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Motion Pictures A Car Show, A Drag Race, and a Hill Climb in 1959

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,217


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    A Car Show, A Drag Race, and a Hill Climb in 1959

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    HEMI32, Sancho and kidcampbell71 like this.
  2. Awesome video, thanks for sharing that one!

    This is the stuff I love:

    I have seen photos from shows back in the day when a guy would show a car but the interior wasn't done yet. A lot of them would line all the windows with crumpled up foil. I'm assuming these two are shoe-polished out to hide the unfinished interior. Very Kool!
    HEMI32 likes this.
  3. flatford8
    Joined: Dec 12, 2012
    Posts: 103

    from Lyman,ME.

    Great film!!!.....about 6 mins. in there looks like some stockers starting at an angle to the track.....what’s that all about??.....Mark
    chevy57dude likes this.
  4. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,692


    Hey F,
    Those were usually stock cars chosen from the fast cars in the top factory stock classes. (A or S/S) They were called LeMans races. It was half time entertainment, while the staff got lunch, or they were getting the elimination charts organized for the rest of the afternoon. Anytime a different kind of entertainment was necessary, this was it. At one time, the actual racers ran down the strip in a relay race... I did not get that one on film from 1959-60.

    Rruss was here on the HAMB several years ago and when I found this video online, it broke open a ton of additional conversations and video exchanges. He filmed some of the same racers, almost at the same time and probably from the same location as me. They are some great shots from that time in So Cal.

    Here is my film on the Lemans Races at Lions.

    Rruss (Bob) and I were probably standing next to each other close to the starting line, near the tower and in the spectators side viewing areas. He actually filmed what we now think is our 40 Willys at 4:14. He told me that he spliced several films together from various times between 1959-60. He remembers our Willys during those 1960 times. A car show in Lynwood, drags at Lions, and hill climb in Brea, the Highway 39 area, from 1959-60. The movie is pretty nice and shows what were the popular things to do on the weekends in So Cal.
    our 40 willys

    These films from Lions in the 59-60 era are priceless. For us and many of the old timers, it was the start of our involvement in drag racing and the hot rod scene. For these films, Bob, I thank you.

    THANKS TO JB, for finding this movie and presenting a different look to the So Cal scene.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
    Johns Rod & Custom likes this.
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  5. flatford8
    Joined: Dec 12, 2012
    Posts: 103

    from Lyman,ME.

    Thanks!!.....Great stuff!!!.... I went to some early races ( mid sixties) in Sanford, ME. When I was a little kid but we didn’t have anything you had out there...Mark
  6. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,263


    Beautiful. Hill climb footage is fantastic, looks a lot like the hills north of Castro Valley where this young teenager discovered this thrilling pastime in 1966.
  7. Dave Downs
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 847

    Dave Downs
    from S.E. Penna

    All I see is almost 11 minutes of hill climb!! No car show, no drags.:(
    And the hill climb is shot from far away, cycles look like ants.
  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,692


    Hey D,
    Now try this link. It starts from the beginning with the car show and goes through to the hill climb.

    Rruss did film a nice compilation movie of his times being involved in the So Cal hot rod, custom car and drag race scene. Back then, it was a big draw for us as young teens.

    JB should be given thanks, too as this grouping film is hard to find on the internet.
  9. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,025


    T Birds aplenty in the car show! Watson style paint jobs on some. The supercharged one grabbed my eye.
    The guy racing his black '59 El Camino must have won the 1st heat against the Merc(?). He ran again against the white Dodge, I believe.
    Dibs on a time machine ride..
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  10. Dave Downs
    Joined: Oct 25, 2005
    Posts: 847

    Dave Downs
    from S.E. Penna

    @jnaki - Thanks! New link works!
    jnaki likes this.
  11. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,461


    Great old drag flicks.
    Reminds you of when Detroit was really Motor City of the World.
  12. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 3,692


    Great find and post JB. This movie hits very close to home (literally). Those were the days I was trying to showcase in my films. This film gives the same feeling with added footage from a nearby car show and an old motorcycle hill climb area that was popular in 1960. It is historic and deserves a place here and in people's files.

    I was lucky back in 2015 when I found Rruss' old Lions film that showed our 40 Willys Coupe making a run on one of those random 1960 days. We were in B/Gas at the time. (March to June 1960.) From June to the end in August, we were in C/Gas with our newly built 671 SBC . (earlier HAMB THREAD)

    In all of my searching for missing photos of our 671 SBC 40 Willys, I came across an old 59-60 film taken by RRUSS here on the HAMB. It was his compilation of old films taken back during those times and all put together as one film. In it was a film of us standing on the spectator’s side and lo and behold, a short clip of our primer Willys making a run at Lions. What a find. It is the only film from those times of our Willys build that is still around. Thanks, RRUSS…

    Within the compilation old car show, drags and hill climb movie, there was actually more historic footage in Rruss' 59 Lions video. In another section (after an edited gap), my brother and I are standing on the spectator side of the strip. If you have watched the video clips I took, this is a great spot to get the full coverage of the start to the finish drag racing with the orange Lions tower in the background. When we were not racing, this was the ringside seat to see the whole race from start to finish, in a panoramic view.

    It is too bad we did not have a telephoto lens. But, see the original 60's look clothes: blue nylon jacket, buzz cut hair, Levis or Dickeys, if you could see the shoes, Clark's Desert Boots, etc. Gee...Rruss and I were standing neighbors back in 1959 on the spectator's side of Lions. What a small world. As others have said, it was the place to be during this early drag racing era. Lions...It was all day Saturday and a lot of action lasting into the late evening for the last elimination race. Sometimes there were some Sat-Sun events that doubled the pleasure for the weekend.

    There are similar action shots of race cars during this time from Rruss' film and my films. They were usually taken from the same spot or close by. Several are from the opposite sides of the track. As such as these old 8mm and 16mm movies were from back then, I have tried to enlarge them to see if I could see myself far, no images show up.

    One that stood out because it was unusual seemed to be the little white Fiat Topolino that caught fire at the starting line. It shows the hustle and bustle of the starter and the safety group getting into action. Because the driver pops out of the Fiat, the ambulance did not leave his spot directly across from the fire. Great similar movies and memories!

    Thanks for a "missing Willys clip" of our car in action, Bob. We were actually there...and not in my old memories.

    This was one day my dad was there as a surprise, visiting and seeing what was going on this Saturday afternoon with his two teenage boys. He was in the foreground with his famous “ gangster hat.” My mom? There was no way she would even think of going to the place that makes extremely, loud noises every weekend.(and has those dangerous cars!)

    This old film clip was inside of a longer drag racing/59-60s video recorded by RRUSS (HAMB) over several months and locations. It is our primer painted Willys running in B/G before we added welded steel plates in the trunk, (over the rear axle,) to get into the C/Gas Coupe class weight/HP requirements. The steel plates made the Willys a little more solid, had less body flex, and was considered a permanent installation. That installation of extra weight put us in the lower C/Gas class. (even with a 671 supercharger on a 292 SBC)

    The young teens? They grew up really fast from 58-60 and it came to a screeching halt on the night of August 13, 1960. But those old movies taken with an 8mm or 16mm movie cameras still exist. They are digitally saved or stored away in their original reels. History lives on the device screens of the USA. It is too late to save Lions, but, save these films to preserve what is left of history at Lions during this era.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  13. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 7,998


    what a great video, I was at Lions in 1960 and saw many of these same rigs compete. The car show footage is super, what amazing Watson works. Thanx for the memory lane.

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