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THE SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
 Newsletter
.  Issue #337.
September 18, 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

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Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
President's Corner; Editorials;

STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.
     Editorials can be written by anyone and we are glad to extend to all of our members the right to speak on any subject pertaining to our automotive history and heritage. 
     Please remember that when you write in to give us an update on an event or to inform us of something that is now over that you need to be thorough and complete.  It is common practice among even the best editors and journalists to call a car a ’32 roadster, instead of a 1932 Ford Roadster.  We are 18 years removed from having 2032 Roadsters as well as 1932 Roadsters.  And we have Chevy Roadsters too.  Some are even hybrid roadsters in that they contain car parts from all the major marques.  It’s all right if you use the full name and date of a car in the beginning and then from there on in your article abbreviate the details.  Thus; “The Katzenjammer Kids Special 1932 Ford Roadster,” can thereafter in your article be referred to as the ’32, or the roadster, or the KKS (or KK Special).    
     Provide complete dates such as “On Wednesday, 3 September 2014, we are planning our car show.  To simply send out a notice that says “This Wednesday we are having a great car show” is going to present problems.  The first problem is that for a historian, what does Wednesday mean if we don’t have the month, year and day?  The second problem is that we can’t always post daily, and the publisher may also face delays in getting it on-line, and our readers may not check the website for a considerable length of time.  So when the newsletter is posted and we read your event and date (of Wednesday) it is undecipherable to us.  To save time and space just mention the complete date once and then you don’t have to repeat it throughout your article.
     Provide a complete address if you want to invite the public to your event.  Don’t say, “We’ll be at John’s garage,” or “You’ll see us when you get there.”  Even as meaningless is to say, “You remember the place, don’t you?”  Don’t expect people to know how to google the address or to even be computer literate.  Give the address in full, as in, “The Gallery of Speed opening will be at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, located at 1101 West McKinley Avenue, building 3-B, Pomona, California 91701, and the phone number is 909-622-2133.  The directions to the museum are: take the White Street off-ramp on the 10 Freeway, then go north to McKinley Avenue and turn left.”  Be clear in your instructions or your guests will wander aimlessly and be cursing you continuously.
     Provide the complete name of the event and the sponsors.  It isn’t “our party.”  It’s the “Gopher’s car club picnic and watermelon fest, sponsored by Ed’s Market in Baldwin Park and Sol’s Junkyard in Duarte.”  Nothing irks the club members like forgetting to give them credit for all their hard work.  If you forget the sponsors who forked over the goods or cash the likelihood is that they will turn you down on your next event.  You should go the extra mile with sponsors and generously put their name and store address all over your event, mentioning them often and while you are shopping in their stores.  You might say that you are only a journalist and reporting on an event and who cares in the future who gave what to help an event survive.  But leaving out details is a bad habit that leads to other journalistic sins.  Complete and thorough is what Shav Glick always told me and if he said it, that’s what I’m going to preach to you to do.
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     Frank Pittenger is in his 80's.  I think he has owned the roadster since 1956.  He sold his stock '32 Ford Victoria to John Lawson after many years of ownership last year.  Frank sold his So-cal Speed shop in Phoenix to the current many years ago.  This is an all steel 1932/Hemi.  The accident was totally senseless and 100% the fault of the Suburban driver.  I believe she saw the line of 15 hot rods and decided that she wouldn't wait the minute or two for all to pass so she turned without warning in front of Frank and Karen.  We were traveling about 35 mph.  Frank locked up the brakes for about 30 feet before the collision.  Karen was killed and Frank is in critical condition.  Rick Rennebohm and Bob Painton
     STAFF NOTES: Our condolences to the Pittenger family, his club and friends for this unfortunate accident.  Hot rodders like to cruise and much like a funeral precession, this irks impatient and unthinking motorists.  We hope Frank pulls through and we pay our respects to his wife on this sad occasion.

Details on a benefit for  Frank can be found here https://www.facebook.com/events/296005500604631/
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My Friend, Jack Stewart.  Story and photos by Anna Marco.  9 August 2014. 

