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THE SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
 Newsletter
.  Issue #344.
November 7 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 NOTES: The following is from the NHRA and the Automobile Club of Southern California.
      The 50th Annual Auto Club NHRA Finals will be held on November 13-16, 2014, at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California.  Celebrate 50 Years of Memories with us at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.  We’ve got a celebration you don’t want to miss.  Join us as we bring history back to life with current NHRA stars and special appearances by NHRA Legends: Tommy Ivo, Ed “Ace” McCulloch, Tom “Mongoose” McEwen, Kenny Bernstein, Shirley Muldowney, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.  Special activities are scheduled throughout the event, including vintage hot rod displays, autograph sessions, NHRA exclusive Cacklefests, and a Sunday morning SealMaster Track Walk.  Catch all the action on and off the track and witness the crowning of our 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing World Champions.  Purchase your tickets at 800-884-NHRA (6472) and mention the Auto Club Member discount.
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STAFF EDITORIAL, by Richard Parks.

     I help Leslie Long and Gene Mitchell put on the Santa Ana Drags and Main Street Malt Shop Reunion twice a year, in April and October.  Roger Rohrdanz is our official photographer for the reunions.  The most recent reunion was two weeks ago and I should have the story in the SLSRH soon.  In the past I sent out the newsletter on-line and email notices, while Leslie made phone calls.  I'm trying to help Leslie with the phone calling as it takes quite a while to reach everyone.  I have a few phone numbers, but not very many, so if you want to be notified when a reunion has been scheduled, please send me your number and I will try and call all of you a week or two ahead of time.  If you would rather call me at my number (714-963-3557) to find out that would be fine.   This is one of the last of the reunions for racers back in the 1930's through the 1950's. 
     The CRA, CJA, California Racers Reunion, Legends of Ascot, Gilmore Roars, Racers of Balboa and others are long gone.  The Santa Ana Drags is getting close and that would be a shame to lose it.  Gene Mitchell kindly donates the food, drinks, tents and chairs, twice a year and Leslie devotes his life to keeping the history alive.  Each and every one of you who attends is vitally important.  You can't believe just how uplifting it is to see a crowd.  It inspires us to keep putting in the time.  Each story that you share, each photo, each memory is really inspiring.  Mark on your calendar the first Saturday in April and October and call me about two weeks prior to that to make sure it hasn't been cancelled.  Ask around to your friends who raced or watched the Santa Ana Drags (1950-1959) or any early day drag strip and come and enjoy the day (10AM-2PM) at the Park along Santiago Creek in Orange.  Bring your wives, children and grandchildren too.
     As I went through my snail mail address book I sadly realized just how many names I have been xed-out due to deaths.  When I got through calling I found two-thirds of the names were gone; great guys like Danny Oakes, Rodger Ward, Ak Miller and his brother Zeke, the Gonnella brothers, Dante and Don, Jack Mendenhall, Ron Benham, Art Arfons, Barbara Parks, Wally Parks and his brother Kenny, Dick Wells, Bernie and John Partridge, Don Blair, Dick Kraft, Rosie Roussel, Walt James, Pete Millar, Art Bagnall, Bud Van Mannen, Eldon Snapp, brothers Bob and Dick Pierson, Joaquin Arnett and many of his fellow Bean Bandits and Sonny Arnett, his son.  The list only grows from there as we just lost Bud Evans and Bob McCoy.  Evans is the second NHRA Safety Safari member to leave us after Eric “Rick” Rickman.  I can’t forget Robert (Bob) Pete Petersen either.  We lost the Conze brothers, Vic, Andy and his wife Elaine, Carmen and Gordon Schroeder, Bud Meyer, Burke LeSage, Ralph Foster, Fred Carrillo, Johnny Moorhouse, Vic Enyart, Johnny Ryan, Don Freeland, Stu Hilborn, Bob Rufi, Glen Howard, Marvin Jenkins, Fred Larson, Dick McClung, Joe Reath, Tom Medley, Bill and Bob Summers, Alan Welch, Gene Mooneyham, Dave Marquez, Tony Capanna, Earl Mansell, Barney Navarro, Jack Stewart, Leroy Neumayer, Andy Granatelli, and so many more.  I knew them all in one way or another.  Some were close family friends and others were associates of my father and uncle.  I interviewed many and laughed at their stories and wish they were all back so I could listen some more.
     What’s even sadder is that we almost lost even more due to poor health, age, and racing accidents.  I interviewed most of these men and even honored a few at reunions.  I spent hours with Ak Miller; he was a man I admired and looked up to back in the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s.  I got to meet them all again when my kids were grown and gone and I had more time to delve into the past.  Some old-time racers are still with us but in precarious health and we may only have a short space of time to tell them how much they mean to us.  Many are house-bound, in nursing homes or just do not have the ability to get up and go places.  Please find the few that are left and offer to take them to car shows and events and let them know how much they mean to you.  I remember taking quite a few guys with me to events and introducing them.  They would tell me, “Don’t bother, Richard, they wouldn’t know an old coot like me from Adam.”  But the truth was that people did remember them.  In the backs of our minds these people still exist and they live the way we knew them; young, strong and blazing new speed records.  People are delighted to see these old racers again.  You don’t have very long to act; reconnect with an old friend and take them with you on an adventure.  It will make them feel great; but it will make you feel even greater.
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From NHRA.com, Tuesday, October 07, 2014 
     The NHRA family lost a couple of its longest and biggest supporters last weekend with the passing of former NHRA Safety Safari member Bud Evans.  Phillis Jean “P.J.” Partridge passed away.  She was the wife of former NHRA division director and vice president Bernie Partridge. 
     Evans, who died October 3 at 86, was a member of NHRA’s famed Drag Safari that toured the country in the mid-1950’s to help car clubs set up and learn how to stage drag races.  Within the small trailer that they towed around the country was timing equipment, a PA system, field telephones, a one-cylinder generator, and miles of stainless-steel wire to bring all the electronic equipment to life.  Evans was a full-time member of the 1955 Safari — along with field director Bud Coons, lead tech inspector Chic Cannon, and photographer Eric Rickman — handling race control and announcing duties. A former lake racer, he always was the regular announcer at Colton Raceway in California. 
     Partridge, known to her close friends as “Peej,” was the strong woman behind the strong man, at Bernie’s side through his meteoric rise within the NHRA ranks, from racer to division director and ultimately to vice president in charge of all field operations before he retired in 1989.  Before it was brought into NHRA headquarters in Glendora, California, the Partridges ran NHRA’s field office in Upland, California, while NHRA was still located in North Hollywood, and P.J. helped run the operation with a firm hand.  Bernie died in April 2012 after a long illness and was joined by his loving wife just two years after, as she succumbed to a brain tumor October 5 at her home in Hawaii.  The Partridges are survived by two sons, Bernie Junior and Jim, and predeceased by two others; John, who died just days before his father, and Gary, who passed away in 2011.
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     I learned from George Brancacio this morning that Harold "Baggy" Bagdasarian passed away yesterday at the age of 91.  Many of you may already be aware, but I'm sending this just in case you have not heard.  My wife Suzy and I consider Willie and Baggy good friends.  They have been a positive influence our lives.  Bill Moeller
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STAFF NOTES: The following is from Linda Winther, daughter of Harold A. “Baggy” Bagdasarian, who passed away recently.

