The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HEMI32, Jun 10, 2017.
Ernest George Pereira
July 2, 1931 - June 10, 2017
Ernie was a 4th generation Californian … born in San Francisco and graduated from Lincoln High School in San Jose.
While serving in the Navy, he worked on flight simulators, ejection seat trainers, and pilot training devices. He later went on to get a B.S. in Engineering from San Jose State.
Here’s Ernie (lop left) and his fellow "CAM SNAPPERS - SANTA CRUZ" club members at Bonneville in 1950 with the #763 MacDonald & Lynde C Modified Roadster:
Clockwise from upper right is John MacDonald, Bob Estrada, Ralph Lynde and Ernie.
In 1951, Ernie ran a very respectable 125+ MPH at Bonneville:
Ernie started his career as a Design Engineer working for aeronautical manufacturers Douglas and Lockheed.
In the late ‘60s he took a job at Arrow Development, and found himself hooked on the amusement park business. It was around this same time, that Ernie purchased the body & frame of the Markley Bros famous #360 P-38 Belly Tank Lakester.
Charlie & Bones Markley had stripped their P-38 belly tank of all of its running gear (baby HEMI engine, drive-train, suspension, etc.) to put on their new #360 T-33 Tip Tank Lakester … so (with the help of Gary Hubback), Ernie rebuilt the suspension very similar to how the Markley’s ran the car … and installed a 292ci Jimmy 6 for power (to run in the X/L class).
Here’s Ernie’s #543 P-38 Belly Tank Lakester at Bonneville in 1969:
photo by Gary Hartsock
At Bonneville Speed Week in 1971, Ernie set a new X Lakester record with a two-way average of 188.102 mph!
At that same '71 event, my father shot this pic of Ernie in the cockpit of his #543 Lakester at the starting line:
NOTE: That's Bones Markley (standing on the left), Bob Smith (kneeling), Lee Riddle & Dick Collier (standing on the right).
Here's another 1971 pic of the #543 Lakester as it's leaving the push truck:
photo by crew chief Doug Hardy
Here’s a couple circa 1974 pics of Ernie’s #543 Lakester:
photo by Richard (@cheap-n-dirty) McFarland
In 1977 Ernie Pereira set a (2-way avg.) record of 201.367 MPH in his #543 X/FL (Unblown, Nitro burning 302ci Jimmy I-6 Fuel Lakester):
photos from the Peter (@psychocross) Smith collection
... which got him into the 2-Club:
NOTE: This image was "borrowed" from an "Employee Profile" article in the Spring 2008 issue of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk "Beach News" newsletter
In more recent years, Ernie (& friends) built this HEMI-powered '29 Hiboy Roadster:
photo by Bob Dalton
RIP to Ernie. I didn't have the opportunity to meet him on the salt, on the one trip I was there with coworkers.
Guys like Ernie are like my Dad. My Dad chased a dream that had no ability to fund racing, and he loved a challenge.
I remember Bob Pierson telling me to shut up when a blue lakester started groaning its Hemi while being pushed off. The carefully applied thunder that echoed off the mountain side.
We need to learn from and respect this generation. I'm 50, and we still need to learn.
RIP. Time will take them as our time will come.
Condolences to the Pereira family and friends on the passing of Ernie...His career complimented his love of all things fast...Thanks for sharing his memory with us @HEMI32.
I'm sorry to hear of Ernies passing. I was at Bonneville running my GMC powered car when he went to the 2 club in his lakester, the first open wheeled GMC car to do it. He as always a supporter of the 2 club and wore his red hat proudly. The LSR fraternity will miss him..
When we would meet he would always tease me and then talk about racing, I will always cherish those memories and I will miss those conversations. RIP old friend.
Thoughts and prayers going out to his family and friends. Bob
Rip Ernie.One of the salt legends.
My condolences to the family and friends.
201 mph in that...wow not for those that have issues with confined spaces...there must be a feeling within ones self when living on that edge and he did it. Driving home must be somewhat boring after such a feat. So again Ernie did many cool things and then with a six banger to boot.
Nice history Hemi32....sound like a really neat fun guy....and ya know he's having fun upstairs !
