NEWSLETTER 201 - April 22, 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]
Northern California Reporter: Spencer Simon

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Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, Just heard that Richard Spencer past president of USFRA and a Bonneville racer passed away yesterday, Richard Spencer passed away today at his home in Garland Utah, The 10th Annual Hall of Fame and Henderson Car Cruise will be held on October 14-16 2011, Thanks for the contact I have forwarded some information onto Jack at biker hotline but have not heard anything back as of yet, We do not take Safety for granted, The Main Street Malt Shop and Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip Reunion is set for Saturday May 7 2011 in Santiago Park, I attended (Santa Ana Drags reunion) last year for the first time, The following stories were sent to us, Return of Land Speed Racing, Bentley Sets World Speed Record on Ice, Lightning Benz Fastest on Earth 100 Years Ago, Bernd Rosemeyer 100th Birthday Celebration, Editor: The following was sent in by Ron Main, I agree BTW did you count the number of pages in the rulebook dedicated to the sidecar, I feel a little bit the same way, Based on this evaluation only it does seem a bit silly to have all of these classes that have no real participation and make classes only to have classes, I am looking for photos of N Thatcher's 1959 Dodge up through 1964 Plymouth, Scrub Hansen (Outrider's interviews), Hello this is Carlo Berardini son of the Berardini Race team founder Tony Berardini, Rockabilly Rod Reunion & NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series May 27-29 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Editor’s notes: The following email was received from Jeff Grubert at Circle King Productions, I am working on a great story on Mor Drop Axles that is about to close its doors, I can't thank you enough for your kindness and time spent on following up on my Grandpa Royal's work, The Roadsters and the Lotus painting, Editor’s Notes: Here is a continuation of the interviews conducted by Sam Hawley for his book Speed Duel, Spencer two pictures of my car and one picture of me with Norbert Singer are embedded in my bio, Gas Stations of the 1920's


President's Corner:  
Jim Miller is still on the road investigating the early history of straight-line racing and will return to his computer keyboard soon.


   The members of the SLSRH have probably noticed by now that I have very little trouble in editorializing. In fact, notice how many times I cram more than one editorial into this spot. You, the readers, make it so easy for me to do that, because you are always sending me some good content. The payment for doing this job is the knowledge and information that you send my way. No one starts out in motorsports as an expert. We’re all rookies in a way. We’ve got to start somewhere. The beginning is when we develop an interest in something and for us it is an interest in motorsports. The entry point is usually someone’s project under a “shade tree” or a backyard garage and later down at the local car repair shop. If you hang around enough the proprietor will eventually hand you a broom and say; “sweep up kid.” From there it evolves into parts washing or a simple job. Not everyone is mechanically gifted and for some of us we enter the sport as a spectator or perhaps we start a newsletter. Some of us begin as collectors; photographs, parts, memorabilia, autographs, stories, etc. Many have the desire to be a race car driver, while others prefer to be a mechanic or work in the pit crew. Roger Rohrdanz, for an example, loves to take photographs and he is excellent at what he does. He’s also the track photographer over at the Fontana drag strip. He got that job by simply going over there and taking photographs and making friends. In a way he just “wouldn’t go away.” That’s a major reason for advancement in this sport; the ability to simply never take no for an answer. 
   One of my interests is to promote the fringe element; which is the majority of us by the way. There are many stories on the drivers and the mechanics that are available. Sometimes we even see a copious amount of books and magazine articles on the car owners and promoters of an event. But it is rarer to see stories on people who frequent auto racing; those who are collectors, hot rodders, cruisers, spectators, fans, writers and photographers. We outnumber the drivers, owners and mechanics by a wide range and for the most part we are faceless and unknown. But we have stories to tell and in many cases, the majority of cases we are even better portrayers of the events than the racers and mechanics are. That’s because the drivers and mechanics are so focused on the race that they block out everything else, while the rest of us can watch the entire panorama before us unfold. That’s why I encourage everyone out there to send me their biographies and stories, whether they are famous or not. This approach really does work and readers send me material that is absolutely riveting. I want you all to know that what you’ve observed is very important to us. Don’t feel embarrassed because you were just a spectator. What you saw and know is vital to our understanding of history. We need to know what you saw. I can’t tell you exactly how many times I thought that I knew something, only to find out that I was wrong because you took the time to write in and make a correction. You are all vital to what we want to accomplish; the compilation of our racing heritage.


Just heard that Richard Spencer past president of USFRA and a Bonneville racer passed away yesterday. No other details at this time.”  Glen Barrett
   Glen: If you find an obituary would you send it along to us. Our condolences go to the family and friends of Richard.


Richard Spencer passed away today at his home in Garland Utah. He was an avid Bonneville racer and past president of the USFRA. He will be missed by friends and family. Services will be conducted by Rogers Mortuary in Tremonton, Utah. From www.landracing.com website.


