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Technical Drag Racing In Michigan - 1953

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,714

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 8,701

    from Burton, MI

    Wow! So cool to see the different styles of builds on here. Thanks!
  3. Great footage. Some interesting cars in there. Liked the track roadster and the RPU's.
  4. Thanks for digging up that gem for us.
    Watching a tire develop smoke never gets old!
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  5. Check this link out. Some historic pics of all of our drag race and circle tracks.

    I grew up near Motor City Dragway, but it closed down soon after I was born. As a teen in the 80s, there was talk of re-opneing it. Unfortunately it was shot down because of the homeowner complaints of noise from the newly-built subdivisions nearby.

    Anyway... There are some great historic pics from all of the various tracks. You can spend hours getting lost on this site.
  6. qzjrd5
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,169

    from Troy, MI

    Awesome find!

    I had an internship at that plant (was Delphi Spring Plant at that point) back in the summer of 1996. I had no idea this bit of history took place there. The plant was HUGE. Its completely gone now.
  7. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,263

    from Arizona

    Great footage. That was still pretty open land in the 70s if I remember correctly. Must have been farm land then. My sister lived off Eckles in the 90's but closer to Ann Arbor Rd. about a mile away. She'll get a laugh out of this.
  8. my dad retired from that plant. 30 years with GM. im sure he would have been there on that day as he grew up 2 miles from there. to bad most around that area do not know any of the history. when we were kids my dad took us kids to the union hall at that same location around christmas.can you believe they had presents for all the employees kids that showed up. man that hall was packed.the old man won a contest for a suggestion. mom and him went to a dinner and he got free use of a brand new corvair for a week. also got use of a lot of new cars for the weekends. there was a class action suit in the 90s. lot of cancer from that plant. got the old man.

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  9. I live a few miles from that exact spot. Lots of folks showed up to hit those races including Tommy Foster in his Hot Rod from Pontiac, Mi. They used to do the same thing near Willow Run airport on the Weekends. AHHHHHH the good old days before we needed the Goverment to protect us from ourselves
  10. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,141


    Cool stuff for sure.

    Brings back wonderful memories from the good old day's of drag racing.

  11. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 800

    Curt Six

    Tommy Foster's roadster was bitchin'.

    There's a car at about 30 seconds in that I think is one we showed in Bob and Brad Arnold's chapter in the Rodder's Journal Scrapbook (I've included a screen shot of the's on page 251 of the book). Do any of you guys know anything about that car? It's one that we weren't able to identify in the caption.

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  12. derbydad276
    Joined: May 29, 2011
    Posts: 1,088


    I had an uncle that was a wayne county sheriff deputy back in the late 50's
    he was told to go supervise the racers there a few times
  13. Frank Mack would also bring out his T to have some fun
  14. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,797

    Harms Way

    In fact you can see ol' Frankie kicking up the roadsters heels at 1:29 in,.... And you can see "The Blue Racer" in the left lane at 2:07 when it still had the flathead. and again at 2:29 That Roadster went on to win the B/SR Class at the 1964 NHRA US Nationals and again at the 1966 Spring nationals in Bristol.

    Anybody catch Bill Waddell’s Pick up in there,........:)
  15. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,695


    The coupe at 33 seconds is F'n awesome!
  16. dsiddons
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,243

    from Indiana

    I think everyone of them cars had a flathead and WWW's. I didn't see any dragging the ground either. Hmmmm..
  17. hotrodladycrusr
    Joined: Sep 20, 2002
    Posts: 20,733


    Sorry I'll have to disagree with ya there bud. All the real car folks I know in this area all know the history and have seen the footage.

    Frank Mack lived about 5 or 6 miles from that drag race spot.

    Thanks for posting it Ryan
  18. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 3,925


    Outstanding!! These Michigan guys were equal to the California cars of '53, and I am a native Californian...
  19. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,695


    Its interesting to see all the www's that kind of supprised me to see them on the track. and There was no dragging the ground but I was also supprised to see how low a couple of those cars were.
  20. Excellent history which happened with the very same home town of Hotrodladycrusr and poor boy Matt's - Livonia,MI : )
  21. I am surprised how many roadsters were in these races, since the climate in MI is chilly at times:rolleyes: I figured roadsters were only out west and way down south in warmer and milder climates.
  22. Harms Way
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 6,797

    Harms Way

    Denise your 100% correct (as usual ;))
    And Frank Lived on the corner of 8 Mile rd. and Randall,... He had some "Steel-Lock" Buildings there that he had his cars stored in,... but did all the work out of his little one car garage.

    If you hang with the right crowd,. there are a lot of stories about Eckles rd. and all the organized racing back in the day. A lot of people talk about California being the epicenter of Hot rodding,.... Fact is Hot Rodding started in Michigan when Henry Ford was more interested in building and racing cars than manufacturing automobiles for the masses ( The early years).

    But when you consider all the automotive talent and expertise from the Auto Industry over it's entire existence, It makes sense that a lot of guys building Hot rods in Michigan back in the day had the skills to do a very good job.

    Frank told me one time,... "The only reason you read about California Hot Rods in the Magazines all the time,... Is because that's where the Magazines were located."
  23. funnycar
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 49


    Frank told me one time,... "The only reason you read about California Hot Rods in the Magazines all the time,... Is because that's where the Magazines were located."
    Thanks, "Harms Way"!
    Even if I'm a "foreign" individual, I agree with you!<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
  24. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,078


    When I was growing up in Nebraska,we had winter beaters and then our nice weather cars.In the winter,you'd think most of us were po',and in the summer you'd swear you were in California.
  25. that's some awesome history, the kind i wished we learned in high school. anyway we should have all the Michigan HAMBers meet and drag there again.

    how cool would that be?
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 7,025


    Eckles Rd, ahh yes indeed. Brings back fond memories. No, I'm not that old! We still raced there in the 80 and 90s. One night we had cars lined up like 1st round at Det Dragway. No gang bangers, no ricers, just a lot of fast cars and N2O. They kept getting faster and faster to the point where it was too risky. One of our club members made a portable christmas tree operated by a wireless remote. We still have it in the founder's garage. Legal? No fuckin way kids! Yet we would be there so long w/out hassel we'd just shut down and go about 4:30am.

    We all knew it's history, and it took until nearly the end of the season for the local law to get wise. Some of the now well known power-makers that are in all the books these days were right in the thick of it, and truth be told, our one and only festival at Milan Dragway may have started the whole fastest streetcar gigs. Joe Yatooma, Mike Moran, Kurt Urban and the late Ed Gustky were all forces to be reckoned with, and once in a while there was a few that could hold their own.

    As much as things change, sometimes they stay the same.
  27. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 12,319

    from Michigan

    Been around here lately???... It's been freakin' hot!...:eek::(
  28. Man, that red 3W is bad ass....and look at that pile of carbs on top of that flatty!
  29. hotrd32
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,272

    from WA

    Almost spit out my coffee when that red 3 window rolled talk about cool and that track roadster was tits.....nice find..... nice share....... thanks RC!

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