NEWSLETTER 192 - February 18, 2011
Editor: Richard Parks [email protected]
President's Corner: By Jim Miller (1-818-846-5139)
Photographic Editor of the Society: Roger Rohrdanz, [email protected]

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Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, I am sad to say that my dad Ken Eichert passed away last night February 14, 2011, Editor’s notes: I received notice that Tom Carnegie has passed away, February 15 2011 Tim McKinney “The Night Before 500” USAC midget race has long been seen as a "must win" on most open wheel racers' personal scorecards, Bentley Continental hits 205 mph on ice By GREG MIGLIORE, I think that I already goofed up and canceled my subscription, Fans attending the 24th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals will have the unique opportunity to walk down Royal Purple Raceway with the "first lady of drag racing", A friend of mine from the Midwest is seeking information on McDowell who has dropped off the radar and this happened around the beginning of WW2, The Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club announces the 18th Annual Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame and ‘GAS-UP’ Party will be held in Buellton California on Saturday April 30 2011, My name is Mike Hooper and I am in New Zealand I met and talked to Ernie Nagamatsu down here when he was racing Old Yeller (he also bought his Cobra out on this trip), Check out my cousin's (sidecar Mike Robilio's brother) place in Raton New Mexico, The Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club wishes to take this opportunity to announce a change in the date of the annual Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame GAS UP, I was recently retained by Valerie Thompson to obtain sponsor funding for the 2011 NHRA racing season, Rockabilly Rod Reunion and NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series May 27-29 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, The following interview by Sam Hawley is being made available to us at the SLSRH as a courtesy by Sam, Martin paints some cool pictures, Moldy Marvin's 11th Annual Rat Fink.Party & Kustom Kulture Extravaganza! July 29th - 31st 2011


President's Corner:  
     Withdrawal is setting in big time this time of year for land speeders. With the last two meets rained out last year everybody can't wait for May to be here. The member clubs of the S.C.T.A. are doing their business arranging yearly banquets, parties and updating lists for address changes, phone numbers and will you still be a club member. The Tech folks are rounding up people to work events at the lakes and Bonneville and an Inspector's Clinic is already on the calendar (turn your head left and cough, for those of you that served). Some racers are already cleaning up their cars and making changes to meet all the new rules passed last year.  I think it's a good time to dig out some shots of cars in their natural habitat to get you in the mood to come out and play, or at least spectate and buy lots of souvenirs. 
     The cool thing about our sport is you never know what you're going to see in the way of oddball vehicles. Take for example Monte Osborn's clugged together T from parts lying around the garage (Click for image JMC_1963). It's pure fun and the best part is he drives the thing, but I hope he keeps an eye out for chuckholes as something will probably fall off if he hit one.  Going to extremes on the other end is Dan H's '32 if you could call it that. Every year he does an update and takes it farther from the original Deuce Coupe form. The saving grace is he's got a Hemi in it and it sounds good when hitting on all 8 (Click for image JMC_1964).  Another good thing about a little down time is you can cruise around to the zillions of shops where people are putting together new rides (Click for image JMC_1965). Naturally you'll end up drinking their beer, telling whoppers and making their day totally unproductive, but at least it is fun, that is until they throw you out. 
     If you're really lucky there is usually some display of old lakes cars within a hundred miles or so from your house to help kill time until May. The Roadrunners sticker was on Bill Burke's little motorcycle powered liner (Click for image JMC_1966) that graced the cover of the January '60 issue of Hot Rod was at "Wally's" NHRA Museum in Pomona until the saw me come back with a saber saw.  After our last race of the seasons we usually pray for someone to do a rain dance so the water dropped will heal the track for the next season.  With El Mirage still covered with water and it being real cold out, the big question is will the track be ready to race on. Looks like somebody did too good of a job with their wishes last year. While we’re on the subject, here's one slick looking red Indian (Click for image JMC_1962).  As you can gather, you'll find everything from a thrown together backyard jalopy to a piece of rolling sculpture and everything in between. Best of all they’re within a hundred yards of each other. That’s the charm of places called El Mirage and Bonneville.
     Our last shot today combines a little old and a little new to make for a slick little ride (Click for image JMC_1961). Let’s see, for an engine, we could do a little mix and match and use a block from a T. Naturally it would be sleeved and have an Essex cranking it. OX5 rods are a must fitted with forged pistons (with DLC). You could upgrade to five mains if you wanted to spend the money but it would have to be internally balanced and run a dampener. For a head, that Cosworth DFV over in the corner would work fine once you adjusted the bore centers and switched out the spring package with some electronically controlled magnets. The exhaust could be fed through an afterburner that produced a couple of thousand pounds of (thrust).  See what I mean, isn't May going to be here tomorrow.


