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History Abandoned Roadsters - California Salt flats

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Pixelchef, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Pixelchef
    Joined: Dec 9, 2016
    Posts: 4


    Hunting for any history/examples of Roadsters being salvaged from California salt flats. Has anyone ever heard of this occurring?

    Long story short, I’ve been hunting for what happened to granddads old 31’ roadster he used to take to Mohave timing on the salt flats and sold in the early 50s to a friend who abandoned the car after the engine blew (or so the story goes) after doing a few runs. After the engine blew the story is they left the car there and hitched a ride with a fellow hot rodder back to LA. Then a short time later joined the army and never retrieved the vehicle. Long shot but I’m hoping see if anyone has any stories like this or heard of people pulling old rods out of the flats in general.

    The car was a 31’ Ford roaster painted silver (see pictures below). Last seen with Kendra, Bob Brisko in the late 50s

  2. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,649


    hummmm Could be my computer, but I'm just getting "ERROR" in response, no picture.
  3. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,790

    V8 Bob

    JFYI, there's no salt flats in CA. The dry lakes courses are simply dry lake beds. The only salt flats are in Utah. And all I get are ERRORS also.
  4. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,058


    You and me both Larry.
    chryslerfan55, Deuces and seb fontana like this.

  5. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 663

    from Motown

    I get error too. And Mojave is not a salt flat.
    Deuces likes this.
  6. Pixelchef
    Joined: Dec 9, 2016
    Posts: 4


  7. Pixelchef
    Joined: Dec 9, 2016
    Posts: 4


    My mistake for swapping the timing company for the salt flat name. The course was named rosamond
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,740

    Jalopy Joker

    yep, old cars were abandoned because of being so common - could have been picked up by another race team or local wrecking yard - more than a needle in a hay stack kind of search
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  9. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,886


    I wish you luck, and would think it's a wild goose chase, but this is the HAMB, so one never knows who knows what. Hope you can find it or a good story.
  10. When I used to go to the jalopy derby in Gardena in the '50's, there were frequently remains of battered jalopies in the adjacent field. Junk then, gold now.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,293


    since no one else has bothered, here are the pictures, so we can see them without going through the ordeal....

    (btw you can upload images to the HAMB easily, and it makes life easier for those you're asking for help with your search)

    IMG_2491_Original.JPG IMG_2608_Original.PNG IMG_2227_Original.jpg
  12. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,372

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Once abandoned, it was probably open season for people to strip parts from it until it was a carcass and hauled off for scrap.
    Rosamond dry lake bed is just East of the town of Rosamond. A few miles further East is Edwards Air Force Base-previously known as Rogers dry lake, also once used for dry lakes speed trials.
  13. Mystery to about post # 4 ?
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,197


    I've read a few stories on cars that got wrecked or blown up and abandoned that the scavengers stripped to the bare nothing soon after. Quite often while the racing was still going on from the sound of it. A car that looked that good may have showed up at the next race with a different engine in it and maybe a quick and nasty paint job and have been raced again.
    chryslerfan55 and Tman like this.
  15. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,160


    You are right about the fate of abandoned cars at the lakes. Cars that crashed or broke and left at the lakes were stripped of anything of value. A good friend told me that on more than one occasion. He said he was lucky because none of the cars he went to the lakes ever crashed or broke down so bad that they couldn't nurse it back to L A.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  16. I remember read about El Mirage & Muroc dry lake in Hot Rod magazine back in High school but where are the salt flats in California? HRP
  17. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,816

    from Ks

    Dad and Mom used to fly gliders off Rosamond dry lake. Lippy
  18. Salton sea. Unfortunately, it ain't flat.
    RodStRace and chryslerfan55 like this.
  19. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,752


    The surface is when it's calm!:D
  20. olds vroom
    Joined: Jan 29, 2010
    Posts: 984

    olds vroom

    Good luck in your search

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  21. The proverbial Elephant Graveyard will probably be easier to find.
  22. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 2,387

    from norcal

    Let us know if you find any Harleys packed in original wwII crates
    56don and stillrunners like this.
  23. Pixelchef
    Joined: Dec 9, 2016
    Posts: 4


    A few months ago I saw a photo of grandpas old car on my garage again and decided to listen to an interview I did with him in 2017 while I was at work. I hadn’t listened to it in that time and figured hearing his voice again would be a good idea.