The 10th Annual Hall of Fame and Henderson Car Cruise will be held on October 14-16, 2011.  The Event Director, Nancy Wilson, came up with this proposal 10 years ago.  With her vision and leadership, the event has steadily become one of the premier productions on the East Coast.  Each year the attendance has grown.  The quality and variety of entries, cruising cars, hot rods, muscle machines and commercial displays has increased.  Last year's Grand Marshal, Dennis Cage, of "My Classic Car," will feature Henderson's 2010 Show this summer, check the "My Classic Car" website for information and comments.  I am proud to be a small part of this event, as a former inductee in 2006 and as an honorary board member. I believe this year's weekend in October will be the best yet!  I'll be looking for you at the car cruise in October. Happy Cruising!  Ernie Schorb
   Ernie: I made some corrections and will run this in my newsletter at www.landspeedracing.com.  What you need to do is to send the above PR release to as many websites as you can, especially in the Southeast.  You can google "Southeastern US car cruises" or something similar and then look for the contact email and send this.  Put the email addresses of the organizers on a "list" and send it out in one big email.  Be sure to always BCC the email addresses.  Finally, you need to come up with a different PR release at least once a month.  The last two months before an event you want to send a different and unique message to your list of specific websites.  Public relations and media releases are one of the weakest elements of car cruise organizations.  The promoters usually work very hard at finding cars to be exhibited and then they let down the event by not understanding how to properly promote their event.  I've seen a lot of groups fail because they allocate almost all of their volunteers to staffing and running the event and just one or two people to advertise the event.  90% of the volunteers should be involved in PR work and the other 10% in actually running the show, but they always turn those percentages around.  Remember, the Henderson event is not in competition solely with other car shows.  It is in competition with every other activity that is going on around your area at that time.  So advertise early and often.  Also, don't waste your money on expensive advertising.  Always look for the cheapest way and that means the internet, flyers and the telephone.


Thanks for the contact I have forwarded some information onto Jack at biker hotline but have not heard anything back as of yet.  Martin Squires
   Martin: Sometimes the staff at www.BikerHotline.com is out of the office at bike shows and when they get back they are swamped with work and so it takes a while for them to process your emails and get back to you. I know Jack Lawford Jr and he is as dependable and conscientious a young man as I’ve ever met. I’m not a bike guy and over the years I’ve sort of held a bias against them. But having met Jack and his parents and seeing what they have done with BikerHotline I’ve changed my opinion of the bike guys and gals. The website is so well done and easy to navigate that I always check it out, which I don’t do with all other websites, even the ones that I write for. The stories and pictures are fascinating and this site has won over another fan. The car sites often follow a dull and predictable formula, but BikerHotline doesn’t. It’s always unpredictable and new. Bike people sort of keep to themselves, much like the low-riders and rat rodders. This is rather sad, because the innovation and change that really invigorates the automotive sports comes from people who reside just at the edge of society. Straddling the fence, with one foot on the other side of the tracks and the other firmly planted on the side of respectability is what makes for ingenuity. This site allows all sorts of groups to present to us a picture of their art and creativity. I highly recommend www.BikerHotline.com to all the readers, even if they aren’t bike guys. One of the best photographers and reporters for the website is Bart Mitchell. He’s one of the best bike photographers out there. Let me know if you don’t hear from them in a week or so and I’ll contact Jack Jr.


We do not take Safety for granted.  The speed Demon crew is checking ever square inch for wall thickness and corrosion with the new TG110-DL Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge Model Nova TG110-DL, Company: NDT Solutions. Ultrasonic thickness gauge is perfect for general purpose wall thickness measurements for corrosion detection including scrolling B-Scan which presents a cross section view of the material under test, a 50,000 point data logger, alarms and more. The TG110- DL offers an outstanding value and feature so that no other thickness gauge can match in a handheld digital ultrasonic thickness gauge. Highlight features include user-friendly plain text menus, 128 x 64 graphic display, easy grip of all aluminium sealed case, auto probe recognition, legacy probe library, fully adjustable velocity, 50,000 points data logger, scrollable spread sheet view, in-field option upgradeable, high speed scan mode, backlight, single point calibration, 2 point calibration, high and low alarm levels quick view thickness bar, RS232 I/O; B-scan display and through paint capable. Applications like metals, plastics, ceramics, glass or virtually any other material which conducts ultrasound, can be accurately gauged over a wide range of thickness. An optimized combination of high penetrating power and resolution make the miniature Nova TG110 DL the choice for a countless variety of thickness measurement jobs, whether in the plant, field or the lab. One of the most outstanding uses for the TG 1 l ODL is to assess material thinning due to corrosion or erosion including many types of pitting action.  Ron Main and George Poteet 


The Main Street Malt Shop and Santa Ana Airport Drag Strip Reunion is set for Saturday, May 7, 2011 in Santiago Park.  The event will start at 10 AM and end around 3 PM.  The park is located on the border of Santa Ana and the City of Orange.  Directions: From Main Street, go east on East Memory Lane for two street lights, or about 1000 feet.  At the second light, turn to your right and go down into the paved parking lot at the bottom of the creek.  The reunion is next to the parking lot in plain sight.  The reunion and parking are free.  This reunion celebrates the early drag racers and hot rodders who raced at the Santa Ana Airport drag strip in the 1950's.  Photographs and scrapbooks will be available to look at.  From Leslie Long


I attended (Santa Ana Drags reunion) last year for the first time.  I'll try to come again this year.  It was a lot of fun and I saw a couple of people I had not seen in years.  I only have one picture of my car there in about 1954 and my name is spelled wrong in Drag News.  Oh well, good for a laugh.  BTW, at the age of 79 I just pulled my vintage jimmy off the dyno to run at El Mirage/Bonneville this year (445hp on gasoline).   Ed Farrell
     Ed: I'll be looking for you.  Have you started your biography yet?


