NEWSLETTER 214 - August 4, 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, Richard "Dick" Fish died in a motorcycle accident in Glacier National Park while participating in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly rally; I would like to tell you that there is a great biography done by Stuart Hilborn that I finished reading last night; G'Day; I received this email today. You may have also received a copy; G'Day Roger, Richard and Bruce; Editor's notes: The California Racers Reunion is back and will be held on October 22, 2011 at the Riverside International Automotive Museum; A very interesting motorcycle video taken at El Mirage dry lake in 2011; Ed Justice Jr and Justice Brothers Car Care Products has a new emailed newsletter and you can get on it by going to Justice Brothers; Scottsdale, Arizona, July 28, 2011; CBS Sports Spectacular  and Lucas Oil present: 1st Annual Diamond Nationals Drag Boat Races from Lake Lucas at the LUCAS Oil Speedway in Wheatland MO; In keeping with the Hot Rod Hangout theme in the newsletter, last Friday night I visited a new venue that is held at the ADM and supported by Source Interlink, the publishers of the Petersen magazines; This month’s Aussie Invader 5R newsletter is now available to read online; Western Reserve Historical Society marks turnaround with updates; Editor: the following are some letters received from Spencer Simon who is doing a story on the Head Hunters car club that formed in the late 1940’s; My father was the starter at the Bonneville Salt Flats back in 1960-1975; SpeedDemon WICKED HP; Pre War Prescott Report


President's Corner:  
Jim Miller is inspecting cars for Bonneville and will return to his column after Speed Week.