    Finding Joyce

    While listening to this recording I stumbled upon a random fact that led me on a couple month research project to find whatever happened to grandpas old car. Here is what I found and how I found it.

    In 2017 I interviewed grandpa as a part of the library of Congress’ project to gather a generational recording of experiences and store then indefinitely online. While recording grandpa I asked him about his experiences racing and, while most of the stories I’ve heard before, he mentioned a name that stuck out to me listening again in 2021. Let’s say the name was Jack L name from ID for the sake of the story.

    On the recording grandpa stated that Jack’s brother, a detective in LA called him years later and connected him with his brother, Jack who bought the car off grandpa and sold it ten years prior. The hunt was on.

    I scoured police records for a detective with the last name L to see if I could narrow down the search. No one seemed to know of a detective by that name and no records showed one either in the mid 60s. After a bunch of hunting I found nothing. Time to turn to John.

    I assumed Jack would be in his late 80s but unlikely to take my call so not only did I need to find him but I needed to get him to reply to me. I ended up finding 500 people nation wide with his name so I ended up narrowing the search by age, work history, location. Turns out there were two Jack’s in Idaho so I ran and background check and found Jack was 88 in a small town outside The capital. Bingo.

    Then I searched the obituaries and found out he died. After running a full background relative check I found only his grandkid and reversed looked up his phone number. I called and left a message and explained myself and that I was just trying to see what happened to the car. I was told to “leave him alone”. Dead end.

    After seeing his grandkid had a record I looked up related parties and found that his residence displayed on his court public hearing, after reverse looking up I found presumably his dads address. I wrote him a letter with a photo explaining who I was and what I was looking for. 8 days later I got a call from Joyce.

    Here are the photos I sent with grandpa and his car at the flats and in LA colorized.


    What happened to the roadster

    Joyce was Jacks wife and received the letter from her son who bought her house when she moved into a home. She knew of the car but said that Jack ran it at the Mohave but it’s motor blew and they left it at the salt flats. I ended up posting online looking to see what happened to these types of cars with no luck. Turns out busted cars on the flats would often be towed to a nearby junk yard and sold for scrap. Dead end.

    At this time Joyce mentioned she might be able to ask her brother in law who worked in law enforcement in LA. Bingo. I asked for his number. Turns out he was a police chief, not a detective but started mid 70s.

    After chatting with him he corrected the story and said that actually the car did survive the mishap at the flats and was fixed up prior to Jack joining the military and leaving the country. Turns out Jack loved the car so much he hired a tow and caught a ride with his buddy bob brisko on the left below. His brother even had two photos (shown below). Success!

    Turns out the story ends here Jack wanted to sell the car before he left and had a young buyer lined up that wanted to try the car out for a short while to make sure it was reliable. Jack let him drive it around the Hollywood hills. At some point this aggressive new potential buyer wrecked the car in the hills and didn’t pay Jack before he left. An unfortunate end to the story but at least grandpas old hot rod ended with a bang versus being abandoned in a salt flat.

    Here are the photos I received with Jack on the right, Bob on the left and the young driver who crashed grandpas car in the middle grinning (probably before he got the keys).

    Last known photo of grandpas car.
    Note the matching plates with grandpas photos above.
    kaspar, 51box, egads and 7 others like this.
  24. redoxide
    Joined: Jul 7, 2002
    Posts: 633

    from Scotland

    great story. would be cool if someone on here was able to shed some light on the fate of the car after it was wrecked by the potential buyer .
    48fordnut likes this.
  25. egads
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,142


    @Pixelchef Nice determination and detective work.
  26. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 463


    None that are organized racetracks but they do exist.
    1. Amboy, east of Barstow. Too small to race on
    2. Badwater in Death Valley. Could be perfect. Below sea level so cars run better ;<)
    3. Cargill Salt Flats in Redwood City. Actually controversial settling ponds
    4. Searles Dry Lake. Possibly a future salt flat
    egads likes this.

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