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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. Bill Chadbourne
    Joined: Nov 28, 2011
    Posts: 71

    Bill Chadbourne
    Member
    from Sonora Ca.

    Hi Easter! Yes i was there that day. The radius rod mounted at the rear of bar. I and John Leverenz were mechanics on car, we did the modification to car. We also had another car with 4x on it witch John and I owned. Some times we ran both cars the same day with Opperman flying between tracks.
     
  2. easter
    Joined: Nov 25, 2010
    Posts: 554

    easter
    Member

    Jan was always very nice to me. People were saying he was very "laid back", but even as a kid I could see the raging fire burning in his eyes. I always wanted to be inside turn 1 to see him and Richert at the start. I had a picture of Opp hugging my mom, but I'm pretty sure Dad threw it away - he was like that. On this trip to Topeka, we went to Thad Dosher's house for grilled burgs and got to listen to him tell stories. What great guys back then. Also on this trip, Buzz Rose dumped his car coming out of 4 and ended up over the fence in the space in front of the grandstand. I was in the stands when that happened. I wrote him about it and he said he was badly hurt in that wreck - breaking his back, etc. I was only around IMCA for a short time, but got to see some very cool things. Welcome to this thread. I hope you enjoy all of the photos and info. There are some really interesting people posting on this - and with your addition, it just got better. Thanks for posting.
     
  3. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    The first time I ever saw Jan Opperman race was April 4,1970. It was the first time he ever saw Williams Grove Speedway. He won the feature in the Hank`s #4. I had never heard of Jan Opperman before that,but I was a fan from that day on.

    A real thrill for this 12 yr old kid a bit later in 1970 was when he appeared at the racing club we had at my Jr. High school to speak to us. I still have the photo he autographed for me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  4. Inmate85031
    Joined: Oct 6, 2009
    Posts: 35

    Inmate85031
    Member

    I'm taking a chance here and hopefully the mods won't baninate me or give me a time out for this but I think it is of enough historical significe to be mentioned. I apoligize to any who take offense by saying this is off topic but it was this crash that led to the AAA leaving racing and USAC being formed. Many safety refroms were started because of this crash

    "Le Mans race car at center of crash that killed 84 (1955) is set to be auctioned."

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...r-involved-1955-Le-Mans-disaster-sell-1m.html
     
  5. fuel pump
    Joined: Nov 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,620

    fuel pump
    Member
    from Caro,MI

    I remember that as well but for a different reason. A buddy of mine (Bob Shaw) had been had been driving the #4 for Harold and had turned in some really good finishes including a feature win at the Grove. Bob then detached the retina in his right eye in an ARDC midget crash at Reading and couldn't drive. Jan "filled in" for Shaw in the #4 and of course Bob never got the ride back. I believe the #4 was the first 4 bar sprint car that Jan had ever driven and obviously did pretty well in it.:D
     
  6. LittleFauss
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 272

    LittleFauss

    .....'The name Bill Chadbourne might not resonate with a lot of guys here today but as soon as I saw the name, I immediately thought of the Chadbourne & Leverenz, car #12X that Hank Butcher drove at the 1968 CRA sanctioned U.S. Open Competition race at the California State Fairgrounds 1-mile dirt track in Sacramento. A good dear friend of mine who pitted and crewed for several top drivers back in that era, was a huge admirer of Johnny Leverenz for his talents as a sprint car mechanic.

    Bill Chadbourne, wow, it is great to have you participating here and I for one would love to hear any other stories and facts regarding sprint car racing from the era that you guys' ran. Thanks again for chiming in.
     
  7. Spike Ruth
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Spike Ruth
    Member

    Jans first 4-bar ride was the Luke Bogar #99 built by Camp. It was called "S
     
  8. Spike Ruth
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Spike Ruth
    Member

  9. fuel pump
    Joined: Nov 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,620

    fuel pump
    Member
    from Caro,MI

    Here is a picture og Shaw in the Hanks #4 that Jan later drove.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. rrbrucea
    Joined: Mar 2, 2010
    Posts: 646

    rrbrucea
    Member

    When it comes to certain things you know you were born too late. In my case I only got to see Opperman during his comeback AFTER his horrific crash. I so wish I had been able to see him earlier in his career. That said, imagine the BRASS it took to even get in the car after what he had been trough!
     
  11. LittleFauss
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 272

    LittleFauss

    .....'Spike, when you say that the Bogar car was built by Camp, do you mean the KARS sprint car driver Barry Camp or a relative of his or what? Because whether those guys know it or not, that was the beginning of the transition of sprint car chassis from the shallow, short arm cars of Don Edmunds, CAE (Jim Culbert), etc. to the deep, long arm cars of Trevis and all the other eastern Penn. builders. I remember anytime a Bobby Allen car or a Charlie Lloyd car found it's way out west in the early/mid seventies, it was a dominant car.

    That's funny though; that car was FAR from being a ****-box. I think Jan won the '71 & '72 Western States Open (later the Western World) at Phoenix in that car? Thanks, Spike.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  12. RABs32
    Joined: Nov 14, 2009
    Posts: 810

    RABs32
    Member
    from new jersey

    Here's a shot that I posted a while back in this thread of ----box 2's tail tank with it's nick name signature.......Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  13. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Can anyone tell me the significance of the reference to "Rotary" in the Ansted Engineering Rotary Special race cars.

