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History Auto racing 1894-1944

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

  1. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,947

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    My friend and I scrapped a Bonneville project because of tire cost. The engine we wanted to play with is too big for the vintage engine classes. Displacement in either the B gas lakester or streamliner classes where the record was near 300 mph at the time. Although we would never near that we would have to have tires for that speed. Well over $3000 just for tires. Enough to take the fun out of it. :(
     
  2. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,165

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    I wonder if William Rader did his testing / driving at the Romeo test track. Years back when I was a trainee at the then Ford Romeo Plant I drove around that high banked concrete track. It gave me the willys thinking about the ghosts of others who must have driven that track before me.
     
  3. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    Not sure if he tested at the Packard Proving Grounds in Romeo. I was a passenger in an old Packard out of the 30s on the track years ago. I would have to go back and check my notes. I spoke to his son back in the 80s and my memory has been known to be a bit faulty. They had a track at the Grand Boulevard factory grounds and Big Boy Rader as he was known also tested the 905 at Sheepshead Bay in 1917 although I do not believe he blew any tires on that car.
     
  4. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    Thought it may be wise to post a couple of pictures of Rader with the 905 racer that he drove to a number of records at Sheepshead in 1917. It may be appropriate since this car had a 905 cubic inch Liberty and you can see the tires he relied on. In setting the track records at Sheepshead in August 1917 he reached speeds of 129 mph (later in February 1919 this same engine set an American record on the Florida beaches of 149+, albeit in a one man car). His riding mechanic I believe is Frank Farber who had some nerve as well to ride along at these speeds as a passenger.

    I believe these pictures from the Old Motor (my pictures are in some file I cannot locate as easily) were taken on August 2 1917 in some of the back area of the Sheepshead complex; an old horse track converted to use as a 2 mile board track. Early August dates must have been good for Packard since a year earlier on August 3, 1916 they set a track record at Indy (with Rader and Farber as the combination on that day as well). The track record was with the smaller Liberty race car, the 299 and it was the first AAA sanctioned (then it was the 300 inch class) to lap the Motor Speedway at over 100mph. The Christie had set a 100mph record a bit earlier but it was an exhibition car and not sanctioned to run in the top tier AAA racing. Rader and Packard's chief engineer (in the bow tie) took turns for some record runs around the bricks. Vincent was used to high speeds as big time boat racing was his hobby. Rader-II.jpg Rader-III1.jpg Text-I2.jpg

    Here is a pic of the 299 at Indy. img036-2.jpg
     
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  5. SteveLines
    Joined: Jun 15, 2007
    Posts: 108

    SteveLines
    Member
    from England

    Lovely pics Jim, thanks for sharing.

    How is the rebuild progressing?
     
  6. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    Steve I wish I could say it is going well but such is not the case. Until recently business has kept be quite busy and since my pockets are not deep enough to farm it out, it has sadly been on a back burner. Not all bad though as the engine sits in my shop and always brings a smile when I notice it. Since I figured out that I am not going to live forever, I have decided in this semi-retirement period (or whatever one wants to call it) I must get in gear on moving ahead on my projects. Right now I am in the process of restoring a 1903 Cadillac (complete but in tough shape) and I am making decent progress and when that is done the plan is to get going on the 299 project. What Bill Castle did with the Baby Chevrolet was truly inspiring to me personally, but I need to start and finish my project a bit sooner than he did-I hope. Hope all is going well with you.
     
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  7. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 711

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    If Bill could do it at 95, you can do it at 59, Jim! :D Get going while you can! :cool:
     
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  8. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,190

    noboD
    Member

    Jim, good to hear you are working on the '03. I know it doesn't belong here but some of us are interested in that stuff too.
     
