NEWSLETTER 321 - May 13 , 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; Shirley Muldowney,  Betty Senter,  “Suddenly” Mike Edmonds

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Dyno Don Batyi:   
     I normally write about legislation that effects California Classic Autos and Trucks, but I have been following articles in the Riverside Press Enterprise newspaper about the proposed "Silurian Valley Solar Project" in the Mojave Desert by Baker and the "Mojave National Preserve."   This monstrosity will affect our Off Road Hobbyist friends, not to mention what it will do to the vista and wild life of our beautiful desert.   When I was a young man, I rode dirt bikes with my kids in the Stoddard Wells area on Federal Land. There were many times we would stop and just enjoy the view.  It was an added treat when we got to see the wild animals and birds. 
     This project is so big it is measured in square miles, not sections or acres.  It will cover eleven square miles and I can only guess what this kind of heat will do to that portion of the desert.  One thing I know, there will be a lot of dead animals and birds. The P.E. had some photos of dead birds with their feathers actually burned.   The Eco-Ideology gets harder and harder for me to support and/or understand.  Electric plants can be built close to where they are needed, provide more electricity at a lower cost, with little to no emissions.  And let's not forget the Sun doesn't shine at night   
     The problem with the Eco-Id's is they blame the fuel, not the" furnace."   Modern Electric Plants can now burn coal and the emissions are 50% below EPA standards.  Natural Gas plants virtually put out zero.   I also don't have a problem with Petroleum. Our daily drivers are a good example; Auto's and light trucks newer than 2000 put out Zero Emissions.  Plus, Canada, USA, and Mexico have an estimated oil reserve of five times more than all the Mid East countries combined.  The Keystone Pipeline is designed to get more Alaska and Canadian oil to southern USA refineries.  We then could export products to Western Europe who would then not be dependent on the Russian Federation for energy.  Is that a good idea? 
     Let's save our Mojave Desert, build the Keystone Pipeline, put the good ol’ United States of America gasoline in our older than 1976 vehicles and go cruise'n.  If you would like to send the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) an opposition email, please go to: 
http://www.blm.gov/ca/forms/feedback/index.php?fo=4.   If writing for your car club, be sure and let them know how many members you have.  Remember, "Silence is our enemy."    "Dyno" Don Batyi
STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks:
     We have sad news today.  Betty Senter has passed away after a long illness. 
I have included an article on Betty and Lou Senter and comments about her.  She was a very special lady who worked very hard to help create the performance speed equipment business that we know today.  Not only did Betty work to help make Ansen Automotive a successful business, but she supported her husband in all his racing endeavors.  Betty noticed that many of the small and struggling speed shops, speed equipment manufacturers and suppliers were struggling to make a living in a tough anti-racing environment.  Since Betty was the accounts and business manager at Ansen Automotive, she was acutely aware when she had to go after bounced checks and bad debts if the business was to thrive.  She and several other ladies formed an agency to find out who the cheaters were who had no intention of paying for the merchandise they bought from desperate suppliers.  This business was the forerunner of the SEMA organization, which Betty and Lou were founding members.  It was Lou Senter who was well-known, but it was Betty who kept the doors open and the lights on.  There were many wives of early-day racers and businessmen who assisted their husbands with the day to day accounts and duties.  Without their help many of these famous speed equipment manufacturers would have failed.  I knew and talked to Betty.  She was a wonderful and supportive lady in the world of auto racing and she will be dearly missed by all who knew her.    
STAFF NOTES: Betty Senter has passed away.  Betty was the wife and business partner of Lou Senter, founder of Ansen Automotive speed shop and promoter of Saugus Speedway and dragstrip.  Betty helped to form a company to provide important information to speed shops, garages and speed equipment manufacturers so that they wouldn’t be stuck with bad checks from unscrupulous buyers.  This business later developed into the advocacy company that is called SEMA.  Betty and Lou were founding members of the SEMA organization.  To leave your condolences please contact Marsha Scully at 818-789-3733.
STAFF NOTES: Here is a story on Louie Senter and his wife Betty Calderon Senter.
Gone Racin’…to see Louie Senter.  Story by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  July 30, 2007.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

