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Motion Pictures Jalopy Racing in the 50s (with color film)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,406


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Jalopy Racing in the 50s (with color film)


    1. Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Stogy, deuceman32 and kidcampbell71 like this.
  2. Not to take away the danger of that racing, but I don't think they were doing 175 in the corners.
    How fast could a wagon sprung, high stepping flathead actually make at speed? On dirt? With no straight away??
    It looks like fun,,, lets bring it back!!!
  3. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,176


    great memory lane, thanx
  4. kandrews70
    Joined: May 8, 2016
    Posts: 843


    That was really cool to watch. Kinda crazy how they jump out of their cars before they are even stopped. : )

  5. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,644


    Hey JB,
    Thanks for the memories from way back then... When we were little, we used to watch some of it on a little screen TV. But, my dad decided to take us to the real thing, just a short drive to Gardena from the Westside of Long Beach. The sounds and excitement was pretty amazing for a little car nut. Later on, my brother and I would drive over there to watch the jalopies and some dirt track racing with those TT bikes.

    It was a great form of entertainment...sometimes, the announcer would say stuff that impresses the general audiences, but the real car nuts knew they could not go that fast in the corners. It was fun to watch on both TV and at the Gardena track.
  6. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 861

    from ID

    Remember Dick "whoa-a-a-a- Nellie" Lane? Used to watch these every Sunday over KTLA TV. I drove 75 miles to my mom's house in Rialto so we could watch these races (and visit the folks, of course). We couldn't get KTLA in Barstow even with a 75' tower!
    Chili Phil likes this.
  7. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,691

    Marty Strode

    Thanks for posting, it looks like "Rufus" Jones could get a little rowdy ! This racing was for many of us in our mid-60's or older, the first organized racing we would get to see. We had a 5/8 mile dirt track on the outskirts of our small town, that was originally a 5 furlong horse track. This 3w coupe was the association champ in 56 and 57, that ran on 4 different tracks. Marion Hoff and Jake.jpg Valley Tire coupes (Deer Island).jpg
    AHotRod, tractorguy, Stogy and 2 others like this.
  8. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    By the time I was a small child in the early 70's ,folks had the good sense not to run those A's anymore.Instead,the ran those worthless tri fives,they're not worth anything ;) user3938_pic45242_1378839967.jpg user3938_pic45244_1378839967.jpg .
    Stogy likes this.
  9. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,329


    We had a dirt track here from the late 1930s through the early 2010s. The coupes they ran here as late a 1966 looked a lot like those cars, the time they pretty much went away from every track in the area. We had a modified class and a jalopy class. The modified class could run any motor in any car, and the jalopy class had to have the same engine as the car make. If I remember, the modified class lined up by time trials, fastest cars on the back. Our track was a 1/2 mile, measured on the inside edge of the track (standard was to measure the track around the outside wall). Those modified class cars were running sub 28 second laps. A 30 second lap averaged 60 mph for the lap, putting the corners in the 40 mph range and the straights in the 80 mph range. A flip at 60 mph was a pretty dangerous event, given the quality of the car construction in those days.

    In the late 1970s, we ran a hobby stock class (much like the jalopy class of early years), except our cars were the late 60s performance cars. One of the guys had an old Ford highway patrol car with the still functioning certified speedometer. We were running mid 28 sec laps, and according to the Ford speedometer, we were entering the turns at just over 85 mph. We ran a 69 Road Runner with a 383 big block Mopar, 4 speed, 3:55 gears in 3rd on the 4 speed. According to our tach we were turning the 383 6500 rpm going into the corner. I can assure you, st the end of the straight, there was no tire spin. Gene
    Jet96, Stogy, Shaun1162 and 1 other person like this.
  10. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,628


    Now that's first class entertainment. Fantastic! No catch fence either. Thanks Jay.
  11. mike bowling
    Joined: Jan 1, 2013
    Posts: 3,556

    mike bowling

    It's always amazing watching all those cars getting wrecked and thinking about their value now. We used to get 50's cars with flatties in them and go to the Pines Speedway when I was in High School; car with a running motor? 50-100 bucks!

    Attached Files:

    Stogy likes this.
  12. There's a good book available on this subject I bought my copy from the author at the Donut Derelicts one Saturday. I guess he was self published since he was selling out of the trunk of his car for $20.

    Attached Files:

    tb33anda3rd and Stogy like this.
  13. Man that looks like fun! Well except for the crashy parts?

    I've got this old east coast car I'm trying to put back together. Let's race!

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
  14. AVater
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,495

    1. Connecticut HAMB'ers

    Cool to watch and thanks for sharing! Remember going up to Stafford Springs (not dirt) to see the races as a kid.

    Thanks for the memory jolt too.
  15. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    HAHA!, you bought the book from me!!! Yes, I'm the author, publisher, and salesman for the company. I spent many a Saturday morning at Donut Derelicts, with a small card table behind my car, trying to keep a low profile because the donuts shop owners were trying to sell their crap and they did not appreciate ANY ONE selling anything. Saturdays were always long because after Donut Derelicts I would drive to Irwindale Speedway and walk through the pits with the book. The process worked: 3-printings and 2,000 books sold out. I'm very happy I was able to preserve the history so others could enjoy it.
    Stogy, JAX40 and 47ragtop like this.
  16. ROCKYS32INYARD.jpg 34B4.jpg I didn't see roundy-round racing 'till 1985 or so and they were running 70s F-bodys and other "pony" cars. Loved it!
    My present 34 coupe came to me as a cut up stock ran a flathead ford around here.
    My last hotrod before the 34 was also a local stock car....
    I enjoyed the video clips...thanks
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    Stogy likes this.
  17. Pa G.
    Joined: Sep 1, 2012
    Posts: 57

    Pa G.
    from CT

    I wondered when toml24 was going to chime in. Tom is a walking encyclopedia of all things regarding the California Jalopy Association. Back in the pre internet mid nineties I somehow got wind of Tom's book. As a racecar crazy kid in the very early sixties I was thrilled every time I was lucky enough to tune in the syndicated Jalopy Races From Hollywood here in CT. My favorite drivers were Termite Snyder and Scotty Cain ( Pecks bad boy of the race track according to the announcer). Each episode of the syndicated show featured "the crackup of the week" which would probably be considered quite politically incorrect today.