   The 2011 honorees for the Dry Lakes Racers Hall of Fame are: Mormon Meteor (Historical Race Vehicle), Ferguson Streamliner (Presently Running Race Vehicle), and ACK Attack (Motorcycle). People who have contributed category are; Alan Fogliadini, Harry Hoffman Sr, Joyce Jensen, Judy Sights, Chuck Small, and Larry Volk. People from the past category are; Ed Adams, Gene Burkland, Jack Calori and Art Tilton. The Manufacturer is JAZ Products. The Historian is Ed Safarik.  I know a few of these wonderful men and women personally and some by reputation. The work that the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing club (GCR&R) does to honor people and vehicles are so much appreciated by the land racing community. The GCR&R club works hard at what they do and so do those nominators and voters who participate in the election process. They do a great job and they put up with my constant nit-picking. The actual honor is; The Dry Lakes Racers (one source list Racing) Hall of Fame and they honor cars, racers, sponsors, historians and a wide list of categories. They do it out of love and respect for the land racing community and the history and heritage of time trial racing. They are evolving and improving and as more and more people become involved the results are recognizable. The members of the club really work hard to make this a special award. I’ve pointed out (some say the word is carping) that the Hall of Fame is really an honorary award or that the criteria for selection is not as defined as it should be. That is what an editor and historian is supposed to do; point out issues and make recommendations. But the bottom line is that the heart and soul of the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing club is truly dedicated to honoring those special men, women and cars that should be honored.
   This Mormon Meteor is Ab and Marv Jenkins endurance car that set records at the Salt Flats in the 1930’s. Ab was the father and driver and Marv was his son and constant assistant and supporter. A book was written, with Ab’s help, called Salt of the Earth, that is easy to read and a delightful portrait of early land speed racing and the Jenkins’ indomitable spirit. In some ways, Ab Jenkins and the Mormon Meteor are the quintessential racer and car, that is, the original hub on which all land speed racing turns. There is always someone who is at the center of all activity and these men and women assist in the success or failure of an enterprise. Many people will write in and say, “But you forgot Malcolm Campbell and Craig Breedlove.” Some will say that Sir Richard Noble and Andy Green deserve the title as the most crucial and important center of the sport of land speed racing. Jim Miller will certainly call me and say, “You forgot…” There will always be people that you can name who made land speed time trials and going fast what it is today. Do you know just how important Ed Adams and Arthur C. Tilton were? Can you tell us just what Ak Miller meant to land speed racing. People know about the contributions of Wally Parks, but did you know that he exercised a continual influence from 1935 to his death in 2007? Do you know what he did for land speed racing inside ACCUS-FIA? Can you tell us how one of his dedicated followers, Jim Lindsley, worked for years afterward to keep that foundation going? What about the Brits, Germans and Americans who came before WWII? What about John Cobb and Railton. How can we forget Veda Orr? Then there was the 1960’s and the Arfons family, Craig Breedlove, Dr Nathan Ostich and others who completely changed the perimeters of the sport.
   There are so many men and women who deserve the crucial title of the center of our sport and maybe no one fits the bill perfectly. Maybe the hub, the core, the very center of the sport is the love of speed itself. But if any man, family or machine deserves it, then in my book it goes to the Jenkins family. We can no longer even say that Bonneville is the ultimate in land speed racing venues. With places popping up all over the world and with renewed interest in far flung places such as Bolivia, Lake Gairdner, Black Rock Desert, the Miracle Mile, Goliad, Maxton, Loring and other potential sites, Bonneville may lose its luster. Or will it? Even with the loss of salt from chemical companies, Bonneville is still far enough away to avoid overuse by the public, but near enough to race on several times a year. What about El Mirage? This site is the most heavily used land speed racing venue in the world. With all of that to ponder, let’s look at Ab Jenkins and see what his legacy tells us. As speeds increased, racing sites in Europe and Daytona Beach were becoming too dangerous to use. Frank Lockhart’s death drove a nail in the heart of using the sands along the beaches in Florida. People began looking elsewhere for a safe site and that’s when they noticed a frenetic, hand waving man in Utah who had been touting the Bonneville Salt Flats as a racing site for years. Ab Jenkins was the mayor of Salt Lake City in his later years, but long before that he was an “unofficial” ambassador and one man PR representative for the Bonneville Salt Flats. 
   He wrote to anyone who was interested and he wouldn’t be silenced. He loved Utah and especially Bonneville with a father’s love. He built cars and raced them on the salt flats for endurance records and no man to my knowledge did what he did. Marv Jenkins and Babe Stapf were alternate drivers in the Mormon Meteor, a sleek and beautiful ’35 Duesenberg SJ. The car went through many transformations, but it was powerful and fast. Ab set records from a few miles to thousands and from a few hours all the way up to 72 hours (three days). When other endurance record holders would put teams of four men in equal time slots, Ab would drive 23 out of 24 hours. He was an iron man in an age when men in all sports were made of steel. Willie Pepp fought over 400 fights, often 3 or 4 bouts a week. Men didn’t call in to their bosses and say they were ill; they needed the work too badly. You worked until you dropped, then you got back up and went at it again. Ab Jenkins set records, albeit they were in a circle and for hours and days at a time. His greatest achievements were in getting land speed racers to come to Bonneville and in so doing, to reinvigorate the sport. He did one more thing, which makes his family and mine linked together forever; he encouraged my father to bring the SCTA to Bonneville in 1949. Wally Parks had seen John Cobb race on the salt in 1947 and in his mind the decision was made. Dad had been the President of the SCTA in 1946, taking the gavel from his good friend Bozzie Willis. The election of 1946 in the SCTA was pivotal for the direction that this very influential organization was to take in the future. Two groups jockeyed for power and the vote was close. Dad won narrowly and began the expansion of the group. The 1946 racing season was one of the most successful years ever, but the growth brought some real problems.
   One problem was that the SCTA was becoming too large and unwieldy to be run as a volunteer organization. It needed a professional manager and Dad needed a job and thus the position of business manager was given to him by a vote of the club reps. Ak Miller, a close friend and prot�g� took over as President in 1947 and ’48. George Prussel led the group in ’49 and Ak returned as President of the SCTA in ’50. The Board of the SCTA and the club reps at the time were as unified as they ever were and several major projects were scheduled that would have a major impact on racing. The first was the SCTA Hot Rod Exposition at the Armory in Los Angeles. It was the first hot rod show in the country, promoted and ran by hot rodders, and it was wildly successful and better yet, made money. Not a lot, but enough to show that this form of car shows could be viable. Two, it led to the hiring of Hollywood Publicity Associates and the creation of
Hot Rod magazine by Bob Lindsay and Bob Petersen. At the time Hot Rod magazine was simply a way to promote the exposition. The explosion in enthusiasm among the hot rodders, like Mickey Thompson, for example was immense. Police and civic authorities climbed on board and helped to create programs for street safety in league with the SCTA. Movies were made about hot rodding, though most of them were negative, but when they did mention something positive it was about how young kids could race at the dry lakes “if they followed the rules and rejected illegal street racing.” 
   So in 1947 a group of SCTA members made the trip to Bonneville to see John Cobb race and they came back impressed. But the SCTA moves only as fast as a consensus of the club reps are willing to move and they are a very conservative bunch. In 1948 Dad had made up his mind and he asked Lee Ryan and Bob Petersen to go with him to Salt Lake City to talk to Ab Jenkins and see if they could rent the salt flats for a one time land speed meet. Petersen came along partly because he had a car that was comfortable and most likely to make the trip safely. If you knew what the roads were like back in 1948 then you would understand how cagey dad was to get Petersen to drive his car. Ryan went along because he was older and Dad and Petersen looked up to him. Lee Ryan had a great influence over Petersen and Wally Parks in showing the younger men how to make good business and decision making. Ab Jenkins and the three representatives from the SCTA hit it off from the start and Jenkins used his influence with the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce to agree to a one year lease of the Bonneville Salt Flats. The C of C were not totally convinced in this arrangement so they included a provision that the lease be for one year (1949) and could only be renewed pending a review of the destructive possibilities of the southern California hot rodders. Therefore, Bonneville and most of the future racing there can be attributed to far thinking individuals, one who must be Ab Jenkins and his decades old dream of promoting the salt flats for racing activities.
   What about the other honorees? The Ferguson family has given us three generations of racers and a great many leaders, including the current President of the SCTA in Don Ferguson III, or the Third (sometimes just Three) as he is affectionately called. The Ferguson family has helped many others reach the 200 MPH Club, including Jim Travis. The ACK Attack motorcycle team is truly an amazing group. I wrote a book review on their attempt on the motorcycle land speed attempt and you can see it at
www.hotrodhotline.com. Alan Fogliadini is not only a great racer but a fine gentleman and official. He is willing to help everyone and always does so with a smile and a pat on the back. Judy Sights, and also her husband Bob, are instrumental in helping the SCTA and the Gear Grinders in whatever tasks are needed to be done. It is volunteers like Judy who make it possible for racing to take place. Chuck Small is a great competitor, hot rodder, long time L. A. Roadster club member and volunteer in the Gold Coast Roadster and Racing club. He also served on the group that tried to get land speed racing started at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Ed Adams and Arthur C. Tilton will have to take up a full editorial in a future issue, so great are their contributions. Calori, Burkland, Volk, Hoffman, Jensen also need much more space to record their valuable contributions to land speed racing. Ed Safarik is a friend and colleague and is a dedicated editor and historian who dedicated his life to furthering our knowledge of racing and recording it for posterity. They are all worthy candidates for this honor.
   Here are a few thoughts and issues that have come up recently. Our president, Jim Miller, hurt his back a week ago. Our best wishes to him for a speedy recovery as he is just too important a researcher for us to lose for very long. We received a request to remove something from a past newsletter that is almost two years old. My first thought was, “Doesn’t anyone READ the newsletters on a timely basis?” I asked our website operator and owner to remove that particular item. We always want to be contrite and accommodating. We never want to offend. But that is a hard path to follow sometimes. One person in an organization asks us to post information and then the leadership changes hands and a new policy is put into place. Two years ago we were right and today we are wrong. But it isn’t a matter of error. Our purpose is to gain knowledge and store it and do so in a way that is positive and educational. When someone takes offense then we aren’t furthering our goals. So Jim Miller, Roger Rohrdanz and I walk a fine line between gathering history and not offending someone. In the three incidents that have come up to date we have made the corrections each time as we were requested to do. I read the offending material carefully and there was no libel or slander in the minutes. As a historian and editor I could have stated that we would not remove the items. But if that makes enemies and causes people to feel that we are rigid and opinionated, then they won’t cooperate with us in the future and it is important to let the racing community know that this is not a “them versus us” sort of activity. We are very much in this together. So I want you all to feel that you can talk to me at any time and I will listen to you and almost always agree with you.
   I have been receiving emails from various sources. In some cases the senders are asking me to join Linked-In, Facebook, Tweeter or other groups. I simply do not respond to these and I am not slighting you in any way. I’m not proficient in these new-fangled areas of communication and secondly, I don’t have the time. In the same vein, many people are sending me emails with only a link and no message as to why I should open the link. Most of these links are fine, but a few could be carrying viruses. On some occasions when I have opened them my whole system shuts down and I have to go through time-consuming virus protection scans. I can’t say that a virus has shut down my system. Twice my computer simply died on me, but that was most likely due to the fact that I keep the machine on for 12 hours a day and all the circuitry was shot after several years. Hackers and scammers cannot know about your personal life, so if you are going to send me a link then you “have to” send me a personal note to go along with it; such as, “
Hey, this is Ron and you’ve seen my photos of my streamliner race car, well here is my new motorcycle project.” No hackers or spammers would know that, so I know that it’s safe to open the link. Due to the huge volume of mail and the fact that when I open some of the links, not only is my time taken up, but some of these videos go on for a very long time. So explain what it is and why you are sending it to me or my first impulse is to delete it unseen.


