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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 215 - August 12, 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

Click On All Images / Link For more Info / Images

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
 President's Corner, Editorials, I am the son of Hillary Govia.  My Dad passed away about 10 years ago however I would like to be in contact with Bob Sweikert's family if they would be willing to speak to me; My name is Wes White, I own Four Aces Cycle Supply, and we specialize in British Motorcycles; "You know what I have sent you are discussions I'm having with members of DRAG RACERS INC; The Head Hunters meeting was at Doug King's House; I thought you might like to see who I have been working with during the last few months; I recently discovered that Kenneth Bigelow is my half-brother; This month is twice the cars and twice the fun with two Prolong Twilight Cruises on Wednesday, August 3 and August 24.  On August 3, Customs will be the theme car and on Aug. 24, Rat Rods will be the theme car; Editor's notes: The California Racers Reunion is back and will be held on October 22, 2011 at the Riverside International Automotive Museum; 3rd Biennial Indian Day West celebrating 110th Anniversary of Indian Motorcycles; I went to Skip Govia's place today and was amazed to know about Dorie Sweikert’s visit about 13 years ago; Steve Gibbs Named Grand Marshal Of The 20th California Hot Rod Reunion Presented By Automobile Club Of Southern California; The Sam Auxier Jr Show Live every Monday; Chris Rudy in California suggested this on-line magazine for both Auto and Motorcycles; Hi all This is the news update sent out to supporters of the Allard Chrysler Action Group that is restoring Europe’s first dragster

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

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Editorial:   
   Many first time readers and members who sign into the website ask the same question, “Is the newsletter a blog or a newspaper.” They are confused by the structure of the newsletter. So am I. The purpose of the newsletter is to archive information as we receive it or from our research. We are not a magazine, newspaper or fancy on-line publication. Our goal is to archive and store all the knowledge possible; from vital facts heretofore unknown or simply trivia. We can’t tell what is going to be important in a hundred years, or even if there will be an automobile or auto racing in the distant future. All that we can do is save and store it and hope that what we have done will be appreciated. That’s all that any person can hope for. No father or mother knows for certain whether their work, sacrifice and efforts will be appreciated by future generations. What parents do is provide all that they can in HOPES of future success by their offspring. What we do is an act of faith. It isn’t glossy and finely done, though some of our writers and reporters are professionals in their fields. Some of the writing is crude and other material is finely polished and fit for the best magazines. 
   Our purpose is not entertainment, but if you enjoy the articles, bios, photographs and stories that is fine too. As I am so fond of saying; “Those who leave behind their history MAKE history. And those who fail to leave their history behind are forgotten by the future.” It’s your call. Some of you could care less whether you are remembered or not or if your memories and exploits are preserved. That’s your call. If you can live without us, then certainly the reverse is true and we can live without you. That means that history may be slanted towards those who write, photograph, caption and leave a record. It will be a strange sort of history. Future generations will know our heritage only from the perspective of those who wrote that history. Which is a frightening thought; it means Jim Miller, Roger Rohrdanz, Spencer Simon and I will write YOUR story. Or at least what we THINK is your story. You better get on our good side then, if you decide to leave the history completely in our hands. We pride ourselves on trying to be objective, fair and accurate. But we cannot possibly tell your story the way you experienced life. We know that whatever we do is below the standards that you can accomplish, because you lived that experience and we didn’t.
   Some racers have publicly stated to us that they do not want their stories told. “It was my life and I want to keep it private; just for me.” That’s fine and we respect your wishes not to discuss what you did, but you have to respect the fact that we are historians and we are going to compile history and you are in it whether you like it or not. So we will gather the facts and try and understand that which we did not see and observe and make sense of it all. Then we will write the story as well as we can and hope that we got it right, because you didn’t help us. From the Great Dry Lake in the Sky you will cast curses at us for getting the story wrong; the very story you wouldn’t tell us. History will be slightly tweaked and bent, but not because we are deliberately trying to twist history. We will get as close as we can to the actual events that happened, but it won’t be your story or your memories of the event. Even if you change your mind and work with us, the story of an event will still be seen from your eyes and that may not be exactly what others have seen. In other words, we work at a story and hope that we come as close to the truth as possible. Then when additional information becomes available we correct our views. Just as I thought that Karl Orr was a certain type of man, new information came to my attention to show me that he was a far more complex and interesting person than I once believed. Help us to get the story right.   Here is another important issue that pertains to photographs and captions. I received photographs and this comment; “The first I am sending to you. Anonymous.” Then there were two photographs with the email, but no captions. I appreciate the research that our members do.  I really think we have some of the most committed members of any group of amateur historians.  I have to keep re-emphasizing to all of you that it is so very important to get into the habit of adding captions to EVERY photograph that you send out.  It doesn't matter if the photos are sent to me or to someone else.  I recognized my father in one of the photographs, but none of the others in the first photo.  I don't know where they are or what they are doing or when it was taken.  I don't know who the photographer was in order to give that person credit, which is essential.  So instead of processing the photos that were sent, including the second one that is so blurry that it can't be seen, I have to return the photos to the sender and ask for a clearer copy if possible and captions.  That duplicates your work and mine.  That means instead of one email from you, it will now take at a minimum THREE emails between us to do the job that should have been done in ONE email.  If you don't know anything about the photographs in question then this is what researchers should say;
     1039.jpg...........Unknown photograph.  No date, time, photographer or data
               available.  Copied it from xxxxxx album. The owner of the photos
               doesn't know where it came from.  Sincerely, xxxxx xxxxx
Then at least we will know that you tried to caption the photo and couldn't.