   I want to give a special thanks to our Northern California Reporter; Spencer Simon. He is one of our members who understood what our purpose was all about and asked if he could help. We were delighted to have him become the representative of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH) in a racing region rich with history in Northern California. While people credit Southern California as the birthplace of hot rodding and land speed racing, that view is inaccurate. Hot rodding and land speed racing have roots that cannot be attributed to any one locale. It is true that Southern California was an especially rich hot rodding and land speed racing area and made a huge contribution to the car culture. But there are many other areas that have had a large and continuing impact on straight-line racing. All over the United States and in many foreign lands there were and continue to be hot rodding enthusiasts and innovators who made the various straight-line racing sports what they are today. Spencer saw the need to record history in his area and volunteered to go out and interview those in the Northern California region. He has done a remarkable job in contacting people and in gathering their history. His efforts represent the best in the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians and we thank him for what he is doing to save that areas history.
   Simon will be the first to tell you that he is learning on the job; but so are Roger, Jim and me. The SLSRH was created in discussions between Jim Miller, Roger Rohrdanz and me. We felt the need to try and find places where artifacts could be saved and stored, mostly in museums. Our first discussions were held at a museum in fact. We formed this society with that purpose in mind, but often the original aim doesn’t work out as well as we would have hoped and so we develop other goals and ideas and from this the Newsletter was created. Then Mary Ann and Jack Lawford offered us the free use of their website at www.landspeedracing.com. We still want to promote museums and other storage facilities wherever we can, but now we have added biographies, captioned photographs and other news items of historical importance to our list of goals. In order to accomplish these aims we need help; the kind of help that Spencer offered to us as a volunteer reporter. We need many more Spencers if we are going to succeed. The longer we wait the more of our community will pass away without leaving their history behind, captioning their photographs or creating a provenance of their valuable collections. 
   Volunteers do not have to be professional historians or archivists. They just have to be willing to learn and to enjoy what they are doing. I didn’t know all that much about writing articles or book reviews until I did them. It’s amazing how well you can do something if you try and then try again. The more that you do something the better you get at that subject. Spencer is finding, reviewing, researching and sending us some fantastic textual and photographic material. We need more volunteers like him. What do you have to do? The first thing is to simply email us and tell us where you are and what you would like to do. I will advise you and help you to learn how to be a better reporter. Make up a short list of people that you know and interview them. Copy or scan their photographs with their permission and then make up captions; including the who, what, where and when. Send the photographs and captions to Roger, Jim and me. Send the textual material to Jim and me. I will edit what you send, if it needs editing and publish it in the newsletter.
   There may be other projects that you want to include. The fun thing about the SLSRH is that we can do what we enjoy doing. We are all volunteers and there are no bosses. We individually collect, record, save and share historical knowledge about land speed racing and hot rodding. Membership is also voluntary. A member doesn’t have to sign up, pay dues or serve on committees. We have none of that. A member is simply one who writes in, reads the newsletter, volunteers if he wishes to, or simply enjoys what we do at the SLSRH. We ask, but we don’t force, every member to write their biography, caption their photographs and leave a written provenance of their collectibles. You don’t even have to share that with us as long as you leave that knowledge to your family or someone or group that you trust to preserve it. Of course, leaving a record that no one knows about sort of defeats our purpose, which is to record, preserve and disseminate history. So if you would like to be a reporter for your area as Spencer Simon has for his area, please let me know.
   On another matter; a few people have asked me what we do with the bios and other stories that we receive and who does it belong to. These are great questions and the answers vary according to the circumstances. Anyone who writes their bios or sends us stories owns their own words. If I help them edit it then I am credited as the editor, but it is your story and your work. If Jim, Roger, Spencer or me writes the story or bio after talking to you, then we own the story or bio and you are credited as the “source.” A person who takes the photograph is the “owner” of the picture and image, no matter how many times it is reproduced. The websites at