The following stories were sent to us. Our thanks to Sports Car Digest for allowing us to reprint them here. For more details and information on the stories presented please see Sports Car Digest magazine.
Speed Capital of the World – Record Days at Daytona Beach. 
Sports Car Digest, April 7, 2011. Daytona is a name that has long been part of the speed racing history as early American-based land speed record attempts were undertaken on the beaches within a 20-minute drive of today’s Daytona International Speedway. As stated in Speed on Sand, written by William Tuthill, and published by the Daytona Beach Museum of Speed in 1969, “This area, encompassing Ormond and Daytona Beach, is the acknowledged speed capital of the world. Carried on today at Daytona International Speedway, that tradition was established over a period of six decades when the eyes of the world were focused on the stretch of sand extending from Ormond Beach to the Inlet.”  This stretch of sand became internationally renowned as perfect record-breaking territory, and every effort made to break previous land speed records at the beginning of the 20th century was seen as big news both in the USA and abroad. The automobile was in its infancy and was yet untested in this era. Drivers were true daredevils; no one could imagine the effect that such speeds would have on the human body as no one had ever driven that fast before. 
   From 1903-1935, the sands of Ormond-Daytona were home to most of the USA-set land speed records. It was in 1904 that W.K. Vanderbilt first set the world record in the area: 92.30 mph (148.54 km/h). This launched Daytona Beach into the international spotlight as the public was eager to follow, and the media ready to cover, the newest developments as each man attempted to better the last. There were the famous few, men like Ralph DePalma and his 12-cyclindar Packard, Sir Henry Segrave, the first to reach 200 mph (321.87 km/h) in an automobile and who introduced driver helmets to the USA, and the great Sir Malcolm Campbell and his world-famous Bluebird. It was a time when the automobile was new and the spirit of competition ran deep in the men who drove these great machines.  After a few trial years and initial records set by DePalma and Segrave, it was Sir Malcolm Campbell who elevated the world speed standard to 245.73 mph (395.46 km/h) in 1931, and in 1932 he raised the bar yet again to 253.97 mph (408.73 km/h). At a farewell party that year Campbell made a stunning announcement: he would return the following year with the new goal of reaching 300 mph (482.80 km/h) and thus 1933 -1935 became known as “the Campbell years.” 
   The 1933 version of his Bluebird proved incapable of harnessing the true power of its Rolls-Royce engine. While Campbell did add another 20 miles an hour to his existing record, the smallest bump in the sand proved to have disastrous results, resulting in a flying leap of over 30 feet and $1,800 tires that were completely destroyed with every run. It took two more years to complete the new Bluebird, which housed many design features well ahead of the times and which required aircraft mechanics to maintain and repair.  Daytona Beach Speed Capital 3 207x285 Speed Capital of the World Record Days at Daytona Beach. Although the Bluebird could not clock a multiple-run record time of over 300 mph, Campbell did clock in at 330 mph on one run, making him the first to break the 300 mph barrier and giving him the combined Land Speed Record time of 276.82 mph (445.50 km/h), a record that still stands as the fastest mile ever driven on Daytona Beach. This record moment also marks Rolex’s first involvement in early motorsport, as Campbell was wearing a Rolex timepiece during his 1935 landmark speed record attempt. 
   Although later land speed records would move to the Utah Salt Flats, Daytona remains the original “world centre of speed” thanks to the hard-packed sands that were ideal for early record-setting trials. Daytona continued on in the spirit of this tradition by inviting Andy Green to be the Grand Marshal for the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Andy Green, also known as “the world’s fastest man,” is the current land speed record holder. On October 15, 1997, the Royal Air Force Wing Commander drove the Thrust SSC in the Nevada desert to a supersonic speed of 763.035 mph (1228 km/h) – breaking the sound barrier.  To quote William Tuthill once again, “as each speed barrier is broken something new is discovered – better metals, better tires, better manufacturing techniques. History proves that engineering development based on speed has also determined the fate of nations and made possible the successful landing on the moon. It’s a fascinating history and it all started here.”  From Dick Elliott