      Harold A. “Baggy” Bagdasarian, for more than five decades a nationally-recognized master of custom car and hot rod showmanship and promotion, passed away in Sacramento, CA, Thursday, October 16. He was 91; he passed away peacefully with his family by his side.  He is survived by his loving wife Willi, daughter Linda Winther, son Bud Bagdasarian, and son in law Gene Winther.  He is also survived by his sister Lucy Wheeler.  He was a devoted grandfather to Cris Winther and Lauren Koucouthakis, 4 Great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his brothers, Irwin and Elmer Bagdasarian.
     He was born in Fresno and came to Sacramento in 1940, joined the Army, married (Willi who was his partner, in life for 70 year).  He went into the Army Air Corps in 1943 and was a Ball Gunner.  In 1947 he went into the Cab business called “Capitol Cab Co.”  In 1948 with his brother Elmer they built the first 5 minute Car Wash in the country.  In 1950 he founded the “Sacramento Autorama,” as president of the Capitol Auto Club.  In 1955 he started Fox Theatrical Advertising, which provided search lights for Grand opening of companies.
     In 1958 & 1959 he promoted ¼ mile motorcycle races at Hugh Stadium in Sacramento.  In 1960 he started Flasco, a lighting service company.  In 1962 and 1963 he also produced indoor Midget races at Cal Expo. And in 1966 and 1967 he produced short track Motorcycled races at Cal Expo.  In 1971 he started Capco Industries, and developed and manufactured a battery operated air freshener.  In 1991 he started ”Rent-A-Fone,” a company that rented cell phone to state workers, and anyone that need a phone for a week or so, out on business trips. 
     The Sacramento Autorama show at Cal Expo, now in its sixth decade, Baggy was also a daring and persistent impresario who by 1976 managed and had ownership interest in 9 Northern California shows that drew nearly 150,000 motoring enthusiasts, including the Grand National Oakland Roadster Show, “World of Wheels” in San Mateo, San Jose Autorama, Sacramento International Bike & Van Show, Street Machines at Cal Expo, The Santa Rosa Show, Redding Car Show, and the Reno Show.           
     His first show, one to settle an argument among two Thunderbolts’ members about which one had the most beautiful roadster, was held Armistice Day, 1950, and featured 22 cars was held at The Sacramento Capitol Chevrolet Co.  “I made a $1.74,” he recalled in an earlier interview.  The show grew – graduating to Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium, then on to Merchandise Mart at the old State Fair Grounds, finally 1970 to Cal Expo.  He managed and worked out every detail for their shows.  He was a believer in showmanship for the whole family and his productions always included a mix of entertainment for the kids to TV personalities for the adults. He was among the first showmen to screen continuous race car films.      
     His ability to consistently showcase the finest available cars in a string of exhibitions was a tribute to his relationship with the motoring community, builders, stylists, painters, car owners themselves – and representatives of an expanding performance industry serving car enthusiasts everywhere.  Services will be held Friday, October 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM at East Lawn, 4300 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA. 95819.  In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
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Bob McCoy Memorial, Saturday, November 15, 2014.  The "Real McCoy Run & Remember for Bob McCoy (1937-2014).  The memorial event will be held at the former Buck knives building in El Cajon near Gillespie Field.  The building has many quality and original hot rod cars and memorabilia.  Party time is 2PM to 4PM.  The address is Asbury Park, 1900 Weld St, El Cajon, CA 92020.  The party will feature McCoy's 1930 hot rod coupe with mementos of his life in the fast lane.  There will be R&R music, light snacks, pop corn, drinks (sodas and water) and a PA system so you can share your memories of Bob.  Lynn McCoy will be on hand, including his family, friends and fellow racers.  The emcee is radio personality Dave Stall.  Bob was a hot rodder, dirt track racer, rodeo rider, illustrator, painter, and sculptor.   Sent in by Randy Chenowth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     I read your article on the passing of Bob McCoy.  I didn’t know that he had died.  I spoke briefly with him a few years back at a Good Guys show in Pleasanton.  He seemed like a nice guy and I really admired his art work of the old roadster racers of the 1930’s and ‘40’s.  You really never know a person until you read an obituary or an article like yours.  I’m sorry now that I didn’t take the time to get to know the man more.  RIP (Race In Peace).  Rich Arnott. Napa, California
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Raymond Beadle passed away, see
http://www.competitionplus.com/drag-racing/news/29319-raymond-beadle-1943-2014.  For the full article and photos go to Competition Plus website.  Reprinted courtesy of Competition Plus.

     Raymond Beadle, an icon of Texas motor racing, passed away Monday at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.  The three-time NHRA World Funny Car Champion (1979-81) would have turned 71 this December.  Widely-credited with creating the motor racing collectibles business as owner of Blue Max Racing, Inc., the Texan was inducted earlier this year into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Detroit.  At the peak of his success, Beadle successfully campaigned cars in NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA and the World of Outlaws sprint car series and was owner of Chaparral Trailer Company.  In addition to his NHRA championships, he won three series titles in the rival IHRA series and, in 1989, won NASCAR’s Winston Cup championship with driver Rusty Wallace.  It was Wallace’s only championship in NASCAR’s top level series.
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STAFF NOTES: The following bio was sent in by Gil Coraine.