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I am the son of Hillary Govia.  My Dad passed away about 10 years ago however I would like to be in contact with Bob Sweikert's family if they would be willing to speak to me.  I still operate out of the same tin building my Father built in 1948 and although many things have changed over the years I still feel the history every day!  As you may know my Dad was a NASCAR official as well as being a tech inspector for American Powerboat Association (APBA) and NHRA.  He was instrumental in the opening and early development of the Fremont Drag Strip and worked under Bernie Partridge and Jim Dale.  I remember Gene Gastlem and Bob Gwertz working in tech at Fremont for my Dad as well as Sid Waterman.  Spencer has been working on our connection with the Sweikert Family and if there is any more info needed about our family’s racing background you may contact me.  Thanks for all your hard work preserving the racing past; regards for now.  SKIP GOVIA
     PS; I spoke with Ken Gentry at the Infineon National Event and he tells me he is writing a book of Oroville Raceway. He has collected pictures and I said I would help in any way I could.  Skip Govia Racing Engines, 21576 Western Blvd, Hayward, California  94541. 
     Skip: Nice to meet you.  Our websites are www.landspeedracing.com and www.hotrodhotline.com.  Spencer Simon is our northern California area reporter and he has been doing a fantastic job of getting the racing community to record their history.  I will relay your message to Bob's family.  I would also like to get you started on a history of your family's racing.  Every day we learn more.  I have a story on Bernie Partridge and his wife P.J.  We have close to 100 biographies and each one tells us that much more about the past. 

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My name is Wes White, I own Four Aces Cycle Supply, and we specialize in British Motorcycles.  I am also a Sidewinder and Bonneville Racer with a 1951 Triumph.  My website is www.fouracescycle.com.   My business partner and I, Tyler Malinky, of www.Lowbrowcustoms.com bought the bike we now call the Salt Ghost a couple of years back, researched its previous owner and made a documentary film about the bike and its history in Land Speed Racing.  I thought it was something that all Land Speed Racers can enjoy.  We are promoting it and selling it right now.  Yes there is a financial motive, but I was racing at Bonneville for four years before we made the film and I believe that the history of Land Speed Racing is fast disappearing, which is also a motive for recording this bit of history.  You can also go to youtube.com and see our trailer. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk8ms1TkRe8.  Wes White
     Wes: I would be glad to do a movie review on your documentary and I will encourage any of our readers to make the same offer to you.  I'm publishing your letter with a bit of editing because it raises a good question and deserves an answer.  It also educates our members about procedures that we have in place at the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter.  When you first wrote I assumed that you were Wes Potter, from Utah.  So for all of our readers it is important to know a few guidelines;

a) With the volume that Jim Miller and I receive we often can't remember what was said before. So remind us and also give your full names.
b) We don't have an index for the newsletter and it is almost impossible to go back through 214 issues of the previous newsletter to see what was said.
c) We really do want to do reviews and as many of them as we can.  And we encourage other people and other websites to do them as well.  There can never be enough reviews for books, movies and magazines.
d) We encourage the creation of books and movies; and for-profit and non-profit are both acceptable in our eyes.
e) There is no limit on the usage of www.landspeedracing.com or at www.hotrodhotline.com.   If our members have something to say or to tell us, they may use up as much space as they wish, or send items as many times as they wish.
f) We encourage the use of links and for our readers to send us links on videos that pertain to straight-line racing and hot rodding.
g) All tapes, books, magazines, etc to be reviewed must contain a postage paid return envelope or pouch if the writer/author wants the material returned to them after we do our review.

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"You know what I have sent you are discussions I'm having with members of DRAG RACERS INC.  That is why it doesn't sound like a story. I am answering their questions."   Don Jensen
     Don and Spencer: I'm writing to clarify who and what we are and the attempts that we are trying to make to save our history and heritage before it is lost.  A group of us formed our society shortly before the death of my father, who was the founder of the NHRA back in 1951.  My father passed away without writing his biography and took with him the knowledge of a fascinating era.  Our group has been trying to record and to archive as much information as we can and our newsletter is into the 214th issue, averaging 7000 words per newsletter.  We are not a flashy website that attempts to entertain.  We have a mission to save what we can and the four of us search out the stories and photographs for straight-line racing and hot rodding.  Spencer Simon is trying to report on Northern California and he is doing a great job.  What we want, and we ask forthrightly without reservation, is that all of us who have had any activity in land speed, drag racing and hot rodding leave behind a record for posterity. 
   We do not care if that record, list of stories, biography or captioned photographs are meant only for our children or for a wider audience.  We simply want to see that the collective memories of every hot rodder, every drag racer, every land speed racer, or even anyone who has ever been involved in motorsports, leave their history for the next generation.  Spencer in his zeal and eagerness is exactly the kind of reporter that we need.  A man who will ask and investigate and probe and make sure that every fact is saved.  Our main focus is to work on all land speed racing, the first decade of drag racing and hot rodding in general.  But if someone has a story or a history to tell, whether it is straight-line racing or not, we will publish it in our website.  You can see what we do at www.landspeedracing.com.   The Head Hunters, like the Bean Bandits represent exactly the era we are focusing on.  We would love to know your story, but if you have an exclusive with DRAG RACERS INC that is fine too.  All we want are for the stories and history to be saved and we don't care how that is done, as long as it is done.  Thank you for working with Spencer.  We are proud of him. 