     Jack Stewart was my friend.  The mere fact that I can say that is an honor because he was so supportive of what I do as a woman automotive journalist in a male dominated industry.  He was a treasure trove of historical hot rod information, trivia facts and regaled me with stories to no end of the cruising days of yore.  I found him fascinating and entertaining and could listen to him for days.  We would speak on the phone for hours about all things cars.  He made me wish I had grown up at the same time as he did because I felt I missed out on all of his fun. 
     Jack is also remembered for his copper 1941 Ford, a trendsetting custom car he fabricated along with Regg Schlemmer, Kenny Lucas, Gil Ayala and finished by Barris. However, that car was Jack and always will be no matter who owns it, as an extension of his understated grace and elegance as a man.  A book was eventually written about it entitled “Jack Stewart Ford.” It was a vehicle that would influence many followers and eventually win him accolades but he was most proud of his long involvement in the L.A. Roadster car club (since 1971) because he was a rodder at heart.  He proudly remarked that as the historian for the car club, he personally archived a vast array of club collectibles, owned every pewter mug they ever produced and collected over 39 pinstriped panels.  I would kill for those.  He would always call me before their club’s annual Father’s Day event at Pomona to make sure I took a ride with him in a golf cart and “got the tour and the right wristband.”  He called it “a good time for all” and always reminded me to “to get this year’s dash plaque, it’s a good one.”  He was the torchbearer of that show and the best PR man they ever had.
     To me, Jack was a gentleman’s gentleman.  He was dignified; and as a woman, I appreciated his chivalry and impeccable manners.  His wife Sally, whom he loved dearly, always put a twinkle in his eye.  Together they were the cutest hot rod couple; always a fixture at car shows and related West Coast car activities.  I was honored to sit at the same dinner table with them when he was inducted into the West Coast Kustoms Hall of Fame.
     Having held many positions in the L.A. Roadster club including President, Jack wrote a book with the late Dick Wells about the club called L.A. Roadsters Retrospective, which includes info and photos about the club and of every club member since its inception in 1958.  During the 1970’s he partnered with former Rod & Custom staffer Neal East to write and photograph hot rod features and articles for publications like Rod Action and Street Rodder magazines.
     In 2010, Rik Hoving and Palle Johansen (with a forward by Pat Ganahl, hot rod historian) were on a quest to gather as much research material on Jack Stewart’s 1941 Ford as possible, because Palle had purchased the car and was taking it back to Denmark.  In a no holds barred effort to make their restoration of Jack’s Ford undisputedly accurate, the overwhelming amount of information they uncovered prompted Rik Hoving to write the book, “Jack Stewart Ford,” chronicling 62 years of history on the car.  It illustrates in detail how Jack was inspired to build such a radical custom back then, exactly how he did it, and how decades later, it was brought back to its original 1950’s version.  Four different caretakers each have their own section in the book.  They tell of their adventures with Jack’s Ford with a selection of accompanying photos.  Jack was honored to be the subject matter and pleased as punch with the final result.  Of course, I had him autograph my copy.  I was so proud of him but touched mostly by how happy he was about it all.
     Always outspoken and full of stories and laughs, Jack will be deeply missed not only by me but many others in our rodding community.  It will be too damn quiet without him. I find it ironic that he would become ill only to miss the 50th Anniversary of the L.A. Roadster Show, the one he was looking most forward to.  In honor of Jack, I will never ride in a golf cart at that event again with anyone else.  Jack Stewart, you will forever be in my heart.  Aloha.
     The Jack Stewart Ford book is available directly from the publisher at:
www.kustomkarbooks.com.  See: www.laroadsters.com. Email: laroadsters@yahoo.com. Phone 310-544-4200.
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Gone Racin’…To say goodbye to Jack Stewart.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.   9 August 2014.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands; for photographs go to
www.hotrodhotline.com