   Louis ‘Lou’ Senter was born on September 19, 1920 to Samuel and Mary Leavitt Senterovitz, in Los Angeles, California.  The Senter’s had emigrated from Russia and Lou’s first home was on 53rd and Central Avenue in Los Angeles.  Lou was the next to last of six children.  Sol was the oldest brother and he was a machinist.  Harold Senter was the next child and he was an engineer.  The next brother was Sidney Senter and he became a doctor and was hired by the local oval track racing groups to be a stand-by doctor in case of accidents.  Sidney was the trackside doctor for over thirty years at the CRA, midget, AAA, USAC, motorcycle and sprint car races.  Sidney was also a decorated Naval Doctor in World War II.  The next Senter children were twins.  Helen preceded Lou by only five minutes and became a nurse.  Robert was the last Senter to be born and died in an airplane crash while he was a crop duster in Arizona.  Robert served as a pilot in the Naval Air Corp during World War II and Korea.  Lou attended Fremont High School and took all the classes in machine shop that he could.  He joined the Idlers car club and was an original member of the club and the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) when it formed in November of 1937.  His friend, Harry Hess was also a member of the Idlers car club.  After high school, Lou found work as a tool and die maker at Western Washer & Stamping Company.  He later worked for Byron Jackson Oil Tools in East Los Angeles as a machinist.
   In February 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and after basic training he taught hydraulics and gunnery to other sailors.  Senter was reassigned to submarine repair duty, then to the destroyer class ship base in San Diego, California, where he was discharged after the war.  Before the war he raced a ’29 Model A Ford Roadster powered by a Flathead engine.  After his discharge he went into business for himself, building roll bars and race rods.  Lou built the nerf bars for the Frank Kurtis midget cars.  He also did the machining work on rear ends manufactured by Ernie Casale.  Lou called his company Senter Engineering.  Jack Andrews joined him as a partner and they called the new company Ansen Automotive, which was the beginning letters of their last name.  Ansen was a success from the start and they made over a thousand different kinds of parts.  A specialty of his was safety flywheel shields that protected the driver’s legs from clutch assembly explosions.  He also built aluminum wheels, which became very popular.  Senter’s first shop was at 7th and Crocker in Los Angeles.  Then in 1946, he moved to Jefferson and Crenshaw in the same city, where he combined the speed shop, machine shop and automotive repair businesses.  He was justly proud of his engine swap business and was one of the first to do engine swapping.  The Cadillac engine was popular and Senter would rebuild the engine mounts and put in a new engine.  He not only sold a new engine but also got the old engine in the bargain, which he then rebuilt.  Business was good and he moved to a bigger building at 64th and Normandie in Los Angeles and finally to his present location at Western and 39th Street in the city of Gardena.  The old, familiar Ansen Automotive building is still there in Gardena, though Senter has retired. 
   Lou married Betty Calderon in 1944 while he was in the Navy and they have one daughter, Marsha who was born in 1946.  Betty’s father and mother came from the Middle East, of Jewish heritage.  Her mother was born in Hebron, Palestine.  Her father’s family came from Spain originally.  Marsha is an architect and she has one son, Shane Scully, who won the 2004 USAC Midget circle track championship.  Lou is very proud of Shane’s skill as a driver and sponsored the car.  Senter has a lustrous racing history.  He and his brother won the first soapbox derby in Los Angeles in 1932 at Gilmore Stadium.  He was the pusher and his brother Robert steered the soapbox car.  It was hard pushing the car around the oval track, but Lou and Robert came in first.  He built, owned and drove his own cars before the war.  He was competitive in both sprint and midget cars.  Lou mainly raced in California.  He raced at Fresno, Bakersfield, Oakland and local Southern California tracks.  “I raced nearly seven days a week against Danny Oakes, Duke Nalon, Perry Grimm and the best of that day.  I raced the board track at the Coliseum and my V-8 60 held its own against the other racers.  It was mighty hard to beat the Offy’s though,” said Senter.  His sister, Helen, dated Danny Oakes, the famous midget driver.  Lou drove cars throughout the country and joined Parnelli Jones in the Baja 1000.  Others in the Baja 1000 were Mickey Thompson and Walker Evan.  He finished 3rd against some mighty strong competition.  “Lou drove his 1939 Ford Sedan in the Stock car races at Southern Ascot Park in 1940,” said Walt James, a longtime friend of Senter.  That was in the days when stock car racing was just beginning.
   With a successful business and a career in oval track racing, Lou decided to go boat racing as well.  He tuned the engines and was the riding mechanic on Ed Olson’s Crackerbox boats in the 1960’s.  Olson was quite a character.  He owned the Priscilla Bakery and named his boat
The Cream Puff.  Olson always had a cigar in his mouth and a steely gaze as he plowed down the stretch.  Senter was a major sponsor of Olson’s boats.  Lou built a 7-Litre Hydroplane called Prancin’ Ansen and raced up and down the Pacific coast at Seattle, Marine Stadium and San Diego, winning the 1969 World Championship.  He advertised in Hot Rod Magazine, the SCTA News and other racing organization newsletters and this helped his expand his business across the country.  He briefly owned the dragster that would become famous, the Greer/Black and Prudhomme car.  Ed Pink worked on the engines and Prudhomme drove this car to the NHRA Winternationals Championship.  Senter teamed up with Lou Baney to start the Saugus dragstrip and was instrumental in persuading the City of Long Beach to allow Lion’s dragstrip, which Mickey Thompson operated.  In 1946 he was a crewman on Spider Webb’s Indy car, owned by Lou Bromme, which was built at Senter’s shop.  Lou was also on Jim Hurtubise’s Indy team in the 1960’s, which was one of the last Offy front-engined car.  Senter is proud of his racecars and has owned and sponsored cars in oval and drag racing.  Jim Miller has a photo of Senter racing motorcycles at Southern Speedway.  Lou enjoyed all types of racing.
   “I was the first to make aluminum wheels for racing, but I got more sales from the street market,” he said.  Senter was a vice-president and safety director of the CRA for fifteen years in the early days of that group.  He was elected to the SEMA Hall of Fame in 1978, the Dry Lakes Hall of Fame and the California Hot Rod Reunion Hall of Fame.  The Dry Lakes Hall of Fame is held annually at the Jack Mendenhall Gas Pump Museum in Buellton, California.  The California Hot Rod Reunion is held yearly at the Auto Club Famoso Dragstrip, just north of Bakersfield, California and hosted by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.  Lou was one of eight men, including Roy Richter, Ed Iskenderian and Jim Deist, who founded the SEMA organization in the mid 1960’s.  SEMA’s mandate is to improve racing safety by promoting safety equipment manufacturing and research.  Senter is just as proud of his grandson, Shane, who has raced midgets and sprint cars in the Silver Crown racing circuit at places all over the Midwest, including the Hoosier 100 at Indianapolis.  He and Betty have been happily married for over six decades.  He sold Ansen Automotive to the Whittaker Corporation in 1969 and concentrates on seeing his old friends at reunions and racing events.
Gone Racin’ is at . 

     I have been wrapped up in finalizing the Halibrand book and expect to be working on the Make-Ready stages and shopping for a Print-On-Demand service to get delivery in time to travel back to Indy and do some promotion.  At present conjecture is that it will be between 200 or 300 pages with nearly 100 illustration and several pages of technical notes and descriptions.  The four color cover has been designed and the title is: THE BIG WHEEL, HALIBRAND, THE MAN AND HIS PRODUCTS.  I expect to be writing the Acknowledgement Notice later today and want you to know that you will be listed.  I will be sending you the latest blurb regarding the ADM Literature event and we welcome participation from the Hot Rod community and will be advising of any book signings we will be participating in locally.   Bob Falcon
STAFF NOTES: the following was sent to us by Jim Snyder and the text and photos are republished with his permission.  Reports of meets and race teams are very much appreciated and fill in a huge gap in the history of land speed racing.
     David Parks invited Phil Grisotti, Chuck Schiebeck and I to go along with him to take the '
SUDDENLY’ 1957 Plymouth out to the Mojave mile event last weekend, Saturday and Sunday the 12th and 13th of April.  The Mojave Mile is run on the 12,000 foot runway of the Mojave Space Port, in the city of Mojave, California.  When we got there on Saturday afternoon the wind was blowing about 40 mph, and it was a perfect tail wind.   So the cars and bikes running that day were clicking off 200+ times like clockwork.  We were told that they ran out of the 200 mph club tee shirts.
     After passing tech David pulled the Plymouth into the pre-staging line at the end of the pits, and we belted him in the car.  Since this was Dave's first time at Mojave, he was required to make a rookie pass under 150 mph.  From this point a block of cars are released from the pits and they must motor down to the starting line a little over a mile into the wind where they lined up in the staging line.  The car sounded pretty healthy with the 392 injected Chrysler Hemi on E-85 fuel.  Dave's first run was cut short with a magneto problem, and he coasted through the lights and returned to the pits.  
     Sunday morning we fixed the mag, sort-of, and Dave ran 136 mph satisfying the rookie requirements which qualified him for speeds up to 200mph.  We checked everything over and bumped the timing up a bit and sent Dave back to pre-stage.  The tail wind had died off so it was up to the Hemi to get 'SUDDENLY' up to speed, which it did clocking 159.3 mph.  Unfortunately we couldn't make any more passes since a freeze plug let loose, it was the one behind the starter motor.  But Dave and his motley crew were very happy with how the car performed.
     Several people approached Dave to see the car, get their pictures taken, and share some stories.  One person I remember told us he saw the original 'SUDDENLY' when he was just 5 years old and he was so pleased to see it in person again, even though it wasn't the original car.  Dave was also interviewed and videoed by the team that was covering Big Red's record run of 232 mph made earlier that day.  The Lakers Car Club will be rewarding Dave with a trophy for the 'Fastest Laker at the Mojave Mile' since there will not be another event there this year.  The next event will be in April of 2015, and we are told it will be the 'Magnum' setup, which is a1.5 mile course.  I may just have to bring the Salty 'cuda out of retirement for that one.  Jim Snyder