Land Speed Racer, Bob Dalton posted a very fitting tribute to Ernie on the "book of face" ... and has graciously allowed me to share it here:
My friend and mentor Ernie Pereira, who ran the former Markley belly tank with a Hard running GMC in the XO class, is in the last mile of his great run here on earth. He has kicked the rods out and is coasting toward the greatest finish ever. A few months ago, he had what we thought was a stroke when his speech became slurred. But as the MRI showed a few weeks ago, the blood clot was in fact a fast growing tumor. Not a lot of good options for the 85 year old two club member. Given the worst choices, Ernie chose to go home.
This put more pressure to get his Hot Rod Hemi powered 29 Ford done. Ernie started this project a few years after his lovely wife Joy passed away, twenty years ago. Ernie did a great job in building the car. I helped where I could. But given the situation we were facing. It was time to go. Garran SooHoo of Nitro Speed Shop in Sparks, Nv jumped in with his friends. As did a lot of my shop guys, especially Joe Hamilton. The goal was to get Ernie in the car. And we did.
I want to thank all of Ernie’s friends who visited, especially Charley Markley, Harry Hoffman, Greg Teretto(spelling?), Bill & Kathy Dean, and Dick Collier. Time spent laughing, about lightning shows, belly dancers, George Bentley turning his Algon nozzles, 140 mph Ford Econoline push trucks, and the Hideaway, brought back many smiles. Ernie’s daughter Kim Lagoe Taylor has done a great job in the most difficult of times. The caretakers what amazing people. Lysa Anne my girlfriend. Thank You for all you have done. Also, Al Teague the card you sent, was perfect. It brought a huge smile.
For me, spending time with Ernie the last two weeks, driving him in his Hot Rod, was some of the most rewarding and difficult time in my life. Being there when they told Ernie about the tumor, his look, that WTF are these choices, look he had. Not afraid. But that ah shit look, we kicked the rods out, look.
So now he has the rods kicked out. Heading to that final parachute pull, he's at the 4 3/4 mile. I’ll bet when he gets to the 5 mile marker, he won’t pull it, but just coast in that serenity you get when your engine is off, and you are coasting along at 200 mph. He told me that doing that was like being in heaven and I hope it is.
He will be heading home soon to his wife and son, who got there way too soon..
Ernie, you will be missed….
Well..... Ernie coasted pass the 5 mile marker today... With the peace and joy of a Sunrise on the Salt... On that early morning record run.
I can hear that booming voice on the radio....
Well done ... But this time... skip impound... take it straight to Heaven..
Thanks Ernie..... Save me a place at the table.... bob
Here's some pics from the day Bob took Ernie for a ride in Ernie's Hot Rod:
putting on Ernie's "Red Hat"
(i.e., his "Bonneville 200 MPH Club Life Member" hat)
That Hemi is Markley fast...
Bobs an alright guy.
As noted earlier in this thread, Ernie's (GMC-6 powered) P-38 Belly Tank Lakester was the first "X" engine class vehicle to set a record over 200 MPH.
Here's Ernie's write up about SCTA's "X" category:
I know how Ernie felt about that accmlishment when my son and I wanted to aim at the 200 red hat with a 32 grille shell trying to move threw the air at Booneville also with GMC 6. Ernies red hat number was always an almost reachable goal when we started and it took us 5 years. All of us give up our records but never the hat. Ernie wore his proudly and well deserved. I always read his name on the 200 MPH Club contributing members list and it was my honor to be listed with his and many others when I earned my way in. RIP
Ernie was all about "FUN" ... he actually spent the majority of his career in the Amusement Park industry.
In post #3, I mentioned that Ernie had taken a job with Arrow Development in the late '60s. At Arrow Development (an amusement park ride and roller coaster design and manufacturing company), Ernie helped to develop the industry's first "corkscrew" ride ... which made its debut at Knotts Berry Farm in 1975.
He later engineered rides for OD Hopkins (another amusement ride manufacturer), including several rides at Paramount property parks, Universal Studios, and Pacific Park in Santa Monica.
From 1982 through 1992, Ernie and his wife owned and operated their own park ... "Tahoe Amusement Park" in South Lake Tahoe.
In 2001, Ernie hired on at the "Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk". As their Mechanical Maintenance Manager, he was responsible for ride maintenance & safety (he was also a California Qualified Safety Inspector) ... and he supervised a staff of 21 people (including mechanics, electricians, and welders).
So yes, I'm sure Ernie's having fun upstairs ... be it in a corkscrew roller coaster, hot rod, or a racing car!
