NEWSLETTER 205 - May 26, 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, We lost James Warren - a sad day, A memorial service for David E Davis Jr convened luminaries from within and without the auto industry to celebrate his iconic presence in their lives,      The Automobile Driving Museum (The Auto Museum That Takes You For A Ride) announces that several groups have agreed to become sponsors of the upcoming Automobile & Aviation History Expo that is planned for Sunday June 26 2011, Hot Rod enthusiasts of all ages will have the opportunity to meet talented hot rod builder Troy Ladd and model car designer Roger Harney during a box signing event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles California Saturday May 28th, Playing Cars (and Marbles) By LeRoi Tex Smith, In 1966 three Halibrand Shrike cars were built for the Indianapolis 500, This is confidential  I know it's a stupid question but I didn't see (name withheld) biography yet in the newsletter except for the pictures, I spoke with Jacob Bagnell last night, I have an extensive library of negatives that I'm currently in the process of scanning and adding to my digital library, Band schedule for Rockabilly Rod Reunion & NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series, The SLSRH thanks www.Autowriters.com for the use of this article (edited from the original), Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation receives gift of $100,000,000 from Margie Petersen and the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation Los Angeles (April 26, 2011), The Petersen Automotive Museum May Through July 2011, Green Monster: Bill Woodall email, Please find attached pdf file of latest press release about an important day in the restoration of Europe’s first dragster, VSCC SeeRed at Donnington This Weekend (tickets anyone?), VSCC SeeRed at Donnington Park 2011 Report


President's Corner:  
 Two weeks ago was the first S.C.T.A. meet of the 2001 Season and everyone was all hyped up after being rained out at the end of last year. There were 128 entries that made a total of 290 laps down the track. Of those a whopping 30 new records were set and six lucky souls set records to enter the El Mirage 200 mph Club. All pretty cool! As usual there were some flat spins that got everyone’s attention and a couple of accidents. The first was Dennis Mariani’s streamliner that rolled and the second was Wink Eller’s motorcycle while being towed. That is the lead-in for today’s commentary. 
   The S.C.T.A. is big on safety and we go out of our way to make sure the drivers/rides are as safe as possible. With every incident the S.C.T.A. does a thorough investigation as to why and how it happens. Since I am a car guy let’s look at Dennis’ liner first. The liner was the old Dozer-Hagerty ride that had been completely rebuilt and re-engined by Dennis’s team of builders. He did a shakedown run on Saturday around 198 mph and everything worked great. On Sunday he took another lap at 217.075 mph that just happened to be over the existing record of 208.331. So far so good. Then it happened, the chute didn’t work right so he got on the binders hard and locked up the rear wheels. I was told there were real long skid marks before Dennis tried to turn off the course and then the car rolled. The guestimated speed was around 60 mph. He only scratched his hand.
   As for Wink, he was being towed back to this pits on the return road around 15 mph after a run at over 170 mph. The bike went into a speed wobble and threw him face first into the ground and broke his shoulder. His poor wife panicked and hurt herself going to his rescue.  We have a special crew that documents terra firma where an incident takes place. Everything is noted down to the foot for analysis purposes. The car then gets examined from head to toe by another special crew to make sure all the safety stuff works the way it’s supposed to. I’ve included some pictures so everyone can get an idea of the end results. Let’s start with (Click for JMC_2844) and a shot of the pristine car before its Saturday run. Dennis is on the right in the red sweatshirt. (Click For JMC_2845) shows the front of the car and (Click For JMC_2853) shows the rear when it came to impound for the postmortem. Not how much damage the car has sustained. 
   Now it’s time to look a little closer. (
Click For JMC_2851) shows the induction system that was the highest part of the car. It absorbed a lot of energy and transferred what was left into the motor plates and then the frame (Click For JMC_2852). If you look close you’ll see the front motor plate is bent and the chassis is slightly buckled. The rear one did the same thing. Now let’s look at the roll cage (Click For JMC_2849). It worked great. There were zero cracks in the new thick coat of paint which indicates zero deflection. But wait just a second and have a closer look. Note how the driver’s safety padding was mounted. When the top of the cage made impact with the ground and started sliding it acted like a scoop on a D2 Caterpillar tractor. The dirt actually pushed the front and rear padding into the driver’s compartment and driver’s helmet. Let’s thank God that it only moved � inch.
   Our last shot today is (
Click For JMC_2850) and shows what’s left of the � inch aluminum firewall that had an extension welded on it from an earlier modification. The part closest to the cage ended up a mere 2 inches from the driver’s helmet.  If you’re a builder, driver or even a crewman maybe it’s time to revisit your car or your friends car and make sure they are “Brick Shit Houses.” Cars that go fast are not toys and those that are built light like dragsters, or those that use undersize scrap in the corner to hold a heavy part just doesn’t work when your sliding on your lid for a quarter of a mile at Bonneville or tumbling at El Mirage