Fw ISSUE #321Fw

The Burnout is going to create a series on starting from scratch with a drag car in order to race it.  It's basically going to be a breakdown of "20 Things You Need to Do to Your Drag Car."  So I'm enlisting help on a couple of fronts.  First, I'd love to get some input on what all of you, as various experts, consider the essentials of building and racing a drag racer.   I'm looking for everything from choosing the basic car to first mods to engine components, weight, wheels, tires, acceleration, braking, boosting horsepower to getting a good launch, etc, to more technical specifics that apply to drag racing both in driving and in building and modding.  I'd like to focus on cars with doors for right now, but some of this will also apply to pro stock eventually, but it's more for the racer who is doing this on the weekends, not the pro, and I think we'll do a separate section for the stuff like funny car and pro stock, etc.  Second, I will be looking to have people work on these different articles and technical pieces once I've compiled them and made a definitive list.  I'd very much welcome your input and your thoughts on this, and if you have a particular expertise and would like to write about it relating to the drag car experience, please let me know!  For some of you, I know you're journalists and fans as opposed to racers, but if you have input from your years of experience, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  And if you know folks who are racers, mechanics, part of pit crews, race teams, etc who you think might be willing to contribute, I'd love it if you'd pass this request along.  Thanks so much, Andreanna Ditton, Content Manager, MotorheadMedia, Phone: 310-280-4459, www.RacingJunk.com.
     For those who do not get MavTV or weren't able to catch the race last week, here is the link to the "Day in the Life" segment they filmed on my life outside of the race track.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99-YvU5YklE.  If you want to follow my daily life and racing career a little closer, "like" my Facebook fan page.  I post pretty regularly. https://www.facebook.com/JessicaClarkRacing.   Jessica Clark (Jessica Clark Racing www.JessicaClarkRacing.com)
STAFF NOTES: Jessica Clark sometimes races at Irwindale Speedway among other racetracks in the area.

     I have a trophy from the SO Cal area that is dated 1937 and reads LACDRC Schroeder Trophy.   Would you happen to know who "Schroeder" was or is and what organization the LACDRC is or was in 1937?  Thank you very much.   Bob
BOB: There was a Gordon Schroeder with race shop and active at Indy and midget tracks.  His son is still in the business.  I’ve copied Richard Parks who may know more about this.  If stymied, let me know and I’ll try to dig up son’s address.  Ken Berg


STAFF NOTES: Jim Miller might be able to tell you.  He's at 818-846-5139.  Carmen and Gordon Schroeder had a speed shop at 800 S. Flower Street, Burbank, California.  They were major players in oval track and Indy racing and sponsored a car.  They also had something to do with Spike Jones, the bandleader, who also was an Indy car owner.  Carmen and Gordon Schroeder held a reunion at their home in the Hollywood Hills for many years celebrating the Gilmore race track, where CBS Studios is now located.  When the reunions became too large to hold at their hillside home they moved the event to the Gilmore Adobe in the Farmers Market.  Everybody who ever raced a midget, Champ or sprint car came to this reunion, including the Meyers, Parnelli Jones, Sam Hanks, Walt James, Johnny Morehouse, Danny Oakes, etc.  Gordon passed away and Carmen continued to run the reunion, passing away just after the 29th affair.  Their son Gary and his wife Karen put on one last reunion to honor their parents at the Petersen Automotive Museum.  It is very likely that this trophy was sponsored by them.  You can call the Schroeder's at their speed shop at 323-849-1883 and see if they can identify the trophy for you.
     Roy Morris forwarded me your message regarding Ray Crawford and yes, I am up to my eyeballs (a very good thing) in his history for a biography projected to be released next year.  Anything you can assist with would be of great value to the preservation of his story.   I'm always eager to talk to racers of any experience or vintage, so if you know of anyone who might have worked or raced with Ray, I'd love to get in touch with them.  Best regards and thanks for your time.  Andy Layton, Battle Creek, Michigan
     ROY: I don’t have a lot to offer about Crawford.  His days at Indy suggest, as it did with so many others, that racing is hard.  Hard to put the parts together and have them work at the ragged edge thru the race ... at Indy, in Mexico or on the midget tracks.  If we could crawl up the exhaust stack and check out every single part and piece on a race-car we’d find a staggering collection of stuff that people had to design, create and assemble into a racer.  Then to race it at the ragged edge takes yet another talent.  All very, very hard to put together.  And then improve it for the next race.  I recall that the Lincoln factory team recognized Ray’s one-man attack in Mexico and did help him out because they saw him as a racer ... he tried hard.  Not unique, but a stand-out in an aggressive field of American Racers.  You can see my stuff on the iNet at ‘ken berg reunion of american racers.’  Ken Berg

     Andrew Layton is writing a biography about Ray Crawford who ran Crawford's Village Stores, flew P-38s in WWII, and drove at Indy in the fifties.  Andy asked me to contact all my racing friends who might have known Ray or who know something about him.  If you have something to contribute and wish to do so, Andy's contact info is: Andrew Layton, Cell: 269-967-3518.  I have attached some preliminary work done by Andy about Ray.  Racer Roy -- Roy C. Morris, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
STAFF NOTES: Here is an excerpt from Andrew Layton's book on Ray Crawford.
An Ace at Indy
Ray Crawford’s War and Why He Raced.  By Andrew Layton
     When Ray Crawford turned up for his Indianapolis rookie test in 1953, hard-nosed race stewards posed a pointed question – “What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone?” His response: “650.”
     How could this Los Angeles supermarket mogul, a wanna-be race driver known for spinning midget cars on the west coast, have gone so blindingly fast
in his all-too-limited racing career?
     While Crawford hadn’t gone 650 in a car, he wasn’t lying.  What the race stewards heard was a rare allusion to Crawford’s previous life as a flying ace and test pilot during World War II.  But Ray was so modest and nonchalant that few who interacted with him at the Speedway knew that this gung-ho throttle pusher - whose bravery outweighed his skill at times - was quite possibly the most distinguished military man to pass through Gasoline Alley since Eddie Rickenbacker.
Andrew Layton is a motorsports enthusiast from Battle Creek, Michigan currently writing a full-length biography of Ray Crawford.  He wishes to thank the following for their assistance in the preparation of this piece: Steve Blake, Mitchell Crawford, Mike Crawford, Donald Davidson, Alice Hanks, Kevin Hughey, Mary Ellen Loscar and Terry Reed.