  Return of Land Speed Racing.  Sports Car Digest, April 7, 2011. There is a healthy rivalry brewing between three racing adversaries — a Canadian/American team, an Australian team, and the current record holder UK team. All are bent on having the first vehicle to travel faster than 800 mph for the World Land Speed Record.  The Canadian/American team, North American Eagle, once they have secured sponsorship funding could attempt the record this year. The UK team, Bloodhound SSC, appears ready to attempt the record in 2013. And the Australian, Aussie Invader 5R, which will be ready in 2013-14.  “The first jet propelled vehicle to set a World Land Speed Record was The Spirit of America driven by American Craig Breedlove in 1963 at a speed of 408.312 mph. The Americans owned the record until the Brits took possession of it in 1983. Now we are ready to bring the record back to North America where it belongs,” stated Ed Shadle, co-owner and driver of the North American Eagle.  The North American Eagle is a converted F-104 Star fighter.
   The F-104, dubbed by aviation enthusiasts and the press as “The Missile with a Man in it,” is powered by the 50,000hp GE J79 turbo-jet engine giving it more than enough thrust to travel at Mach 2.2 — over twice the speed of sound. The North American Eagle uses a 50,000hp J79 jet engine and fuselage from a F-104 aircraft. It has already reached speeds approaching 500 mph.  “World Land Speed Record Racing used to have considerable international interest. When Thrust SSC broke the record in 1997, one billion television impressions were measured along with 3.5 million internet hits in one day,” says Douglas Schwartz, Media Director for the North American Eagle team.  “With Ed Shadle and North American Eagle ready to attempt the record this year, Andy Green (the fastest man on earth) and the Bloodhound SSC ready to attempt the record in 2012-2013, and Rosco McGlashan (the fastest Aussie) and the Aussie Invader 5R ready to attempt the record in 2013-14, World Land Speed Racing will again be in the spotlight of extreme sports racing where it belongs,” Mr. Schwartz continued.  World Land Speed Racing is an expensive sport. All three teams require sponsorships to attempt the record. Information about how companies or organizations can be involved in this historic event should call 800-257-1759 or e-mail [email protected].  Read more: http://www.sportscardigest.com/return-of-land-speed-racing/#ixzz1JYwAFq8f.   From Dick Elliott


 Bentley Sets World Speed Record on Ice.  Sports Car Digest, February 17, 2011. Be first to comment  Bentley Supersports Ice Record Top 620x413 Bentley Sets World Speed Record on Ice  Finland’s four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen drove a Bentley Continental Supersports convertible on the hazardous frozen waters of the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Finland, at 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h) to set a new world speed record on ice.  Kankkunen was in form with his all-wheel drive, 6-litre, 12-cylinder Continental Supersports convertible which, in line with Bentley’s CO2 strategy, ran on biofuel. The world’s fastest soft top enabled Juha to shatter his own 2007 world ice speed record of 199.83 mph (321.6 km/h) set in the Continental GT at the same location.  With the help of his own experienced team and Bentley engineers, Kankkunen overcame the challenges of temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees, sudden snow blizzards and potentially dangerous crosswinds on the 16.5km track on a 70cm-thick layer of sea ice.
     The record attempt was driven on a 1000m long measured distance with the speed certified by officials from the Finland Traffic Police. His new world record was based on the average of two runs in opposite directions with measured speeds ratified by a representative of The Guinness Book of Records.  Kankkunen said, “The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT. When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys. This time, with over 600bhp under the bonnet, a Quick shift transmission and the security of the all-wheel drive system, the Supersports convertible was the perfect car to go for the record.”  “200mph came up after 5km on sheet ice. Then it was just a question of getting everything right in the timing zone and hoping the snow kept away. There’s nothing to beat driving a Bentley at these speeds; the conditions may be perilous but the car responds so well to the slightest adjustment which gives you the confidence to push even harder,” commented Kankkunen.  As with the previous record-breaking drive in the Continental GT the Anglo-Finnish team used a car with minimum modification.
     A fully-welded, heavy-duty safety roll-cage, along with Pirelli winter tyres (Pirelli SottoZero II 275/40R20) and a rear bumper-mounted parachute provided reassurance in case of an emergency. Front and rear spoilers provided optimum high speed stability on the treacherous surface.  To highlight Bentley’s environmental commitment to sustainable fuel sources, Kankkunen’s Supersports Convertible was fuelled with E85 bioethanol rather than petrol (gasoline). All models in the Continental range are capable of running on petrol (gasoline), E85 bioethanol or any combination of the two.  Wolfgang D�rheimer, Bentley’s new Chairman and Chief Executive, said, “The ice speed record is an amazing feat by Juha Kankkunen, whose skill and courage in extreme conditions truly make him one of the modern-day Bentley Boys. We will be celebrating this achievement with a very special ‘extreme’ Bentley, which will be the most powerful model ever to bear the famed Winged B emblem.”  A limited edition of just 100 examples of this most extreme Bentley will be made and the car will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1st March.  For more information, visit www.bentleymotors.com.  Read more: http://www.sportscardigest.com/bentley-sets-world-speed-record-on-ice/#ixzz1JYxJ7QCC.   From Dick Elliott