www.landspeedracing.com or at www.hotrodhotline.com have an “exclusive” to run the story if the bio or article is submitted to them through the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter or as an individual story to the hotrodhotline website. The websites can release that “exclusive” right to be the only ones to run the story if you ask them for permission to run it elsewhere. In practice we share rather than own. The Lawford’s give me permission to publish elsewhere all the time. I give up my rights to exclusive use of my book, magazine and movie reviews to whoever is willing to publish them if it will help the author; which is why I write reviews.
   I often publish what you write under my by-line at Gone Racin.’ But you are always credited for what you do. You may be listed as an author, or a co-writer, an editor or as the owner (story or photograph). Sometimes I help you establish your own by-line and refer you to a website or magazine that will publish what you write. There is no pay or remuneration in what we do. Even the big magazines pay such a pittance that in the end the payment is just able to pay for gas money to do the assignment. You shouldn’t write in anticipation of making money. Only a small percentage ever make a living at writing or photographing. Most people keep at it because it is a hobby that fascinates them and they hope that someday they will be noticed and become successful writers and photographers. The chance of that happening is one in a thousand or perhaps even worse odds than that. What we do here at the SLSRH is for posterity and the enjoyment of finding new knowledge and sharing it. But we do have members who are professional historians, writers, authors and photographers and we respect their efforts to make a living at what they do. Sometimes this means that they refuse to publish with us because we can’t pay them. That’s all right with us, because they are going to publish their work someplace and that’s all that we ask for.
   Concerning captions for photographs; the general rule is this, caption every photograph with as much information as you can.  The caption should include who, what, when and where.  If you have little or no information just say what you know to be true.  If you don't know much, then ask Jim Miller to help with the captions.  He's good at that.  Roger Rohrdanz, our photographic editor of the Society, will redo captions if he thinks he can improve on them.  Never guess with captions; only write what you know to be true or what the sources you use tell you to be true. You can also do research and become the source of the captions. Be wary of the information on the internet because the sources haven’t always been authenticated. But that applies to books and reference materials as well; always check and recheck your sources that you use for captioning photos.


Richard "Dick" Fish died in a motorcycle accident in Glacier National Park while participating in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly rally. The facts we have from officials show Fish was driving a motorcycle when it crashed with a vehicle on To The Sun Road. It happened east of the Avalanche parking area. The crash happened at 5:30 Saturday night. Nobody else was hurt. The National Park Service is trying to figure out how the crash happened.   Fish, 70, was from Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Although details of the accident remain sketchy, the investigating officer called it a "freak accident" that did not involve speed, lack of rest (it happened only a few hours into the rally), or an animal. Riders on the scene said there was little damage to the motorcycle.     
   Dick was one of the Iron Butt Association's most skilled and experienced riders. Perhaps his most significant accomplishment was a 21-day, record-setting ride from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska on the Arctic Ocean to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the end of the road in South America. He was also an exceptional dirt bike rider and an expert mechanic; a trait he would put to good use on his Iron Butt Rally rides. Also in memory of his close friend Jim Young, Dick devised and was the first rider to complete a stunning ride from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Key West, Florida and Goose Bay, Labrador, and concluding in central Colorado. Fittingly, the ride has become known as the Ultimate North America Insanity.     
   At one time, until the shutting down of Buell he was also highly involved with Buell and for a couple of years went straight to Daytona after the AHDRA Florida drag races, with Walt Sipp as his rider, to race in the Daytona 200. Dick was also a commercial pilot with Air Canada for 30 years. As a businessman, he at one time raised Bison in Cardston, Alberta Canada. He was also a sponsor, race promoter, avid 1/4 mile drag racer who lived in his hauler behind Eagle HD in Lafayette Indiana, for sometimes a month at a time making sure any motors, equipment etc, that were hurt in the prior race were fixed and ready for the next race. He would also drive thousands of miles all over, to get to races, pick up parts and or bikes. This year he put up the money for the AHDRA race in Tulsa to add an extra event to the schedule and also co-sponsored the AHDRA S/G class. At 70 years of age I don't think there's anyone who put more miles on a motorcycle in a lifetime. The motorcycle community will greatly feel the loss of its best and most accomplished ambassador.          From www.BikerHotline.com     


