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History Auto racing 1894-1942

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    To the best of my knowledge, the "stagger valve" was unique during the period covered by this thread.
    Something similar appeared in about 1968-69 in Germany, but I'll leave it at that to avoid going too far OT.
     
  2. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 761

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Actually, the stagger valve principle was used already by Fiat with their S61 type, which ran in the inaugural Indy 500 (and placed third, then second the next year). I don't know, however, whether that was a first - the car's designer, Giuseppe Coda, worked for Isotta-Fraschini before joining Fiat, and may have designed a similar head during his time there (he may even have copied someone else's design). You're correct about the other example, the famous BMW F 2 engine designed by Ludwig Apfelbeck.
     
  3. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Michael. That Fiat is worth looking at closely.
     
  4. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 761

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    It is. There's a good write-up with drawings in Laurence Pomeroy's Grand Prix Car, and some of the same in Robert Dick's Mercedes and Auto Racing in the Belle Epoque. Unfortunately, I can't find anything of substance online.
     
  5. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Sometime during the thirties Robert Waddy built his special,”Fuzzi” and raced it at hillclimbs and maybe some sprints (British style) as well. It was unique because of twin engines, four-wheel-drive, and aircraft-style construction. And like so many other specials, there is little to be found, even in contemporary media, AFAIK. Worse, it was drastically altered after the war, and so has not survived in anything approaching its original form.

    Anyone have any close-up/detailed shots, preferably with bodywork off? Or specifications/data or even just a detailed description? Doesn’t seem to be anything worthwhile on the net.
     
  6. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 259

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    Pictures of 'Fuzzi' - even 'clothed' - are hard to find. Motor Sport's obituary of Waddy gives a few details of the components which went into it; I suspect that some of it came from scrap yards and/or was hand-crafted by Waddy himself though, so might - even if photographed - be hard to identify. There's also a description in John Bolster's book 'Specials', which adds a few more details of the components - I can scan that and post it here if that would be helpful.

    Incidentally, it wasn't quite unique - in the late 1930s a Finn called Walter Bergström built a single-seater special which boasted twin DKW motorcycle engines mounted fore and aft in similar style. I have a very poor picture of it and a bit of Finnish newsreel film showing it ... it looks a bit like the early 1930s works Austins. Details of the only event I know of in which he ran it are here, with a link to the video: http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/gp392.htm#5
     
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  7. Michael the data and information that YOU read may well be CORRECT history. However, with respect to the racing and individuals showing up at Exposition Park in San Luis Obispo, all I have to go on is anecdotal information of folks who were there. Homer Wallace, young brother of Horace Wallace (killed at the track in 1924) told of seeing both Oldfield and DiPaolo on, as I recall, separate occasions. I cannot remember if Homer said they were racing. My sense is that they were NOT (more in a moment). Another man, who was a teenager at the time, Howard Caccia showed me a program autographed by both Oldfield and DiPaolo (as well as many others). Caccia said that he did not remember either of the two running in a race. He DID say that Oldfield might've made some "Exhibition Laps" along with Ralph DePalma! But, as I eluded to, this is ALL "Hearsay"! Having said all that, where YOU are woefully wrong in your observation, is that of "Transportation" and characterization of the venue. The San Luis Obispo Southern Pacific R.R.Freight Station is no more that 500 yds. from where the track stood. There by, race cars and their owners (as well as spectators) from afar, could and would show up. The rails were one of the easiest, sometimes ONLY mode, in those days, to ship race cars. As for the track itself through like Sheepshead, Indianapolis, Oakland and L.A.'s Legion Ascot etc. : "A Regional Track"; I don't think it was part of "99% all of the tracks at that time". This was NOT a flat (or slightly banked) 5/8, 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 mile patch of dirt. Exposition Park was a demanding fast, high banked one mile oval. AAA Sanctioning of ANY track in the West in those days was somewhat rare. I think probably the biggest reason Exposition Park never had a race sanctioned was that the venue did not last long enough.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  8. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,085

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Yes, shipping race cars via Rail was common. Old Walt Klausler who promoted IMCA racing at some of the lesser events spoke of filling a box car with cars for the Calgary Fair in the early 30's. Eight to twelve car entries were common depending on how many locals came. The total laps on a half mile for an entire event, heat, trophy dash, and feature might be only 20 to 24.
     