     Jack Stewart passed away within the last few days and I checked my records to see if I had written a bio on him; I didn’t.  Perhaps the reason was that Jack seemed indestructible, like so many other hot rodders and I just assumed that he would be around forever.  That’s the way hot rodders think.  That’s what I thought.  My father knew Jack Stewart and admired him, but I can’t ask Dad, because he is gone too.  Dick Wells was a close friend of Jack’s, but he has passed on too.  Jack and Dick collaborated on a book together, titled L.A. ROADSTERS; A RETROSPECTIVE.  I gave it a good review and then told Jack that he should have included an index so that I could find all the guys in the book.  He just twinkled his nose, gave me that Stewart smile and promised to give me an index on the next rewrite.  There was something charming and boyish in Stewart that made him so appealing.  It is probably why the L.A. Roadster Club made Jack their PR guy with the media.  He had that happy and excited attitude about him that caused people to seek him out and befriend him.
     Jack was a great help to Roger Rohrdanz and me.  Every time we covered the L. A. Roadster Show at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona there was Stewart to greet us and take us around in his golf cart and point out the activities that he felt we should concentrate on in our coverage.  He loved the L.A. Roadster Club and dedicated his life to it, though it wasn’t an easy love.  The club itself formed in the summer of 1957 when Dick Scritchfield gathered about eight people together at the Weiand Equipment Company on San Fernando Road, in Los Angeles.  Le Roi “Tex” Smith was there, along with Tony LeMasa and the group elected Scritchfield as their first president.  Some of them had roadsters and some didn’t.  The reason for a club was a love for the roadster form and hot rodding culture and rules would change and adapt to the times until it became a rule that you had to have a killer roadster to be considered for membership.  The Model A’s, and ’32 Deuce Coupes with a V8 engine were the preferred cars and anything after a ’34 roadster was just not considered good enough.  It seemed strange that a roadster club would form in the late 1950’s.  The heyday of the car clubs was in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, the Golden Age of Hot Rodding.  By the 1950’s the car clubs that had formed around neighborhoods and schools were folding.  There was a new era of drag racing, both illegal street and legal drag strip competition that didn’t need a large club to go racing.
     Perhaps it was a reaction to the demise of car clubs that drove these eight men to form a roadster club to simply enjoy the hot rodding culture, gymkhanas, road tours and car shows.  What other reason did they really need other than a love for the beauty and grace of a topless car on the road; a vehicle that could literally scream and fly down the highways of America.  When you get young men together they don’t just stop with a weekly club meeting and a slow cruise down the local Main Street.  In 1961 the first L.A. Roadster Show was held at the Hollywood Bowl, but didn’t have the success the club desired.  Years went by until the club held the next Roadster Show in 1967 to great success and in 1980 the show and swap meet was moved to the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, California and has been there ever since.  Today the Show is always staged on Father’s day and it attracts roadster lovers and hot rodders from all over the world.  The club members pride themselves on the success of this event.  If you drive a roadster to the show you get admission, a BBQ on Saturday, a pewter mug and a gift bag all for free.  Sponsors and vendors fill up a building and put up tents and stalls to sell or publicize their products.  The revenue from the show allows the club to fund their functions and charitable programs.
     Jack Stewart joined the L. A. Roadsters in the early 1970’s.  His close friend, Bob Barnes, joined the club a few years earlier and said, “Jack and I must have driven over a million miles together.”  The club’s goal was to enjoy their roadsters and take them on the road.  Besides Scritchfield and the inimitable Tex Smith, others who were early members included; B.C. Carlton, Tex Collins, Les Cowman, Bill Woodard, Sam Conrad, Don Burgess, Jim Fyke, Matt Chilk, Fred Yaeger, Royce Mackey, Carlin Schoepfer, Wayne Bausman, Neal East, Steve Dawes, Kurt Wiese, Bob Lopez, Steve Murray, Pat and Mike Germon, Otto Miller, Arnold Avila, Ian Cusey, Russ Klindworth, Everett Israelson, Tom McMullen, Eugene Esteves, Kaye Trapp, Skip Torgerson, and Norm Grabowski.  They held their meetings close to the offices of the Petersen Publishing Company and regularly saw Robert “Pete” Petersen, Wally Parks, Don Francisco, Lynn Wineland, Dick Wells, Bud Coons, and Gordon Browning.  Later members of the club included; Lee Titus, Don Wilson, Greg Sharp, Don Thomas, Ed Silvera, Bill Stepp, Steve Kelly, Dick Megugorac, Dave McClelland, Kenny Safford, Brian Brennan, Bill Stecker, Jim Gacchina, Mort Smith, Chuck Small, Bruce Meyer, Eddie Aston, Jim Travis, Ray Milazo and Gene Vredenburg.  These men came from a wide variety of the automotive world and many raced their cars on the dry lakes, on the drag strips, or in Grabowski’s case, built beautifully wild cars for Hollywood.
     For many people, Jack Stewart was the face of the L.A. Roadster Club.  He was always around promoting the club’s activities and seeing that people understood what the goals of the group was all about.  There were more famous people involved, including Norm Grabowski and Tex Smith.  If I had the time and space I could go into detail about all the events the club put on and the bios of all the club members who came and went.  But in the end the man that I think of when the L. A. Roadster club is mentioned is Jack Stewart.  No one worked harder than Stewart to constantly promote and build up this world famous club and there were men and their wives who worked tirelessly to do so.  I will always remember the kindness that Jack and his gracious lady, Sally, gave to Roger and me as we covered the show. 
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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     SALT CONDITION REPORT (Wednesday, 3 September 2014, 9am). Great.  130/150 track is solid and smooth.  Full competition long course is 7 1/2 miles of good race surface.  VW Challengers Wayne Atkinson and Jan called this morning and are on the salt today.  Just a small amount of water as you drive onto the salt to wet your tires and good from there to the pits.  Weather forecast is still great with 0% chance of rain and temps in the mid eighties.  By race day on Saturday, even the road to the pits will probably just be moist.  Gonna be a great VW Challenge event.  Drive safe coming out to enjoy.   Burly Burlile, VW 36hp & BB Challenge,
burlybug@comcast.net, www.facebook.com/groups/36hpvw.challenge.   Freelance Photo Journalist Society of Land Speed Racing Historian (SOLSRH).
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Bville Horizons_002 (Medium)

     I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jim Robinson at the Pittsburgh Vintage GrandPrix. He had the Guy Mabee Drilling Special on display. This was the Victress bodied sports racer that exceeded 200mph at Bonneville in 1953.  Wow, what a great car and I really enjoyed talking with Jim and his wife. We got started on Bonneville history and I was asking him about old photos.  When he was restoring the Mabee car he also went searching for photos and said a good source was Jim Moore.  He gave me the phone number he had for Jim.  I tried it but it's no longer in service.  Do you know how I can get in touch with Jim?  Thanks. Mike Schoss
    
