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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 319 -April 15 , 2014
Editors-in-Chief:Jack &  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;  Dyno Dan,  Speed Week JoAnn Carlson,  Tex Smith, ErnieNagamatsu, Jerry Corneilsun, Glenn Campbell

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Dyno Don Batyi:   
     Below is an article on the Chevy Volt that is getting some play on TV lately.  I spent 40 years in the Industrial Truck Industry (forklifts) and there were electric lift trucks from day one.  Over my tenure they went from a 4 hour charge shift to an 8 hour shift.  The lift trucks were very reliable; however the real problem is in CHARGING.  Before I retired, the last electric lift truck warehouse that I was associated with, was the Costco Distribution Center in Cucamonga.  They spent more money on chargers, changers, battery racks and extra batteries than they did on the lift trucks.  I agree with Eric Bolling 100%.  Electric cars are not the way to go; 2000 and up vehicles put out zero emissions.  I have a 2001 daily driver that I just had smogged and it still puts out zero.  Plus, North America has a huge natural gas and petroleum reserve with a supply system in place.  Technology is the answer.  There is no need to change.  
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     Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors. 
     For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.  Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.  It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph.  Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.  In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.  According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity.  It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for electricity.  I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh.  
     16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.  $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.  Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg.  $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.  You can buy the Chevy Cruz gasoline powered car for about $20,000 while the Volt costs $46,000.  So the Government wants us to pay over twice times as much, for a car that costs more than 7 times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across the country.  The Tesla performs a little bit better but costs between $80,000 and $100,000 and will be worth half that much once you drive it off the showroom floor.
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STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.
     Recently I heard of a letter sent around the SCTA from the
“SCTA Vigilante Committee.”  Letters and politicking like this are not unusual in the SCTA or in fact any other organization.  I have seen worse in AYSO Soccer, political campaigns, church, social and fundraising groups, etal.  I will say this; it is a tame letter of dubious content compared to many organizations I have volunteered in.  It really isn't the complaints that are raised, for I am sure that both pro and con can argue quite eloquently as to whether the SCTA Board is competent or not.  No, the issues aren't one of corruption, obstinacy, dictatorial leadership or low IQ.  I don't know anyone on the Vigilante Committee, because they didn't sign the letter.  I know some of the Board members and club reps and who knows if some of the complaints are valid or invalid.  I can say that my father, a bell-weather for LSR from the 1930's to his passing in 2007 never complained to me about any of these men and women.  Yet I can say that on a few occasions I have had words with a few of the people mentioned in the letter; some good and some not so kind.  But my experiences are nothing that would indicate the extreme frustration between the members and the leadership as in this letter.  Perhaps this is an April Fool’s joke, for I have been fooled before.  Other sources tell me that a good many members have left the SCTA or will leave.  The facts are just not there to clearly see the truth of the matter.
     Why do I say that the charges themselves are not the main issue?  It starts with a grasp of history, for it is easier to see today and tomorrow if you know and understand what went on before.  Groups of people have risen up in all the Timing Associations to run these organizations.  They are usually people who can't stand disorder and want to bring unity to the group.  It goes back to the definition of a leader.  A person who will put all personal and financial gain on hold, spend all the time it takes and never leave a job undone is a leader.  All leaders are not necessarily good or beneficial to all in a group.  Hitler and Mao were leaders, but they were not kind men.  My father was a leader because he began to lead others way back in the 1930's and was working on behalf of racing groups right up to his death.  On the other hand I am not a leader.  It's true that I can spend a lot of time creating huge amounts of text that others see as important.  But when I am tired or bored I head for more simpler and entertaining things to do and drop what I am doing.  Leaders just don't do that; leaders never stop leading and working.
     The real danger is not a vigilante letter.  That is actually a good thing and it's called feedback.  Not nice feedback, but important feedback nonetheless.  I actually believe you should ask the hard questions, or as Kong Jackson used to say at Board meetings in the 1940's, "Bozzie, where's the money?"  That used to drive Ak Miller wild with anger.  Bozzie Willis was the nicest man you could ever meet and one of the most helpful.  But it's important to quiz the leaders and it is okay to raise your voice.  Real leaders can take constructive criticism while pretend leaders will find any opposition irritating.  The real danger is that there isn't more give and take; feedback if you will.  Things are left unsaid, feelings fester and then I get these letters from people that say, "Why do you want me to help, I'm nobody, haven't you heard."  When people really begin to believe that they are nobodies that’s the dangerous time when a real "hot dog" shows up with a gift of gab to sign up new recruits for the new breakaway Vigilante Timing Association and half of the original group splits off and goes with the new group.
     Why does this happen?  Inattention to detail is the reason why.  Leaders forget that in their rush to get things done that they overlook the social aspect of a group dynamic.  It isn't that the group is only a racing organization; it is a social one as well.  There are a lot of problems facing any racing association and it isn’t all financial problems either.  One problem is the need to get younger people involved.  Another is to make the image of the group more readily known by the public.  There is a need to defend the usage of El Mirage and Bonneville from political and economic groups that only wish to profit at the public's expense.  The post-WWII SCTA faced these same problems.  One solution was to hire a General Manager and move the Board back to an oversight and advisory group.  But to be effective you have to have true leaders and I've given you the definition of leadership; unlimited attention to a cause.  The SCTA probably has a surplus of nice guys, the non-leader leader who only goes so far.  Perhaps what they need is a true leader like Dad was.
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Do you know if it's possible to visit Harry Millers old shop in Los Angeles?  I talked to the Harry Miller's club, but they had no connection to the building.  Best regards, Hans Lundholm (Harry Miller's shop:
http://vimeo.com/channels/wheretheyraced/59582820.)
    
