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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 127 - September 3, 2009
Editor: Richard Parks RnParks1@juno.com
President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)

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Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, Mary Parks (wife of the late Wally Parks, founder of the NHRA and past president and general manager of the SCTA in the 1940's) recently underwent partial right hip replacement, Burke LeSage and Gail Phillips sent in the announcement on the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club's 17th Annual Gas-Up Party and Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Louise Ann Noeth is the current recipient of the Goodguys "Women of the Year" Award, Our LTA-LSR.com website has the results organized differently than the standard listings, Editor's notes: The various reports on the British attempt to break the FIA world's steam record, set by Fred Marriott in 1906, The celebrity appearances and entertainment schedule has just been released for the 20th Anniversary of the Stater Bros, Bob Sykes Jr advised me of his fathers passing I First met Sr at a three day boat race at the Salton Sea, Carl is Roy's eldest son and we partnered up in 1985 when we met at the salt to watch Roy run his hot Camaro, Just got off the phone with Bud Meyer and he remembers all too well, Dear friends crew supporters and land speed record enthusiasts here is the latest PDF version of our newsletter update from Rosco and the Aussie Invader 5R team, Monday night on CNN "Larry King Live" my oldest daughter Kathie will be on his show, Two invitations to the Gas-Up Party event came back to the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing club and we are hoping to be able to find the new addresses for these two Hall of Fame members, I received an email from the husband of Bob McGrath's daughter, Friends of the Challenge I just got this note from Brian at Ultimate Air Cooled, Bob McGrath ran the Redhead Streamliner in the 1960's, Editor's notes: Here is the article sent in by Bob McMillian as proof that the editor has apparently lost it, Gone Racin'… (Smoke, Sand and Rubber, by Mel Anthony) Book review by Richard Parks photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz, Gone Racin'…(Roy Richter; Striving for Excellence, by Art Bagnall) Reviewed by Richard Parks photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz, Gone Racin'…(The American Hot Rod, by Dean Batchelor) Book Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz

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President's Corner:  
   To me it's important to know where things came from so you can figure out where you're going, especially in the automotive world. I look back to before WWI at engine developments with DOHC setups and multi-valve combustion chambers. I look at a Fokker D7 and see a lightweight tubular chassis that's hidden with doped canvas. I'm blown away at the sight of a rear-engined Benz or that Bugatti with his cast alloy wheels. All this stuff is mostly over 80 years old. On a more technical note and one pertaining to LSR cars is aero. Hundreds of years ago ship builders were dragging models through water to determine hull designs. By the end of the 1800's when Aircraft made the scene things started to get even more serious. The French, Belgian's, Italian's, English and German's were all hard at work on this aero thing. In the U.S we had the Wright's, the Navy and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) to name a few. Hundreds of wing designs were tested and documented in the wind tunnel. The first real use of aero on cars was in the U.S.A. was by Baker and Stanley on their electric and steam racers. It seems after this early push aero was lost to more practical things like making gas engines work. You have to look at Germany with Rumpler and Porsche leading the way after WWI and the Brit's with their Brooklands cars. By the early thirties car aero starts to get real serious especially in racers.
   Let's look at what happened at Mercedes-Benz between 1934 and 1939 and their influence on LSR body design that lasts till this day. There was a new formula for Grand Prix cars in '34 that limited weight to 750 kg's that started the ball rolling. The first pix (Evo 1) shows the W 25, a slippery car that was light years ahead of everyone in design and execution. It soon grew a headrest, and in October '34 was setting records close to 200 mph with a canopy enclosing the driver. Before you knew it a fully streamlined body appeared on the same chassis and sped to a speed record of 227.99 mph on the new Autobahn near Frankfurt in October '36. To put this in perspective we got Pete Clark in his Riley 4-port racer at Muroc in May with a best speed of 117 mph, some 110+ mph slower. The next pix (Evo 2) shows their '37 model, the W125 at the top. For the Avusrennen Formula Libra Race near Berlin a fully streamlined car was built. It was powered by a 5.7 litre straight 8 that would do 95 mph in first, 150 mph in second, 180 mph in third and almost 230 mph in fourth gear. The third car down had a revised body for speed record runs but was a disaster. The front end started lifting at 245 mph so the called it quits. The last pix in the series shows revised bodywork on the car. In January '38 Rudi Caracciola drove it with a new 5.6 litre V-12 installed in the monster to a new record of 268.87 mph. Not to shabby for driving on a public highway.
   (Evo 3) shows the '39 GP car and the land speeder that took Frank Lockhart's Blackhawk Special one step further. This little 3-litre jewel ran 127.12 mph in a mile from a standing start. Here is a real photo of the W 125. This car is the single most influential streamliner ever in my eyes. Gardner, So-Cal and Kenz & Leslie built their cars using this front end. We had to wait until Chet Herbert came along with his Beast III and IV to see the rear end show up at Bonneville. One interesting feature on this car that's never been pickup up by the liner boys is the exhaust control system. It puts the exhaust flow the same direction as the laminar air flowing over the side of the body. That's something to think about.
Last up is how tightly the straight 8 fit inside the body. Later a 5.6 litre V-12 supercharged engine was installed to set the record. The engine put out over 700 hp at 5400 rpm. It wasn't till '87 that MB built another race motor that was more powerful. It's your job as "I want to know all about record cars to" to dig in and find out why a particular car went fast and why. Then you could tell us about your findings.  Thanks.

