More great finds and no beer

September 13, 2010

There went another week sitting in front of the tube scanning and scanning. Once you get started you just don’t want to stop because every new picture or document leads you down a path of new discoveries.

Take Tuesday for example. Old pal Julian Doty came over and we went out for our weekly Mex meal and Rita. Before we jumped into my car to take off he had to show me what he had dug out of one of his containers. To set it up Julian is putting a Willys banger motor together for a client. You know the famous four that was in a zillion WWII Jeeps not to mention some lightweight coupes that ended up as ’60′s drag machines. Seems right after the war his Uncle George decided to do an overhead valve conversion for the little mill and had patterns done.They even cast up a few, some ending up in lakes jobs before the factory wised up and decided to make some a lot cheaper than our boys. Anyhow his old container revealed the original patterns for the head, intake manifold and side plate. All cool stuff. The box they were in was stuffed with newspapers dated from 1947. The workmanship on the old patterns was first rate. Only problem was the glue used to hold all the pieces together decided to stop holding. With a little work these gems from the past will be turning out parts in short order. As you would expect some of the really small pieces where nowhere to be found. For example all that was found of the lettering on the side-plate was half an A. Looks like a little work will need to be done to reserect the word DuVall. It will be done.

After our meal it was back to the casa for some more gabbing and surprise. Out came an old plastic bag from Julian’s truck with a bunch of papers in it. He said here you go and then hit the road. A check through the stuff was a real treat. The papers used to belong to Arnold Birner, Mr. he did it all from the ’30′s through the ’80′s in the hot rod world. Hiding amongst the old stuff were a few surprises in the guise of some old Mojave Timing Association Certificates for records that he had set back in 1949. For some reason an oddball one was mixed in with them. If you look at the cover of the July ’50 Hot Rod you’ll see the car it goes with, Bob Arners old Ralph Schenck Streamliner. This is the car that was just redone by our friend Terry Baldwin and was on the grass at Pebble Beach this year. I call this the coolest 60 year old find (JMC_1409), enjoy.

Another find not far behind was an old Hawk model kit featuring the Alky Saltzer courtesy of Ron Main. Hopefully this box cover scan will bring back some memories for you sixty plus year old kids (JMC_1417). Ron’s the President of the Sidewinders and owns Speed Demon, one of those slow 400 mph plus Bonneville liners. Networking with your fellow car clubbers like Ron always uncovers something cool. You should try it. At the same meeting I got to talking with Don Tubbs who is a rodder going back to the fifties. He ask me if I had ever heard of a guy called Eddie Pullen. Had I. Pullen use to race for the Mercer Team from 1910 to 1916 and Don had just run across his great, or great great grandson. These old timers to me are the first real hot rodders as the modified their car and went serious racing. On the same note earlier today at El Mirage Bob Barmore asked me if I had ever heard of Don Freeland? Seems he knows his widow and she’s got lots of stories on the post war Track Roadster to Indy hot shoes. Looks like i’ll be busy following up on some leads for you.

While were on finding stuff on the old timers, saturday night at El Mirage three of us stayed in S.C.T.A. Tech Chairman Lee Kennedy’s motor home instead of our sleeping bags on the dirt.  Stories always take over and dirt on the oldtimers always surfaces. On name that came up was Bob Nordskog. This guy was top dog in the boating world and I had to relay the information that Senior bob had raced at the Dry Lakes way back in the thirties. Seems he had driven a Modified to some records back in the day. The car later became George Harvey’s before it went through a few more hands and ended up in Leroy Newmayer’s hands. When Leroy went to work for Uncle Sam his buddy named Art Chrisman took over running the car and streatched it for some new fangled drag racing work. It’s still around and is known as car number 25. Anyhow the Foundation was lucky enought to get some of Bob’s pictures through his wife’s brother, AHRFed Don Ferrara. The attached shot, BNF_101, shows the Smith & Hector car driven at Muroc back in June, ’33. Clarance Smith drove the Winfield headed banger to a speed of 112.50 mph. Not to bad on junk gas from that time. Also seen are Duke Hallock’s number 61 with a Schofield head and Duncan’s Olds headed Chevy number 19.

Talking pre-war lets look at another old ride that’s still around and in hiding (JUC_049). This one is in the new group of shots we just got from our man, Jack Underwood. It shows a young George Rubsch blasting across the lakebed at Harper on May 28, 1939. This car had a B in it with a Cragar head and ran 100.69 mph. It was named Skip-it after George’s nickname, Skip. I’ve been told the car was red in this shot. Later it was painted in Gilmore colors of Red and Cream  with flames to emulate the Kelly Petello Indy winner. Dig the whitewalls.

Another great shot from Jack (JUC_054) shows an early day heavy hitter named Vic Edelbrock with his number 13 Deuce. The date is May 19, 1940 and he had a set of Arco heads on it this day. Vic ran quite a few laps that day with speeds at 115.23 mph, 116.58 mph, 118.57 mph, 119.44 mph, 119.20 mph and 119.68 mph. Next to him is fellow Road Runners member Dick Rice. We don’t know his speed.

Since we mentioned Don Freland lets look at some of the cars from his era at Carrell Speedway in this Gear Grinders Club pix. The man who single handedly saver the CRA, California Roadster Associon, aks California Racing Association, Walt James is seen slideing into the number 10 car in one of his wildly designed shirts. Behind in number 7 is Johnny Garrett. Track roadsters still look good today.

Segwaying back to El Mirage lets look at another early day player, the Breene & Haller tank. This is a Bob Morton pix from 1950 and shows the ’40 Merc with Evans go fast goodies in the car. Dick Schilling’s roadster is above the two 97′s. Number 55 on the right is the Bill Jenks ride.

I took the camera to the lakes this weekend and shot absolutely zip, zero, goose egg. Our buddy Dan Warner was off cruising the Caribean with his wife so I did double duty inspecting Saturday and then doing record certs on Sunday. I had a record low one beer for the whole weekend, bummer, as it was about 105 degrees on Sunday so i’ll just have to catch up later with some new pix and libations.

Jim’s Hot Rodding News

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