MIKE: I checked my address book and I don't have Jim Moore's contact information.  I will post this to www.landspeedracing.com, and you should also check the HAMB/Jalopy Journal, Jim Miller at 818-846-5139, and the 1320 Club website to see if they can help you.  If you give me a short history on what you know about the Mabee car I will publish that too under your name and email address for others to contact you if they know more about where to find Jim Moore.
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     Please extend my best to Ed Iskenderian at his Birthday Party.   I'm sure he hasn't a clue who I am, but we go back a LONG ways.   In the late 1950's, while I was still in high-school, I was Waldo Hirschfield's gopher.  We were running his 1940 Studebaker sedan at the time.  I was also a part time deck hand at the old Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach.  Ed took a day off and fished every week and he'd always needle me about our "Howard's Cam" car (I probably wore a Howard's T-Shirt or such).   I remember him being a very nice and a generous tipper.  I spent most of my life in the motorsports world (Jim Meyer & Associates Metallurgical Consulting), but I don't think our paths ever crossed again.  Jim Meyer, Executive Director, Trails4All at
www.trails4all.org
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I just came across your website.  I was wondering if you have an email list or is there a way to join your society? I am fascinated with the history of racing in all forms.  Thank you, Tim Newey
                                                   -----------------------------------
Welcome to NorCal Racing News.  We hope to be an important source of information for people in Northern California who love all kinds of racing and motorsports.  We cover all kinds of racing in Northern California including the tracks, the drivers, and the teams. We have a special interest in the largely unknown drivers that grew up in NorCal or live here now, that race in the different national and regional racing series. We also enjoy sharing what we learn about the history of racing and the brave drivers from the past.  Any ideas or suggestions for new items to cover or post are appreciated. Please feel free to email us with information on your race team, event or driver web page.  We hope you enjoy our website and return often.  NorCal Racing News, Tim Newey,
tnewey@norcalracingnews.com, www.NorCalCarCulture.com, www.NorCalRacingNews.com.  P.O. Box 2891, Fair Oaks, CA 95628, 916-308-6730.
     TIM: Once we had an email list, but not anymore.  How you can access the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter is to add
www.landspeedracing.com to your list of favorites and check it weekly to see if there has been another newsletter added to the website.  Our society and newsletter is free and we rely on our members (anyone who considers themselves a professional or amateur historian) to write in with whatever information they wish to have published.  Our major areas of research are in hot rodding, land speed and early drag racing, but we will publish whatever comes in to us.  I am now working on Issue #337.  Jim Miller is our president and he is also the director for the American Hot Rod Foundation at www.AHRF.com.   You can access our volunteers on our newsletter's masthead.  I copied down your website's goals and will publish it in our newsletter in the hope that some of our members may be interested in joining your site.  Also note Spencer Simon, our Northern California reporter, who lives in your area, in case you might want to contact him.  If you want to use any of our materials for your site, please check in with us.  We are happy to share as long as all journalistic protocols are followed.  You can also write in and I will publish your letters on subjects within our fields of interest or to ask our members for help. 
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     Three videos of Target 550 at the Test and Tune.  Two were done with the camera on the tail of the 'liner.  The other one was done by Sumner. 
The first run:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_Jp8K8j5FA.
 A video by Sumner;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QU_QBVzOFA
The second run;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2TzXdt-LeI.
Bob Painton
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     At the Santa Ana Drags Reunion are you going to have any cars on display?   Would you be interested in having Howard Johansen's "Howard Cams" TWIN BEAR Dragster there?  Talking with Don, his son, the car ran and set a 160 MPH record there I believe in '56.  Let me know so I can get with Don.  Alan Zusman 
     ALAN: You can certainly bring the car to display, but we aren't allowed to fire the engine as there are zoning laws in place.  There is plenty of room to display race cars.  You might want to check out the area first because there is a steep incline going down into the stream bed (which is paved with concrete).  If you feel you can manage it we would be honored to have you bring the car and any poster boards and history so that others who don't know the heritage can learn.  If you come you should contact Susan Carpenter at the Orange County Register to see if she will write up a story and put photos in the newspaper to promote the car and the reunion.  Where is the dragster based out of and do you show it at any car shows or events? 
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     This might be good for one of our reviews.  Recommended Reading – “Blue Blood: The History of Grand Prix Racing Car.  Hemmings Daily.
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/08/12/recommended-reading-blue-blood-the-history-of-grand-prix-racing-cars-in-france/#.VAgAfu_ESIE.email.  Anna Marco
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     A flow cell as I know it is a battery.  You move electrons between the two stages of material to store energy.  So they need an energy source (electricity to charge the cell).  The charge and discharge rates can be a problem in the real world.  They talk about super-capacitors so they could use them for bursts of acceleration.  Charging them could be the wrinkle in the equation.  Or you could have supply sources like a gas station where you pull in and dump both tanks and refill fresh stuff.
http://www.intelligentliving.co/salt-water-powered-car-gets-european-approval/.  Bob Painton
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Gone Racin’… The Giant Gila Monster.  Movie review by Richard Parks and Roger Rohrdanz, with photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.  18 February 2007.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  To see a photo of the movie cover go to
www.hotrodhotline.com. 

     RICHARD: The Giant Gila Monster, was produced by B. R. and Gordon McLendon, for Hollywood Pictures Corporation, in 1959, and directed by Ray Kellogg, with music by Jack Marshall, and songs by Don Sullivan.  The cast of this black and white movie includes Don Sullivan as the hot rod hero, Lisa Simone, Shug Fisher, Jerry Cortwright, Beverly Thurman, Don Flourney and Pat Simmons.  The running time is 74 minutes.  It was reproduced by PC Multimedia Treasures in a DVD format.
     ROGER:
The plot is very predictable.  I assumed the setting to be a mid-western town in the ‘50’s.  The story included Hot Rodders, Hot Rods, Hot Rod hangouts and Hot Rod girls, so I had to keep watching just to see if it got better.  I wouldn’t be able to stay tuned if it wasn’t for the reasonably good acting.  The actors were playing “period correct” rolls, they dressed correctly and the music fit the era.
     RICHARD: The premise of the movie is that a giant Gila Monster has evolved in a heavily wooded rural area and is busy feasting on the local residents.  Neither the adults nor the sheriff are really up to the task of ridding the countryside of this large reptile, which has mutated into a monster causing death and destruction.  However, the local teens come to the rescue in some very fine looking hot rods. A big city deejay and emcee travels through the area and is saved from being eaten, but because he is too drunk to remember the details, the monster slithers back to the wooded undergrowth.  The hero is a young local hotrodder, who is a great mechanic and an Elvis-like singer/songwriter waiting to be discovered.  The monster eats more locals and even derails a train, and now the authorities can’t help but notice the problem.  The local hero organizes a dance for the teens of the area and invites the big city deejay to host it.  Of course, the noise, songs, rhythm and enthusiasm of the teens draws the huge reptile and mayhem explodes as the lizard tries to bash down the building to get at the morsels inside. The teen hero finds a way to save the town and defeat the giant monster.
     ROGER:
Today we are spoiled by movie special Effects.  Viewers should look at this video as a glimpse of “Special Effects” history.  A window into the past, not unlike viewing old racing movies and appreciating how far we’ve come.