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My involvement has really made me enjoy the interesting lives of the people who made everything happen especially from the past. To me it's an enduring and mystical feeling for the passion of wanting to know about inventors and creators. I very much like the greats such as Frank Kurtis, Harry Miller, Leo Goosen, Fred Offenhauser, Ed Winfield, Stuart Hilborn, Edelbrock Sr & Jr, Ted Halibrand, and so much more. Above all, is the incredibleness of all of the people who risk their lives from such unexpected events. Regardless of who they were; they all did the experiments with the love for speed. A lot of the ideas through racing have been proven to be of a highly worthy cause. There is always a reason for everything. Thank you for the great letter. There are some great stories that I have coming and they are worth reading. Great history. Spencer Simon, Reporter of the North

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The Head Hunters meeting was at Doug King's House.  When Don Jensen came from Hawaii I heard that he helped get the meeting going.  Flathead drag racer Tony Lloyd was there.   He bought over the tables and chairs.  The heads (flatheads) were merely for amusements.  I am not saying that they are not for sale.  I will definitely get what I can for more information on the club.  Don Jensen said that he would provide that info when we were at the meeting.   Spencer Simon
     Spencer: This additional captioning information makes the photographs better.  Each photo should have their own caption and there should always be enough data so that the photo could "stand alone" without being attached to an article or longer story.  Always include WHO is in the photo, WHAT was happening, WHEN it was occurring, and WHERE the action was taking place.  Sometimes a WHY comes into question; as to why the people in the photo are doing what they are doing.  Even better, sometimes the activity in the photograph begs the question of HOW it happened.  A photograph can often go without a caption and we can understand it.  But time is an enemy of an uncaptioned photograph.  In 1941 nearly everyone could tell you what Ralph Shenk's car looked like.  Today, only a few people like Jim Miller can pick up an uncaptioned photograph and tell you that it was Shenk's car or even which person was Ralph.  So even though everyone knows who's in the photograph TODAY, in fifty years almost nobody will know.  We don't do a good enough job captioning our photographs; whether they are family photos or racing ones.  Another point is that we need to always remember to credit the person who owns the photographs.  Just like we get into our cars and put our seatbelts on first before we put the key in the ignition, giving credit to the owner of the photograph should be ingrained into all of us.  Good habits lead to good journalism.  When I received the photo of the heads on the table I jumped to the conclusion that they were for sale.  So a good reporter would anticipate people thinking that and head off the question with an answer; "These heads are for display by the club members."

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I thought you might like to see who I have been working with during the last few months.  Valerie Thompson is already a 2-Time land speed record holder. Motel 6 be supporting Valerie's "assault on the salt" later this month in an attempt to set new 200+MPH records in 3 different bike classes.  Motel 6 has already been providing much needed lodging support. Next week we have a major new sponsor announcement coming as well.  http://www.facebook.com/notes/valerie-thompson-racing/2011-bonneville-speed-trails-with-teammate-kerry-alterjulian-bivins-land-speed-r/10150282418633588.  Eric Studer
     Eric: The link went to a closed site.  There was nothing on it.  If you would send a regular email with updates on Valerie's attempts on the land speed records I will post them to www.landspeedracing.com
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     CTEK has announced it will sponsor motorcycle racer Valerie Thompson (Click For Image) and the Kerry Alter/Julian Bivins Racing Team in their attempt to set multiple land speed records with a BMW 1000cc Superbike and Suzuki Hayabusa for the 8th Annual BUB Speed Trials.  Valerie is already a 2-time land speed record holder and the team are proven winners.  Both Valerie and team co-owner, Kerry Alter, will be attempting new speed records. Kerry will be driving a Suzuki Hayabusa in the 1350cc class while Valerie will pilot the BMW 1000cc Superbike. 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.  
     CTEK commissioned the design and construction of “Big Toe,” the world’s largest powered two-wheeled vehicle, now featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. The company first met Valerie in her role as a spokeswoman/motorcycle presenter at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction when they sold “Big Toe.” CTEK was impressed by her professionalism and racing accomplishments. They are pleased to be working with her again. 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 Fédération 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.  CTEK is owned by CTEK Sweden AB. CTEK manufactures battery chargers and accessories.
     The patented design has earned CTEK many design awards. Valerie set two Land Speed Records at Bonneville piloting a panhead Harley Davidson provided by Keith Ball of Biketnet.com in 2006 and 2007. Valerie has risen from a top 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.  Valerie is a spokeswoman/motorcycle presenter for the world’s largest auto auction company, Barrett-Jackson. She is also a spokeswoman for “Val’s Pals” Children charities, most notably, HopeKids. In 2007, Phoenix Arizona residents, 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 Crash-a-Lot 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.  www.speedtrialsbybub.com, www.americanmotorcyclist.com, www.fim-live.com.  Eric Studer, Director of Marketing, Valerie Thompson Racing, [email protected].