     Today we have our Event Summary on the Wild Hare Run at Virginia International Raceway. Again this year, it was a great event at one of our favorite venues. And the weather cooperated; which hasn’t been a given after the winter we experienced this year.  The coverage is located here, should you have a problem seeing it, cut and paste the address into your browser, failing that let us know and we will get it to you: https://picasaweb.google.com/113152123752682863493/2014WildHareRunVersion2?authkey=Gv1sRgC Pef8OToyuT4pAE#.   Marty Schoen was kind enough to feature our coverage on his site Car Guy Chronicles (http://www.carguychronicles.com) the link is:
http://www.carguychronicles.com/2014/04/vir-wild-hare-run-spring-kickoff.html.  We are off to a great season of car events and hope to cover a number for you, some new and some old favorites.  Maureen & Mike Matune

Bad News Is Good.  Written by Anna Marco, photographs by Mike Basso, Model is Coral.  Dedicated to Rich Fountain.   Bad news sells, good news sits waiting for the bus. Spread the word.
  2013 Rodz Deluxe Winner.  Reprinted by permission of Anna Marco.

     Mike Emond’s 1933 three window Ford coupe is the Koolhouse Publishing 2013 Rodz Deluxe winner for “Best Hot Rod” at the Grand National Roadster Show Drive-In because of its stance, motor, wheels and attitude. We had no idea of the story behind this car when we chose it. It’s a good one. The hotrod became the cover car feature for Ol Skool Rodz Magazine July 2014, issue 64.
The coupe was originally owned by and is now dedicated to Rich Fountain as a rolling tribute to his memory.  Rich is remembered by his friends as “a true blue, hot rod badass, 100% old school rodder with a garage full of motors, blowers, carbs and gear drives. You name it he had it.”  When he passed, he left it all to his best friend Rodney Lovato. Rodney knew how much Mike Emond loved the car because Mike is Rodney’s best friend and had asked to purchase the car years ago.  When Rodney was ready to sell it, Mike got first dibs. Rodney knew the car would go to a good home and get rebuilt properly.
Mike Emond grew up around hot rods and dragsters. His father owned a Top Fueler dragster in the 1960’s called “Wicked” that raced at Lions Drag Strip and Orange County Raceway. As a child, Mike worked on that car learning valuable skills eventually becoming an expert sheet metal fabricator. By the age of 14, and with the money earned from a paper route, Mike built his first car at home in the garage.  It was a 1923 Model T that literally began with one part, a steering wheel purchased at a swap meet.  He drove that car in high school then sold it to buy a 1957 Chevy that he slammed into a cruiser.  Twelve cars later (one vehicle led to another), he was winning awards and making magazine covers. Years ago, his street truck won “Most Innovative Truck” at a Mickey Thompson show and graced the 1993 cover of Trucking Magazine. Later, his matching numbers modified 1966 Corvette (427 motor) won the Corvette Class at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show. It was later raced and valued at $100,000. Other builds included a 1931-A (blown 392 Hemi/suicide doors/chopped/channeled), a 1941 Willys coupe and a 1957 Ford F100. Mike wants a 3w 1936 Ford next.
After Mike acquired the ‘33 Ford from Rodney, his goal was to restore using artist Larry Grossman’s poster “Looking for Trouble on Thunder Road” as inspiration (see www.retrovisions.com.)  Mike wanted to repaint the car, add flames, reupholster it to original and change a few things. Meanwhile, it had no wipers and was torn up from use.  Mike called his buddy, Bobby Cotrell (Bobby Cotrell Racing, Whittier, CA) to help with Bad News. He worked on the engine, headers and frame.  Mike recalls, “The hot rod was too small and had too many brackets but I learned if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. “The frame was boxed, the rear end shortened, and a new floor of 1/8” steel added. The radiator and blower were rebuilt, a Lokar shifter and new coilovers installed among other parts. The 24” tires wouldn’t fit in the trailer and since racing is part of package, tires are changed to fit the occasion and old school Hurst slicks are a must.  Paint is by Express Auto (Northridge, CA). The project took two years to complete.
The hot rod debuted at the 2012 Mooneyes Xmas party sans flames but watch for it to race there in 2013. Mike travels to various shows and drives it on weekends with open headers and no tickets yet. He doesn’t care if the paint gets chipped stating, “In my opinion, the car was done right the first time, I just restored it. Don’t mess with perfection.  I call it ‘Bad News’ because it is.  I put my foot on it and the front end comes off the ground.  It’s pretty radical and a lot of fun.  I don’t use all the power but it is there if you want it on the freeway.”  The car screams hot rod sitting still and Bad News is badass.  We picked it for its stance, wheels, motor and attitude and we were right. Rich Fountain would be proud.  Special Thanks: Rodney Lovato. Credits: Veronica Ibarra (MUAH).
Owner:  Mike Emond.   Occupation: Sheet metal
Builder: Mike Emond/Bobby Cottrell (Bobby Cottrell Racing, Whittier California).
Year: 1933.  Make: Ford 3w coupe.  Chop: 3.”  Channel: 5.”
Other Body Modifications: louvered wheel wells, electric fan, 4-core radiator.  Grille/shell: stock 1933.
Paint Color: Lamborghini Yellow.  Paint Type: lacquer. 
Painter: Express Auto (Northridge, California).

Custom Graphics: flames by 401K Club.
Engine: 421 ci Small Block, all aluminum Rodeck Motor block & heads (750 hp).
Transmission: 400 turbo, 21” Lokar shifter.
Intake & Carb: Littlefield 6.71 blower, (2) 750 Holley Double pump carbs.
Ignition: Vertex magneto.
  Exhaust: open headers.
Rear End: Ford 9-inch w/ 411 gears.
Suspension Front: 5” drop axle, So Cal Speed Shop.
  Suspension Rear: 4-link.
Brakes, Front: none.
  Brakes, Rear: Wilwood disc.
Tires/Size: Rear/ 10”x15” Real Street Rodder Wheel/Front: 3”x18.”

Wheels:  Rear/ 31”x10.5” Hurst slicks-Front: 3”x20.”
Seats: two bucket.
Upholstery: black, diamond tuck n roll (Tony’s Auto Upholstery, Whittier, CA), low pile carpet.
Dashboard: stock w/ Moon gauges.
Steering Column: Limeworks (Whittier, CA).
  Steering Wheel: unknown.
Interior Extras: homemade roll cage, 5pt harness.
  Windows: stock.
Taillights: 1938 Pontiac.
Club Affiliation: Bay City Rodders, Los Alamitos, CA.

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Shirley Muldowney: First Lady Of Drag Racing.  Story by Stormy Byrd and Anna “Loves Cha-Cha” Marco.  Photos courtesy of Shirley Muldowney © 2011.  All rights reserved.  No reprint without permission.  Reprinted by permission of Anna Marco.