     Carleton "Carl" Carpenter passed away September 25, 2014 at his home in Florida surrounded by his wife Billie and close friends.  Carl was an "Entrepreneur" from a very early age.   When he was 7 years old, he had approximately 300 rabbits that he raised and took care of and, if you remember the old Shopper's World, every Easter there was a glass enclosed display of White New Zealand Rabbits that were for sale.  Those were Carl's rabbits that he raised from babies and sold during Easter Time at Shopper's World.  He did that for several years and made extra money for himself.
     As he got older, he became interested in cars, engines, etc., and started to build Go-Karts and put them out near the street on the farm.  He was 14 at the time and sold several until the town told him he wasn't allowed to do that.  In 1952, Carl's parent's farm in Wayland, MA was  where Carl and a close group of friends and car enthusiasts originally founded The Tyrod's Club, with Carroll  Sleeper as President and which just had their 47th Annual Old Timer's Reunion on September 7th of this year. 
     Carl was well known for his Race Car, "400 Jr" which he raced through much of the New England Raceway Circuit.  Carl worked as a Salesman at the Volkswagen Dealership in Brookline, Mass., where one of his many customers and buyers was Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Later he went on to work at what later became New England  Speed Equipment as a Sales Rep and subsequently left and founded his own business, Auto Racing Equipment Company at his parent's farm. His business became one of the Top 5 Auto Racing Parts Businesses in the country and Carl became close friends with Mickey Thompson, Vic Edelbrock, Ed Iskenderian (Isky Cams), Joe Hrudka (Founder of Mr. Gasket Company) and many other notables in the Auto Racing Equipment Business including "Big Daddy" Don Garlits who we visited when we attended The Gainesville Nationals and each year when we started coming to Florida in the winters and John Force. 
     Carl also founded Fiberglass Engineering Co. and produced Fiberglass Dune Buggies in the 1960's. Among one of the first buyers of his T-Bucket designed Dune Buggy was Charlie Long, who was a Patriot's Linebacker.  One of my favorite stories was when Mr. Gasket Company was just getting started and Carl was out in California for a SEMA Show and went to Joe's house and helped Joe and his Dad hand pack Gaskets in plastic in his Dad's Garage!  Yup, that's how they started out!  Carl also founded and owned Millbrook Homes, a Modular Home Company that he ran until he became too ill to continue working. 
     Carl continued with his love of cars and people for the remainder of his life and to this day we still own a Classic Car that we bought new in 1970.  I know that Carl's passing is a great loss to many friends and that he will be greatly missed and yet, forever thought of and remembered fondly.  As my niece, Cathy, so aptly put it, "Carl had a better attitude when dying than most people do that are living."   Billie Carpenter
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     Autobooks/Aerobooks in Burbank is having a book signing of Art Evans work THE JOHN FITCH STORY.  Art, who has numerous books written on road course racers will be at the book store on Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 11AM to 2PM to sign the book on John Fitch, a real American hero and world famous racer.  Fitch was a World War II ace, engineer, inventor, race car driver and more.  He raced on the Bonneville Salt Flats and on the famous road courses in America and Europe.  Autobooks/Aerobooks is located at 2900 W. Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, California 91505.  The phone number at the bookstore is 818-845-0707, or see
www.autobooks-aerobooks.com.  Tina Van Curen
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    Thank you for the terrific job you and Leslie do for this event.  In addition, the generosity of Gene Mitchell really completes the day.  The most recent event at Santiago Park happened to occur when we were on travel.  Frankly, while the trip was enjoyable I kept thinking what and how things were going on at your event.  As an avid member of a number of organizations (i.e. Inliner's, WRA, etc), I realize how important it is to preserve and cherish those early days of racing.  Leslie's statistical record keeping is superb and they elicit so many fond memories of a pastime that was golden.  Having the opportunity to see friends such as; Ed Iskenderian, Nick Arias and so many others is a treasure.  Thank you for keeping the memories alive and so well preserved.  I look forward to hearing when the next one is scheduled.   Sincerely, Wayne Harper
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     This is Doug Clem from Sparks, Nevada, and I would like to become a member of your Land Speed group. I have a small museum in my home shop devoted to the Eddie Meyer family, and Bud Meyer was a big part of my life over the last 25 years. I wrote the over view of Bud's life in your monthly newsletter back in March, as we had a celebration of life at the NHRA museum for Bud March 1st. Thanks, Doug Clem, Eddie Meyer Museum, Sparks, NV
     DOUG: I was there at the event.  Bud and Joan Denver Meyer are friends (and so are you).  I'm the editor of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter, which is based at
www.landspeedracing.com.  Mary Ann and Jack Lawford are the founders, owners and publishers of the website and founding members of the Society, along with Roger Rohrdanz, Jim Miller and me.  In the beginning Mary Ann added names of people who joined, at the bottom of the newsletter, and those that "signed-in" to the website became "members."  Since we have no meetings other than the contact in the newsletter and occasional car racing reunions that we attend, there is no way to create normal meetings.  We don't have a membership fee or dues.  There are no responsibilities other than what people are willing to do.  Mary Ann maintains the website, I am the text editor of the newsletter, Roger is the photographic editor and Jim Miller is the Society President.  Helping with the newsletter and submitting articles are Tex Smith, Bob Falcon, Anna Marco, Burly Burlile, Jerry Cornelison, Spencer Simon, Dick Martin and other volunteers.  We take no ads, have no sponsors, raise no money and pay no bills.  We do what we do because we love the history and heritage of the hot rodding and straight-line racing world.  I don't think Mary Ann even logs people into the website any more.  The reason people did that in the past was so that she could send out an email when a new issue of the newsletter was ready.  We have simplified what we do so that it isn't a burden on people who are volunteers.  To become a member all that you really have to do is put www.landspeedracing.com on your list of favorites, read the newsletters and if you want, contribute stories, bios or other bits of information to me at Rnparks1@Juno.com.  The newsletters come out about once a week, sometimes once every two weeks, depending on how much material I receive and how timely the news is.  We are a historical newsletter, but we will post current events, though we have a lag-time of two weeks or longer to post on-line.  Since you wrote, we consider you a member.  Welcome aboard and write to us often about events at your museum, because we are very interested in your work.
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Speeding at El Mirage, a KCET video, by Kim Stringfellow.  Sent in by Ron Main. 
http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/kern/el-mirage-land-speed-racing-mojave.html.
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Impound Insights - October 19, 2014.  By Dan Warner
     Finally, a very pleasant meet with true California weather.  Two days of near zero wind and temps in the low 80s. A higher than normal entry count saw most of the day taken up by round one.
     Two new El Mirage 200 MPH Club members were welcomed at the meet. Robert Brissette, son of Bob Brissette, drove the Brissette & Fenn C/GL to a new record of 226.844 and a new Merlot colored hat. Bob Brissette is one half of the famous Brissette brothers salt and drag heroes from back in the day.
     Rick Maclean had his chance in the Kraut Brothers C/BGRMR and made the most of it by running a fine 211.845 earning a spot on the club roster.
     There were ten additional records set at the meet led off by the Lattin Racing V4F/VGC Austin running a well worked over banger. Bill Lattin ran down the course at a new 114.6 MPH class record. Derek McLeish continues to set records in the McLeish Bracket Racing Triumph TR6 modified sports entry. This meet saw a great 176+ record in the H/BFMS class. Jim Lattin and family brought out their new XF/VOT entry running under the Lattin Stevens Fenn banner. The Ed Fenn built chassis with Jimmy Stevens power set a new record at 135.1, driven by Billy Lattin. Last month's newest Dirty Two club member, Keith Black, drove the Black Racing A/GS to a new mark of 214, two miles per hour over his previous record. Neil McAlister, driver and Allen, father, continue to set records this season. This meet found the BMR Ferguson Racing entered '32 coupe in the XXF/BVGCC class with a record speed of 170.5. The White Goose Bar team had a great weekend with two records set. First up was Greg Waters in the Waters-Manghelli-Romero F/BGMR adding 10 mph to the old record with a new mark of 210.6. Tom Hanley set his very first record in the White Goose Bar Racing truck running in G/MMP class. Tom added 4 mph to the required class minimum with a record of 124+. Donnie Hicks set a record in his Zoom Zoom Racing F/BGL running a 197 record, just a click short of the wished for 200 MPH.  Robert Sights took a turn in the LTD Sights Racing H/BStR and upped the team's current record to a ton and a half - 150.0 MPH. John Beck was in his favorite new car. The Vintage Hot Rod built C/AIR class roadster. John has set the bar in this new class at 170+.
     The motorcycle impound crew turned in two new records. First off is the versatile Derek McLeish riding the Team McLeish Bros. 125-APS-BF bike to a new record of 116.9 mph. Jeannie Pflum rode her Jamie Wagner tuned Pflum Wagner Racing entry in the 1000-A-F class to a great 195+ record.
     Two records were denied at this meet. One was an end of course, run out the back door and containment zone due to equipment failure. The other was the result of paperwork errors. Please take the time to inspect the stopping part of your racer as well as the go part. If you are having difficulty with paperwork, designate one person to handle that portion of your program.
     One final meet is fast approaching, Nov 8-9. We in impound wish everyone a safe and fast end to the season.
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Poteet Parks the Demon.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted with permission from Internet Brand, photos can be seen at www.hotrodhotline.com

     Got word couple weeks past that George Poteet got the ride of his life in the Ron Main and Poteet Speed Demon ultra-speed demon.  You know, just your average 400 mph grocery getterAs I got the word, driver George was in the third timed mile at Bonneville when the car got in a hiccup and ended up removing the body panels at well over 300 mph. Damn, hate it when that happens! Will try and get more info on the cause.  But I have to admit I have had a cadre of personal “Speed Heroes” these past few decades. Ol’ George is right on the top. 