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I recently discovered that Kenneth Bigelow is my half-brother.  He died on October 21, 1951 after his roadster overturned at El Mirage Dry Lake, California.  I found the information about his death on the Land Speed Record Memorial website.  Do your historians have any information on him that they will share with me or could they possibly put a request in your newsletter?  Any information will be greatly appreciated.   Thank you.  Marilyn Walcher
     Marilyn: I checked the record at http://lsrdeaths.webs.com/195059.htm.  It said;
Kenneth Bigelow.  Born: October 25, 1924.  Died: October 21, 1951.  Age: 26.  Full Name: Kenneth Grant Bigelow.  Location of death: El Mirage Dry Lake, California.  Accident Date: October 21, 1951.  Vehicle: roadster.  Biographical information: He suffered a broken neck and skull fracture when his roadster overturned.  He was dead on arrival at Victorville Hospital.  He lived in Los Angeles.  Sources; "Local hot-rod racer killed in Victorville," Los Angeles Times, October 23, 1951 [residence 3143 W. 59th Street].  California Death Index (Kenneth Grant Bigelow, born October 25, 1924 in California, died October 21, 1951 in San Bernardino County, mother’s maiden name was Holcomb).  California Birth Index (Kenneth G. Bigelow, born October 25, 1924 in LA County, mother’s maiden name was Holcomb). 
      I always include as much information as possible, because we are a historical society and we archive all the information that we get.  I do know the name, but he was referred to as Kenny Bigelow.  Unfortunately I was only seven at the time of his death, but I remember one meet when a man was killed in a crash.  I can't tell you any more than that.  I do have the records of the SCTA from 1937 through 1948 but they are not yet indexed or published.  I will send this on to Jim Miller to see if he knows any additional information and publish your request in The Society of Land Speed Racing Historians Newsletter at www.landspeedracing.com.  Kenny would have been too young to officially drive at an SCTA meet prior to WWII, but he could have with the other timing associations.  We have lost a lot of our old time racers who could have told you much more. 
   A few of the clubs such as the Sidewinders and Road Runners have kept records and they might be able to help you if Kenny was a member of their club.  Another person who may be able to help you is Julian Doty, who goes back to the late 1930's.  The best thing that you can do is publish with us as much information as you can, because the more info there is the greater the likelihood that you will jar loose an old memory among our members.  The next thing that you can do that is effective is to start calling people and after you have exhausted their knowledge, ask the questions in a different way.  When you have hit a dead end, ask the people you are calling if they can give you five names and phone numbers of anyone they think might be able to help.  This does two things; helps you find people who can help you and secondly, puts the word out on the grapevine that someone is looking for information on Kenny Bigelow.  You may write to us as often as you wish and we will continue to publish your requests.  It has been my experience that repetition and perseverance often get results. 
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Thank you for your quick reply and interest in my plight.  I just tried googling Kenny Bigelow like you said and found an article written by you in 2006 about Nick Arias Jr.  It mentions Kenny.  Is Nick Arias Jr still alive?   Marilyn Walcher
     Marilyn: Nick Arias Jr is alive and doing well.  His daughter runs the company and Nick builds engines with Fred Blanchard.  You have done exactly what I asked you to do; you did some basic research and found another name and that jogged my memory.  That's how good research is done.  Keep going.  Kenny was pretty well-known in his day, but we just have to find those remaining racers from that era to help you.

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This month is twice the cars and twice the fun with two Prolong Twilight Cruises on Wednesday, August 3 and August 24.  On August 3, Customs will be the theme car and on Aug. 24, Rat Rods will be the theme car. Show starts at 4 p.m. Arrive early to browse through the Museum at no extra cost. There will be food, music and raffle prizes galore. It'll be another hot summer afternoon so bring some shade to stroll through the Fairplex parking lot and admire the hundreds of classics, hot rods, customs and muscle cars.  Judges will select the night's top picks. Winners return to the NHRA Winternationals for the chance to display their rides to the thousands of NHRA race fans at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.  Bring the entire family. Make it an affordable and fun family summer day trip.  All proceeds generated by the 50/50 drawing go to support the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California.  For more information on the Cal-Rods Car Club, check out; http://www.calrods.com  For more information on Prolong Super Lubricants, check out http://www.prolong.com  For more information, contact Cruise Coordinator John Duran at 626-252-3060 or [email protected].  Next Cruise Dates and Themes:     
* Aug 24: Rat Rods        
* No Cruise in September due to the L.A. County Fair    
* Oct 5:   Auto Club Appreciation Night featuring Robert Hight’s Funny Car and special
        AAA give-aways        
* Nov 2:   Day of the Dead featuring custom hearses        
* Dec 7:   Annual Toy Drive for needy kids       
Visit the Museum at http://museum.nhra.com.  Sent in by Monique Valadez

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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.