Lightning Benz Fastest on Earth 100 Years Ago  Sports Car Digest, November 9, 2009.  On November 9, 1909 – 100 years ago today – a 200 hp Benz became the first car to break the 200 km/h mark – and in the process went faster than any car, aeroplane or rail vehicle before. Victor H�mery went on to set a total of five world land speed records at the wheel of this racing car, named the ‘Lightning Benz’, on the concrete track at Brooklands, United Kingdom.  Over the half mile distance with a flying start H�mery achieved an average speed of 205.666 km/h, and 202.648 km/h over one kilometre. He covered the one kilometre distance from a standing start in 31.326 seconds, the half mile in 25.566 seconds and the mile in 41.268 seconds, wiping from the record books the times previously set by Darracq.  The Lightning Benz became an international attraction as it continued chasing new records. On April 23, 1911 Bob Burman drove the car at Daytona Beach, United States, achieving an average speed of 228.1 km/h for the flying kilometre and 225.7 km/h for the flying mile – a new land speed record that would remain unbeaten until 1919.  The 200 hp Benz was specially designed for record-breaking attempts. Its engine had a mighty 21.5 litre displacement that gave the vehicle unbeatable power.  Victor H�mery 184x285 Lightning Benz Fastest on Earth 100 Years Ago. 
     Brooklands was regarded as the mother of all race tracks for cars and motorcycles – the first circuit ever built exclusively for the purpose of motor racing. Racing and record-breaking attempts were held there from 1907 to 1939. In addition, Brooklands was the cradle of British aviation and the industry that grew up around it. Today, vestiges of the race track and the Brooklands Museum ensure that the site lives on in the memory. Daimler AG maintains a Brand Center for the Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart brands on the site.  Victor H�mery was one of the most successful drivers during the early years of grand prix motor racing before the First World War. Born in Brest, France, on November 18, 1876, he trained as a mechanic and worked for L�on Boll�e from 1895 to 1900, before moving to Darracq as head of the test department and works racing driver from 1900 to 1906.  In 1907 H�mery joined Benz & Cie. as a works driver and in 1908 drove a Benz to victory in the St. Petersburg – Moscow race and finished second in the French Grand Prix behind Christian Lautenschlager in a Mercedes and ahead of Ren� Hanriot, also in a Benz. H�mery committed suicide on September 8, 1950 at the age of 74. He had been living in impoverished circumstances in Le Mans, France.  Read more: http://www.sportscardigest.com/lightning-benz-fastest-on-earth-100-years-ago/#ixzz1JYyVxTT1.   From Dick Elliott


Bernd Rosemeyer 100th Birthday Celebration, Sports Car Digest, October 14, 2009.  Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of racing driver Bernd Rosemeyer, who was born on October 14, 1909 in Lingen in north-west Germany. To honor the anniversary, Audi Tradition will be laying a bouquet at the memorial on the A5 Autobahn in Germany.  Rosemeyer achieved international fame primarily as one of Auto Union’s top drivers in Grand Prix races and world speed record attempts in the “Silver Arrows” era of the 1930s. His racing triumphs in Europe, Africa and the USA made him a public idol – not least because of his swashbuckling driving style. Bernd Rosemeyer was a hero of his time, who tragically lost his life at the zenith of his career while making a world speed record attempt in early 1938.  Bernd Rosemeyer started his career by participating in motorbike races on grass tracks and on the road. He signed up as a works driver at NSU in 1932 before switching to DKW in the following year. In October 1934, he passed a test for up-and-coming drivers in Auto Union’s challenging mid-engined racing car with flying colours. He was then immediately promoted to the company’s racing car team alongside Hans Stuck and Achille Varzi. And thus his meteoric rise in the motor-racing universe began.  Following his debut in the Auto Union Silver Arrow in the 1935 AVUS Race, he quickly attracted attention in the Eifel Race in particular, when he finished second, just behind ex-champion and racing legend Rudolf Caracciola. And then on September 25, 1935, Rosemeyer went one better, winning his first Grand Prix in Brno.
     In the following year, the triumphs came thick and fast: he won the Grand Prix of Germany, Switzerland and Italy, as well as the Gro�er Bergpreis hill-climb race. 1936 was also the year in which he won the hand of the renowned sports pilot Elly Beinhorn in marriage. Bernd Rosemeyer Auto Union Bernd Rosemeyer 100th Birthday Celebration.  Bernd Rosemeyer triumphed in the 1937 Grand Prix at Donington Park, Great Britain in an Auto Union 16-cylinder Type C racing car.  In the 1937 season, Rosemeyer achieved some true milestones in motorsport: in the Eifel Race at the N�rburgring, with a time of 9 minutes and 54 seconds, he was the first driver ever to complete a lap of the legendary North Loop in less than 10 minutes. In the Avus Race, at the wheel of the streamlined Auto Union Type C, he achieved a straight-line speed of 380 km/h for which he is still famed today. In the world speed record attempts on the motorway near Frankfurt, he was the first driver to break through the 400 km/h barrier on a public road. His last victory was in the Grand Prix of Donington on October 2, 1937.  A renewed attempt to break the world speed record on January 28, 1938 on the motorway between Frankfurt and Darmstadt (today the A5) ended in tragedy when the car skidded out of control at over 430 km/h. The ensuing accident cost Bernd Rosemeyer his life.  Read more: http://www.sportscardigest.com/bernd-rosemeyer-100th-birthday-celebration/#ixzz1JYzjX95k.   From Dick Elliott