     Last week we lost a good many legends of land speed, drag racing and hot rodding and this week there are more names that we wished could have been with us for a few more years. This is why we stress that each and every one of you start on your biographies, caption your photographs, write your stories and inventory your prized possessions and memorabilia for your family. Here are some biographies that have appeared in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter over the years at www.landspeedracing.com. There are more listed at www.hotrodhotline.com and I will start to pull some of them and move them over to this website. Biographies: Burke LeSage, John Hollansworth, Kay Kimes, Charlie Gilmore, Charlie Gilmore’s recollections, Art Chrisman’s Party, Veda and Karl Orr, Ken Walkey, George Rubio, Ralph Foster, JD Tone, Barry ‘Burly’ Burlile, Harold Johansen, Ky Michaelson, George Callaway, Dave Brant, Don Zig, Jerry Cornelison, Robert ‘Indian Red’ Nichols, Bob Webb, Chuck Daigh, LandSpeed Louise Ann Noeth, Doug Stokes, Bob Falcon, Christine Eastman, Kenny Parks, C. J. ‘Pappy’ Hart, Ak Miller, and the Berardini Brothers (Pat and Tony). Coming up next week is Doug King.
   I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it is to get people to do their bios and write their stories. We ought to get a full page photograph of these men and women and create a book like Art Evans writes; text on one page, photo on the opposite page. I am especially proud of the fact that Charlie Gilmore wrote to us and consented to tell us his bio and some of his stories before he passed away. I would have loved to have gotten Charlie to write more stories because he was a major player in eastern drag racing in the early days and we just need a lot more on that area and that time span. In one case we did a bio and a book review on one of our racers and after publication I received a strident and very harsh letter telling me that I was a fool to believe anything that the person in the bio said. Such is life; you can please some and anger others. But the goal is still the same; to record and save our heritage before it is too late. And the person raising the objections might be right. My advice to her/him was to write a rebuttal, in a non-libelous way and we would print it. That person never did. Which is very normal; we complain often, but we take action infrequently. Here’s a thought; those that leave behind a history make history. Those that refuse to leave behind a history are forgotten. This is sad because sometimes the people who are honest and truthful are not willing to present their side and the corrupt, dishonest and venal tell their side, full of falsehoods, which are believed by the coming generations. This results in a double hurt; the original attack and a later historical one.
   I can’t do much as an editor if people refuse to record their history. I can try and help you and even offer to edit your work. I can give you space in the newsletter, as much as you want, but I can’t force you to contribute. In some cases I know, or I find out later that something that was published is wrong and I make every effort to correct it. But in many cases those errors and misrepresentations are carried over to the next generation or are never corrected. Sometimes the readers themselves mislead me. Sometimes they just assume that a fact is true, as when they told me that Karl and Veda Orr were divorced and Karl remarried. It turns out that this is untrue; Karl and Veda Orr remained together until their deaths in the late 1980’s. A retraction and apology will be forthcoming as we give this special land speed pair their full story. Recently I received a well-written report on a new car and engine with elaborate photographs from a land speed racer with a great reputation for building fast cars that are also very innovative. I glanced at the article and photographs and forwarded the email over to Roger Rohrdanz who is our photographic editor with instructions to send it along to the website. He called me back and asked, “Did you read the email carefully and look at the photographs?” I told him that I had scanned it briefly and was impressed with the article and the photos.
   Roger then told me, “It’s a hoax, Richard, they are playing a joke on you!” Then he explained it in detail to me. Appears I’m not the first or the last one to be fooled by a trim and neat article with detailed photographs. It wasn’t too long ago when a reader of the newsletter sent out an April fool’s joke where he said that a well-known car museum was being auctioned off to a Saudi prince who was taking all the cars back to the Middle East and we would lose these cars forever. I fell for that one too and sent out the email to my list with my views on selling our historical vehicles to foreign entities. Recently there is an email going around that Democratic Party Senator Schumer of New York is attempting to pass a bill in Congress to raise 250 Billion dollars by taxing our hot rods and vintage cars on the basis of what they could bring at auctions. This is also a hoax and there is no such legislation even though I know that men like Schumer would like to do just that. While we can uncover hoaxes, jokes and falsehoods that are recent, it is very difficult to find such hoaxes when they are 60 years old. It takes a lot of digging and research to find out that what was said back then was true or false. How do we know if what was said in the 1930’s was a joke or the truth? That’s one reason why I send the newsletter to a group of 12 people to look it over before it is published. And if I do publish something that later proves to be false, I will retract the statement and send a corrected version to the website owner to put in place of the original false statement. I will also issue an apology and an explanation. 
   Please go to the websites and read the biographies. I wish that I had 8000 of them instead of just 80. No, that’s not true, I wish I had 8 million of them to cover all the racing people that has made motorsports so fascinating. But we don’t have anywhere near that amount and some very famous people have never written their bios or have had a book written on them. It isn’t important if a person is famous. You don’t have to be a well recognized racer in order to write your bio or to have a book written on you. I’ve read some fascinating history and bios on people who are just ordinary people and what they’ve seen or had to say was worth the time that I spent reading or editing the information. I hear the same thing over and over again, “I’m not that important a person to write my biography and who would be interested?” Then I nag them into doing it and I am amazed at what the “ordinary” man or woman has accomplished or witnessed in their lives. Even if we are ordinary, we should still make the effort to record our lives and give that record to our children and grandchildren. We can’t know what the future generations will find of importance. What we tell them may mean more to our descendants than anything else we do in this life. When we leave a true and accurate history behind us we can proudly know that we have done our part to record history as it really happened. Otherwise the history that people will someday read may be false and distorted by dishonest people and we bear a lot of responsibility for that by not leaving our history as a rebuttal.


We lost James Warren - a sad day. Another legend gone! 
See: http://www.nhra.com/story/2011/5/17/former-top-fuel-racer-warren-voted-to-nhra-top-50-list -dies/.  Steve Metz, Staging Lane Productions, Inc.
The following article is courtesy of
   James Warren, voted one of the top 50 drivers in NHRA history in 2001 and the driving third of the powerful California-based Warren-Coburn-Miller Top Fuel team, died May 16, 2011. He was 74. Warren, who was voted # 38 in the Top 50 list, had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and had contracted pneumonia, but a cause of death has not been determined.  Warren's passing follows by less than six months the death of his longtime tuning partner, Roger Coburn, who passed away Nov. 25, 2010.  Warren, Coburn, and Marvin Miller were known as the Ridge Route Terrors because they lived in Bakersfield and would make a three-hour tow over the San Gabriel Mountains on Highway 99 - the Ridge Route - to get to several of Southern California's fabled tracks, including Lions Drag Strip, Irwindale Raceway, and Orange County Int'l Raceway.  Warren and Coburn switched to fuel at about the same time that NHRA's fuel ban was lifted for the 1964 season. For 17 years, until retirement in 1980, the Warren-Coburn-Miller team made consistent trips to the winner's circle. Warren's driving career spanned the front- and rear-engine eras and from supercharged small-block Chevy engines to early Hemis and then late Hemis.  The team made its mark using nitro immediately. 
   At the 1964 UDRA meet at Lions, Warren, still with small-block Chevy power, won the Saturday portion of the event.  After dominating West Coast action in the mid-1960s, in 1967, the team headed east to the biggest race of the year, the Nationals, and it was Warren in the other lane in the final when Don Garlits broke into the sixes for the first time and then triumphantly shaved his beard on the starting line.  Warren backed up that first NHRA national event final with his first of two wins, at the 1968 Winternationals, capturing low e.t. and top speed, 6.86 at 230 mph, in the first round. He also won Top Fuel at the 1976 Gatornationals.  In addition to their ability to beat the best Top Fuel racers from around the country, they were the Division 7 Top Fuel champion five straight years (1972-76) and won the prestigious U.S. Fuel and Gas Championships in Bakersfield three straight years (1975-77). In addition to beating Garlits in the 1977 final, Warren ran low e.t. and top speed the first two years and low e.t. in 1977.  Warren is survived by his wife, Juanita; son, Rick; and daughter, Cindy.  Services will be held at 2 p.m., May 21, at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, CA 93306. There will be a reception afterward at the Moose Lodge, 905 Old Stine, Bakersfield, CA 93309.