 I am sad to say that my dad, Ken Eichert passed away last night, February 14, 2011.  He was 79 years old and would have been 80 years old in November.  He ultimately succumbed to lung cancer after a few weeks from diagnosis, although he had been ailing for some time.  From my initial contact with you, you had stressed the importance of a biography and making notes to family photos.  I worked diligently to fill in as many gaps as I could and actually videotaped a good two hours of his story telling about his life and upbringing in South Gate and Downey, California.  There are stories I have captured about his adventures with his cousin Ray Pyle while running El Mirage from 1947 to 1949 in the South Gate Gaters as well as his days of Go-Karting in the late 1950's.  I am sure your dad, your uncle Kenny and his cousin Ray were waiting and happy to see each other once again.  We are in the midst of planning his services.  I thank you for your advice and friendship.  Warmest regards, Chris Eichert
     Chris: I am very sorry to hear of your loss.  Please accept my condolences on behalf of the Parks family.  In recording the history of your father you have done a wonderful service to your family and for the rest of the land speed racing community.  I am going to contact Jim Miller and ask him to help you in any way that he can in making your job easier in editing the photographic record that you collected.  We would like to publish all that you have collected on your father's history.  Please let me know if I can help you work on the biography and stories.  We would also want to have your story as well.  Please let us know if you want me to make the date and location available to our readers for your father's services and if you would like me to make your email address public as a contact point.  Some readers don't mind if their email addresses are public and some do mind, so I always ask first.


If you are able to post information on the services for my father it might reach those long time friends that we no longer have information to get in touch. I appreciate your help in this matter. Kenneth Eichert passed away Monday, February 14, 2011 at 7:00pm. His family was at his side when he passed.  Services will be held at: Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 S. Workman Mill Road, Whittier CA, 90601. Ceremonies will be held in the Memorial Chapel starting at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, February 22 at 3:00 pm.  A viewing will be held Monday, February 21 from 4pm to 7pm for those that might not be able to make the funeral services. Map of area, please follow this link:  http://www.rosehills.com/locationsContent/location.aspx. Additional information can be found by following this link and inputting the last name; Eichert. http://www.rosehills.com/scheduledServices/ServiceViewing.aspx. I can be contacted through the following email address: [email protected].  Chris Eichert


Editor’s notes: I received notice that Tom Carnegie has passed away. Tom was an announcer whose voice was unforgettable and was closely associated with the Indy 500 race for decades. He was famous for announcements like; "Heeeeeees on it" and "IIIIttsss a neeewwww traaaack record!"  Tom Carnegie was certainly a character and an influence in open wheel racing.  You can't really fill his boots.  My own recollection of Tom is less pleasant.  I wanted to interview him and sent him an email that I had for him courtesy of someone at the IRL.  I figured that Carnegie would respond and I could get his biography to add to a growing list of people in the racing world.  He wrote instead to the PR department at the IRL telling them they were remiss for giving his email address to me.  He also mentioned something about the rear end of horses.  The IRL wrote to ask me to remove Carnegie from my email address book, which I did.  They also explained that Tom Carnegie’s health had deteriorated and that he was wheelchair bound. The upshot of it was that he had no time and patience and his retirement days were more important to him.  I really don't take all this personally.  Years ago when I started to record and report on racing people I made a vow that I would admire and respect their achievements, which made these men and women great, and accept their personalities without judging them.  It wasn't the first time that I was directed to a hole in the ground by a favorite racing personality.  Jay Leno said much the same thing to me, but in a very gentle way.  Even my father, Wally Parks, left no doubt that I was a pest.  Dad loved to red and blue pencil every article that I wrote that he could find and then return the article to me with the editorial advice; "Fix it."  I've been escorted from races, blacklisted by the best and the words that these racers use are very colorful indeed.  So I have to say, "God Speed, Tom, you are a wonderful part of racing and your loss will be felt and I'm proud to be called a 'horse’s xxx' by the likes of you." 


No question; this is amazing (source is National Geographic, so it should be real) Amazing Skin Cell Gun.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXO_ApjKPaI&feature=player_embedded.   Sent in by several people
     Members: The above message and link was sent in by several readers.  I didn't find reference to it on snopes.com, but I did google the internet and there were many pages of content with videos on this procedure.  Some of the videos were medical associations and news media.  I can't say if this is true or not, but if it is then I want to suggest to all of you to be aware of it.  For twenty-seven years I worked for a trauma facility and one of the worst jobs that I had was handling the files and interviews with the burn ward.  It just breaks your heart to see burn victims.  There are various ways the skin can be damaged.  If you've ever seen a doctor debride wounds from a motorcyclist who fell and skidded on dirt or gravel you would always demand that riders wear lots and lots of leather, even on a hot day.  Those fire pits look wonderful at the beach, but all the skin can be burned in seconds.  The moisture in the skin simply boils away and the burnt flesh just peels off.  Freezing cold will do the same thing, dehydrating the moisture and killing the skin cells.  Sunburns can do the same thing to flesh.  Once the skin is damaged, infections set in and the kidneys and organs are stressed beyond their abilities to remove toxins from the blood stream.  Chances of survival depend on instant care by knowledgeable burn specialists.  I am always warning people about the danger of burns, but very few people listen to me until the day comes that I have to visit them in the burn ward.  You can't believe the pain and suffering that people, especially children go through.  Now there is this procedure and if it is true and if it works like the researcher says it will, may make the years of painful recovery a thing of the past.  It is a spray gun that takes a patient's skin cells and sprays them on the burn, creating a new skin in just days.  It has to be applied before the burns cause the skin to harden and the process is not common yet.  It is only experimental and you have to find out where it is being done and go there.  But the difference is between life or death and being painless versus sheer agony.  Make yourself aware of this procedure and when your loved ones or friends are burned, get them treated as soon as possible. 