     George probably has more 400mph runs on the salt flats than all the other super hot shoes together, and he has been doing it in Ron Main’s ultra slippery punkin seed thingie with some improbably small displacement engines. Which simply goes to prove the efficacy of Ron’s design to cheat the wind.  If you wanna go fast, start by making a copy of Main’s envelope. Of course, you gotta have huevos that drag on the ground just like George. It takes a big, big man to brace mother nature the way George Poteet has been doing it.  I have known Ron Main for the better part of three decades, and he has always been dedicated to any project he takes a fancy to, so when he discovered the salt flats it was only a matter of time…time until he met a hot shoe such as Poteet.

     And I’ve known George casually for almost as long, first coming across him in street roddding. Of course, both these guys have enough money to play with some mighty serious toys, but there come a place in high speed competitions where the wanna-be heros quickly decide to pull up a vacant chair and just watch. Which is anywhere over about 300 mph. Now, I’ve gone way over that mark, but not right down here at earthworm level. My foray’s with Ma Nature include several thousand foots between my foots and the hard stuff. I got in trouble, I just pulled back on the feet and searched for more sky. George gets in trouble, he gotta get out of it all on his own. 

     So word sped through our hobby faster than his timing tags that the Mississippi missile had run out of altitude at the salt. The salt that wasn’t because it had been cancelled just the week afore, due to rain in those never totally reliable Rocky Mountain mountains. Anyway, Main and Poteet had only pretended to hide from the moisture, and at something around 380 George made a little ol’ warm-up at ground level. Almost as quickly I had a cockpit view video that has surely made it to world class video share. You find it to get one of the best in-seat high speed runs I’ve ever shared. Awesome.

     Tell you what, this is one knee rattling stroll down to the company store! GP has been banging out the big numbers with some mighty small displacements, so as he leaves the start line you are deceived by the seeming ease with which he is into after-burner league. I mean, it is right now, and when you get your turn at the controls, note how effortlessly you go from squeezing inside the Demon spacious office until the tell-tail salt suck indicates that there is still enough water on the course to pucker the tail bone.  Then of a sudden you are obviously in the air and out of touch. But of a wonder, no bone jarring bangs and crunches.

     In a matter of moments, you come to a stillness that only the heros understand, a time that has no time at all. And you sit very motionless to contempolate the adventure…and wait until you are thinking it is probably OK to check a few bodily vitals. About two life spans creep-zoom past in serious review, kind of like a rerun of your pre-run assessment. Pull out your old high school math work book and calculate just how quickly you have gone from push-truck featherfoot tippy-toe acceleration through uncalculatable rotations to the utter stillness that surrounds you. It is phenomenal. You have been there, where the very very very few visit. Tell you what, George Poteet and Ron Main, you walk with the Gods!

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Gone Racin’ to American Specialty Cars.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Albert Wong.  Written October 31, 2006.

     Photographer Albert Wong and I drove over to the new ASC branch showroom in Huntington Beach, California, to attend their Open House.  ASC is also known as American Specialty Cars, and they are returning to the Southern California market.  The company actually began in the Southland back in the 1960’s, and then moved their designing offices back to Detroit to be closer to their customers.  Jeff Steiner, the Executive Vice President, and Paul Wilbur, the President and CEO of ASC, spoke to the assembled reporters about the long term goals for ASC as they seek to position themselves in a rapidly growing custom car market in Southern California.  ASC’s designers work with major carmakers, such as Toyota, Chrysler and General Motors, to produce specialized and custom designs for the automotive market.  ASC’s strengths lie in the ability to work well with customers both large and small in creating cars that are a work of art, as well as functional.  ASC has 150 design engineers, over 1200 employees and a gross income of over half a billion dollars in revenue, which puts them in a strong position in the marketplace.
     Mark Trostle, the Head Designer, showed us four cars that the company designed and helped to bring into production.  The first was the 2005 ASC/Chrysler convertible called the Helios.  The second car was the 2005 ASC/Chevrolet Diamondback, with a 525hp engine.  The third was the 2005 ASC/Pontiac GTO Stinger, with a 550hp engine.  The last car was clearly the favorite among the hot rodders.  It is the 2005 Dearborn Deuce Convertible Roadster.  It has a Ford racing 5 speed standard transmission, 320hp, 315 pound/ft torque Eaton Gen-IV Rootes-type Supercharger, and Ford rear-end assembly.  The body is all steel with increased length to the doors and a deeper cockpit for the driver and passengers.  The trunk has two cubic feet of cargo space.  It has Accurail all steel stamped frame rails, double-channel boxing technology; Pete & Jakes dropped I-Beam suspension and Wilwood brakes.  The convertible top is concealed and seals to the window sash.  The interior is custom leather, with an Auburn-polished dash and classic instrument panel.  The roadster has a solid-state electrical system which eliminates the need for a conventional fuse panel, and a CAN (controlled-area-network) based decentralized electrical control network.  Over 250 Deuce Convertible Roadsters have been sold at around $75K, through Hot Rods and Horsepower in Brantford, Connecticut.
     Trostle explained that there are more and more nameplates being designed for the major auto producers.  They individualize and customize cars for a niche market.  ASC created the SRC4 for Neon.  They represent the American consumer and are therefore an asset for the large international carmakers.  Individual genius is at the heart of ASC.  They eschew designing a car by committee and their eclectic mix of ideas and designs are invaluable to the major auto producers.  ASC, which started out in Southern California, is heavily committed to the Detroit automakers.  But they realized the tremendous growth in California and opened up a branch in Southern California in the very middle of the auto-designing triangle, which runs from Torrance to Irvine.  Major business partners include Toyota Research and Development, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac, General Motors, Nissan, Hyundai, International Trucks and the So-Cal Speed Shop. 
     I spoke to Pete Chapouris, owner of So-Cal Speed Shop.  He has a strong liking for the engineers and employees at ASC.  It is a collaborative effort as Chapouris and his staff lends their ideas to future designs with the ASC staff.  He states that it is easy to deal with ASC, and he has benefited from working with them.  Chapouris bought the rights to So-Cal Speed Shop from the legendary founder, Alex Xydias, and he has continued to bring the best quality in design and workmanship to his creations and restorations in the hot rod, vintage and classic car market.  The So-Cal Speed Shop on Grand Avenue in the city of Pomona is a huge complex that restores, rebuilds and customizes cars for the hot rodding community.  They also have a large selection of clothing, memorabilia and designs from the 1930’s and ‘40’s to go along with the cars that they restore and create.
     Trostle showed us around the design studio.  He states that the new center can go from design, to models, to mock-ups and then to complete models.  A state of the art milling system will be on hand soon.  ASC offers a full service design system that specializes in a niche-vehicle American-style look.  He showed us Sony’s XYZ Generation Computer Screen Mapping system.  Companies large and small will find the staff at ASC to be innovative, creative and easy to talk to in helping them to bring a customized and different look to their car styling problems.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.  Albert Wong Photography is at .
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Gone Racin’… Art Astor and his museum.  Story by Richard Parks, photographs by Roger Rohrdanz.  Circa 2009.

