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History The Red Light Bandit Corvette

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,304

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    J.Ukrop submitted a new blog post:

    The Red Light Bandit Corvette

    [​IMG]

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
     
  2. birdman1
    Joined: Dec 6, 2012
    Posts: 1,444

    birdman1
    Member

    i'm more interested in the T-Bird that is racing the corvett. I used to love watching the early corvettes and t birds. a freind had a 1956 T-bird witha 406 3x2 and 4 speed. those were the days, right?
     
  3. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 14,434

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

    You think that things got enough vacuum to run wipers? Haha.

    would be a sight to see! You get the vette I’ll get the rainx!
     
    Stogy and chryslerfan55 like this.
  4. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,999

    redo32
    Member

    There was another 'Vette thread this week that mentioned a spacer block between the front crossmember and the frame. I had a few buddies that had 'Vettes back in the day and I don't remember this modification being done.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,974

    AHotRod
    Member

    I love that Vette'
     
    Stogy likes this.
  6. whoodooman
    Joined: Mar 25, 2013
    Posts: 61

    whoodooman
    Member
    from TEXAS

    So cool! Great post!
     
    Stogy likes this.
  7. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,304

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    That's the Bill's Speed Shop Thunderbird, which was powered by an injected 427 SOHC Ford motor. As luck would have it, the car was built in Plymouth, Michigan—about seven miles south of where I'm currently sitting.
    Coon-Bill1-595x411.jpg
    Photo from @loudbang
     
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  8. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,222

    jimdillon
    Member

    Bagshaw's Red Light bandit was a pretty good running car. I believe it won in the AHRA although not too sure how successful it was in any NHRA national meets. Here is an ad when he sold he car. Went to the Pacific Northwest and it raced there for a number of years under the ownership of Gary Parham.
    zzzzzzzzzzbb1.jpg
     
  9. jackal396
    Joined: Jan 13, 2005
    Posts: 726

    jackal396
    Member
    from oregon

    awesome car and like the offset on the carburetor so they sit even.

    jp
     
    Stogy likes this.
  10. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 607

    MCjim
    Member
    from soCal

    Looks like some 4X4s...what type of wood would be period correct?
     
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  11. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,540

    jnaki






    Hello,

    Wow, Bill Bagshaw lived in a nice area of Culver City near the two main roads that ran North and South just a block away. When my wife and I used to go up to Los Angeles and Hollywood in 1966 through 72, and after a stop over in several restaurants in West Los Angeles/Hollywood that we liked, we drove home on the two streets near Bill Bagshaw's house as listed on the ad.

    The long drive home various times from our photo road trips and working vacations took us through a nice diversion in Los Angeles. A stop over for dinner or a late lunch was usually the case. But, when we finished, we knew the freeways heading South to the coastal areas of Long Beach/Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach would be packed with cars. So, we always took one of two North/South Streets through some nice residential streets and of all things, an oil field on a hill near Los Angeles.

    La Brea and La Cienega are two streets that are fairly busy in the restaurant row/ record shop/furniture store areas of Los Angeles. They both parallel each other on their journey South to the Southern most major city, Hawthorne. From any point in Hawthorne, it is just an Eastern drive on any street to get to Long Beach or farther East. The traffic is not as bad as in the Los Angeles area. The farther South one goes on both of those streets, the less traffic there is/was.

    Jnaki

    Those good old days of less traffic in So Cal was something to envy. These days, there is traffic on most streets in the whole South Bay Area, South of Los Angeles. Culver City is usually jammed packed with the historic areas and attractions, as well as being just a short drive to the huge Marina Del Rey harbor.

    The nearby L.A. Airport is also thrown in to this heavy traffic jungle area. So, it is easier to fly out of Long Beach or Orange County, these days.YRMV
    upload_2022-9-11_4-22-26.png
    The implication of “red light bandit” is pure hypothetical. Bill Bagshaw had a lot of history and the title refers to his winning at the street drags. For those that went against a plain old 57 Corvette with a lot of racing history, but could run and did run late at night in So Cal. From our own history, a plain looking cruiser could surprise a lot of people with what was inside, not how it looked to others…YRMV

    Note:
    In 1964, a black 55 Chevy rolled up to our Impala and had his headers sticking down in the wheel wells. The sound was healthy and intimidating. The owner was trying to impress his girlfriend sitting next to him with the rump, rump of the challenging sound. Blackwalls, chrome rims, nice sounding motor and a cute girlfriend… a real cruiser with his directional finger pointed at the stop signal to change to green.

    My friend said he thought the 55 Chevy wanted to race, so he said to be prepared. The road ahead went right past the Douglas Aircraft Surplus Yard, the golf course, no stop lights or cross traffic and was pretty quiet, late at night. The intersection was popular, but fairly empty for this 1 mile long stretch of empty highway. When the light changed green, our 58 Impala was across the intersection before the 55 Chevy popped his clutch.