Click Image Below for Larger Images and Text

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Editorial:    
   Recently I received an email from a member that they were maligned in a publication and that the statements were prejudicial, biased, slanderous and libelous. It wasn't this newsletter by the way, but that doesn't matter. They say that the best defense is a great offense. If you respond once to someone else's 100 times, the sheer volume is against you. In the newsletter, I use the editorial column and Jim Miller use's his President's corner, to establish a mood. We set the tone of the newsletter and we do not let it fluctuate. We get complaints. You know that. But we are good at keeping to our goals. You have to do the same thing. You cannot complain that the media is opposed to you and gives far too much license to the other side if we only hear from you when you are under attack. You must assume that your position will always be in jeopardy and you must constantly stress what you know to be true. Each week the newsletter produces about 10,000 words, which I consider to be rather high, but it isn't ALL original thought. A great portion of the content of the newsletter is redundant. I could pare off 4000 words a week and the newsletter would look trimmer and more professional, that is closer to a commercial magazine. But I don't, because one of the jobs of an editor is to teach and edify as well as entertain. 
   I want to get the important messages stated over and over again until there can be no complaints about the land speed, early day drags and hot rodding facts that my father held so dear. I will give you or your competitor all the room that you want in our newsletter. We are not a blog, but a serious historical society. We will allow argument based on fact and then the counter argument. Or we will also accept one-sided arguments if the other side refuses to respond. So my suggestion to you is to use that which you are offered. We publish every Wednesday. If you don't have something in each and every edition, then we have to assume that you have nothing to say. And if you also contact Ed Safarik, Wendy Jeffries, John Wennerberg and the Brits with your bios, captioned photographs, reports and historical corrections, I know that they will give you space as well. He who reports is remembered, while he who is silent is forgotten. I can expand to 20,000 words if I wish, or run double issues a week. We can't compete with other large publications, but they hardly pay any attention to land speed racing and we do. That is our core reason for existing and the internet is replete with the variety and complexity of our research since the newsletter and society were formed some two years ago. Write for all that you are worth, then use the other outlets that are available.
   I have heard from reputable and non-reputable sources that the "steam car record is a joke." I state categorically and for the record that the steam car record is a valid and important record and should be accorded the complete respect of the land speed racing community and this Society and Newsletter stands behind the team and applauds their efforts. Land speed racing isn't only about a Ford flathead piston engine setting records only at El Mirage or Bonneville. Land speed racing is about one thing and one thing only, the efforts of man and machine against the clock. It is the ultimate battle of ideas and technology, to overcome the elements and to go faster and faster. It is a challenge of man since he first began to walk, then run, until today he uses machinery to help propel him to ever greater speeds. There may come a time when man and machine must part ways and some cars will be man-less drones. We'll deal with that issue when that time comes. But in the meantime, I am thrilled that someone found an old record to go after and what difference does it make whether it's an electric, gasoline or steam record. The bottom line is that the steam car went faster than any other steam car and who knows, perhaps the technology will advance even further. The future may not even be in piston driven cars. Today is all that we are stewards over, the future belongs to the coming generations. 
   Finally, another complaint has come up. That resolves a certain young man who wanted to join the SCTA and run for a "world record." In his attempt to race he apparently upset a lot of people in land speed racing. To make matters worse he is seen as a celebrity and has a great deal of publicity and media coverage and his wife is an important movie actress in Hollywood. Tales of disruption at the lake bed and fears of a contest of wills have filled the blogs. The truth is that allowing this young man to race against the clock will not destroy the SCTA or any other land speed timing association and might in fact be a benefit. Certainly he is not an outcast or an outlaw in terms of land speed racing. We have had our fair share of "characters" and we shall continue to have them in the future. It might be that land speed racing attracts the rebel and the outlaw among us. We have to be pretty strange to do what we do and spend the time and money that we do on this type of racing. At least that's the word I get from my wife and numerous other wives have said the same thing over the past 70 years. But I will allow all your comments and opinions, because what I have discovered over the years is that land speeders are vehement in their opinions and will be dragged, fingernails clawing the dirt, from one opinion to the next. That's why we love this sport and the men and women in it. They've got "character."

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Mary Parks, wife of the late Wally Parks, founder of the NHRA and past president and general manager of the SCTA in the 1940's, recently underwent partial right hip replacement. She is 92 years old and is doing well, after a rough first night in the hospital. She was discharged and sent home for physical therapy and recuperation.

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 Burke LeSage and Gail Phillips sent in the announcement on the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club's 17th Annual Gas-Up Party and Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The date is September 26, 2009 at Mendenhall's Petroleum Museum, located in Buellton, California. The time is from 9 AM to 5 PM. Mark and Vicki Mendenhall are the hosts and provide a Santa Maria style barbecue with tri-tip steak, beans, salad and drinks. The pit passes are $55 each and you must register by September 15th. For more information call 805-245-8519 or email Gail at fastdrvr@att.net. The honorees for 2009 are:
Historical vehicle - Mickey Thompson's Attempt Streamliner
Presently running vehicle - Walsh/Cusack/Walsh 333 Roadster
Motorcycle - (One of) Scott Guthrie's Multi-record Hayabusa
People who have contributed - Tanis Hammond, Lee Kennedy, Gail Watson Phillips, Mike Nish, Bill Taylor and Bob Sykes Jr
People from the past - Meb Healey, Eddie Kuzma and Walt Scott
Manufacturer - Mooneyes and Chico Kodama
Historian - Mark Brazeau