February 15, 2011.  Tim McKinney.  “The Night Before 500” USAC midget race has long been seen as a "must win" on most open wheel racers' personal scorecards.  Of course, to any real racer, their most important win is the race that they are about to run.  However, most midget racers list the “Night Before the 500” race pretty high on their priority list. The race's history goes back to the days when the racers entered in the Indianapolis 500 raced midgets at the 16th Street Speedway located across the street from the big track.  Of course, anybody who could beg, borrow, or steal a midget ride would be there to try to steal some of the prize money that the champ car drivers believed to be reserved for them.  It was also neat to outrun the visiting gladiators.  Things were quite a bit looser in 1946 when the series started; and the number of features run depended more the number of cars that would still run than by the information printed on the schedule.  Also there seemed to be little concern about being overly tired when the green flag dropped to start the Indianapolis 500.  Then, as now, most racers were bulletproof. 
     Through the years the race moved from 16th Street Speedway, to Kokomo Speedway, to the Indianapolis Speedrome, and back to Kokomo Speedway.  From 1969 to the present the race has been run at O'Reilly Raceway Park with the exception of 1972 and 1973 when the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile hosted the event and 1979 when it made a one race return to the Indianapolis Speedrome.  There has probably never been a bigger fan of midget racing than Tony Stewart's number one fan, Crocky Wright.  Crocky saw his first midget race in the same year that the sport was born, 1933.  That race was the beginning of a love affair that would last the rest of Crocky's life.  In 2005 Crocky was inducted into the Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.  The event took on far more meaning when Tony Stewart flew to Madison, Wisconsin to present the award.  For literally decades you could find Crocky near the scoring booth of some racetrack to get the official results of another midget race to be included in his column when he released it to various racing publications. 
     However, Crocky wasn't without other interests.  He had, somewhere, discovered Speedway Motorcycle racing; and he devoted many Saturday nights in the closing years of his career covering the bare knuckles form of motorcycle racing.   Earlier in his career Crocky had worked as a motorcycle stunt rider.  His signature stunt was riding a motorcycle through a burning wall.  He was featured, along with famed stunt rider Evel Knievel, in a special display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.   Crocky's final employment was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.  His employment came to an end because he drove too fast.  He was driving one of the mini buses used to give millions of race fans their lap around the 2 1/2 mile oval.  Crocky just couldn't drive slow enough to satisfy the museum management.  Although Crocky lost his job, he lived for several more years across Georgetown Road from the Speedway. 
     Few days passed when he didn't make the short trip to the museum to have coffee and visit with his former colleagues.  Late in Crocky's life he faced the necessity of leaving the trailer park that had been his home for years.  When Tony Stewart learned of this, he installed Crocky in one of his houses in Columbus with the understanding that Crocky would pay neither rent nor utilities.  When I told Tony's mom how much I appreciated Tony doing that for Crocky, she said, "Crocky is like a grandfather to Tony.  That's the kind of thing that you do for your grandfather."  When Crocky passed away in 2009 at the age of 90, he left a provision in his will to increase the winner's share of the purse for the upcoming “Night Before the 500” USAC midget race to $20,000.  There could not be a more appropriate memorial to Crocky's memory than a midget race with a payoff that will be remembered for years to come.  The only thing that would make it better would be Tony winning it.


Bentley Continental hits 205 mph on ice, By GREG MIGLIORE (2/15/2011)     
     Ace rally pilot Juha Kankkunen hit a record speed of 205.48 mph on ice in a Bentley.  So why wouldn't you do this? Take a six-figure British luxury car and a four-time World Rally champ, then race the car on ice to a top speed of 205.48 mph. That's a world record. On ice.  It's February. The winter doldrums are clearly taking hold across much of the globe, but this feat is impressive nonetheless.  Ace rally driver Juha Kankkunen hit the top speed in an E85-powered, 6.0-liter, 12-cylinder Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the frozen Baltic Sea, bettering his own 2007 record of 199.83 mph.  The temperatures fell to 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and Kankkunen's record run was certified by Finnish police.  Bentley says the new record was calculated on an average of two runs--in opposite directions--and ratified by officials from Guinness World Records.  Adding to the intrigue, blizzards where thought to flare up at any point, and the runs were conducted amid imposing crosswinds, the company says. The car had Pirelli winter tires and a roll cage, among other enhancements. The top was left up to accommodate the roll cage and the frigid conditions.  The test car will be homologated in a limited run of 100 and will be shown in Geneva.  Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110215/CARNEWS/110219917#ixzz1E38lKXq2.  Sent in by Ron Main and several other members


I think that I already goofed up and canceled my subscription.  Please keep me subscribed!  Thank you!  John Safro
     John: You can't get into any trouble here.  The system that you are referring to is simply one where the website owner notifies you of a new issue of the newsletter that has been added to the site.  Simply go back and resubscribe.  You can also add www.hotrodhotline.com and www.landspeedracing.com to your list of favorites and then go once a week to that website and check for new issues to The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  Also be sure to send us news.  Work on your biography, caption your photographs and write the stories that you love to tell people about.  We will publish it all.


Fans attending the 24th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals will have the unique opportunity to walk down Royal Purple Raceway with the "first lady of drag racing" -- drag racing pioneer Shirley Muldowney.  NHRA fans who purchase an advance three-day pit side ticket will enjoy this special treat as Muldowney leads the facility's first ever "Track Walk" on Sunday May 1st before opening ceremonies. The living legend will stroll with fans on the quarter mile while sharing stories of the greatest moments of her historic career, including her favorite passes down the record-setting Texas track. This offer is limited to the first 1,000 fans.  At the conclusion of the track walk, Muldowney will assume the duties of NHRA’s 60th Anniversary Honorary Legend for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals. Track officials will recognize the barrier-breaking superstar as the first racer in history to win three NHRA Top Fuel championships.
     Muldowney also will attend the prerace press conference on April 28 and be available for interviews with members of the local media.  Tickets for the 24th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.RoyalPurpleRaceway.com or by calling 281-383-7223.  Through Feb. 28th, fans will have the option to pay half of the cost now and half one month later through a special flexible payment plan. This offer is available for all single-day and multi-day ticket options.  The 24th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway take place from April 29-May 1. The southeast Texas speedplant has a storied history in drag racing and past race winners include NHRA champions like John Force, Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher, Warren Johnson, Jeg Coughlin Jr., Kenny Bernstein, Joe Amato, Eddie Hill, Gary Scelzi, Don "the Snake" Prudhomme, Tony Pedregon, Greg Anderson, Angelle Sampey, and Dave Schultz.  Please visit www.RoyalPurpleRaceway.com for more information.   Rob Geiger