    The C&O Stick Hydro was very quick at any stop light and when it changed from RED to green, it was go all the way. Actually, the trick learned from watching the three light set up at Lion’s Dragstrip and other street stop lights changing left some facts that gave us an advantage. It takes about a second or two for anyone to react to a changing stop light from yellow to green. If one anticipates the turning off of the yellow, it automatically turns green for the light facing you.

    A real “Red Stop Light Bandit” in the making, by learning how to utilize the facts and situations at hand. I am sure the title of the Corvette story was implied that Bill Bagshaw stole a lot of wins with his skills.


     
  12. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 1,098

    Bob Lowry

    That was the easy way to raise the front ends on the '53 to '62 Corvettes. 12 bolts on each side of the frame and
    the entire front suspension can be slid out. Use some C-channel of desired height to raise the front end. The cool thing about it was that the alignment was not affected. Here is my '61 that I did as well as my '40 Chevy that
    had the same design. Bob pumpkin (4).jpg bobs vette 4 (3).jpg
     
  13. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 844

    bschwoeble
    Member

    Common practice back then. It was also important, as I'm sure you know, to also make a spacer for the core support. Your "61" looks great. I'm sure you still have it, unlike me, when I thought I was tired of mine and sold it. (sob).
     
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  14. CSPIDY
    Joined: Nov 15, 2020
    Posts: 56

    CSPIDY
    Member

    @jnaki, with no mention of the outcome of your very intriguing drag race
    I’m left to believe you did get a good view of the 55’s tail lights.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  15. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,540

    jnaki




    Hello,

    HA! Are you kidding? We were across the intersection on the green light, before he even started and when the C&O shifted on its own, we were at least two car lengths ahead for the quarter mile. The starting of the Douglas Aircraft Surplus Yard on the left side of street was around 1/4 mile. When the 55 Chevy saw MY 6 Impala Red taillights, he knew it was not a good thing.

    So, when I slowed down at the next intersection, we did the same thing for the last quarter mile past the golf course, with plenty of shut down space prior to the big intersection coming up. No cars in the vicinity at this late hour.
    upload_2022-9-11_7-57-31.png
    It was a nice looking black two door 55 chevy and looked fast, but was no match for the modified 348 motor + the C&O Stick Hydro in my Impala. Plus, the experience in race starts at Lion's Dragstrip and the local Cherry Avenue drags helped in the anxiety at the starts. Then, the powerful Impala set up took over and it was very satisfying.

    Jnaki

    We both waved and the 55 Chevy turned around before we got to the street that led to Bixby Knolls and the famed Cherry Avenue drags location. Thanks for sparking some good times memory cells. It was a good time to be a teenager and into the early 20s, but always cautious, since a bad result would be the County Jail and not the Juvenile Hall end place.
     
  16. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,339

    sololobo
    Member

    What a sanitary Vette
     
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  17. yellow dog
    Joined: Oct 15, 2011
    Posts: 500

    yellow dog
    Member
    from san diego

    Bill was a friend of a friend.....sold him a 100 lb lead mid 60's that we'd molded to fit under our spare tire. Don't know
    if he went quicker or not. Consistency was his hallmark.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  18. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 743

    hemihotrod66
    Member

    He went on to be a superstock racer with a 68 hemi car....
     
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  19. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 2,304

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    @jnaki

    Thank you for sharing this memory. You gave us a real trip back to that night in 1964. I've spent a good amount of time in Southern California, and I can just imagine that race. It sounds like your '58 combined with your driving skills made for many an eventful "Red Light" duels.
     
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  20. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 24,097

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Steel that gives you wood...;)
     
  21. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 24,097

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    J, you badass!!...and you cleaned up house to boot...;)...Douglas resonates with me...as I built wings this way for them...I understand it was a sprawling facility...that was way before my time there though...;)

    I'll bet the Jet noise drowned out the noisy Hoodlums breaking the law on the outside
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
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  22. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 24,097

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I usually say 37,8 and 9 Chevys make nasty Hotrods...I'll have to add 40, 41s to that too...jeeze, Stogy wants...;)
     
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  23. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 24,097

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nasty Vette Joey...and yeah the T-Bird is right up there too...Lately I've come to the conclusion Cragar 5 spokes really are incredibly suited for these vintage Vettes...I see these are mixed but the backs are I think...but yeah if I had one that'd be my choice for shiny mags...
     