A memorial service for David E. Davis, Jr. convened luminaries from within and without the auto industry to celebrate his iconic presence in their lives. Ronald Ahrens provides this report courtesy of www.Autowriters.com
DAVID E. DAVIS, JR. MEMORIAL.  The literary efforts of David E. Davis Jr. had a profound and beneficial effect on the American automobile industry and "did a great service to the United States in the one major manufacturing industry we have left." So said retired General Motors product czar Bob Lutz, whose voice was among the many raised April 28 at the memorial service for the incomparable, bewhiskered editor, who died in March. David E. Davis, Jr.  The service was in two parts, beginning at the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the city where Davis had moved Car and Driver from New York in 1978. About 200 people attended and heard his sister, Dr. Jane Makulski, say, "If I have one regret, it's that no magazine will have a column where he critiques what God has offered him."  "Your pals are still gathered about you for the sake of freedom and whiskey," said his pal Ham Schirmer, ending the eulogy that emphasized the great man's love of cars, dogs, clothes, his wife Jeannie, and all his pals.  Part two was held immediately afterward at the car guys' warehouse, as it's informally known, next door in Ypsilanti. This former industrial building along the Huron River is home to vintage and special-interest cars, some undergoing active restoration or repair.
   In recent years, about 2000 square feet of office area was reserved for Davis's operations.  Enjoying the food, drinks, and live music were luminaries such as the actor Edward Herrmann, a friend from Pebble Beach, and the writer P.J. O'Rourke, whose sometimes hilarious essays followed Davis from title to title.  O'Rourke's toast summed up Davis's tastes in food, alcohol, and automobiles: "To suckling pig when you're hungry, Sazeracs when you're dry, all the cars you've ever wanted, and heaven when you die."  Former Time journalist Charles Eisendrath lauded board member Davis's work on behalf of the University of Michigan Journalism Fellowship.  Representatives of the Car and Driver fraternity included Davis's peer Brock Yates, former editor-in-chief Csaba Csere and executive editors Rich Ceppos and Mark Gillies, current editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman, technical director Don Sherman, columnist John D. Phillips III, and staffers Darin Johnson, Tony Quiroga, Juli Burke, Michael Austin, and Erik Johnson. Aside from Yates and Csere, all of the former either started their careers or served intermediate stints under Davis at Automobile. 
   Davis left Car and Driver in 1985 and soon launched Automobile. Deputy editor Joe DeMatio and managing editor Amy Skogstrom represented the magazine. Editor-in-chief Jean Jennings, who unseated Davis in 2000, was not present, reportedly at the request of the Davis family. Automobile alumni included William Jeanes, Bill Sharfman, Ken Gross, and James Lee Ramsey, who were Davis's soldiers during the '80s and '90s. Kevin Smith, the original Automobile co-executive editor with Jennings, traveled from California. So did Davis's art director Larry Crane. Kathy Hamilton, former senior editor, flew in from New Jersey.  Motor Trend was represented by Todd Lasa, Frank Markus, and alum Jack Keebler. Larry Webster waved the Popular Mechanics flag; spy photographer Jim Dunne also paid tribute. Kevin A. Wilson, former AutoWeek executive editor, did the same for Crain Communications. 
   Michael Jordan, Automobile's West Coast editor for nearly 22 years, took time off from his position as Edmunds.com Inside Line executive editor to come to the rites, along with news editor Kelly Toepke, who started in the early 1990’s as Davis's assistant.  John Hilton, long-time editor of the alternative monthly Ann Arbor Observer, contributed to Car and Driver and Automobile in the 1980s. He lent his eminence to an assortment of locals ranging from Paul Eisenstein, of www.TheDetroitBureau.com present dean of Detroit's automotive journalism establishment to Lindsay Brooke, senior editor at Automotive Engineering International, a publication of the Society of Automotive Engineers.  Davis's long shadow fell across three generations of automotive journalists, who came together to honor his singular career during a memorable and often poignant afternoon.  The Davis family requests memorial gifts be sent to:  Knight-Wallace Fellows 620 Oxford Road Ann Arbor, MI 48104 
     Ronald Ahrens is a former Automobile employee and a frequent contributor to that publication, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets. He recently moved his Baggy Paragraphs Company to Monrovia, California.


     The Automobile Driving Museum, (The Auto Museum That Takes You For A Ride), announces that several groups have agreed to become sponsors of the upcoming Automobile & Aviation History Expo that is planned for Sunday, June 26, 2011.  These sponsors will help by spreading the news of the event to their membership about how the event will benefit each of them by providing an outlet for their reference and research data.  To date the sponsoring groups are: Autobooks/Aerobooks Bookstore; The Society of Land Speed Historians coupled with www.HotRodHotLine.com; The American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA); and Stokes Communications.  Autobooks, located in Burbank, California is a noted bookseller in a large location that specializes in automotive publications of all sorts.  They also have an extensive inventory of aviation publications.  The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians serves as the communications media for a forgotten group of So Cal “car guys,” the people who are active in Dry Lakes Racing on the California Dry Lakebeds.  This group numbers the participants in the four different timing associations who organized the competitions at Muroc, Harper and El Mirage Dry Lakes.  Only one of the four remains active (SCTA) and the venues have shrunk to a single location, El Mirage.  SCTA continues to sanction events at the Bonneville Salt Flats. 
     Hot Rod Hotline is the leading electronically published magazine that specializes in Special Interest autos such as Hot Rods and Customs.  HRHL has a worldwide readership.  AARWBA is the senior Auto Racing Press Association in the US.  Their membership of journalists, which include broadcasters, photographers and public relations professionals, is the racing media group comparable to the Baseball Writers Association.  Stokes Communications is a motor sport centered public relations and press media group who provide corporate and product information to news publishers. They have deep roots within the SoCal motor sports world.  A few other significant groups are under consideration for sponsorship and news will be forthcoming when they are signed.  The Auto & Aviation History Expo is a unique gathering wherein auto writers and authors dispense with their no longer needed data collections.  A sort of “Spring-Cleaning” of reference and research files.  The gathering also includes many vendors who specialize in out of print auto publications such as Owners Manuals, Auto Maintenance Publications and Auto advertising brochures.  This cadre is usually found at the area automotive swap meets where all type of auto equipment and parts are sold.  This particular event is unique in that it is a print media ONLY vendor selling…no cars or car parts.
     In years past another scaled down event such as this was staged but when the organizing group decided to “Stand-Down.”  ADM took the baton and staged a remarkable event in 2010, and this year promises to exceed the 2010 effort.  The event will be held on the ADM grounds located in El Segundo California, just a short drive from the major airport (LAX).  The location is Freeway close to all points in Southern California via the I-105 Imperial Freeway, which stretches from the coastline location of the airport eastbound to the city of Downey which intersects most of the north and south bound freeways in the Southland.  The hours for guests are 10 AM to 2 PM while booth set up begins at 7 AM.  There will be food service at the outdoor BBQ but a donation of $5 is requested for entering the museum floor to view the nearly 100 showroom condition display of cars.  Visitors to the museum are eligible to take a ride in one of the vehicles selected for that day.  Transition between the vendor areas passes straight through the Restoration Shops that will be staffed with Docents to provide project information.  The ADM Website is www.theADM.org.   For more information contact: Jodee at [email protected], call 310-909-1593 or email Bob Falcon at [email protected].


Hot Rod enthusiasts of all ages will have the opportunity to meet talented hot rod builder, Troy Ladd, and model car designer, Roger Harney during a box signing event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, Saturday, May 28th. The event celebrates the re-issue of the famous Black Widow model car kit manufactured by Monogram over 50 years ago. Harney designed the 1/24 -scale model for Monogram back in 1960, and based the design on a Ford Model T Roadster Pick Up, but a full-scale Black Widow did not exist until 2008. The full-size Black Widow was created by Troy Ladd and his crew at Hollywood Hot Rods to the request of a customer who had built the model kit in his youth, and was nostalgic for the real thing. Black Widow was created in painstaking detail by scaling up the box art and measurements taken from a vintage model. The only modifications to the original design were the addition of seatbelts, a modern hand brake, and an automatic transmission.
   The full-scale Black Widow debuted at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show, where it was well-received. The hot rod's display was even scaled up from the original model's counter top store display. Both men will be with Black Widow in the lobby of the Petersen starting at 1:00 p.m. to talk about the original model design and the steps taken to scale it up to a full size vehicle. The Q&A session will be followed by a box signing. A limited number of re-issued models will be available in the Petersen Automotive Museum Store for $30, and include personalized signatures from Troy Ladd and Roger Harney. They are certain to become collector's items and will make great gifts for Father's Day! Museum admission is not required for this event.  Chris Brown