     Roger and I were on the road again, invited by Mark Knass and Jim Monroe to go with them to the Astor Classics Museum & Event Center, in Anaheim, California.  The museum is the private collection of Art Astor and it is one of the most impressive that we have ever seen.  The museum houses nearly 300 classic and modern cars and unique memorabilia from a by-gone era.  It is the image and tastes of the man behind the collection, Art Astor, a man who came from humble beginnings to achieve success in the radio business.  We were met by Michael Keener, the Director of Operations for the huge museum, who gave us a grand tour of the impressive collection.  Keener has been the director for the last three years and his enthusiasm for his job was contagious.  Stories flowed forth as he began the tour and ended only after we said our goodbyes.  Just as we entered the live, on-air radio broadcast rooms, which shares the spacious building enclosing the museum, Art Astor walked by and Keener introduced us to him. 
     Art was born in Fresno, California to a family that had emigrated from Armenia.  The family moved to the West Los Angeles area where Art attended Los Angeles High School and later USC.  Art graduated from USC in 1949 and would remain a life-long Trojan, supporting the school, alumni association and other fellow Trojans.  He talked about the early days when he went to his favorite hang-out, Harry Carpenter’s drive-in.  Pictures of his hot rod with a Merc engine adorned the walls.  Astor spoke about the early days of TV and radio and his contributions.  He had his own TV program around 1950 and was referred to as the “Armenian Dick Clark.”  He served in the Air Force, earning the Air Medal with 4 Clusters.  He went into radio as the advertising director and later bought his own stations.  His marketing and promotional skills made his small radio company one of the strongest in the region and he coaxed Wolfman Jack to leave Mexico and work for him.  One by one he mentioned the celebrities that he knew and those that he helped get to the top of the radio profession.  He told us about the actors and personalities that were a part of his collection and knew the most important details of their lives.  More than the collection of objects in the museum, the most fascinating thing to us was Art Astor’s wonderful life.
     Art left us to attend to business, since he is still very much involved in his radio stations and Keener began the tour.  We passed by some very old radios that date as far back as the early 20th century.  Art collects whatever fascinates him and that includes radios, slot machines, movie posters, TV sets, toy trains, Art Deco furniture, toys, gas pumps and globe faces and much more.  Keener has a staff of eight people helping him, but he and Art do all the buying.  They are so well known that sellers will call them up and explain what they have and then will be directed to come right to the museum.  Art and Michael will go to the back and look at what’s being offered for sale.  In some cases the objects will be donated so that there will always be a home for these relics of our past.  Astor started his career in TV with a dance show, and then went directly into radio.  Therefore he has an interest in saving objects that concern radio and TV.  The collection has over 570 radio sets from every era and they are priceless.  Jim Monroe is a collector himself and he was absolutely astounded by the richness and scope of Astor’s radio collection. 
     The Astor Classics Museum & Event Center is not open to the general public, but groups can rent the facility to hold banquets and the added bonus is that they can see the prized collections on hand.  They can accommodate any group from 100 up to 500 or more and the museum has ample outdoor parking.  Keener mentioned that they can also put up outdoor tents for events suited for the outdoors.  This is the only way to see this outstanding museums and collections of artifacts.  Keener is another very interesting person.  He converted restaurants from one brand to another, and promoted his own car shows at the pizza parlor that he owned.  He raced sail boats and was active in motor sports until an injury slowed him down.  He was an assistant to the former director and when the job opened up; Astor recognized his abilities and hired him.
     It’s a full time job running the museum.  Thousands of little details that we have no comprehension of today take up Keener’s attention.  He has to know the value of objects no longer used or made, where to get them repaired or restored and who has knowledge of the memorabilia that they buy.  There aren’t many skilled craftsmen who can repair an old TV, radio or other objects and he has to find them.  Skilled woodworking and metalworkers are needed at times.  Most of the cars that are chosen have to be low mileage and in good drivable shape.  Other memorabilia also has to be in good shape, though Keener will have some of the more rare pieces restored.  He showed us a room full of clocks, paintings and neon signs, most of which are originals.  Astor will buy some reproductions, but most of what is in the museum is original works.  Keener showed us the model trains, “and we have the original boxes that the train sets came in,” he added.  There are 530 miniature cars and engines and they all run.  “Everything in the museum has to run, has to turn on and play, there is nothing here that is not functional,” he told us.  Then Keener turned on a radio and tuned it to the station with knobs that were ancient and the music flowed through the room. 
     We went into another room and there were telephones on display and hanging from the wall.  There were 770 phones in all, from 1876 to the middle of the 20th century.  He showed us a 1913 telephone switch board and it worked.  The museum has 22 early and rare TV’s, from the very first commercial 1939 RCA set, of which only 6 remain.  We saw the first color TV set from 1954.  Remember when all the TV sets were in black and white.  There were 7 telegraphs, 30 phonographs including a 1903 Edison.  The museum has 1000 old vinyl records, more movie posters, a fascinating set of TV and radio Microphones, a 1922 Atwater Kent AM Radio kit set.  There was art deco sofas, furniture, piano, bar sets, cash registers and a rare, almost unknown Visionola, a machine that played a vinyl record and showed reels of 1930’s old movies on a flat screen.
     Keener took us into the GM room, filled with cars made by that company.  Also parked there was a 1954 18-foot Chriscraft wood runabout motorboat.  “Art bought a cabin up in the mountains and when he opened the garage door, there was the boat,” said Keener.  The museum owns Gary Cooper’s 1938 V-16 Cadillac.  There were only ten such Cadillac’s made by GM in 1938.  They also own Howard Hughes’ 1940 Cadillac Limousine with its own on-board toilet.  We then toured the Packard Room where we saw the 1939 Franay-Packard, the only one ever made and which the museum suspects was used by the German Nazi high command while they controlled Paris.  It might have even driven Hitler around when he came to town.  The Ford Room contained early Hollywood Actor John Hall’s 1949 Ford Woodie station wagon called the “Hurricane Hall.”  There was a one-off 1935 Ford Glaser made in Germany prior to World War II.  Clark Gable’s 1936 Ford Jensen Phaeton was on display, one of only 2 such cars brought to the United States.  A rare 1937 Ford Roadster, one of only 9 known cars in existence, formed a centerpiece of the museum. 

