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Features VINTAGE SPRINT CAR PIC THREAD, 1965 and older only please.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. mac miller
    Joined: Jan 13, 2007
    Posts: 519

    mac miller
    Member
    from INDY

    The following is an article I wrote some time ago.... some of you might be interested in looking at it.


    Vintage Race Cars! "real" .. recreation .. replica ..??
    There is, currently, an ongoing discussion among collectors, builders and historians concerning the identification and classification of vintage racing cars. This discussion sometimes has gotten rather "heated" among the "real" owners and the replica car owners & builders.

    I am a builder of “replica” racecars, including Indy roadsters. I have, also, been involved in the restoration and maintanance of many real vintage race cars, including Indy roadsters, so I have a good knowledge of the nature of the business from both perspectives.

    While this article is written in response to the dealings I have had with the Indy roadster collectors and builders, it, certainly, applies to the hundreds of sprint, midget and early "speedway" cars that run in vintage events throughout the country.

    I am in full agreement that all vintage race cars should be correctly identified and classified.

    Reproductions and replicas are welcome at most "meets" including Milwaukee, Loudon, Michigan, California and the new ‘08 Darlington event. I don’t think that I would take a replica to Monterey or Pebble Beach.


    There are three distinct types of vintage race cars. Here is the way I define them for my purpose


    #1. Original Cars and “real cars”
    Top of the line is the “orginal”, unmolested car, equipped with its complete original frame, complete original bodywork and its originally installed engine, restored and presented in its original paint in “as raced” condition and preparation. These cars are fully documented from builder to current owner.
    Also in this category are the many “real” cars that still exist. These cars are displayed, run and represented as the real car as identified by their paint job and other exclusive features of the original car. These cars range from 100% real, original cars down to real cars that were mutilated into supermodifieds in their later lives. These “supers” were identified and salvaged by collectors and restored to their original configuration. Much of these cars has been lost, destroyed and mutilated beyond repair.
    Some of these cars contain no more than 25% of the original car that they represent. Many of these “real” roadsters were salvaged supermodifieds with original frames so cut up and modified that new frames are required. Most “real” owners get the new frame builder to incorporate, at least, a few pieces of the original frame tubing to legitimize their claim to the “real” car.
    Most all of the “real” roadsters are restored with new fiberglass and/or aluminum bodywork. Much of the original bodywork is missing, hacked up, modified and/or damaged beyond repair. I have, personally, built over 40 new sets of Watson roadster bodywork over the past 15 years, some for replicas, some for the restoration of “real” cars and some for A J Watson, himself.
    Many of the “real” roadsters, especially the salvaged super modifieds, were acquired minus their OFFY engines. While virtually all of the “real” cars have OFFY engines, the origin and linage of these engines can be rather vague. Some “real” cars have their original “real” engine, some have a ”real” engine and some have engines that were assembled from miscellaneous spare parts. Historian, Gordon White, has good records of which serial number OFFY engine was purchased by which car owner for installation in which car.
    Most “real” car owners have full documentation and photo presentations of the history of their cars to back up their claim to ownership of the real car.
    In my opinion, for a “real” owner to claim a “real” car, the car should, at minimum, have its original frame, original bodywork and original engine.
    These “real” cars can be some of the most misrepresented cars in the vintage business. Most are over restored, far beyond their originally “as raced” condition. Some of these “real” cars are very close to recreations or reproductions. I would suggest that each of these “real” cars be evaluated and assigned a “percentage of reality” rating but I doubt that many of the “real” car owners would cooperate in a "reality evaluation" of their cars.


    #2. Recreations and Reproductions
    Known, newly constructed cars built, as close as possible, to represent an original existing or “no longer existing” real car. These cars feature new frames and bodywork and original period engine, driveline and suspension, steering, brakes, wheels & tires. Having some part or parts that were actually used on the “real” car adds a few “points“, I suppose. Original style paintwork and upholstery are also featured
    An odd little “continuation of production” classification is part of the “recreation and reproduction” group. A.J. Watson is the only open wheel guy left, who could claim “continuation of production”, but I’ve never heard him use the term. I have heard comments by some of the “real” owners that the cars A.J. has built in the last 20 years are not real Watson roadsters but I’m not gonna be the guy who tells A.J, to his face....


    #3. Replicas and “Tribute Cars”
    “Replicas” are newly constructed cars using the style, shapes and design of an original type of car, but, using non original components and systems such as suspension, brakes ,engine and drive line. The various engines, transmissions, rear axles, brakes, etc. are selected because of availability, costs and convenience. Replicas are usually painted in the owner/builder’s favorite colors and schemes. Replicas can range from a rather basic assemblage of salvage parts and materials to top quality, pro built cars. At meets, where they actually run the cars on the track, replicas feature good reliability, low operational cost and fun, worry-free driving, without the constant concern of damaging incredibly expensive and/or irreplacable original old cars and engines.
    “Tribute cars” is a new term, for vintage style replica cars, to describe a car that pays homage to an existing or “no longer existing” real car, by using the original paint job and as many of the unique features of the original car as is possible or practical. I guess, the recreations/ reproductions are the ultimate tribute cars but many tribute cars are replicas using only the original paint job.