I would like to tell you that there is a great biography done by Stuart Hilborn that I finished reading last night.  Boy was it great.  It is a nice story.  Great adventures of great people; take a shot at reading it.  It's definitely worth reading.  Spencer Simon - Reporter of the North
     Spencer: What is the title of the book, where can we buy a copy and would you do a book review for us? 
I saw the Biography on WWW.nitrogeezers.com. I clicked onto Stuart Hilborn’s Biography; It has about five sections of bio. I have not read the book yet. But I am anxious to read it. The part I read was great; particularly all he went through. A real treasure was when he came to a meeting of legendary 1913 Indy driver Jules Goux. Also a bit of humor how he dealt with Enzo Ferrari. A promising great story of Stu Hilborn.  What a great deal of wonderful history.  Spencer Simon
Spencer: Email www.Nitrogeezers.com and ask permission to copy and paste the article onto a regular email to send to me to publish.  If they agree then send me the article and I will publish it in the SLSRH. 


G'Day; I received this email today. You may have also received a copy.  I'd say Roger Smith did a google search and found my land speed racing websites; Land Speed Racing History - http://www.gregwapling.com/hotrod/land-speed-racing-history/index.html.  Land Speed Racing America - http://www.gregwapling.com/hotrod/land-speed-racing-america/index.html.  I have a page dedicated to the Pierson Brother Coupe at http://www.gregwapling.com/hotrod/land-speed-racing-america/pierson-brothers-coupe.html.  I reckon you will know who Roger should be talking to. I bet I know Bruce Meyer would be interested in this stuff!  Cheers, Greg Wapling, PO Box 5317 Mordialloc VIC 3195 Australia, [M] 0434 821 307, [E] [email protected], [Skype] gregwapling, [W] consult.gregwapling.com, Let's Go Cruisin', Hot Rod Internet, Dry Lakes RacersAustralia, http://www.facebook.com/greg.wapling, http://www.hubgarage.com/mygarage/gregwapling.
Hello; My wife's step-dad, Bob Pierson, died recently and we have many trophies from his years with the Pierson Brothers Coupe.  We would like to donate these trophies, but we would like to know more about them.  Most of them have the date, speed, etc., but it does not say the locations where Bob was.  Please have someone contact me.  Thank you.  Roger Smith
   Roger and Greg: I'm going to publish your comments in the
Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter (SLSRH) as it brings up a point that is important to people; what to do with our racing and hot rodding memorabilia and artifacts.  I am printing your contact information, but not until next week, so if you don't want your email addresses or phone numbers in print, please let me know.  First, to answer Roger's question.  Jim Miller, Roger Rohrdanz and I agonize over this question a lot.  I have editorialized about what to do with our memorabilia.  Trophies and artifacts should remain with the family for as long as possible, but when they no longer have room or interested family members, then the artifacts should be transferred to the safest repository that will look after the object, care for it and see that research is done and open to the public.  Bruce Meyer is a collector who shows many of his cars in the Petersen Automotive Museum and is a board member of the facility.  He is an excellent choice.  There is also the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar and the ADM (Automotive Driving Museum) in El Segundo, but their main interests are in antique cars like the Packard and Rolls/Royce.  The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona is another fine institution. 
     Where possible the trophies should remain with the car, once the winner of those trophies has passed on and the family no longer wants the artifacts.  The objective is to insure that the trophies will be kept safe and be used for research and public observation.  The Society is not against selling or giving the artifacts.  Gifting the objects is no safer than selling them.  We simply want to see the artifacts in safe hands and available to researchers, photographers and writers.  Because of the economy, many museums today are under a lot of financial stress and they often sell off parts of their collections in order to stay open.  So you have to be careful when you choose to gift an object.  It may be very valuable to you, but to the museum it is just another object taking up space, probably in storage somewhere.  Many people have gifted an object only to see it sold to a private collector.  If that is the case then the gifter could have sold the object himself.
     As for research on the trophies the best way to go about it is to start with what you know and include photographs and captions.  Then send that textual and photographic material to as many websites as you can and ask the site to publish the material with a request for more information.  There aren't a lot of researchers available and fewer still who will do this work for you for free.  But websites like the SLSRH will publish what you send us and our readers have been known to send back what they know.  Another approach that works is to start a phone tree or bank.  Simply start calling those who might know something and each time you finish the call ask the person if they have a name and phone number of five other people that you can call.  This approach does two things; one, it's fast and two, it starts a buzz in the hot rodding community that you are looking for information.  A number of our readers also subscribe to other land speed racing websites.  Guys like Jim Miller, Jim Lattin, Don Ferguson and other racers and historians will often answer your questions.  The more you send in the more memories you will jog.  Often I will ask people questions and they don't know.  But I keep asking them different questions, providing more code words (words that prompt a response) and finally they remember.  Whatever you send me I will publish in the SLSRH.  We are a free newsletter located at www.landspeedracing.com