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I am the only Spirit of America team member still on this side of the grass, who was in either a technical or management position during all three Spirit of America adventures, I would like to add the following comments. Walt Sheehan was an important part of the Spirit of America team and family, but he never drove the jet car. The only driver for any of the three Spirit of America vehicles was Craig Breedlove. Walt and the Spirit of America crew chief, Nye Frank, have passed away. Craig Breedlove and I are now pushing 73 years at full throttle and easily qualify as old school rodders. Many of the old timers will remember the blond kid who worked the counter at Quincy's Speed Shop in Santa Monica, California and ran a wicked 1934 hi-boy at El Mirage and Bonneville through the '50's. He put records in the book as Craig Bowman, a member of the Screwdrivers car club in the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA). I drove a less than spectacular modified Deuce coupe in the Coupes Club, which belonged to the Russetta Timing Association (RTA). At the age of 18, Craig reclaimed his birth name, Breedlove, and in 1960 qualified the Rourke Bros stream-liner for an FIA record during Speed Week as Craig Breedlove. We were Land Speed Racers long before Land Speed Racing was cool and the public simply called us Hot Rodders. That was good enough then and it is good enough now. The original purpose and goal of the Spirit of America was to focus attention on the ingenuity and capability of the American Hot Rodder by returning the Unlimited Land Speed Record to the United States. We were first time voters then, and John Kennedy challenged us in his, "What can you do for your country" speech and it resonated with us. We did what we could and it turned out to be great branding. The sponsors always got their money's worth and we got wages, and the American hot rodder got elevated to Land Speed Racer status worldwide.
  Walt Sheehan was a brilliantly talented engineer who made his bones long before there was a Spirit of America project. He was a propulsion specialist with Lockheed and worked in the famous but still mysterious "Skunkworks," so most of his stories were fabulously colorful. We asked for his advice on the design of the air ducts that he gladly supplied. But that was not all. Walt raised the level of maturity and enlightenment to a handful of backyard mechanics. Walt was not the only engineer involved. While the original concept started out simple it became exponentially more complicated as the 3-wheel concept began to expand. This concept was originally suggested by an aerodynamicist at Hughes Aircraft while on a coffee break and drawn on the back of a napkin. As the 3-wheel design took root we noticed an article in Hot Rod magazine (or it could have been Car Craft) about a tiny stream-liner designed and built by Rod Schapel. Rod became involved in the SOA project and offered the unsteerable front wheel design, reasoning that the dynamics of a large rotating mass, such as a large wheel and tire, would provide a stable gyroscopic effect. With steering at low speed provided by the rear brakes and an aerodynamic fin for high-speed directional control, the thinking was right on, with one exception. Without the ability to correct surface and chassis variations the gyroscopic dynamic was uncontrollable to the degree that the slightest lateral loads caused twist in the wheel bay and the vehicle acted like a motorcycle leaning into a turn. It was so subtle and minute that the problem went undetected for several days. With a 14-man crew there were 14 different opinions about the cause and the frustrations became dramatic and very political in an attempt to find a solution. Anyone who has chased a problem during Speed Week will easily understand the situation and pressure.
  Walt Sheehan was a pragmatic engineer with enormous experience in prototype vehicle preparation and testing. It was this pragmatism that rose above the politics long enough to realize that the aerodynamic steering was still set on the lowest ratio as was intended during the preliminary test runs. Once set on the highest ratio, according to Craig, the vehicle became very drivable. Walt Sheehan and Nye Frank did not drive the Spirit of America car.  We are talking about a 40-foot, two-ton vehicle that was unsteerable. It took an entire crew to push the vehicle into position so it could be loaded on a steer-able dolly, and then it could be towed to the prepared course. It took two men to fuel and two men on the APU to start the jet engine. The substantial number of personnel required to clear the course, in order to make sure there were no sightseers wandering around out there made it impossible for either Sheehan or Nye to take the car out and drive it by themselves.  It's easy to see that if the car rolled one foot or one mile it would have been one hell-of-a production. Sheehan and Nye would have been unable to pull off an event of this magnitude without everyone knowing about it.  Craig and the sponsor management team would have known if the car had been removed from the storage area and raced.  The real hero of the initial trials, General William "Bill" Lawler from the management team would have noticed. Bill Lawler realized the initial engineering was flawed and to Shell's credit and under Bill's leadership we left the salt flats with a new plan; an ad-hoc engineering committee was formed. The committee was comprised of leading engineers from a variety of disciplines. The mechanical engineers, Bob Hickock and Rod Schapel, designed a creative solution for the problem of steering the dynamic front wheel and stiffening the wheel bay. While another group headed by the noted aerodynamicist Bernie Pershing, Ron Bertholf from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and myself tackled the aerodynamic stability issues. The rest is history, and the following summer the Spirit of America returned the Unlimited World Land Speed record to the United States. 
Stan Goldstein, Santa Paula, CA

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Our LTA-LSR.com website (http://lta-lsr.com/), has the results organized differently than the standard listings. They are by speeds and by vehicles, numerically. We will have the standard listings up eventually. For a first event it went off practically perfectly. Over 400 runs in three days, over 100 runs over 200 mph, with one motorcycle over 265 mph, a claimed fastest street bike record. I say "claimed," as there are LSR purists who feel the necessity of two way runs in a specific time frame witnessed by sanctioning bodies on uniform venues, usually someplace else, on a different surface, at a like altitude, etc. Our records apply only to our runway is our official disclaimer. We will definitely improve our operation, everyone that attended remarked at least the actual surface condition and length was as good as anything to be found in the sport. We need only to improve the actual operation to everyone's satisfaction, which is not a problem. Next year we may run three days to accommodate the potential attendance. We neither publicized nor exaggerated our potential, we really wished only to get established and break even on LTA/09. We feel we are accepted by the people of Aroostook County, we made a good initial impression, and have been told we are very welcome back to "The County," as it is known up there. Mission accomplished, next year we'll be really something in LSR. Thank You for your indulgence and especially your expert input. Bob Wanner, President, Loring Timing Association
Bob: We look forward to your reports and to your next meet. You handled a start up event the way it should be run. As for sanctioning and record keeping, there are many ways to look at this problem. The simplest as you have noted is that these are LTA records and your organization certifies the accuracy of the timing clocks. No one can dispute or contest your rules and records, because they stand alone. Similarly, Maxton, Goliad, Bonneville, Lake Gairdner, El Mirage and other racing sites and their sanctioning organizations set the limits and the rules for their events. It would be nice to have rules that are standardized among all the organizations so that records could be accepted by each group, but that isn't a necessity. It would be if it were a "world" or FIA sanctioned record. But as LandSpeed Louise Ann Noeth and others in LSR point out, what good is a FIA record if all they require is a hefty licensing fee? Your timers are acceptable if they are knowledgeable and the clocks are thoroughly checked and your reputation for accuracy remains unchallenged. Records are important, but so are any times, for it is the non-record times that give a good indication of where a LSR car is in terms of setting records. The goal from the beginning, to this very day has been about man and machine against Time itself. Men and women strive to attain this goal and some have paid a dear price to achieve it. So your records are valuable and just because you are in your first year and the SCTA is in their 72nd, as far as we are concerned, they are equal. My earlier point was that people will look at this first meet with a nostalgia that none of the other meets will ever attain. As to purists and those who say a two-way run within an hour can only qualify as a record, well that's an opinion only. It isn't shared by everyone. In fact, I seriously question the one hour rule on the grounds of safety. It isn't worth a person's life to enforce a rule that made sense when cars were going 150mph, but are now going over 400 mph on a regular basis. The SCTA/BNI allows a racer to run one way and to back up the record the next morning and this seems completely reasonable and fair to all. That's what rules are about; fairness and safety. Let the bloggers debate over what a record is or should be. What you need to do is set rules that govern your venue site and let the carpers complain. The SLSRH records history and you are making it up there in northern Maine. We're proud of the accomplishments of the LTA.

