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History Help! Chrysler 300 Racecar (Daytona Beach)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hyfire, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well, I've spoken to Warren Koechling's kid sister Alicia. She shared a bunch of stories about Warren. She also sent me a few more images to add to the mix. I've never seen these before.

    We've got a great photo of both Warren and Brewster next to car #1002:
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    An interesting point... Alicia told me that Warren also had a close relationship with Lee Petty. So it seems the circle was pretty close. I'm guessing the central relationship was Chrysler and that led to the peripheral relationships.

    On the back of these photos Alicia found a marking of the photographer. I found his obituary online and the gentleman (Fred Hamby) died back in 2008. His daughter carried on the business, but died in 2015. I wish I could have spoken with her.

    I put in a call to several Fred Hamby Jr.s in Florida and we'll see if any call back. I seriously doubt a negative archive still exists, but it's worth a shot.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  2. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [​IMG]

    Another new photo from Alicia. This is Warren shaking hands with Coman Munroe from Munroe-Zeder. I've seen that Mr. Munroe was scheduled to drive the car at SpeedWeek, but I've got no record that he did. He could have made a pass and not qualified.
     
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  3. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
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    Here is Mr. Koechling in 1981, when he took his last flight and retired. Amazing stuff. THANK YOU ALICIA!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 944

    J. A. Miller
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Central NY

    This is such an interesting story please keep going.
     
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  5. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A couple weekends ago I spent some time going through old newspapers and images, looking for the story behind San Juan Motors and why Chrysler would hand over such a prominent car to them. If you guys see anything that looks familiar or have any opinions on any of this stuff just jump in...
     
  6. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wellington Shaw Sr. and Cassie Wingate owned the San Juan Garage during the time the photo below was taken. The San Juan Garage was established in 1911. It later became a partnership between these two men, with Wingate holding seniority. Cassie was extremely wealthy, supported many local charities and was very active in early club racing on the beach.
    It looks like the San Juan Garage/San Juan Motors was always at the same location, 330 North Beach Street, right near the water.
    I've found reference to the San Juan Garage being an outlet for Studebaker automobiles in the early years, but also found this very early photo of the San Juan Garage "Ford Special" racecar. It shows Cassie Wingate driving and his Mechanic Pete Craig pulling up to the Judge's stand at Daytona Beach.

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    Cassie was a Florida native and once he finished school he started working in a grocery store. He moved onto the Bicycle and then traveled to New York and Michigan to spend summers as a Chauffeur. He then started working as a mechanic and by 1914 he purchased half of the San Juan Garage. It is also said he was friends with English racecar driver, Sir Malcolm Campbell. During this time he was also investing in Daytona real estate.

    I haven't been able to find much about Wellington Shaw Sr., except that he was married, very well off financially and had a son, Wellington "Brewster" Shaw. Brewster was going to college up North when his father unexpectedly died on a business trip in the 1940's. Brewster had to drop his immediate goals and went down to help the San Juan Garage continue running. During this time WWII was in motion and Brewster was given a deferral due to having to support the family business.
    Six years after Shaw Sr. died, Cassie Wingate passed away.

    I'm making the assumption that at this time ownership was passed and the business became San Juan Motors.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
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  7. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Initially, records show that Wellington's widow took over the "President" position, while Brewster took a lower position. This only lasted a couple years and the two swapped roles. The two appear to have worked side by side throughout the 1940's and part of the 1950's.

    The next San Juan Motors car that was referenced was a 1950 Chrysler driven by Brewster at Daytona for Flying Mile competitions. Then a 1951 & 1952 Chrysler driven by Tommy Thompson in NASCAR.

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    Also in 1952 was a San Juan Motors car driven in NASCAR by Pat Kirkwood, #99.

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    I haven't seen a '53 yet, but for 1954 it was Lee Petty's "43" San Juan Motors Chrysler and Plymouth.

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  8. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Of course for 1955 is the Brewster Shaw, Vicki Wood and Lee Petty Chrysler C300.

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    And BELOW, for 1956 it was a factory 300B that looked almost identical to the C300...
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    I've seen video of the 1957 300C, but no still photos. And here is the 1958 300D that Brewster Shaw ran at Daytona. It wasn't a San Juan Motors car, but was loaned to Shaw for runs.

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    And a 1960 Valiant ran in the NASCAR compact car races.

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    Brewster also ran a 1960 300E and 1961 300F, but I haven't found photos yet...
     
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  9. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 11,206

    loudbang
    Member

    It might have gone better if they put all four tires on it LOL. :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well... after I bought the car my daughter has been hounding me to take a trip to visit Vicki Wood. Honestly, once I discovered the car was driven by Vicki, it became the primary reason I pulled the trigger and bought it.
    While researching Norm Thatcher a couple years ago I called Vicki to see if she knew Norm, since Chrysler flew him out there a few times. She didn't, but she told me some stories and gained a huge fan.

    Vicki is 97 years old. Her latest husband Archibald is in his nineties as well. They are both amazing people.

