It’s almost impossible to get anywhere these last few days with all the folks clogging the roads on their way to getting goodies to put under a tree. This situation might give us a good excuse to stay home but no, we have to keep digging out old and new stuff to surprise you with.
Grab some egg nog, crank up the heat and take a gander at some of what we ran across on our excursions this week.
We were out rustling through a bunch of boxes full of old photos and quite a few said pick me. Our first shot for today was one of them (JMC_4897). We had to have this one, not because the Hudson up front was sporting fog lamps and an accessory bumper guard but because the used car lot behind it just happened to be the famous D&B Auto Sales lot that sold rods and customs back in 1948 when this shot was taken. Get a load of the cool 5-window Deuce on the left with its warmed-over 24 studder. Wonder how much it sold for. This shot was one of a bunch of Hudson images we passed on. Kibitz as we do, we found out that these pix were originally gotten from a guy with the last name of Neal. There was a pre-war lakes racer by that name so we mentioned his full name, Claud Neal, and guess what, the Hudson man who had gotten rid of all the shots years ago was a racer named Claud Neal.
After scanning the above shot for this story we dug out BNF_064 featuring a shot of the Neal & Halfhill entry that snapped at Muroc on September 17, 1933. A Riley head on a Model A block helped propelled our car number 6 to a speed of 114.65 mph. Halfhilller Claud Near was listed as owner with Hi doing the driving. It’s interesting to note that our records show that the car ran the exact same speed in both June and September. Note the almost new Model 190-A Victoria behind it.
Last week we mentioned that we have been scanning programs for our database. In one of them, we found an advertisement for the brand new racing movie called “To Please A Lady” that starred Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck (JMC_1842). It’s from the race program for the Sacramento State Fairground AAA National Championship big car race held on October 15, 1950. For you info junkies, Duke Dinsmore won this 100 mile Champ Car race in the Brown Motor Racing Special.
We also mentioned last week that Bud Rose was the stand-in driver for Gable and that former lakes racer and Outriders member Manny Ayulo drove the camera car. We did a search of our archives and found this shot of Ayulo and his Track Roadster that he had converted to carry the cameras (MAC_059). The picture was taken at Saugus in 1947 and shows a lovely lass presenting Manny a present after winning a Trophy Dash.
Meanwhile back on the road and dodging traffic we headed on down to Donovan Engineering yesterday (Saturday) to partake in their annual Christmas party. After finding a parking spot we walked into their parking area that just happened to be filled with some pretty cool rides. This pix is for you (JMC_4898). It also looks like radical chops ruled this overcast day. Cool, I mean Warm.
Inside the shop was pig out, have a beverage, talk too much and snoop around, all not necessarily in that order. Machines were humming in the back room carving out blocks from raw castings. We caught up with Isky and pix is for you (JMC_4898). It also looks like radical chops ruled this day. Cool.
Inside it wd others and stared through the protective glass for at least 20 minutes as aluminum chips flew in our direction. In the main shop area, there was another, smaller, multi-axis CNC machine that was taking a nap for the day. Inside it was Donovan’s new Billet 417″ Hemi sitting on its jig table after a couple of rounds of machining had been done (JMC_4899). Start out with a hunk of specially alloyed aluminum weighing 600 or so pounds and let the machine rip. It unfathomable that the CNC machine must read over 5 Million lines of code to produce the ultimate 392 replacement block.
Next up is another found shot from our earlier excursion but this one wasn’t in a box but in a protective sleeve in one of the many binders we looked through. After WWII the custom car craze really took off thanks to a couple of Dan Post books, but we really have to take a look at a few coachbuilders pre-war that took high-end production cars and worked their magic on them. One thanks to a couple of Dan Post books, but we really haves Dutch Darin. JMC_4893 shows a Convertible Victoria Packard’s that started life as a 1942 model. This one’s had its envelope pushed even farther by an unknown customizer. You’ll note that the v-windshield has been laid back even more than originally built. All traces of a hood side panel vent are gone. A little Italian coachbuilder flair has been added with a chrome strip that swoops down to match Darin’s door cutout. It reminds us of what Carrozzeria Touring first did back in ’31 on their show winning Isotta Fraschini Flying Star. But the thing that grabs you most is the fender extension that runs into the door and looks like it could have been snagged off a then-new ’41 Cadillac. Jimmy Summers, The Barris Brothers et al took the look even further in the late ’40s with their custom Merc’s and Fords. Thanks, guys.
For those who couldn’t afford a real hi-end ride to start with, we present a more rodder-custom take on a 1940 Mercury Club Convertible. Coachcraft in Hollywood was started before WWII by former Darrin workers. They took one of 9,212 model 09A-76 Merc’s and basically used the fenders and some of the hood to create this stunning ride (JMC_4897). When this picture was taken at the Primer Nationals in ’09 it was owned by Derby Ahlstone of Ventura. To get the full story on the incredible ride, check out Hop Up number 9.
To take the modification theme a little further on old Ford and Merc’s, all one has to do is be influenced a little by racing. We only have to look as far as the Dry Lakes and a place called Le Mans for a little inspiration to turn our Ford product into a real flyer (JMC_278). Back in 1972, we did just that with this sketch showing what some skirts all around, a plex bubble on the tonneau, and a French style number on the side ala a Bugatti would do to make a sled look real fast standing still. I can hear those pipes rapping as it’s slowing down right now.