     A friend of mine from the Midwest is seeking information on McDowell, who has dropped off the radar; and this happened around the beginning of WW2.  My friend owns a really neat old Legion Ascot Stadium Big Car that raced pre WW2 and the car is powered by a four cylinder Ford Model B engine with a McDowell head, among other goodies.  The car owner during its heyday was a local racer named Bill Rasor.  McDowell was a designer and manufacturer of speed parts for the early four cylinder Fords so perhaps someone in the Society has a clue about what happened to Ray McDowell.  Thanks, Bob Falcon
     Bob: I'll run this in the newsletter.  Have you spoken to John Lucero who wrote the book on Legion Ascot?  Also maybe you could run your request in the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) and in The Alternate newspaper.  Unfortunately most of my former contacts have passed away and the next generation of Parnelli Jones and Hila Sweet may not know.  The Grand National Roadster Show is coming up in January and maybe someone coming to that event might know.  I'll run this by Jim Miller; he's younger than us but he's a very knowledgeable man.  Another alternative is the staff at The Rodder's Journal.  They are astounding in their ability to find a story and their research is solid.  Also try Greg Sharp at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, Leslie Kendall at the Petersen Automotive Museum and Don Garlits at his museum.  They all have resources at their disposal and they know their history.  I Bcc'd this email to all of them in case they can help you. 
I know
Throttle is hardly a definitive list, but we have about a half dozen references to a Johnny McDowell in the index.  Is he sure on the first name?  Regards, Don Coonan  
Don: I'm very impressed with your work.  It could be Johnny and not Ray.  I googled and didn't find a Ray McDowell.  I'll send this over to Bob Falcon and see what he says.  Thanks for checking. 
Did you hear anymore about the McDowell search?  If the guy made Speed equipment for Ford four cylinders he might be listed in the Post book that has all the early four cylinder speed equipment.  I've got a copy somewhere, but haven't been able to find it.  
Don: No, I haven't heard anything.  I left a message with Bob Falcon, who was trying to help a friend in the Midwest find out more information on McDowell.  I am also copying Bob in this email.  Johnny McDowell was listed on page 51 of the
Roy Richter book by Art Bagnall as a sprint car driver.  On page 69 he is listed as the driver of the midget car owned by Rex Mays in 1939.  On page 336 he is listed as driving the #9 car at the last season of midget racing at Gilmore Stadium on January 1, 1950.  In Johnny Lucero's book Legion Ascot Speedway, a Johnny McDowell is listed on page 163 as racing on the November 12, 1934 sprint car race.  On page 165 Johnny McDowell is listed as one of the young and ambitious drivers competing in the 1935 season.  Johnny McDowell is listed as racing at the Seattle Speedbowl in the Mel Anthony's Smoke, Sand and Rubber, page 21.  McDowell is also shown on pages 28 and 29 in midgets in the same book.  One photo was by Jim Chini, another by E.W. Kenyon, Jr.  Marv Jenkins hired Johnny McDowell to drive his midget in 1945 at Saugus Speedway on page 121, Ab & Marv Jenkins, by Gordon Eliot White.  Johnny McDowell is listed 10 times in Throttle; the complete collection, by The Rodders Journal, all in 1941 in regards to oval track racing.  I didn't come across any Ray McDowell in any of my books in my library.


     The Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club announces the 18th Annual Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame and ‘GAS-UP’ Party will be held in Buellton, California on Saturday, April 30, 2011.  The Club is excited about the new Spring date which will kick-off the racing season and expects an exceptional turn-out.  The event begins at 9:00 am, and includes a Buellton-style Barbeque lunch followed by the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony and then concludes with raffle prizes until 5:00 pm.  Land Speed and Dry Lakes racers, hot-rodders and other interested enthusiasts inclined to bench race with famous, and infamous, racers are invited to attend this entertaining and memorable event.  Photos of past events, a list of Hall of Fame Members, (like Al Teague, Vic Edelbrock, Sr. & Jr., Ed Iskenderian, Art Arfons, Craig Breedlove, Wally Parks, Mickey Thompson, Alex Xydias, Ak Miller, Nick Arias, Jr., Don Vesco, Ab Jenkins, Paula Murphy, Gale Banks, Eddie Meyer and so many more).  Space has always been limited and veteran attendees know that pre-registration is highly recommended.  Tickets purchased early are $42, (a limited number will be available at the door for $55). 
     The 2011 inductees are: Historical Race Vehicle; Mormon Meteor, Presently Running Race Vehicle; Ferguson Streamliner, Motorcycle; ACK Attack, People Who Have Contributed; Alan Fogliadini, Harry Hoffman Sr., Joyce Jensen, Judy Sights, Chuck Small, Larry Volk, People from the Past; Ed Adams, Gene Burkland, Jack Calori, Art Tilton, Manufacturer; JAZ Products, Historian; Ed Safarik.  The Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame began in 1992 as a one-time event of the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club to honor a few people thought to have made a difference in hot-rodding and dry lakes racing.  The party was such a success that the following year the first official “Gas-Up” event was held at club member Jack Mendenhall’s Petroleum Museum in Buellton, and evolved into this much-anticipated annual event.  Each year the GCR&R Club solicits votes from all 12 SCTA Clubs, current Hall of Fame members, the Bonneville and El Mirage 200 MPH Clubs, USFRA and ECTA to recognize and honor those outstanding individuals who have contributed significantly to the sport of land speed racing on the dry lake beds, past and present – car owners, drivers, builders, manufacturers, sponsors, event volunteers, and the media who preserve the history for everyone.  In addition, and of equal importance, is to honor outstanding vehicles that have been created by these talented people.  To put your name on the mailing list for a registration packet which will include a map and local hotel listings (mailed in March), or for information on how to advertise in the award-winning ‘Keepsake’ program please call or write the Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club at the address or phone number listed below or email the Club Secretary at [email protected].  Mailing Address; P.O. Box 1234, Buellton, CA 93427.  The telephone number is; 805-245-8519.  Sent in by Don Oaks


My name is Mike Hooper and I am in New Zealand, I met and talked to Ernie Nagamatsu down here when he was racing Old Yeller (he also bought his Cobra out on this trip).  He said you liked hearing from Hot Rodders in other parts of the World.  Ernie enjoys racing down here as New Zealand has a lot of specials similar to Old Yeller some with aircraft engines, chain drives and all sorts of odd configurations.  I have visited the NHRA museum on trips there and really enjoyed it and the friendly staff there.  I do articles for and old style (small) hot rod magazine over here called Jammin Gears and have asked Ernie if he can send me some photos of the Spurgin & Giovanine lakes car to use in it.  It is just a magazine done by enthusiasts and no one gets paid. I will send you photo’s of my cars, the 34 Plymouth coupe is one of New Zealand’s earliest hot rods that has survived pretty much as it was built in 1959, it won most of the shows in the 60’s and is called the Crown Jewel (it has Allard heads and a twin carb Allard manifold).  The Model A Coupe is powered by a 1956 Olds and 4 speed top loader, this is my wife’s car.  The Hudson I bought in from New Mexico about a year ago as I always to do a NASCAR tribute to Marshall Teague and Smokey Yunick.  Hope you find some of this interesting.  Regards Mike Hooper
     Mike: Greetings.  We are glad to meet you.  The first thing to do is check out www.landspeedracing.com and www.hotrodhotline.com, Guest Columnist Richard Parks and Roger Rohrdanz.  Once you have looked at some of the issues of the
Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter and the articles that we have done at hotrodhotline then you can see if you would like to join with our group.  Our purpose is to promote straight-line racing and hot rodding in general.  In other words, all racing before and just after WWII before the various sports began to specialize.  We do research and history.  Our goals are to get everyone to write their biographies, caption their photographs and write their stories.  Then we hope that they will help their friends and family members do the same thing.  We are a group of individual amateur and professional historians and fans of racing and hot rodding.  There is no fee to join or to submit stories or comments via email.  We have no basic charter or rules and no dues, fees or duties.  The exception to that is our President Jim Miller, myself as the editor of the Newsletter and Roger Rohrdanz who does the photography editing and captioning.  But we are not paid, we are all volunteers.  We want to save the history of hot rodding and straight-line racing throughout the world.  Sometimes it seems that we have a bias towards Southern California and the Dry Lakes racing, but that is because most of our members are from this area or they happen to be the most vocal.  We need more input from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and other areas of the globe.  We would appreciate your contributions of your knowledge of New Zealand.  A member is simply anyone who wants to call him/herself that.  There are no requirements to join.  You simply add the websites to your list of favorites and you're ready to be a member.  We welcome stories, biographies, photographs, book, magazine and movie reviews and any other sort of information that you can provide.  We are fascinated with Burt Munro and his Indian and any other history of land speed, drag racing or racing in general from New Zealand.  Welcome to our group.