PLAYING CARS (and Marbles). By LeRoi Tex Smith.              
     It was before Big War Two, down there in bayou country, Orange, Texas.  Plenty of gators around, and water mosecon’s and gar fish, and cars of every kind.  Long’s they were Fords and Chevy’s.  A decent place to grow up and look every morning for whiskers and sneak some white makin’s and keep falling off bikes with those hard rubber tires.  And for finding vacant lots for playing make-up baseball games, and having war games, and playing cars. Yep, sure ‘nuff make believe car stuff.  Didn’t need no money, just a good flat digging stick, and a few blocks of wood.  Whatcha wanna do is find a lot with some dug out holes, or ditches, already in place.  Then, you start carving out roads.  Everywhere roads, especially on the walls of that hole.  If you find an old wooden matchbox the tray makes a very useful dump truck, and you even dig holes into the cliff alongside your “mountain roadway” and think of them as garages. Big old tree leaves and sticks make houses and such.  For vehicles, all you need are small pieces of wood.  Even small broken tree limbs work in a pinch.
(For the rest of Tex Smith's story go to www.hotrodhotline.com)


  In 1966, three Halibrand Shrike cars were built for the Indianapolis 500. One, #98 is currently being restored by Tom Medlock, the second hangs in a museum in So Cal and the Dick Atkins car, #97, has gone missing. Tom is hoping to locate the whereabouts of the #97 Shrike to view and photograph to help with the many myriad details in his restoration effort. http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr301/36hplandspeedracer/scan0002Medium.jpg. Dick Atkins #57 Halibrand Shrike Indy car in 1966-Promo Photo.
http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr301/36hplandspeedracer/scan0001Medium-2.jpg [/IMG]. Where is this car or what happened to it? If any SLSRH readers can help Tom locate #97, please give him a call at: Tom Medlock, 562-864 8286. Thanx for any assistance you can offer. Burly Burlile
Editor’s notes: Bob Falcon responds.
     I will call Tom and give him all that I can recall about the cars.  But my memory is not clear on the design team for that car since Ted Halibrand kept Norm Timbs and myself separated from them due to friction between Timbs and the other chief design engineer.  The three of us did travel together to the 1965 "500" and my assignment was to keep the two engineers out of each other’s faces.  I asked Ted if he was going to provide me with a black and white striped shirt and a whistle for my referee duties!  I do recall the other designer (not Timbs) was an aeronautical engineer who was employed by Douglas Aircraft Long Beach and was active in their SST (Supersonic Transport) project that had the variable swept wing design and his "Turf" was the wing root configuration.  One troubling thing to me is that Tom is looking for the third car of the series and my recollection is that at Halibrand we fabricated two cars and modified one in 1967 or '68 to be adaptable to road courses for a USAC race that was held at a new circuit in Japan. 
     That centerline car suspension was designed by a British engineer (?) named John Wadsworth and the last time I saw him he was living in Indianapolis.  Aerodynamically, the car was an excellent design.  The straightaway speed with the Rootes blown supercharged Drake (Offy) engine was in excess of 228 MPH...in 1966!  But due to the "Flintstone" tires the corner speed was in the 160 MPH bracket.  The Agajanian team (Rocky Phillips, Chief Mechanic) did not attempt to qualify the #97 car that Atkins was due to drive because of the amount of work they had to accomplish to get the #98 ready to qualify.  Parnelli Jones had just moved into the race lead when the right front wheel bearing failed.  Later reports I heard was that the failure was due to the wheel bearing grease used for the race, which was too light for the heat generated and the lubricant spilled off the bearing rollers.  Bob Falcon


This is confidential.  I know it's a stupid question but I didn't see (name withheld) biography yet in the newsletter except for the pictures.  Is there any reason for that?   Name withheld by the editor.
     To the Reader: Yes, there is a reason and your question is not stupid at all.  This is a very important question to raise and I'm glad that you did and I want you to send me such questions in the future.  Roger and I have a system that works for us.  I work with the person writing the biography and either write it or edit it for them.  Then the person being written about submits half a dozen or more photographs to Roger who works on the captions, reviews the bio and then if he sees nothing wrong, sends it to Mary Ann Lawford at www.hotrodhotline.com.  Mary Ann gives it to Anita to process and put on that website.  Anita does the work of transferring the photos and the text to Richard and Roger's Corner under the Guest Columnist section entitled Biographies.  That is where the biography and photographs are archived and stored and where readers can download and copy or just read the story.  From time to time I will take some of the biographies, stories or articles out of the Guest Columnist section (including other writers) and run it in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter for the readers at www.landspeedracing.com.  While this seems redundant in that it doubles the work, it also provides a back-up for the biographies.  Readers should always check www.hotrodhotline.com, Guest Columnist, Richard and Roger's Corner, then Biographies to see an alphabetized listing of the content.  The person that you are looking for, Doug King, is listed there.  In the past I have run bios in the newsletter, but for the last few months I have been running Sam Hawley's excellent interviews with various land speed racers and their crews.  I will take Doug's bio and run it in an upcoming issue.


 I spoke with Jacob Bagnell last night. He is at Fred Lobello's house most every day during the week, helping Fred with the belly tank he is building. I try to get over there when I can after work. But sometimes it is a week or 2 before I get the time. I asked Jacob to ask Fred about writing his biography. Jacob said his wife is helping Fred get it written down already & he will get it for me as soon as it is done. I will send it to you ASAP. Here is a photo (Click for Image) Fred gave me a few weeks ago. It is his old #51X belly tank. This photo was taken at Cajon speedway in 1966 or 1967. Fred couldn't remember the exact year. Fred said they went to Cajon Speedway to do a few exhibition laps between races. It is OK to print this photo in the newsletter. Charles Chenowth
   Charles: Thank you and Jacob and his wife for working on Fred’s biography.


I have an extensive library of negatives that I'm currently in the process of scanning and adding to my digital library. If you currently own a car that raced in the mid-west I may have a photograph of it in its original paint and the original owner behind the wheel. Send me an email and I will see what I have. Ronald Nelson, [email protected]


Band schedule for Rockabilly Rod Reunion & NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. May 27-29 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Rockabilly Rod Reunion (www.rockabillyrodreunion.com) band/stage schedule:

   Friday, May 27
7 p.m. – Mad Max & The Wild Ones (Catch them on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace).
8 p.m. – Pin-up icon Sabina Kelley (autograph session and stage host until 10 p.m.).
8:30 p.m. – Cadillac Angels (www.cadillacangels.com) The first-ever band to play RRR in 2004.
10 p.m. – Danny Dean & The Homewreckers (

   Saturday, May 28
4 p.m. – The Lucky Cheats (Opened for surf guitar legend Dick Dale at the Hard Rock Caf�).
6 p.m. – VooDoo Swing (http://www.last.fm/music/Voodoo+Swing).
6 p.m. – Pin-up icon Sabina Kelley (autograph session and stage host until 10 p.m.).
8 p.m. – The Hot Rod Trio (http://www.thehotrodtrio.com).

9:30 p.m. – Pin-up contest, fancy dress singles competition, best-appearing couples competition, pompadour contest.

10:30 p.m. – Brian Dunning.