G'Day Roger, Richard and Bruce:
   You will now appreciate that there are many, many people in the Land Speed family that have an interest in Bob Pierson and the "2D Coupe." It should be pretty easy to provide some more information about the trophies given they have dates and speeds as records exist for most events. If you’re interested there is another really good page on the coupe at http://www.kustomrama.com/index.php?title=Pierson_Brothers%27_Coupe
Cheers, Greg Wapling, Mordialloc, Australia
   Greg: Thank you for sharing your links with us.  Please be sure to send us all the land speed racing news from down under.  We don't get enough information from that area of the world and we need to broaden our outlook.  Any news or history that you want to share, please send it to us at the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians and cross link with us.


Editor's notes: The California Racers Reunion is back and will be held on October 22, 2011 at the Riverside International Automotive Museum. You can't miss this reunion; it is worth making the effort to attend.


A very interesting motorcycle video taken at El Mirage dry lake in 2011 can be seen at http://www.bikerhotline.com/videos/2011/11_el_mirage_2011/. Taken from www.BikerHotline.com


Ed Justice Jr and Justice Brothers Car Care Products has a new emailed newsletter and you can get on it by going to Justice Brothers, 2734 Huntington Drive, Duarte, CA 91010. 1-626-359-9174 or [email protected]


Scottsdale, Arizona, July 28, 2011
   Valerie Thompson has partnered with Kerry Alter/Julian Bivins Racing Team to attempt setting multiple land speed records with a BMW 1000 Superbike for the 8th Annual BUB Speed Trials. The team’s goal is to be the world’s fastest 1000cc production motorcycle and gain membership in the prestigious 200 MPH Club. The “200 MPH Club” was formed in 1953. Today there are 678 members, with only 15 females officially listed. Kerry Alter, partner in the KA/JB Racing, explains their decision to hire Valerie, “We started by selecting the perfect bike, the BMW S 1000RR. Next we had to find the best racer to pilot this two-wheeled rocket. Fortunately, both of us had Valerie at the top of our list! After one meeting with Valerie and a hand shake, we had our deal to make another “assault on the salt”. Kerry will also attempt a new land speed record driving a Suzuki Hayabusa in the 1350cc class at this year’s event. Julian adds, ”Valerie brings amazing driving talent and competitive spirit to our team. In addition to being an accomplished and fearless racer, she adds great depth to our marketing capabilities. For us, this is the perfect match”. 
   The BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials are held August 27 through September 1 at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover Utah. The event is hosted by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), which verifies and sanctions all US national records. All world records are verified and sanctioned by the F�d�ration Internationale de Motoclisme (FIM). Over 300 racers will attempt land speed records this year, yet less than 10% will set records based on historical performance, signifying the difficulty of this endeavor.  Valerie Thompson Background In 2006 & 2007, Valerie set two Land Speed Records at Bonneville piloting a panhead Harley Davidson provided by Keith Ball of Bikernet.com. Valerie has risen from a competitor in the All Harley Drag Racing Association series, to being a team owner/licensed competitor in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock Motorcycle Series in less than five years. The NHRA is the worlds largest drag racing association. 
   Valerie is also a spokeswoman/motorcycle presenter for the world’s largest auto auction company, Barrett-Jackson, and spokeswoman for “Val’s Pals” Children charities, most notably, HopeKids. Kerry Alter/Julian Bivins Background; In 2007, Phoenix Arizona resident, Kerry Alter and Julian Bivins joined forces to set a new Land Speed Record in the 1000cc Modified Class at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. In 2008 Kerry formed Team CrashaLot LSR. By the start of the 2011 season, Kerry had accumulated 5 Land Speed Records, with a top speed of 195.8. Julian is a 2-time Land Speed Record Holder. This year, the team’s goal is set new records in the FIM 1000cc class with Valerie Thompson piloting the BMW 1000cc Superbike. Event and Organization Information Sources; www.speedtrialsbybub.com, www.nhra.com, www.americanmotorcyclist.com, www.fim-live.com. Media Contacts; Eric Studer, Director of Marketing, Valerie Thompson Racing, 214-676-3860, [email protected]. Valerie Thompson, Owner/Driver, Valerie Thompson Racing, 253-225-2626 or [email protected] 