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3rd Biennial Indian Day West celebrating 110th Anniversary of Indian Motorcycles. Presented by Ace Cafe London, DicE Magazine and Bates. Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Bldg. 3A, Pomona, CA 91768. See http://museum.nhra.com, 909.622.2133. Saturday, October 15, 2011, 8am – 2pm.    
* FREE entry to all pre-1980 classic and vintage motorcycles (one person with each
   bike) includes entry to the NHRA Museum.  
* SEE: The World’s Fastest Indian and hear it run  
* SEE: The World’s Fastest Indian movie (no extra charge)  
* SEE: The World’s smallest V-twin  
In conjunction with the Flat Track World Finals: www.flattrackworldfinals.com. Sent in by Monique Valadez

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I went to Skip Govia's place today and was amazed to know about Dorie Sweikert’s visit about 13 years ago. Skip’s Dad had helped with the photos and some history for her. He has a Library of history there other than about Sweikert. I did a lot of focusing on Bob Sweikert to get what I could for Carole. I was also given a chance to borrow a great deal of historical pictures of Bob as well. A real prize was there; a huge hardboard photo of Sweikert in the Indy Car which was never out of their possession since 1955. With permission I took the Big One to Kinko's to have some copies made. Some restoration of the coloring and touch-ups needs to be done. There is also a twin of this one at the museum at Indy. There is also a real treasure for you; a couple of pictures of your dad (Wally Parks) as well. The history he has is incredible. I am talking even before the war. Skip’s Dad (Hillary) has been around. Govia's place has been a meeting place of almost all the top Guns of racers there. Even good ole Don Garlits; as well as Indy drivers. It’s going to be a little chore sending what I have. This does not even come close to what I have partially seen. I tried to ask what Dorie and Carole may already have. So I got what I think that they may not have. I also have some great photos that some are unidentifiable. I will be scanning them. Spencer Simon
   Spencer: I will pass this on to Sweikert's family.