   Sunday, May 29
11 a.m. – Mad Max & The Wild Ones.
1 p.m. – Delta Bombers (http://www.wildrecordsusa.com/fr_deltabombers.cfm)
1 p.m. – Pin-up icon Sabina Kelley (autograph session and stage host until 10 p.m.).
2 p.m. – Pin-up contest finals, swimsuit competition.
3 p.m. – Will & The Hi Rollers (http://www.wildrecordsusa.com/fr_willthehirollers.cfm)

        Weekend includes rockabilly bands and DJ, nostalgia Funny Cars, pin-up celebrity Sabina Kelly, traditional car show, nostalgia drag racing, hot rods, cool customs, pin-up girl contest.

   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

   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.
9:30 p.m. – Pin-up contest, fancy-dress singles competition, best-appearing couples competition, best pompadour contest.

   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)
Noon-3 p.m. – Final judging for car show.
2 p.m. – Pin-up contest finals; swimsuit competition.
4:30 p.m. – Car show awards.
5 p.m. – Event concludes.

        For more information, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 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 SLSRH thanks www.Autowriters.com, for the use of this article (edited from the original). 

One Man's Road Ahead, by William Jeanes.

   I've followed the Blogosphere vs. Establishment controversy as presented on Autowriters.com during recent months. As some of you know, I spent a few decades as a part of the establishment, most visibly as a writer, an editor-in-chief, and a publisher at Car and Driver magazine. I also worked in the world of advertising agencies for ten years and was thus allowed to see car magazines and automotive writing from a second perspective. I am now 73; my first for-pay automotive freelance piece appeared in AutoWeek in 1972, and my most recent piece is a less-than-serious history of the automobile that will appear in the May/June issue of The Saturday Evening Post. I recently quit an editor-at-large slot at AOL Autos, and I'm now inclined to log off my laptop insofar as automotive writing is concerned. Why? Because I have other interests that I want to explore in the few years remaining to me before the world succumbs to vapor lock. And because I don't think automotive writing matters as much as it once did. 
   For years I've been convinced that cars have become too good to support meaningful criticism. Hybrids and electrics have provided some diversion, of course, just as they did in the early 1900s, but that does not change my conviction that the industry has improved and refined itself to the point of dullness. I and my peers have been reduced to the undignified picking of nits. Most of all, a decreasing number of publications have the space or inclination to run long features, which is what I enjoy writing. Further, pay for writers has adjusted inversely to inflation. With the arrogant belief common to all writers - that someone, somewhere, wants to read what you write - I am going to offer up some thoughts and mention some principles I've come to value during the past forty years. As I express my thoughts, with any luck I will irritate both sides of the continuing discussion in equal measure. 
   I begin by saying that I was a writer before I was a car person even though I pulled a wrench for pay from about age 15. I was 34 before I sold an article about cars (about racing, actually). I was a car enthusiast, but not to the point of hysteria. When Car and Driver offered me a staff writing position in 1972, I had just been accepted to the University of Arkansas writing program. I opted for the excitement of New York, writing on a daily basis, and pay. I've never regretted that decision. After three and one-half years there, the late David E. Davis, Jr. then creative director at Campbell-Ewald (Chevrolet, Goodyear), brought me into the advertising profession. He called me in 1975, before we ever met, and said, "I sure like your stuff. Why don't you come out to Detroit and let me teach you the advertising business?" I went, and I never regretted that decision either. 
   Most automotive writers cannot make the transition from prose writing to copywriting; I never understood why, but it's so. I learned that advertising writing was a business, a complicated one. At some point, it became obvious to me that automotive writing or, more accurately automotive publishing, was likewise a for-profit activity. There was no need for a Scarlett O'Hara moment ("As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."). I just came to realize that, writer or not, I had no intention of starving in the pursuit of writing. Rightly or wrongly I liked money and still do. According to our President I've made a great deal more than my share. My late father was fond of saying, "You can tell a lot about a man when you watch him get something free." I believed that, based only on my pre-magazine years. Imagine my reaction when, on my first press junket as a Car and Driver writer, I witnessed the spectacle of a gaggle of automotive writers fighting over free foul-weather gear provided by Volkswagen during a sail to Martha's Vineyard. You're right; my throw-up valve slammed into the red zone. 
   That sad vignette begs the obvious question, "If you're so all-fired pious, why did you ever accept junkets, trinkets, and dinners from car companies?" Excellent question. About the big-ticket item, junkets, the business answer is simple enough. Early access to new products was critical to our success. Couple that with our accountants having discovered that there was a way to avoid travel expenses, and there you are; take it or leave it. The small gift items were easy; just don't take them, and if you're the boss, don't let your staff take them. I failed at repeated efforts to have our parent company pay all our travel expenses. But I want to add that this was anything but a holier-than-thou act; it was an effort to create a set-apart differentiator with which to beat the competition over the head.
   Press cars were another matter. We at Car and Driver drove as many cars as possible in order to maintain a comparison-driven awareness of the market's products. Was it always necessary to keep on hand enough cars for the entire staff to drive, even those who did no writing or evaluation? The answer is yes, and here's why. An independent writer, in his or her conception of a perfect world, can get one press car per week. That's 52 per year. At Car and Driver, our unwritten requirement for maintaining a useful seat-of-the-pants database was to drive at least 125 cars a year. That is possible only if you maintain and manage a large press fleet at your place of business. I do not think there's a freelancer or blogger on earth who can do that. Bloggers and freelancers also do not normally have access to instrumented testing and an engineering staff. At Car and Driver, we emphatically did.
   So, those of you who routinely savage the establishment, exactly what is it you're bringing to automotive enthusiasts other than your opinions? If you say that magazines which take advertising are susceptible to influence by manufacturers, I agree. But the key word is susceptible. Integrity is your choice, and it wasn't even difficult. If you have 40 automakers as advertisers, you have every reason not to favor one over the other. Doing so, as I've said a hundred times, will cause you unshirted misery. And if you, as I did, forbid staff writers who do road tests from doing freelance work for automakers, your job is that much easier. Is this a slap at bloggers and freelancers? Not a serious one. A serious one would be to reference the endless stories told to me by public relations folks and fleet managers about "journalists" who are getting by with a single car at home and who are wont to call up and say, "Get a car over here. I don't care what it is." I don't know about you, but if I ever made such a call I would hope to God that a thunderbolt of revelation might tell me that I was in the wrong business. 
   That "wrong business" thought brings up the question of professionalism. Are you a professional? Once upon a time, I served an undistinguished term as president of the American Racing Press Association. Its membership was composed of writers and photographers who covered all forms of racing in the United States. Our continuing dilemma was our inability to gain blanket credential approval from the major racetracks. We tried, but we were unsuccessful. Here's why we failed: not enough of our members were professionals. I can't be sure, but it may have been Jim Foster at NASCAR who asked me, "How many of your members make their living covering races?" I do not remember my reply, but it was not "All of them." Foster's point was simple: If you don't make your living at it, you're not a professional. Never mind your talent level. 
   When a blogger, or anyone else, requests credentials to an automotive event, it seems reasonable to ask, "Do you make your living doing this?" If the answer's yes, you win. If not, see us next year. That of course may be oversimplifying. Assume that an individual blogger has a large audience but does not make much, if anything, in the way of money. Is the press officer not shooting himself in the foot if he refuses a credential? I'd say he was, but I'd say so reluctantly. But my heavens, I read earlier this week that some website or other had set its pay range for an 850-word piece at $25-$300. You do the arithmetic; I don't want to waste my time. You could make a better living collecting aluminum cans. 
   Here, I'll pause and make the distinction between individual bloggers and well-staffed electronic giants such as edmunds.com, autoblog.com, and Kelley Blue Book. And of course the traditional car magazines' electronic operations. By and large, existing print media have failed to marshal their considerable horsepower to add compelling electronic executions to what they offer. The reason is simple to an outsider, which I am: Properly done, a hotshot website has the potential to kill off its print sibling. You may not agree with that, but you cannot argue that the reverse is even remotely possible in today's world of instant, on-demand, information. Just as certain, no individual one-man or one-woman website can compete, save through copious use of links, with the big guys mentioned above. The individual can't drive enough cars, do enough - if any - serious instrumented testing, produce enough distinctive copy, or otherwise match the heavyweights.
   A website that uses many freelance contributors, I might add, faces serious organizational and consistency issues. I suppose it would be possible for an individual to carve out a niche, such as the absolute best instant photo and video coverage of all auto shows. But, after all, how many of those are there? And could you make a living? You'd be lucky to make travel expenses, although your credential would at least put you in the Eat Free or Die buffet lines and keep you from starving a few weeks each year. For the past three weeks, I have been cleaning out a building I own. It was filled with more relics than you can imagine, and among them was a copy of the first issue of Automobile Magazine, April 1983. Its founding editor, the aforementioned David E. Davis, Jr., wrote in his opening column that he was proud of the first-rate writers he'd assembled (among them Dean Batchelor, P.J. O'Rourke, Jean Lindamood, Kevin Smith, and even this writer) because, as Mr. Davis went on to say, "second-rate writers attract second-rate readers." 
   Consider the blogs in light of Mr. Davis's statement. In a recent issue of Autowriters.com, bloggers demonstrated what appears to be utter unfamiliarity with their native tongue (e.g. "newspapers have went under.") I find this depressing almost beyond endurance. And if you think that's a sad example, you should read the comments. Here again, save for the most unusual individual, the biggies at least have the budgets to ensure decent copyediting if not sparkling writing. Whether they do this with any real enthusiasm I do not know. Something not in question is that bloggers exist, and that there are lots of them. If you were an automaker or an event manager, what would you do with them? Paul Brian and the Chicago Auto Show allotted a whole press day to bloggers. And they let the manufacturers select who came, handing off the difficult question of who deserves (as opposed to wants) credentials. The day was considered a success by most of the manufacturers, and one and all got a better handle on the situation, albeit a hazy one.
   Comparing the starting of a blog with the starting of a traditional career in print media, I say that the single most important difference is that the traditional guys had to earn their way into the business. A blogger can just peel off the pajamas, open up shop and proclaim that he or she is a credible source. Credibility, when you get down to it, is everything. You can succeed without it, of course, but you are a fraud. Not that your intentions are evil, but you do not in most cases have enough resources to allow you to know what you're talking about. Do I wish that celestial lightning would strike down all bloggers? Of course not. I believe in free speech even if its syntax and spelling are substandard. And there are some entertaining storytellers and commentators out there. Joe Sherlock comes to mind. There are a few others.
   Very few, led by Peter DeLorenzo whom I consider to be the father of the automotive blog (and who came with established credibility). What I do wish is that I might be spared endless whining about credentials, press cars, unfairness, and general mistreatment from would-be automotive "journalists" who are demonstrably hard put to write much beyond their request for something free and who dress as if they shopped at Third World yard sales. And who couldn't get, let alone hold, a job at any professional publication, electronic or otherwise. When your blog's posted comments, most of which appear to be sent from planets where correct spelling and punctuation constitute felonies, are better than your articles, it's time to consider retraining. Or, if your enthusiasm for cars is pathologically uncontrollable, suicide. 
   I will say that there is at least one good quality about all blogs, even the most illiterate: Reading them is voluntary; the same is true for the existing magazines, most of which are well down the road to obsolescence. Bloggers don't bring much that's new to the party, and the establishment won't let anything old escape from the festivities. Those are my opinions, and I'm sticking to them. It occurs to me that writing none of the foregoing paragraphs gave me any pleasure at all, which reinforces my decision to say goodnight and good luck to the world of automotive writing. 
   William Jeanes is the former editor-in-chief of Car and Driver, Classic Automobile Register, and AMI Autoworld Weekly. He was publisher of Car and Driver and Road & Track. His automotive writing has appeared in more than two dozen publications, and his non-automotive work has been seen in Sports Illustrated. The New York Times, Playboy, Playbill, American Heritage, Journal of Mississippi History, Over the Front, and War, Literature, and the Arts. He co-wrote the book Branding Iron with Charlie Hughes and was a senior vice president at two major advertising agencies. He was Writer in Residence at Northwestern University in 2005 and serves on the board of trustees at Millsaps College and on the board of directors for the Eudora Welty Foundation. He and his wife, Susan, the creative director of five automotive magazines, live in Ridgeland, Mississippi.