CBS Sports Spectacular  and Lucas Oil present: 1st Annual Diamond Nationals Drag Boat Races from Lake Lucas at the LUCAS Oil Speedway in Wheatland MO.  This event was from July 29-31, 2011.  Watch for further air times on VERUS and on MAV-TV.  August 20th at 1:00pm Eastern. Pattie Frost
   SLSRH Readers: You may be wondering why I am listing a drag boat race in a land speed newsletter. The reason is threefold; I like boat racing, Pattie Frost worked for my father at one time and to let all of you know that it is important to send word of an event far in advance. Pattie gave me three weeks prior notice, which is the very minimum to notify me. While the SLSRH is a historical newsletter, we do publish current and coming events, but that is not our strong point. I send the newsletter in weekly, which means a potential delay of seven days. The website has the newsletter posted within one to seven days, usually on the quicker side. Many readers don’t check their email messages or scan their favorite websites for a week or more. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that your message will reach your target audience if you don’t allow at least three weeks prior notice. And then that is pushing it. I advise those of you who are the PR people for your car club, racing team or special event to write to me (and other websites) as soon as you schedule an event. So what if that is a year in advance. The more you notify people the more successful your activity. Write often and write early.


In keeping with the Hot Rod Hangout theme in the newsletter, last Friday night I visited a new venue that is held at the ADM and supported by Source Interlink, the publishers of the Petersen magazines.  It was quite a turnout and well attended by a lot of different special interest car owners. I shot some overall pix and have captioned them on the image.  ADM and Source Interlink plan to stage these events on the last Friday of each month through the summer.  I've scribbled a short piece of around 550 words and will send it to you as soon as I receive the corrections from ADM.  The pix are 4 x 6 JPEGS.  Bob Falcon
     Bob: I've got the story and will process it as soon as I can, hopefully for this week's issue of the SLSRH Newsletter.  Be sure, and this is for all those sending photographs that good captions are also included with as much information as possible.  The captions should give the; who, what, where and when.  Include Roger Rohrdanz email address in the CC box so that he will get the captioned photographs and I will get the textual story material.   Roger works all the photos and I do all the texts.  Thank you very much for doing this project for us
30 July 2011 ADM Cruise Night, by Bob Falcon.
     A step back in time!  Late 1940’s, Saturday night “Hot Rod Hangouts” at “Pic’s Drive-In,” Culver City!   We attended the second Cruise Night gathering at The Automobile Driving Museum (ADM) in El Segundo, which is located quite near LAX. This affair was staged by the museum in conjunction with Source Interlink, the publishing house who are the current publishers of Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines. The publisher’s offices are located very close to ADM, so the two facilities got their heads together in June to test this car show concept and the result was overwhelming.  The car display is set-up in front of ADM on Lairport Street and includes their adjacent parking lots.  Reports were that the June event suffered some serious problems for guest parking, so a new plan was in place for the July event. The city of El Segundo closed Lairport Street to through traffic between Maple and Mariposa Streets making the entire block available for people to show their cars…and they did in two rows of side-by-side display parking that consumed nearly the entire block. 
     Every type vehicle that you can imagine, from Street Rods and Off Road Racers to a Lamborghini to a, like brand new, 1934 Plymouth sedan were there, along with four motor-home size food specialty vendor vehicles plying their wares to the hungry participants and viewers.   There is no cost to show a vehicle or to the guests who can wander around the various displays and the museum restoration shop. There is a small donation request for those who wish to view the indoor ADM collection of nearly 150 “showroom new” appearing cars displayed on the indoor museum floor.  A live band “banged-out” a mixture of tunes, “Ear Candy” for the guests in the ADM north parking lot and piped throughout the facility.  A collection of cars styled after Mattel Hot Wheels toys were on view in the Building 600 meeting room. The irony to this is the fact that the Mattel Design Center is adjacent to ADM! 
     Visitor parking utilized space not used for the car display on Lairport Street however this space is limited. There is abundant street parking on Mariposa Street and also in two private parking lots adjacent to the intersection of Lairport and Mariposa.  ADM, in conjunction with Inter Link, plan to stage these Cruise Nights on the last Friday of every month-through the summer. Hours are 6PM until 9PM and there is no charge to show your special vehicle to a growing list of interested visitors. So get your polishing gear together, add some elbow grease and mark your calendar and show your “wheels” at the ADM/Source Interlink Cruise Night on August 26. Get there early (around 5 PM) to get a choice spot. Enter Lairport Street off of Mariposa that intersects Sepulveda Blvd, one block west.  This event, to the writer, was very reminiscent of his teen years visiting the Saturday Night “Hot Rod Hangouts” at Piccadilly’s Drive-In as described in the story recently published in The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  The only thing missing Friday night was the presence of Karl and Veda Orr!
Bob: Thank you for the story.  I am going to include it in this week's newsletter.  The captions and story are fine as they are.  I am also going to send this to www.hotrodhotline.com, attention Mary Ann Lawford, because it is a car show and they excel at having such pictorial cruises listed on their website.  All members of the SLSRH should send their photographs and stories about car shows and cruises to Mary Ann.  I will be glad to publish what you have written here, but I also want it to go to www.hotrodhotline.com where it will receive a larger audience.  Anytime photographs are sent to me the sender should also include Roger Rohrdanz email address in the CC box as he is the SLSRH Photographic Editor.  I don't handle the photos and have to refer them on to him. 