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  9. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thank you Vitesse for your valuable response. I too had searched the Motor Sport archives, and came up with nothing from the time the car was active, or even later when they sometimes featured earlier cars: your words have confirmed that I did not miss anything, except for the Waddy obituary.
    This in contrast to some other interesting cars of the time, such as the Issigonis-Dowson Lightweight special, Bloody Mary and others, for which a fair amount of contemporary, or later, material is available.
    I had not heard of the Bergstrom special, possibly it may have been reported in some Scandinavian periodicals or books at the time. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Just a guess, but it seems likely that it could have used DKW’s production racing 250/350 engines of that time, not as potent as the “works” machines, but still formidable.
    I would be most grateful for a scan of Bolster’s words on the subject of "Fuzzi": that book is worth it’s weight in gold today!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  10. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 259

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    The only thing which seems to be known about the Bergström car is that it had twin DKWs - engine size unknown, but they did also build a 500 from 1936 onwards.

    Here are the scans of JVB's book:

    ScanImage23.jpg ScanImage24.jpg ScanImage25.jpg ScanImage26.jpg
     
  11. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Many thanks Vitesse. Your kindness much appreciated.
    John Bolster's description is as good as one might expect from one of his background.
    I once owned a copy of DSJ's "Racing Car Pocketbook" which also featured Fuzzi, but from memory it was typical DSJ, with rather less of substance.
     
  12. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 761

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Old Dawg, I hope we can settle this without the bickering that often seems to creep into online discussions (see above :rolleyes:). It's just a fact finding discussion, not a war!! ;)

    I don't doubt that Oldfield and de Paolo visited SLO, maybe even on a regular basis - Oldfield lived in California since the mid teens, and I believe de Paolo did, too, for a time in the twenties. What I am saying is that I have extensive records of racing at the track, even entry lists from newspapers, and 99.9 % of all the competitors lived nearby. This was emphatically not a track like Sheepshead Bay, Indianapolis, Oakland or Ascot, where indeed competitors from all over the nation raced on a regular basis (and that is true for Ascot only in its first year, and later in the thirties).

    You are correct about transportation by railway, but again this was only true for a couple dozen or so nationally known top drivers, as well as the IMCA "circus show". None of those ever showed up at SLO, except for de Palma, Eddie Hearne and (from memory - I'm away from my records) Jack Petticord, I believe, who all raced only once there, The vast majority of drivers in those days could not afford to travel by train to races more than fifty miles or so away, and DID NOT, simple as that.

    Also, San Luis Obispo WAS a sanctioned track! Again, I need to check my records to be more specific, but I believe that for the early part of the twenties, SLO and San Jose were the only AAA dirt tracks in California, which was one of the reasons why AAA wanted to get into Ascot so badly.

    Racing in those days was often promoted like a circus, and drivers with foreign sounding names would be introduced as "European Road Racing Champions" with an invented CV just to make it all more interesting. Sometimes, foreign names would even be invented to go with an exotic vita (we all know that the "French ace Leon Duray" was really George Stewart from Ohio). Spectators went away impressed by what they saw, believing it to have been the best drivers and fastest cars in the world, because that was exactly what the promoters wanted them to believe.