HANS: According to Jim Miller the shop is still there in an Industrial Park on Gage Avenue in Los Angeles.  Miller had a shop in Long Beach and moved to Los Angeles later on.  I'll ask our members if they have been there or have pictures of the shop.
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STAFF NOTES; there is an interesting article in www.hotrodhotline.com titled “Eastern Auto Supply Sold Early Hot Rod Goodies.”  It was written by John "Gunner" Gunnell. 
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John Hutchinson sent in a website on hot rods in the British Isles called RodsnSods.  To view the contents and the articles go to
http://www.rodsnsods.co.uk/.
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STAFF NOTES; the following comes from Jerry Cornelison of the Road Runners. 
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I was recently in touch with Jillian Bergman.  We made contact via some postings on the HAMB by fellow Road Runner (Bill Anderson) regarding a video we recently showed at our Annual Road Runners Banquet. Member Mel Weber was going through a closet and tossing out old 8mm family films.  He came across some marked "El Mirage" and "Bonneville."  Not having a 8mm projector, he sent them to Costco and had them converted to a DVD.  They turned out to be vintage dry lakes films from the 1960-61 era.  Also included some footage of the SCTA 1/2mile Drags at Riverside and Taft as well as some hydroplane racing at the Long Beach Marina.  Wow!  What a find.... some LSR history saved that came close to going in the trash bin!  I have loaned the DVD to Jillian.  She contacted me yesterday and was delighted with the footage.  Some of it will make its way into her National Geographic Documentary.  When Mel sent me a copy to show at our Banquet, he provided a hand written narrative which I converted to typed copy:
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Road Runners DVD – narrative; "…DVD enclosed.  Hope you enjoy.  It starts with (SCTA) ½ mile drags at Taft and Riverside (International Raceway), then El Mirage, Bonneville and has my Mercury and the Altered that Roland (Gravel) and I ran (#109).  It was at my folk’s new house in Costa Mesa.  Three car garage and it had a pit in the floor in my stall.  There is a trophy presentation with the comments, “Guy Lile and Trophies.”  I remember the face but cannot recall what was important about him.  The end is a fraternity party or rush, nothing to do with the other.  The red roadster with Autolite decal, I believe, is Tom Bryant’s and the Aluminum body streamliner, I think is Athol Graham’s or Art Arfons.’  (verified as the Athol Graham streamliner)  Ralph Haun’s ’57 Ford is at the beginning, then his green Corvette at Riverside.  I think he was racing Gary Nichols in the red Plymouth and I think it was his father looking at my Merc at Riverside while I was doing "something."  My dad must have taken the photo.  Bill Graham, I believe, was the starter at Taft with the Road Runner jacket.  Every time I look at the DVD something else pops up.  Jerry Kugel and his ’34 orange coupe he had with “Big Red” Holmes (Holmes & Kugel) at Bonneville in ’62 with Roland and I.  Dean Lowe’s ’32 truck, I believe, at the beginning also.  I have three more copies coming so keep the DVD.  Mel (Weber) (notes in parenthesis added by Jerry Cornelison)
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     Heading to Speed Week this year with three bikes and a whole crew of people. I understand that those of us who have BNI memberships receive passes for crew and pit vehicles but I'm confused what that covers for entry.  If we bring 8-10 people along in three different vehicles, will we also need to pay entry fees for each person when we show up at the gate?  Trying to get things planned out and make sure I inform everyone in our group the right way.  Jim Volgarino Waterloo, Iowa, Team SpeedaSALT
     JIM: I'm sending your message along to Jim Miller, the president of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians to see if he can give you an official answer from the SCTA/BNI, and if not, who can help answer your questions. 
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     JIM; Call JoAnn Carlson at the SCTA office to get the
correct answer.  Her number is 559-528-6279.  You can also go to the SCTA/BNI website.  Jim Miller
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     A car described as an "E Gas Street Bonneville Roadster."  Attached is a copy of the car which has a decal on it signifying its participation in the 1993 races at Bonneville.  Can you provide to me or advise me on where I might find information on this car's Bonneville run in 1993?  As you can see from the picture, the owner (at one time) was Clayton & Gaerte Racing of Rochester, Indiana.  I noticed from speed records posted on the Internet that C. Clayton was the driver who set a speed record at Bonneville in 1996 with an F-class unblown street roadster on behalf of Clayton & Gaerte Racing.  Thanks for any pictures, information, or advice you may be able to provide.  Jack Ham, (205) 540-7621, jham287066@aol.com.
    
JACK: I will post your request to Issue #319, in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter, which is published at www.landspeedracing.com.  In the meantime, since time is of the essence, you should email, or preferably call knowledgeable people in both the USFRA and the SCTA/BNI as they both hold timing meets on the Salt Flats.  Phone calls are always more productive if you have them.  You should also contact Mike Cook as he promotes racing there as well.  The Clayton & Gaerte Racing team may still be in operation and if so that would solve your problem quickly.  Programs will help, but finding the builders, driver, crewmembers or other parties to the roadster would be a quicker and more comprehensive solution.
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STAFF NOTES; It appears the Clayton & Gaerte Racing team held these records under the SCTA/BNI as late as 1999.  1) Unblown Gas Modified Roadster/GMR, F/GMR Clayton & Gaerte Racing (driver C. Clayton) 1996, 156.058mph.   2) Unblown Street Roadster/STR, F/STR Clayton & Gaerte Racing (driver C. Clayton) 1996, 150.933mph.   Gaerte Racing Engines is at http://www.gaerteengines.com.
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     A friend of mine went to watch the drags at Las Vegas and he bought back the DVD for me (Snake & Mongoo$e movie).  It is an excellent movie and if you can get it, do so, you'll enjoy it.  John Hutchinson, Gateshead, England. 
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STAFF NOTES; Reprinted from the Autowriters Newsletter, March 2014.  Glenn Campbell writes;
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     Darr Hawthorne no longer is West Coast editor for Dragracing Online Magazine but continues to freelance automotive writing.  The Car Guy TV launched this month in Dallas, Texas on Channel 47 KTXD, SAT 11:30 am SUN 6 pm, FRI 1:30 am. Hosted by Lifestyle magazine publisher Timothy Miller and Porsche national race car champion, Kristen Treager, the show was "born out of a desire to bring something fresh and new to the automotive enthusiasts of Texas," Miller says.  He is interested in interviewing automotive journalists.  The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles has opened a unique town-car display that will remain through the fall of 2014.  Cars with the distinctive open chauffeur compartment dating from 1889 to the 1960’s are included in the display.   One of them is Liberace's unique mirrored town-car.   Autobooks-Aerobooks store in Burbank, California will have a book signing of USRRC April 5 by Mike Martin from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   MPG has planned a "Power Trip" to the Toyota Automobile Museum for its members on Sunday, April 6.  The idea is for participants to use their favorite, hopefully unusual, vehicle for the jaunt from Long Beach to Torrance.   Also on the MPG agenda is a "Droptops and Dirt" drive.  It combines the challenging off-road trails with an on-road convertible drive through scenic, twisty canyon roads.  On the 26th, The Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip Reunion will be from 10 AM until 2 PM at Santiago Creek Park just off North Lawson Way in the city of Orange, California.  The 22nd annual Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance will celebrate automotive innovation by showcasing the convergence of engineering, ingenuity, art and craftsmanship, according to Chairman Peter Kunoth.  The event will be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Sunday, September 14.  The Concours will have 20 classes, with Tucker and Cord as the featured Marques.  NORTHERN CALIFORNIA; car designer Peter Brock will be the featured speaker at the Blackhawk Museum on April 27.  He will talk about his time at GM Styling with Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, and his design that would ultimately become the '63 Corvette Sting Ray.
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I was the track announcer for the 1965 AHRA Winter Nationals at Beeline, and the host/presenter for the first-ever Pay-Per-View recording of a motor sports event.  You can see the outline of the tower-placed (full sized) TV camera in the final shot.  I have attached a photo of Don Garlits and myself as interviewer for the project.  Also did voice-over for the resulting film.   Jon W. Lundberg, Sr