     Shirley Muldowney is the First Lady of Drag Racing. In her career, she laid waste to the “Men’s Club” and became the first female to win the elusive Top Fuel world champion title and garnered the #5 slot in the all time NHRA drivers list.  All in a pink car.  Times weren’t as they are now with the Women’s Lib movement for a young New York gal back in ‘59.  Shirley Muldowney wasn’t your average mom either; she had a need for speed and hubby Jack helped fill that void with a souped up family Vette that she used to do battle with on local Schenectady streets and local drags. Rather than deal with “Joe Law,” Jack built Shirley her first race car (a dragster) with an injected Chevy that she used to ace one of the first ever NHRA comp licenses for a female at Fonda Drag Strip in upstate NY. 
     The hook was in and there was no turning back.  Graduating to Supercharged Gas dragsters, which included a twin engine with Jack tuning, Shirley was making herself known in match racing.  Unfortunately, the need for speed can never be quenched, ask any racer. Shirley had met Conrad Kalitta during her drag strip travels and struck up a friendship that would introduce her to Nitro considered the heroin of drag racing.  Jack not wanting to do touring drew a line and Shirley set out for the stars on her own.
      While some may say her association with Conrad was her meal ticket, it works both ways.  They made use of each other.  Shirley paired up with someone who knew the ins and outs of the match race circuit and helped her upgrade to a Funny Car license. Legend has it that she had the “Cha-Cha” moniker from the fifties which she had intellect to use to her advantage.  Shirley hit the match race circuit making a name for herself in ‘71-73, winning at Rockingham and honing her driver skills at tracks that wouldn’t qualify as a K-Mart parking lot and she learned the lessons of Nitro racing first hand driving through a few horrendous fires to which she still bears the scars of.
     With Connie sidelined after a scuffle with NHRA brass in ‘74, Pancho Rendon put Shirley in his own Top Fuel car as Shirley had enough with F/C BBQ’s.  Shirley was where she wanted to be, with the elite of drag racing.  Shirley’s first win came at an IHRA national event.  Soon she was runner up at the Spring Nationals and top speed at Indy only a year later.  In 1975, she would runner up to Garlits at Indy and also a runner up at Columbus to Marvin Graham.  Shirley’s first NHRA Top Fuel win would be at the 1976 Spring Nationals.  1977 is when the lady laid waste to the “Men’s Club” and became the first female to win the elusive Top Fuel world champion title.  Some speculate Kalitta was responsible for that title, however even with the best car, it’s the driver that has to do their job on the line and Shirley is among the best. If there was any doubt to her skills after Connie’s release at year’s end, those thoughts were put to rest when John Muldowney proved his tuning prowess and tuned his mom to a 2nd 1980 NHRA World Championship.
     Proving beyond a doubt she is a champion, she came back in ‘82 to kick the “Boys Club” collective male asses again, this time leaving no doubt among any still on the fence.  Shirley has the distinction being the only racer in history to have a feature film of her life with “Heart like a Wheel,” yet the 1980’s brought tragedy on June 29, 1984 while racing in Montreal, Canada, a front tire blew, causing the car to exit the track at over 250 mph inflicting horrendous injuries to her legs along with major internal injuries.  The horrific accident left NHRA Safety Crew hard to recognize the remains of the roll cage that encased her.  Shirley fought back after many surgeries to repair her broken body. When she finally got back in the seat and the motor came to life, Shirley was home again.
     Most men would have hung up their helmet, but Shirley wasn’t done by a long shot. Through the rest of the 1980’s and ‘90’s Shirley would not only come back to win an NHRA National event but receive more awards than we have room to print, one being #5 on the all time NHRA drivers list!  The 2003 season was her “Last Pass” tour and she (left) the Pomona’s Winternationals in style but only after having the best reaction time for the event at .023.  Shirley continued to receive awards after her retirement as she never settles for less than the best.
      Recently Shirley’s long time friend, Dave Mandella, found her 1977 Championship car.  Dave, a former airplane/Top Fuel/boat racer ran the “Dego Red” moniker and has spared no expense restoring the Ron Attebury built winner to its former glory.  These days you’ll find Shirley at NHRA and Nostalgia events enjoying legions of fans and you can see the pride in her face being reacquainted with that hot rod.  Unfortunately, we never get to see the tender side of the woman; perhaps this would be taken as a sign of weakness in this sport.  So instead of an apron, she donned a fire suit and served the boys “crow.”  She remains a pioneer, a Champion –The “First Lady of Drag Racing” and women everywhere continue to say, “Amen.”  See:
www.muldowney.com for merchandise.  Special Thanks: John Muldowney.
PHOTOS (Website:
#68)...................1968 with dragster
#72 BW)............(Bell Helmet shot)  Must use this shot to get ad from Bell Helmet to place next to her article
#81 SI above)....Muldowney’s pink 6 second, 250 mph, 24’ long rail car (* note: crop this image from the magazine article)
#SI Helmet)........Thumbs up
     #Night of Fire......The First Lady of Drag Racing
     #6...................Shirley’s first race car, a Corvette (1962-67)
     #11.................Funny car, 1972
     #12.................Shirley, promo shot
     #22.................another promo(can crop)
#Twin Car...........Shirley with early rail car (1969-70)
Race Photos
     #81................Campaigning a Kalitta car, Gainesville
     #86................World Finals
     #9..................Cha Cha burns rubber
     #18.................World Finals
     #19.................The Lady can handle her horsepower
     #twin car chute........1969-70 in the “Twin Car”

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86 world fnals shark endplate copy

The Armenian John Wayne: Remembering Big John Mazmanian.  Written by Nick Mazmanian.  Photos © 2009 the Estate of Big John Mazmanian.  Reprinted by permission from Anna Marco.

     He was a racer, a gasser, a legend; to me he was Grandpa, and that’s all I knew him to be for most of my life.  I knew my grandfather raced, and I knew his name was Big John, because he was big—larger than life, one could say.  His persona resembled that of John Wayne in my mind because The Duke walked to the beat of his own drum and my grandfather did the same; the similarity was aided by the fact both men were over six feet tall.
     When he started out in racing during the mid-sixties, Big John was running a ‘61 Corvette that he had bought from his local Whittier dealer. The car had every option available, and knowing my grandfather, if it wasn’t high-end it wasn’t worth squat. It wasn’t until he found out his nephew Richard had been taking the car out and racing it on the streets that John began taking the car out onto the track, and the rest is pretty much history.  That first car broke the 12-second barrier and quickly became known as the “Double-Threat Vette” because it could kick ass on the track as well as in the showroom.
     Growing up with Big John taught me many things, including that one should have a clean car and never let anyone disrespect himself.  To this day when I say, “Pardon the mess” or “this thing is filthy,” my friends usually respond with a formidable hand gesture. I guess one out of two isn’t too bad.
  I remember one time when my brother and I were very young, aged ten and seven, we wanted to go to the movies and Grandpa John and Grandma Alice were going to take us.  He came to pick us up from our house and when he got there, he looked out back, turned to us and said, “Get your asses outside and clean that backyard first.”  We didn’t make it to the movie; Grandpa made sure that my brother and I had the backyard so clean you could eat off of the grass and never get a piece of dirt on your pants.
     This same meticulous care stemmed toward his cars.  Most racers at the time used one color or even just primer for their cars since it was just their car; sponsoring wasn’t big then so if your car blew up, at least you didn’t lose that much on the deal.  This thought process did not extend to John.  Bright and beautiful were usually not terms used for describing gassers, but with Big John’s cars they failed to grasp the fine details.  The cars were painted candy apple red with 24-karat gold leaf mixed in so the colors really popped when the sun hit them just right.  During meets, when most of the other crews were busy re-tuning and balancing the engines, John’s crew was doing the same—while also washing the car, and they did this between every run.

