The Party Crasher’s

April 14, 2014

At the end of last week we received a bunch of photos from Gary Hartsock that were taken at the Grand National Roadster Show and featured a few in last week’s story. We did a thorough sort at the beginning of this week matching up prints with negs etcetera and then got into scan mode. When we get negatives we usually scan from them as the quality and end results are better. It also saves us lots of time as most local camera store prints aren’t the best in the sharpness and cleanness department. When we don’t get negs, hello lots of extra work to bring you the best quality image we can deliver. Lets look at a few we tackled this week.

Our first scan was done from a 5” x 7” print that was in focus but really nasty as it had white spots all over it because whoever printed it didn’t clean the film negative first. Since the print was of a special car we had to go in and make all the white spots the same tone as the background they were on and that takes a lot of time. GHC_081 shows us International Show Car Association founder Bob Larivee’s brainchild called the “Stiletto”. It’s seen at the 1966 Grand National Roadster Show in Oakland. Bob commissioned Gene Baker, who worked at Model Products Corporation (MPC, the folks who made Model Cars), to design it and Ron Gerstner to build it. Needless to say, the Pearl Lime Green car was a real head turner. The car made its debut at the Detroit Autorama before the roadster show and was featured in the July ’66 issue of Car Craft. All we can say is “way cool”.

Next up is the Mike Miraglia’s ’30 Model-A 2-door Sedan at the ’66 GNRS and came all the way from San Leandro (GHC_082). The yellow beauty had a Pontiac for power that fed an Olds Hydro and third member. It featured swinging pedals and of all things a VW Bus steering gear. The undercarriage was painted Baby Blue. The print we scanned it from was also covered with white spots and slightly out of focus. We worked what magic we could on this one.

GHC_083 was from a 3” x 3” print that was in fantastic shape and only took us a couple of minutes to clean up. It shows the serious folks who enter car shows and are after one one thing, a Trophy. This shot also taken at the ‘66 GNRS. All we have to do now is identify the players.

GHC_084 is the last of the ‘66 show shots for today. It was in focus, didn’t take us long to spruce up for you and is also special. The new TV series Batman made its television debut on January 12, a few short weeks before the GNRS. What better way to tout the campy show to car nuts and also show off Batman and Robin’s mode of transport. For you car buffs the vehicle started life as a Lincoln Futura Show car before ending up at MGM, Dean Jeffries and then passing on to George Barris for a quick make-over and instant stardom. For more trivia, the car was originally concepted way back in 1952 by Bill Schmidt and a full size plaster model of the car was signed off to build in 1954. Ghia of Turin (those VW car builders) got the job of building the car for a bid of $75,000. It made its public debut at the Chicago Auto Show on January 8, 1955. It went to Hollywood and stared in the 1959 movie “It Started with a Kiss” staring Glen Ford and Debbie Reynolds. Back in Detroit it was featured in a 1963 Ford Design Center film before going back to Hollywood and self destruct before its “Bat” life began.

For our next group of shots we dug into the Nick Arias Collection in our archives. We know the year in 1946 but were not sure of the date of ARI_007. This shot could of been taken at the July 7th or November 3rd S.C.T.A. meets because that’s the only time where car number’s 212 and 205 both ran. If it’s the July meet Keith Jones is behind the wheel of the number 212 ride and Bill Eckloff is behind the wheel of number 205. Both were members of the Pasadena Roadster Club. If it’s November then J. B. Gunther of the So. Cal. Roadsters is in number 212 and Bob Byars of the Road Runners is in the number 205 ride. Looking at the umbrella in the background and the way folks are dressed were guessing it’s most likely the July meet. This scan was off a small print that was super nasty in the white spots and scratch department. It came out pretty good. Anybody know where the motion pictures the guy on the right is taking are? We’d love to transfer them to digital for you.

ARI_071 is another small print that’s was-is out of focus that’s gone through the save process for you. Welcome to El Mirage on August 31, 1947. We see Hugh Powers of the So. Ca Roadster Club in his normally street driven Deuce. Under the hood was a ’46 Merc block topped with Edelbrock heads and intake manifold. It had a Kenny Harmon cam and was sparked by a Wico Mag. Hugh ran 101.35 mph that day. On the left we see Jack McAfee’s Class C Streamliner that was powered by a Ford-B fitted with a HAL D.O. head. Jack turned 122.95 mph in his ride for fifth and last in class.

The slightly worse for wear Maedel Specialties Special is seen at Bonneville Speedweek in 1954 (ARI_139). The Class C Roadster was gunning for the 1953 record of 163.935 mph. They did what they came to do with the GMC-6 powered ride and cut a lap at 167.28 mph. There was only one large problem, and that was fellow competitors Chrisman-Duncan’s car was faster. It ran 174.16 mph to grab first in class leaving the Maedel car to go home as first looser with a second in class. Since neither of these players could complete two-way runs, the record was safe for another year. We thought it would be cool to point out the hip cat on the left in the shades, it’s none other than the man himself, Nick Arias who was already a specialist on the GMC power plants by this time.