Check out my cousin's (sidecar Mike Robilio's brother) place in Raton, New Mexico.  See http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=747313. Marshall Robilio
     Marshall: Thank you for the photographs.  Raton, New Mexico was the last address that I had for Bill Carroll, a fascinating character from the early days of Hot Rod magazine.  Bill once told me that his biography has a gap of a few years because he was working for a spy agency in Central America and if I asked any more questions he would have to kill me.  He wrote the delightful little book, "When the Hot Rods Ran," about the very first SCTA race at Muroc Dry Lake on May 15, 1938. 
Readers: Marshall Robilio and his partners bought the Dave Marquez '32 roadster that won the first two NHRA Nationals in Great Bend, Kansas in 1955 and Kansas City, Missouri in 1956 in his roadster class.  The famous roadster became one of the 75 all time Deuces at the GNRS in 2007, sponsored by Ford Motor Car Company.  The roadster is now missing.  With a removable body, powerful flathead engine and fluorescent paint, the car was both lightening fast on the drag strip and the choice for "best looking car and crew."  Featured prominently in Hot Rod magazine, this is one of the most sought after cars still sitting somewhere in a garage or barn waiting to be rediscovered and restored.  The car was named the 440 for Dave Marquez's speed on the high school track team.  Dave Marquez also had another race car named the 880.  Marquez set records in track that were not broken for years and he also won accolades for his fast cars.  Marquez was a founding member of the Monarchs and their club president.


Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club
P.O. Box 1234 Buellton, CA 93427 805-245-8519 
ATTENTION TO ALL LAND SPEED RACERS RE: 18th Annual Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame 
   The Gold Coast Roadster and Racing Club wishes to take this opportunity to announce a change in the date of the annual Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame GAS UP. Due to many events scheduled just prior to, during, and immediately after the usual September date, the Club has decided to move the event to the spring - just prior to the first El Mirage event in May. To facilitate the move the 2010 event will be postponed until APRIL 30th, 2011, so mark your calendars now! After 2011 we plan to hold the event in the first week in May, depending on the dates of the holidays around it like Mother’s Day and Easter. For SCTA Clubs and other voting members, expect your ballots for the 19th Annual Hall of Fame to arrive in October (2010) of this year. We believe this change will be more convenient for many participants and allow more racers to attend. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we transition to the new date. 
Matt William, President Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club


I was recently retained by Valerie Thompson to obtain sponsor funding for the 2011 NHRA racing season.  Valerie is a NHRA Pro Motorcycle Team Owner/Driver, Two-time Bonneville Land Speed record holder, and spokeswoman for the world’s largest auto auction company, Barrett-Jackson.  Our plans for 2011 include for running the full NHRA season, new record attempts at the Bonneville Speed Trials, and racing the Texas Mile.  Attached is our "Racing for Results" overview detailing the many opportunities and benefits available through sponsorship of Valerie Thompson Racing.  VTR offers numerous alternatives to help organizations achieve their marketing and sales goals in a challenging economic environment.  We can quickly customize an effective year-long marketing campaign based on the sponsors needs and budget.  Thank you for taking the time to review our proposal. If you know of anyone who would benefit through a partnership with VTR, I would appreciate the opportunity to follow up with them.  Eric Studer for Valerie Thompson Racing (NHRA, Bonneville, Texas Mile) valeriethompsonracing.com.   214-676-3860
   Eric: We hope Valerie does well at Bonneville this year.


Rockabilly Rod Reunion and NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series May 27-29 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Featuring: nostalgia drag racing, hot rods, traditional pre-’65 car show, pin-up girl contest, rockabilly bands, burn-out contest. Event website: www.rockabillyrodreunion.com.   From John Bisci
Thursday, May 26
Noon-6 p.m. – Credential sales open, gates open, participant parking.
Friday, May 27
9 a.m. – Credential sales open, gates open, participant parking.
11 a.m. – Tech inspection.
1 p.m. – Car show registration (1-7 p.m.).
1 p.m. – Test ‘n’ Tune (run in sessions by class).
3 p.m. – First Nitro Test ‘n’ Tune session.
7 p.m. – Second Nitro Test ‘n’ Tune session.
8 p.m. – Test ‘n’ Tune concludes, credential sales closed.
7 p.m. – Rockabilly Rod Reunion Kick-Off Party (bands take the stage at 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.)
11:30 p.m. – Conclude pit party.
Saturday, May 28 – NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series schedule
8 a.m. – Racer gates open, participant parking, tech inspection for new arrivals.
9 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
10 a.m. – Qualifying and time trials.
11 a.m. – First Pro Show session.
2:30 p.m. – Second Pro Show session.
6 p.m. – Third Pro Show session.
7 p.m. – Drag racing ends.
Saturday, May 28 – Rockabilly Rod Reunion schedule (drag strip midway).
8 a.m. – Car show registration (8 a.m.-3 p.m.).
10 a.m. – Rockabilly DJ, car show roll-in.
4 p.m. – First band (TBA).
6 p.m. – Second band (TBA).
8 p.m. – Third band (TBA).
9:30 p.m. – Pin-up contest, fancy dress singles competition, best-appearing couples competition, pompadour contest.
10:30 p.m. – Fourth band (TBA).
11:30 p.m. – Conclude music.
Sunday, May 29 – NHRA Hot Rod Heritage schedule
8 a.m. – Racer gates open, spectator gates open.
8:15 a.m. – RFC chapel service in main grandstand.
10 a.m. – National anthem, first round of Funny Car eliminations (16 cars).
11 a.m. – First round of eliminations for all Sportsman classes.
12:30 p.m. – Second round of Funny Car eliminations (8 cars).
2:30 p.m. – Third round of Funny Car eliminations (4 cars).
4:30 p.m. – Funny Car final eliminations (2 cars)
Sunday, May 29 – Rockabilly Rod Reunion schedule (drag strip midway)
11 a.m. – “Super Domingo” (Super Sunday) – First band (TBA).
Noon – Car show final judging (Noon-3 p.m.).
1 p.m. – Second band (TBA).
2 p.m. – Pin-up girl contest finals, swimsuit competition.
3 p.m. - Third band (TBA).
4:30 p.m. – Car show awards.
5 p.m. – Conclude event.
        For more information, please call The Strip’s office at (702) 632-8213. Follow LVMS and the Rockabilly Rod Reunion on Facebook and Twitter.


