, winning the BProduction SCCA National Championship. In 2001, he was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame.
2) Masten Gregory has been selected for induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He was inducted on August 21. Masten was represented by his brother, Riddelle (Rocket) Gregory. Rocket unveiled a sculpture that is on display at the Hall.
3) Parnelli Jones was honored at the Indy 500 “Legends Day” on May 25.  During the celebration, he drove the same car in which he won Indy in 1963.  He led 34 other front engine roadsters on a parade lap.
4) DOUG HOOPER By Jim Gessner
     Long-time Fabulous Fifties non-member, Doug Hooper, died on October 2, 2013. Doug was born on February 3, 1933. A regular participant at Cal Club and SCCA events, he began racing in 1959 in his 1957 Corvette. He won the SCCA Pacific Coast Championship five times. Doug's achievements note him as a world-class racer and one of those drivers to bring the Corvette to the international stage following his win in the Times Grand Prix at Riverside on October 13, 1962. Chevrolet introduced the new Sting Ray Split Window Z06 racing option in October 1962 at Riverside Raceway. Dave MacDonald, Bob Bondurant, Jerry Grant and Doug all drove Z06 Split Window Corvettes. Billy Krause drove the first Shelby Cobra ever to race that day, but the Mickey Thompson sponsored Z0-6 driven by Hooper won the three-hour race averaging 84.06 mph in front of 78,000 spectators. In December 1962, at a special Z0-6 brake test session at Sebring, Zora Arkus-Duntov approached Doug and asked him to test his new secret project – the Grand Sport. After the test, Doug was scheduled to co-drive the Corvette Grand Sport with Billy Krause at LeMans in June 1963. Doug drove at the 3 hour Continental at Daytona in mid February 1963, and after the race, the GM sponsored race program ended. In the summer of 63, Doug raced all over the West and had many wins and opened “Doug's Corvette Service” in North Hollywood, California and created one of the premier Corvette and Rochester Fuel Injection repair shops in the country. In 1969, Doug added to his busy life and became a Reserve Police officer for L.A.P.D. Don Hooper (no relation) remembers that “He and I worked together when I was a new cop. As I recall, Doug was an aggressive street cop, just like he was as a race driver.” In 1993, Doug continued to stay active in racing and was asked to prepare and tour the country in the original #001, 1963 Grand Sport – the same car he had tested at Sebring some 30 years earlier! Under Roger Penske's ownership in 1966, this Grand Sport, one of the original five, had a 427 L-88 big block motor installed and was previously driven by Corvette Hall of Fame legends, Dick Thompson and Dick Guldstrand at Sebring in 1966. Doug toured the U.S. in vintage events during the 1993-94 season with the car and raced it with great respect and the admiration of the public. Numerous books and magazine articles have acknowledged Doug's winning career and accomplishments. In 2007, Doug was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame. Services were held on Oct 19, 2013 at the "Our Lady of the Sierra" Catholic Church in Oakhurst, California.         
5) JOHN MORTON 2013 Lindley Bothwell Awardee.  By Art Evans
     John Morton has been racing most continuously since his debut in 1963, first as an amateur, then as a pro and more recently in vintage. According to John, “The Datsun 240Z and the 510 were the most important cars in my life.” When Pete Brock hired John to drive with his BRE Datsun team, John was still in his twenties. He had, however, had considerable experience racing his own Lotus Super 7, a Lotus 23B, and Cobras for Shelby American. At the wheel of 240Zs, John won the SCCA C-Production National Championship in 1970 and 1971. In addition, he won the 2.5- liter class Trans-Am Championship in 1971 and 1972 in a 510. After the 1972 season, Brock disbanded the team.  Morton was born on February 17, 1942 in Waukegan, Illinois. When his dad took him to a race at Road America in 1957, he acquired a lifelong passion for road racing. He dropped out of college, went to California and attended Carroll Shelby’s school at Riverside. Then he persuaded Shelby to hire him as a janitor at the Shelby American plant in Venice. Eventually, he became a team driver. In his first time out, he was paired with Ken Miles on March 21, 1964 in a 427 Cobra Prototype at Sebring. They failed to finish, but at the Road America 500 that year, John was the SCCA C-Production National Champion in 1971 driving a 240Z Datsun. John and Skip Scott won the GT class and finished second overall in a Cobra. During his years with Shelby, Morton raced his own Lotus Super 7 and later, a Lotus 23B with the SCCA. Having proved himself with Pete Brock and Datsuns in the early 70’s, Morton went on to a professional career in Formula 5000, Can-Am and IMSA. In addition, John worked as a stunt driver in some Hollywood productions. In 1984 driving a Lola Mazda for BFGoodrich John won the C-2 class at Le Mans and was 10th overall. In 1985, teamed with Pete Halsmer, he won the Los Angeles Times GP at Riverside in a BFG sponsored 962 Porsche. In 1987, John and Hurley Haywood won the Times Grand Prix for Group 44 in a Jaguar, the last professional race on the Riverside track. Later driving for Nissan with Geoff Brabham, John won five IMSA events. Above: John co-drove the Shelby Cobra 427 Prototype with Ken Miles on March 21, 1954 at Sebring. Driving a factory Nissan GTS, he won his class at Sebring in 1993, overall in 1994 and his class (5th OA) at Le Mans in 1994. Also in 1993 he won the last AIS Series race at Willow Springs in an outdated Gurney Eagle. John drove the Marlboro GT on the Las Americas winning twice in Venezuela and once in Costa Rica. A factory ride in an ORECA Viper followed in 1997 at Le Mans. John has continued into the 21st Century driving mainly Porsches in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car and American Le Mans Series. These days, John is often found at the wheel of a Sunbeam Tiger owned by Buck Trippel of Redondo Beach, California in vintage races. Coincidentally, the car is the same Tiger driven by Lew Spencer for Shelby American. John worked on the car when he was with Shelby in the sixties. John often races for Collier Motorsports at Monterey in various vintage treasures such as the Scarab, the Corvette Grand Sport and GT-40. I met John when he was with Pete Brock and we have been friends ever since. In 1989 when I put together a race for senior champs, John was the first to sign up. (Jack Brabham won.)