     RICHARD: This is one of those typical Drive-In movie B thrillers from the 1950’s that you went to see with your girlfriend and hoped that there was more kissing and snuggling than action on the screen.  By today’s standards the action is tame and no one is seen being devoured limb by bloody limb.  The acting is actually better than most B movies, the songs pertinent to the era, and the plot is better than most modern Hollywood A movies.  It makes a suitable gift to share with your friends on a cold night, where bench racing is more to your liking but you want to see some cool hot rods from the 1950’s.  Or grab your girlfriend, the one you married, and settle down with some popcorn and sodas and pretend you are as young as you were when the two of you saw this movie in the early ‘60’s.  Sometimes it’s funny where it intends to be dramatic.  The reason for going to see this movie was to be with that person you dreamed about all week long in those boring high school classes, and now it’s Saturday night at the Drive-In.  I rate this movie 5 spark plugs out of a scale of 8.
     ROGER:
Call me old fashioned, but I appreciated the relationship, the common respect between the Police and Hot Rodders.  Out of 8 spark plugs (8 being highest) I’d give it 4 spark plugs.
Gone Racin’ is at .  See www.hotrodmemories.com for movie listings.
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Gone Racin’…
Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964, volumes 1-6, By Tom Luce.  Movie review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  22 January 2012.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  To see a photo of the movie cover go to www.hotrodhotline.com. 

     Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964 is a six volume VHS set produced by Tom Luce.  I spoke to Tom recently and he has plans to transfer the videos from tape to DVD discs sometime in 2012.  Tom also wrote the book on Southern California Jalopy racing, which has the same title as the videos.  The book is Memories of the California Jalopy Association, and it is in the third printing.  I definitely advise fans of jalopy racing to buy the book to go along with the videos.  You can reach Tom at 949-631-1598 or email him at t.luce@att.net.  Luce grew up watching jalopy racing on KTLA-TV.  In every sport there seems to be at least one or two people who became a zealous fan of that sport.  For jalopy racing that person is Tom Luce and he has made it his life to accumulate history on this form of auto racing.  Jalopies were old cars, very often model T’s that were picked up in junk yards for $15 or less, and had their doors welded shut for added body strength.  The drivers removed the cloth tops in the top of the car leaving a rectangular hole for the driver to enter and exit.  In the beginning the safety features were primitive, with football helmets and seatbelts being the only protections for the drivers.  There were other types of racing just after World War II ended that competed with the jalopies, including; sprint cars, midgets, roadsters, sports cars, land speed racers, motorcycles and early drag cars.  There were even drag and hydroplane boats that attracted lots of attention.  The jalopies were often the easiest way to get into racing and then work up to the faster sprint cars.  They were cheap, easy, just fast enough to get the adrenaline going, but still safe enough to get the experience one needed to advance to the faster forms of racing.
     Tom Luce had this burning desire to create a record of his boyhood love for these ungainly old cars.  He began accumulating and to borrow other still photographs and video tapes from people and create his own masterpiece.  The six volume Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964, came out first, followed later by his book on the California Jalopy Association (CJA).  It was a labor of love, rather than profit and he produced a few hundred video tapes and nearly 2000 copies of his book.  The six volume series is on VHS tape and is a compilation of home videos by fans in the stands, family members of the racers and five professionally made TV show episodes that were narrated by Bill Welsh.  Each video is two hours long (twelve hours for all six) and while the quality depends on who was filming the home video at the time, it is remarkably interesting.  In some cases the footage is repeated and redundant, but actually having two different angles and views can be a plus for a historian or fan of the sport.  In other cases there are some real hidden gems that made buying these tapes worth the money and the time to view them.  Luce worked very hard to have the tapes transcribed to six master discs.  It took him months working with a professional to edit the home videos and remove the “flash points” from the film.  Except for the TV shows there is no narration and that is because they weren’t narrated that long ago.  Luce also tells me that even if narration was possible, the action is in snippets of a few seconds and a narrated would hardly be able to say something before the scene was over.
     Sixty years ago those home videos were filmed on reels that lasted for about three minutes and it was expensive to process and turn the film into a finished product.  Therefore the home video-filmer would shoot only a short sequence and not scan the entire track or waste film on panning the crowds.  Usually the video-filmer would only shoot the car of a relative who was driving or his favorite drivers.  There were enough accidents and fights among the drivers to fill up a movie reel, so people who shot home videos were selective in what they shot.  It took a lot of effort for Luce to splice together the many small segments into something that would show the development of jalopy racing and do so without sound.  To add a background he used various musical themes, some of which like the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Can-Can’ complimented the racing, while other music was just forgettable.  The home videos were overwhelmingly in color, while the TV series, “
Jalopy Racing from Hollywood,” by Bill Welsh was in black and white, but with narration.  Luce met the producer and owner of the TV show segments and was given the right to reproduce them into the videos.  Unfortunately, the man died before Luce could transcribe all the videos and so there are only five TV shows in Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964There are 21 shows that are either lost or in someone’s possession.  Luce would like to know where they are and save them for posterity. 
     The following people provided these homemade videos or still photographs for the production of
Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964; Ken Eastman, Cyril Fritz, Vallie Engelhauf, Dallas Harrison, Bob Fisher, Jimmy Oskie, Duke Parsons, Bill Merrill, Bob Hogle, Andy Lopiccolo, Ben ‘Termite’ Snyder, Bob Atkinson, Louise Atkinson, Sandy Atkinson, Bob Forster, A. C. Gordon, Bill Mangold, Bob Simmons, John Turner, Frank Allen, Jessie Allen, Jim Klessig, Edith Klessig, Ray Vodden, Gerry Mock, Don Hershey, Bud Astry, Mike Bell, Ronnie Johnson, LeRoy Riggins, and Fred Thompson.  The quality of the homemade videos is quite good overall, but some were better than others in taking the videos.  Volume 1 starts out at Carrell Speedway in Gardena, California and at first it takes some time to get used to having no narration and jalopy cars going around in a near circle for what seems like hours on end.  But slowly your attention begins to focus and you see the actual racing and what made jalopies so loved by race fans.  There is the jockeying for position and the bumping and soon a car goes over on its side, through a wooden fence or even upside down.  Rarely is anyone hurt, for the speeds are slower than in sprint car driving.  But the rough driving leads to lots of accidents, though the cars are righted and restarted.  Then the driver gets going after the pack or is towed off the track and repaired for the next race.  Sometimes tempers get a bit frayed and a fight breaks out between drivers or crew members.  Some of these fights have become legendary among race fans.
     One of the problems though is that the scenes are short, but Luce has done his editing well and kept the action going.  He also breaks up the action with shots of different race tracks and still photographs.  He even puts in captions to tell us the where, who, when and what, that is going on.  Otherwise it is hard to see the drivers and other people in the film as the videos were taken from the stands or the infield.  But home videos can also capture the excitement of the event in ways that make you feel as if you were there in person.  There were also scenes of demolition derby and figure eights being run.  It is also thrilling to see just how close the flagman gets to the cars as they are speeding by and how sometimes he will go out into the track and have cars pass him in front and in back of him.  The flagman must be a reckless fool or a Hollywood stuntman.  Other crewman and officials stay back off the track, but are close enough to rush out on the field and rescue a driver in distress or wave off the drivers and slow down the race until the injured driver or smashed car can be removed.  The tracks are both paved and dirt facilities, but mostly it is the dirt tracks that cause the thrills and spills that are remembered most.  The trophy girls are really cute and their bathing suits appropriate for all audiences, seeing as this is the 1950’s.  I marveled at how they could smile for so long standing up to the grimy, dirt-covered drivers, but they did.  There were also scenes of guys working in the pits, the awards banquet, Dick “Whoa Nellie” Lane interviewing jalopy drivers, and a woman dressed up in a ‘Harem’ outfit that looked like the mother of ‘Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.’
     Volume 2 is more of the same, but the videos also show a CJA membership card, some memorabilia and excellent black and white still photographs with captions and the names of the drivers.  There were also statistics on some of the more famous drivers.  Then the tape changed to Balboa Stadium (San Diego, California) for some jalopy racing and still photographs.  This tape ended with some sports car road racing in the 1950’s in Pomona and sprint and midget car racing at Carrell Speedway.  Volume 3 begins with Bill Welsh narrating one of the black and white TV episodes of
Jalopy Races from Hollywood, at the Culver City track. Welsh was a TV reporter who relished narrating these races and other sporting events in Southern California in the 1940’s and ‘50’s.  Promoters used a number of gimmicks to lure fans into the stands, not that there were a lot of things to do back then.  TV was just getting established and the serials and other shows that we take for granted today simply didn’t exist back then.  TV programming started around 8 AM and went to 10 PM and then all the TV stations went dark (went off the air).  But there were live news, roller derby, wrestling, boxing and auto racing to fill in the gaps and keep us entertained.  No matter what they say, TV was exciting and never better than in the 1950’s.  Some of the things promoters did were to schedule ‘backwards racing,’ racing with one or more wheels removed, a man in a gorilla suit and donkey racing with real live donkeys.  Volume 3 ended with scenes from Gardena and the Orange Show in San Bernardino. 
     Volume 4 begins with racing at Gardena Stadium in 1957 and was heavily edited by Luce to remove the light flashes.  Sometimes I would fast forward to speed up the action or to remove some of the music that I wasn’t thrilled with, but the quality of the tape was really good.  In 1958 Gardena Stadium was lengthened to a 1/3 mile oval track and the pit area was placed in the infield.  When it rained the infield would turn into a lake.  Luce tells a story about how a driver turned on the sprinklers one night to wet down the track and slow the racing, but the next day when the officials reached the track the infield and part of the track was flooded.  A scene showed the Gardena Precision Drill team twirling batons.  One flagman, Jumpin’ Jack Summers had a real talent for waving the flag while dancing and jumping in and out of the way of the cars.  Sometimes a car would go behind him and another in front of him as he waved his flag.  A scene showed J. C. Agajanian Sr walking around the stands.  Art Atkinson was interviewed after surviving a crash in which his car flipped over six times and he was flung out onto the track.  He survived with only a few cuts and abrasions and was back racing soon after.  For all the accidents it seemed that there were few serious ones.  The video then showed scenes of the Orange Show in San Bernardino and some cute trophy girls.  In 1961 Gardena Stadium changed its name to Western Speedway. 
     Jalopies also began to modernize and become modified racing cars with new and improved racing designs.  They became lower to the ground, sleeker and more aerodynamical built.  Western Speedway closed in 1964 and the jalopies moved to Ascot Park in Gardena and the style and look of the cars changed them into super modifieds with high pitched wings on the top of the cars and they no longer looked like old Model T Fords.  Early model stock car racing also gains popularity at the tracks.  There is some footage at Riverside Raceway.  In September of 1964 the members of the CJA take note of the changes in the design of the cars.  They see that jalopy no longer fits in with the style of their cars and they vote to change the name of their organization to the California Auto Racing (CAR), incorporated.  The last scene shows footage of racing at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.  Volume 5 gives a brief history of the old CJA formed in 1949.  Seventeen drivers get together at a Shell Gas Station on Rosemead Blvd and Broadway, in Temple City, California in late 1948 to form the CJA, which is incorporated on August 30, 1949.  By 1951 TV cameras come to Culver City Stadium to film footage for Jalopy Races from Hollywood, with Bill Welsh as the host.  Four complete episodes are found in this fifth volume.  There is one driver interview in each of the TV episodes.  In the first episode Clyde Smith is interviewed by Welsh.  Jimmy Sheridan is the starter.  The second episode has Tommy ‘Tough Luck’ Monroe being interviewed.  The last twenty minutes show racing at Culver City, Gardena, Huntington Beach Legion Stadium and Willow Springs Raceway on their road course.
     Volume 6, the last in the series, begins at Long Beach Veterans Stadium in 1955.  There is a short sequence on the American Jalopy Association (AJA), which for a while was a competitor of the CJA.  There is a short home video in black and white, but then it switches back to color photography.  The next racing is located at L. A. Speedway.  There are some captions for individual drivers where Luce can identify who they are.  A serious crash injures Chuck Guevara and this is caught on film.  The ambulance takes Guevara away to a medical facility where he is treated.  Chuck will be out of racing for several months, and then he will return to driving race cars for twelve more years before he retires from auto racing.  One home video catches a TV show being filmed at the track by the name of Pete and Gladys, starring Harry Morgan, Gale Gordon and Cara Williams in December, 1960.  It shows pretty Cara driving a car and going the wrong way on the track only to find on-coming jalopies bearing down and passing them on both sides; reminiscent of the Keystone Kops.  Morgan and Gordon are impeccably dressed as they are in all their movies.  The last video of the set ends with early model stock cars similar to NASCAR racing at the race track and seems to be the signal for the end of those old jalopies.  Somewhere, they are probably running on a track today, but if you want to see jalopies in their heyday, then you will want to buy a set of Memories of the California Jalopy Association 1949-1964.
  I rate this six out of eight spark plugs and I own the complete set for my library.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM
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Gone Racin’ … Shake, Rattle and Roll.  Movie review by Richard Parks and Roger Rohrdanz.  12 January 2012.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands.  To see a photo of the movie cover go to
www.hotrodhotline.com