While his cars were pretty they were also technologically ahead of those he ran against.  When he first got the Willys and wanted to race it in AG/S everyone was running Chevy and Ford engines.  Yes, they were fast, but John knew that the Chrysler was the way to go.  When he pulled the engine from a junker and dropped it into the Willys people thought he was nuts.  Everyone knew that the Chevy and Ford were way better than the Mopar engine, but he never listened to anyone but himself when it came to his cars.  Its first time out, that car broke the 10-second barrier and from that point on everyone dropped Chrysler engines into their cars.
Every car Big John raced had to be better than the previous.  When the Austin went into the AA/GS category the “football” (its nickname) was completely different from those that it was racing against.  Most AA/GS cars rode at about stock height then; the Austin was engineered to be completely different from its competitors. First off, it was a smaller car, more round for aerodynamics, and it sat very low to the ground.  These design choices were made and overseen by Big John himself, and when that car hit the track it smoked all of its rivals.  Unfortunately, the Austin only ran for one year.  Turns out he was kicking too much ass and the people he had been beating on track went to the board.  The board then changed the rules on my grandfather, saying the Austin was “illegal” to race.  I guess when enough stupid people get together they can conquer giants.
That’s the thing with my grandfather—everything he made had to be the best. He was a meticulous person when it came to his cars.  Everything from the coolant overflow to the rear differential had to be exactly what he wanted.  Case in point: when he was building his ’34 Ford High Boy he bought a chrome torque converter for it. The mechanic looked at it and said, “John, no one is going to see it.”  As he took the cigar out of his mouth he responded, “Yes, but I’ll know it’s there.”
Throughout most of my life, every fan and racing enthusiast that met my grandfather told him just how beautiful his cars were; to have them perfectly describe the day around those cars filled him with pride.  He knew that even after he was gone, the memory of those cars would live on.  To him, his fans were everything; he loved them, and hearing them recount their days watching his cars was what really made him love what he did.  He never regretted a single day during his time on that track. He was a racer, a gasser, a legend; but to me he was just Grandpa.  Contact:  BigJohnMazmanian.com.
Car Specs:
     1961 Chevrolet Corvette.  Engine: 283 c.i. Chevy, GMC 6.71 blower, Hilborn four-port injector, Isky Cams,
Jardine Headers, B&M Hydro.  Transmission: 4 speed manual. 
1941 Willys Coupe.  Engine: 467 Chrysler, Reath Auto Crank, 21/8 inch Donovan valves, GMC Van-Charger, Isky Cams, Venolia Pistons.  Suspension: B&M Automotive, 4.30:1 Pontiac rear end.
1950 Austin; Engine - 427 Chrysler, Hilborn Injection, Ansen forged pistons, Cragar manifold, Van Lauren blower, 3/8 inch C-T Stroker.  Transmission: B&M Tork-Flite.  Chassis: 2in x 3in x .095in wall tubing.
Where Draggin' Originated By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted with permission from Internet Brands and
     Did I tell you about the time Ronaldo Ceridono dragged the seat out of his riding buddy’s underwear?  Let me set the scene. Ronnie and I do not go in much for doing the freeway numbers when we drive hot rods to an event.  Instead, we check the road maps for routes less traveled, those great blue lines that were once the blood arteries of the American continent. So, on this particular adventure, we left Idaho headed east to Lincoln, Nebraska targeting the R&C Americruise.
     The way it worked was that Tom Medley flew up from Burbank to co-chair with me in the Dawg roadster, while Puppy Toes came up from northern Cal to ride with Ceridono in his much travelled T no-top.  We call Paul Willis Puppy Toes because in our impromptu games of cards, he calls one of the suites this name.  And they do look like dog tracks.
     So, we  headed east through Jackson, Wyoming over the Teton pass, then over through Jerry Jardine’s backyard of the Wind River mountains, across the way wide open country of antelopes to Casper, diagonal down the Platte toward Ogalalla.  It was about even with the Shiprock landmark that Tom and I crested a rolling hill and at the bottom we saw a blanket.  I recognized this as one Poo used on the T- bucket bed to rest his minimal travel luggage.  We pulled a whoa to pick it up, then continued.  A couple more wrinkles in the road and there was Ronnie and Toes alongside the road, somewhat behind the roadster, with Paul holding up a scrap of burned cloth.  There was much gesticulating going on between the pair as we arrived.  As we walked close, the scrap of material looked very much like the waist band of underwear shorts.  “Mine," said Toes.  “My luggage,” said Poo as he lifted his bottomless bag.
     Turns out that the luggage had shifted slightly after nearly 450 miles of high balling, allowing the blanket to slowly slide free. The luggage was secured with bungee cords, and Poo had glanced back to see the two pieces of luggage bouncing along several meters behind the bobbed bed.  By the time he had anchored the T, smoke was pouring from the base of his bag.  On investigation, Toes discovered the entire bottom of his jocks were gone, with the remaining fringe just on a-flame, which is when we arrived.  But, no amount of whining by Paul would reinvent his underwear.  Ron was hardly concerned over the brief briefs--he was more put out by his bottomless brief briefcase.
     A moment of calm reflection, and a nod to the gods of fenderless roadstering found the entourage touraging onward to the land of Bill Smith-dom.  I mention this little episode by way of pointing out that having some kind of storage space (suitably enclosed works well) for a roadster or coupe trip is in direct proportion of demand depending upon gender of the occupants, as is a collapsible top thingie.
     Same car, same driver, different trip, this one to Rod Nats in St. Paul.  Not far out of town, Poo asked a travelling companion young lady wife-friend if she would like a real hot rod ride.  She agreed, only to find that the skies were becoming alarmingly dark as eastward they did hark.  Finally the heavens split, and Poo's hapless rider-topless-fenderless fad T raced on.  The theory being that the faster one goes, the less wet one becomes.
     At last, following a mad dash down the Twin Cities freeways, off the University off ramp, and a slide under the balcony of the destination motel to the mad applause and cheers of the huddled masses of non-western hardtop huggers trying to avoid same said downpour, they arrived.  Thoroughly drenched, the travelers suffered the final and ultimate indignity as the lady elevated to step from her carriage.  Immediately all the water that had pooled on her blanket and wedged between bodies displaced to pool strategically around the base part of Poo.  The moral of this story?  Never wear those one-buck rain slickers in a modified T.  And always pack your shorts midway in the bag, above the shoes and below the shirts.