  9. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    Michael I am trying but it would really help if I worked on the cars as opposed to all of the side projects that seem to appear out of nowhere. Working on a wood bodied car in my shop (due to the cold weather) makes a bunch of dust and the last two winters bronchitis put a real crimp on progress so my project for today and tomorrow is installing a somewhat rudimentary air removal system in the shop. Just recently finished winterizing my wife's chicken coop as she decided to add a few chickens to our little ranch and she wanted me to build the chicken coop a certain way-of course, and then winterize it and she wanted switches so she turn the heat lamps on and off at will, etc, etc.

    If the honey do list can be kept to a minimum and I can stay focused who knows I may get these cars done.

    Plus you are being kind as I am now 67 and there are days that my body reminds me that I have not been kind to it for the last 67 years. I do have a plan-let's hope it works.

    Thanks Doug. The 03 car is not HAMB friendly but it is kind of cool. A real difference and takes me back to working at my grandfather's shop years ago
     
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  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 22,529

    The37Kid
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Good to know you are working on the '03 Jim, I should did out the AACA magazines and reread the features you wrote. Bob
     
  11. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 3,741

    64 DODGE 440
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from so cal

    Hang in there Jim. I'll be 72 in April, know what you are talking about with the reminders of my earlier body abuses. Can't quit yet, I have too many projects I want to see to finish.
     
  12. saacha
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 143

    saacha
    Member
    from cloud 9

  13. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    Not sure if any of you followed the Bothwell auction that took place in mid November. Sold a bunch of cars and I believe the family raked in a total of 13 million plus. The 1914 Peugeot that I believe was the true jewel in his collection sold for $7.26 million-not bad. I am happy that they finally did what they could to straighten out the lineage of the car before it was sold. I remember early on the car was referred to as Rests's chariot. This was the Lutcher Brown car that Mulford drove, that was then bought by De Palma Manufacturing (and then took over by the Book brothers) and then eventually went on to Art Klein and then Bothwell (and maybe Joe Boyer before Klein took actual ownership??)

    I had often wondered about some of Bothwell's other "racers" and see they were sold as cars built up as copies for the most part. Good they got the story straight IMO. Speaking of Cadillac, Bothwell had at least one Cadillac "racer" and maybe 2 of them. I could never figure them out but believe they were built up cars to look cool and have some fun with.

    Bob, in regards to my articles, when I was researching auto racing years ago I would also research the early Cadillacs and the formation of Cadillac, since I had the 03. I do not believe GM has the history correct and have told them so. They will not change what is written I am sure-too ingrained in the written word. I did what I could and wrote a piece for the Horseless Carriage Gazette on the formation of Cadillac and the early cars entitled (Cadillac, The Early Cars and the Men Behind Them-Vol 69 No4 July August 2007). If you have not read it and want to let me know(PM) and I can email you a copy.

    Here is a picture of Peugeot that sold when it was owned by the Book brothers at Indy in 1919 (with Art Klein behind the wheel. Cool uniforms with the script Detroit. The other car they ran in the 500 was the Detroit Special and they were pretty big on the city of their birth. After they gave up racing in 1920 they became heavily involved in developing downtown Detroit (mainly Washington Boulevard).
    Book-11r.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 12:10 PM
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  14. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,165

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    How did they make such graceful swept back exhaust pipes? I've been watching Pat Ganahl's thread on re-creating the Spalding Special roadster and even his master fabricator Marty Strode wrestled with the exhaust system to get it just right. I continue to marvel at the expertise those craftsmen of that era displayed.
     
  15. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    I agree that these guys had some real skills. The more I researched this era the more impressed I became. I have a VHS tape of Myron Stevens who did the metal work on the Millers in the 20s and some in the 30s. Most of the metal work done on the Millers during this era was done by him. I believe he said that the first set of headers he made for the Miller straight 8 in the 20s took him 40 hours and he made them out of a flat sheet (I will have to dig that tape out and see if my memory is half way accurate). If you look at some of the headers he made (in the Indy museum for instance) they are works of art IMO.
     
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  16. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 22,529

    The37Kid
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There is a tape of Myron Stevens doing some metalwork using the hammers he hand forged using Model T Ford rear axle shafts, guess he knew were to get good steel.

