New and old races make up our history

March 8, 2010

This last Saturday I witnessed more Land Speed History with the first running of the Mojave Mile. It was held at the Mojave Air & Space Port or as us common folks call it, Airport. Sadly my disk reader is on the fritz so I can’t show you any pictures from the event yet. Two land speed cars showed up and also a handfull of bikes. The rest of the 100 or so vehicles consisted of hotted up street type cars like Vette’s and Ford GT 40’s. Fastest car of the meet was the Big Red ‘68 Camero at 200.7 mph. Fastest bike was around 194 mph. Everything went really smooth except for a little rain and one aircraft that had to land. These shut down the running for a few minutes. A few of the LSR guys also showed up to scope out the affair and will most likely show up at the next one to show the street guys what trouble they can cause. i’ll leave you with a sticker that all the competitors got to plaster on there cars (JMC_1073).

Matt Jones out of Texas has the old Weinberg roadster from ‘47 that he’s hopeing to show at Pebble Beach this August. I had talked to him a few years back when we got the Tony Nancy Collection to scan. Tony had a few pix of the car in it’s updated version from the ‘80’s and any time an old car surfaces we like to find out as much about it as possible, hence the call. I dug out this shot from my dad’s collection from when it was being built and sent him in hopes that it would help in the resto (JMC_1072). It a little blurry thanks to a shakey photog and a cheap camera.

The Mojave cars intrigued me so it was back to the files to find an old Monza from ‘80 that would fit right in at the “Port”. When it was built it looked fast standing still and still looks sexy today. JMC_1051 shows the DeKon built Turbocharged Chevy Monza entering turn 6 at Riverside International Raceway during the Five Hour IMSA Los Angeles Times/Toyota Grand Prix of Endurance held on April 27, 1980. Drivers George Follmer and Skeeter McKitterick flogged the Roy Woods Racing liveried Racing Associates Inc. car a total of 82 laps before the gearbox gave up. They were religated to a 35th place finish OA and 10th in the GTX Class in the 60 car fielld.

Another car that would fit right in at Mojave is this challenger (JMC_1046). The million dollar car of today shows driver Tony Adamowicz’s Dodge Challenger team practiceing a tire change on Saturday Octiber 3, 1970 at Riverside Raceway. The next day in the Mission Bell 200 Trans-Am race he went out of the race after completeing 64 laps because the Keith Black prepped engine decided to stop running. He was credited with 24th place. Behind is the Sunoco-Javalin driven by Peter Revson with Roger leaning on the passenger door. Peter crashed out of the race on lap 39.

While looking for the Monza we also ran across this cool shot of another yellow car. This one (JMC_1048) shows Joe Leonard with arm raised indicateing he’s done for at Ontario Motor Speedway on October 3, 1972. He was driveing the Samsonite sponsored Parnelli that burnt a piston and dropped out after completeing 162 laps. Joe started in 9th and was classified as the 16th place finisher. It’s not often these days that you see a driver signal when he has a problem so enjoy.

While on an older Chevy kick lets go back to ‘49 and check out some Gear Grinders pix. The first one (GGC_025_ shows Marvin Lee’s City of Pasadena Streamliner at El Mirage in 1949. Unfinished and just out of the box in May it ran 150.25 mph for first in class. In June it slowed down to 141.73 mph for third in class. It came back in July and ran a whopping 160.42 mph for first in class and grabbeb the record at 153.545 mph. A trip to the first Bonneville races netted a program cover shot and a top speed of 151.00 mph against a record set at 117.915 set by Jim lindsley. Back to the lakes in September netted another first in class at 154.63 mph. He was there in October too but no speed is known. Behind the liner is Dolphins member Eugene Sullivan’s ’29A with a 244″ ’39 flat motor in it. He ran 109.75 mph in May, 124.48 in July and 123.11 mph in September.

Also in 1949 Johnny Hartman, another Pasadena Roadster Clubbe,r showed up at the lakes three times before Bonneville to try out his banged up track roadster (GGC_090). It was powered by a 248″ Wayne equipped ’41 Chevy Stovebolt engine. In may he dazzled the lakes regulars by cutting a lap at 145.63 mph to grab first in class and also set a new record at 140.090 mph. In June he was back and was again 1st in class with a run of 147.50 mph. In July he showed up again this time teamed up with a Jessup fellow and again wa first in class with a 149.75 mph. He also bumped his record to 147.24 mph. They came back for the October meet but no speed is known. You can also see that there was a little problem with the left rear tire.

Last but not least yet another PRC member by the name of Tom Spalding (JMC_096) showed up at El Mirage in May ’49 with his bright Orange Track roadster to see how fast she would go. Powered by a 248″ ‘48 Chevy 6 with Wayne goodies he must of had a problem as no speed is recorded. Ditto for the June and July meets. He showed up at Bonneville in August and ran 141.06 mph for the fastest speed of any Class B Lakester. He couldn’t put two laps together so Starr & Alger went home with the record at 134.73 mph. He came back in October but again no speed is known.

That’s it for this week, so let’s see if I can get the bugs out of the computer.

Jim’s Hot Rodding News

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