JonDG

STAFF NOTES: the following emails and letters came from long-time supporter Ernie Nagamatsu.                                                                
     We were involved in 13 races with the Old Yeller II and the CSX 2203 Shelby Cobra in recent weeks in Australia.  The first was the Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsports (525 historic race cars) and then the week following at the huge Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix with the Historic race as a part of the big weekend.  I was asked to be the speaker for the VHRR 25th Anniversary Dinner for the Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport and also the Tribute to Sir Jack Brabham.  Elaine and I carried on the racing heritage for Max and Ina Balchowsky, the original builders of the Old Yeller II.  The racing at Phillip Island circuit took focus with the tough “fender to fender” racing.  VHRR covered all expenses except racing fuel as they shipped Old Yeller II and CSX2203 to Melbourne, bond, customs, transporting of 40’ container to PI and F1 GP, prime garage space.  There was a special page in the Official Program on the Old Yeller II and big photo of the CSX2203 and the history of the Old Yeller II in the F1 Official Program.  Overseas drivers were given special plaques.  Twice I had to avoid three Geese (Cape Barron Geese) walking calmly across the race-track and once at speed.  We were so overwhelmed with kind hospitality at all levels.   At the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, Sir Jack Brabham was honored with the 2014 Engineering Heritage Award for the Repco Brabham BT19.             
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     Ernie Nagamatsu called me a few days ago, and told me about his trip to an event in Australia with Jack Brabham, as the honoree, and if I would I give him a few remarks to say in honor of Brabham.  Jack and I go far back in history together to an age when we both could drive fast.  He was the dark haired Aussie; I was the blond California surfer.  In 1959 when Jack won his first World Driver's Championship I became the rookie member of the Ferrari F1 team.  We were competitors on the F1 circuit the following three years dueling it out nicely at places like the Nuerburgring, Watkins Glen, Monza, South Africa and Riverside. 
     Jack hired me in 1963 as a member for his newly established Brabham F I team and during the next three years we really got to know each other.  We discovered we shared similar traits.  We were not only interested in driving racing cars but in building them, improving them, searching for every tiny bit of technical advantage we could find.  I see both of us sitting in garages all over the world bent over engines, talking to each other and to our team: Ron Tauraunac, Phil Kerr, Roy Billington, Tim Wall, and Nick Gooze.   I am awfully proud that I was able to deliver the first Grand Prix victory to the Brabham marque in Rouen, France in 1964, exactly 50 years ago this July.      
     Jack was most understanding though not too happy when I left the team in 1966 to establish my own team and build my own cars and represent my country in Europe as he had so ably.  Was that a wise decision?  Yes and no as you remind me every once in a while with a postcard from some of the World Champion Drivers Get-togethers, "
Dear Dan, if you had not left me in 1966 you could be here and drink champagne with us."   Jack and I both had young families when we arrived in Europe; we had no family money to support us, but had to establish ourselves on our own. 
     For both of us the road has not been easy but the passion to race was so strong that we brushed all obstacles aside and pressed on regardless.  We both raised sons who became successful racing drivers, one of yours, Geoffrey drove for my AAR racing team on the Indy circuit, he was talented
like his old man, we cherish the memory.  I have been told that only 3 men in the 100 year history of Grand Prix racing have built and won with their own F I cars; Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, and I.  It is a nice club to belong to, however you are in a class by yourself: Bruce and I won races, but you won Championships.  Your illustrious career will forever be a tough act to follow, it is a shining example for generations to come.   Dan Gurney                                                            ------------------   
      Dear Ernie, Thank you so very much for bringing to the Phillip Island meeting Dan’s wonderful letter and the great panache with which you presented it.  It meant a great deal as Dan is someone I hold very dear indeed.  I want to thank you for the famous good-luck charm you made and gave to me, a very special thing to have.  Margaret of course was very thrilled with her ring and thanks you very much for thinking of her.  I do hope you are enjoying your time in Australia.  It is a very nice place to be.  I understand we will see you at the Australian Grand Prix and if you have not been there before should enjoy it very much.  Thank you again, and kind regards, Jack Brabham   
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*Photo images @ Phillip Island -
http://www.flickr.com/photos/iew28images/sets/72157642357641104/.   *Youtube - 25th Anniversary Dinner & Tribute to Sir Jack Brabham – Nagamatsu speech at Phillip Island- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCpfOwUe8W4.    *25th Anniversary Dinner photographs  http://www.flickr.com/photos/iew28images/sets/72157642320460353/.   *VHRR @ Australian F1 Grand Prix Historic paddock tour video https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=726515677387952&set=vb.193424724030386&type=2&theater.      
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     Ernie and Elaine: Yesterday, here on the Gold Coast (Australia) not far from Sir Jack’s home, I gathered a number of enthusiastic and sincere motor sport friends for a lunch at Café Monaco with Sir Jack.  One of my guests, John French, had been in attendance on the evening of March 8, and he too was moved by your address.  I was encouraged by John to read to all the relevant parts of that sincere and beautiful email from Dan Gurney.  Everyone was moved by what I spoke, even though I could not reproduce the elegant way you delivered these very meaningful words from Dan.   We have decided to hold another lunch with Sir Jack on Thursday June 26 to commemorate the 50thAnniversary of Dan winning the French Grand Prix at Rouen on June 28, 1964, the first race victory for a Brabham F1 car.
     This is the closet date we can arrange a function.  I will invite as many of our friends to join with Sir Jack for this celebration, trusting that we can assemble a special menu of French food to add to the occasion.  It is also of note that Dan won the final F1 race of 1964 in Mexico on October 25 that year, and we may also use this date for another small gathering.   I know that you both truly enjoyed your brief time in Australia and look forward to meeting up with you again in the not too distant future.  I thank you also for the picture and pin of ‘Ol Yella’ and I am so pleased that you have maintained this extremely historic racing icon in its ‘original’ guise.  With my very best wishes and regards, Grahame Ward.     
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     The most legendary Australian racing car, the Repco-Brabham BT19, has been honored with the 2014 Engineering Heritage Award.  The globally recognised Engineering Heritage Awards were established by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1984 to celebrate excellence in mechanical engineering.  As the latest recipient of this award, the Repco- Brabham BT19 joins the elite company alongside other winners including the world’s first vertical take-off/landing aircraft the Hawker Siddelay Harrier Jet and the world’s fastest steam locomotive, the Mallard Class A4 4468.  Repco has played a pivotal role in the success and evolution of motorsport worldwide, a contribution cemented in 1966 when Repco designed and built the Repco-Brabham BT19 Formula One V8 racing engine together with engineer Ron Tauranac and Sir Jack Brabham AO OBE. 
     The Australian built Repco-Brabham BT19 Formula One car with its 3 litre Formula One V8 racing engine powered Sir Jack Brabham to victory, beating the likes of Ferrari, in the 1966 Formula One Drivers’ and, Constructors’ Championships, a feat unlikely to ever be repeated.  In a ceremony held at the 2014 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne and attended by the Premier, Hon. Dr Denis Napthine and Sir Jack Brabham AO OBE, Chairman of the IMechE Victorian Branch Andrew Lezala, presented Repco Managing Director John Moller, with the Engineering Heritage Award Plaque to commemorate the achievement. 
     John Moller President of GPC Asia Pacific incorporating said, “Repco pioneered the auto parts industry in Australia 90 years ago; and our world-class spirit is epitomized by the Repco-Brabham BT19."  “Today, Repco continues to lead the way by giving our Customers the winning edge with world class know how, auto parts and service across 400 stores.”  “Repco’s strong engineering credentials and know how is renowned throughout its illustrious history. That strong fabric continues even today within the designs of Repco branded products”  Institution of Mechanical Engineers, President and Chief Executive, Patrick Kniveton said, “The great partnership between Repco and Sir Jack Brabham AO OBE has enabled the world of motorsport and engineering to evolve to what it is today - an achievement that should be proudly celebrated.” 
     Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Westacott said, “The Repco-Brabham BT19 was an exceptional example of mechanical engineering at its best that was far ahead of its time in so many ways.”  The Repco-Brabham BT19 Formula One racing car is the first Mechanical Engineering Heritage Award winner to have been designed and built by Australians.
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P1010586