This month’s Aussie Invader 5R newsletter is now available to read online at http://www.aussieinvader.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/aussieinvader_aug11.pdf (503k - may take a few seconds to load). To view more information about the project, please visit our NEW website www.aussieinvader.com. Best wishes Rosco McGlashan


Western Reserve Historical Society marks turnaround with updates. August 01, 2011.  By Margaret Bernstein, The Plain Dealer 
     CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum's cars and planes will vanish next month.  But this time, it won't be because of financial woes.  In fact, it's just the opposite. The Western Reserve Historical Society, which operates the Crawford museum, will place the vehicles in temporary storage so that it can embark on 10 months of renovations and improvements, financed mainly by a long-delayed $2.8 million grant from the state.  Historical society officials this week will announce a sweeping plan to update its University Circle facility and make it handicap accessible. New roofing, ceilings, insulation, electrical and sprinkler systems will be installed in the two lobbies and the Crawford museum, and the gift shop will be expanded. The Crawford museum will undergo a face-lift and two new grand staircases will create a more dramatic introduction to the collections downstairs.  The state grant, the latest in a string of windfalls for the historical society, is further proof that the nonprofit is rebounding from financial missteps that in 2009 forced it to sell off part of its prized vehicle collection, supporters say.  "It's almost overwhelming that so many favorable things are happening at once," said Gainor Davis, the historical society's president.  "I always believe in second chances and the Western Reserve Historical Society is really one of our landmarks here," said state Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat. She supported Republican Sen. Tom Patton's efforts to release state dollars that had been held up for more than a decade after the museum failed in its attempt to build a lakefront transportation museum. 
     Turner applauded the nearly debt-free nonprofit for its dramatic fiscal turnaround -- the big reason she and other lawmakers were able to get $2.8 million for the historical society added to a transportation bill signed into law March 30.  "Davis has really done a lot to restore hope and faith in the Western Reserve Historical Society," Turner said.  The 144-year-old regional history society has had lots of good news to trumpet lately. This week, it will open its University Circle facility to the public on Sundays for the first time in several years. It also opens its newly restored Hay-McKinney Mansion for guided tours starting Friday.  In addition, it has received several high-profile donations. In May it was announced that the nonprofit will receive more than $12 million from the estate of Kay Crawford, widow of the Crawford museum founder, to be funneled through the Cleveland Foundation.  The state grant will be administered by a fiscal agent, Cuyahoga Community College. Turner said the state is encouraging more such collaborations between institutions, known as "joint-use agreements," to maximize state dollars in today's tough economy.  "The historical society has a lot of great programming for students, so Tri-C is a really good fit," Turner said.  The college's instructors will have full access to the historical society's exhibits and library, and student interns will get hands-on exposure to museum work as well as local history. 
     Davis, who arrived at the historical society four years ago when it was mired in debt, said the nonprofit has turned an important corner by reeling in dollars first promised when the lakefront museum was proposed in 1997. State officials approved $3 million then, but withheld the money after the lakefront proposal collapsed. Historical society leaders spent the next decade struggling to retire millions in debt.  Under Davis' leadership, the historical society in 2009 submitted a proposal for long-deferred maintenance and renovation of its University Circle complex to the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission. Over the next two years, the historical society kept state officials abreast of its financial progress as it sold off many artifacts, including cars and planes, and whittled more than $6 million in bank debt down to $160,000.  Through layoffs, pay cuts and streamlined spending, the nonprofit has had a balanced budget for the past two years.  The state funds will pay for critical repairs that went undone during the historical society's years of turmoil.  A Cleveland-based firm, Richard Fleischman Partners Architects, will design the new look of the society's History Center.  The historical society will raise money to add on some hoped-for flourishes, such as a glass exterior wall to provide a peek at the Crawford vehicles. And two community groups will raise money for a glass pavilion to house the Euclid Beach carousel, set to open in 2013.  For the renovation project, about 125,000 square feet of the 350,000-foot facility will be closed to the public from October until August 2012. All of the University Circle complex will remain open except for the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, which will get a much-needed new roof, plus new flooring, ceiling tiles and lighting. 
     The changes afoot at the auto-aviation museum stirred a variety of emotions from some former volunteers who have loudly criticized the historical society's financial dealings in the past. In 2009, they found themselves locked out of the facility where they volunteered their time and money repairing Crawford cars.  Ex-volunteer Stan Witkowski of Avon said he hopes his group's complaints played a part in the nonprofit's transformation, by influencing officials to tighten up their financial oversight. "If we lit the fire and it warmed up their backsides a bit, then I'm really happy," he said.  Another ex-volunteer, Jim Rafferty of Westlake, worries that not all of the cars will return from storage, and said he hopes Kay Crawford's philanthropic agent, the Cleveland Foundation, will act to keep the museum's other exhibits from encroaching on Crawford space.  Historical society spokeswoman Shari Kochman said it's possible that not all of the 140 cars and 10 planes in the collection will be put on view when the Crawford reopens.  Kochman also said a new curator for the Crawford museum will be hired soon to create an aesthetically pleasing exhibit that puts the antique cars in context, near period clothing and related objects.  "Quantity does not mean quality in terms of display," she said. "We don't want it looking like a parking lot."  She added: "We are a regional historical society. The Crawford collection is one part of Western Reserve Historical Society. Our responsibility is to the society as a whole.  "We're moving on," she said. "We are sorry that there's a segment of individuals who will not forgive us and not move on, but we are moving on into the 21st century with great pride, great enthusiasm and great optimism."    Sent in by Michael Kacsala