    A couple of comments in conclusion.
    * A rule, that I observe in my shop, is that I never use any real vintage parts when building a replica. Any real vintage parts should be reserved for real restoration.
    * I also never represent any cars or parts as anything more than they are.


    mac miller in Indy
     
  2. nitram22
    Joined: Apr 16, 2007
    Posts: 29

    nitram22
    Member
    from California

  3. mac miller
    Joined: Jan 13, 2007
    Posts: 519

    mac miller
    Member
    from INDY



    colin.... I grew up, in the 60s, in Greenville, Ohio. 15 miles south of Eldora Speedway, 20 miles east of Winchester Speedway, 25 miles northwest of Dayton Speedway, 25 miles south west of New Bremen Speedway, 3 hours from Salem Speedway, 3 hours from Terra Haute Speedway and 2 hours from Indianapolis Raceway Park.
    My teenage years were spent "stooging" on the #93 Iddings Spl. USAC sprint car, in the pits with Parnelli, A.J., Bobby Unser, Rutherford, Hurtubise, Johnny White, Andretti, Johncock, Branson, Larson, Greg Weld, Bettenhausen, Larry Dickson, etc. and with owners & mechanics A.J.Watson, Jud Phillips, Henry Meyer, Steve Stapp, Don Shepard, Paul Leffler and Wally Meskowski.
    USAC sprints started down hill in about 1970 when they converted all the sprint cars into supermodifieds by adding "cages" and USAC sprints were, purty much, over sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, when USAC started running the sprint cars, mostly on the local quarter mile midget tracks.
    While working on Indy cars in the 70s and 80s was great accomplishment and a lot of fun, it never really got any better than working on USAC sprint cars in the 60s. My only regret was that I was about ten years too young to have worked on Indy roadsters in the 50s/60s.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  4. racinfool
    Joined: Mar 19, 2008
    Posts: 190

    racinfool
    Member
    from Indy

    Hey guys.......Check out my E bay auction......... 160318363442

    Thanks for looking!-Tom
     

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  5. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,933

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    I agree, in that, I don't think midgets with $30,000/350 h.p motors put on any better show than midgets with $10,000/200 h.p. motors.
    And as Roy C. said, nowdays the back gate is being used to finance the tracks and the more cars they can funnel through the pit gate and charge $20+ per pit pass, the more money they make.
     
  6. Original engine :confused::confused: .

    Especially with Offys, you can track the numbers, but even then, what would be the original engine.

    I have an Offy Kurtis with an original engine, but is it the original engine????

    So, in the case of Kurtis midgets, which raced from the late '40s into the 60's, many evolved from carbs to injection and over the years engines were switched and swaped.

    The Indy cars and big dirt cars seem to have a shorter competitive life span than the midgets. I guess that would mean less engine changing.

    We aren't talking Pebble Beach stuff here.

    On Chevy powered sprint cars, the engine changing would be even more complicated.

    So, in your thinking, what would constitute as an original engine??

    I like your explanation of the different car classes. But having been involved with car judging, some of the criteria take the fun out of ownership. But, the main thing that must be kept in mind is to not let someone recreate a famous car and pass it off as the real deal. That's just plain being dishonest.



     
  7. mac miller
    Joined: Jan 13, 2007
    Posts: 519

    mac miller
    Member
    from INDY

    This article, while applicable to all vintage race cars, was fairly specific to my experiences and dealings with Indy roadsters. Records are available concerning which owner bought which OFFY for which car in what year. Indy roadsters are very well documented and almost all of them are accounted for. Original engine history for most midgets and sprint cars is not so easy and virtually impossible in the case of stock block engines.
    Obviously, Having the original documented engine in your vintage car is the ideal situation, in regard to quality & value, but it is certainly not the reality in most cases and, unless you are into serious concours judging, is not all that important.
     
  8. From February 18, 1951. Pomona California. The entry list included Andy Linden, Cal Niday, Bud Rose, Walt Faulkner, Duane Carter, Roger Ward, Bill Vukovich, Henry Banks, "Bullit" Joe Garson, Johnny Parsons, Perry Grim, Jack Mc Grath, and Troy Ruttman, among others.
     

