.  Issue #335.
August 26
, 2014
Editor-in-Chief: Jack and 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, rfalcon279@aol.com
Historians: Anna Marco, Dick Martin, Tex Smith, Burly Burlile, Jerry Cornelison

Click On All Images / Links For more Info / Images

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
President's Corner; Editorials; Bob Choisser and Bob Falconon Tony Stewart,  Lunch at Freds,  The Snake

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Bob Choisser
     After reading a couple of comments on the Tony Stewart racing accident, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I’ll bet very few people have ever raced on a dirt track professionally.  Racing on a dirt circle track is like nothing else in the world.  Sprint cars are the world’s most dangerous race cars and stuff happens in the blink of an eye or faster.  After watching the video of the accident many times, I know for sure that I would not want to make a judgment about what Smoke was thinking or his frame of mind was at that moment.  All I can say for sure is that the incident is a terrible tragedy and the worst possible event for the family of the dead young man and for racing.  But let’s never forget that a driver is never supposed to get out of his car on the track while anything but a red flag is flying unless of course his car is on fire; then he’s got two things to worry about.  The race officials will sort it out and the local constabulary as well as the lawyers should stay out of it.        
     I am probably one of the few who can accurately respond to the News Media concerning the Tony Stewart accident that took the life of a young race car driver.  I have been involved in REAL Auto Racing all of my life and, as a driver, have had to settle on track incidents but I did so in the pits, with the simple face-to-face statement, "...
if you ever try to do that to me again, I will put you in the parking lot!"  Eighty years ago I learned two things about auto racing; 1) NEVER walk out on the race track when cars are circulating, even at idle speeds, AND 2) NEVER turn your back on cars that are racing because one will hit you.  Winged Sprint cars under Yellow Flag conditions are traveling around 35 MPH.  They do not have a clutch.  Too slow of a speed they lurch and will most likely tear up the ring and pinion gears.  At idle speed they run very rich which leads to fouled spark plugs.
      My racing over the years began with my father's Fronty T Racer on the Fairgrounds and Ovals of SW PA from the time I was 3 years old.  My personal hands-on career began with the Track Roadsters of post WW2 then to Midgets.  After military service I became involved in Jalopy racing at Culver City Speedway (the entry level into serious oval racing in the era) then to Sports Cars (a non-challenging piece of cake) then to Racing Director at Accel Ignition where I managed a group of Field Service engineers assisting our users at Drag Racing (3 Sanction Bodies), NASCAR (2 car classes) and USAC National Championship Series, which I covered as a single.  I forgot to include my services to Halibrand Engineering and as the Secretary of the USAC Safety Committee and the invention of an extraction device used to rescue badly injured Indy Car drivers since the 1980's.
     I blame the tragic accident on the young man who left his car and entered the track where cars were still moving.  He may have been grandstanding, and he got too close to the huge right rear tire which upended him.  To get that close to a race car idling around a race track, in my book, makes no sense.  The readers need to hear the technicalities of real auto racing on an oval track instead of statements from those who have little experience on an oval track.

STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.
     The owner and publisher of
www.landspeedracing.com requested that we put the captions "inside" the photographs and so I asked Roger and he came up with a simple procedure.  Open the photo, right click to find properties, right click on details and then move the mouse arrow over to the middle until a box opened up where you type in the "number" or caption for the photo.  Roger found it under Details.  Jerry Cornelison found it under Summary.  I haven't been able to find the pop-up box at all.  It may be that some of us have the necessary programming to do captions and the rest of us don't.  We are working on a solution.
     Jerry Cornelison wrote, "I figured out the deal about posting picture info 'inside' the picture so the editor can see it.  I did not know you could do that.  Very easy to do.  Posted info on a couple of my own pictures and e-mailed to myself to test it. Works great." 
     Roger Rohrdanz added, "I don't know if this works on Mac computers?  1) Go to the image you want to caption.  2) Right click on it. A window will open, Left click on Properties at the bottom.  3) A window will open with tabs at the top, right click on the Details tab.  4) On the left side of the page you will see Title and then Subject.  Click on either one, a space will appear for your caption.  5) When you have finished typing your caption, left click in the OK box on the bottom." 
     I received an email from a member who said, "...
I picked up the original 8mm films, shot in the early 1960's, of El Mirage, Bonneville, SCTA 1/2mi Drags at Riverside and even some hydroplane racing at Long Beach Marine Stadium ... These are the films discovered in the back of a closet and came close to having been thrown out with other old family pictures and films..."  I've left out the other details because the point of this editorial is not these films or the people who found them.  The point is that in almost every home there are valuable documents, photographs, film, tapes, diaries/journals, memorabilia and more that can add to our history and heritage.  In some cases it is the intervention of a kind, considerate person who recognizes the historical value and saves them for posterity.  If you are a reader of the SLSRH Newsletter then you are a historian, either professional or amateur (it doesn't matter which) and we have an obligation to save as much as we can.  Always ask people you meet or visit with and see if they have historical documents that they may not want, or if they do want the material, if you can make copies.  Every artifact that you save will be of immense help to future historians.
     I just had a conversation with Rose Dickinson at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.  The name of the facility is rather long and I admit that it is a mouthful.  It’s not much different with The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter, published by
www.landspeedracing.com.  As with many writers and editors I find myself shortening the name to the Motorsports Museum, or to the SLSRH in order to save time.  But it isn’t a correct way to handle this and it is sloppy journalism.  The reason why is accountability and correctness.  My father always told me that these two names were extremely long, but he could offer no advice on how to shorten them.  A name is a valuable commodity, but more important is the ethics behind the usage of the name.  I can’t very well go around changing your name from how you want to be called and using something slangy and cute.  You wouldn’t like that at all.  Even nicknames have to be accepted by the owner. 
     To be honest historians we need to be thorough in the way we describe people and companies.  I know it takes more typing and time, but it is important to get into good habits.  Why did we choose The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians?  Because anything less than that would not explain who and what we are.  Dropping any word from the name only adds confusion.  The same is true with the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.  Each component tells us something about that facility that is important.  Now my father didn’t want his name on the building, but that was something that the NHRA Board of Directors wanted to do and it made sense to them and to many others.  The Motorsports term was important too, because all those involved in the formation of the museum wanted the public to know that they were an all inclusive racing museum and not specifically just for drag racing.
     But why add “presented by Automobile Club of Southern California?”  Many would say that is an unimportant part of the name.  They are wrong.  That information is probably one of the most important pieces of the name and sadly it is neglected and forgotten by many writers and historians.  I want you to make a habit of at least using the full and complete name of any person or company in the beginning of your articles and afterwards you can shorten it or use initials.  The Automobile Club of Southern California spends millions of dollars every year sponsoring a wide variety of events and without their financial help and valuable contacts many groups would not be able to continue on in their mission to provide shows, reunions, races or exhibits.  Once you have used their full name go ahead, if you must to shorten the name, but identify them fully in the beginning.  Do more than give them credit for helping us to survive; find ways to bring them into the conversation as if they were your friends standing next to you at a party. 
     I’ve met Tom McKernan on several occasions and he is committed to public safety and motorsports that gets young kids to race at safe and sanctioned drag strips and oval tracks and not on the public streets.  The Automobile Club of Southern California has supported my Boat Racers Reunion in the past.  The list of organizations that have been assisted by the Auto Club is a long one.  But just as important as their financial help and contacts is their enthusiasm for the car culture.  When you talk to representatives of the Auto Club you can feel their love for all things automotive.  Yes, it is an inconvenience to have to write out their full name, but would you introduce your mother to strangers as “my old lady,” or “Ma.”  Give everyone the respect they deserve in your articles and then later on, if you have their permission, you can use a nickname or shortened version of their name. 