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Editor's notes: The various reports on the British attempt to break the FIA world's steam record, set by Fred Marriott in 1906 can be found on http://www.steamcar.co.uk/. Below is a partial report. I had trouble with the first reports sent to me which truncated and couldn't be used.
British Steam Car News: British team sets another steam record Edward's Air Force Base, California on Wednesday, August 26, 2009, at 8.22am (California time). Don Wales successfully set another land speed record for a steam powered car. The car set the record for a measured kilometer - achieving an average speed of 148.308mph on two runs. After Charles Burnett III's heroics on Tuesday in breaking the record for a measured mile, test driver Don Wales piloted the car for the attempt at the kilometer record and reached a peak speed over 155mph. Both are new international records and are subject to official confirmation by the FIA. (From the website)

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The celebrity appearances and entertainment schedule has just been released for the 20th Anniversary of the Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous beginning September, 17-20, 2009. Karen Blanco, San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.san-bernardino.org, www.route-66.org.

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Nice to hear from you. I got onto the website and read most of the postings. Bob Sykes Jr advised me of his fathers passing. First met Sr at a three day boat race at the Salton Sea. 1952 I think. Went there as crew for Eddie and Bud Meyer and met Sykes Sr just before he set a world's record in the 266 cu/inch class driving Joe Guess's hydro Guess Who. Met him again in 1986 at Bonneville where he and his boys were running in the same class (D/FC) as Carl Fjastad and me. We borrowed parts and helped each other in any way we could and became good friends. Bob Sykes Sr was a gentleman, a good motor builder and he will be missed. I guess you know that Bud Meyer just turned 91 and had one hell of a birthday party at Doug Clem's Meyer Museum in Sparks, Nevada. I hated to miss it but had a cruise already scheduled. Vic Enyart 
   Vic: We need your stories and information on what you saw. We would like to know more about Carl Fjastad and your efforts at Bonneville and maybe get you to write your bio. Tell us all that you know about Bob Sykes and Eddie and Bud Meyer. A little known trivial fact; my father was going with a young lady before he met my mother. Harry Meyer, Bud's uncle, but only a year older than Bud, married this young lady. They were driving down the street, somewhere in the valley, or maybe Los Angeles and were in a crash with Johnny Junkin, who was driving a truck. Harry's wife was killed and he was seriously injured. Do you have any more information on this story? Junkin was well-known in early land speed racing and was quite a character.

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Carl is Roy's eldest son and we partnered up in 1985 when we met at the salt to watch Roy run his hot Camaro. It was at the start line and Carl said he wanted to build a car to run up there. He said he had a five window thirty-two coupe. I said I could build a 304 or 370 cu. in. Chevy engine for him. He opted for the 304. I asked gas or fuel and he said fuel. A couple of months later when I saw he was seriously building the car I started building the motor with left over sprint car motor parts and a set of pistons that I had made years before when I was retooling the JE Piston shop that Harvey Crane had just purchased. We came together in time for the salt in 1986. Carl had never driven a hot rod before this. Not even on the street. We had help. Lots of help. Vern Tomlinson of Hilborn gave me straight advice. The Kinney Brothers mixed the nitro after Carl qualified on alcohol and we made it to the long course. 198 mph plus down and 197 mph plus back. The Rustoleum Red '32 coupe set a record by .5 mph. Joining the Rod Riders the coupe set many records at El Mirage as a regular coupe or competition coupe on gas or on fuel. At Bonneville Carl went 203 mph eventually, but lost the record to a sleek Monza that is now owned by Bob Sykes Jr. In our last year of running at El Mirage, 1990, Carl set the D/FC record which we held since 1987 up to 197 mph plus and it held until 2007 when another good friend Bob Jucewik got it away from us. Carl still has the coupe and Fabian Valdez now has my motor which recently set a record in the D rear engine roadster class. I will call Bud Meyer about his brother Harry. He and Harry were close. Vic Enyart
   Vic: Tell us more about your engine building experiences and Tomlinson, Hilborn, the Kinney Brothers, Carl and Roy, the JE Piston shop, Harvey Crane, the Rod Riders, Jucewik, Bud and Harry and Fabian. You have some fascinating memories and we want to know more about the times you saw, especially the sprint car world.

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Just got off the phone with Bud Meyer and he remembers all too well. He actually double dated with Harry and Corky (Cora Lee). On the night of the accident Bud was in Memphis going to an aircraft engine school and found out about it when he called home. Harry was driving a Model A Sport Coupe and Johnny Junkin was driving a 1 1/2 ton flat bed truck. Harry got t-boned at an intersection after visiting with his father Pop Meyer. Corky (Corkee?) was killed and Harry was hospitalized. Junkin had a '28 or '29 Pierce Arrow Roadster that he ran at the lakes. Harry and Cora Lee have a daughter Jeannie Meyer who lives in Sparks, Nevada and used to work at the printing plant with Doug Clem. Jeannie gave Bud the old lathe that Harry had and it is now all cleaned up and operational. Bud suggests that you call him direct from now on. He and Joan will be at the Cruise for Life car show at the Orange County Fairgrounds on September 26, 2009 to receive an award. I intend to be there.  Vic Enyart
   Vic: Be sure to give us more updates on the event and when Bud will be honored. I introduced Bud to his wife, Joan Denver Meyer at the Petersen Automotive Museum some years back. Bud had lost his first wife and the moment he met Joan he shooed us all away from her and that was the end of my matchmaking. I did get a concession from Bud that "for my services as a matchmaker, he had to take me to the Indy 500 with him as his guest." I am still waiting for my tour. The racing community is interconnected in so many interesting ways.