     RICHARD: Shake, Rattle and Roll is an hour video on the Hot Rod, Rat Rod and Kustom Kulture.  It is owned and produced by Circle King Films and distributed by Full Throttle Video in a color format.  Jeffrey B. Grubert is the Executive Producer and the video was produced and directed by Brooks Ferrell.  Gavin Whalen did the editing and the music supervisor was Miles Ferrell. Brooks Ferrell and Mark Combellick did the cinematography.  The music was provided by; SpeedBuggy, Jackass, The White Buffalo, The Phantom Riders, The Sore Thumbs, Mezcal Brothers and Once for Death.  The video is 63 minutes long, including the bonus clips and trailers.  The clubs portrayed are the Gonners of East Los Angeles, Road Zombies Rod & Custom Car Club and the Rumblers from San Francisco, California.     
     ROGER: This video does a good job of showing the diversity of the car culture in Southern California. These car people are altering their cars with very creative and innovative ideas. I missed hearing the sound of the cars, I suppose they felt the music was more important.     
     RICHARD: The video is divided up into segments, each independent of each other, but all fitting together to explain the Hot Rodding, Rat Rod and Kustom Kar Culture.  The music fits the scenes, and has a rhythmic beat that is modern and yet nostalgic.  The cars represent all aspects of the culture, which is based on the 1940’s, ‘50’s and early ‘60’s, with a central point being the early Elvis years of the 1950’s.  The people in the video live and dress in this era with remarkable accuracy and ease.  They don’t appear to be acting out of their era, but living in this time span.  The clothes and make-up are as authentic as this writer has ever seen in the rockabilly culture.  The director has a real feel for those who are on screen and the acting, if it is acting, has a naturalness to it that puts the viewer right on the scene.  There are some additional trailers and clips that are ads, but they are done so well that I returned to watch them several times, and they could just as easily have been added to the main video.     
     ROGER: In general, “Rodders” show respect for “the car,” depending on whom is talking and about whom they are talking about. A “Rodder” can be someone with an old rust bucket, because that’s all they have the resources for, but not someone whom deliberately rusts and abuses a car. A “Rodder” is one who works within his budget to build a car in the old 1950’s fashion with the parts that they can scrounge up, buy or restore. A “Rodder” doesn’t abuse a car, rust it out, and use a blowtorch to cut holes for the sake of cutting holes in a car, or show a lack of respect for “the car.”      
     RICHARD: This wasn’t a ‘movie’ video per se.  Instead it was a series of shorts that led the viewer along a story plot line.  For those immersed in the Hotrod, Rat Rod and Kustom Kulture, it will be easy to play portions that they enjoy.  It is the general audience in the car culture that will have to stop and take stock of the content.  I believe it has a potential for crossing over into the mainstream car world.  My first impression was that the music grabs your attention and the cars and girls are stunning.  It’s an eye-opening, jaw dropping sensation that takes a while to control.  You are looking at voluptuous shapes, sounds and colors in everything that takes place in the video.  I searched for an explanation for why my senses were being stretched by this video and saw an article in the local newspaper about fashion models in Europe.  The photos showed models wearing hideous baggy clothes, with feathery things all over them.  The models were thin, pale, ashen-looking sticks drained of all life.  Then I glanced at the video and it was obvious why Shake, Rattle and Roll seemed so stunning.  The people in the video were alive, the cars were remade into something that equaled the personalities of their owners, and the throbbing music was full of vitality.  It didn’t matter at that point whether one was 18 or 88; the feelings and emotions spanned all ages, classes and ethnic lines.       
     ROGER: The future of our hot rod car culture will come from young groups like these, my only thought is…which one will it be?  Which direction would you want your son or daughter to follow?     
     RICHARD: I think Ian Roussel will reach the creative abilities of some of the best car builders and designers, and his personality will make him a star.  Carlos Tabares, the Gonners Car Club leader, has a natural appeal that goes beyond charismatic.  If he isn’t an actor, he ought to be one.  The director brought out the best in his subjects and definitely in the editing of the film.  The one problem is that it isn’t long enough to draw out the characters more, especially the women.  The men have dialogue and you can see who they are and what they believe in.  Except for Morningstar’s achingly beautiful, but short description of the love these young people have for their cars and culture, the women were mainly silent objects.  I’m going to give this video 7 plus spark plugs for the vitality and sheer vibrancy of the people, cars and directing and go back and watch the video again.  It just might give me the push to give it a “perfect engine purring” 8 spark plugs.       
     ROGER: As I said earlier, the video was well done and it deserves 8 spark plugs. Some of the content that shows a lack of respect, deserves 4 spark plugs.  I’ll Shake’m up and Roll out with a generous “6 spark plugs.” 
Gone Racin’ is at RNPARKS2@JUNO.COM.   For more info see
www.hotrodmemories.com  ********************************************************************************************