     Jack Stewart passed away from a heart attack.  They tried to revive him with CPR, but it was too late.  Rest in Peace Jack.  Prayers go out to Sally and family.  Your Club Family is always here for you.  Jack will truly be missed.  Frank Livingston
     I was thrashing to get my car ready for Bonneville only to get as far as Ely to learn the meet was cancelled.  I just opened this sad news about Jack Stewart.  I was honored to have Jack ask me to write the captions for his L.A. Roadster book he was putting together.  I got to know the man quite well during the trips to his home and seeing how much he was committed to the Roadster club and to the sport of street rodding. He was one hundred percent a Goodguy.  Dick Martin
     Jack Stewart was a cool guy and was always taking pictures.  He will be missed.  George Deden, former member of the Early Times of SoCal.
     It is with great sadness that I read your excellent bio of Jack Stewart.  I enjoyed many moments with Jack over the years and will miss him very much; especially on father's day weekend.  I always enjoyed a good conversation by the side of his golf cart until he had to scoot away on club business.  I am enclosing 3 favorite shots of Jack and Bob Barnes that I took at Winfield's 2010 soiree.  Bob and Jack had recently been presented with their Lifetime LA Roadsters Club jackets and took them on a road test to Gene's place.  I had the dynamic duo pose both front and back by my roadster.  Notice the guy shooting through the fence in one shot.  I guess he recognized hot rod royalty too.  Somewhere I have some shots of Jack's roadster with a wine cask mounted on the trunk rack.  In the 1970's Jack would mount the cask and then letter it to match the run he was attending.  My favorite was '73 when it said, "Come get stuck in Lodi" where we attended an early NSRA Western Nats!  I will call Bob tomorrow to find out about a service. Hopefully, I am not too late.  (EDITOR-please let us know when the event will take place.)
     Thanks again for the kind words about my treatments for salt fever.  You mentioned that you had given me an editorial mention in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  I looked and did not see anything in the latest issue.  I am anxious to see my name in print to settle a VERY old difference of opinion between me and my eighth grade English teacher; Mildewed Dean (real name Mildred).  She once chewed me and my best friend out in front of the class and told us that as long as we immersed ourselves in hot rods and didn't learn English, we would never amount to anything important.  I would like to see that and then cast a wry smile toward heaven (or the other place I think she really went to) knowing full well that at 67 I finally proved her wrong.  Of course, my friend and I knew she was misinformed because she drove a pea green '51 bullet nosed Studebaker Champ!   Doug McHenry
     EDITOR: Doug, keep writing in to us with your stories and I'll print them and maybe we will make a Historian and writer out of you, further confounding the teachers of America who say hot rodders will never amount to much.
     Long time friend and LSR racer Bob Kehoe passed away yesterday.  I have no obit or service dates yet.  If you hear anything please update me as well.  Glen Barrett
     GLEN: I will post this to the newsletter, but there will be a delay as it takes me a week or more to have an issue ready and another week or two for the publisher to get it on-line at
www.landspeedracing.com, so funerals are often impossible for me to get out to the public in time.  Celebrations of Life on the other hand are often scheduled for a few months later and these are easier to announce so that no one is left out.  The trouble that I have is that although people know that I am looking for bios and obits, or want to post times, dates and places of celebrations of life, they are often under a lot of stress and grief and forget to notify me and others.  You can help me considerably if you add a few more details and it doesn't matter what they are.  Telling me such things as where, when and what the deceased raced, and his friends, crewmembers, etc were, is a big help to me.  For example, if I know where Bob was living when he passed on helps me because I may be able to email someone in his area who can run down the details.  I'm also having trouble with Jack Stewart's celebration of life, because Sally's phone number has been disconnected and I don't have any contacts within the LA Roadster Club to follow up on.  The really frustrating thing is that years from now someone will see me and say, "How come you didn't notify me so I could go to say goodbye to my friend."  Feedback, which is so vital, is really hard to get when someone dies, and until the family can finally relax weeks later after the funeral is over.
     Fred Iaia is in French Hospital in San Luis Obispo.  He has pneumonia and was not doing well as he can’t sleep in a hospital.  Evelyn Roth,

     G'day Challengers.  Over the next couple weeks keep a close check in your email for my update's on the upcoming World of Speed (Sept 6 thru 9) and the VW Challenge Maxx Speed Nats. Recent rains have caused concern regarding the racing surface and I will do my best to keep you aware of the status of the event. You can also "Friend" request the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association at the site below for direct updates: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utah-Salt-Flats-Racing-Association/100630516712955.      
     CONTACT INFO REQUEST: With just 21 days (3 weeks) till racing begins, my ability to call you in case of a delay or cancellation will be critical to minimizing both travel and hotel/motel expenses.  If you are planning to attend the WOS "as a racer or spectator," please email me with the BEST phone number to reach you "on the road" (U.S. residents only) and/or at home.  In the event of cancellation, I will try to call everyone on the notification list as quickly as possible.  My home phone number is 435-752 4359 and I would invite you to call me as we near our travel dates if this will work better for you.  I will be assessing weather updates to keep you abreast of any changes in the last few days.     
     As of today, the conditions have changed dramatically for the better.   World of Speed celebrating 100 years of racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats begins in just 21 days. The dates are Sept 6-9 with tech inspection's beginning Sept. 5.  Gate opens each day at 8:00AM until close at 6:00PM.  The last day of racing will close early Tuesday afternoon.  Invite your friends and family to enjoy some great racing and make 2014 the best year yet.  Burly Burlile, VW 36hp & BB Challenge,
burlybug@comcast.net,  www.facebook.com/groups/36hpvw.challenge.  Freelance Photo Journalist, Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH).
     When I learned that the BNI had decided to eliminate all mile black bag markers, because of the PVC pipe danger.  I went to the July 18 board-reps meeting.  Scott Andrews had developed a new foam marker with no PVC Pipe above ground level.  I felt that until the new course lines were proven to be visibly safe (last year’s lines were almost invisible) we still needed miles makers until the new added lines proved to be safe.
     At the July 18 board-reps meeting The Board voted to allow me to provide the foam mile markers; provided that there would be no cost to SCTA-BNI and that also I would provide, install and maintain them.  The next day I told Scott to order all the material and that I would raise the money with donations to pay all the costs.
     He has also has received some of the material costs all ready, but he should bill the SCTA for additional costs that he has encored.  I will send all my donations that I received to you and the SCTA and I will pay for any additional costs for the course markers.  Any money that is left over will go to the course prep fund.  Also all the donors want these markers to be available to SCTA-BNI-USFR-BUD-FIA or anyone to use for Safety on the Bonneville Salts Flats.
     I don’t think the new lines will be magic, also I believe that the courses can’t ever be marked enough.  George and I have made more and faster passes than almost anyone, having watched all the in-car video from runs with the black line and without.  I know we need the 1/4 markers from the 0 mile on.  George’s comment on the black line last year is that it was useless and we have run with no lines for a decade.  Without course markers if a car gets off the course he will never find his way back without them.  Ron Main
STAFF COMMENTS, by Richard Parks. 
     I have a confession to make; I have never been to or covered the Cruisin' For A Cure car show.  I can't tell you why.  Debbie Baker and Ross Kroenert have been so good to keep me informed and have invited me to their event each year.  It isn't like the show is far away, either.  I can probably walk to it, so there is no excuse.  The next Cruisin' For A Cure car show will be held on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Orange County Fairgrounds, in Costa Mesa, California.  It will be their fifteenth show this year.  Debbie and her friends started Cruisin' For A Cure car show to raise money and awareness of prostate cancer, which is a killer of men.  We have all lost friends and loved ones to this very preventable cancer, if it is treated early enough.  But car guys are especially reluctant to get checked up and to go on treatment. 
     When Debbie's husband developed prostate cancer she got angry, then she got to work and Cruisin' For A Cure car show is the result of a dedicated woman.  The car show isn't just lots of cars, though I doubt you will have the stamina or the time to see all of the 2700 cars that usually show up.  The proceeds of the show are given to various cancer research centers who are working on cures for prostate cancers.  There is also a screening center where men can give samples and the medical staff will let you know if they detect prostate cancer.  Hundreds of hot rodders have found out that they did have prostate cancer or were in the early stages and sought treatment to rid themselves of this killer.  Many more took the tests and were relieved that they were healthy and free from cancer.  It is all done free of charge.  So there is no reason for any car guy in the area to put off going to the Cruisin' For A Cure car show.  It's fun and it’s life-saving.    

     Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 7 PM EST Larry Fisher NHRA Executive Director of the Motorsports Museum and All New Gallery of Speed will be our guest.  Enter our John Force Racing FB Contest.  Co-Host Donnie Couch & Rick Markko.  Listen www.TheSamAuxierJrShow.com.    Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 7PM EST 4PM PCT Chip Foose & Cowboy Bob, Nationwide announcement PHOENIX FUEL CONVERTER.  Greatest name in car design Chip Foose TV Overhauling Fame and Cowboy Bob of Kalitta Motorsports/Technicoat Fame.  Co-Host Donnie Couch & Rick Markko Listen www.TheSamAuxierJrShow.com.  Sam Auxier Jr, samauxier@msn.com.
     We are having Ed Iskenderian’s 93rd birthday party on Saturday, 13 of September 2014.  We are also having a car show and a catered lunch and a lot of special guests.  The place is LTR Racing, Onyx, California.  Please phone 760-378-1982 or email to Lanny Trefz at
ltrracingengines@yahoo.com, to RSVP.
     I participated at The Santa Ana Drags on limited occasions.  On the Sundays when Culver City Speedway booked the Hard Tops to compete on TV and we Jalopy Racers did not have a race scheduled, several of us would tow our rigs down to SNA and C.J. Hart would set up a class for us.  I think I did win several of those trophies.     Bob Falcon
     Stormy Byrd has an archive of hard copy back issues of Full Throttle News.  He was a columnist there working with Richard Heath, Tom & Joel.  Back issues are $10 for 4 while they last and they are BW and color.  He can be reached at
https://www.facebook.com/stormy.byrd.5.   Anna Marco

     The Snake & Mongoo$e movie starring Jesse Williams and Richard Blake as Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen has nostalgia themed merchandise for sale on their website at http://snakeandmongoosemovie.com/store.   Items include a full length DVD,  27" x 40" movie poster, classic SNAKE t-shirts with the nostalgia design, the official NHRA movie t-shirt, a soundtrack CD, gift sets, a large vinyl garage banner, and  a comic book.  All merchandise is reasonably priced and very cool.  Select songs from the soundtrack are also available on iTunes.  These items are a great gift for anyone who is into drag racing.  The banner and poster are especially nice.   Get the t-shirts and have Tom and Don sign their autographs on them at the racetrack with a black sharpie and then frame them for display.  Anna Marco


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Recommended reading for old car racing.  This might be good info for LSR archives.  BLUE BLOOD, THE HISTORY OF GRAND PRIX RACING CARS IN FRANCE.  Hemmings Daily; http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/08/12/recommended-reading-blue-blood-the-history-of-grand-prix-racing-cars-in-france/#.U-uSfxR1uM0.email.   Anna Marco
     STAFF NOTES: There are a number of really old road course cars and oval track cars in this book.  Check with Aerobooks/Autobooks in Burbank to see if they have a copy of this book or if they can get it for you.
     I recently bought a 1936 Ford and am looking for photos and or any history on the car.  I bought it from a gentleman who owned it more than forty years.  The dash has a 1954 Bonneville sticker and it looks to have possibly had a small Chevy installed at one time.  On the firewall it has two sets of four holes drilled, bad thing is tags are long since gone.  It also has cool handmade exhaust cutouts under the running boards.  I am attaching photos.  Any insight would be appreciated.  Thank you in advance, Harold Hartley,
     HAROLD: First, contact Jim Miller at 818-846-5139; he's our historian.  Send him photos of the engine compartment and measure the holes from the timing tag to see if it did hold a timing tag.  What was the name of the person you bought the car from and did he know who owned it prior to the 1970's?  Have you looked up Kay Parks Auto in Tacoma, Washington.  Seems like he may have been a sponsor and perhaps the business is still operating under his children.  In that area there lives a man by the name of Bruce Geisler, who ran the dry lakes and Bonneville about that time.  I will run your message in our newsletter to see if anyone recognizes the car.  Is your last name Hartley?  Also, I need your permission to add your email address in the newsletter.  Send Jim Miller all the data you have, including where you bought the car and if the man knows who he bought the car from and if it is out of the Washington State area.  Are there any license plates or racing numbers on the car? 
     Here are the headlines about illegal street racing in the Evening Chronicle
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/watch-boy-racers-banned-driving-7602093.  Does street racing take place near to where you live, also how far are the nearest race track, or drag strip where you can race your street car?"  John Hutchinson 
     JOHN: There are three dragstrips and three oval tracks currently in the Los Angeles Basin, supported by a population of around 12 to 15 million people.  There are more dragstrips and oval courses a hundred miles or more to the north and south of us.  It is an inadequate number of facilities for the number of people, mostly young, who want to race their cars and so they use the streets to race on. 
     If caught their cars are confiscated and lost permanently.  Their driver's license is taken and they are assessed huge fines.  They will likely face jail time, large court costs and attorney's fees.  Any spectators rounded up by the police might also face fines and the loss of their cars for "aiding and abetting" illegal street racing, which is considered a threat to public safety and is prosecuted along the same lines as an attempted assault and battery.  These draconian laws are in place because communities do not want to see a dragstrip or oval track built in their areas, leaving young people with no outlet for their desire to race. 
     Our politicians in California are environmentalists in character and view the automobile as an undesirable necessity at best and a destructive liability to life and the environment at worst.  They pass draconian laws to make people, especially the hot rodding hobbyist get rid of their cars and take mass transit, like buses or trains.  However, distances are greater here than in Europe, the mass transit is not policed well, crime is rampant and so there is little support for public transportation. 
     In order to get around the underutilization and phobia of mass transit, the politicians in our state are pushing what is called the Sustainable Communities Act, which has the goal of achieving better land usage.  By that they mean the promotion of huge apartment complexes rather than individual homes, creating a dense population that live close to their jobs and can walk or bike to work, lessening the need for cars.  In fact, parking is minimal in many areas so if those living in such dense places have a car they may not find a place to park their cars and are forced to pay expensive rates at parking garages.
     The goal of our state’s political leaders is to turn vast amounts of land that was individual detached housing into massive high-rise apartment buildings.  The politicians can then control the amount of water and power as well as reduce congestion, and all of this will increase the areas for natural habitat and the vitality of wildlife and nature.  In other words, at one time people lived well and went to zoos to see caged animals.  If the environmentalists and our politicians succeed it will be the animals that live well and they can see us in our caged housing. 
     However, the crime rate in these dense areas is so high that in Willowbrook the apartment buildings have twenty foot high chain link fences, razor wire at the top, and locked gates to protect the people inside from the criminals roaming around outside.  We are expecting to lose one of our dragstrips and one of our oval tracks within the next two years.  Not because of public pressure, but because the land is too valuable and was sold to a developer who doesn't see any profits in keeping the facility open for racing.  Whereas Southern California once supported hundreds of small racing facilities (not all at the same time), we are now watching a fatal decline of auto racing in our area.