   Steven E. Young, Chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation’s Board of Directors, announced today that the Museum Foundation has received a gift of approximately $100,000,000 from Margie Petersen and the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation. This donation is comprised of a substantial unrestricted financial gift, a matching challenge, the 300,000 square foot building that the Museum has occupied since it opened in 1994, and an important collection of cars assembled by the late Robert E. Petersen during his lifetime, all as part of the Museum’s gift. This donation ensures that the Museum will continue to grow in importance as one of Los Angeles’ premier museums, and the largest and most acclaimed automobile museum in the nation. 
   “I am thrilled to make this gift which continues what Mr. Petersen and I began two decades ago, to build the most important automotive museum in the nation. My intent in doing this is to provide the Museum with the necessary resources to continue to enhance its collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions so that generations to come will be able to forever know the history of the automobile and its role in the evolution of our nation’s transportation system,” said Margie Petersen. “I am fulfilling a vision that Mr. Petersen and I shared and planned to do someday. I am so happy that this day has come and that I can launch the Museum into a new era of growth and expansion. While I expect the resources of the Museum to be available to the world, this gift is especially designed to the benefit of the Los Angeles community where we made our lives together,” stated Margie Petersen. A program of special importance to Mrs. Petersen has been the Museum’s Free School Bus Program.
   Since 2005, the Museum has funded transportation that has enabled approximately 8,000 students per year from the Los Angeles Unified School District, grades K through 12, to visit the Museum. Teachers use the automobile to inspire student thinking about science, art, design, engineering, fuel supply, transportation and urban planning. Many teachers have stated that without this program the children would not have the opportunity to explore learning outside the classroom at all during the school year. “The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation Board is honored to acknowledge this gift as it launches a campaign to enlarge the Board and expand the reach of the Museum. We are committed to make the Petersen Automotive Museum the most important automobile venue in the world,” said Board Chairman Steven Young. “We are ecstatic to receive this extraordinary gift from Mrs. Petersen. The generosity that she and Mr. Petersen have shown has been legendary and the entire Museum staff is overjoyed by this gift,” remarked Buddy Pepp, Executive Director of the Museum. 
   More than 150,000 visitors a year tour the Petersen Automotive Museum which is located on Museum Row on Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile. In addition to the automobile and motorcycle collections of Margie and Robert E. Petersen and the Petersen Foundation collection, the Museum also displays important cars from many other car collectors who donate or loan their vehicles to the Museum. Robert E. Petersen founded Hollywood Publicity Associates in 1947. His love of cars let him win a contract to publicize a hot rod show at the Los Angeles Armory. He quickly recognized the market for a publication about hot rods which he parlayed into the legendary Hot Rod Magazine launched in 1948. He grew his business into a publishing empire with more than 36 monthly magazines and over 50 annual publications and became a household name among car enthusiasts. 
   In 1963 he married Margie McNally, a model and actress from New York. Together they built a life of business, collections and philanthropy as one of Los Angles’ most prominent couples. The Petersen car collection is renowned as one of the largest and most diverse collections in the United States. The Petersens are also known for important collections of wildlife and western art. The couple’s considerable philanthropic activities in Los Angeles include The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood, The Music Center, The Thalians, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, St. John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute among many others. One of the "Crown Jewels" of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Collection: The 1925/34 Rolls-Royce Phantom I, known as "The Round Door Rolls". 
   The 2010 exhibition, “Margie and Robert E. Petersen: Driven to Collect” featured a diverse sampling of vehicles from the Petersen’s collection and reflected the wide range of automotive history located within the Petersen Automotive Museum. The 2005 exhibition, “Musclecars: Power to the People” was one of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s more popular temporary exhibits, encompassing some of the most exciting –and colorful automobiles built in America. For information after April 28, please contact: Chris Brown Information and Marketing Manager Petersen Automotive Museum.


EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS AT A GLANCE (see below for more detailed information)
May 7                          NEW EXHIBIT- Art Wall: Tom Fritz
May 7                          Discovery Day: Car Greeting Cards
May30                         Museum OPEN for Memorial Day
June 4                         Discovery Day: Roadster Placemats
June18                        NEW EXHIBIT- Scooters: Size Doesn't Always Matter
June28                        Curator's Tour: Scooters: Size Doesn't Always Matter
July 9                           Scooters and Supercars Day
Through Oct 16          Supercars: When Too Much Is Almost Enough

THE ARTWORK OF TOM FRITZ, Opens Saturday, May 7, 2011, in the Art Wall
   Born and raised in San Fernando, California, Tom Fritz's vivid childhood recollections of the motorcycle and automotive cultures that were prevalent in Southern California during the 60's and 70's are a part of the power that shaped the artist he would become. Tom was a designer and illustrator for major corporations including Northrop Grumman and Petersen Publishing. Today, he paints out of his studio in Ventura County, California.  As a member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society, Tom has been honored with the coveted Peter Helck Award (Best of Show) at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance as well as being the recipient of several Awards of Excellence at the Meadow Brook Concours.  On view May 7, 2011 through November 6, 2011.

SCOOTERS: Size Doesn't Always Matter; Opens Saturday, June 18, 2011, in the Gordon R. Howard Gallery
   With today's high fuel prices, growing traffic congestion, and environmental consciousness, people are looking for easier, cheaper and cleaner ways to get where they are going. The diminutive scooter has been popular for generations in other countries, yet until recently has remained but a footnote in American transportation culture. This exhibit will explore different types of scooters from around the world, how and why they differ, and the culture that surrounds them.

   Car Activities & L.A. BookPALS, First Saturday of every month, 1-4pm. Join us on the first Saturday of each month for arts and crafts, and at 2:30pm, actors from L.A. BookPALS read stories. The program is included in Museum general admission. Call 323-964-6308 for more information. Future topics include:
   May 7, 2011, Pop-up Greeting Cards. Make Mom a greeting card for Mother's Day!
   June 4, 2011, Roadster Palcemats. Before you head out on summer vacation make a placemat about all the fun things you’ll do!

   Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in the Gordon R. Howard Gallery
Join Petersen Automotive Museum Curator Leslie Kendall as he guides you through Scooters to explore the unique two-wheeled vehicles that have spawned cult-like followings in some countries and mobilized others. Reservations recommended for all programs.  Call 323-964-6347, or email [email protected] for more information or to RSVP.

   Saturday, July 9, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the 3rd Level Petersen Parking Structure. In conjunction with its summer feature exhibitions “Supercars: When Too Much Is Almost Enough” (3/5/11-10/16/11) and “Scooters” (6/18/11-2/5/12), the Petersen Automotive Museum is hosting Scooters and Supercars Day. The highlight of Scooters and Supercars Day will be the public super car and scooter show.   Only at the Petersen will you see vehicles by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Vespa, and Honda all proudly parked next to one another!  Guest of Honor Steve Saleen will speak about his racing and manufacturing endeavors and technical how-to sessions with Griot’s Garage car care products throughout the day will have you polishing your vehicle of choice like never before.
   Car show pre-registration is only $15 per vehicle ($10 for Petersen members), a great weekend activity for your car or scooter club!  Registration provides free admission for two (2) to the Petersen Automotive Museum on Saturday, July 9, 2011, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  All programs are open to museum visitors with paid admission on July 9. For more information or to register your car or scooter contact Clayton at 323-964-6347 or [email protected]. For information on vendor spaces, contact Chris at 323-964-6320 or [email protected].


SUPERCARS: WHEN TOO MUCH IS ALMOST ENOUGH; Open through October 16, 2011 in the Grand Salon
   Supercars have existed since the first decade of the twentieth century and while their mechanical and design specifications have evolved from era to era, they have always had in common immensely powerful engines, minimal passenger carrying capacity, adventurous mechanical specifications, and a commanding presence.  Like supermarkets, supermodels, and supercomputers, supercars represent an extreme.  More than mere transportation, they offer a bold and extroverted means to express oneself.

NHRA: SIXTY YEARS OF THUNDER; Through May 29, 2011, in the Gordon R. Howard Gallery
   Explore the colorful and exciting history of one of America’s most popular motorsports. From the wild Gassers and Altereds, to nitro-burning top fuel dragsters and fabulous funny cars, the Petersen Automotive Museum will be filled with enough horsepower to change the Earth’s rotation!

   The Southern California Automotive Design Studio. Presented in Cooperation with Art Center College of Design Ongoing Exhibit
   Visitors will see a comparison of a 1930's studio with a modern-day studio with various examples of the creative process in 2-D and 3-D form from different points in California's rich automotive history. Design demonstrations by Art Center students will occur in the exhibit on the second and fourth Sunday of every month from approximately 10am-3pm.
   The Hot Wheels Hall of Fame at the Petersen Automotive Museum, features Hot Wheels® full-size and die-cast cars, original models, wooden patterns, injection molds and drawings of original vehicle designs.
   From the highly styled 1963 Chrysler Turbine to the General Motors EV1, automobiles equipped with innovative propulsion systems are presented to illustrate the growth of alternative vehicle technology.

   Open Tuesday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and Saturday & Sunday, 10am-5pm
The May Family Discovery Center is an interactive learning center that teaches basic scientific principles using the fundamental elements of the car.

SPECIAL EVENTS AND FILMING – Please call (323) 964-6348 or visit
www.petersenevents.org to host your event or shoot film at one of LA's most exciting venues!