    As soon as I heard about the book I knew I had to have it and the VHS tapes of the syndicated show he was selling at the time. Called him and ordered the tapes and book and Tom was kind enough to talk with me at pretty great length about the jalopy races. I especially appreciated his willingness to shoot the breeze since I was pretty much housebound at the time with health problems ( since resolved). Thanks Tom. I still treasure the book and tapes.
    Stogy likes this.
  18. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091


    I purchase just about any book about early round track racing. Toms book is by far the best I have in my collection. Lots of correct history. .......... Bobby..
    Stogy likes this.
  19. AV8 Dave
    Joined: Jan 3, 2003
    Posts: 680

    AV8 Dave

    The seed of my oval track racing interest was planted watching the televised "Jalopy Races" in the '50's. I recall them showing the car/driver list previous to the start of each race and my Dad, my sister and I picking our favourites. The #6 car, a coupe, (can't recall the driver's name) was one of the hot dogs. They started them three or four abreast (as in the black & white pic) and I remember the grandstands being covered. I later watched the same type of cars run at our local oval in '62/'63 and in 1977, along with my then brother-in-law and another racing buddy, started a vintage racing class that is about to start it's 40th year. Regards, Dave.
  20. I'd be interested in one of these books if there are any more floating around anywhere???
    Shaun1162 likes this.
  21. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    "I'd be interested in one of these books if there are any more floating around anywhere???"

    This could be your lucky day!! The book, "Memories of the California Jalopy Association", is available on EBAY, but not from me!! I have no idea who is offering it, but the price is $39.95, which was the original sales price. Most every book I sent out is pre-autographed by myself. 288 glossy pages and 1,550 jalopy photos. Good Luck. I hope you get it!
    Stogy likes this.
  22. Grabbed it! Thanks for the heads-up!
    Stogy likes this.
  23. Garpo
    Joined: Jul 16, 2016
    Posts: 221


    Back around 1960 we had no speedway oval in Christchurch NZ. The club had land but needed to raise money for the new track. The solution was to 'run what you brung' on what was an old style moto cross track. Dubbed 'Car Scrambles' we saw lots of late 20's and early 30's models meet their end.
    As well as all the usual Fords and Chevs there were Essex, Hudson, Pontiac, Graham Paige, Dodge, Chrysler, De Soto and even some English brands, but most of those were too light for the job.
    When the new track opened most of the cars ran on the oval. pretty much as seen in the movie.
    I think the health and safety watch dogs would go nuts if we tried to do this today.
    Stogy likes this.
  24. Canuck
    Joined: Jan 4, 2002
    Posts: 1,071


    Took this pic last summer at a local dirt track. Racing against all those 80s Regals and Cutlasses.

    55 stock car in 2015.jpg

    Actually a cut up 4 dr sedan that was rusted beyond repair. Looked great from the stand though.

    cactus1, Stogy and slv63 like this.
  25. 270283
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 413


    I remember watching these when I was a kid in the 50's. In our area it was on Channel 8 on Saturdays and called Jalopy Derby. My uncle would take me to Hatfield and Sanatoga Speedways to see the live racing as well. Good memories.
  26. Well you are for sure an expert on the subject. A great book and I have passed it around to many of my friends. I remember Dick Lane and Bill Welsh broadcasting the jalopy races on Saturday afternoon on KTLA and/or KTTV. I'm sure the jalopy races are the reason I love old hot rods today.
  27. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    LOL! You mean you got your book back?? You are very lucky. One of my memories of watching Dick Lane on KTLA was on occasion the races went a little long at 5:00PM on Sunday afternoon and Lane was frantically trying to wrap-up the race with a few laps to go and suddenly KTLA would abruptly switch to "Polka Parade" with Dick Sinclare. Wow! what a culture shock, from jalopy races to polka music in a heartbeat. I can laugh now but back then I was really pissed. Oh those memories.........
  28. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    The Holy Grail, the jalopy logo from the 1950's. If you had this logo or the scripted words on the back of your varsity club jacket while in the pits you were cool. I've made T-Shirts years ago with it. It's still cool today.
    2010-Color-T-Shirt-Back-8X10--JPEG.jpg 2009-Jalopy Jacket-2.JPG
    cactus1 likes this.
  29. Gabe Fernando
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 309

    Gabe Fernando

    Parnelli Jones got his start here. Uae to see him race every Sunday in the 50's.
    cactus1 likes this.
  30. During my high school ('57-'59) years I lived just a few blocks from Gardena stadium. This was a natural for us to hang out. I remember sniffing around the back side when the stadium was closed and found that occasionally someone would just abandon a totaled jalopy rather than take it home. Wish I had known then what I know now.
    They also ran "late model" stock cars.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
    Gabe Fernando likes this.

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