     Of the nearly 300 cars in the museum, only two are identical and they were convertibles, one to show what the car looked like with the top down and one with the top up.  We saw Steve McQueen’s 1947 Ford Woodie station wagon and the 1941 Lincoln Continental given to Rita Hayworth by Orson Welles.  Welles and Hayworth were both married to other spouses at the time when the gift was given.  The Chrysler Room had a 1950 Town & Country Woodie with a 1953 Hemi engine owned by Jackie Gleason.  An outstanding car was the 1941 Town & Country 9 passenger “Barrel Back” Woodie station wagon with seats that fold down creating extra space for luggage.  It was no larger than a normal station wagon, but excellently designed and engineered.  Karen Carpenter’s 1957 Chrysler 300C Convertible was displayed and it’s interesting to note how small our modern cars are in contrast with those old finned cars from the ‘50’s.  The museum also owns the 1955 Chrysler 300C Hardtop owned by Tim Flock, the 1955 NASCAR Champion.  The car was raced in only one actual race.  A very pretty 1937 Dodge convertible with its original lemon yellow color was also displayed.  The museum tries to take only original and low mileage cars in good shape. 
     Astor drives every single car as often as he can, up to 15 a week.  Keener told us that neighbors and friends often watch with delight as Astor takes out a different set of cars each weekend for a drive.  Keener showed us a 1933 Chrysler LeBaron Imperial Phaeton convertible, one of only 36 ever made, with a 384 c.i. engine.  Next Keener took us to a room to see Art Deco furniture, sofas, tables, chairs and a bar.  Astor has acquired an astounding array of memorabilia and artifacts to accompany the age of the motor cars that he has assembled.  I didn’t see any cars that went back further than the early thirties.  Astor’s taste in furniture goes back to the 1910’s on, and in other artifacts to as early as the 19th century.  On the wall were large photographs of his 1938 Ford 5-window coupe.  Keener showed us the huge parking lot that has 632 spaces and says that the museum can accommodate groups of 50 to 500 people.  At events there are docents who know and understand the collection and who show the guests around.  Then he showed us the General George S. Patton Jeep and the displays around it, including a manikin of the hero and a set of his pearl handled revolvers. 
     We were taken into a room filled with die-cast cars and children’s toys, the sort of playthings we had as children.  There were also dolls, trophies, plastic car kits, model cars and sports memorabilia.  “We try to make the museum as interesting to women and children as we do for men,” added Keener.  We walked by a hallway where dozens and dozens of touring suitcases and luggage were lined up, indicating the many ways in which people stored their belongings on car trips.  Keener pointed out Hollywood actor Tom Mix’ 1927 Rolls-Royce Custom Springfield Phantom “Playboy Roadster.”  Roger looked at the driver’s compartment and remarked how small it was.  “Tom Mix was a cowboy and Hollywood star, but he was a short man and had the car customized for him,” said Keener.  We walked by the radio broadcasters as they worked in their sound-proof studios, partitioned only by glass and then thanked Michael Keener for a great tour of an impressive collection.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.
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Gone Racin’…To the Auto & Aviation History Expo 2011.  Story by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   Written June 27, 2011.

