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Motion Pictures Drag Racing in the UK circa 1964... Groovy, Baby!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Nov 14, 2023.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,715


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Drag Racing in the UK circa 1964... Groovy, Baby!


    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
  2. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 983

    Curt Six

    Cool video! In 2014 (I think) I had a chance to talk to Ivo and Garlits about their experience in England for a story I was writing about the 50th anniversary of the festival. Half a century later the competition between the two was still palpable...friendly, but just under the surface. Ivo told me that they had a system in England where new drivers got a plate or sticker or something with a big "L" on it indicating they were a new driver, and that he got ahold of one and stuck it on the Swamp Rat as a joke. Garlits didn't remember that one, but it's a funny story either way. I'm sure that was an epic trip all around...
    HEMI32, mad mikey, El Hueso and 2 others like this.
  3. 55 Ford Gasser
    Joined: Jul 7, 2011
    Posts: 690

    55 Ford Gasser

    While stationed in England from 1980-86, I ran the Auto Hobby Shop on the base. I met a guy that liked drag racing and went to Santa Pod to actually race his Mini. I built a engine for him and he won the Street Roadster Class. He was disappointed because they gave cash instead of Trophies. This was, if I remember correctly, 1982 or 83. I only ever went with him once on a run what you brung day. I made a couple of runs down the strip and beat his times. He went from England to Arizona and took the Mini with him. Somewhere I have a Magazine with a picture of him smoking the tires at a strip in Arizona.
    I only went to Santa Pod once, but I have raced my Mini on nearly every road course in England and once on the Belgium Grand Prix Circuit. That all happened during my 2nd tour in England, 1990-94. I raced '93 & '94. By the way, I joined the Air Force so I could go to England. I have owned Minis since 1967, my Senior year in High School.
    Hope this wasn't too off topic. Ron
    chryslerfan55, Oneball and Rolleiflex like this.
  4. Oneball
    Joined: Jul 30, 2023
    Posts: 227


    Hey Ron, I raced Minis for 20 odd years too. I’ve just sold mine it’s actually heading over to the US.

    A copy of the programme from the festival is here

    Quite a few well know names including one Denis Jenkinson on the entry.

    Looks like it was at Blackbushe which was a WW2 fighter base for the RAF.
    chryslerfan55 and 55 Ford Gasser like this.

  5. GeeRam
    Joined: Jun 9, 2007
    Posts: 546


    I live about 15mins drive away from Blackbushe airfield.

    It was still being used for drag meets into the early 80's IIRC, although the last time I was at drag meeting there was Sept 1979!!
  6. ProtoTypeDesignFlauz
    Joined: Jul 29, 2007
    Posts: 1,523


    :cool: Ha Ha - Drag Mobile - they call them that.
  7. Allard Motor Co.
    Joined: Nov 15, 2023
    Posts: 1

    Allard Motor Co.

    Well I thought I had seen all film about the 1964 Dragfest but thanks to you I have seen footage of my grandfather (Sydney Allard) Ive never seen before, he died before I was born. Just last week there was gathering of Drag Racing enthusiasts (from at the Allard Archive at Berkeley, Gloucestershire UK to see all the memorabilia from that era. I will share your video with them if o.k, some were teens and boys in the crowd. It was actually my dad who drove the Allard dragsters not Sydney most of the time. Even claimed the official world 1/4 mile record in 1967 ( it was quite a process that American competitors didn’t want to do back then). Thanks again . Gavin Allard
  8. Oneball
    Joined: Jul 30, 2023
    Posts: 227


    Hi Gavin

    It’s a small world! Lloyd just collected some MGB wheels from me as Im trying to clear space for the Mercury I’ve just bought.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  9. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 8,898



    Back in 1964, it was a big deal to see the USA hot rod folks and drag racers go over to England to showcase what was done in the drag racing world. The history of car racing in England is always known to car buffs. But to compare it to USA brand drag racing was something else. Even for us teenagers involved with our own cruising, building, modifying and racing, it was like watching our friends put on a showcase representing the latest from “REAL” drag racing.

    The photo shows that the people who like and support drag racing have similar commonalities. The bright color Wynn’s Friction Proofing Jacket is one version. We were now down to one Wynn's Friction Proofing jacket. I used it to wear when we raced our desert racing motorcycles in that dusty environment.
    Back before the invasion of England with USA drag racers, as teenagers with our first drag racing build, were told by an old hot rod guy, dress to impress if you think you want sponsors to help out in the future. So, we still did not like white pants, so our garb was “clean” Levis, white t-shirts and a colorful Wynns Friction Proofing Jacket that was sure to catch someone’s eye.
    No, we were not sponsored by Wynn’s. That was as far as we would go without wearing white outfits. But it did catch the eye of the STP oil rep wandering around the pits talking to various racers. He wanted to know if we were sponsored by Wynns. He was impressed with our Willys build and results, so he was thinking about helping out… We were given those jackets by our friend from Los Angeles, along with several cases of the product that we used and gave away to our friends as part of our promotional speed shop ploy.


    Then, after our drag racing days came to a sudden end, I used the colorful jacket on our desert racing motorcycle adventures. It came in handy when stuck out in the empty desert 45 miles from the pits, with nothing other than dust and scrub bushes for friends. The color could be seen by other racers who were willing to stop to help. YRMV


    In 1964, I was back at Lion’s Dragstrip to film an all Gas Coupe and Sedan drag race meet. Our friend, Atts Ono was making his debut with the immaculate red 40 Willys Coupe in B/Gas. What a place and time for an initial drag race competition showing… yikes..

    At this race day, I filmed plenty of new builds, including, the SWC Black Widow, and K.S. Pittman 33 Willys. But as the events rolled on, I never got a good shot of the 33 Willys racing, as they had teething problems.

    K.S. Pitman 33 Willys in 1964 Lion's Dragstrip

    But, the British drag race film provided a great clip of the K.S. Pittman 33 Willys in action. It even had actual sound!!!


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