BIRTHDAY PARTIES - The Museum offers a wonderful venue for children’s birthday parties.  Party guests can enjoy all three floors of the museum including the May Family Discovery Center.  For more information or to book your party, call 323-964-6373. 
SCHOOL TOURS- Taking a field trip to the Pete is an excellent way to teach your students about the history of Los Angeles and its intertwined relationship with the automobile. Students learn basic scientific principles and their applications as they explore hands-on activities in the Discovery Center. School Tours focus on history/social science, visual arts, and science & technology. Call (323) 964-6358 for information and reservations.
GROUP TOURS A docent-led tour is available to groups of ten or more. - (323) 964-6346.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES - Come and be a part of the Petersen’s “Pit Crew”.  For an application or more information call - (323) 964-6358, email [email protected].


   In April 2011, some months after "Speed Duel" was published, I was contacted by Bill Woodall, manager of Advanced Tire Engineering at Firestone back in the 1960s when Art Arfons was going after the land speed record. Bill kindly wrote up his memories of those times when he and his Firestone team were developing high speed tires for Art. He also included his own eyewitness account of Art's horrific 600-mph crash in November 1966, and his thoughts on the cause. Thanks, Bill, for sharing these valuable memories! (Check out Bill's website, triplanebuilder.com. He has built a real Sopwith triplane!)

*          *          *

Attempt for the Land Speed Record

I was manager of Advanced Tire Engineering, a small group within the Development Department of The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. This happened to coincide with the time when Art Arfons was challenging the most recent achievements of Craig Breedlove. Craig and Goodyear had beaten Art’s and Firestone’s previous record. Normally, our racing division was involved in this sort of activity. But this time there was too much on their plate and so the project was given to my department. Few people worked on tires that were expected to operate at speeds exceeding 600 miles per hour. That included me.
A few examples of Art’s previous tires existed, and our outdoor test facility at Columbiana, Ohio had two test machines capable of the speeds and loads that would be required. We soon established that this higher speed regime was going to require a new tire. Calculations had to take into account the centrifugal “growth” that the tires would experience. This included the bundles of steel wires that anchored the fabric body and kept the tires on their rims. Art observed many of our tests and formed an idea about what modifications he needed to make to the Green Monster to provide clearances. He quickly carried them out.
It seemed that the right rear position was the one that had caused trouble in the past, and we had to design for its demands. We therefore told Art that we needed some actual runs with load transducers installed to determine what the tire was going to experience. Art wasn’t at all happy about this delay. He also assured me that he could be just as dead at 400 mph as at 600 mph. We discovered that at engine shutdown—with the car at its maximum speed—the downward force on the right rear tire was suddenly twice what it had been just prior to that.
Back at the test site, when we programmed these conditions into the operation, there was no way we could be assured of any margin of safety. With the time constraints that Art was facing (late Fall rains in Utah fast approaching that would close out the racing season) our only option was to put another tire outboard of the existing one, and also on the left side for symmetry. With this setup, we consistently made it to 650 mph on the test machine. The wheel bearing setup was identical to that used by Art on the Monster: tapered Timkin roller bearings. There was a pre-load ritual that was accurately observed with each set up.
We always tested to tire failure. One item that I observed—but now realize that I completely misunderstood—was the likelihood of red-hot bearings pouring from the hub as the wheel spun down after a failure. I attributed this to the eccentric forces that the failing tire, or the residual parts still hooked to the rim, had introduced.
(Flash forward to a few years ago when a friend of mine was tasked with being a consultant for a British group hoping to set a new land speed record for diesel vehicles. Having worked in the aircraft tire arena as well as in racing, he proposed an existing military size. His test site would be in Dayton, Ohio on a machine owned by the US Air Force. He supplied the necessary tire and aircraft wheel equipped with roller bearings. They declined to test this setup. The wheel had to be converted to ball bearings for speeds in the 400 mph arena. This was done. The tire qualified for the mission, and the run at Bonneville was a success. I further learned from a retiree from a different workplace, that pre-loading roller bearings puts undue force on the lower ends of the rollers, and causes them to stop rolling and to skid.)
Back to Bonneville and Art. We realized that the parasitic drag from the extended rears (i.e. the double tires in the rear) would be a problem. I now believe, however, that the bearings heated as the car got into the mile and produced an increasing retarding force on the vehicle, and a destructive torque load on the tires. On Art’s final run, having drifted off course, the corrective steering loads increased the heat, and the weld-up resulted.
Another Firestone man and I were driving (so as to be observers from the end of the measured mile) when Art passed us by on his run. We kept our 100 mph-plus dash after him. Then we saw the rooster tail of salt, and the chase plane do a 180. We got into the debris trail, and a blurred image of a blood red cylinder on the track made me yell that we had lost a driver. (It was the parachute assembly that Art had attempted to fire, (but it just fell out). The chute that did deploy did so on its own.
When we arrived at the smoking wreckage, Art was slumped in the cockpit and blood was trickling onto his left cheek. I and others used pieces of two-by-four to pry tubing away from him. He hadn’t made a sound. We were still trying to get him out when Ed Snyder came up. He was hysterical. At that moment, Art looked up and said: “Aw, shut up Ed, I ain’t hurt.”
We got Art aboard the ambulance plane for a run to Salt Lake City. Jim Cook looked quite pale. I don’t know what I looked like. Jim asked me what I thought he should do. I suggested that he ride with Art, and he did.


Please find attached pdf file of latest press release about an important day in the restoration of Europe’s first dragster – Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler. (Click for Press Release). Brian Taylor, Chairman Allard Chrysler Action Group


VSCC SeeRed at Donnington This Weekend (tickets anyone?)
GN Spider c1920, Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb 
Oil Sketch for Painting demonstration this weekend. (Click For Image)
I will be running a trade stand at this weekends VSCC event SeeRed at Donnington Park. The above oil sketch will form the basis for the painting demonstration for the weekend.
I have two spare tickets for the weekend for anyone that is interested.
Please contact me before the weekend if you are interested in free entry.

Organised by the VSCC who have been racing at Donington Park since the 1930s, SeeRed brings the best Vintage and Historic cars and drivers to Donington . Spectators will be fully entertained by a programme of 17 races over the weekend that highlights Pre-war Sports-Cars, Vintage and Historic (Pre -61) Grand Prix Cars, 1950s Sports Racing Cars, Formula Junior, Equipe GTS (50s and 60s production sports-cars) and 500s. More info along with race schedule can be found at the event website:


VSCC SeeRed at Donnington Park 2011 Report
VSCC SeeRed at Donnington was certainly a feast for the eyes in terms of the variety of cars.
I also got some painting done too.

GN Spyder at Shelsey Walsh c1920s. Oil on Board. Here's the demonstration piece so for. There is a real dynamic to this piece that really works. Mostly work to do on the crowd as I want to keep this piece loosely rendered.


After almost being blown away twice on Saturday morning I was kindly allowed to se up in the Paddock Suite; where I managed to run a painting demonstration rather than hanging on to the gazebo.

Lea Francis S Hyper In original conditionas raced by the factory.

Ford Special?

Brooklands Napier Railton

Cooper Mark I

Cooper 500cc J.A.P. Engine



A very Smart Fraiser Nash with a fantastic looking rear end!







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