Fred Babcock colour Buick 1964
image003296

in association with US Automotive

November 2013

REMEMBERING ALLAN ‘BOOTSIE’ HERRIDGE

Chairman of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Stu Bradbury remembers November 6th 1983 when Allan ‘Bootsie’ Herridge made his last ever pass down the world famous Santa Pod Raceway strip. The year 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of Allan’s passing. The legendary ‘Bootsie’ whose image is encapsulated in the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame trophy built one of the UK’s first dragsters and in a long and glorious career proved he could turn his hand to everything from managing a race track to driving race cars and building them.

Allan Herridge’s first dragster – a straight 8 Buick rail. (photo Fred Babcock)

 

In 1962 when Allan started to build his first dragster, there was no rulebook, no drawings, just pictures in American Hot Rod magazines and Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler. Allan being Allan was already fully engaged in the development of the sport, helping to form an organising club, writing construction rules for participants and spectators. Along with John Harrison and Brian Sparrow he formed a business called Dragster Developments and this company completed the construction of Allan’s first dragster and became renowned for shortening rear axles. When Santa Pod Raceway opened its gates to the public in 1966 Allan became even more involved in the sport.

 

Stu Bradbury says,

 

“When I met Allan in 1963 he instantly struck me with his happy-go-lucky attitude and his enthusiasm for drag racing and hot rods. Without any doubt it was him that got me involved in the sport all those years ago as he did many others. He once said to me that he was ‘just lucky’ being in the right place at the right time to be offered the drive of the Santa Pod owned cars;  legendary names such as Commuter, Firefly, Asphalt Alligator, the Gloworm and Gladiator Funny Cars to name a few”.

 

As the sport became more popular Allan moved to live close to Santa Pod and was its full time track manager. On Saturday and Sunday he’d be driving Fueler, Funny Car, Jet or Rocket Car and on Monday supervising the litter pickers and empting toilets, building, advising, and modifying cars and chassis for others. Allan’s character - his friendly and helpful nature, his unwavering passion to develop drag racing is still stamped right through the sport to this day.

 

Stu says,

“Allan’s BDRHoF trophy was the first to be awarded at the joint APIRA/SPRC Dinner Dance in February 2006. He would be so humbled to have the award named after him. If we still had him with us today, he would have laughed, rattled of a half dozen names of people he would think are far more deserve than him. For me, and many, many others, there is no one more deserving than him, that’s why we named the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame award a Bootsie”.    

www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk

 

Contact Stu Bradbury BritishDRHOF@aol.com Tel 01933 279102

 

In Association with US Automotive

 

October 2013

CELEBRATING

THE COMMUTER DRAGSTER

LAND SPEED RECORD ANNIVERSARY

 

The achievements of three British Drag Racing Hall of Fame (BDRHoF) members are being celebrated this winter and into next year.  They are Peter Billinton, the Phelps family and the late Tony Densham.

 

CommuterElvingtonstartflyingkilo1970 small

Peter Billinton gives Tony Densham the OK for a record breaking run driving Commuter at Elvington. (photo; Roger Phillips from the Densham-Billinton Archives)

 

October 3rd 2013 marked the 43rd anniversary of Tony Densham successfully taking the Official Wheel Driven British Land Speed Record on October 3rd 1970 at Elvington York, driving the Densham/Billinton/Phelps Commuter dragster, which was specially adapted for this attempt. This record had stood for 43 years, being held previously by Sir Malcolm Campbell in the Napier-Campbell Blue Bird II on Pendine sands in 1927.

 

Today Tony’s record of 207.6 mph (the average speed measured over a kilometer) remains unbroken. To achieve this average the terminal speed required would have been well in excess of the record figure and was also required to be repeated within 1 hour in the opposite direction to become an official record.

 

In light of this milestone, Commuter’s owner Antony Billinton has been busy over the last couple of months returning the car to exactly how it looked on those famous record runs on 3rd Oct 1970. So it does not look quite the same as many people would have seen it when last displayed at Santa Pod’s Dragstalgia event in 2013. There are some obvious additions and changes to the car. Fortunately Antony’s photographic archive has many reference pictures to work from for fine details and he also has a very good memory when it comes to this car. Of course his father, Peter’s memory could be tapped into now and again. Peter was a key member of the original team. Now, finally, Antony thinks that it is looking just about right.

 

To further commemorate Tony’s achievement in early 2014 the car will be the center of attraction at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall London. They have kindly invited Antony to put it on display in their Rotunda area for a period of time to commemorate Tony Densham’s achievement of holding the official Wheel Driven British Land Speed Record for longer than Sir Malcolm Campbell and in fact longer than anybody else. They have even taken the time and expense to restore and reunite the original base to the Sir Malcolm Campbell Memorial Trophy which had Tony’s name engraved on it in 1970. There is a bust of Sir Malcolm there too which they have suggested would certainly make an apt backdrop for the car.

 

After that at around Easter time the car continues it’s travels and goes on to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu to form a part of a Special Land Speed Record display lasting the whole year. Final arrangements for all of this are currently taking place and when the exact dates have been finalized they will be published for any interested parties who would like to see the car just as it looked when it became really famous. 

 

www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk/members/tony-densham

 

The picture credit to Roger Phillips from the Densham-Billinton archives.

 

Contact Stu Bradbury britishDRHOF@aol.com

Tel 01933 279102

 

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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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