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Dear friends, crew, supporters and land speed record enthusiasts, here is the latest PDF version of our newsletter update from Rosco and the Aussie Invader 5R team. See www.aussieinvader.com/newsletters/aussieinvader_sep09.pdf. Please visit our website www.aussieinvader.com, for additional information about the project. We are currently working to secure sponsors to help with funding some parts of the build, so if you know of any companies who may want to be involved with us and this exciting project, please let me know. Mark Read

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Mark: Please be sure to keep us informed of the goals and results of the Aussie Invader.

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Monday night on CNN "Larry King Live," my oldest daughter Kathie will be on his show. Then she flies to New York to be on ABC's Good Morning America.  George Callaway
   George: Thanks for the update. Unfortunately the newsletter is always three weeks behind, so our readers won't get this info in time, but we would like to know more, so if you could send us a report and tell us a little more about Kathie and why she is going to appear on these talk shows we will be glad to post it for our readers. Anything concerning George Callaway, Mayor of El Mirage, is worth noting here in the newsletter. Our readers should go to www.hotrodhotline.com, guest columnist/Richard Parks and read the bio on George. These bios are very informative and interesting.

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Two invitations to the Gas-Up Party event came back to the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing club and we are hoping to be able to find the new addresses for these two Hall of Fame members. Both are well known so I hoped you, or someone on your site would be able to get that info to me. Art Chrisman (I met him at the 200 MPH Banquet but didn't know at that time that we had his address wrong), and Mel Chastain. If any of your readers have not received an invitation to the event on September 26, 2009 and they would like to attend please advise them to check out the printable registration form on www.oilstick.com. Thank you for your help! Gail Phillips, fastdrvr@att.net, 805-459-6022, Gold Coast R&R Hall of Fame Gas-Up Event Secretary
   Gail: I'm sending your email around to various land speed people to help you. If you don't want your email address or phone number made public, please let me know and I'll remove it.

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I received an email from the husband of Bob McGrath's daughter. He wondered if I knew anyone who had any photos, etc of the Redhead and/or Bob. I knew Bob very well, but that association was before I started taking photos at Bonneville. If you have anything, let me know and I will give you his email address. Bob McMillian
   Bob: Can you give us more information on Bob McGrath, the Redhead Streamliner and the time periods we are speaking about? If our members have any information to share, please let me know so that I can pass it on to Bob McMillian to give to McGrath's daughter.

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Friends of the Challenge; I just got this note from Brian at Ultimate Air Cooled (www.ultimateaircooled.com).
"Ok I got so excited about this stuff I created another section on UAC just for Vintage Performance/Bonneville racing and I hope you like it of course. And also can spread the word and get more Aircooled land speed racers on here. Check it out." Brian Watts
To find out more go to: http://ultimateaircooled.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?board=53.0. Go take a look and get signed in. Lots of good Challenge and VW Bonneville specific subjects. I hope you will login and use this as another good forum to communicate. Brian has asked that you continue to add details on your 36hp projects as they occur so everyone can follow your project with you, as www.blackline57.com did with their build. And Brian will be on the salt at World of Speed to photograph the 36hp Challenge and find out what the true Bonneville Salt Flats experience is all about. If that isn't supporting the 36hp Challenge, I do not know what is. Be sure to give Brian and crew a warm welcome when you see them out at on the salt. Burly Burlile

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Bob McGrath ran the Redhead Streamliner in the 1960's. I recall a particular incident where Bob had the car parked under a big tent in the pits. He got ready to make a run, got in the car, started it up on the starter and drove it out to the starting line. He then made a run at or near 300 mph, and after the run, drove back into the pits and parked it back under the tent. I seem to remember that Bert Munro was still running at that time. Bert set his record, which still stands, in '67. The Redhead was one of the cars featured in the movie, "The World's Fastest Indian."
It's a rather small, very swoopy, bright red streamliner. Jim Lattin currently owns the car and when I talked to him this morning, he said you had been in his shop and looked at the car. You're like me. Your memory is failing. Attached is an article "you" wrote about the Redhead and McGrath. I couldn't resist, since my friends are always ragging me about being forgetful. I have attached a couple of photos I found online.
"What the Gas-Up Party is about:" by Richard Parks, Oilstick Home http://www.oilstick.com/default.htm. Bob McMillian
Bob: I went to the link and couldn't find any article about Bob McGrath and the Redhead Streamliner. We certainly do need to do a complete bio and story on McGrath and the Redhead for our readers. I believe that you are actually a figment of my imagination and I did not see you at the Bean Bandits Reunion last weekend with that HUGE camera and big smile, talking to Jack Dolan and Fred Lobello. Memory? What memory? I talked to Jim Miller and he said the same thing that you said, "You don't remember?" I'm sure the two of you are pulling a prank on me. Nevertheless, I'm in good company with all the other land speeders who also can't remember much any more. But what I do remember is really good stuff.

Streamliners__movie
early redhead1

Four streamliners used in the movie "The World's Fastest Indian."  Courtesy of Bob McMillian

Bob McGrath's Redhead Streamliner.   Courtesy of Bob McMillian

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Editor's notes: Here is the article sent in by Bob McMillian as proof that the editor has apparently lost it.
Gone Racin'...To the 11th Annual Gas-Up Party 9/27/2003. Story by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.

September 27, 2003, was the date of the 11th Annual Gas-Up Party and Dry Lakes Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club, and held at Jack Mendenhall's amazing Gas Pump Museum, in Buellton, California. This event honors the land speed racers, officials and their vehicles. Land speed racing is technically recognized as motorized time trials, and the categories have broadened to include all types of land driven vehicles, motorcycles, and even zealous go-kart aficionados. The power plants can be internal combustion, turbine and jet engines, though my brother's rubber band driven car has been disallowed. This sport is as old, or older than just about any other automotive racing sport known. Two European nobles, one Belgian, and one Frenchman, challenged each other in 1898, and the recorded mile run has seen speeds increase ever since. The GCRR club is a member of the prestigious SCTA (Southern California Timing Association), which was formed in 1937, by car clubs through out the West Coast area, to carry on time trials in a safe and sanctioned manner. Each year the clubs are given a ballot to vote on the most deserving members and vehicles, and to honor those who have given so much to the sport that they love so deeply.