     If anyone has books for sale, tapes, photos, artwork, posters and other LSR and hot rodding memorabilia that you would like to sell then send me a short notice and include a photo.  We don't take ads, but we do want others to know if there is something that you have that you want to make available to others, or if you are looking for something to add to your library.  An object HOLDS history within it.  In order to make that relic, object or memorabilia valuable you must write a history of it.  What was it used for, who owned it, who raced it, what impact did it have.  In the case of artwork from Youngblood, Ibusuki, Fritz, etal that object is a creation and copy of something that has meaning to us.  It's original now, but will have its own rare value decades from now.  If you are a writer and have books for sale, let me know.  I'll do a free review and let people know that your book is available.  For example, the book stores for the Motorsports Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum, Automobile Driving Museum, Garlits International Drag Racing Museum, Aerobooks/Autobooks and many more places of history and business are encouraged to let us know what they have available in their gift shops.  We are not only historians, but we are also consumers and there are holidays and special people in our lives that we buy gifts for (including ourselves).  So don't be shy; if you have something of interest, let me know. 
Metal By Any Name.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to
     A bump in the production of words roadway. Actually, it was just a slight bump to the rear as I decided to shortcut across the lawn from the front porch. Something or other didn't work right, and it was just a slight bump on the skinny rump. But, ended up with two cracked vertebrae and a too long stay in hospital trying not to hurt. Moral: avoid shortcuts.
     Anyway, before the detour, I had been considering the condition of steel production here in Australia. You readers in America probably aren't aware that Australia has the world's supply of iron ore, or that most of that goes directly to China. You probably also don't know that through the years OZ has produced at least one internally built car and several more of mixed heritage. But of late, the steamroller economy has begun to flatten, so much so that there is no longer an Aussie built car of any ilk. With the roll-on being a bunch of business going the way of extinction. And that may not seem like much to such a huge automotive related industry as we have in the U.S., but down here in the antipodes the ripple effect is horrendous.
     Consider that with the Ozzie version of a single General Motors make (the Holden, which was introduced Down Under over sixty years ago), it is getting almost impossible to get good steel. Yes, you can buy steel, but much of the Asian variety is nowhere near the quality we demand in North America. Which means what is increasingly available is dramatically inferior, especially when it comes to welding. Which has a direct effect on a major Aussie supplier of reproduction early Ford design frames, and sheet metal for bodies and panels, and…you see how it starts with such a seemingly innocuous statement from a major producer that they are ceasing production. A shortage leads inevitably to an increase in product cost, and so the downward spiral begins.  Too soon, it bites the hot rod enthusiast in the butt.
     LiLow chassis here in Australia is a really neat company, making some of the better designed frames I have come across. Now they are in the search for steel suppliers in a market where quality is a direct victim of GM absence. Kelvin Waddington makes reproduction automobile bodies and custom panels, but he relies entirely on getting prime quality sheet steel. What you probably don't know is that Kelvin's products sell through a number of different American suppliers. He hurts, the hobby is going to hurt. And we have suffered more than enough hurts of late.
     In itself, the demise of Holden (GM) Australia may not be much of a blow. But if the quality steel supply takes a hit, we are all going to feel the blow.
     And all that got to me thinking that maybe I need to whittle up a new set of back vertebrae. Something in a quality stainless, perhaps. Something that would require a lot of hand file work. You do remember hand files? They were invented before dirt, and I love to work metal with files. If you have never done much in the way of shaping metal or wood with files, change your ways today! Talk about something that will make your day, shape a piece of metal (or wood, or stone) entirely with a hand file, then take the time to feel it up (as in sensually) for something akin to outstanding sex. I have mentioned in the past how fabricating a steel body panel can be so fulfilling, spend a lot of time with a Vixen file on that body part and you increase the pleasure ten-fold.
     So, in a way the loss of Holden is taking away the Aussie orgasm and that's wrong!  Let's march on Washington!  Or Canberra.  Or Beijing, or somewhere.
Gone Racin’…
Boys of Bonneville.  Movie review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  May 9, 2011.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to www.hotrodhotline.com

     Movie reviews come in all forms.  I write reviews the way I want to see them in order to decide whether I want to spend the time or money to see the movie.  Time is important to hot rodders.  Normally I receive or buy a disc and review the movie over and over again.  Sometimes there is a reviewer’s screening or Premieres that we can attend.  A review shouldn’t change whether we see the movie in a crowd or alone at home where we can play back the action.  I’ll know right from the beginning whether the movie has “legs” or is just taking up my time.  On the other hand there are movies that take time to grow on you; those that get better and better with age.  A movie is more than just a chance to relax; it is also a statement by the filmmaker about the subject and the times that we live in.  The producer and director are attempting to record the ‘truth’ of the film; for now and for all time. Boys of Bonneville is a new movie that attempts to show a little known and forgotten era in land speed and endurance racing.  The movie was commissioned and produced by John Price and depicts the life and times of Ab Jenkins and his son Marvin.  Price recently had the chance to buy the Mormon Meteor III endurance car from the Jenkins family and have it restored to its former racing glory.  The car is on display at his museum in Utah.

     The Jenkins family is critical to the understanding of land speed and endurance racing.  Boys of Bonneville is a documentary film that attempts to tell their story.  In some respects it does exactly that and in some cases it misses some important points.  For years now I have been extolling the importance of Ab and Marvin Jenkins in land speed racing and American racing in general.  Authors like ‘LandSpeed’ Louise Ann Noeth and Gordon Eliot White have written about the importance of the Jenkins family and of course there are hundreds of enthusiastic endurance and land speed racers and fans who have never forgotten what Ab Jenkins means to us.  Simply put, Ab is responsible for Bonneville salt flat racing and the advancement of the sport beyond anything that the world could have conceived of in the 1930’s.  Land speed racing is an acquired taste; you simply love it and understand it or you don’t.  Among those who love land speed and endurance racing, Ab Jenkins is a mythic giant of a man.  But before we get to Ab and those who followed him, let’s set up the stage for this movie.  The Newport Beach Film Festival accepted the application for Boys of Bonneville and gave the producer a date; 6pm on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.  There were many film premieres over the week-long festival; some with limousines and beautifully gowned women and tux wearing men.  The City of Newport Beach takes their arts seriously.  But this was a hot rod documentary and we came dressed in jeans and T-shirts.

     Though we aren’t an artsy crowd, we have as much love for display and pomp as anyone.  The men and women who showed up have won the right to wear the Red Hat, the most prestigious club anywhere in the world.  They are mechanics, businessmen, diplomats, pinstripers, artists, racers and professional men and women in nearly every field of endeavor.  More to the point, they are people who love speed and mechanical marvels.  Their minds spin at a furious rate as they absorb the knowledge all around them in motorsports.  They may hate fancy gowns and tuxes with frilled shirts, but they are not to be trifled with.  These men and women who came to view the movie with me represent the best and brightest minds anywhere and they are a very hardheaded crowd to please.  My son Michael Parks (Wally’s grandson) treated me to this event and chauffeured me there.  We found a line waiting for us that included a lot of old friends; Jim Miller, Parnelli Jones, Mike Jones (no relation to Parnelli), David and Barbara Parks, Charles Rollins, Ron Main and many more.  At the Premiere was John Price, the producer and a former United States Ambassador.  Accompanying him was Gerald Kent Hartley, the film’s Musician and Film Composer.  The crowd knew the story line probably better than the director did and they were there to praise him or boo him off the stage if he did not accord Ab Jenkins with the respect that we all hold for him.  He was either going to win us over or face a cruel response.