Editor: The following was sent in by Ron Main from a posting in www.landracing.com. The SLSRH Newsletter, based at www.landspeedracing.com, has no opinion on the subject of extraneous or meaningless records. The following represents an important topic; “Just what should be a record and what shouldn’t be a record.” In our opinion it is up to the sanctioning body to set the standards by which they certify records and the sort of records that they will time and record.
Subject: Meaningless SCTA records. Finally, someone admits there are SCTA records that are virtually meaningless and prove nothing. (From Landracing.com) "Let’s put the whole sidecar issue into perspective. SCTA has 360 Sidecar classes at Bonneville and at El Mirage.
   2 Frame designations
SC - Sidecar
SCS - Sidecar Streamliner
12 Engine Types allowed in SC or SCS
15 Engine displacements
So how has the sidecar participation been over the last 25 years. Despite these 360 classes being available for over 25 years, 295 (82%) are still at the Minimum at El Mirage. 291 (81%) are still OPEN at Bonneville. So based on the constant (complaining) by the sidecar crusaders, the laughable lack of participation in the sidecar classes over the last 25 years, the near meaninglessness of a Bonneville sidecar record (291 open records) and the points chasing silliness of the El Mirage sidecar records (295 minimums still available), I'm thinking we should kill this whole thing. It's just not worth it." Author was not given in email.


I agree. BTW, did you count the number of pages in the rulebook dedicated to the sidecar?  Ed Safarik


I feel a little bit the same way.   Maybe keep the classes that have (sidecar) records, and scratch the others.   Tom Evans


Based on this evaluation only, it does seem a bit silly to have all of these classes that have no real participation and make classes only to have classes.  Is there any harm here though, does it have a cost impact to SCTA?  Probably not but the records in most of these classes mean very little.  Scott Andrews


I am looking for photos of N Thatcher's 1959 Dodge up through 1964 Plymouth.  I don't think he ran after that.  Help would be greatly appreciated.   Dennis Goggin, CWO4, USMC (retired).
     Dennis: I will be glad to run your request in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  You will need to give us a little more data though.  We need the following; Thatcher’s full name, drag racing or land speed racing and if you want to use your email address as your contact point for people to respond to your question.  Also, are you looking for photographs on two cars, or were there more than two cars that Thatcher raced?


Scrub Hansen (Outrider's interviews): Here's a quick view of the interview, pretty much what I had in mind for each member.  When the movie starts, click on the resolution and move it from 360p up to 720p, then click the square to the right of that, which has arrows pointing to each corner. That will make it full screen.  This has to be simple or it won't get done and this seems to be a good sample.  See http://www.youtube.com/user/Kidwalt34.   KidWalt (Walter Lee)
     Scrub: Thank you for sharing the video with the newsletter.  If KidWalt has any more videos that he would like to have us put on our website at www.landspeedracing.com, please let me know.


Hello, this is Carlo Berardini, son of the Berardini Race team founder Tony Berardini.  I hope to make it to honor all of my father’s race buddies on May 7, 2011.   I'm sure my uncle Pat will be there.  My father Tony passed away in 1975 and if he were here today, everyone would know the importance he had in drag racing infancy.  He died a little early to be remembered by everyone, but believe me, he was a Hall Of Famer of the highest merit; with over 300 trophies to show for it. Thank you for what you do with the history of Drag racing.  I won a championship at Pomona for a Good-Guys event in June of 2003 in the Hot Rod Class with my 1967 Impala, The "Moonshiner." (CLICK FOR IMAGE) Carlo Berardini, "AKA" The Moonshiner.
     Carlo: I'm looking forward to seeing you if you can make it to the reunion.


 Rockabilly Rod Reunion & NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series, May 27-29 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Memorial Day Weekend: Rockabilly bands and DJ, nostalgia Funny Cars, traditional car show, nostalgia drag racing, hot rods, cool customs, pin-up girl contest.  John Bisci
Thursday, May 26
Noon-6 p.m.
Credential sales, gates open, participant parking.

Friday, May 27
9 a.m. – Credential sales, gates open, participant parking.
11 a.m. – Tech inspection.
1-7 p.m. – Car show registration.
1 p.m. – Test ‘n’ Tune (run in sessions by class, $100 per car).
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 conclude.
7-11:30 p.m. – Rockabilly Rod Reunion Kick-Off Party
7 p.m. – First band (TBA).
8:30 p.m. – Second band (TBA).
10 p.m. – Third band (TBA).
Saturday, May 28
NHRA Hot Rod Heritage 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 concludes.
Rockabilly Rod Reunion schedule (on the drag strip midway)
8 a.m.-3 p.m. – Car show registration.
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, best pompadour contest.
10:30 p.m. – Fourth band (TBA).
11:30 p.m. – Music concludes.
Sunday, May 29
NHRA Hot Rod Heritage schedule
8 a.m. – Racer and spectator gates open.
8:15 a.m. – RFC chapel service in main grandstand.
10 a.m. – National anthem; first round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations (16 cars).
11 a.m. – First round of eliminations for all sportsman classes.
12:30 p.m. – Second round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations (8 cars).
2:30 p.m. – Third round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations (4 cars).
4:30 p.m. – Final round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations (2 cars).
Rockabilly Rod Reunion Schedule of Events (Drag Strip Midway)
11 a.m. – “Super Domingo” first band (TBA).
Noon-3 p.m. – Final judging for car show.
1 p.m. – “Super Domingo” second band (TBA).
2 p.m. – Pin-up contest finals; swimsuit competition.
3 p.m. – “Super Domingo” third band (TBA).
4:30 p.m. – Car show awards.
5 p.m. – Event concludes.
        For more information, please call The Strip at LVMS’ office at (702) 632-8213 or visit www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS and the Rockabilly Rod Reunion on Facebook and Twitter. Event website: www.RockabillyRodReunion.com.