The following were chosen as the honorees for this year: Don Clark, Clem Tebow, Chauvin Emmons, Ted Frye, Ermie Immerso, Joe Law, Ed and Cris Shearer, Gray Baskerville, Keith Black, Noel Black, Pete Dean, Ed Donovan, Bob McGrath, Bert Peterson, Kent Enderle, and Glenn Freudenberger. Vehicles chosen for special recognition were: the Redhead Streamliner, the Sundowner Corvette, and Eric Vaughn's Indian motorcycle. The Gas-Up Party began around 9am as race cars and hot rods began to arrive. Mark Mendenhall and his skilled volunteers began to feed the hungry crowd of some 700 people around 1pm, with the delicious Santa Maria style Tri-Tip steak barbecue and beans that he is famous for. Vicki Mendenhall was the straw boss, seeing that the lines were kept moving and that everyone was fed and ready for the Awards presentations. Misty Mendenhall was in charge of the bar in the Chapel, and served the drinks from a real, antique wooden long bar from an old saloon. Jack Mendenhall's Gas Pump Museum is a treasure house of old antiques, lovingly collected over the last 50 years as Jack traveled the highways and byways of America, on his trips to and from the various racetracks that he loved. His son, Mark, would build a garage, and Jack and Will Scott would fill it up with signs, gas pumps, electrified gas pump globe faces, old license plates, and memorabilia from the early age of the automotive culture. As soon as one garage was filled up, Mark would build another building, and then another, until the Museum now has twelve garages, crammed full of treasures.

At 2:30pm, Tim Rochlitzer and Matt Williams of the GCRR Club began the Hall of Fame Awards ceremonies, and the crowd gathered around to listen to these respected honorees regale us with their stories of their time spent at the Dry Lakes, Bonneville, and at other land speed racing locales. Don Edwards and I had the privilege of presenting the award for Keith Black to his son, Ken. This is the second award given in Keith's honor this year. Back in June, we awarded a special recognition plaque to Ken in honor of his father's efforts in promoting boat racing. The "Camfather," Ed Iskenderian, presented Ted Frye's award, and recalled Ted's achievements at the lakes and at Bonneville. Jack Mendenhall introduced a special guest, John Ackroyd, from England. Ackroyd was the designer for both Richard Noble's first two cars, and then Craig Breedlove's last land speed car. Ed and Cris Shearer told us stories about what it is like to be the safety crew down at the end of the course at Bonneville. A lot of drivers owe their health to the fine work that they do. Ermie Immerso crewed at Indy, raced or worked on cars in oval track, went to work for Carroll Shelby, then got the "salt bug" at Bonneville. Chauvin Emmons has consistently been around the 300mph mark at Bonneville for the last 30 years, setting and resetting records. Don Clark spoke about his friend and longtime partner, Clem Tebow, and their days at Bonneville. Joe Law recounted his days racing at the lakes, and helping the sport to grow. Kent Enderle was presented with the Manufacturer of the year award. Glenn Freudenberger was honored with the Historian of the Year award. Glenn has spent a lifetime photographing and recording the history of the Dry Lakes and Bonneville. The ceremonies ended, and the men and women held up their plaques and rings with pride, but the party was far from over, as the crowds filtered into the "Chapel" for more bench racing, that went on far into the evening. Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.

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Gone Racin'… Smoke, Sand and Rubber, by Mel Anthony. Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz

Mel Anthony has written a fine little book called Smoke, Sand and Rubber. It is 7 x 10 inches in size and about an inch thick in a paperback format. There are 288 pages with 40 chapters, each about seven pages long, containing 250 black and white photos. Smoke, Sand and Rubber also has one color photo, three drawings and 21 posters, graphs and charts. The cover has an appealing black and white drawing of midgets racing on a track, but no dust cover. Anthony numbers and signs the books and there are 1000 copies in the first printing. The book was published in 2006 by Sylvester Publishing in Shoreline, Washington. The ISBN number is 0-9787721-0-5, but the best way to obtain a copy is by contacting Anthony at MethanolMel@msn.com. The price of the book is $29.95, but contact the author to see how much for the shipping and handling costs. There is a table of contents, introduction and dedication, all by Mel Anthony. There is a short Foreword by racer Pike Green. The text is double-spaced and the letter size is larger to make it read easier. Some authors cram the text in the smallest size possible to save on costs by having fewer pages, but Anthony doesn't make that mistake. Historical and autobiographical books like Smoke, Sand and Rubber generally appeal to an older audience and small type is hard on our eyes. This book is easy to read and very interesting. The average reader will have finished several chapters in a very short time span. There is a four-page Index, which is superior to most books that I have reviewed. Anthony has put a great deal of work into creating an index where so many other authors simply avoid doing it altogether.

The photographs are exceptionally clear and well presented for their age. The captions beneath the photographs are clear and explain the people, cars and places independently of the story itself. The research is exceptional and informative. The book tells the story of midget and sprint car racing in the Pacific Northwest. Yet auto racing isn't done in a vacuum and the author will bring in additional racing stories along the West Coast and the Indy 500. Mel Anthony was born in 1923, just north of Seattle, in what is now Shoreline, Washington. He grew up during the height of the Great Depression. His father raised chickens and had a welding shop that made parts for Sears & Roebuck. His mother provided board and room for homeless children from the Washington State Children's Home. Anthony raced Soap Box Derby racers in the 1930's, but the sound of sprint cars on the 5/8th mile track at the Seattle Speed Bowl was his great love. He followed the local and out of town race car drivers as they made a name for themselves. Men like Rajo Jack, Mel Keneally, Swede Lindskog, Allen Heath, Wally Schock and many other great racers of the day. As a teenager in the '30's, Anthony earned money picking fruit and purchased several older cars which he worked on and drove. As a sixteen-year-old, Anthony took part in a 100-lap jalopy race in 1939 at the Speed Bowl. He raced his cars on the streets, the back roads of the countryside and on the farm against his friends. Anthony bought a Duesenberg, and then resold it to purchase a midget race car. He was seriously injured in an accident on the race track, spending weeks in a body cast. His stories and experiences are told in a humorous, personable style that gives the reader the feeling that they are talking to him in person. Mel recovered from his injuries, graduated from high school and went to work in the shipyards. The action was in the service and there was no racing during the war, so he joined the Navy. Anthony was a diver and welder and saw action throughout the Pacific campaign. His experiences of the war years are riveting and full of danger. After the war ended, Mel was discharged and with his bonus money he purchased a V-8 60 midget and went racing.