    The other gem in the Bothwell collection for years was the Ira Vail Hudson from the 1919 Indy 500. D. Cameron Peck bought it off a Philadelphia used car lot in 1948. I've had the paperwork for the car since the early 1920's when Vail sold it to H.D.Carpenter. Car is in Korea now in the Samsung collection. Bob

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Kiwi Tinbender
    Joined: Feb 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,143

    Kiwi Tinbender
    Member

    Jim, I have that same tape. As a metalshaper and fabricator, he is a hero of mine. I have no doubt that I am not qualified to run the broom if I was around in that time...
     
  18. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,190

    noboD
    Member

    Hey Bob, did you ever know the Dodge Brothers made those axles? Oh yea, you knew that.
     
  19. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,165

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    I believe the "secret" Ford had was he was using a chrome / vanadium alloy. Tough.
     
  20. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,948

    jimdillon
    Member

    The tape we reference was made in conjunction with the National Auto Racing Historical Society (which I belonged to and no longer exists). He also signed some blueprints of the Stutz Blackhawk which he fabricated a good portion. I got one of those copies and hung it in my shop. It recently fell off the wall and broke the frame.

    I am one of his biggest fans.
     
  21. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 736

    drtrcrV-8
    Member

    That tape was also sponsored by the Machinist's union : at that time I was a member & that's how I got my copy. Small world, isn't it?
     
  22. Years ago when I was young and dumb, an old racer told me: "Son! If you worry about the cost of your race tires, you'll never become a good driver! And you shouldn't bother about entering your car!" In those days a new race Dunlop or Pirelli was about 50 bucks. Now the cheapest tire on my race car is $411 (75 bucks for the tube).
     
  23. Andrew Mccann
    Joined: Aug 2, 2016
    Posts: 223

    Andrew Mccann
    Member
    from Bristol UK

    06B60318-42CF-455E-A7D9-99447CFC86B9.jpeg

    Had this photo for years. Seems sensible to share it now.
    Wondering how much these would cost...

     
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  24. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 22,529

    The37Kid
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [​IMG]Does anyone in California know who has the remains of this car? I need to buy myself a birthday present and start another project. You can keep the engine. Bob
     
  25. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 711

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    You probably know this car has a bit of a history... ;)
     
  26. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 22,529

    The37Kid
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes, that it is why I want to find it and bring it back to its glory days. All I need are the remains of the frame and body, someone tucked away these bits, finding that guy is the challenge. Bob
     
  27. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 4,869

    Bluto
    Member

    THIS ISN'T MINE... IT'S FOR SALE .... DON'T WRITE TO ME PLEASE. I GUESS MY POINT IS THERE ISD STILL PRETTY NICE AND REAL CARS OUT THERE. I DID TAKE THIS PHOTO SO PERHAPS THE PHOTO IS MINE. Strange that title....

    diller.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017 at 11:57 AM
  28. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 9,873

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    So what are those Ralph Lauren hats or what? Don't think that fad lasted long. Gary
     
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  29. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 4,869

    Bluto
    Member

    SEVERAL PLACES SOLD THEM

    FUNNY HATS FADE? LASTED FOREVER I STILL HAVE A FEW IN MY COLLECTION ALONG WITH THE PRESSED PAPER PIT HELMETS.... ONE HAS A COUPLE CRACKS WHERE IS SAVED MY SKULL!
     
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  30. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 9,873

    gnichols
    Member
    from Tampa, FL

    ^^^ I do have a pith helmet, much more reasonable looking but still not wide enough for Bville, IMHO. I got mine in the USN while stationed in Panama. I don't know if they are still available thru uniform stores, but perhaps the surplus stores might have some. Or perhaps from some other nation's militaries? Or on the web. I just checked and they are all over the place. Gary

    PS I don't have a FSN, but the inside of mine has the following nomenclature. Stay cool!

    HELMET, SUN
    DSA 100-2102
    8415-161-4773
     

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