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Old 01-25-2011, 09:29 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default The Soap Box Derby in 1963



A couple of years ago, I ran a post covering the design and beauty of vintage soap box derby cars. The result was a lot of memories. See, I started my racing career in a go kart. To me, that little la...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

What kid didn't dream of being in the "Soap Box Derby?


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Old 01-25-2011, 09:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Good stuff.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

I certainly agree with the competitive side of this story. For me it began with bicycles, if I wasn't the fastest kid in the neighborhood I was pissed. Of course that moved on to go carts, mini bikes, and eventually cars. Thanks for the cool post, Ryan and to Mazooma for the neat-o plans!
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

That is an awesome video.

It is a shame that for kids, winning and losing is on it's way out of fashion in America...
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

I remember this being kinda of a big deal even years later...my grandparents were from Ohio, but it was popular everywhere Im guessing

My family would ask "Don"t you wana do this?".... and I'd be like "Huh.. theres a minibike right there,.. are you nuts?"...

The cool thing is... Im hopping, most are still family built.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Dad took me to the local Chev dealer in maybe 1958 or 1959 and bought an official set of wheels and axles. We built the car that is shown in Mazooma1's post. It took a long time to finish and I don't remember where we actually raced but I got to race it once and lost pretty badly as I remember. I couldn't get the hang of keeping it going in a straight line because the steering was real sloppy. What I realized with this post is that it is one of the few things we did together over an extended period of time. Dad only made about $1 an hour in those days so investing in those wheels must have been quite a strain on the family budget. Haven't thought about that event in my life in a long time. Thanks for bringing it back.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Aw crap... Now you got me thinking again! First it was the lifelong desire for the Go Kart that I couldn't have as a kid, then the revisiting of the mini bike that I did manage to sneek ownership of as a kid. Both aided and encouraged by the H.A.M.B. members personal time wasting O/T projects. Now my brain clicks to this really cool victorian era mining town in the south of the state that happens to have an adult soap box derby on fourth of July... ( Bisbee, by the way - home of the Shady Dell and Dot's Diner) Might just have to look into blowing that cool plan Mazooma posted up and doing it big boy sized.
Another thought, when I was a kid in the early seventies, the soap box deal was pretty much dead in St. Paul where I lived. When I got to Arizona, even more so. What is the status of the event these days? Does it still happen? Do kids still do this? I would think tht they might explode at the thought of competition and possible winning...
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

My home town had a soap box derby course right in the middle of town, and for a long time it was pretty well known. I've done a bit of research into it and there are lots of references to kids from my town winning races all over North America... it was part of the culture back then and something we were proud of. By the time I came along the craze was over, and the road the course was on has since been moved and obliterated. I do remember the guy who lived across the street from me growing up had a half-built cart in his garage, wish I had it now. I still keep my eye out for old cars, trophies, anything, never had much luck, seems like it was wiped off the history books.

Some of us are still building these things though...

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Makes me wanna kill an X-box.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:52 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Big A, do they still race down the canyon and make that hard 90 at B Hill? I lived in Bisbee in '69-'70 and they raced right past my house. A few guys got nearly killed every year. We had the "Welcome Race Fans" banner in our living room until the local constabulary requested its return or suffer the consequences.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

I dreamed of racing pro soapbox as a kid, but the folks would not support it. So we raced on the street with all the other punks. I got older but never grew up. So now with all my +50 buddies (one is 74) we still race for laughs followed by BS and beer. Inspired by the S.F.V.I.S.B.F. we started G.O.F.E.R.S.(Goofy Old Farts Elite Racing Series)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nObxzSjbOaI
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Anybody here remember racing derby on that track on the westside of San Antonio? at Culebra and Loop410W. for me it was late 50s ,lightweight green and white car with a fat kid casting his fat to the wind...
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Back in 1963 I raced the soap box derby in Lubbock Texas. (Yeah, there is one hill in Lubbock to ride down). My dad and I built the car together. It was the first driving and racing experience I had. I got third place and never made it to Akron. I competed for three years and never did win anything but a 4" tall trophy.....

Those were simplier days back then......
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:08 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

they still race em in my uncles town. they do races in the small towns around the area and every easter is the series final, its a pretty big event they close off the main street an race down there, pretty much the whole town turns out.

BTW there called billy carts over here and theres not so many rules. but there isnt and i dont think there ever was a national title. i do remeber a big race at moomba (big festival in melbourne, the state capital) was televised and every thing but i dont think they do it anymore (dont televise it at least.)
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

I was in it in 1963-64-65 still have the plaques, 1 metal (2nd place) and 1 helmet
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

Racing teaches kids things that team sports don't. There needs to be more of it these days. Nowadays, in youth team sports they tell all the kids they're winners. When I was racing, losing sucked and it made you work harder and think smarter so you wouldn't get beat next time. Most people think it's just a bunch of kids playing with toys, but there's great life lessons that can be learned in derby.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

For anybody living in the Allentown area, we have a nice collection of vintage soap box cars at the America on Wheels Museum. Starting with one from the early 30's. Neat to see how it all started.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:35 PM   #19
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

When I was a kid in the 50's I lusted for the Akron event to be covered in the news reel shown before the movies. That and college and pro football games being shown were highlights for me. I remember all the big time coverage of the event as shown in the cool film clip shown here. Geez, do you suppose that tiny trophy was for Akron, hope not, size does matter. We built a few orange crate cars and thought they were way cool. My grandad helped me build one using a little round nail keg for the front end, wow, a streamliner!! Fun days! ~sololobo~
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: The Soap Box Derby in 1963

This guy I know bought this a few years ago, pretty sweet. I cant remember how old it was mid to late 60s I think...

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