Yes, Them was Fun Times.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted with permission from Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     We, meaning me and my wife of 12 years now, were sitting in a local café with other members of the Castlemaine (Australia) Rods club during the regular Saturday morning breakfast thing, and someone mentioned that there was going to be a jet flyby about this time. Honoring a veteran from the area with a flyby. There was a smattering of interest, and I just sat there remembering. No one got up from the table.
     Then, I heard that unmistakeable high whine that preceeds a low level jet pass, and suddenly the whole building was rattled by a sound straight out of two top fuelers at a drag fest. Several people jumped up and ran outside. Too late, I thought, you are already dead from the bomb. Remembering.  The runner-outers wandered back inside, buzzing about the buzz job, and in the distance I heard the bird making a l80, so I knew the next flyby would be louder, the bird lower, and more remembers.
     Like doing some way down inside the Grand Canyon passes in a T-33, and blowing over dead cactus, and lining up for a straffing pass, and knowing all the time that I was, indeed, riding thunder. A deadly spirit spitting fire from a dragon.  When I was a dumber-than-I-Am-Now dumber, I got to do some really amazing things for free. Like fly fighter jets and turn down a professional baseball career and ride the Crazies on a Kern River inner tube (you can find the stuff on that in my bio). There is a full world of really dumb things to do, and a very few really neat things. Fortunately, for me at least, messing with hot rods is in this latter category, and I don’t care a whit about getting a T-shirt. I just like the doing part. Way, way better than the looking-on part.
     Like when that jet fighter buzzed town, then pulled into a straight up climb, just riding on the after burners until he was out of sight. And I remembered how neat it was to do that, even with a round motor T-6 Texan trainer. Just lay back in the chair and watch the prop go whack-whack-----whack. Until it couldn’t whack anymore, and the bird fell over on a wing for a nosedive and some flying speed.  Like lining up on the cones at Bonneville and just feather feeling your directional control on that ever-so-skatty slick surface. Which makes me admire George Poteet so very much more. 
     There are fun times to be enjoyed just hanging at the local county park swimming beach, and that can be rapidly upgraded if you are coming and going in a top down roadster. It doesn’t need to be a trophy winner, just some good dependable wheels. Now, right now, is the time for you to make those fun times you are going to someday remember.  When a jet fighter stands on its tail and rams thunder into the heavens. And you remember.