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Gone Racin’… Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past, by Don Montgomery.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  August 28, 2007.  Reprinted with permission from Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     One of Don Montgomery’s earlier books is called Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past.  Don raced his cars at the dry lakes and on the early drag strips in Southern California and his love for hot rodding never waned.  He developed friendships with other drag racers and hot rodders that gave him the ability to mine a great treasure trove of photographs and memories from his fellow racers.  His reputation for quality books and honest writing opened doors for more stories and photo collections and Montgomery found it necessary to produce more books.  We can only hope that hot rodders from that long ago era continue to provide Don with more stories and photos and encourage him to continue to write more of his excellent pictorials.  Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past is a hardbound book with 160 pages on high quality, glossy-waxed paper.  The book measures 9 inches in width by 11 inches in height.  The dust cover jacket is Montgomery’s standard red, white and black cover and enhances the style of the book.  Always keep the dust cover jackets in good condition.  Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past was written, edited and published by Don Montgomery Press and the ISBN# is 0-9626454-1-9.  The first printing was in 1989 and the demand for the book was so great that a second printing in 1990 was followed by a third printing in 1994.  All 304 of the photographs in the book are in black and white and the quality is exceptional, considering their age.  Montgomery provides a great deal of text to tell the story of hot rodding in the 1930’s and ‘40’s and beyond.  His writing style is straightforward, crisp and informative.  To find this book call Autobooks/Aerobooks at 818-845-0707, the gift shop at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at 909-622-2133, or the author.

     Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past is dedicated to the hot rodders of the past and the street rodders of today.  The book contains an introduction by the author, an acknowledgment, eight chapters and a section on the author.  It lacks a bibliography and an index.  Many writers of hot rod books decide not to include an index of names in the mistaken view that pictorial coffee table books are meant to be looked at and not studied.  Over time, these books become extraordinarily valuable as historical texts and the lack of an index truly harms their worth.  Indexes are purely clerical functions and the time it takes to create them are well worth the effort.  Montgomery makes an effort to separate his many books by giving them different titles and emphasis, but it is almost impossible.  Each book covers basically the same topics as he uncovers new photos and interviews new sources from those by-gone years.  This is perfectly fine, as the more that Montgomery finds, the more history he saves.  While each of his books are about the same subject, they are all capable of standing alone as a separate history.  The list of contributors to Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past is impressive.  Some of the better known hot rodders and racers are; Dean Batchelor, Don Blair, Jack Calori, Chic Cannon, Norm Grant, Holly Hedrich, Creighton Hunter, Kong Jackson, Dave Marquez, Roland Mays, Frank Morimoto, Bill Phy, Bob Pierson, Jack Plymell, John Riley, Bud Van Maanen, Alex Xydias and Don Zabel.  Many other noted hot rodders also contributed photos or stories to this book.  Many of these contributors have since passed on and the record of their deeds in hot rodding may only exist in these pages.

     Chapter one is called Hot Rods and discusses the term and where it originated.  Many hot rods were called Gows or Gow Jobs.  Another term used was ‘hopping-up’ one’s car.  A hot rod was a stock car that was customized and altered and the power plant enhanced for greater performance.  Chapter two is named Engines and goes into all the different types of equipment and engines used by the early hot rodders.  The most common power plant used by hot rodders was the Ford Model T 177 c.i. engine.  Parts makers included Cragar, Winfield, Riley, McDowell and many others.  Gradually the V-8 engines began to show their dominance.  Chapter three is titled Roadsters and discusses how the stock coupes of the day were customized and altered to make lightweight, topless and fenderless roadsters that were sleek and fast.  Roadsters were the models by which the generation of young people in the 1930’s and ‘40’s were known.  Ignore the fact that roadsters provided no protection from rain, heat, cold or the elements.  Roadsters were the in-thing of that day and age.  Chapter four is entitled Coupes and Sedans.  A reaction to the roadsters set in during the late ‘40’s as young hot rodders began to exert their individuality and hop-up coupes and sedans.  At first the car clubs and organizations refused to allow coupes and sedans to participate.  The Russetta Timing Association formed to let coupes and sedans race at their events.  Gradually, a grudging acceptance of coupes and sedans broadened the views of what hot rodding was all about. 

     Chapter five is called Modifieds.  Modified roadsters, sedans and coupes meant that they were not simply altered by removing parts or adding them, but totally customized by adding or subtracting length or moving parts around.  Cars became narrower and longer as the stock bodies were made more streamlined and aerodynamic.  Chapter six is named Streamliners.  The ultimate design in modified cars was the streamliners.  Unique in appearance and aerodynamic in shape, they riveted the hearts and minds of land speed racers.  Low and sleek, some of the cars were built in bullet shapes and others kept a semblance of the roadster look, while other streamliners followed a sports car flattened appearance.  Chapter seven is titled Track Roadsters and discusses the hot rods that were involved in oval track racing.  It wasn’t unusual at all for young people to adapt their cars to go to the dry lakes to race, then return home and compete in a race at the local oval racetrack.  Specialization in racing was not as common in the 1930’s and ‘40’s as it is today.  Hot rodders participated in all times of activities.  Chapter eight is called The Early Drag Racers and tells about the beginnings of a new sport that would alter and modify hot rods beyond anything ever conceived before.  Montgomery ends his book with a short autobiography of his life and why he chose to write his series of books on hot rodding.  Hot Rods As They Were, Another Blast from the Past is a great addition to your library as a history, pictorial and coffee table book.
Gone Racin’ is at . 
Gone Racin’…
Hot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past, by Don Montgomery.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  August 28, 2007.  
Reprinted with permission from Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     Another great book in the series by Don Montgomery is Hot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past.  This is a hardbound book measuring 9 inches wide by 11 inches in height.  There are 144 pages in the book and it is composed of high quality glossy-waxed paper.  There are no color photos as the subject matter dates back to the 1940’s.  There are 12 charts giving statistics and points standings and 285 black and white photos.  Some of the photos are grainy and hard to see while other photographs are exceptionally well done.  Montgomery cannot be faulted for the quality of the photographs since they came from many sources.  What the author has done is to find and publish some very rare photos of a period of time that defined the golden age of automotive racing and experimentation.  Some of the photos are extremely well captioned and tell the story all by themselves.  Other captions are sparse or non-existent, which is a problem for the readers who are looking for their friends or relatives.  Another disappointment is the lack of an index, which serious scholars will find to be a detriment in their researching.  Otherwise, Hot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past is another fine example of the editing, writing and researching that Don Montgomery puts into his books.  Montgomery’s books all have the same format, with a red hardbound cover and a white, red and black dust cover jacket.  Pay extra attention to the dust cover jacket because it enhances the look of the bookHot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past is self-published by the author and was first published in 1987, republished in 1989 and 1993.  Copies can be obtained from the author by contacting him at 760-728-5557 or at Autobooks/Aerobooks at 818-845-0707. 