The post-WWII years were the heyday of auto racing as men were being discharged from the service and they eagerly went back to racing. Men and women who had faced death in wartime and want during the Depression were not easily dissuaded from doing what they wanted, nor did they fear taking risks. He rejoined the Washington Midget Racing Association (WMRA). Cars, engines, tires and other spare parts were at a premium. Anthony began having success with his Midget and bought a sprint car. He met his wife, Barbara, at the track and they have been married for over sixty years. She is shown in many of the photographs as the beauty queen presenting the trophy and the kiss to the winning drivers. They formed an inseparable pair and traveled constantly from race track to race track. Mel was successful in the B mains, enough to race professionally for a decade. Anthony sold his race cars and drove for Homer Norman and Warren King. His fascinating stories pile one upon another, far too many to tell in a review, but for the oval racing fan, this book is full of anecdotal facts and events. Special chapters are given to Tex Roberts, Bud Green, Allen Heath, Paul Pold, Chick Barbo, Don Olds, Shorty Templeman, Louie Sherman, Stan and Johnny Muir, Bob Gregg, Swede Lindskog, Tony West, Cliff Spalding, Sid Archer, Mark Sullivan, and Kenny Gardiner. Anthony raced from 1946 through 1956, and then retired to spend more time with his family. Barbara and Mel have two children, Dennis and Vickie and the final chapter is devoted to them. Anthony's passion for racing and his family is very evident in this book and the last chapter is too short to show all the things that families sacrifice in order that men might go racing. Dennis Anthony bought a Don Edmunds sprint car kit and father and son went racing, for another ten years, and then retired the car. Mel and Dennis Anthony each raced during eras that brought out the best in our racing heritage. They never garnered the fame of men like Shorty Templeman, Allen Heath, Len Sutton and Swede Lindskog who put the Northwest racing circuits on the map. But they certainly lived and relished this time and their stories make this a book worth adding to your library. Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS2@JUNO.COM.

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Gone Racin'…Roy Richter; Striving for Excellence, by Art Bagnall. Reviewed by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz

A book review is expected to explain the merits and demerits of a book and to let the reader decide if that book is worth adding to his library. This case is different. If you are a serious hot rodder who loves racing, then you must add this book to your collection. It is what we call a seminal reference, or a book that truly sets the new course and direction. Art Bagnall, the author, has simply researched and found the very roots of hot rodding in Southern California, and it centers around a place and a man that was pivotal to the hobby. If you want a reference book full of history then "Roy Richter; Striving for Excellence" must anchor your bookshelf. The book is quite impressive in size, scope, research and depth. It is a nice coffee table size at 9 by 11 inches with a hard cover, but lacking a book jacket. There are 15 chapters covering 379 pages, with a dedication and preface, followed by an acknowledgement to 117 people who helped Bagnall compile his masterpiece. Those acknowledged for their help and support comprise the very founders of the hot rodding movement in America. Wally Parks provided the introduction to the book. An epilogue, photo credits and list of employees who worked for Roy Richter is complete and informative. The book ends with an adequate four-page index and a history of the author. The index should have been twice the size in order to note everyone listed in the work, and is the only weakness in this book. Otherwise, Bagnall has created a masterpiece. There are 597 black and white photos representing the very earliest days of Bell Auto Parts and continuing into the modern era. There are no color photos, but the black and white photos do an exceptional job of telling the story of Roy Richter. In addition, there are 96 other presentations, such as posters, letters, drawings, and invoice orders to give further detail to the story. "Roy Richter; Striving for Excellence," is published and written by Art Bagnall Publishing. Copies of the book are available from Jack Stewart, author of "The L.A. Roadsters, an Introspective."

The book concerns Roy Richter, who played a pivotal role in automotive racing and hot rodding in the Southern California area from the 1930's on, until his death in 1983. Richter is the theme for the book and the central character, but Richter would have been the first to tell you that he was fortunate to have the best hot rodders and racers around him from the beginning. Roy Richter purchased Bell Auto Parts from George Wight in the 1940's. Wight was already an icon among street racers and those craving the action from their souped up gows and hot rods as far back as the 1920's. Wight's Bell Auto Parts store was one of the first places in the country where speed equipment was available. Wight teamed up with George Riley of the Riley 4-port fame to devise land speed racing events at Muroc Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert. These dry lake races were posted on a bulletin board at the shop on 3633 E. Gage Avenue, in Bell, California. If any place in the world can be called the mythic heart of hot rodding, Bell Auto Parts is that sacred spot. Richter, Roscoe Turner, Kenny Parks and others would work for this fabled speed equipment shop and go on to successes of their own. Wight and Riley would give up their land speed business, which would be absorbed by the SCTA (Southern California Timing Association). Other speed equipment shops would open to challenge the supremacy of Bell Auto Parts, such as Blair's, So-Cal, Ansen and a host of speed equipment manufacturers. Wight would pass away in 1943 and Richter would buy the business and add Cragar Industries and Bell Helmets as subsidiaries.

Richter became the center for much of the racing and hot rodding in the 1940's and '50's. He was instrumental in the foundation of SEMA (Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association), which later changed their name to Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association. The list of the early founders is impressive. Louie Senter joined with his Ansen Automotive. Ed "The Camfather" Iskenderian and Jim Deist from Deist Drag Chutes, were original members. Dean Moon, Vic Edelbrock, George Hurst, Chuck Potvin, Carroll Shelby, Harry Weber, Phil Weiand and many more of the early automotive greats were founding members of SEMA. But the center and heart of this prestigious group of men and women was Roy Richter. Richter would serve either as president or vice-president of the organization from 1963 until 1971. SEMA named him the Senior Board Advisor in 1972, a position specifically created for him by the other members to show their respect for the man who had worked so hard to bring professionalism and cooperation into a business that could best be described as cut-throat. The book details a long list of racers who owe their success to Roy Richter and Bell Auto Parts. Like Wight and Riley, Roy was at the center of the new and burgeoning sports that took wing in the early part of the 20th Century. Richter built his own midget racecars and they are quite sought after today. Richter built a miniaturized model rail track racecar in the late 1930's. The Richter Streamliner was tethered to a pole and set the world mile record of 68.38mph in 1940. A later version of these model-racing cars was called the Richter Bullet and is a very valuable collectible among collectors today.