     Bob Falcon invited www.hotrodhotline.com and Roger and I to come to the Auto & Aviation History Expo 2011, which was held at the Automotive Driving Museum (ADM) in El Segundo, California on June 26, 2011.  The exposition is in its second year and follows the same format as the Literature Faire sponsored by the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH), Southern California branch.  For thirty years the SAH had put on the Literature Faire in the Los Angeles area.  The Faire brought together vendors and collectors of car memorabilia into a simple swap meet format.  No cars or car parts were allowed; only visual and written material like photographs, magazines, books, posters, calendars, trophies, awards, plaques, videos and other memorabilia.  Some of the bigger Faires were held at Irwindale Speedway and took up a great deal of space.  This was a fundraiser for the SAH and a general swap meet for people who wanted to sell excess books and collections that they no longer wished to keep.  The old Faires used to draw celebrities, such as Jay Leno and well-known car builders.  This was an opportunity for buyers to add to their collections and for customizers and builders to find historical documents and photographs to help them with their projects.  The last two years has been difficult for the SAH, with the committee members facing conflicts and ill health and the Faire was shelved for awhile.  Bob Falcon, the leader of the Southern California branch of the SAH at the time, contacted the ADM to see if they would like to keep the concept of a literature swap meet alive and hold it at their facility.  The SAH agreed to allow the ADM to hold their own event as long as they did not use the name Literature Faire and this was acceptable by all parties.  Thus the Auto & Aviation History Expo was born.
     Roger and I missed the first Auto & Aviation History Expo in 2010, but made sure that we would include it on our calendar for 2011.  The Automotive Driving Museum is located on Lairport Street, in El Segundo.  The street is wide and there is plenty of parking on the weekend when the commercial businesses are closed.  The museum is very easy to get to and the staff and volunteers are very friendly.  They ask for a $5 donation to see the museum, and it was well worth it.  For more information on schedules of events and hours call 310-909-0950 or email the director, Jeff Walker at
jeffw@theadm.org.  The museum is located off of Mariposa Street and Pacific Coast Highway, at the end of the 105 Freeway, in the city of El Segundo, not far from the Los Angeles Airport (referred to as LAX).  The Auto & Aviation History Expo occupied a large room inside the museum and spilled out into a parking lot in the back.  The weather was in the low 70’s and sunny and pleasant.  I estimated that there were about 20 vendors or sellers indoors and 25 outside and they offered a wide range of materials.  Some of the vendors looked to be professional sellers who go to various swap meets to sell collectibles that they acquire by buying objects at estate or public or private sales.  These vendors often have access to contacts and sources that allow them to purchase collectibles and bring them back into the market for others to buy.  They perform a valuable service, otherwise much of this material would be lost or outside of the public domain in private collections.
     Another large group are those individuals who have businesses; artists, authors, photographers, historical societies, media groups, book stores, etc.  Among these people who had booths were; The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians, Kelley Blue Book,
www.hotrodhotline.com, Allen Kuhn Photography, Autobooks/Aerobooks Book Store, www.landspeedracing.com, Planes by Dad, Kurt Oblinger Photography, AARWBA (American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association), authors (Brett Arena, Dave Friedman, Wally Wyss, B.S. Levy), ALPCA (Automobile License Plate Collectors Association), and McCarthy Architectural & Vehicular Portraits.  The last group represented the sellers who just had too much automotive “treasures” in their homes and garages and wanted to make some space and earn a little cash.  The list of memorabilia and collectibles is too lengthy to detail in full, but I will give you a brief description of what some of the vendors offered up for sale.  Bob McGindley made little boxed dioramas and inside the boxes are photographs of famous airplanes, or even a photograph of the customer’s airplane.  On the back of the box is a thoroughly researched history of the plane.  Bob’s business is called Planes by Dad and he sells at about six shows a year. Carl Snyder is a car designer and restorer and he had a larger booth filled with collectibles that he acquired over time and also from John O’Quinn.  He was selling posters, three feet long miniature model cars and rare and valuable trophies.
     Kurt Oblinger was selling magazines, models, books and his photographs of road racing.  He is a member of the Fabulous Fifties and has always been interested in sports car racing.  He married the daughter of 1950’s sports car driver Merl Francisco.  Paul Torkelson sold original and copies of framed old photographs and posters.  His able assistant went by the name of Rufus T. Firefly.  He didn’t think that I would put that name in print, but whatever name you answer to is what we will call you.  Some of the guys preferred not to give their names.  That is alright too; we want to tell the story, but we also want to honor your requests for privacy.  David Erazo and Claude Champion were selling models, toys, literature, photographs and told me that they come to this show and to the Pasadena City College (PCC) monthly swap meets.  Certain swap meets specialize in different products and I heard from more than one person that the PCC swap meet was special.  Ray Del Pino has been selling at swap meets for twenty years and he told me that he belongs to the American Truck Historical Society.  This was his second year at the Auto & Aviation History Expo and he was selling his own collection of books and magazines.  For Robert Warren this is his first year at this event, but he goes to about ten shows a year.  He buys collectibles at shows, private and estate sales.  He had a huge selection of porcelain metal signs, original oil cans, license plates and other garage style collectibles. 
     Mark Rothermich has been going to and selling memorabilia since the first SAH Literature Faire started over thirty years ago.  He goes to about five shows a year and has a large collection of advertisements, catalogs, books, car brochures and magazines that he sells.  Wally Wyss is an artist and has also written the book
Shelby; the man, the car and the legend.  He brought his personal collection of model cars, sports car racing books and photographs.  His particular interests include Ferraris and Carroll Shelby and his cars.  Woody Woodhouse brought his collection of books to sell.  He told me that he needed to reduce his memorabilia at home.  He is a car history guy and used to write book reviews for Vintage Motorsports magazine.  With him was Bob Krueger who is a photographer whose interest is in shooting pictures of vintage sports car racing.  Both of them are members of the Fabulous Fifties road course racing group.  Anne Proffit has been a photographer and writer for six years for car magazines, including Race Engine Technology.  She is also in her second year as the Vice President of AARWBA.  Her photographs sell very well to other vendors who resell her work.  She had a booth at the Auto & Aviation History Expo to reduce her collection and free up space at home and to represent AARWBA and give away copies of Race Engine Technology.  Dean Case is in public relations for Mazda and he took a booth to “thin the herd.”  He brought a huge amount of books and magazines from home to sell and what he doesn’t sell he intends to donate to the Automotive Driving Museum.  Next to Case was a man by the name of David.  That is the name he goes by and he had a van and pop-up tent and was quite efficient at setting up and selling toys, models, books, magazine and assorted memorabilia.  He lamented that there were more sellers than buyers.  “This is a hobby of mine,” he told me.  A man came by to haggle on a price and he stood his ground, refusing to bargain.
     Elsewhere, sellers and buyers often went back and forth on price in a friendly sort of banter.  Vendors will mark prices on the memorabilia to give the customer a point at which they will sell the object.  Most of the time the prices are reasonable and the buyers know that and just pay up.  But sometimes the buyers will counter-offer to see if they can stretch their purchasing power and the sellers are often willing to accept the buyers offer.  Or the sellers will counter with another price.  If both the sellers and the buyers do this in a pleasant manner, with a courteous voice, the result is usually a sale.  I didn’t see any anger or eruptions in this group of car fans.  Most sales went very smoothly.  Mark was there to clear out his garage.  He told me that he has been collecting for a long time and goes to a lot of shows.  He had some very old books, magazines, newsletters and newspapers that enticed a lot of buyers to his stall.  The next booth was a man by the name of John, who was the President of the Southern California chapter of the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA).  He had a huge assortment of state, commemorative, miniature, club and vanity license plates for sale.  He also had models, pins, badges and really old street signs and chauffeur metal identification memorabilia.  Another reason for being at the Auto & Aviation History Expo was to explain to the public what the ALPCA was all about.  First founded in the United States, there are 10,000 members worldwide, with 7000 of the members within the 50 states.  “We all specialize,” John told me, “I am known as Mr California, because I collect a lot of our state’s plates.  I’m the largest collector of plates in the association,” he proudly said.
     Burt Levy, from Chicago, is an author who writes under the name of BS Levy.  He began writing car related historical novels in 1982.  The names of his books are;
The Last Open Road, Montezuma’s Ferrari, The Fabulous Trashwagon, Toly’s Ghost, The 200 MPH Steamroller and Potside Companion (short stories).  He has sold over a million dollars worth of books and self-publishes his work.  “I went with a publisher and was disappointed, so my wife and I took out a second mortgage on our home and bought back the rights to my first book and then we published the books.  I came up with an idea to have sponsorship.  I sell ads in the books and make it appear like they are the covers for magazines.  My books have a narrator, a garage mechanic who tells the particular history and story.  That’s because I was a mechanic when I was younger and I like to tell stories from that perspective.  To appreciate historical novels it is important for the readers to suspend belief and just be caught up in the story,” Levy continued.  Kurt Oblinger walked by and said, “I read all of Burt’s books.  I especially like The Last Open Road,” Kurt said.  Brett Arena is the archivist for the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market and has written a history on the famous shopping mart.  The book is titled Images of America; Los Angeles’s Original Farmer’s Market, and was printed in 2009.  The book came out in time to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the many shops and stands that make up the block long center.  Arena talked about all the history and the Gilmore Family, who owned the Farmer’s Market, land development, Gilmore Stadium and the Gilmore Oil Company with the bright red Lion emblem.  I remember the many Gilmore Roars car racing reunion that Carmen and Gordon Schroeder used to host at the famous Gilmore Adobe.  This was the home where the Gilmore family used to live when Los Angeles was a much smaller town.