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THE ‘36’S HAVE IT, written by Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and
www.hotrodhotline.com

     I love 1936 Fords. The open ones mostly. Three windows are ok, fives I can make do with, but no mor-doors for me. Not entirely so, because ’35 and ’36 phaetons are bitchin’, but it sounds good. Anyways, one day in about 1951 I spied this really primo ’36 convert in a backyard in my hometown at the time, Rexburg, Idaho. You must understand that such a car in any yard in Idaho of that time would have been no big thing. Dime a dozen.
     I shelled out $15 bucks, knowing the engine was cracked from a winter freeze. Didn’t care about the trans, as I knew where there was an abandoned ’41 Tudor with a good box, and there was a Lincoln in a local tin yard that wouldn’t cost mor’n a fiver. Drug it back to the house, solo, by chaining the front bumper to dad’s ’41 Stude champion two door. Pull it cinch tight and such a lashup will work plenty good. Isolate the bumpers with a couple old tire carcasses if you are a Type One.
      Built up a nice flat motor, fifty bucks for some Offy heads, ten for a dual intake, couple pennies in the block heat risers, all the necessary (and probably non-performance-enhancing) stuff and it was time for the highway. Red paint was already good, and the top only needed a few needle and thread passes. Got a year out of that one.
     Not mor’n that year later, I had relocated to Bozeman, Montana and found a ’36 coupe, without engine. It followed me home to a couple of months of hanging in the bitter winter cold while I built another flat thingie in the house basement. Narrow steps down there, a drop light and long extension cord for light, tiny electric heater to fool myself into thinking I as warm enough, and hours of grindstones in a small electric drill making reliefs and bigger ports. More heads, three 97s, homemade headers……still questionable as to real horsepower increase.
     Springtime and the question was how to get the assembled V8 back up those stairs. Ever notice that when you are ready to do the heavy lifting there is never anyone around to help? In this case the solution was to wrestle the engine over to the stairs by “walking” it with a two by four lever. If you use two pieces of flat plywood it scootches better than on a dirt floor. Thicker pieces of plywood temporarily nailed to the steps and you can lever the engine up the incline, but you need to have a safety. I used an old overhead block and tackle, one end on the engine, the other rope end around a four by four across the outside door frame. You pry the engine an inch or so, then take out the rope slack while wedging your thigh against the two by four lever. Slow, not particularly clever, and way dangerous because in that small stairwell there isn’t room for 239 or so cubic inches and 190 pounds of meat.
     At the top, you let the engine teeter a moment before it falls outside onto the muddy ground. Across the yard on Plywood pads, under the makeshift tripod, hook the engine to a chain across the three pipe legs, then horse each pipe leg inward an inch of so at a time. This leg, then that one, then the other……so on until the engine is hanging high enough to clear the ’36 fenders. Leave the engine hanging overnight, and in first light you roll the car back under the tripod and reverse the leg maneuver.  Go slow, and pretty soon you can squeeze yourself under the running board and try to punch the tranny. Patience, and hope the tripod doesn’t move, the car doesn’t move, and there are no earthquakes. When you are young, you do what you gotta. Especially with three Sixes.
     Then there was the for sure ’36 convert I got for five bucks. Again, blown engine, but rest of the car was good. In fact, it was great except for the top fabric which had wilted under several severe Idaho snow falls. Got this one pretty far along when time came to move up to Montana. What to do…….ended up giving this one away, and of course, I would really like it back now.
     Or, how about that three window at the old ranch house up in Montana? Friend of the family bought a rundown ranch just up the tiny creek from their place, mostly just to get the good hay meadow, and I had free run of a dozen old Fords on the place. The former owner had gathered the cars so he could run in the stock car races over in Bozeman. Of most interest to me was the really decent 3 window coupe that had escaped the circle track mayhem. It was complete, and it just sat there unmolested for a couple decades. I went back to check on it this past summer, and someone had come on the place and hauled it away. Apparently without asking the family.  Hard to keep a good thing secret.

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Gone Racin’… Hot Rod History; Book Two – The Glory Years, by Tom Medley.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  August 28, 2007. Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     Hot Rod History; Book Two – The Glory Years, is written by esteemed Hot Rod Cartoonist Tom Medley, from Tex Smith’s Hot Rod Library Publishing Company.  This book is a soft-covered edition and measures a standard 8 ½ inches wide by 11 inches in height.  The book is 182 pages in length with one color photo, 34 program and magazine covers, 27 drawings and 432 black and white photos.  There is no index, which makes finding something very difficult to do.  The cover has a ‘how-to’ look to it, but it otherwise pleasing.  There is no just jacket provided.  The paper is non-glossy heavy bond acid free, which will last a lifetime.  Tex Smith’s Hot Rod Library is famous for the quality of the hot rodding and mechanical books that they publish.  They seek out well-known hot rod writers and photographers and commission them to produce a book or ‘how-to’ manual that is first class in quality.  Tom Medley is a renowned writer, photographer and cartoonist for auto magazines and he has a natural and easy to read style.  The format of the book is a question and answer style, so Medley is more of an editor in the compilation of Hot Rod History; Book Two – The Glory YearsTex Smith’s Hot Rod Library has a large selection of books of interest to car enthusiasts.

     Tex Smith writes the Foreword and introduces the story, explaining that this is book two in the series.  The chapters are broken down into interviews with 7 exceptional hot rod legends.  The first chapter is about Chuck Abbott; or ‘Red’ to his friends.  Medley, who knows these men well, asks questions and the hot rodders answer.  Abbott raced on the dry lakes prior to World War II.  I met Abbott up at the land speed record trials at Black Rock in Northern Nevada in 1997 and he was surprised that anyone remembered him from the dry lakes era.  Abbott’s stories and photos are crucial to understanding the hot rodding craze of the 1930’s and an active member of the Glendale Sidewinders.  Likable and dedicated to his sport, Abbott is still active today in the Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club.  Chapter Two is on Stan Betz, the nephew of Dick Kraft, and one of the best paint mixers around.  Betz works in the sun and can match paint to an exactness that defies even the computers.  He began going to the dry lakes just after World War II and was affiliated with the Lancers of Hollywood.  Stan was also involved in oval track and drag racing.  Chapter Three is on Don Francisco, the Technical Editor for many years at Hot Rod magazine.  Francisco was laconic until he started talking about his hot rodding past then his sense of humor came to the forefront.  An accomplished pilot, Don would fly into events all over the country.  In later years he would travel with his good friend, Jim Travis and the two of them would play hilarious pranks on each other.  Francisco was honored by the Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club at the Dry Lakes Hall of Fame for his contributions to land speed racing.  He was a partner with Bill Burke and their famous Bonneville Belly Tank car was driven by their good friend, Wally Parks.