    Nobody was interested in historical accuracy back then, it was just a show. But I believe there is good reason to be interested in it today.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  13. Michael, I totally agree! A lot of "History" has been lost for either not putting in down in writing; or if recording it, doing it inaccurately. I having been involved in mostly amateur racing for over sixty years; have seen misstatements and inaccuracies up to this day! I have had the good fortune in my 80 years to be within "earshot" of many racing folks (builders, drivers, scribes and spectators). These from our next-door neighbors (I was probably 10), Art and Thelma Sparks and their friends Johnny Parsons, Rodger Ward and Troy Ruttman; to latter day racing folks like Dan Gurney, Phil Remington and Danny Eames (Ford V.P. for Performance). I guess I could keep listing off the people that I've listened to, who had "been" there; but suffice to say that I've had loads of "B.S." about the early days of racing pass between these two aged ears of mine. About 25 years ago I became reacquainted with a fellow who as a pesky kid used to hang around my garage incessantly asking questions. The"kid" Joe Scalzo, now grown to a known motorsports writer (mostly of "Coffee Table tomes) told me of his intent to write about racing in Southern California from the turn of the Century (19th to the 20th) to the 60's. I asked him: "How many volumes?" Well, he turned out "Los Angeles, the City of Speed"! It seems that he'd taken his former bosses (Gus Vignolle) lead in emphasizing the "darker side" of the subject, featuring the crooks and frauds, and other "goofy bastards" of the sport of motoring rather than the leaders and luminaries! Through all of this there seems to be a constant theme: "Maybe that wasn't the way it was; but that's the way it should'a been!" LOL! Keep the stuff coming!
     
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  14. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Hope someone on this thread will be able to identify these cars:
    0f8a167dec4852bea1a83c015ccc86be--kart-cycle.jpg
    600+WD-1217.jpg
    32285397792_29343b7f20_b.jpg
    Thank you.
     
  15. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 743

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

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  16. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,388

    The37Kid
    Member

    [​IMG][​IMG]You could have started a clone build with this radiator that was at Hershey 2018. Bob
     
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  17. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,557

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The 1st pic is of Bill Schoof out of Milwaukee in his T-racer using Frontenac parts. Google up: Frontenac Old Motor and you will find more info.

    front-1.JPG

    The #66 car appears to be a prewar midget with chain drive and unique leaf spring IRS. Probably Harley/ J.A.P. or Indian MC power. Some of the pre war midgets were pretty innovative, here's a shot of a pre war So. Cal. midget with a similar front suspension.

    front-2.JPG
     
  18. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 743

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

  19. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,743

    noboD
    Member

    Pete, was it ever a racecar or did you built it in your head? Any pictures?
     
  20. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,388

    The37Kid
    Member

    [​IMG] MVC-006F.JPG

    The two springs on the bottom were extras from the Pop Dreyer built Harley Knucklehead powered midget I once owned. I sold it to a friend an hour after I unloaded it in the garage for $100.00 at the time I didn't know what a Harley Knucklehead was. The front end was a bunch of Model T parts carefully cut to fit the need. Bob
     
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  21. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,388

    The37Kid
    Member

    I've seen it and it is one of the nicest T based race cars out there. It's motivated me to drag some T parts off the shelf and get a frame finished. Bob
     
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  22. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks guys for the prompt and informative replies.
    I really like those cars, just wide enough for the driver and the engine; absolutely minimalist.
    And so many of those guys tried so many different ideas, never boring.
     
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  23. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,701

    jimdillon
    Member

    Pete looks good. For some reason the frame looks familiar but I cannot place it. Whatever it is I like it (and the whole look).
     
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  24. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 235

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    I ran across the same piece. I believe the asking price was $1,200.00
    Hershey 2018.jpg
    Back Side.jpg
     
  25. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,388

    The37Kid
    Member

    Yes, When I went back the next day it was gone. Bob
     
  26. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,640

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    Here's a Whippet clone with a 5" chop I did. A '65 Mustang radiator with the tabs trimmed down will fit inside it.
    Not gennie.
    But not $1200 either sr010.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  27. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 235

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

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  28. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,388

    The37Kid
    Member

    WOW! Two great photos, wish you could step back in time and see that event. That is a real Frontenac powered car, not a Model T based one. Bob
     
  29. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

  30. Pete,
    Get that race car together so that you can come "Play" with us! We're 'way down on car counts for "Club Races", particularly as Brian's been concentrating on a very busy schedule for his "Ragtime Racers" exhibitions!

    JK 2018_svra_smf_gp1_032_s07_0398_9a0c62b0-a116-40f1-a3fa-cea6746a288b_1024x1024-2.jpg
     
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