Yeah, I know… It’s off topic. But one of the things that I have always enjoyed about the younger generation of hot rodders is the creativity they (we) bring to the table. A lot of us were influenced as tikes by things like skateboarding, dirt bikes, BMX racing, etc… These others mediums bring an edgyness to the hobby that is… well, RAD.
The San Fernando Valley Illegal Soap Box Federation is one such influence. Yeah, they aren’t kids anymore and these aren’t hot rods, but damnit man – this is hot rodding as it should be. As such, I got with Rev106 and threw some questions his way.
TJJ: Who the hell is the SFVISBF?
SFVISBF: The San Fernando Valley Illegal Soap Box Federation is a group of hardened individuals that seek low buck speed. We race outlaw soapbox cars down various hills in the SFV. Unlike other soapbox races, we race head to head, winner take all style whether 2 cars or 25 cars at once.
TJJ: How did it get started?
SFVISBF: My friend Tick-One came into my bicycle shop and said he wanted to do soapbox racing. I told him I already had a car and we should get to it – thus, the federation was formed. We started with 5 cars; one being a loaner and now our last race had 24 cars.
TJJ: The video seems pro-edited with tons of cameras, what goes into this operation?
SFVISBF: People mount cameras on their cars and our video guru, Elliot Gray (aka Neighborhood Watch) puts them all together. We just hand over the tapes and he does the rest. We sometimes do some skits as well as you’ve seen in the movies.
TJJ: How many cars total do you guys have around now?
SFVISBF: If everyone showed up, about 30 cars would take the field. Right now we’re running in the mid 20′s for cars showing up to race. We have 100+ spectators each time now and some of these spectators are builders, so it’s been jumping up in increments of two cars per race.
TJJ: Are there any rules?
SFVISBF: Yes. We have some basic guidelines for car construction. Four or more wheels, no outrigger or faux wheels (no bicycles), must roll, steer and stop. Can’t be so big or heavy that you can’t get it into a truck or van. No weapons, spikes, paint guns, spy hunter stuff… Keep it simple and safe – let people use their creativity and skill to make cool cars.
TJJ: After watching 5 or 6 videos, I gotta think you have at least one good story to share. Spit it out. Crashes, cops, etc… That kind of thing.
SFVISBF: There are lots of crashes. I myself have crashed badly a couple of times this season alone – flipped over and slid on my head, etc… My helmet has flat spots on it. I hit an equestrian fence so hard with my head that I bent the pole. I’m lucky I can still walk. I’ve done a lot of dumb and dangerous stuff in my time and dollars to doughnuts, soap box racing is the most fun I’ve ever had. A couple races were so intense that I had a form of tunnel vision not remembering much of the race because I was so focused. When you’re a couple inches off the ground, the sensation of speed is very strong! Scary!
At first we had to look out for the cops. They saw we were having fun and wanted to put a stop to it. Now we have police in civilian dress showing up with their kids to watch. It kind of takes the outlaw manqué out of the whole thing. Each race is a unique adventure. Each race has a story. It’s all very exciting.
These guys are fucking crazy.