     Chapter Four is about Duffy Livingston who raced at the Dry Lakes just after his discharge from the Navy after World War II.  Duffy was involved with road course racing in his car, which he called ‘Eliminator’ and which he always placed high in his class.  Duffy built go-karts that captured world championships in go-kart racing.  Chapter Five interviews Ak Miller who was famous for his Millerisms.  These were stories that constantly changed over time with each retelling but which kept the listener spellbound.  Miller and his older brothers were pioneers in the sport and he was a close friend with Wally Parks.  Parks would return from the war to rebuild the SCTA as president, with Miller as his vice-president.  Then Miller became president of the SCTA for two terms and followed Parks into the new NHRA (National Hot Rod Association).  Miller was simply irrepressible.  He raced the Pan-American Mexican Road Race, the Mil Miglia, Pike’s Peak, the Baja 1000, Bonneville and the Dry Lakes with Jack Lufkin and Leonard Carr as his partners.  Ak knew everyone and forgot more stories and events than there were people and races.  He was the heart and soul of hot rodding.  Chapter Six is about Johnny Price, a good friend and employee of Harry Weber of Weber Cams and Flywheels.  Johnny was a member of the Gopher’s Car Club and this legendary car club included Johnny Ryan, Nellie Taylor, the Weber Brothers, Harry and Bill, Bill Zaring and many others.  They were known for their competition in racing and partying, much of it having passed into legend and myth.  Price raced at the Dry Lakes in the 1930’s, flew P-38’s in WWII, raced at Bonneville, went to the Indy 500 with Mickey Thompson, drag raced in the early days and built the Volksrod.

     Chapter Seven concerns Bob Rufi.  Rufi and his partner Charlie Spurgin raced at the Dry Lakes in the 1930’s.  Hammering out an aerodynamic aluminum body, Rufi created a streamlined car that went over 140mph pre-war and shocked the land speed racing community.  Leading the championship points race in 1940, Rufi’s car crashed and he almost lost his life.  He retired soon after that.  A short career but a reputation for design and horsepower that would be remembered by land speed racers to this day.  His record would last for 10 years, an amazingly long time, until Stu Hilborn broke it in 1950.  Following the interviews there is a section on Wes Cooper’s collection of rare four-cylinder racing heads.  Medley includes chapters on street rodding, dry lakes racing, a scrapbook of his photos, program covers, and hot rod art.  The artists include Gus Maanum, Dick Teague and Bob Stender and their work is exceptional.  Medley ends the book with short sections on car clubs and early drag racing tracks.  The book is highly recommended to those who enjoy hot rodding and its history and heritage.  Tex Smith’s Hot Rod Library is at P.O. Box 726, Driggs, Idaho  83422 or call 800-513-8133.
Gone Racin’ is at
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Gone Racin’…
Rocketman; My Rocket-Propelled Life and High-Octane Creations, by Ky Michaelson.  Book Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz. Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

   A famous Country and Western song warns mothers “don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys.”  Well, mothers of America, Ky Michaelson’s book Rocketman; My Rocket-Propelled Life and High-Octane Creations should be warning enough.  If ever there was a life filled with creation, ambition, purpose and zeal, then Ky Michaelson would fit the description perfectly.  Here’s a life cram full of invention, adventure, discovery, friendship, trial, tribulation and creation.  I had heard rumors about the ‘Rocketman,’ more rumor than fact, until Captain Ed Ballinger handed me a copy of the book and asked me to review it.  This is a man and his friends who are true hot rodders at heart.  The book is simply fascinating and I found myself going back to it and rereading it over and over again.  A suggestion, start with Appendix A and review the list of cars, rockets and vehicles Ky has been involved with, then as you read the book you will appreciate the depth of his inventiveness.  Rocketman is a hard-cover book on waxed and glossy, high-quality photographic paper, published by Motorbooks, an MBI Publishing Company, in St Paul Minnesota.  The book comes with a dust-cover jacket and is priced at a very reasonable $27.95.  The dimensions of the book are 6 ¼ by 9 ¼ inches, with 240 pages of text and photographs.  The book is cloth bound along the spine and not glued in as you would find with lesser quality works.  The dust-cover jacket is well done and eye-catching and you should take extra care to preserve it.  Far too often readers cast aside the jackets and regret it later.  Collectors will tell you how valuable a jacket is to the overall worth of a fine book.  There are 102 color, and 87 black and white photographs, with 6 drawings and one map in the book.  Rocketman has a table of contents, acknowledgments, introduction, prologue, 27 chapters, 3 appendices, but sadly, no index.  The ratio of text to photographs is excellent.  The writer explains each chapter clearly and fully.  The ISBN number is 13-978-0-7603-3143-9, but you should have no problem finding this book in most book stores.

   When I’m asked to do a book review the first thing that I look for is the dust-cover jacket.  It tells you right away whether you are dealing with a quality book or just a niche book.  Self-published and niche books are not bad, they simply have a smaller and more specific audience.  Some books have cross-over appeal and are meant for larger audiences.  The jacket will have a drawing or photograph that tells the reader in an instant what the book is going to offer.  It will also tell you the publisher, in this case it is Motorbooks, and this publisher always turns out quality books.  Motorbooks has an uncanny ability to spot a quality story and they back it up with quality craftsmanship, PR and marketing.  But they are a picky company and many people have tried and failed to get their work published by them.  In the case of Rocketman, the publisher has chosen wisely, for the story and graphics have an appeal that crosses over to so many subjects.  The tinkerer and inventor will fall in love with this book.  The adventurer and traveler will find many wistful things to dream about.  Rocketman involves the hot rodder, car guy, airplane fan, racing zealot and most of the male population.  But it also has a great deal of interest for the distaff side as well.  This is not just a man’s world that we are talking about.  Rocketman also tells us the story of Paula Murphy, Kitty O’Neil and other women who have braved the seemingly impossible and those women who have worked on the projects mentioned in the book.  I’ve never met or interviewed Kitty O’Neil, but I know Paula Murphy and her story is one that inspires us all to reach for greatness.  She is truly one of those pacesetters and trendsetters that we look up to regardless of gender.  Men predominate in the story, but more and more women are entering the ‘need for speed’ race.  This book shows how one man and his friends took on the challenge and thrived.