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Steve Gibbs Named Grand Marshal Of The 20th California Hot Rod Reunion Presented By Automobile Club Of Southern California.
    “Hand Grenade” Harry Hibler, Bakersfield native Wayne King, “Freight Train” legend John Peters, sport’s best leavers Dwight Salisbury and Bay area racer George Santos   POMONA, CA (July 22, 2011) - This year's Honorees took the West Coast by storm from the 60s through early 80s. They'll come together for one of the biggest nostalgic events in the West Coast - The 20th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 21-23 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway! Longtime NHRA official Steve Gibbs is leading the pack of drag racing heroes as honorary Grand Marshal. It's going to be a collection of drag racing titans for the history books. 
   GRAND MARSHAL- STEVE GIBBS. Since the California Hot Rod Reunion was principally his idea, it’s most appropriate that Steve Gibbs has been named Grand Marshal of the 20th Annual event. He began his drag racing career in 1961 working part time at San Gabriel and Fontana Drag Strips numbering cars, fill-in announcing and submitting articles to Drag News. Gibbs became assistant manager of Irwindale Raceway in the mid-‘60s. He ran staging in the heyday of the Smoker’s March Meets when six Top Fuel dragsters would be lit at the same time; two on the starting line, two waiting to stage and two on the fire-up road. In 1969, he joined NHRA as advertising director of National Dragster. A year later when NHRA increased its national event schedule, Big Hook was appointed assistant to Event Director Jack Hart. Through the years his role grew and his creative innovation in safety, track preparation, and event scheduling played a major role in the growth of NHRA drag racing. In the early 1990’s he formed NHRA Historical Services to gather material and provide the genesis that led directly to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum where he served as its first Executive Director. In 1991 he received the prestigious Car Craft Ollie Award for career-long contributions to the sport and was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Today he’s semi-retired and serves as a board member of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.   
CHRR HONOREES    
   HARRY HIBLER – “Hand Grenade” Harry Hibler has been involved in all aspects of hot rodding and drag racing. He started as a tech inspector at San Fernando Drag Strip under co-managers Frank Huszar and Darrell Morgan from 1955 until 1960 when he became the strip manager for owner Bill Hannon. There was a 3:30 noise curfew imposed by the city and Harry became famous for being able to run eight-car Top Fuel, Top Gas and Little Eliminator shows every Sunday and get it done in three hours. Also, with an airport right next door, there was the occasional wayward airplane to deal with. Harry was also known as the racer’s hero because he was always able to hustle up tools, oil or spark plugs to supplement the racer’s winnings and even some occasional cash to get home on. The “Hand Grenade” title came from his driving career and the explosive nature of some of his rides. He did however, finish as Top Fuel runner-up to Tony Nancy, one of his closest friends, at the 1970 Bakersfield March Meet. After San Fernando closed in 1970, he moved into the publishing industry at Petersen Publishing for nearly thirty years. During that time he was responsible for considerable growth in the company’s magazines including Hot Rod, Car Craft and Circle Track. He served three terms on the SEMA Board of Directors, is a member of the SEMA Hall of Fame and is on the selection board of the Drag Racing Hall of Fame.  
   WAYNE KING – Wayne King is another one of those tough Fuel Racers that came out of Bakersfield. His first Smoker’s trophy was won in his six cylinder ’51 Chevy, but he soon served as a crewman before driving the Martin’s Market Modified Roadster. With Martin and Roger Coburn he built a fuel Chevy dragster which held No. 6 on the Drag News Mr. Eliminator list. In 1961 he helped Ernie Hashim with a Stuckey-chassied Sorrell-bodied Top Fuel dragster that became the M&H Tires test car. In 1963 he was hired by Chuck Doss and Del Clayton of Santa Maria to drive the former Ed’s Muffler dragster. The team of Doss, Clayton and King was born and won many races up and down the California coast. In 1965 Ed Donovan hired him to drive and they won the 1965 PDA Championship at Lions over 150 Top Fuel dragsters. When drivers all had animal nicknames, Ralph Guldahl named him “The Peregrine” and it stuck. He worked as a machinist for Donovan Engineering for three years and calls it a tremendous learning experience. King also drove for Bakersfield racers Bill Crossley, Chuck Holloway, Warren and Crowe, and Tony Waters. After a brief episode with a Funny Car, he moved to Washington in 1971 and won the Division 6 Pro Comp Championship. He attended the first CHRR with his Doss, Clayton and King dragster and has since become a regular participant in CHRR Cacklefests.      
   JOHN PETERS- John Peters came out of the Venice and West L.A. area that produced such legendary hot rodders as Leonard Harris, Gene Adams, Stu Hilborn and the Surfers. He was an employee of Engle Cams for over 20 years and began racing with a Willys sedan gasser. He is of course, best known for the “Freight Train” twin-engine gas dragster, perhaps the most dominant in the sport’s history. The list of accomplishments and superlatives is endless: First over 180, 190 and 200 mph on gas, first in the 7’s, and first in the 6’s. Although John was listed as the driver who won the ’63 Winternationals for years, he never drove and was actually covering up for Bob Muravez’ family situation which forbade him to drive. Including Muravez, thirteen different drivers took the wheel of the Train, including Bob Brissette, Craig Breedlove, Tom McEwen, Mickey Thompson, Goob Tuller and Sam Davis. Today John and his family operate Freight Train Racing Engines in Northern California. Peters and his wife Bev restored the Freight Train in the early ‘90s and have been active participants in Hot Rod Reunions both in Bakersfield and Bowling Green.    
   DWIGHT SALISBURY- Dwight Salisbury began his career driving a ’34 coupe altered for his club the Bel Airs of Glendale. He built his own Top Fuel car in the mid-‘60s based on a series of articles that ran in Hot Rod Magazine. Over a twenty year career he successfully made the transition from front engine to rear engine dragsters. He appeared in three national event finals and won the 1973 Bakersfield March Meet Top Fuel title. He’s joined the Cragar Five Second Club with a 5.97 run at Pomona at the ’74 Winternationals driving his own Salisbury’s Stake dragster. He toured nationally with the Smothers Bros. /Beach Boys car, and also drove for Gaines Markley, Jim and Alison Lee and Ray Fisher. He built and tuned his own engines and had a reputation as one of the sport’s best leavers.       
   GEORGE SANTOS – George Santos drag racing career dates back to the 1950s when he teamed with his brother-in-law Hank Vincent to race the famed streamlined Top Banana dragster. An ad in the November ’58 issue of Hot Rod Magazine proclaimed the Top Banana as the “World’s Fastest Chevy at 161.87 mph using “George Santos’ 306 cu. in. Chevy.” His S&S Automotive located in the San Francisco Bay Area, became renowned for its prowess with the small block Chevrolet. He built a small-block-Chevy-powered Top Alcohol dragster in 1984 which his son Rick drove to their first win at the ’86 Winternationals. The car went on to seriously challenge the Hemi-dominated category until it was parked when NHRA made a rule change requiring them to add 120 pounds to their combination. George is semi-retired from S&S but remains one of the top Chevrolet experts on the West Coast.  
   Don’t miss out on this year’s 20th celebration of the largest nostalgic drag racing and hot rodding event in the West Coast, the 2011 California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 21-23 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway. For tickets, visit www.nhratix.com or call 1-800-884-NHRA (6472). The Reunion is a 3-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm. The season finale of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage nostalgia drag racing series also takes place at the Reunion. Make your plans now to attend the Reunion and join thousands of hot rodders and race fans in Bakersfield for the annual Reunion.  Three-day credentials are $65. Auto Club members receive a discount. Purchase before Oct. 7 and receive a “goodie” bag, Reunion program, commemorative dash plaque and collectible souvenir credential.    Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, the Reunion is part of the museum’s “living history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture. 
   The Reunion features a wide variety of activities and events, including:   
* NHRA vintage drag racing, featuring some the sport’s most famous and historic cars and drivers, racing in such classes at Nostalgia Top Fuel, Funny Car, Fuel Altereds, Supercharged Gassers, Classic Super Stock, Hot Rods and others. It’s the grand finale of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage Series.  
* California Hot Rod Reunion Reception, held at the Double Tree Hotel in Bakersfield, on Friday night, from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. Open to everyone at no charge, it’s a tribute to Reunion Grand Marshal, Honorees and the Justice Brothers Car Care Products Reunion Spotlight. The reception offers a chance for fans to meet some of drag racing’s heroes.  
* Huge Cacklefest on Saturday evening, where nitro-burning historic, front-engine top-fuel dragsters and other classic race cars are push started just like in the “old days.”   
* The Swap meet and Reunion Midway filled with hot rod and automotive related vendors. Something for everyone! 
   Visit http://museum.nhra.com for more Reunion information, including a full activities schedule, entry forms and tickets, or call, the Museum at 909/622-8562. Courtesy of Monique Valadez