Editor’s notes: The following email was received from Jeff Grubert at Circle King Productions. I’ve reviewed some of his excellent videos on hot rodding and other automotive films for Hotrodhotline.com.
El Jefe Entertainment is born! See www.eljefeentertainment.com
See http://classic.cnbc.com/id/42665526
Also http://news.morningstar.com/all/business-wire/20110419006729/circle-king-networks-inc-and- payupsucker-productions-announce-exclusive-partnership-to-create-el-jefe-entertainment-llc .aspx
And http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20110419006733/en/El-Jefe-Entertainment/Jesse-James/M otor-Sports. Jeffrey B. Grubert, CEO, Circle King Networks, Inc, Full Throttle Video. www.fullthrottlevideo.com, and www.ThrottleTV.com, and 949-916-7880.


I am working on a great story on Mor Drop Axles, that is about to close its doors. I have been with Marty Costello and have acquired some information to put a story together. I am also trying to get a much better documentation on this project that has not been recorded yet, even though it has been done in the past by such greats like Tex Smith. It is really a true Americana History. I really have been trying to focus on this one because it has a great deal of hot rodding background. It is one of the inspirations to a lot of hot rodders who have emerged. I have not yet seen a photo of John Moore. You will hear from me as soon as possible. Spencer Simon, Northern California reporter


I can't thank you enough for your kindness and time spent on following up on my Grandpa Royal's work.  Attached is a photo that is on the L.A. Public Library's website with the caption: Photograph caption dated November 14, 1959 reads, "Big Do-Nut In Glamorous Opening -- A steady flow of Valley residents, including numerous leaders in civic, business and club affairs, enjoyed the hospitality of the management of Big Do-Nut Drive-In, on the occasion of the opening of the firm's newest drive-in at 7149 Kester Ave., corner of Sherman Way and Kester avenue, Van Nuys. In addition to refreshments a gala program of entertainment was presented. Left to right, Russell C. Wendell, president; Royal Stearns, treasurer of the company, with comely Jan Richards, Miss Van Nuys, and Nels LaVally, representing V.N. Chamber of Commerce."
     Yes, Russell C. Wendell first opened Big DoNut Drive-In in 1950, (the present day Kindles Donuts), but met up with my Grandpa Royal (who was then a Donut-Man with Maid-Rite Donuts), and my Grandpa joined Russ Wendell in 1954.  The Manchester Big DoNut had already been opened in 1953, but then my Grandpa became the Treasurer of the Company, as well as overseeing the stores' operations.  He then went on to open the Compton, Inglewood (Imperial Hwy), Van Nuys, and Reseda locations.  My Great Uncle Paul Stearns opened and operated the North Hollywood location.  
     Grandpa Royal opened and operated Big Taco in Reseda, and then the Pup'n'Taco on Sherman Way in Van Nuys,  while still over-seeing the Big DoNut Shops in Reseda and Van Nuys (as well as being Treasurer of the Company), until he passed away in 1970.  I have contacted Roger Wendell, and yes, he has a Pup'n'Taco page. http://www.rogerwendell.com/pnt.html.  Again, Thank You so very much for all of your help!  Kindly, Kathy
     Kathy: I will run this letter in the newsletter even though it doesn't pertain to racing.  Our group encourages people to do their biographies and caption their photographs.  Regardless of what and who we are, everyone should write their biographies.  Start on yours today, then help each and every one of your family to start on their bios. 


The Roadsters and the Lotus painting.  We are pleased to offer a new watercolor painting by Indianapolis artist Rick Jones.  This is an 8.8 inch by 20 inch print on quality photographic paper.  Rick has taken 3 of my photographs for reference and made this beautiful painting of the great roadsters of the era and the challenge of the Lotus Fords.  Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney set the stage for the Jimmy Clark rear engine Lotus to set Indy on its ear. The print of the painting is now available.  The prints are: The RODGER WARD roadster, A. J. FOYT roadster and the JIMMY CLARK roadster.  For more classic images from the good old days at Indy visit; www.classicvintagemotorsports.com.  Custom prints and mural sizes are available.  Contact Ron Nelson for any additional information at [email protected] or [email protected].


Editor’s Notes: Here is a continuation of the interviews conducted by Sam Hawley for his book, Speed Duel. I am only printing half of the interviews so that you will have to go to Sam’s website www.samuelhawley.com to read the rest of it. I am doing it this way because Hawley’s website is worth visiting. For you history buffs who love more than cars you should see what Sam has written on. He has a very sharp and incisive mind and he is one of the best interviewers that I have read.
   Harry Muhlbach rebuilt and drove Athol's racer "City of Salt Lake" for the land speed record in 1963. He and Athol's widow Zeldine were together at the time and married the following year.  I interviewed Harry over the phone at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 11, 2009.
*          *          *
Back in the early 1960s, how were you employed?

I had an automotive shop, and before that I was in the trucking business. I leased a dump truck to a ready-mix outfit. I was self employed. I didn’t have any employees.