Richter was also a master promoter and public relations talent. He understood the need to promote the different racing sports and was one of the first to subsidize racers with speed equipment. His own business was booming and he opened a MG/Morris/Austin foreign car import business with Thatcher Darwin in 1952. Bell Helmets would follow in 1954, and would prove to be a great part of the success that Richter enjoyed in the '50's. The helmets would find a ready market and prove to be a great safety factor in all motorsports racing. Cragar wheels crowned Richter's business acumen. After Ak Miller's stirring victory at the 1965 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, sales boomed. It is impossible to calculate the impact that Roy Richter and his companies had on hot rodding and motorsports racing over the decades. Open wheel racing, drag racing, stock car, midget and short track oval racing, Bonneville and land speed racing all owe Richter their gratitude for the constant sponsorship and help he has provided over the years. Art Bagnall has captured Roy Richter and his co-workers and friends with excellent photos and text. As you read this book you will come to understand just how much this man meant to all of us. Hot rodding is a sport created by thousands of men and women like Roy Richter. This is a book that will be the centerpiece of your library and one that you will consult often. Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS2@JUNO.COM.

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Gone Racin'…The American Hot Rod, by Dean Batchelor. Book Review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz
The American Hot Rod, by Dean Batchelor is a hard-bound book published by Motorbooks International. Batchelor is a well-known and respected hot rodder who became a journalist, editor and writer. Batchelor co-wrote the book Cunningham, with Albert Bochroch. Dean also worked for Hop UP, Motor Life and Road and Track magazines from the 1950's through the '70's. His background in hot rodding and motorsports is substantial. The publisher is Motorbooks and they have a reputation for producing only first class and quality books on the car culture. The American Hot Rod measures 10 by 10 inches in size and has a high-quality cloth binding down the spine of the book. The dust cover jacket has a very appealing look to it and enhances the value of the book. Always take excellent care of the jacket, because it not only protects the book, but make it stand out. Otherwise the book's cover is simply a solid blue and undistinguished. The American Hot Rod has 192 high-quality waxed pages, suitable to show the photographs at their best. There are 32 color photographs and another 243 in black and white and the variety and quality is excellent. In addition to the photographs, there are; 8 ads, one map, two charts, 16 program covers, 7 car club plaques, 11 membership cards, 2 timing tags, 7 pit passes to various events, 13 magazine covers and 3 drawings in the book. The book has a table of contents, a tribute to the author who passed away before the book could be published, a two page introduction, 13 chapters, a two page glossary of terms, a three page appendix and a two page index. The index could have been a bit more substantial, but it was satisfactory. The American Hot Rod was first published in 1995, but you might find copies at the Publisher or in book stores or on-line website outlets. The ISBN # is 0-87938-982-6. Motorbooks International is located at PO Box 2, 729 Prospect Avenue, Osceola, Wisconsin, 54020 and originally retailed for $29.95. Check eBay or Amazon.net to see if they have a used copy for sale.
I borrowed this book from my brother who inherited it from our late father, Wally Parks. Batchelor and our father were friends and I know that he valued this book as one of his prized possessions. My brother David is a member of the 200 MPH club and he finally held on tighter to this book than I did. He's also bigger. The American Hot Rod is the book that I wished I could have written. Batchelor wrote from first hand experience and he knew the people that are portrayed in this history of the early dry lakes, many of whom went on to other forms of motorsport racing. The photographs are fantastic, but it is Batchelor's captions that are thorough and complete. Indexing and captioning are often weak spots with authors, but here you can see Batchelor's experience from his many years in the media. He brings to life the men and women who struggled to find their spot in land speed racing. It was a difficult and exhausting sport, and just to get to the lakes and return home safely was a victory. To make a run and earn a timing tag made a young man the talk of his neighborhood. I always look for books that have a bit of the origins of the sport that they are chronicling, and just as often I am disappointed, for they will have just a short introductory chapter. Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth and Robert Genat are two of my favorite authors on the subject of auto racing, especially land speed or straight-line racing. They give you a great introduction on the subjects they are writing about. Batchelor matches them easily and brings the past alive in a new way. Perhaps it was because he knew the early days of land speed racing and the men and women who are just names to us today. Names like Arnold Birner, Walter Nass and Orville "Snuffy" Welchel fill the book with people who are not household names today, but who were the movers and shakers of their generation.
I found the text so interesting that I had to pick up the book and reread it. Like a National Geographic magazine, the first thing I looked at was the photographs and captions, but then I found myself reading the text. Back and forth, first to the photos and then reading the text; the book was simply hypnotic. I began to go through and find all the names and faces of people who I knew as a youngster. The list went on and on and the reading brought back old memories of a time long gone. There is crossover appeal for The American Hot Rod. Its beautiful design, size and cover make it a lustrous coffee table book. The detailed history and style of its writing make it a very comfortable history. Then there is the racing, or more properly the time trials. The book also appeals simply to the hot rodder in all of us, the desire to tinker, work and improve on something, or to create something altogether new. Many of the photographs were new to me and I never thought that I would find pictures of people that I had only heard about or seen in a program. Ak Miller used to spin his irrepressible stories and drop names and nicknames in a quick, staccato fashion. Here's a book that you can read that will bring to light the history of the dry lakes from the 1930's through the '50's, the heyday of land speed racing. Dean Batchelor's The American Hot Rod is a book that needs to be in your library, along with the works of Genat, Noeth, Art Bagnall, Don Montgomery and other writers. I don't use the word "best" to describe a book in comparison with other books. But, I will say that The American Hot Rod is not surpassed by any other book on the subject, not even Bagnall's book on Roy Richter. Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.

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