     Boys of Bonneville is a documentary that seems so much more.  Slow at first to develop, it began to grow and encircle us in its mastery.  There were photographs and film that I had never seen before and a scene that shows what it was like to race like Ab Jenkins raced.  Ab Jenkins came from Welsh parents who came to Utah to live.  He was a devout Mormon who neither used alcohol or tobacco.  He was a man who was honest, straightforward and kind.  As far as I can tell, he never had an enemy or failed to make a friend.  He had several overwhelming loves; his family, his Mormon heritage, his love of speed, his enchantment by the beauty of the state of Utah and his ability to make friends with everyone that he came into contact with.  He was a man who earned a living by building things with his hands; a simple man who lived by the code of the west.  He never lied, cheated, or took advantage of another.  He was John Wayne before there was a John Wayne.  He was a common man of the west who became an American legend and hero and couldn’t understand why people placed him on a pedestal.  He did things that he would have considered normal things in life, but which no one else could truly duplicate.  He was Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart with that “Oh, Gosh,” attitude that charmed women, inspired men and drew legions of youth to follow in his footsteps.

     Ab Jenkins was born in the 1870’s and died in the 1950’s.  He’s from another time and place altogether different from what we know today.  We are happy if we can simply emulate a few of the things that Ab Jenkins took for granted.  Sometime before the First World War Ab fell in luck with the Bonneville Salt Flats.  He rode his motorcycle out there and it wasn’t easy.  There were no major roads and people avoided the salt flats in those days.  He ran on the railroad tracks; a bone jarring ride.  But once on the salt flats his mind expanded into the future and across time itself.  He realized the potential for speed trials and he would spend numerous hours in the decades to come to promote the salt flats and Utah to the outside world.  Ab is most famous for his series of cars that he used to set endurance records on an oval course.  Sometimes sponsored by companies and sometimes self sponsored, Ab Jenkins was truly an ironman when it came to endurance racing.  He set records from one kilometer and one mile up to 48 hours.  He had only two substitute drivers that I know of; Babe Stapp and his son Marvin, but he so rarely let them drive that they are mostly trivia questions rather than co-drivers.  He raced endurance races wherever he could and co-drove on teams that went over 400 hours in races.  Ab wanted to drive at Indy and he would have done well, but he was much older by the time he had developed a name for himself.

     He was also one of the calmest and most controlled race car drivers who ever raced.  There is a scene in Boys of Bonneville where mirages and the shimmering light fades into darkness and only the lights of the car reflecting on the eerie salt flakes show the utter loneliness of driving 120 miles an hour for lap after lap on the ten mile oval course.  Where could the man rest, what about hunger, how could he avoid thirst in the desert, where could he pee?  Once strapped in the man had only one goal and one focus; to go as fast as he could for mile after mile, hour after hour until he reached those absurd records of 24 and 48 hours, alone in his thoughts.  What sheer madness; many of his records are unbroken to this day because we aren’t made of the sturdy cloth that those pioneers were made of.  Endurance records were made by teams of men in those days.  I spoke to Danny Oakes, a famous midget driver and he confirmed that to me.  Endurance records were good advertising and sold cars, but the companies weren’t out to make heroes of men, but of their automobiles, tires or parts.  Ab would finish the race and exit the car and seem as fresh as when he started and ready for another 48 hours.  He was a hero to an America in the doldrums of the great Depression of the 1930’s.  He showed us that we can prevail against all adversity.  He was elected the mayor of Salt Lake City without having to spend a single dime for his campaign.  He tirelessly worked to bring Cobb, Campbell and other European land speed teams to the salt flats.  Ab Jenkins changed the course of racing throughout the world.

     The filmmakers overlooked one of the most enduring legacies of Ab Jenkin’s life.  Boys of Bonneville adequately gave us a picture of whom and what Ab and Marvin Jenkins were as people.  The documentary gave us a real view of the difficulties faced in Ab’s racing career and of his successes and rare failures.  We saw how the restoration of the famous Mormon Meteor III car was accomplished and heard testimonials to the man from men like Sir Andy Green and Jay Leno.  Almost nothing was admitted from the story of a true American hero except that which the crowds of Bonneville racers had come to hear and cherish.  The story of how Ab Jenkins was instrumental in drawing to the salt flats a group out in California who in 1949 brought their jalopies and held a meet.  That meet has seen more records and the utilization of the Bonneville Salt Flats than any other group.  The SCTA (later the SCTA/BNI) group that raced there in 1949 is still racing there today.  They have logged more miles and set more records in that organization than all the land speed record attempts in the entire world since the automobile was invented.  This is the legacy that Ab Jenkins was most proud of; that his beloved Bonneville Salt Flats reached the level of success that he first envisioned back in the 1910’s.  But beyond that glaring omission, Boys of Bonneville reached a level of excellence that the crowd loved.  The reviewer was overwhelmed by the crowd of hot rodders and they roared their approval.  Far be it for me to overrule the group.  I loved the movie, wished that the 80 minutes had been closer to 100 and that the SCTA be recognized in Ab Jenkin’s life story.  I rate this documentary movie a seven out of eight spark plugs and urge you all to go see it.
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM

Movie review…Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home.  Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  July 28, 2009.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to www.hotrodhotline.com

     Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home is a documentary DVD movie by The Kickass Factory, produced in Wallan, Australia, by Norm Hardinge and Vicki Howard.  There are two discs and the story line concerns Australians and New Zealanders as they take their cars to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the 2008 SpeedWeek.  There is a magical and mystical lure to Bonneville, ever since the first pioneers in covered wagon and fur trappers tried to cross the huge inland lake.  There is something very exotic about the Kiwis from New Zealand and the Aussies from Australia.  It could be that they are at the ends of the earth, or their strange twisting pronunciation of the English language, but I prefer to think of it as the youthful exuberance and zeal to anything that they put their hand to.  I am never quite sure what the filmmaker has in mind until I review the movie.  The Down-unders always seem to surprise me, so my expectations were high for this movie.  There are two discs with about 2 hours of action, interviews and unrelenting rock and roll music.  The music is intense and I suppose the proper genre would be rock-a-billy with an Aussie twist.  Most of the music blended in quite well with the video and the music was never a distraction.  There were two bands involved; The Flattrakkers and Wild Turkey and one would never have thought they were from Australia without reading the enclosed jacket that came with the plastic disc holders.  There were more than 60 interviews, often one interview overlapping on another and for the first hour it was hard to keep track of the various teams.  By the end of the second disc I had no trouble understanding which group belonged to which racing team.

     I thought about matching up people to vehicles and giving you a background, but then when you viewed the movie, you would already know what happened.  But I will give you a summation of who was in the DVD and my impression of their value.  Before that I should tell you that the video far exceeded my expectations as a documentary.  The filmmakers are trying to reach several audiences; the die-hard land speed racers, the novices to this sort of racing and those who enjoy action of a sort not seen except in straight-line racing.  The officials seem to have understood that mandate and make every attempt to explain what they are doing in the simplest terms possible.  Land speed racing pits man and machine against time itself.  There are no prizes for the winner and the competition is not with other racers, but against nature.  The clock, mechanical problems and the elements are the enemies of the land speed racer.  Records are meant to be made and then broken, by others or by yourself.  It is a sport that constantly seeks greater speeds and demands more endurance.  Land speed racing began with the invention of the automobile, as each car builder tested his car against the clock to see how it would perform.  Today’s sport is much more complex and the safety rules vastly superior to those of the past. Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home gives the viewer a sense of that past, while providing us with a picture of modern day land speed racing.