     Next to Levy and Arena was Dave Friedman, author of
Corvette Thunder; 50 Years of Corvette Racing 1953-2003.  Friedman is a well-known and respected photographer and I have reviewed some of his books.  He was so busy that I never got the chance to talk to him.  Bob Falcon walked by and introduced a good friend of his, Paul Yocum, who works at nearby Northrop Aircraft.  I also met an old friend, Rod Larmer, who used to work for Vince and Andy Conze at Conze Brothers.  He had a sign around his neck advertising magazines that he had for sale.  Rather than wait for the buyers to come to him, he was going out to look for the interested customers.  I asked him about all the memorabilia and collections of the Conze family, who were active in the speed equipment business and at the Indy 500.  “Andy, Vince and Elaine had no children and left everything to distant relatives.  They came from Canada and destroyed all the life time memorabilia and priceless collections of the brothers in order to sell the house and move back.  It is a tragic loss of historical records,” Rod told me.  “The relatives rebuffed my efforts to save this treasure or even my attempts to buy anything from the estate,” Larmer said ruefully.  This happens all too often to our history and heritage.  We need to make sure that when we leave things to people that they respect our possessions.  Dusty Brandel, President of AARWBA and Bobbie Colgrove had a table and were selling off unwanted items.  These ladies were pioneers among women journalists when the men tried to make it clear that women were not welcomed in reporting on motorsports.  They persisted and opened the door to women in journalism. 
     Next to Dusty was the booth for the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians and www.hotrodhotline.com and www.landspeedracing.com.  Jim Miller is our president and he brought his camera and I watched the booth and gave out decals and brochures.  Steve and Marianne McCarthy, from Monrovia.  They sell pictures of antique buildings and cars and attend about ten shows a year.  Steve wrote Road Trippin’; a Guide to Absolutely the Best Road Trips, EVER!   Tina Van Curen had a booth selling some of her new issues from her bookstore, Autobooks/Aerobooks, in Burbank, California.  “We moved the bookstore back to 2900 W. Magnolia Avenue, which is the original site that Harry Morrow had when he opened Autobooks/Aerobooks in 1951.  Our old time customers come into the shop and tell us about what it was like back then,” Tina said.  Jack Le Van is an occasional seller and does so for many reasons.  “It gives me a chance to get rid of the excess and duplicates and to socialize with my friends,” he told me.  He had a wide range of framed pictures, books and ads.  “My main interests are in Lincolns and pre-WWII stuff,” he opined.  We talked about car shows and modern day restorations.  “Car restorations are done too well these days,” Le Van said, “They often don’t represent the true history of the vehicle.  For example, silent screen star Fatty Arbuckle’s car was taken completely apart and restored above what it originally was so that today it just doesn’t look like it was when Arbuckle owned it,” Jack said.  That’s one of the advantages of coming to a literature swap meet like the Auto & Aviation History Expo.  You meet people who know their history.
     I bumped into Albert Wong, a photographer who is crazy about open wheel racing.  Albert has invited me to his home and it is completely filled with “treasures.”  His garage is filled and so is every room in his large home.  I asked Albert when he was going to bring his “stuff” to the show.  He just grinned; it is all too precious to part with and he is still adding to his collection.  Mike House goes only to this show.  House has a private collection of old dirt track books, photographs, prints and memorabilia.  Trent Riddle works in the media and he came all the way from Victorville to put some of his excess treasures up for sale.  He had press kits, posters, books, hot wheels, old videos and calendars.   Everybody loved his supersized Pirelli Calendars with the nude photos by world famous photographers.  These are the calendars you often saw hanging in the garages and auto shops.  Trent is a free lance writer and has written for Four Wheel Drive and Sport Utility magazine.  Bob Falcon, the man behind the Auto & Aviation History Expo had a booth manned by his son, Rob Falcon.  Rob told me how much his dad loved auto racing and worked to keep the history of the automobile alive. 
     Steve Hansen has had a booth at both of the Expos and participates as a hobbyist.  He brought just a small portion of his huge collection.  He was a product planner and marketing man for Volvo until his retirement.  “This is fun for me and I go to about five shows a year,” Hansen told me.  “There are not a lot of specialized literature shows to go to and I appreciate the ADM for making this show possible for us,” he ended.  Allen Kuhn is a noted sports car racing photographer.  “I cover sports car racing from 1955 to 1965 and concentrate on the visual historical aspect of racing.  This was the perfect era for cars and racing in the United States,” Allen iterated.  His wife seconded that opinion.  I met Bruce Hand at the show.  He is a member of the Fabulous Fifties, a group of road course racers and fans who strive to keep the history of that era alive for sports car racing fans of today.  This was the first Expo for Charles Williams and he said that he may come back.  “I cleaned out my garage to sell at this show,” he told me, “I collect brochures on cars that I could never own,” he remarked with a grin.  Earl Rubenstein had a booth to sell some car brochures and racing catalogs to make room in his garage.  Behind him was a forklift belonging to the museum and I asked him how much he wanted for that.  “I’m the curator and architect here at the ADM and we use that a lot, so they won’t let me sell that to you,” he good-naturedly retorted.
     Bob Falcon introduced me to Gary Fisk, the archivist at the ADM.  “The museum has been around for about six years and I came about five years ago.  My job is to inventory and organize all the magazine and books here,” Gary told me.  Jim Miller and I went with Fisk to see the collection.  “We have 2200 books on cars and motorsports and 900 different kinds of magazines and newspapers titles; with over a million individual issues,” he told us.  “I have it all on computer and I can tell you exactly what we possess due to our indexing.  People make donations to us all the time and we welcome such gifts.  We have five staff members and thirty volunteers and docents.  We welcome writers and researchers to come and use our resources, although they have to use the books and magazines in our library.  We do not permit our references to be removed from the museum.  Most of our magazines are from 1950 to the present, but we do have some earlier works.  We also have dealer and car manuals.  We have a huge amount of car repair manuals and old newspapers and newsletters.  Another library that is a good resource for the historian is the Nethercutt Auto Museum in Sylmar.  They are bigger than we are,” explained Fisk.  He then led us to the restoration building where the staff and volunteers work on the cars.  Gene O’Hara is the professional auto restorer for the cars in the museum.  The third and last building is called the Speed and Aviation museum and it is a part of the ADM, which stretches for a fourth of the block on Lairport Street.  I estimate the three buildings to have about 40,000 square feet of indoor space and a good amount of outdoor area as well. 
     The last building had a Cub and Boy Scouts of America Pinewood Derby display.  The enclosed display cases had a wealth of information about the small cars that are built by scouts and raced.  There were also merit badges and historical material for this well-known scouting program.  Fisk told me that the museum was founded by Stanley Zimmerman, who made the building available and donates some of his cars to the museum.  Zimmerman has over 130 valuable automobiles, mostly Packards.  Earl Rubenstein is the curator of the museum and also an architect, with his office in the museum.  Jeff Walker is the ADM executive director.  Walker showed me through the gift shop, which was about 900 square feet in size and full of souvenirs to buy.  He then led me into the museum café, called the V8 Grill and introduced me to Kathleen Morgan who is a volunteer in charge of the food service.  The V8 Grill is open on weekends and is about forty by twenty-five feet in size.  Kathleen told me that they serve hot dogs, sodas, cookies, sundaes, popcorn, ice cream and coffee.  There are six tables available to serve the guests.  Jeff and Gary left me in order to get back to the show.  I wandered through the museum and looked at the impressive cars on display.  The ADM is not as large as the Nethercutt or the Petersen Automotive Museum, but it has the advantage of being easily accessible and it has a large number of volunteers and docents who will give the public a guided tour.  It is by far one of the easiest museums to use and to enjoy and the placards with the cars’ history are interesting.
     The cars in the museum are mostly Packards and Studebakers and other American made cars from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, but there are exceptions.  Some of the foreign car brands were; Morgan and MG.  American made brands were; Nash, DeLorean, Chrysler, Ford, Franklin, Thunderbird, Kaiser, DeSoto, and Cadillac.  The ADM has a 1904 Schacht Auto-Runabout, a 1903 Pierce Arrow, a Darrin, a Saxon, 1915 Model-T Roadster, 1917 Overland, 1916 Packard, a 1916 Franklin, a DeLorean, a 1937 Pierce Arrow, a 1930 Stutz four door Monte Carlo and a 1929 Packard boat-tailed speedster restored by Carl Snyder.  The volunteers usually take three cars out and park them in front of the museum and give driving tours for guests.  I watched as a mother and her daughter were whisked away in a convertible.  Jeff Walker handed me a flyer and invited us to attend their ADM Cruise Night sponsored by Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines.  The Cruise Nights are held on the last Friday of the month through October.  There will be cars and motorcycles on display and music, pinstriping and food available.
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.   
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Contact Mary Ann Lawford: 208-362-1010
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