Here we go again. You may have noticed a little problem with the site last week, well, we’re still trying to figure out what happened ourselves. In the meantime just pretend that you pushed the wrong button on your keyboard. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week.
We attacked some more of the Don Cox black and white negs for you shot at the Lakes and Paradise Mesa Drag Strip. First up crouching by car number 868 is Carlsbad Oilers member Mr. Cox himself next to his own ride (DCC_469) at El Mirage in 1948. The channeled ’34 ran in Class B Roadster and sported a ’33 DeSoto grill shell and a 240″ ’46 Merc with reworked Ford heads, Weiand intake, Cannon cam and his own home brewed Ford ignition. This is early in the year shot because in September he switched to Evans heads. In June it ran a slow 96.35 mph and July Don ran a faster 111.24 mph. Right behind him is fellow club member LeRoy Hansen whose was powered by a ’41 Merc sporting a set of Harrell heads, Navarro intake, Smith cam, and Deuce was powered by a ’41 Merc sporting a set of Harrell heads, Navarro intake, Smith cam, and Wico mag. In July LeRoy ran 116.58 mph. In the background, you can see the side of Chuck Rotter’s number 319 Class C Streamliner that was originally built by Bill Burke.
Looks like the high-number guest entries are about to run at the April 28, 1946 lake meet at El Mirage (DCC_561). Don’t have a clue as to the Deuce’s owner on the left but that sure looks like Doane Spencer having a chat with the driver. The sharp-looking number 305 Modified in the foreground was listed as Fenton Morrill. His speed was 114.64 mph. Note the number of spectators on hand getting dirty.
Let’s move closer to Don’s home with a couple of his snaps from Paradise Mesa in 1952. We haven’t a clue who owned the sharp looking Deuce but he has to be OK according to his riding companion Spot (DCC_712). Check out the “Dago” axle up front.
Not much is known about this late in the day Trophy Shot except for the dude on the right taking the snap (DCC_716). It’s Tom Medley in his Hot Rod Magazine work shirt on May 30, 1952, at the Legion Drag Races at Paradise Air Strip. Anybody know anything about the event?
During the week we scanned a hundred or so old newspaper clippings out of a beat-up folder and a scrapbook from 1956 and courtesy of Chet Knox. It’s fun to read the stories a day after they happened instead of the 20th rewrite 20 years later. There were also some really interesting shots with the stories that one will probably never see again. But, thanks to our scanner here are a couple.
First up is a rare Daily News clipping showing soon to be run over Rex Mays in flight after being ejected from his number 15 Wolfe Special at Del Mar back on November 6, 1949 (CKC_2330). Rex had started the race from second place in the Kurtis-Kraft 2000 and was said to have hit a chuck-hole on the one-mile horse track before tangling with the inner wooden railing. Racing lost a true Legend that day.
From the Indianapolis Star comes our next clip. We see Al Herman being pulled out of his Bardhal Special after crashing on thee in 28th.
Chet Knox Collection. front straight during the 1956 Indy 500 (CKC_2378). Al started the race in the 27th starting position after qualifying at a speed of 141.610 mph in the Pat Clancy entered black and white Kurtis-Kraft 500B powered by a 270″ Offy. He was classified as finishing in 28th and lived to tell the crash’s details.
We also dug into a box of just received Tom Sparks photos that are super cool. Let’s look at a few, shall we? First up we Jack Watts’ A V-8 with a T body on patrol at Rosamond Dry Lake in October 1945 (the first post-war S.C.T.A. race)(TSC_023). Normally we wouldn’t have a clue as to who’s patrol car it was. But in this instance, we had help from our departed pal “Monk” Thormin. We had scanned Monk’s Collection and gone through each shot with him to get all the details on every shot, one of which had Mr. Watts car in it. We were also lucky because Monk and Tommy were buds and in the same car club at that time, the Autocrats. We count ourselves as really lucky having these two great gentlemen as friends.
A make-up meet was held on August 31 at El Mirage. This was the last meet Tom ran in ‘47 and he upped his speed to 116.58 mph. Randy Shinn was first with a speed of 127.84 mph and bumped the class record to 129.40 mph.
Just to prove that Dry Lakes rides were actually driven on the street here’s a picture of Tom’s car in its street trim in ‘47 (TSC_021). Note the cool headlight stanchions made from PBY wing struts. Behind the front wheel, you can see his exhaust cutouts that were fabbed before he removed the running boards that he had run on the car at Rosamond in late ‘45. Stay tuned for more great shots from Tom’s Collection.
We’re not done yet. On Saturday Chico from Moon held the companies yearly Christmas bash at Irwindale Speedway. The place was jammed and jumpin as the gated were opened at 3 AM instead of the advertised 6 AM. Following are just a few of the shots we took for you.
Let’s start off with one clean, dark green ‘30-’31 Ford Roadster on Deuce rails (JMC_5906). The wide-whites, engine block, tranny and interior in matching white really set this one apart.
The Christmas bash always features some outrageous sleds not of the Santa kind like this in the weeds Merc (JMC_5905). Bet it took a while to lay out this flame job.
Over on the strip was the smell of burning rubber and one hot fryer that George Foreman wasn’t allowed to hawk (JMC_5908). We call this Falcon staged and ready for (front end) lift-off.
You could say that some cars were decked with boughs of other than holly this year for a fa la la la time (JMC_5909). Sorry, Dr. Seuss, no Grinch’s allowed in Moonville.