    When Isabel and I came to the door we were greeted by Vicki. Pink shirt and pink neck scarf... and extremely bright blue eyes. She's beautiful at 97. We spent about 5 hours listening to stories and scanning in photos and documents. I've got over 10 GB of great original stuff. Talk about an amazing woman.

    To give you an idea of her age, Vicki's first husband died one day after WW2 ended. That's a pretty amazing thought and puts what she has seen in perspective.
     
  11. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    After the visit we asked them to lunch. Vicki and Archie chose a restaurant and because of a special seat for Archie, her car only sat 1 other person, so we followed them.

    Interestingly, she drives a White Chrysler minivan. She took off like a bat out of hell and left us scrambling. She says she doesn't speed, but I can attest she's still a very quick woman.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to bounce around a little while posting photos, but it should all be related to either this car or Vicki.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
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    I thought I would start with my favorite photo. This photo seems sum-up everything for me. You have the token 1950's sexy trophy woman (Damn!), meant to be a decoration for the winning Male's accomplishment. But Surprise!

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  13. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Back to the 1955 NASCAR race and Vin#001. This is the only color photo I have ever seen of it. It looks like the colors have shifted on the print. I know Vin#002 had Red numbers, so I'm guessing that this car also had Red numbers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,463

    Gotgas
    Member
    from DFW USA

  15. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
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    That 1957 is beautiful!
     
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  16. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Now that you sidetracked me on 1957s... ;0)

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  17. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [​IMG]

    So in 1953 Vicki and her husband Skeeter had been at the NASCAR "Powder Puff" races (all femail series) when Skeeter talked Vicki into driving. By 1954 Vicki had won the Championship.

    Skeeter obviously was a go-getter, as he setup an appointment with Chrysler's head of PR, John Montgomery. Montgomery signed Vicki as a hired driver and told them to be in Daytona for SpeedWeek. Vicki says at the time she didn't even know about the upcoming 1955 Chrysler 300 model.

    Here's Vicki in Daytona in 1955, with her personal car. The Ford was hopped-up. The neat part of this photo is that the car she drove (Chrysler C300 Vin# 001) had only finished being prepped and picked-up one singe day before this photo was taken.

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
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  18. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
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    It didn't disappoint.... THANKS!

    [​IMG]

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  19. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,424

    frank spittle
    Member

    I am so glad you bought the car. Your passion to gain info on it has turned up a treasure trove of early NASCAR Daytona history. I can't wait to see what's next!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  20. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thank you Frank! I'm a little shocked the car went so long without anyone putting together it's history. There are some great Chrysler 300 historians, so they would have connected the racing history with the car eventually. It's good it happened now.... The car wouldn't have been salvageable in 10 more years and Vicki (like the rest of us) isn't getting any younger.

    I'll get more stuff up really soon...




    .
     
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  21. Sent from my SM-G360V using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  22. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,117

    k9racer
    Member

    Vintage oval Racing publication did a very good story on Vickie Wood several years ago. Your daughter is wise beyond her years for getting you to talk to Ms Wood. Keep us posted as many of us have enjoyed this thread.................... Thank You Bobby..
     
  23. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
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    Hey Bobby! I put in a call and bought two copies this morning. Thanks for the lead! (And to the gentleman who mentioned it earlier).

    Chrysler didn't offer pay, hotel or travel help. They only arranged for her to drive the car in competition. There was a large Michigan track owner who organized a large group of racers to travel down with Vicki and Skeeter to Daytona in 1955. They had several parties during Daytona Speed Week, celebrating Vicki and Skeeter.

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  24. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And this photo speaks volumes. This isn't a press release photo, but a personal snapshot. It's of Vicki with Tom MaCahill and NASCAR founder/CEO Bill France Sr..

    As you guys know Tom was a major force at Daytona and Bill of course is who he is. Bill was a very big champion of women's racing. Vicki speaks very highly of Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. and how supportive they were to her.

    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    A later photo in 1961 of Vicki, Skeeter, Bill Jr. & Bill Sr....

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And in between the activities, the group on the beach in 1955.

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    I'm going to try to locate the family of the guy with the home movie camera. I'm thinking he must have filmed the run, although I'm doubting it survived.
     
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  27. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,379

    Hyfire
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And back to Chrysler C300 Vin# 1001, here is a new photo of the car. Vicki told me that the guy shown just wanted his picture taken, she didn't know who he was, but he wanted some attention.

    Something interesting... You can see in the rear fender, the car had no undercoating from the factory.

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. RockHillWill
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 34

    RockHillWill
    Member

    It might be a long shot, but my friend Buzz McKim is the historian for the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.
    He also was in the same capacity for NASCAR when he was in Daytona Beach. I was one of the early crew chiefs for Dale Earnhardt and I went to the HOF to give them an artifact that I had from that time, and he mentioned that one of his personal friends was another historian that I believe is still with NASCAR in Daytona.
     
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  29. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,064

    pwschuh
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    This thread just keeps delivering! Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
     
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  30. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,117

    k9racer
    Member

    Call back to vintage oval and talk to Dan Davis he is the editor. Tell him what you have and I know he will do a article/ story about the car .
     
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