   Book reviewers, when they like a book, tend to tell too much about the storyline.  Reviewers simply want the public to see what they see in a book and so we over-review.  What stops me from doing this is the sheer volume and breadth of the projects that Ky Michaelson and his friends have taken on.  Yes, I like the book and unabashedly tell you so, but the reason is more personal as I’ve met many of the people mentioned in Rocketman and can’t help but like and admire them.  About the only failing in this work is a lack of an index and I’ll say it again, all books, except fiction, need to have an index.  That said, let’s delve into Rocketman and see why it’s the book I think it is.  First of all the photographs are ‘stand alone’ in their excellence, even though the captions are sometimes sparse.  You can understand the story line simply by looking at the photos and reading the captions.  But it is the text, often overlooked in books put out by racers and car guys, that is extraordinary.  Michaelson tells his story and that of his associates with a real passion and with clarity and detail, but he doesn’t allow himself to become so technical that the average reader cannot follow along.  What Michaelson does is create vehicles that go faster than most of us ever will and cause a person’s heart to pound.  We might think that he takes chances, but Ky Michaelson is highly skilled and knowledgeable and his vehicles work.  He takes us on a journey, that to most of us seems impossibly unreal and yet, after we see how he has crafted, created and solved his problems, becomes a reality in our eyes.  Don’t ask “what kind of vehicles has Michaelson created?”  Instead ask this question, “What kind of impossible vehicles has he NOT created?”  The Rocketman, as he is lovingly called, propels vehicles with, yes, rockets!  The propellant is usually hydrogen peroxide, the very stuff you use to clean out cuts and wounds and kill bacteria.  Hydrogen peroxide is simply H2O or water with an extra oxygen atom squeezed in.  If you’re not a chemist or if you did poorly in your chemistry class in high school, the point is that this extra oxygen atom really doesn’t like to be with the normal two hydrogens and one oxygen, which forms normal water.  It really wants to break out of this relationship, which is why you hear the fizzing noise when you open up the bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

   Michaelson uses hydrogen peroxide that is much more concentrated than the 3% solution that we use.  So concentrated and powerful that one has to be licensed or authorized to use it.  Rocketeers have other propellants that they use and all have the same properties of explosive power.  Michaelson finds ways to package the propellants inside the cars, planes and rockets needed to safely move a human being at very fast speeds.  It never fails to amaze me when the controlled reactions starts that the driver actually survives.  To Michaelson and his friends, it probably rarely enters their minds.  Ky uses propellant laden rockets to power drag cars, Bonneville land speed streamliners, Go-Karts, space rockets, boats, airplanes, snowmobiles, hover craft and just about anything that you want to go, and go very, very fast.  Some people prefer piston powered motors that produce the power to turn drive trains, that turn the axles and then the wheels.  There are lots of complex parts that could break and go wrong.  Some people like to simplify all of this by using jet engines or turbines, which allows for the exhaust to exit the vehicle, pushing it forward in a simpler manner with few parts to break.  Then there are the rocket people who create the body and the power plant and light the fuse.  It sounds simple, but it really isn’t, or quite possibly, maybe it is.  Perhaps all that we really need to do is watch the expert, Ky Michaelson, at work.  Rocketman contains the story of the Sonic Challenger, Pollution Packer, Captain Ed Ballinger, Kitty O’Neil, John Paxson, Paula Murphy, Lee Taylor, the Space Shot, Gary Gabelich, Craig Breedlove, Lew Arrington, Dave Anderson, Vern Anderson, Doug Brown, Jerry Hehn, Brent Fanning, Sammy Miller, Jack McClure, Chuck Suba, John Allen Hudson, Fred Goeske, Jim Hodges, Russell Mendez, Ramon Alvarez and many more men and women who have fearlessly advanced ‘our need for speed.’  I’ve never given out a perfect rating of 8 out of 8 sparkplugs before, and the lack of an index keeps me from doing so here.  Rocketman is rated a 7.9 out of a possible 8 sparkplugs.  I’m saying you will love this book.  I did.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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Gone Racin’…Portfolio 1; Boys and their Toys, by the American Hot Rod Foundation.  Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     Steve Memishian and Jim Miller have put together a fun little packet of interesting photo cards called Portfolio 1; Boys and their Toys.  There are 16 cards in the set, and while this isn’t a book in any sense, it still provides photographs and text that tells a story of land speed racing at the Dry Lakes and Bonneville.  Each of the photo cards measure 8 ½ by 8 ½ inches on high quality heavy stock board.  The artwork, graphics and photographs are of the highest quality and suitable for framing and hanging on the wall.  The photo cards come in a stock board container that has a nice look to it and a photograph in color that is well done and is of coffee table appeal.  The price is a reasonable $14.95 and you can get a packet of the cards at Autobooks/Aerobooks, in Burbank, California, or check out www.ahrf.com for more information.  We are all used to books, some which are cheaper paperback quality and some that are hardbound and of a high quality.  Having published the material in a card format is unusual, but it opens up the possibility to do things artistically that one cannot do with a book.  For example, the packet of cards can be used as a game with children and grandchildren.  Or the cards can be mounted in a frame and hung on the wall.  They can be displayed all by themselves, perched on a table or leaning against a wall.  It’s easy to take the cards with you in their convenient packet carrying case, show the cards at reunions and car shows and then bring them home.  You can also give them out as gifts, one at time, without having to incur a great expense of giving the entire packet away.  The list of ways in which these cards can be used is numerous and fun.  The cards are reasonably priced so that if we should lose a few, they can easily be replaced.  They are almost like trading cards which we all had as youth.  I hope Memishian and Miller do come up with this idea.  How cool would it be to have a deck of 100 land speed racing cars to trade?  “I’ll give you a Spurgin/Giovanine roadster card for your Summers Brother’s streamliner card,” what a hoot that would be.  Or, the American Hot Rod Foundation could create a list of trading cards with famous old racers, like Don Francisco, Karl and Veda Orr, Wally Parks, Burke LeSage, Bill Burke, Eldon Snapp, Art Tilton, Ed Adams, George Callaway, Thatcher Darwin, Ak Miller and dozens of other colorful characters. 