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The Sam Auxier Jr Show.  Live every Monday, 7-9PM EST. Nitro F/C Ashley Forces Hood, Pro Stock Allen Johnson, Fast Jack Beckman, Top Alcohol Ashley Bart Co-Host Kristin Moeser. Contact [email protected]

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Chris Rudy in California suggested this on-line magazine for both Auto and Motorcycles. http://Legacymotorsport.com/. Pattie Frost

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Hi all.  This is the news update sent out to supporters of the Allard Chrysler Action Group that is restoring Europe’s first dragster – Sydney Allard’s 1961 Allard Chrysler.  As always the file is available in other formats with pics as jpg attachments.   Brian Taylor
                      ---------------------------------------------
ACAG UPDATE – AUGUST 2011
   Sorry it’s a bit late but I’ve been a bit busy with the dragster during the last few weeks. However, this report consolidates most of the ‘happenings’ during the car’s tour of Northamptonshire in July. The first event we attended was Dragstalgia at Santa Pod. It was a pretty wet start on Saturday but things improved for some afternoon track action. Sunday had some racing in between showers but despite the dodgy weather the overall feed-back was that the event is something that will have a long life at Santa Pod.
The Allard Chrysler was on display in the Nostalgia Marquee along with Nobby Hills’ Houndog 1, Commuter, John Hobbs Olympus 1 and the Hobbit plus the Daimler rails of Robin Read and Russ Carpenter. Guest car on Saturday was Gerry Tyack’s Ginetta representing Brighton Speed Trial cars (Gerry was a regular Santa Pod racer in the late 1960s) and on Sunday it was the recreated Shovin’ Chevy representing the BHRA’s
contribution to the 1964 Drag Fests. Paul Whitehouse and his paintings was a popular feature as was the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Some classic Allard two-seaters outside the marquee provided added interest, and along with the Mid Track VIP unit next door the display became a gathering point for people who had not met each other for 30 years or more. The only problem was that the smart carpet flooring in the marquee ended up like a sponge as the rain soaked underneath the marquee. Not good for some of our POS material. Ah well; can’t win ‘em all.
   Anyway, the rain gave me a chance to play a few old tunes and interview a few friends on Nitro FM (apologies for my absence from the stand Syd). And the official on-air tasting of the new Allard Celebration Ale from Hogs Back Brewery went well. Several bottles were given away during the weekend in exchange for donations of between £5 and £20 and many were signed by racing legends. And the winners of those eliminations that were completed received crates of twelve bottles. ACAG sales of other items were also encouraging including back issues of magazines and pictorials donated by Bob Roberts and Peter Crane. Thanks to ACAG members Stu Bradbury, Syd McDonald, Bob Roberts, Keith Potter, Ron McNeil and John Hunt for manning the display. We were even joined by John McGrory from Aurora Bearings who was over in
Europe on business. Santa Pod then transported the car to Westaway Motors Chrysler Jeep Dealership in Northampton for display in the showroom for three days. This is the first time the car has appeared in a Chrysler dealership anywhere in the world and thanks to Derek Westaway for making it happen. Karen Parker, a professional photographer from Milton Keynes (www.karenparkerphotography.co.uk), came over and took some great pics. We were able to talk to customers and visiting Chrysler UK
personnel about the restoration project. Thanks to Stuart Bradbury, Liz Rowland and Keith Potter for manning the display. And as you already know I have followed this up with press releases to the motor trade press and Fiat Group (owners of Chrysler) at Slough and in Turin.
   Santa Pod then transported the car to the Allard Owners Club display at the Silverstone Classic meet. The weather was much better than the previous weekend but it was a challenge finding the display area – not helped by Silverstone changing the position the day before or by the Silverstone marshals not having a clue about this change. I also managed to track down the National Motor Museum display and gathered a few Beaulieu brochures for our display (not easy because a storm the
previous evening had wrecked much of their stock). We were there to help the Allard Owners Club celebrate its 60th year and the Sunday saw the 50 year anniversary to the day of Sydney first demonstrating the Allard Chrysler to the press. I got Paul’s latest painting signed by Alan Allard (managed to get Nick Mason signature during the
previous week). So this mounted, framed and glazed original painting is now ready for sale to the highest bidder. I’ll leave the auction open until the end of August but we already have one healthy bid. Contact [email protected] if you want to be in with a chance or phone 01395 579733. We even won an Allard Owners Club trophy for Best Other Make? The members were keen to give us a prize and this was the only one
available. And we had a slice of the special 60th Anniversary cake (definitely some alcohol in the mix but nobody would admit it) along with a glass of champagne. We had to open a bottle of Allard Celebration Ale on the Sunday of course to celebrate our 50th anniversary.
   Allard Owners Club members donated to our cause and a few bottles of Allard Celebration Ale were given away. They also purchased some large prints with Stuart Taylor’s Kemble illustration including a drawing of Sydney being the favourite. We were able to cement our relationship with Allard Owners Club Vice President Mike Knapman who is now an important source of information and parts for the project, and I think all
the owners’ club members feel more a part of the restoration. I purchased a blue light weight Allard Gillie plus a fleece – both with Allard logos and not expensive. If ACAG members like them we might be able to link in with the Owners Club for our own use. I manage to get myself interviewed on Silverstone Classic Radio and this was broadcast