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  9. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member


    oK, I doubt that many of the cars at least from the 50's on had only ONE engine per car, at least I can safely say that from the 70's on they didn't. Hell there is no way that most midgets did when a lot of them were running 7 nights a week
     
  10. Blacki-Suede
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 202

    Blacki-Suede
    Member

    Jim, I am told that the driver was Jim Yurovitch (spelling ?), 71 years old? Broken collar bone, fractured vertebrae, and some swelling of the brain. Good news is: I am told the swelling has gone down, and Mr. Yurovitch is recuperating and has told his fellow Daytona Antique Auto Racing friends he will be back. Not official, but what I have been told.

    Image from February Zephyrhills: More images and info at http://daara.freeservers.com/index.html

    Blacki-Suede
     

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  11. Blacki-Suede
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 202

    Blacki-Suede
    Member

  12. Spike Ruth
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Spike Ruth
    Member

    Little Fauss-
    I sure agree with you, the miles were the best thing racing ever had going for it!! Hopefully more photos will get posted on here.
    Again, thanks to all!
     
  13. jusjunk
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 3,138

    jusjunk
    BANNED
    from Michigan


    Im on it :)... good luck
    Dave
    ps: watching that is...if i bid on that with no job ya know what the wife would do :(
     
  14. colinbarnett
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 3

    colinbarnett
    Member
    from indiana

    thank you mr miller for your info, and racer5c, what your first impression or thoughts going into the first turn at winchester, at full speed? was it alittle shacky, or were young and just gased it and hoped it would hold! i hope with our economy we dont lose these tracks. without our history we dont have anything. more and more we see cars and complete operations for sale, folks selling off there inventory. irl was one of the first to try and keep the price down, now we are seeing nascar trying to do the samething. not that even someone with a reasonable amount of money could build a car without a top notch car builder, top of the line engine, pit crew, and tons of spares could compete. but the cost of racing has gotten so outta control for the average man, just to do something he loves is so high, that we are seeing less car entries at our local tracks, and poor races. i know that alot of us go to the races to see the sprints midgets, and so on, but those filler races are the guys who love to race and dont have the money to purchase a sprint or midget. they are out there trying to be noticed and hoping to catch the eye of a owner who would give them a shot in driving there car. with low attendance and low car entries our local tracks, the track operaters will eventually have to close. look at the world of outlaws, used to be the greatest show on dirt. not so much anymore. just my opinion, and im sure im wrong, because my wife often tells me i am. thanks to all who share there stories and advise, i have really enjoyed learning from this forum.
     
  15. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,933

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    S'more Sacto mile pics:
    One of my all time favorite pics-Bob Sweikert 1953
    #8-R. McCluskey 1968
    #10-Bud Tinglestad- 1968
    Don Branson- #21 Elmer George-#5 McCluskey 1962
    #22 Bob Harkey #9 Jim McElreath 1965
     

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  16. jusjunk
    Joined: Dec 3, 2004
    Posts: 3,138

    jusjunk
    BANNED
    from Michigan


    Your not wrong .. the WoO however helped in pricing itself almost out of business. Especially management wise... Look at the drivers and teams that went back to the all stars... Id rather go to an all star race any day . These guys are serious and are there to win...
    Dave
     
  17. LittleFauss
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 272

    LittleFauss

    'Thanks again, Rootie. My favorites' got to be Sacramento, 1966. That shot of Atkins trailing Branson was when they were battling for second. Atkins finally overhauled Branson and then with five laps to go, Andretti dropped out and Atkins went on to his only national championship win. Sadly, both he and Branson were killed together a few weeks later at Ascot Park in sprint cars. If you've ever seen any of the Dick Wallen movies, this 1966 race is featured quite prominently in the 'History of the Sacramento Mile.' And you can see that Dick Atkins drove the big cars just as he did the midgets: Super smooth and very graceful. He was beautiful to watch. It's no wonder that Aggie and Parnelli tabbed him as the one to replace Parnelli as their team driver.
     

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  18. OldBill
    Joined: Jul 15, 2008
    Posts: 130

    OldBill
    Member
    from PA

    mlight9: Re your request for info on Seymour-Deakin (ex-Weinberger) car, it was apparently not run in 1967, but raced in USAC by Seymour as No. 10 in 1968 and No. 43 in 1969. In both of those seasons it was bronze. In 1968 driven by Don Thomas, Denny Zimmerman, Chuck Booth, Duke Cook and Steve Kennick. In 1969 by Booth, Cook, Zimmerman, Arnie Knepper, Nolan Johncock.

    Attachment shows how it looked at Reading on March 27, 1966.

     

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  19. TraderJack
    Joined: Apr 10, 2008
    Posts: 330

    TraderJack
    Member

    I looked at the pictures of rex mays at Del Mar and wonder what the racers were thinking! I guess optimism is required but to drive with the 4x4' tilting into the track is asking for it, in my opinion. No way you can not stub your toe on one of those posts eventually! Heck you would stub your knee on them!