As mentioned in post #2, Ernie (and friends) ran a roadster at the '50 & '51 Bonneville National Speed Trials.
Ernie's buddy Joe Miller took several photographs both years ...
The #763 MacDonald & Lynde C Modified Roadster turned 128.570 mph for 15th in class:
Clockwise from upper right is John MacDonald, Bob Estrada, Ralph Lynde and Ernie Pereira.
John MacDonald in his #763 C Modified Roadster.
Bob Estrada is the designated driver in the long haul back to the pits after a run.
Photographer Joe Miller jumped in the cockpit of the MacDonald & Lynde Class C Modified Roadster.
The “NORDEN SPECIAL” Class B Lakester ran a 213ci Ford 4-banger (with aftermarket head and dual carbs).
It turned a speed of 123.960 mph for 3rd in class ... not bad considering 1st & 2nd in the B Lakester class were running V-8s.
Bob Workman from Alameda, California drove his Deuce roadster all the way to Wendover, Utah.
He removed a few items (windshield, headlights, etc.) before making his runs on the salt.
He turned 120.160 mph with a 275ci '48 Merc flathead ... good for 14th place in Class C Roadster.
After his runs he put the car back together and drove it home.
San Jose Roadsters member Herman Russell (and passenger Stan Jahns) sitting in Herman's A-V8.
The car ran 117.340 mph to finish 11th in the B Roadster class.
Later that year, Russell's roadster ended up on the cover of the November 1950 issue of HRM:
Jack Downey and Bill Cochran's ""Wha Happen Special" Class B Modified Roadster.
With 249ci Merc flathead power, they ended the week with a top time of 137.610 mph, good enough for a 5th in class.
Winston Ranger of the Glendale Stokers ran a (Wayne equipped) '46 Chevy I-6 engine in his #386 Track-nosed T.
The #17 "Spade Carrillo" Modified Roadster:
Fred “Spade” Carrillo was a competitive member of the SCTA Road Runners Club. In the early 1950s, he built several modified roadsters.
This '27 Ford roadster, constructed in partnership with Robert Betz, clocked a one-way 178.162-mph run at Bonneville in 1951.
The tubular frame was handmade, using PBY Catalina “Flying Boat” wing strut tubing and 3-inch tubing for the cross members.
A sturdy roll bar under the cowl was designed to protect the driver if the roadster overturned.
It was the fastest roadster-type car at the Salt in 1951.
HAMBer @frank morawski found the car and completed its restoration in 2010. It has since been shown at multiple Concours D'Elegance's (including Pebble Beach & Amelia Island) and has appeared in several magazines ... including TRJ Number Fifty:
It's currently on display at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA:
6/15/2017 photo by @Greg Stokes
The famous Kenz and Leslie #777 streamliner out of Denver, Colorado:
The black strips on the right half of the body are pieces of yarn taped to it.
At speed these strips would show how the air flowed over the body (i.e., a. poor man's wind tunnel).
With Willie Young behind the wheel, the 'liner ran the fastest one-way speed of the meet at 230.7692 mph!
They qualified 1st in Class D Stramliner at 227.848 mph and set the record at 221.479 mph!
Fred Lobello's (F4U Corsair drop tank) Lakester known as "The Lady Bug":
Lobello teamed up with fellow San Diego Roadster Club members John Vesco and Jack Harvey to run "The Lady Bug" on the salt in 1951.
With Harvey in the cockpit, the "Bug" (with Vesco's 4-Port Riley engine) ran a best of 146 mph ... and a two-way average of 139.751 mph.
Waiting to run:
Car #146 is Dawson Hadley's Class C Modified Coupe powered by a 296ci '42 Merc flathead. The coupe ran 164.233 mph for 1st in class!
On the left is the #1 "Stanford Bros. & Phy" Class B Lakester entry out of Alhambra, California
... a 248ci Merc flattie powered the car to a speed of 160.427 mph for 2nd in class.
Right behind it is Baldwin & Summerfeld's #521 Class B Modified Roadster "B & S Piston Special"
... with a 210ci Ford banger, it attained a speed of 134.328 mph for 11th in class (before loosing a clutch out the side of the car ).
Car #516 is the Class C Modified Coupe of Nick Reyal out of Salinas, California
... a 296ci '46 Merc powered the car to a speed of 116.328 mph ... good for a 12th in class.
Separate names with a comma.