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  24. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 7,135

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Local racer and friend of mine, bought Bagshaw's Corvette in 1968, as I remember. Gary raced it for several years. Gary Parham.jpg
     
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  25. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,540

    jnaki









    Hello,

    Hoodlums? Nah! We were clean cut local surfers with a penchant for hot rods and drag racing all over So Cal. Racers trying to get along in life and have fun at the same time. Our cars? Our activities? Just carry overs from our high school teenage days.

    The time between 1960-64 was an era of propeller driven airplanes at the local Long Beach Airport, with the Douglas Aircraft building quite a few planes in the surrounding buildings. As little kids, we could see the prop planes flying overhead from our backyard as we were in the wide takeoff flight path. The little twin engine float planes would turn on take off and fly directly overhead towards Catalina Island, so we could see and wave to the pilots and passengers.

    Left over parts were the gold mine for a lot of hot rod/drag race guys using the giant Surplus Yard that ran along the major Carson Street highway. The Lakewood Blvd. buildings near the Veteran's Football Stadium were where most of the big prop planes were built at this time period. The bigger jets did not arrive until 1968 or so. Those old DC-3 planes were the workhorses back then.

    Jnaki

    The surrounding streets are crowded today, but late at night, the streets were long and empty surrounding the airport industrial buildings, the runways, and neighboring business shops. Nearby, bordering on the Western edge of the takeoff area was the famous Cherry Avenue Drags location, which was good in a way, due to no one complaining about take off noise.

    Note: The last & biggest Reath Automotive building sales/ workshop was located on Cherry Avenue within sight of the takeoff runways, too.


    As far as Corvettes on the streets of Bixby Knolls and the surrounding areas, those sporty cars were a little beyond our teen/20 something pocketbooks and bank accounts. We made do with what we could afford.
    YRMV
     
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  26. Bdamfino
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 450

    Bdamfino
    Member
    from Hamlet, NC

    Bagshaw's hemi Dart was well known! The ' Vette is sweet,has the same vibe as that " Hot Rods to Hell" movie ' Vette!
     
    DDDenny likes this.
  27. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,540

    jnaki







    upload_2022-11-5_4-9-20.png
    Hello,

    Bill Bagshaw made a name for himself driving that Red Corvette. It was one of those cars that as a teenager, we always wanted to own and modify. We did get our chance, having driven in a 1954 White/Red Corvette with a 6 cylinder, then 3 years later in a 1960 dual carb 283 4 speed version, it was like night and day. If one did not mind the cool factor of the 54 Corvette the 6 cylinder was ahead of anyone else at the time, so satisfaction was gotten from that drive and cruising around.

    But, the power of the 1960 dual quad 283 with a 4 speed was our introduction to the high power cars that could be had from the factory. The color was a light Blue, not as flashy as a Roman Red color, but it still was plenty fast. (and noisy) It was a teenager’s dream car, not good for double dates, but good enough for power acceleration and curvy roads like going to Big Bear Lake or the local mountain resorts.

    If we had access to the early V8 motors and even a 3 speed stick, it would have been, I am sure, somewhat disastrous with all of “sporty” car shenanigans going on every time we got behind the wheel. One thing for sure was the cost of insurance for teens. A sporty car is one of the highest in the whole industry. That, in itself is a deterrent to owning a Corvette.

    Jnaki
    upload_2022-11-5_4-10-16.png
    The red 1956 Corvette in the drawing is what ours would have looked like back in 1957 if we had all of our choices of hot rods or sporty cars. A high powered 265 up to a 283 CI, dual quads, and possibly a rare 4 speed from our friend’s automotive contacts in Los Angeles. Then the modifications would begin...


    The stance would have been a slightly lowered, Cal Rake angle with 56 Buick Skylark Wire Wheels added for the custom touch. No hardtop as shown, as it becomes a daily driver weekend cruiser and sometimes racing in the sports car classes at Lion’s Dragstrip. For short local cruises, the warmth of the interior seating area and footwells was fine. In the summer, it was a little warm waiting for a stoplight. The fiberglass plus what little insulation was nothing to write home about like normal sedans.

    Like most teenagers, when the 56 Corvette came out, that was “the” car for us. But, as the years rolled by, we got involve in hot rods and drag racing, the Corvette took a back seat. Why? Well, for two teenagers that were 6’2 and 6 feet, the interior space of any of the Corvettes was a drawback. It was very cramped and although we could drive the daylights out of the sporty car, it felt like a can of sardines with the two teenagers sitting in those thin walled fiberglass body/fender area bucket seats.


    We over looked the comfort, for the thrill of driving around in an open top Corvette with some power. But, these days, Corvette owners look cool in their cars, but for us, comfort driving is the goal to continue on our long road trips until we can’t. Our neighbor has had a series of Corvettes over the years and we think this last new one is the end of the line. He just does not look comfortable getting in and out of the lowered sporty car, but he loves those Corvettes.
     
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