     Lee Kennedy and Steve Davies lead off the introduction to Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home.  Kennedy is the Technical Committee Chairman and the Cars and Special Constructions Chairman for the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the BNI, which oversees the land speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah during the August SpeedWeek each year.  Steve Davies is the Chief Car Inspector at Bonneville.  Next to be interviewed was Jerry Kugel in his shop.  Kugel produces some of the most beautiful roadsters and has exhibited them at the Grand National Roadster Show.  He also builds some very fast machines, one of which demolished my brother’s record by 81 miles per hour (mph).  For the 2008 SpeedWeek, Kugel was building a roadster for his daughter to race.  Jerilyn Kugel is enthused about joining her family in going fast.  There are always rookies at Bonneville each year and they approach their first runs with trepidation.  Yet the officials are there to help them and those who have raced before are eager to give them advice.  Jerilyn would make her first trial run and keep the speed under 150 mph to earn her BNI D license.  Her next run would exceed 150 mph and earn her a C license.  To earn her B license she had to go over 175 mph but not go over 199 mph.  She made her third run with her father as her crew chief and sped to a time of 181 mph.  She had now only to exceed 200 mph to achieve her A license.  The officials of the SCTA/BNI enforce this rule as a means to see how a driver can handle speeds in a safe and knowledgeable manner.  When a driver receives his license, he can drive his car down the course as often as he wants as long as he stays within the parameters of his license.  When a driver receives his A license, he can race as fast as he wishes.

     Chico Kodama from Moon Eyes was interviewed in his shop.  The clip also showed a moon disk being made on a metal bending machine.  Ghost, a well-known pinstriper from Japan, now living in California, did the pinstriping on the car Chico was building to honor Fred Larsen.  Greg Sharp was interviewed at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California.  He is the curator for the museum and one of the most knowledgeable hot rodders around.  Sharp is a retired policeman whose love for the car culture, racing and hot rodding is well known.  There isn’t much that Greg doesn’t know about the sport and when you get this shy man to talk about his love of cars, he can be very interesting.  The next interview was special.  Art Chrisman spoke about going to Bonneville in 1951, just two years after the first Bonneville SpeedWeek was held.  Art has done it all.  He is a pioneer in the sport of drag racing and his son Mike carries on today as a racer and a hot rod builder.  Art is still active building engines and cars.  There just aren’t very many originals left in the sport of drag and land speed racing and Art is one of them still active and still searching for records.  Tim Kraushar was interviewed next and he is another pioneer.  Tim is from Seal Beach, California and his Bonneville car was built by Steve Davis, another well known race car and hot rod builder.  Tim and John Rodeck have built over 12,000 small block Chevy motors and you can expect that whatever powerplant Kraushar puts in his cars will go very fast.  Dion Wilcox and Craig Sutton are two Aussies and they were interviewed on their trip to Bonneville.  The cameramen follow Dion and Craig as they explain how they bought their hot rod, then to several car shows and on the long, hot and dusty drive from Southern California to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

     There is a pilgrimage of sorts for land speed racers as they retrace the original trip to Bonneville from Los Angeles over 60 years ago.  That first trip occurred in 1947, just after World War II when the servicemen were being discharged and sent home.  John Cobb brought his famous land speed car from England to go after the ultimate record and magazines and newspapers published accounts across Europe and America.  Many young men made the long and lonely drive from Southern California to the salt flats to see this event.  My father, Wally Parks, led a contingent of young men from the SCTA, and was so enthralled by the hard, flat surface and miles of runway that he lobbied for the SCTA to promote land speed racing at Bonneville.  As the Secretary and General Manager of the SCTA, he wielded great influence and backing him up was Ak Miller, President of the SCTA.  In 1948, Parks went to Salt Lake City, Utah, with Robert Petersen and Lee Ryan, to see Ab Jenkins, the Mayor of the city, and see if they could lease the salt flats.  Ab took to the young men and put in a good word with the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, who was at that time in charge of the lease agreements with the salt flats.  They were given a lease to run one meet there in August of 1949, and if these “hooligans” from Southern California behaved themselves, the CC would consider a second lease.  The SCTA/BNI organization must have been model citizens for they are celebrating their 60th anniversary racing on the salt flats.  All land speeders make that first trip to Bonneville and if they are traditional they will do it the same way as the first trip was made, in a truck hauling a trailer with the race car.  The truck won’t be air-conditioned and the crew will squirt each other with a water bottle and try and keep as cool as possible while they travel down two lane highways across the Mojave desert in California, through Las Vegas, Nevada and then north along the old Snake Highway, going north through eastern Nevada.  The long, monotonous and tiring 13 hour trip is offset by the stunning beauty of the dry, sere desert, the tall mountains on either side of the valleys along the way.  Ely is like an oasis and then comes the trek through the White Horse Pass.  More than one person has encountered a run-in or into the wild horse herds that cross the road.

     Nevertheless, Dion and Craig successfully made the trip and glide out on the great salt flats.  The nostalgia for Bonneville burns deeply in the Aussies and Kiwis, but they have their own rite of passage in their trek from Adelaide to Port Augusta and then west across the desert to Lake Gairdner, a pristine salt lake some 60 miles across.  Dion and Craig join others at the Silver Nugget in Wendover, Nevada, where a car show was staged.  Gail Phillips was the first woman to go over 200 mph at Lake Gairdner, Australia, at a sanctioned timed meet.  She hopes to go over 300 mph with her new Streamliner, which she crashed at Speedweek 2008.  Gail has set records in a Modified Sports Healey and in her 1999 Corvette. Gail is a friend and one of the fastest women drivers in the world.  The car show paraded street rods, Bonneville cars, rat rods, traditional hot rods and all sorts of unique and interesting cars.  Tex Smith, an original Bonneville racer from 1949’s first meet, was interviewed.  His interview alone is worth the cost of this DVD.  Tex is an old friend of the family, who worked for my father and step-mother at Hot Rod magazine and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).  Tex is a writer, photographer and publisher and he has seen and done it all.  I was hoping for much more on this grand old man of hot rodding.  Finally we are on the salt flats and Dave Green, who is a car inspector, is interviewed on what the inspectors look for in a race car and any danger signals that have to be resolved before they give their okay to let the driver race.  Inspectors have been maligned and cursed for decades, but their job is paramount.  They make the final decision and if they say you can’t race, then you have to fix the problem or go home.