while the Allard’s were parading on the track. I also picked up an old Autosport and a 1962 Racing Car Show Guide featuring the dragster. Thanks to all those who helped man the stand - Herb Andrews, Bob Roberts, Stu Bradbury and Keith Potter. Santa Pod transported the car back to Westaway Motors where it remained for another three days and we had the corner display position this time. We made a new friend with Jeep the bear that became part of our display. I’m sure there is a future in the Allard Chrysler dragster being present at Chrysler dealership new model launches – particularly when we can fire up the car. The local press covered our visit.
   Derek Westaway said, “We were proud to host such an iconic Chrysler vehicle during its tour in Northamptonshire and we thank the National Motor Museum and the ACAG for entrusting it to our care. The Chrysler Jeep brand is very much about heritage and tradition, so sharing our showroom with such a wonderful machine was most fitting.
Thanks to Stuart Bradbury and Bob Roberts for manning the display during this week.
Once again Santa Pod transported the car back to the raceway ready for display at the Mopar Euro Nationals. We had our own marquee with the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the weather was great. More crates of Allard Celebration Ale were awarded to winning Mopars and what a great event this is. I picked up a 1964 issue of Meccano News featuring Ally and we received a few more donations, with foreign visitors being
particularly generous. The Mopar Muscle Club UK have given us plenty of publicity via their magazine Connected so it was good to put in an appearance at their major UK event so they could see the progress we have made. Hopefully it will encourage more donations. So a pretty successful two weeks that swelled the funds putting us back into profit for the first time since receiving the engine in December 2010. Since that time we have been supported by a loan from the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu and huge thanks to Phil Johnson for helping us in this manner.
   This Northamptonshire tour would not have been possible without the support of Doug Hill at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu for entrusting the car to our care for two weeks or to Santa Pod Raceway who, along with the museum, paid for the car to be transported to and from Beaulieu to Northamptonshire. Santa Pod also funded all the car transfers while the car was in the county and provided display marquees at Santa Pod. Not only that but David Jones and James Forster made a donation to our restoration fund on behalf of Santa Pod to the tune of £500.00. Huge thanks guys it is much appreciated. And someone else who made a big personal donation is Stuart Bradbury. He has previously given us generous gifts and added a further £250.00 during the tour. Thanks Stu. I know it is much to ask in these tough times but this level of donation really makes a big difference to the timescale for completing the restoration.
Another thing that happened was my discovery of a set of Ally’s headers in a pub; the Dog & Duck in Wellingborough. I was amazed when I first spotted them. I had called in for a quick sandwich and to catch the news about who had been the latest to resign
from the News of the World when I noticed this art picture on the wall next to the large TV screen. It was of the Allard Chrysler headers taken at Beaulieu. I was so gobsmacked that I needed an extra drink. I pointed out the significance to the staff and they had no idea of the importance. They just thought it was a neat image. This was particularly disappointing as the Dog & Duck is a regular drag racer’s haunt being close to Santa Pod.
   The Dog and Duck is part of the Beefeater chain owned by Whitbreads, as is the Premier Inn next door. It is more than likely that this picture is hung at other Beefeater outlets and we are trying to get people to have their picture taken when they spot one and either post it on the Allard Dragster Facebook Page or e-mail it as a jpg to
[email protected]. If we get enough responses we might be able to prompt Whitbreads to look at drag racing as a promotional tool. Who knows; they might even
think about stocking Allard Celebration Ale. Finally some info on Bob’s Bits. Lead by Bob Roberts the ACAG restoration team has identified parts requirements that supporters might be able to help with. We have discussed the second set of rear wheels often and thanks to our American Patron Traci Hrudka circulating the information on file we have identified them as 16 inch by 8.5 inch American Racing Torq Thrust 5-spoke Alloys for a Ford axle fitment. We are not sure whether the original were full race wheels or street units but as we are only going to cackle the dragster it probably doesn’t matter. We have yet to measure the stud dimensions (5-stud) and the inset and this will be done the next time the wheels are removed.
   To mount these wheels we need some pie crust slicks. The original were M&H but I’m not sure whether these are available now but certainly other brands are. Tread width looks to be around 10 inches on photos. We need a clutch release bearing. We will require the chassis, wheels and other miscellaneous parts to be soda blasted. We will need an oil filter and oil cooler. We will need an air filter element (could be standard part for a large saloon). We need three inch stainless steel tube bending for two blowers to manifold pipes. We need an on-board starter motor and remote battery pack. If you think you can help contact [email protected] or telephone him on 01869 244757. So that’s my summer holiday come and gone. My winter holiday was one week at the Ibis Birmingham Airport with my summer vacation being two weeks at the Ibis Hotel Wellingborough. If anyone asks me if I went anywhere nice I’ll kick them somewhere where it hurts. Good job my home is by the sea at Sidmouth.

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