The following interview by Sam Hawley is being made available to us at the SLSRH as a courtesy by Sam. This is only half of the interview. For the rest of the interview please go to www.samuelhawley.com. Editor


SPIRIT OF AMERICA: BOB KOKEN INTERVIEW.  Bob Koken was a J-79 jet engine specialist with General Electric in the 1960s. In 1965 GE sent him out to the Bonneville Salt Flats to assist Craig Breedlove run "Spirit of America-Sonic One" for the land speed record. I interviewed Bob over the phone at his home in Lancaster, California on May 19, 2009.

General Electric assigned me to go with Breedlove to Bonneville at the time when he ended up breaking the record. Partly because, I think, it was a General Electric engine he was using and they kind of hoped they could keep GE out of the limelight if he got killed. My wife and I were both there, for about six weeks, it was quite a while. I think there were at least 27 runs before the final speed run. Then his wife got in the car and went 300 to set the women’s speed record. My wife took a movie of the thing and we finally sent it to Breedlove and never got it back. It was a 16 mm...I’ll say an 8 mm movie. It wasn’t very good. Not very professional. Breedlove should have it. He wanted me to be with him on his next project, but I didn’t choose to do that.

Do you mean in the 1990s, when he built a new racer?

I think it was that period, right. He did build a racer and they misjudged the wind and it skidded on its side for a couple of miles. I haven’t heard from him since. But I feel I know quite a bit about him. I’ve visited his shop and been around him quite a bit. The wife he had then ended up marrying one of the engineers.

I was in some of the pictures, I guess, but the important thing was for me not to get in the pictures. The important thing was to help Breedlove all I could. And in a couple cases, I may brag a little, I did make a difference. A substantial difference.

I imagine you did. You were the jet guy.

Well, he didn’t listen sometimes. But all in all, in the long haul...he’s an extremely intelligent driver, no doubt about it.

Let me check your background. You were born in 1922 in Nebraska?

That’s correct.

Did you serve in WWII?


Where did you serve?

Oh, all over. I was a mapping pilot. Mapping pilots made maps. They’d fly over unknown territory and take photographs, and from the photographs maps were made. Most of my time was spent here in the US making maps for people who were training on [garbled], primarily. But I did a fair amount of fill-in work. The big push of the war was pretty well along and I didn’t do any combat work. I did do some work in South America, but I didn’t get to Europe.

And later you went to work at GE, as a jet engine specialist.


You were saying before that GE didn’t want bad publicity if Craig got killed. Did they not want to give Craig the engine without you there to tend it? To make sure that it worked correctly?

I would say...Craig owned the engine. GE didn’t have a choice. He bought if from a junkyard. So GE did they best they could to ensure that Craig did not lose his life with a GE engine.

Were you employed by Craig?

No, I never got a dime. I was on GE’s payroll.

And you were involved only in the 4-wheel jet car, not the 3 wheeler?

That is correct.

About the J-79 engine, I’ve read that the car had two 55-gallon fuel tanks...

That is not true. I don’t think it would have needed anywhere near that much fuel. It just ran a couple of minutes. I do not believe it held anywhere near that much fuel. I would guess it would have been more like 30 gallons all together. 30 or 40.

So is that about what it took to make one run, 30-odd gallons of fuel?

I would guess considerably less than that. You only struck the engine where you’re ready to go, and when you’re ready to go, you go. And it only took about a minute or so, two minutes, to make the run. The run is so brief. And at the other end, when he finished the mile, he turned the engine off. At first they left it on, but then they turned it off because it drank in less of the salt, and salt isn’t good for engines.

[I ask Bob to explain to me about the four-stage afterburner.]

The afterburner it had was a single one. It could have any amount of afterburner you wanted. Let’s stop and talk for a moment. The Pratt and Whitney engine at that time, the afterburner was either on or off. But the General Electric engine, you could use any amount of afterburner you wanted, so there were no stages. But you could 20 percent afterburner up to 100 percent. Of course, in the case of a race car you always used all there was. But it was an afterburner that, in theory, you could use any amount you wanted.

Did Craig use the afterburner very much when you were there?

Yes. When they went there they didn’t think they would need it. They thought they could break the speed record without the afterburner. They didn’t realize it’s a drag race. The time you have to reach the speed is so brief, had you not used the afterburner, it eventually would have reached a pretty impressive speed, but there weren’t that many miles of salt available. You had to have the afterburner so you could accelerate considerably faster. The afterburner adds about 50 percent to the thrust of the engine. Now, the engine he had was one of the earliest engines. That’s why it went to a junkyard. They only made probably about ten like that. It’s called a J-79 dash 2, and it was considerably different from the later engines and considerably less powerful. I’m guessing it was good for about 13,000 or 13,500 pounds of thrust at sea level. The later engines got as high as 17,000. That engine was one of the weakest of all of them.

You said that the afterburner could be increased from about 20 up to 100 percent. How much was Craig using?

When he used it, he used all of it. He never used less than [that].

I’m not clear on how that afterburner was engaged. What sort of control was in the cockpit?

A single throttle on his left side. About two-thirds of the throttle was full military power and above that was afterburner power. It was the same lever. He simply went from military into afterburner.

So there was no gas pedal on the floor...


There was a hand throttle, more like in a motor boat.


[I mention hearing something from George Klass. Bob says the name doesn’t ring a bell, but that since those days he’d had a brain injury. But he added: I have a pretty good memory of most of it.] George told me a story about standing next to Art Arfons’ car and feeling vibrations in the ground that felt different from the vibrations from Craig’s car, and that they figured there was something not quite right with Art car. Did you have that experience?

I was never near Art Arfons’ car. But the engines, until you get used to them, there’s a substantial amount of vibration, and you kind of have to get used to them to see what vibration is normal and what vibration is abnormal. It takes a fair amount of guts to stand it, to stand there and analyze it, and I would be able to do that. In several cases I was right there with my hand on it. We had no way to measure vibration. And of course vibration is bad news beyond some point. The whole engine vibrates about four-thousandths of an inch. That’s considered about the maximum you can tolerate. And believe when, when you’ve got the engine turning at about eight thousand rpm, it’s quite a buzzing feeling. But after a while, it sounds normal or it doesn’t sound normal.

As far as I know, Craig didn’t have a substantial engine problem throughout the entire time. But he did have something that’s very important. During one of the runs he had a de-stall stall. When you’re going full bore and you pull the engine back to idle, which is done very bluntly because you’ve gone through the mile, the engine will sometimes...the stator vanes will lag more than they should and the engine is a violent stall. Now a violent compressor stall doesn’t hurt the engine any, but the inlet on Craig’s rig was substantially damaged. If it did that every time you turned the main throttle off, you wouldn’t be able to turn around and make your return run. So it was very important we get that fixed. I don’t know if Craig even remembers this, but I took a part of the fuel control off and reprogrammed it so the stator vane had a different program, and as a result we cured the destall stall. I recognized it the instant it happened. I knew how to fix it. And bless his heart, Craig let me do it. He didn’t consult anybody else. He simply said, “If you can do it, start doing it.” And I did.