     The interviews are mixed in with live action scenes, rousing music and various officials examining the cars and going through their routines.  The bedlam is actually quite organized and thorough.  Scott Goetz and Pete Aardema are members of the San Diego Roadster club, a club with a long history from the very early days of the SCTA.  Frank Morris was a newby at the lakes and part of the Morris/Grieve team.  Paul Sattler and Dave Alexander came from New Zealand and they recreated Art Chrisman’s #25 car which raced at the dry lakes in the early ‘50’s.  Casey Hill is from New Zealand.  Garth Hogan was part of the Hogan/Martin/Rea team.  Erik Hansson displayed a belly tank car that was last run in 1955 by Bob George.  Belly tanks were extra fuel tanks used by fighter planes and bombers in WWII to extend the range of our warplanes.  When they were emptied they were ejected.  They were built to be very aerodynamic and after the war the land speed racers found them to be perfect bodies for a race car.  Larry Bohnen was interviewed about his motorcycle streamliner.  These motorcycles are built low to the ground and are elongated, then covered with a shell to create better aerodynamics.  The goal of the motorcycle streamliners is to exceed 400 mph.  Cliff Gullett gave a passionate overview of his attempt to set a record.  When he first started to race his young son was his only pit crew.  Sadly, Cliff was killed in a crash shortly after this interview was recorded and it remains in the video as a memorial to a brave land speed racer.  While injuries and deaths do occur, the safety rules, equipment and training make this one of the safer sports in car racing.  Bill Taylor was interviewed on what it is like to be the (main) Short Course Starter at Bonneville.   Jim Jensen, from San Diego, has been the chief starter at Bonneville since 1996.  The job of the starter somewhat parallels that of the inspectors, in that the starter has to make sure that everything possible is done to insure the driver’s safety before he is allowed to make a run down the course.  The starter will check the safety harnesses, helmet, suit, neck and arm restraints, fire suppression bottles and other gear.  He will check the driver and see if he has any questions or doubts.  When the starter is certain that the course is clear and the driver is prepared, he will give the signal to the push truck to give the car a start down the race course. 

     The next voice is that of Glen Barrett, the timer, who will record the speeds and announce them back to the starting line and to anyone else on the same radio frequency.  After all, the race teams have spent a lot of time and money and they want to hear whether their driver has done well.  Some very good racing footage was shot by Ray Crowell.  Most of the scenes show a normal run, then the parachutes pop out and slow the cars down, but Crowell caught a few spins and the pencil roll crash of Gail Phillips’ streamliner.  Gail spoke to the interviewer about the crash and how she came out of it without a scratch and just a headache.  The cars are all designed to save the driver’s life in a crash, but nothing is a certainty when one is going 240 mph as Gail was speeding at the time of her accident.  Jerilyn Kugel reached a speed of 181, but is going to return in 2009 to attempt to go over 200 mph.  Rick Vesco was interviewed.  The Vesco’s are another pioneer racing family.  Betty, Gene and Tom Burkland raced their streamliner and set a record over 400 mph, though not at this meet.  Betty related how she was supposed to race the car after her husband had set a record, but one thing led to another and her son Tom took over the racing duties.  It wasn’t until years later when another racer offered to let her drive his car that Betty set a record over 200 mph and joined the prestigious 200 MPH Club.  Norm Bradshaw, an Aussie, said in his interview that he was glad that Bonneville had “no flies,” a reference to what Australians have to suffer through on their dry lakes.  He also averred that Lake Gairdner had much harder salt to race on.

     Greg Samson, from Maine, explained how his father had passed away, but that the team was dedicated to continue racing in honor of his dad.  Richard Hollywood, a New Zealander who raced at Lake Gairdner, spoke about the different venues.   Two other Kiwis who were at Bonneville were Chris and Lincoln Harris.  Lincoln drove and his father, Chris Harris crewed on the car.  Chris had an accident at Bonneville about 20 years ago that left him wheelchair bound.  Eric Langstroth talked about his team from Canada.  “I’m the first Canadian in the 200 MPH Club,” he said.  He was wearing the “cool shirt” which cools down the body temperature, especially when the drivers are wearing the required fire suits.  Dave Green, a member of the Canadian team said their door slammer is capable of 250 mph and later the car went over that speed.  Ron Tesinki was interviewed about gaining entry into the 200 MPH Club.  Casey Hill painted the words, “Kiwis can’t fly, but they sure run fast,” on his car.  The interviewer took us through the impound area where cars are kept until they can back up their record run.  Then we were shown the fuel check area, where the gas is checked to make sure that it is legal for the class the driver is running in.  Isaac Harper showed the camera crew the Ford Ballard electric car capable of going 225 mph.  Ron Ceridono, editor of Street Rodder was interviewed.  Ron worked for Tex Smith Publishing.  Tex Smith said, “It’s only you against you.  Parks used to talk about that all the time, this is pure hot rodding out here.  The only important thing is what you can do with a car, not how fancy your car is.”  The grand old man of hot rodding summed up this movie video better than the rest of us could.  Bonneville is all about what you can do with a car, but it’s also what you can do with a man, or a woman, in testing them against the clock, the elements and life itself.  The video gives a snapshot of the 2008 SpeedWeek as seen from the eyes of our racing friends from Australia and New Zealand.  As a documentary this is definitely a film for your library.  I rank the quality of the film, sound and content as a 7 sparkplugs (out of a possible 8).
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.   Bonneville Salt Flat Racer; go fast or go home can be ordered at www.kickassfactory.com  or contact Norm Hardinge at norm@kickassfactory.com
Gone Racin’…To
The Rodder’s Journal.  Magazine review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  May 24, 2007.  Reprinted by permission of Internet Brands.  For photographs go to www.hotrodhotline.com

     The Rodder’s Journal is a quarterly magazine published for the custom car and hot rod enthusiast.  It’s a high quality magazine on the finest glossy waxed pages.  The photographs are superb and the writing is exceptional. The Rodder’s Journal makes the National Geographic and The Smithsonian Magazine look like 2nd rate publications in comparison.  Like the National Geographic, the topics in The Rodder’s Journal are printed on the spine of the magazine.  The newsstand price is $12.95 and the subscription rate is $40 a year for the four issues.  These prices have remained steady for the last ten years and The Rodder’s Journal is worth every penny.  The book is a full quarter inch thick and runs about 200 pages.  You won’t find many books as nice as The Rodder’s Journal.  The research into the articles is well done and accurate.  The photographs are the best of any that I’ve ever seen, even in coffee table books.  The Rodder’s Journal is located at 263 Wattis Way, South San Francisco, California 94080, or call them at 1-800-750-9550.  The magazine began publication in Connecticut, then moved to Huntington Beach, California and finally relocated to San Francisco.  The Rodder’s Journal prints 50,000 copies each quarter and makes a serious effort to bring its readers the best stories and photographs on the hot rodding scene, past and present.  The magazine is distributed throughout the country and in England, New Zealand and Australia, which has a hot rod culture of their own to be proud of.  Articles and photographs from reporters in those countries also appear in the magazine.  You can also find The Rodder’s Journal at Autobooks, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Petersen Automotive Museum, Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and over 115 regional dealers and distributors.
     Steve Coonan is the owner/publisher/editorial director and does nearly all the photography.  He is joined by some of the best writers and researchers in the automotive world who contribute to this fine magazine.  Editorials and columns are short and to the point so that the historical articles, current events, text and photos can take center stage.  Only Arizona Highways can claim to have equal photographs and that is a debatable point.  The artwork and layout of the magazine is simple and straightforward.  This is one of those magazines that actually exceeds coffee table quality.  Steve manages a staff of about 10 people who put together the magazine, ad sales and distribution and they are friendly and willing to answer your questions.  Chastity Smith is the Marketing Coordinator and answered all of my questions along with Jerry in new subscriptions. 
The Rodder’s Journal
is so beautiful and special that it is important that you find a special magazine case or cover to hold them so that they aren’t excessively worn.  This is the type of magazine that you will not only cherish reading but will keep together as a set to pass on to the next generation as collector’s items.
     Some of the topics included Bonneville, Connie Kalitta’s the
Bounty Hunter, Tom Medley’s cartoon character Stroker McGurk, Hot Rods at the Pebble Beach Concours, the all steel 1932 Brookville Roadster, Boyd Coddington, Joe Nitti’s Highboy history, Chrisman’s Chryslers, Surf Rod, George Barris, Wally Parks and much more.   I enjoyed the article on Australian “down under” hot rodding and an article on hot rodders who went boat racing in the 1940’s including Eddie and Bud Meyer and Frank Baron.  The Rodder’s Journal gives each article plenty of space to develop the story and photo coverage.  Many articles went ten pages or more, a writer’s and photographer’s ideal publication.  Some of the better known writers are Joe Kress, Michael Gregory, Terry Cook, Ken Gross, Thom Taylor, Jay G. Fitzhugh, Pat Ganahl, Greg Sharp, Steve Sanford and others.  Steve Coonan is the main photographer.  The historical articles are booklets in themselves.  The material is well developed and the photographs expand the story.  The magazine allows the writer to go into the subject matter in depth and detail.  Resist the urge to cut the photos out and frame them.  Instead, contact the magazine and see if they have posters of your choice for sale.  For more information about The Rodder’s Journal send an email to , call 1-800-750-9550 or go to their website at www.roddersjournal.com.
Gone Racin’ is at . 
     Bad news and good news all in one email:  A couple of weeks ago, coming home from the NHRA drags at Sonoma Raceway, Rene Peron was driving up Gravenstein Highway heading for home, when someone a few cars ahead of him decided to do a last minute left turn and slammed on his brakes right in the vicinity of that old dive bar, Red's Recovery Room.  Rene didn't get stopped in time, and slammed his 46 Dodge truck in to the back of a pickup in front of him.  That was trauma enough...it wrecked the hell out of the front end of Rene's truck while barely damaging the truck he hit, but the young guy in the other truck got out and walked back, looking a little dazed, with something bright red all over both arms and hands.  Rene thought the guy had slashed an artery or something, but it turns out he was a painter, and red happened to be the color he was painting that day.  That scare over, now the fright is over how to repair the damage.