     Well, I better not get too carried away, but you can see that Memishian and Miller have found a nice way of presenting the history of land speed racing to the general public.  I’ve never met Steve Memishian, and he doesn’t talk much about himself.  He’s the founder and heart behind the American Hot Rod Foundation, see www.ahrf.com, and a huge supporter of hot rodding in general.  How he made his fortune and why he decided to put so much of it into this labor of love is not known.  Memishian and the American Hot Rod Foundation are located in New York City, New York.  We know a little bit more about Jim Miller, but not that much more.  Jim’s grandfather raced Duesenberg cars at the dry lakes and was a mechanic.  Jim’s father was Eddie Miller, a founding member of the Centuries car club and the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA).  Jim is a long-time member of the SCTA, a celebrated land speed historian, SCTA official, club representative and talented man.  Jim was inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame for his efforts to preserve the history and heritage of land speed racing and hot rodding.  He is also the president of The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians and a member of the 200 MPH Club.  He is very talented as an artist, photographer and researcher.  His knowledge of land speed racing is vast and his love of the sport is unquestioned.  He is always surprising us with the discoveries that he uncovers in the field of land speed history and research.  Now it’s important to know who the authors are when you review or buy a book, and Portfolio 1; Boys and their Toys has a set of illustrious and competent authors indeed. 

     #1 is an introductory card with biographical information on Miller, but very little on Steve Memishian and I would like to know more about this founder of the American Hot Rod Foundation.  The reverse side lists sources of photographs and materials.  Some of these men are; Dan Warner, Don Cox, Julian Doty, Leslie Long, Jack Underwood, Bob Morton, Mario Baffico, Joe Henning, Robert Wenz, Tony Baron, Don Ferrara, Rex Burnett, Tom Davis, Chet Herbert and the Tromphers car club, among others.  These are substantial sources in land speed racing and other automotive forms of racing.  Cox has been involved in a project with Robert Genat, another outstanding writer.  Bob Morton towers over the field, both figuratively and with a sharp memory of the events that shaped our sport.  Joe Henning is a master artist and has seen it all.  I owe Henning a great deal and an apology for publishing an obituary, for which he teases me constantly.  Chet Herbert on the other hand, did pass away recently and left us all a little poorer.  Card #2 shows Tommy Davis’ back yard replete with beautiful roadsters and on the other side a photograph of Fred Lobello’s Ladybug Lakester.  The Ronald Sommer/Lohry Class C Comp Coupe is on card #3 with the Ralph Schenck streamliner on the reverse side.  Ralph used a Chevy power plant instead of the normal Ford flathead.  The Howard’s Cam streamliner is shown on card #4 in 1954 at Bonneville.  On the opposite side is a photograph of Fred “Tiger” Baymiller, a member of the Bungholers car club.  He nicknamed the car “The Okie Special” as a jibe against the worn out junkers often seen at the dry lakes.  The Bungholers themselves represented a club that fought against convention and led a short but exciting existence in the SCTA.  Bill Burke and his belly tank grace card #5.  Burke was an innovator who adapted discarded fighter fuel wing tanks and turned them into aerodynamic bodies for dry lakes racing.  They are still raced today.  On the reverse side is the Pierson Brothers 2-D Coupe, one of land speed racing’s more well-recognized cars.

     A great photograph is the crew resting in the pits at El Mirage next to the Alger & Starr Class B Modified Roadster.  On the reverse side of card #6 is a young Phil Weiand in a Rajo “B” powered T at Muroc Dry Lake in 1933.  Muroc was the best dry lake to race on, but in 1942 the Army Air Corp took over all the area and land speed racing moved to El Mirage and other dry lake beds after the war.  One of the prettiest land speed cars was the Shadoff Special, which received the Hot Rod Magazine Trophy for the fastest time at Bonneville in 1954.  On the opposite side of card #7 is Norm Taylor and Jot Horne’s Modified Roadster.  Taylor and Horne had raced a Duesenberg engine in the car, but had poor success and sold the motor to Ron Henderson.  Taylor and Horne switched to a Ranger L-440 air-cooled aircraft engine and ran a 142.57mph at Bonneville in 1952.  The next card shows Jim Lindsley’s roadster with unique wheel covers and styling.  On the reverse of card #8 is Chauncy Crist’s rear-engined roadster, which was originally Eddie “Bud” Meyer’s rear-engined roadster.   Vesco/Dinkins Class B Lakester is on card #9.  The Vesco family is still involved in land speed racing.  On the opposite side is Gus Rollins’ 1937 Ford V-8, which is shown at Harper Dry Lake in 1942.  Because of the large number of land speed racers prior to the war, the surface at Muroc would often become eroded and the need to find other lakes to race on became an imperative.  My father would often take my brother and me out to look for dry lakes to race on.  As a child I thought he must love deserts very much, but later in life I came to realize that like so many other land speed racers, he was always looking for a good place to race.

     Bud Hinds, Tommy Lamon, Tommy Davis of the Bungholers are relaxing against their roadster on card #10.  On the reverse is the famous Kenz & Leslie streamliner at Bonneville in 1955.  The car was also called the Bob Jones Skyland Ford Special.  The Bob Rufi streamliner is shown in card #11.  After the car crashed in 1940, Rufi sold the car and it ended up in the hands of six owners.  Unfortunately, it ended up in the dumpster and is sorely missed today.  On the opposite side is Marvin Lee’s streamliner, which was on the cover of the 1949 Bonneville Speedweek program.  Eddie Miller’s lakester graces card #12.  It looks like an Indy 500 roadster with a pinstriped M above the grill.  It ran a 156.58 mph at Bonneville in 1952.  On the reverse is the beautiful Cortopassi Brothers/Davis/Garrett Glass Slipper at Bonneville in 1955.  The Glass Slipper is on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California.  The Emil Dietrich/Bill Thomas car is on card #13, with Eddie Hulse as the driver.  The car is listed as a streamliner, but looks more like a sprint car of the era.  On the reverse side is the Krays Auto Parts Special, which ran at Bonneville in 1957.  Card #14 shows the Chet Herbert “Beast” which went 232.350 Mph at Bonneville in 1952.  On the other side is the Neumayer/Reed Brothers belly tank.  Leroy Neumayer excelled at all forms of auto racing and would drive down from his retirement ranch in Wyoming to see what the new kids were doing each year at Bonneville.   The Centuries car club is mentioned on card #15.  In the photo is Jim Travis’ Model A, driven by Charlie Beck.  On the reverse is Buck Davis in a roadster at Bonneville in 1951.  The last card, number 16, shows Frank English and his roadster.  On the opposite is a photo of quarter midget racers, who were active in the 1940’s and ‘50’s.  The cards make a great gift, individually or as a group and I certainly hope that Miller and Memishian decide to bring out more portfolios in the future to go with their calendars, which are sought after.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.  ********************************************************************************************

 

 

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