With a name like Doug Corbett, there is only one name of car you could run so that means is only on name Corvette. The Road Runners member must have been reading our minds in the streamlining department with his take on wind-cheating at El mirage way back in 1960 (GHC_043). At the time CS stood for Class C Sports Cars and not what your thinking. At the May 22 meet Doug ran 131.00 mph for a second in class behind some guy who worked for Ak Miller that went by the name of Jack Lufkin, Jack set a new record of 146.10 mph at this meet. At the June 12th meet Doug’s new tuneup netted him a lap at 128.75 mph for another second in class against Lufkin’s run of 143.76 mph. For the July 17th race he said screw it and didn’t show up. Lufkin ran 143.54 mph. Ditto for the October 2 and 30 meet where Jack continued his speed bumping. Maybe we could change the CS on Doug’s ride to Cinda Slow.
To continue on the plastic car theme for a bit, in ‘61 the styling boys at GM changed the tail on the Vette to get the public ready for the new Sting Ray look in ‘63. Underneath the body was still basically a shortened early ‘50’s Chevy chassis that didn’t know what the words handle or stop meant. This cleaned up illustration (JMC_4878) is from a 1961 Corvette Brochure and shows you the car’s guts.
El Mirage and Drag Strips weren’t the only playgrounds for Vette’s. 36-year-old Californian Tony Settember and Englishman John Turner went to France with one to contest the 30emes Grand Prix d’Endurance les 24 Heures du Mans, or as we call it, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The date, June 24, 1962. Their almost stock Corvette was powered by a 5359 cc V8 7.02761” in American) and would buzz along at 140 mph (JMC_4885). It was entered in the GT Class and ran under the banner of Scudereria Scirocco. All we can say was they were a DNF. After 14 hours Turner missed a shift and messed up the tranny. Tony jumped back in and drove for two more hours before the gearbox broke in half. They were classified as 31st in an 82 car field of which only 18 finished.
More rare goodies found in plastic sleeves on our early-week excursion consist of shot RGC_001 that stands for Richie Ginther Collection. Richie grew up palling around with Santa Monican Phil Hill and got bit by the going around curves at a great rate of speed in own’s Class B Roadster that ran 106.38 mph. Behind the Path-Moore car in the next row is Roadmasters member Clem Tebow’s C Streamliner that ran 122.28 mph. To his right is car no. 39 the Class B Roadster of Lancers Don Olson. He ran 133.53 mph for first in class. Farther right is the 400 C Roadster of George Fabry that ran 122.44 mph. In the next row is car 72, the C Roadster of Harold Osborn that ran 131.57 mph in June. Doug Hartelt’s B Lakester is seen to his right. Behind him is no 12 the Reemsnyder & Sullivan ride that turned 142.85 mph. Farther right is Norm Lean’s no. 69 Class B Roadster that ran 121.29 mph.
As a recap besides September, Ginther, Hill and Chuck Daigh all started as hot rodders and raced at Le Mans. Hill even won the race twice and was the first American to become a Formula 1 World Champion. The Grinders shot also features Don Cox who was a member of the first NHRA Safety Safari and whose photographs are part of the AHRF Collection. Bob Path was a second gen racer back then and moved tog in his hot rod. The car in the picture is Esquire Motors owner Bill Cramer’s M.G. TC. As of now, we know that Cramer had wizard Bill Stroppe drop a full tilt Ford V8-60 under the bonnet (that means hood in American). We also have a shot of the car at Carrell Speedway on February 25, 1951 with Ginther’s bud Phil Hill in it. Now comes our problem. The track looks like Paramount Ranch that wasn’t around this early. Richie’s collection shots only feature him and the cars he drove. As of now, we can only assume it’s Ginther behind the wheel of the Cramer car but where and when.
Our second Ginther shot (RGC_002) was snapped by Master Photographer Carlyle Blackwell at Riverside International Raceway on October 11, 1964 during the Seventh Annual Los Angeles Times Grand Prix for Sports Cars. Richie is behind the wheel of the Shelby American, Inc. entered Cooper King Cobra powered by a 4727cc (288.46044”) Ford V8 and finished the race in seventh spot behind Shelby team American, Inc. entered Cooper King Cobra powermates Parnelli Jones (race winner), Ed Leslie and Bob Bonderant. AHRF Pioneer Phil Remington was in charge of prepping these cars for the race.
Since it’s that special time of the year we’ve taken the liberty to play around a little with this Glen Barrett supplied Gear Grinders shot so the car numbers referred to below are most likely not there. The T roadster in the foreground belonged to Harold Daigh and his brother Chuck of the Dolphins and is seen at El Mirage in 1949. The Class C Lakester was powered by a 258″ ’40 Merc and fitted with Navarro heads and intake manifold, buddy Clay Smith’s cam and a Chuck Potvin ignition. The car ran 148.29 mph for second in class in July. Harold is seen in his white jumpsuit looking at the no. 21 Class B streamliner Path-Moore. It ran 145.16 mph for first in class. No. 634 to its right is photographer and Carlsbad Oilers member Don Cox’s Class B Lakester. Don ran 108.17 mph. No. 231 is Bill Brilers member Don Cox’s Class B Lakester. Don ran 108.17 mph. No. 231 is Bill Br Reno and became a sports car racer of note. Clem Tebow is the T in C&T Automotive and ran one mean Ardun powered Sprint Car. Doug Hartelt turned into a Master engine builder for dragster and lakes cars. Norm Lean became the head honcho of Toyota of America. Not bad for a bunch of rodder type grease monkeys.
Merry Christmas to all from the AHRF.