    But , perhaps , that is the reason that you no longer see that stuff around tracks

    Isn't hind sight wonderful.

    I know I used to love to see the car with the big knobbies on the rear kicking out the dirt, but I guess it cost the track owner too much to resurface the tracks.

    traderjack
     
  20. jimg12
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 307

    jimg12
    Member

    Blacki-Suede,
    Thanks for the update. Hope he gets allright.
    Jim Graybeal
     
  21. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw
    Member


    Ive ran Eldora.. Big Gracefull bad ass place. As fast as it is.. it's so big that you have a lot of racing room. So, you don't get that Short track slice and dice feel, but when you take a sec to look around you realize.. YOUR HAULING ASS!!! ..and if something goes wrong, you really realize it!

    Lawrenceburg holds special meaning to me, but my favorite track was K.C. (old "Atomic Speedway") Chilacothe (Spl?) Oh. It's like a mini Eldora. If you get the chance to go.. GO! It's one of the only race tracks you "drop in" like a Half Pipe in Skateboarding.


    JD
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  22. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw
    Member

    ON YOUR "ORIGINAL", TRIBUTE", and "RECREATION" car discussion...

    I agree with Mack miller. Good article!

    No Recreation should EVER be passed of as anything but that, a RECREATION.

    During these "Discussions" I always think about a good story some Ol' timer told me.

    It's called the "GRAMPA'S OLD HAMMER" story, and it goes like this...


    "We have this old hamer in our shop that was my grandpa's. It very special to us.. It's REALLY old and has been passed down through three generations.
    Of coarse, the handle has been broken and replaced twice, and we've worn out two or three heads... BUT IT'S STILL "GRAMPA'S OLD HAMMER!"


    It's hard to argue with that.. is it the same hammer or not?

    Who's to say?



    Joshua Shaw
     
  23. Spike Ruth
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Spike Ruth
    Member

    The stopping of the use of knobbies really took away much of the excitement of Champ Car and Sprint racing. Part of it had to do with the gradual switch to todays much more carefull drivers.
    I drove at a dozen tracks in the 60s where the 4x4 posts were used on the inside of the track. All were state or county fairs, and we had nothing to say about that sort of thing. Most were promoted by Sam Nunis who was hired by the Fairboards. The shows all paid good, so myself, and the others didnt worry too much about safety. Besides, i had no business driving into the posts.lol. Not really funny, but it seemed to be our mindset back then. Plus, we were in the business for the danger and thrills, among other things.
    BTW, i was one of many drivers who fought hard against roll cages too.


    ...
     
  24. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,933

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Keep in mind, this was shortly after WW2 and driving race cars around fairground race tracks was a fairly tame activity compared to landing on Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima.
    As Hemingway once said: "There's only 3 real sports; Auto racing, Bullfighting and Mountain climbing, all the rest are just games".
     
  25. Mac Miller, I was reviewing this site last week & I ran across your prev. post #1769, pg. 89 re the Cheesman sprinter. Question, I remembered I had seen some pics of this car on a site I can't remember & date I don't know, but the car is on the hook @ Eldora, B. Black driving. It appears to have a Chev. engine & there is metal work (no paint) around the nose. I'm sure there will be no connection, but it seemed co-incidental. I take it from your prev. post the #16 Dunseth has disappeared??? Thanks for any info, mlight9.
     
  26. Old Bill. You have made my day. That is what I've been looking for. The closest I came was the pics of D. Lundy flipping over the fence in Ohio. In case you run across anymore, feel free to post. Thanks much, ml9.
     
  27. SteveE
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 74

    SteveE
    Member
    from Ohio

    I think Dave Lundy flipped the Weinberger car out of Terra Haute and got injured. I believe this is the same car Red Riegel was fatally injured in at Reading also.
    Also the #16 Dunseth car is restored as the Cheesman car. As Mac said the Cheesman car was destroyed at New Bremen and this was the spare frame
     
  28. Jim Dieter
    Joined: Jun 27, 2008
    Posts: 389

    Jim Dieter
    Member
    from Joliet

    I just saw a clip of the Larson/Riegel crash on you tube a couple days ago.(by accident) It was too depressing to post.
     
  29. racinfool
    Joined: Mar 19, 2008
    Posts: 190

    racinfool
    Member
    from Indy

    It can be found on Dick Wallens sprint car classics # 4.:(
     
  30. BZNEIL
    Joined: May 28, 2005
    Posts: 659

    BZNEIL
    Member

    Anybody have a chassis pic of a spring front space frame car like Stapp built. I have pictures and drawings of all other configurations but I have never seen a pic of the frame on this style of car.
     

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