Last in this group of Nick shots we see the Perry Boys Class B Roadster number 179 at Bonneville in 1955 surrounded by its crew waiting for a OK to be pushed off (ARI_457). They “Boys” were after Ron William’s record set in ’54 at 150.90 mph. The Dodge powered ride ran a quick 157.24 mph to finish second in class behind Carroll Thompson’s Merc powered job at 161.87 mph. Thompson also went home with a new record of 160.991 mph. This was another one of those small prints featuring spots and lots of scratches that we’ve banished for life.

Early in the week I received a call from a buddy saying we had an invite on Thursday to come on down to Long Beach. By Wednesday night there were now four of us and the Long Beach deal was now the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix for Indy and IMSA racers. We arrived at our destination around 10:30 and slid into a parking lot only two blocks away from the track. Better yet the parking meter machine was busted so we got to park for free. Crews were still putting up fencing around the track so we slid right in for again nada. We cruised right in to the Paddock and and my trusty camera went right to work.

Our first stop was the IMSA Tech Station where rides were already getting the once-over by the Inspectors. Corvette Racing’s new Corvette C7.R is spied at Long Beach after passing Tech and just rolling out into the sun (JMC_4658). The number 3 car was tricked out for GM by Pratt and Miller out of New Hudson, Michigan and is a beauty. Drivers for the April 12th 2014 race were Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. At the end of qualifying on the 1.968 mile street circuit with Magnussen behind the wheel, the car ended up ninth out of 21 cars and first and fastest of the 10 cars that made up the new GTLM (Grand Touring Le Mans) class. His qual time was 1:17.939 seconds or a lap at 90.902 mph for a new qualifying record. In the race the car and driver combo worked their magic again to came home 8th overall and first in class. To add a little spice to the show their team car posted the fastest lap in GTLM class during the race. Needless to say the Chevy boys went home happy campers.

About thirty feet from where I snapped the Vette shot we found the Extreme Speed Motorsports tent shading two HPD ARX-03b/Honda Prototype Class cars (JMC_4662). Our feature car was being run up as the Honda Engine Man plied his trade on the keyboard to dial in the air-fuel-advance-retard-backwards-forwards stuff that makes the engine run just right. Long Beach is stop three of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship Series. It’s 73 lap race was billed as the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach. They get a second plug as Patron just happened to be the team sponsor too. Car owner Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel were the race’s designated drivers. During qualifying (the day after this pix was taken) driver Dalziel was penalized for something and lost his fast lap time so the car was to start its race down in eight spot. On race day they had trouble and dropped out with one lap left in the race but still managed to collect a sixth overall.

Being set up day and all, some of the Le Mans car crew’s were more than way cool and invited us interlopers into their work ares so we could get a close up view of their toys. We offer A Big Thank You for that! Keep an eye out in the Photo Of The Day feature for some of what we saw.

The IRL cars were located in a different area so we headed over for a look see at how the other half lived. It was pretty much the same as the sports car guys but again different as all the cars are basically the same except for the engines. Lets have a look.

One of our stops was the KVSH Team area (JMC_4674). In the foreground we see Sebastian Saavedra’s number 17 Dallara-Chevrolet getting an electronics check before heading out to get inspected on Thursday morning before the 2014 edition of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Seb ended up qualifying for the race way down in 22nd place out of 23. During the Sunday race he worked his tush off and completed all 80 to finish in ninth place. In the background is his team-mate Sebastien Bourdais’ ride. The other Seb qualified his Chevy powered ride in an impressive third place. At the end of the race he was still running but only completed 77 laps and was awarded a 14th place finish.

We wandered around for awhile then stopped off at the Andretti Racing compound for a shot or two. We ended up chatting for about 15 minutes with one of the crew guys. Really informative and really cool. One of their team cars came back from Tech so it was back to work for him. With that we headed over to the tech area and boy did I burn some film (an old school tech term).

After doing Bonneville Tech for almost 18 years it was fascinating to watch the IRL Tech Team go over what I call a Kit Car. If you think NASCAR is bad waite till you watch an IRL car inspection. There must of been more than 50 things they measured. They used beautifully crafted anodized aluminum templates and Carbon Fiber pieces that slipped over hard parts to make sure everything had the right (same) contours. All very impressive and mercurial but also depressing for someone that grew in an era when no two race cars were the same as everyone was looking for that unfair advantage. No wonder most pro racing is in the toilet today. Anyhow, we see Marco Andretti’s Snapple sponsored Dallara that’s powered by Honda being pushed onto the scales after its template job (JMC_4679). Marco, driving for his dad’s team, put the car in eighth starting spot during qualifying. At the end of Sunday’s race young Andretti had completed all 80 race laps to finish in the exact same position that he had started in, eighth place.

Keep an eye out for burnt film in the weeks to come.

Jim’s Hot Rodding News

You can contact Jim Miller at (818) 846-5139.