That sounds like a crucial role you play.

I think it was crucial. Now whether he recognizes that or not, I don’t know.

After Craig got through the mile, is it correct to say that he didn’t shut off the engine, but that he put it into idle?

Sometimes he shut it off and sometimes he put ii in idle. At one time he turned around on the salt, but we stopped doing that because it sucked too much salt into the engine.

Do you mean turned around under his own power?

In some cases he did. But he stopped doing that.

When you were working on the J-79 when it was running, did you wear ear plugs?

No. I should have, but I didn’t. So many people didn’t in those days, but I should have. We all should have. In fact, later on GE had a requirement...you couldn’t even be in the engine area if you didn’t have ear plugs in. I’m sure I got some damage from it. I’m wearing hearing aids right now...It was foolish, but we weren’t smart enough to know any better.

Art Arfons bought a J-79 that was in pretty bad shape; a foreign object had passed through it and damaged some of the blades. I’ve read that he had to remove a number of blades. Could he have run that engine with a number of the blades removed?

No, I don’t think...He took the blade off and put it on a regular anvil, you might say, and bent it straight and put it back in the engine, and it’s surprising, he got by with it.

So you need all of the blades. You can run it with some of them missing.

I really can’t answer that. I would say, you might get by with taking a couple out. You would have some loss in performance, but he might not have cared. So I can’t answer that question. But he did manually bang some of them straight, and those, they put them back in the engine.

How many blades would there be all together in a J-79?

I wouldn’t want to make any guess. I believe it was a twelve-to-one compression ratio, the compressed air was twelve times as dense as when it went into the engine. I’m going to guess two or three hundred blades. Oh by the way, we keep talking about spinning blades. In a jet engine, the stationary blades contribute almost as much to the total picture as the spinning blades. The air that goes in is immediately whirled, rotated such that the stationary blades and the spinning blades do an almost equal amount of compressing. This is not generally recognized, but it’s true of all axial-flow engines. It goes through the compressor in a spiral. Most people don’t grasp that. But I had a lot of J-79 work. The company paid for me to get a lot of schooling on it.

So if a foreign body passed through the engine, it could damage the stationary blades just as much as the rotating blades. Is that correct?

Yes. And did, right. In fact, some air foils are almost identical, the rotating and the stationary, because they’re doing the same kind of job.

Could I ask you about Craig Breedlove himself. I’ve read that he could be a perfectionist to the point of being cranky. What were your feelings about Craig?

I never sat down, eyeball to eyeball, with Craig. He kept people a little bit at a distance. For good reason, I think. He was a pretty damn good publicity man, and he didn’t waste words. When I consulted with him, he completely respected me for what I knew. He didn’t question it or challenge it. If I said do it, he did it. But beyond that, we weren’t friends. We weren’t enemies either. He simply did not take time with me. He had enough other things to do, getting sleep and all that. And his wife was with him. She later divorced him and married the engineer. So I didn’t get to know Craig. I don’t think I tried that hard either. He didn’t really invite people to know him.

You said earlier that you went to the salt flats with your wife.

Yes. We stayed in a motel there. Same motel that Craig stayed at.

Why did she go along?

The company was paying for it, and they agreed for her to be with me. They were trying to encourage me to do it. They didn’t have many engineers with any hot rod experience, and I’d had some exposure to hot rods. But on the other hand I had a lot of engineering knowledge that most hot rodders don’t have. Somebody way up in the company came down to my boss at Edwards Air Force Base and said, “One of your guys is a hot rod nut,” and I was picked.

Is that where you were working for GE at the time, at Edwards AFB?

The answer is yes. At that time GE had two little...they had a branch at Edwards Air Force Base and another at Mojave. I was at Edwards at the time. In fact, General Electric built four of the big hangars there at Edwards Air Force Base. GE had a completely unrelated business of building commercial buildings, and they got the contract.

Editor’s notes: for the rest of the story go to Sam Hawley’s website


Martin paints some cool pictures -  -  Click image Below for Larger View

Otto Walker Board Track Racer (POST)

Otto Walker Board Track Racer
(Oil on Board)

Currently for sale Contact me for sales
[email protected]
Prints are also available to order.

32 Raodster Dry Lake WIP 001(POST)

'32 dry lake racer
oil on board (work in progress)

This piece was done as a demonstration piece over the weekend.
Based on a photo graph from the Don Montgomery Scrapbook.
A few more hours and it will be done.

Great Wester AutoJumble 011

Roy Clarke's Replica of his 50's F1 Stock Car
(as seen in the Audi advert)

Roy Clarke was at the show and was definitely a Stock Car addict and a lovely guy to boot.
After chatting with him about heritage stock car racing I'm going to make every effort to try and make it to one of the BRISCA Heritage Race meets this year. For more info on Heritage Stock Car Racing please visit this website:


Great Wester AutoJumble 009

Roy Clarke's Replica of his F2 Stock Car.
Currently driven by his son Darren Clarke.

Great Wester AutoJumble 008

The ford display also had a nice range of old fords as well as newer stuff.
A nice little show all round.


Moldy Marvin's
11th Annual Rat Fink.Party & Kustom Kulture Extravaganza!
July 29th - 31st 2011

Main Event
Saturday July 30th, 2011

10:00am - Dusk!
KOA Acton

7601 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Acton, CA 93510

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Celebrating the Life and Times of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth

Vendors, Live Entertainment, Swimming, Family Games, Camping, Food Fun for Everyone!

Open to pre 1973 , Kustoms, Classics, Hot Rods, Muscle Cars, Lowriders, Vans, VW's, Motorcycles, Trikes, Trailers, Teardrops, Bicycles, MiniBikes & What Ever Else You May Have!

For More Information & Pre Registration Forms Please Visit: www.RatFinkParty.com

Call (800) 880-6567 or (661) 944-2299
Ask for Moldy

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Live Entertainment by: Danny Dean, Rattle Trap, Cash Prophets, Phantom Pomps, Blue Collar Combo, Luck Of The Draw, the Resistors, the Bloozamps & Wumbloozo

Rat Fink™ name and device and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth are trademarks of Ed Roth © 1999/2000/2001/2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010/2011 Rat Fink device © Ed Roth 1984/89
Rat Fink.Party & Kustom Kulture Extravaganza © 2011 "Moldy Marvin" is a Trade Mark of Automated Entertainment


Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, Henry Astor, Gale Banks, Glen Barrett, Mike Bastian, Lee Blaisdell, Jim Bremner, Warren Bullis, Burly Burlile, George Callaway, Gary Carmichael, John Backus, John Chambard, Jerry Cornelison, G. Thatcher Darwin, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Bob Falcon, Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Don Garlits, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Andy Granatelli, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Ken Kelley, Mike Kelly, Bret Kepner, Kay Kimes, Jim Lattin, Mary Ann and Jack Lawford, Fred Lobello, Eric Loe, Dick Martin, Ron Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Bob McMillian, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Bob Morton, Mark Morton, Paula Murphy, Landspeed Louise Ann Noeth, Frank Oddo, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks (in memoriam), Eric Rickman, Willard Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Dave Seely, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, David Steele, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Zach Suhr, Maggie Summers, Gary Svoboda, Pat Swanson, Al Teague, JD Tone, Jim Travis, Randy Travis, Jack Underwood and Tina Van Curen, Richard Venza.


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