What year were you born?


Did you serve in the Korean War by any chance?

No sir.

Did you know Athol Graham?


But you weren’t a friend of his?

No, not really.

How did you become the driver for the car the "City of Salt Lake," after Otto Anzjon drove it and crashed?

[Harry corrected me by saying that Otto did not crash in the car; he had a blow-out but didn’t crash. As for Harry's involvement with the car, he first became involved with Zeldine. He started seeing her (they would eventually marry) and they subsequently came up with the idea of fixing up the car and trying for the record again with Harry as driver.]

So it started with your personal relationship with Zeldine, not with your intention of driving the car?


[Harry stated again that the car hadn’t been in a crash. He couldn’t remember exactly what sort of fixing up it required, but no major work was required.] I think we had to do something with the engine, I can’t remember what. I took the engine up to Seattle, to a gentleman there who was a specialist in Allison engines, and he did some work on it. And then we built a nose guidance bar...You had to drive it sitting up in front and if you started to lose control it was a little bit hard to see it, sitting right in the nose. So we built kind of a triangular-shaped prong that went out in front that you could use as a sight to stay on the line. It went out from the front of the car about eight or ten feet. It was something like an antenna, straight out with a little horizontal bar, and we used that as a guidance sight. We also installed some automatic switches to trip the chute in case of a tire blow-out.

Did you have a sponsor to help you pay for the use of the salt flats and the timing officials?

No. There was no sponsor, no.

What can you remember about your crash on October 12, 1963?

Well, there wasn’t anything too spectacular about it. The switches I had put on behind the tires were not designed well. We put them there because we were concerned about a tire blow-out. The purpose of them was to trip a solenoid that would trip the chute. The tire didn’t blow, but evidently salt from the tires went up and there was enough pressure to trip the chute. It was kind of a pedal switch then when you pushed on it...it was designed so that when anything hit that switch it made a connection and then that opened the chute door. And evidently the salt thrown up from the tires hit these switches and tripped the parachute. A tire didn’t blow.

So that caused you to lose control...

It tipped the car over. The parachute came out and I had no indication that the chute was out. There was no warning light and I couldn’t see behind me at all. So I had no idea the chute was out and I was still trying to accelerate. So it kind it threw me around and I went upside down and stayed upside down until I came to a stop.

The news reports at the time said that this occurred when you were going about 300 mph.

I was going about 400. I thought I had the record, in my own mind, because I still had plenty of power left.

Were you injured?

No, no. Other than a little bit of salt.

What about the car? I guess it would have sustained a lot of damage.

Not a terrific amount. I skidded for better than a quarter mile on its roof.

So it didn’t tumble end over end. It flipped over and skidded on its roof for a long ways.

Correct. That’s what saved me, that it didn’t flip up and down and take type of stuff. It turned over and stayed right on the ground and just cut a hole in the salt until it came to a stop.

In deciding not to repair the car and try again in 1964, was the fact that Craig Breedlove had broken the record and looked set to push it up still higher a consideration?

No, that didn’t have anything to do with it. See, Craig Breedlove was driving a jet engine and I was interested in piston engines. Actually, I think I probably went faster with a single piston-driven engine than anybody ever did. Most of the others had...Mickey Thompson I think had four engines. But this was just one engine. I guess it doesn’t count for much, but...When they reported it in the Deseret News, the headlines on it read that it was a 300 mile an hour crash. But I was pushing 400.

So why did you decide to pull out of competition so to speak and not try again the next year?

Well, there were financial problems, and then I started a business, and it just never happened. There was no particular reason. I don’t know if this is pertinent information for you, but there was a fellow named Hack Miller...

The sports editor for the Deseret News.

Correct. I had some conversations with him and he was quite upset about the car because of Athol Graham being killed in it and so forth. And he at one point told me that he wasn’t going to allow me to, quote, “publicly commit suicide.”

He said that to your face?

No, that was over the telephone. [Harry indicated that this was not a factor in his not running the car again.]

Did Hack tell you that before your crash or after?

It was after my crash. I was interviewed by reporters and I said we would rebuild it and try again, but we never did. But it was after the crash that he told me that he would do all he could to stop me. But as I said, that didn’t have anything to do with me not rebuilding the car. I don’t know why we didn’t. It just didn’t come to pass.

[I asked Harry about Zeldine’s interest in the car and the land speed record. I explain that she maintains today that she wasn’t interested; that rebuilding it after Athol’s death was for the sake of Otto's health, and that running it again after Otto was all Harry’s idea.]

I would say that she was as interested as I was. That would be my personal feeling. She was there with me a hundred percent...She was just as anxious as I was to achieve the land speed record.

So it was a team effort between you and her.

That is correct. I had her opinion and so on and so forth, and she did most of the paperwork, and you have to notify an outfit in France. She handled all that. [Harry confirms the approximate dates Zeldine gave me re. their marriage: married in 1964 and divorced in 1969.]

Editor: The rest of the interview can be seen at www.samuelhawley.com


Spencer, two pictures of my car and one picture of me with Norbert Singer are embedded in my bio. If not, let me know and I'll forward them to you
Jim Calzia

Calzia 2




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