 

 

August 2014

MOONEYES’ ARCHIVES

NOW AT BEAULIEU

 

Most automotive enthusiasts will know that Dean Moon was very much involved in supplying parts and advice to Sydney Allard’s team back in the winter of 1960/61 when Europe’s first dragster was being assembled in the Allard Motor Company Clapham workshop under Sydney’s office. Dean was also very much involved in bringing Dante Duce and the Mooneyes dragster across to appear in the UK during 1963.

What was not known was the fact that Dean kept copies of the correspondence linked to his association with the project in his office drawer, along with press cuttings. They have been discovered only recently and, backed by Shige Suganuma and Chico Kodama of Mooneyes, have been copied and printed in a folder by Allison Jobe of SXS Performance in California.

The completed publication has been donated to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu as part of the archives linked to the Allard Chrysler dragster. Along with lots more information it can now be accessed by researchers using the library at the museum.

The Mooneyes Archives with Allison Jobe and Dale Snoke (photo Dale Snoke)

The printed document was brought over to the UK by American drag racer Dale Snoke (someone else involved with preserving the Mooneyes history) and presented to Brian Taylor of the Allard Chrysler Action Group (ACAG) at Santa Pod Raceway during the Dragstalgia meeting in July. Brian later presented it to National Motor Museum Chief Executive Russell Bowman.

Brian Taylor (left) receives the Archives from Dale Snoke (centre) at Santa Pod and re-presents it to Russell Bowman at Beaulieu. Dale was presented with a print of a Paul Whitehouse painting featuring the Allard with Mooneyes – signed by Alan Allard and Nick Mason. (Photos Brian Taylor)

 

Russell Bowman said,

“Our heartfelt thanks go out to all those involved in preserving this piece of history. The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu is proud to include it in our archives. Preserving the documents linked to our exhibits is a vital part of what we do and this document includes a considerable amount of previously unknown information about Sydney and his drag racing activities”.

The Allard Chrysler dragster is on display at its home, the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Full details about the museum can be found on http://www.beaulieu.co.uk/

 

If you require more information about this release and the information in a different format contact me at brian@allardchrysler.org or telephone me on 01395 579733.

 

Brian Taylor – Chairman

Allard Chrysler Action Group

brian@allardchrysler.org

www.allardchrysler.org

Tel 01395 579733

 

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