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NHRA Museum News July 3, 2012

21st NHRA         
California Hot
Rod Reunion
Tickets on Sale

It is never too early to start planning, so get your tickets for the 21st annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California, Oct. 19-21.  Along with the March Meet, this is the “big daddy” of all hot rod and nostalgia drag racing gatherings in Southern California at the famed Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield. Purchase online at or call 800-884-6472.

Cobra Exhibit Now on Display

A new exhibit, Speed Merchants of Venice: the 50th anniversary of the iconic Shelby Cobra will be on display through September at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California. The exhibit pays tribute to the late Carroll Shelby’s iconic American sports car with behind-the-scenes photographs by Racing Division Inc. and 10 unique Cobras, including El Cid, one of only five original factory Cobras built for drag racing.

With Shelby’s passing in early May, the new exhibit at the museum is a fitting tribute to the automotive titan. Countless admirers sought after his John Hancock alone. The exhibit opened April 21, 2012, in conjunction with the museum’s inaugural Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion. Thousands were on hand for the unveiling, including former Shelby racers Parnelli Jones, Bob Bondurant, John Morton, and Jerry Grant and Daytona Cobra Coupe designer Peter Brock, as well as hundreds of former Cobra employees and fans.

“We’re extremely honored to be a part of this important exhibit,” said Michael Holmes, managing director of racing division. “Using images from the Shelby Foundation archives we will attempt to briefly tell the Cobra story.”

“The new Cobra exhibit is a celebration of Carroll Shelby’s most legendary American race cars, and the museum is especially honored to have hosted such a successful event in honor of Carroll,” said NHRA Museum Curator Greg Sharp. “The exhibit will remain on display through the summer for fans to witness his innovations and the lasting impression he branded on the automotive world.”

For more information, log on to, email [email protected], or call 909-622-2133.

“TV Tommy” Ivo Named Grand Marshal of NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion

Legendary quarter-mile showman “TV Tommy” Ivo has been named grand marshal of the 21st annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion in October. Ivo is one of NHRA’s top 50 drivers, won Top Gas at the first Bakersfield March Meet in 1959, was the first to run under nine seconds, the first driver to run more than 170 mph, and the first to drive more than 180 mph on gas.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of his first drag race in a 66-mph ’52 Buick at Saugus Drag Strip, and, it’s the 30th  anniversary of his last race on his farewell tour in his Showboat fourengine Buick station wagon. In between, there were 36 different cars in 12 different classes. In 1960, he was first to crisscross the country with a nationwide season-long tour. Appearance money, partly earned because of his acting career, made him the first touring professional and earned him the nickname “TV Tommy.” After moving to the fuel ranks, he was first in the seven-second bracket and first to exceed 190 mph. He won the 1964 British Drag Festival, and he and Don Garlits match raced as many as 72 times in a single season. He built, tuned, drove, and maintained his own equipment. In 1972, he became the first member of the Cragar Five-Second Club and survived a horrific 240-mph crash in Pomona without a scratch. Ivo also dabbled in Funny Cars and jet dragsters for a while. After 30 years of drag racing, he retired,  leaving behind a legacy of professionalism and showmanship that paved the way for the corporate sponsorships of today and making him the perfect California Hot Rod Reunion grand marshal.

Ivo will be joined by honorees the Brissette Brothers, Bob and Jim; the Mallicoat Twins, Gary and Jerry; Jim Nicoll; Marv Ripes; and Ed Sigmon.

Three-day credentials are $65 per person, and advance ticket sales include a goody bag with program, dash plaque, hard card, and more. Purchase tickets online at or call 800-884-6472. For additional information on Hot Rod Reunion events, including full-activities schedules for each event, entry forms, and tickets, log on to Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at, email [email protected], or call 909-622-2133.

In memory of Jose “JoJo” Silva

The museum staff sends its sincere condolences to the Helger Bros. Speed Shop of Little Compton, R.I., for the recent loss of their friend and crewmember Jose “Jojo” Silva. He was an avid race car builder and driver who loved drag racing with his best friends Ray Helger and his sons, Jesse and Cody. Silva along with The Helger Bros. crew participated in the annual Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunions in Bowling Green, Ky. Ray Helger added that Silva was always the life of the party and made people realize that racing wasn’t about winning but about having a good time with the people you love. Silva died of cancer on May 27. He was 44 years old. Godspeed, Silva, you’ll be missed.

Twilight Cruises
Admission is always free to the Twilight Cruises,
which feature music, food, raffle prizes, 50/50
drawing, giveaways, and lots of beautiful cars.
They are scheduled for July 11 (SEMA Car
Collector Appreciation Day), Aug. 1, Oct. 3, Nov.
7, and Dec. 5 (annual toy drive) from 4 to 8 p.m.

1101 W. McKinley Ave., Bldg. 3A, Pomona, CA 91768 •
909-622-2133 • fax: 909-622-1206
Museum hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Reunion Information • 909-622-8562