Stranded in the Driveway

Stranded in the Driveway

We touched on some termite work two weeks ago in an old photo album passed on to us by Marlin Keller via Kathy Henson and her dad Leonard “Whitey” Johnson. We got to spend a little time with it this week cleaning all the shots and getting into the scanning part of it.

Old albums are great in that all the shots are glued in or have the old triangle shaped corners pasted in that hold the shots. For the most part they were put in in the order that they were taken but then again sometimes not. The pictures in the Johnson album were put in in no particular order and as far as we can figure out at this time cover a time period of ‘40, ‘41 and ‘42. There are about 95 of them.

As with most of the pre WWII, stuff some are easy to identify and some leave us scratching our head. It doesn’t help that what S.C.T. A. records that are still around aren’t very complete. We’ve found most of the speeds were penciled in the programs at the time of the event and that makes things interesting. You end up needing several copies of each events programs to even get a handle on who even ran. We’ve got a couple from the same source and have determined that who ever made the notes in the program was only interested in 4-banger powered cars because those V8 powered cars had no speeds at all. It all adds up to lots of unanswered questions.

Enough of the talk lets have a look at a few of the shots. Dry lakes racers always have a fun side to them and that goes for Bob Bebek of the Albata too (LWJ_069). This 1941 shot shows his Model A roadster that sports a milled V8 for go power and a full bellypan for some extra speed. He was flying something other than his club plate in this picture. Just below the car’s name and hanging over his California plate was a pair of undies possibly borrowed from a girlfriend? In June he ran 97.93 mph, in July he ran 115.09 mph and 117.65 mph and in September he ran 116.12 mph, 119.52 mph and 121.29 mph. Who said tune-ups at the lake don’t help. The car in front of him is fellow Albata member Euchi Matsuo. The original shot is 2” x 3” and needs quite a bit of work to bring it back to its original self.

After checking some of the other shots in the album we discovered this car was in at least four other shots. Two of them were like this one in that you could see the car but you couldn’t see the number on the door. In a third shot the photo was cropped so we could only see a two and a nine. In the fourth shot of it we finally saw the side of the car without anybody blocking the door. We’ve got this Modified pegged as car number 297 and with that info it was easy to determine that this Modified belonging to George Yanase of the Lancers (LWJ_007). He ran this car during the 1941 season starting at the July meet. The engine is a Ford 21 studder with a Davies intake manifold that was fitted with two 97’s. The only speeds we have at this time are from the September meet where he ran 112.91 mph, 116.27 mph and 115.68 mph. Just above the carb stacks is the Bebek car seen in the previous shot.

Unlike the shots above, we don’t have a clue as to who owns the slick looking Deuce at Harper Dry Lake on May 17, 1942 because there is no number and we’ve never seen another picture of the car (LWJ_005). From the looks of the pipe exiting under the chassis we’ll venture that this ride was powered by one of Henry’s V8 motors. Bet it sounded good. It’s kinda interesting that so many cars in the background don’t have numbers on them and that made our job just a little harder. Fortunately car 115 ran the whole year with the same number so we can tell you that it belonged to Russ Inglehart of the Low Flyers. He ran 114.06 mph for sixth in the roadster class and gained seven points for his club and for himself.

The last of Mr. Johnson’s shots for today is this unknown Model A that also appears in in the scrapbook more than once (LWJ_011). Is it possible that it might be his? It sports a 1942 front plate and god forbid, mechanical brakes. If you look real close at the chopped windshield you can see a Palm Springs decal in the center of it. Looks like our Gow Job boys got around in their toys.

In the middle of the week it was dig out some already scanned shots and do some captions. Then it was resize and convert them to jpgs and load them on the site as the next batch of Photos of the Day. Were good till the middle of July.

Were about 250 scans into a batch of 2 1/4” negs that were shot in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. As with some the above shots, most of these negs contain people and vehicles unknown to us at the moment. When the scanning’s finished we’ll make some laserjet prints and visit some of our friends who were players back when the shots were taken.

Naturally some of the shots are really great so here are two as teasers. As you can see there is quite a bit of action in DBC_525. It’s gonna be fun trying to identify all the players in this shot from the late ‘60’s. At the lakes everybody is always complains about how dirty it is, well it’s nothing compared to our next shot of Mike Schmader’s car taken at J. C. Agajanian’s Ascot park in ‘69 (DBC_536). I’m thinking this car deserves a multi-beer wash job. For you techies it takes about four minutes to clean and scan each shot. These negs were pretty good so add a couple of minutes each to spot and remove scratches. All that’s left then is to do a caption. Multiply this by more than a few thousand and you can see what we do 24-7.

On Saturday the Bonneville 200 mph Club had it’s annual party. This year it was held at the Chino Airport so all the racers, besides telling stories, got to walk around and ogle at all kinds of aircraft. The next hanger over from party central contained more than a few winged wonders. There was one that said shoot me (no 50 calibers here) so I did (JMC_4111). This ain’t your pappy’s Hawker FB II Sea Fury, it’s the highly modified “September Fury”. It’s been flown at the Reno Air Races for the last couple of years by Robert “Hoot” Gibson. In 2012 Hoot finished second in the Silver Heat 1A, second in the Gold heat 2A, second in the Gold heat 3A and second in the Breiting Gold final. In the eight lap final he averaged 456.746 mph. Wow!

Since we all like hot rods our last shot for today shows what everybody I know considers this to be the ultimate one. No it’s not a Ford and it’s not a horse, it’s a Spam Can called a P-51 (JMC_4113).

Sunday morning I hopped in the car and turned the key, hoping to make tracks to the 43rd Annual Antique Nationals at Irwindale Speedway. My high tech computer operated vehicle (Chevy SSR) decided to not co-operate and when the key was turned, nothing. Needless to say, no Antique Nationals and no pictures. Bummer.