     So today, Rene came over here, and rode up to the lunch thing at Fred's with me. The plan was that after lunch, we were going to go check out a 46 Dodge truck up in Cloverdale at Gerdes' Auto Wreckers.  Rene had found a few possible parts to use in the repair of his truck, but he hadn't bought 'em yet, hoping to find better parts. Supposedly, Gerdes has a 46 Dodge, but he won't part it out, insisting he wants to sell the complete truck for the sum of $2000.  Ouch!  But factor in what a body shop would charge to straighten bent up sheet metal, and consider that maybe you could sell what you didn't use.  
     After lunch, Rene called Gerdes, and being the independent cuss that old wrecking yard owners are, the old man had closed and left early for the day.  Not to be deterred, Rene had the phone number of another old wrecking yard out in the boondocks outside of Vallejo.  He called, and when he asked if the yard might have any 41-47 Dodge trucks, the guy said yeah...he had about 30 of 'em.  Huh?  Who the hell has 30 41-47 Dodge trucks for sale for parts?  Vallejo is only 45 miles away, so you know we had to go check this one out.  On the way out of town, we stopped by Santa Rosa Auto Body, where Rene had taken his truck to see what it would take to fix it.
     They had all the old crumpled sheet metal (and the two fiberglass front fenders) off the truck by now, so we could see the extent of the damage.  It's repairable...didn't get the frame, it's mostly front end sheet metal, and some minor damage to the cab and a few other areas.  Hopefully, the insurance company will go along with the cost of repair.  We drove on over to Vallejo, drove down Green Island Rd till we thought we were gonna run in to the bay, and finally, there it was:  Brian's Salvage & Junk.  The place didn't disappoint.  
     Talk about a step back in time...Brian came out of the office, followed by a German Shepard...one of five members of his security staff.  He was sort of scruffy, and probably in his mid to late 70's, but he told us to follow him, and he'd show us around.  I couldn't get my camera out fast enough, but shortly, Brian's son caught up with us, and said "no pictures."  He was a little stand-offish, but with good reason:  they didn't want any pictures getting out, because this place would be considered a major toxic clean-up site if the wrong people knew it was there.  It took a little while, but after they decided we weren't enemy spies, and we'd swapped some common interests, they agreed to let me snap away to my heart's content.
     Brian wasn't exaggerating when he said he had around 30 of those old Dodges.  If anything, I'd say he was a little on the light side in his estimate.  Old Dodge stuff was everywhere, and these guys were Mopar nuts.  Brian's son (can't remember his name) claims to have several 60's era Mopars, with a couple of Hemi-powered Road Runner types among 'em. Lots of cool stories.  Like the old C cab Model T truck in one of the buildings...it was the truck Brian started the wrecking yard with.  Or the Model AA truck, which was the City of Napa's first garbage truck, and Brian oughta know, because he worked for the Napa garbage company for 10 years way back when.  Or the old house...one of several scattered throughout the yard, that dates back to the 1890's.  Still fully furnished, they said.  Or the elevated tank truck trailer that provides water and water pressure to the yard (you suppose they live here?) Or the big old 40's Dodge truck that Brian's son popped the hood on to show me the 413 engine. Not a 413 Dodge B-block V8...a 413 flathead straight 6 with 2 carburetors.  Stock, in those big trucks, he said.
     Well, we'll be back.  The toughest part was which of those front ends to adopt, but  most everything's for sale, and prices seemed reasonable.  Those 39 Ford wide-five wheels in the last picture...there were 7 of 'em.  They looked nice, and they're yours for 60 bucks apiece, trim rings & tires included. I told 'em they're marketing this place wrong.  It ain't a wrecking yard...it's a museum.
     If you didn't skip ahead to the pictures already, here's what to see:  Rich Egan and his buddy rode in to Fred's on their 1959 BSA motorcycles.  I took pictures of a few of the cars...there were 5 Model A's amongst the others.  There are 3 pictures that I took a week ago, of Rene's truck sitting in his garage after the wreck, and some more pictures of his truck today, at the body shop.  The remainder of the pictures are of the wrecking yard.  Check it out (Flickr). 
     Who likes old forgotten wrecking yards?  If anyone has an appreciation for the art, it's car nuts.  After yesterday's wrecking yard tour, I got to reminiscing about a trip last year, when a couple of us went up toward Chico to check out a Dodge that a guy had for sale.  The guy's place was interesting...he dealt in old Mopar stuff, but he was selling everything and moving to some place where the living would be cheaper. Can't remember where he was heading, but it wasn't California.  Maybe Oklahoma or some place like that.  
     Anyway, on the way home, I remembered another place I'd heard about: Big M Auto Parts, located just outside of Williams.  We found the place and wandered in.  No one in sight, and we about half expected to be greeted by a snarling junk yard dog.  If I remember it right, I heard a poodle yapping from a car port, and I went to investigate before we got shot.  We walked in on the clean and professional yard staff, who had been apparently sleeping in the darkened office (see the picture).  Once awake, they were a congenial pair, and the skinny one accompanied me around the yard, filling in all kinds of info and interesting poop about the cars.
     The place was so damn neat, it just seemed like a shame to let those electrons go to waste just sitting in a dusty bin at Flickr, so I hauled 'em back out for your Thursday morning amusement.  There's a way to see the captions with the pictures...see if you can figure it out, because I forget all the details.  Craig Owens

Lunch at Fred's 001

Lunch at Fred's 004

Lunch at Fred's 005

Lunch at Fred's 006

Lunch at Fred's 008

Lunch at Fred's 010

Lunch at Fred's 011

Lunch at Fred's 012

Lunch at Fred's 013

Lunch at Fred's 014

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