Editor: the following are some letters received from Spencer Simon who is doing a story on the Head Hunters car club that formed in the late 1940’s.
   After they were pushed out of top alky by NHRA and costs, Ric and George Santos ran a Chrysler for someone I think from Sacramento.  They won several alky championships with them; George doing all the tuning.  Ric told me how great it was to just call when he needed anything, and it would appear! Not like (it was when) he and George were on a shoestring. I asked Ric, who was the best alky dragster driver of all time, why he never went pro? He said he had many offers; John Force asked him to try a dragster for him. Ric showed up saw the car in a Force truck, but it never was unloaded, and he never heard anything more. Several other owners said they wanted him, all he had to do was bring 1/2 to a million bucks for the ride.  One last Santos story. A kid I knew told me one Sunday morning he and his girl pulled to a stop sign, in his ‘39 Ford that had heads, carbs, and cam. Next to him pulled up a ‘49 Ford 4 door with pipes; he told his girl, watch this! Light green, ‘49 was gone! But what was worse was the ‘32 Roadster behind it on a tow-bar; George was on his way to the drags with everything he had loaded.   Hank with the dragster as it ran with flathead and Chevy before body, like that roll-bar? Picture in last email. L to R; George Santos, Denny Fosberg, Sonny Jackson, and Dick Beith. Dick told a story at our Head Hunter party, how he was a hero because he drove all his buddies by George’s house. That’s how well George was known. Though fighting cancer you will find George most days at S&S grinding cranks in his mid 1980’s. Few men know the Chevy like George Santos. He helped start the Head Hunters in 1949, and has been my friend for 60 years!  
   I think it is great to honor George. But he has no ego and probably won’t be there. But let me add to his laurels. There are few non-professional racers if any who ran as much as he did. Starting in 1948/49 he ran for the next 50 years, with only a couple years off after Hanks death. He started building flatheads first and for others too; running over 90mph at Tracy in 1950 with a 32 coupe. Several coupes later by 1952 he was running a ‘32 roadster on gas and fuel 100 to 115mph, I saw him run top time at Belmont’s 1/5 mile 1953 at 105 and blow the clutch, cutting the brake lines, ending up in the ditch!  George and I ran one of his flatheads in my ‘40 Ford at San Jose early 1955, 95 mph in B GAS. Then putting the same motor in a new 1932 Ford went 101mph at Kingdon, a Street record. He was able to get a warranty block that was to be destroyed, repaired it and built maybe the FIRST small block Chevy ever. 307 cubic inches in it and went 105 mph in A GAS, in 1955. In 1956 he was up to 109mph; a Kingdon record. 1956 we went to Long Beach where he beat Pancho Gonzales (the  tennis player) the fastest SO CAL street coupe (1934 with a CADDY engine in it) at the same time Hank was running George 's flathead in a 1929 A coupe in A ALTERED 112/114 mph range. Then with it in a rail he went 125 mph on gas. In 1957 he was running fuel 130s + mph.  March meet Bakersfield 1958, they put the gas Chevy in and brought along Nitro and Carburetor's, deciding to run for top eliminator, changed carbs and won at about 150 mph. Came home and Hank had the Hagemann built.
   June 1958, went 161.87 mph at Kingdon, with 292 blown 9.29 at 159.51mph in C DRAGSTER for 1320 record. B record at about 175 mph with 383 cu in, then Hank was killed. Building engines and tuning in the 1960’s George got into top alky class by the 1980’s still running a 383 Chevy, that George told me was not that different from his 1960 motor (but for alloy block and heads) he and Ric his son set the NHRA alky record. That engine pulled 2100 HP on the dyno, using 300 hp to turn the screw blower, that's 2400 the little Chevy put out. They had 2 cars both built by Ric. They built the manifolds, Injectors that went all the way down to the intake valves, also with help from Brodex built a set of Heads with 16 intake ports, one on each side of the head, between the exhaust ports. Don Jensen
Don and Spencer: Thank you for the memories and keep them coming.


My father was the starter at the Bonneville Salt Flats back in 1960-1975.  His name was Kenny Burggraf.    
     William: Thank you for writing in.  Is your father still alive and would he be willing to write his biography and stories of his time at Bonneville?


SpeedDemon WICKED HP


We just dynoed our 347 cu. in. Duttweiler Hellfire Engine with the new twin 82 1/2 mm Turbonetics "Demon" turbos (patent pending), North of 2,200 Wicked hp. at full boost.
Even at low boost 1,800 HP.@ 24 lb and 1.305 ft-lb.
The "speed Demon" crew is working around clock.
Getting the car ready for speed week.








Pre War Prescott Report
Pre War Prescott was a great event; with an informal atmosphere and a great variety of cars it is definitely an event to put on your calender for 2012, the booked date is the 22nd July. With a Lancaster Bomber display to end the day you couldn't ask for anything more! More info on the event can be seen here: http://www.prewarprescott.com/

Click images below for larger view and description

First sketch of the day was done from the gazebo seeing that it poured down for the first hour or so. Here are two Alvis cars side by side the one on the right seemed to be a special of some sort.

Once the rain stopped I ventured out to see what had turned up.  I was very taken by this 1914 Prince Henry Vauxhall.

Later on in the day this fantastic ABC aero engined special turned up, making a wonderful racket! More info on the ABC Engine can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABC_8_hp

Photograph by Peter McFadyen http://www.petermcfadyen.co.uk/

Apparently the upholstery was from a Bugatti!

A lovely installation of the 1200cc parallel twin aero engine into this oddball special

Zenith Carbs!

1930 Brooklands Riley Enthusiastically run by John Hearne.

Alvis Duckback, I wish I'd realised this before I started sketching the front half!

Bentley Special


Ford 32 Coupe - Great to see this unmodified, it made a refreshing change.

SU Carburettors Skinner Special "The Red Monster"

An unfinished sketch due to the SU Carbourettor team constantly taking the car for a spin up the hill, they seemed to be having a great time!

1920 Bugatti T22

An Austin Pick up with Punch and Judy livery.

This Aston Martin had a fantastic, possibly original patina.

BMW Frazer Nash







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