     Montgomery writes the introduction, the acknowledgments and the seven chapters.  This is a one-man operation and the author is very good at what he does.  Montgomery has a driving desire to record the history and heritage of hot rodding and car racing.  He specializes in dry lakes time trials, drag racing and the street rod culture, because that is where the hot rod saw its greatest glory.  In fact, hot rodding has never gone out of fashion and is even as popular today as during its heyday of the 1930’s and ‘40’s.  Montgomery is respected by the old time hot rodders and this is why he is able to dig deep into their archives and memories.  He is respected because of his attention to detail and accuracy.  He accumulates stories and photographs until he has enough to create a book, which he likes to refer to as his “hot rodder’s photo albums.”  Montgomery provides enough text and captions to help the new reader along.  Hot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past is a pictorial, after all, and it helps to have a background in hot rodding in order to fully grasp and appreciate the variety of the sport.  If you are new to hot rodding, or are young and never had the opportunity to see the dry lakes or the old drag strips, then buy all of Don Montgomery’s books, because taken as a whole they truly explain the history.

     Chapter One is called The Prewar Years and discusses how the hot rodders went to the dry lakes of Southern California to test their hopped up gows against the elements and each other.  Gows is a term for hot rods popular in the 1930’s.  A newspaper reporter first used the term ‘hot rod’ to express his ideas of what these new and fascinating cars were like.  Hot rod was used as a pejorative put down and came to define a wild, out of control teenager’s street racing car.  Gradually, the term hot rod changed in the minds of the public and earned a begrudging respect.  Today the term gow is almost forgotten, while the lowly hot rod has risen in esteem.  Chapter Two is named The Great Years and discusses how World War II shut down racing and the car culture while millions of men and women went into the military.  After the war these young people returned and created a stronger and more vibrant car culture than ever before.  Hot rodding expanded past the street rod and dry lakes car.  Chapter Three is titled The Clubs and Montgomery discusses how the local car clubs formed, competed at the lakes and on the streets.  Chapter Four is called the Dry Lakes and discusses the racing that took place there.  Chapter Five is named the Hot Rod Shows.  Hot rodders were gaining pride in their custom creations and were beginning to see the commercial opportunities opening up to them.  The 1948 Hot Rod Exposition at the National Guard Armory, near the Los Angeles Coliseum, became a huge hit and soon thereafter there were hot rod shows everywhere.  Chapter Six is entitled Hot Rod magazine and discusses how this seminal newsmagazine put hot rodding on a new level of respect.  Pete Petersen and Bob Lindsay brought out the new magazine, with Wally Parks as editor and the photographers and staffers included Don Francisco, Bill Burke, Racer Brown, Tom Medley and Rick Rickman.  Chapter Seven is called The Survivors and is pictorial with no text.  Hot Rods in the Forties, a Blast from the Past is a must for your hot rodding library.
Gone Racin’ is at

Gone Racin’…Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past, by Don Montgomery.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  August 28, 2007. Reprinted with permission from Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

   Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past is the 8th book in a series written by Fallbrook, California author, Don Montgomery.  He has created a special market with his books.  His readers avidly collect his books on Southern California hot rodding history.  He self-publishes his own books and does the writing as well.  They are high quality works, the photographs are clear and finely reproduced and the story is well researched and accurate.  In fact, his readers know Montgomery’s penchant for scholarship and look very hard to see if they can spot an error.  No book is above errors, but finding an error in his books has proven very difficult.  Why does the author insist on such meticulous attention to detail?  He gave me the answer once, “when mistakes get into print they become Gospel truth and they’re very hard to root out.”  Montgomery has the science of book writing and publishing down to an art form.  Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past follows the same pattern as his previous seven books.  The book measures 8 inches in width by 11 inches in height and has 192 pages.  The size allows him to reproduce full-page photographs without any degradation in quality and the page length makes it easy for the printer to print the book in 48 page folios, which allows for the least wastage of paper and time.  Everything about the author’s work is first class.  The book is a hardcover edition and the pages are high quality, heavy bond, waxed paper for the maximum quality in photographic transfers.  The pages are bound to the spine of the book and not glued in.  The dust cover jacket is his trademark red, white and black design and is absolutely brilliant.  He has an uncomplicated but thorough method in his styling and in his writing.  He’s one of the best creating hot rod books.

   Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past is a work that crosses over into several categories.  It is a fine coffee table masterpiece, a historical and a pictorial work on the history of hot rodding.  His sources for pictures and text represent the famous and the normal hot rodder.  His pipeline never runs out of ideas, suggestions or photographs.  Montgomery is also his number one resource, since he was a hot rodder, land speed and drag racer.  If his enthusiasm doesn’t wane, he can keep publishing these fine works of his for years to come.  A special bit of praise needs to go to his wife, Claire Montgomery, for she not only encourages her husband to create these books, she helps him in the process.  You can find Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past at bookstores or at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California.  Call the gift shop at 909-622-2133 and order the book by phone.  The ISBN number is 978-0-9626454-7-1.  There are no color photographs, but there are 591 exquisite black and white photos, one cartoon and 4 timing tag illustrations.  The quality of the paper in the book brings these old photographs to life.  The captions are well done and informative.  History simply jumps out of the pages in Old Hot Rods Scrapbook, Memories From The Past.  I keep waiting for Montgomery to say, “thats it, there are no more photos and there’s nothing more to say.”  But that never happens, as he just keeps astounding his readers with new photographs and material, most of it never published before.

   The book contains a dedication, introduction, table of contents, acknowledgments, five chapters and a brief biography of the author and his background.  Alas, there is no index for the historian to work with.  The only thing that stops these books from being truly great and outstanding is the lack of an index.  The scenes at the dry lakes and on the early day dragstrips of Southern California are fantastic.  Bill Freeman provided photos from the Riverside area and Norm Gruden lent his photos from the Pomona drag strip.  Others who provided photos and history include; Don Blair, Bernie Couch, Bob DeBisschop, Blackie Gold, Ray Hess, Keith Landrigan, Buff Marquand, Dave Marquez, Dode Martin, Bob Morton, Don Purdy, Joe Reath, Bob Rounthwaite, John Ryan, Mort Smith, Bud Van Maanen, John Wolf, Don Zable and many more true hot rodders.  Many names are still recognizable to hot rodders, land speed and drag racers after half a century or more.  Buff Marquand, Bill Freeman and Dave Marquez were members of the Bean Bandits, a legendary San Diego land speed and drag racing team led by Joaquin Arnett.  The greatest praise that Marquez could give was, “(Bleep) kid.”  When he recognized you, then you had to be someone special.  Marquez would win the first two NHRA Nationals in his roadster class.  Johnny Ryan and Nellie Taylor had the top engine building shop in the Southland.  Their flathead engines ruled the dry lakes.  Don Blair and Blackie Gold are historic names in hot rodding.  Without this book your library is incomplete.
Gone Racin’ is at .  ********************************************************************************************



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