    Have spent too much time on the web trying to satisfy my curiosity that they must have manufactured some kind of rotating machinery, such as air compressors, but find no answers.
     
  14. monkaz
    Joined: Oct 6, 2011
    Posts: 203

    monkaz
    Member
    from gilbert,AZ

    Two photos of Eddie Sachs in the first HOW sprint car. The photo of the number 18 was taken at Wms. Grove in 1954 and the photo of the number 2 car was taken at Langhorne in 1955. The third photo of the 31 car is the restored Wolcott Spl.
    The first HOW sprint car was supposedly a cut down Champ car that was turned into a sprinter. For many years it was thought to be the Wolcott Champ car in which Johnny McDowell died but now the Wolcott car has resurfaced in Victoria B.C.!
    Anybody have any ideas about where the first HOW sprint car came from?
     

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  15. baldtireman
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 378

    baldtireman
    Member

    The original "Wilbur Hawthorne" roadster sprint from Lisbon,Ohio,was a cut down Kurtis Kraft indy roadster that may have been the car the Jerry Unser rode out of the ballpark at indy in the 1958 first lap disaster. :eek:
     
  16. Spike Ruth
    Joined: Aug 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    Spike Ruth
    Member

    Ye4sw, Barry Camp built that car. The nickname was a joke. lol.
     
  17. okbob
    Joined: Nov 2, 2008
    Posts: 11

    okbob
    Member
    from Hanover pa

    Jan ran and won in Hank's Edmunds 4 bar before he drove Bogars 99




    Ralph Heintzleman built Shit Box 1(Barry was driver when Opperman took over and may very well ha

    R
     
  18. okbob
    Joined: Nov 2, 2008
    Posts: 11

    okbob
    Member
    from Hanover pa

    Sorry about last post.I wanted to make sure that Ralph Heintzelman was spelled correctly and I sent it by accident. The car was originally called a
    B C Craft because of Barry,but I think Ralph built it. When I came in 1971 Jan was driving a Roger Beck spring front that John Singer built at Becks.
    Hank's car was before 71 and Bogar's was 72. I had never seen a picture of Bob Shaw in the Hank's car until just now,but it sure didn't look like the same cage as Al Consoli's photo.(They were bolt on cages) It was fun to have known and raced against Jan. Van May
     
  19. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member

  20. I'll bet he could work out something on getting it to the Chili Bowl. The seller goes every year.

    Looks like a full length rolled belly pan frame. That would be easy to make an early 60's style sprinter out of.
     
  21. That's the story I always got too.

    Seems there was also supposed to be a Bobby Allen car in the deal too, just in case the BC Craft car couldn't hang with the big boys. By the time Florida came around for the speedweeks, the Allen chassis wasn't ready- so Ralph had to work hard until the last minute to get the B C car ready, loaded and in the sunshine state.

    Opp knew the Allen car wasn't ready, but he hadn't really seen the B C car. Everybody was wondering what Opp would drive and anticipation grew-----until a strange looking icebox white sprinter pulled in looking for Jan. At the time, the BC car looked out of proportion , and Jan thought that juuuusssttt maybe, he was the target of a prank.

    Jan Walks to Ralph, puts his arm around him and asks "Do you really expect me to drive this shitbox?!"

    Ralph intimated "Just try it out".

    By the time Speedweeks were over, the unfinished Allen chassis was now the 'backup', and the BC car was known hereafter as the "Shitbox".






     
  22. Tribute to Jan right here.

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

    racer5c
    Member

    4.52 minutes into the Opperman video is a shot of my dad's 255 Offy Watson Champ Dirt Car
     
  24. easter
    Joined: Nov 25, 2010
    Posts: 554

    easter
    Member

    Yep, and 21 seconds in is a pic of Jan kneeling next to his car in Tampa. I took that photo when I was 13. What an honor to have my pic in that tribute.
     
  25. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota



  26. That video was used as part of an introduction for Jans 'induction' to the Talledega Motorsports Hall Of fame this past spring. From what I hear, Jans Daughter was there to get the award for Jan.


    When that vid was done, I had no idea the induction was coming. I was proud to be an anonymous part of helping to keep Jan's visual out there.

    Your picture, and the many in there, and the film included, made it happen. I only used the best I had , after saving and saving for 5 years looking everywhere.

    Thank you for not being upset that I used it, and THANK YOU for letting me be a tiny part of helping him. I don't understand all the things I do, or why I use the strange music sometimes, but it is sincere when it goes out, or it just doesn't get done.

    Sometimes, sometimes these vids come out as if there someone else did the small special effects, and I was just the monkey who assembled the blocks together. Those are my favorites, and I cannot take credit for them. I WILL take the blame for the screw-ups, but I can't truly take credit when one of these turns a bit magical. That comes from somewhere else.


    Shane Carson is the main driving force on keeping these videos in context (within reason), and making sure the tributes and the videos are non-profit. Shane Carson is the man to thank for the good part of what comes out of the vintagesupermodified video channel. He has always been a true fan of the life, whether it's steak or grilled cheese for dinner- good times or bad.


    sorry for the long ramble
     

  27. Used to be like that, but they thinned quite a few out. Some frames were just too far gone, with no history or anything to offer and they may have been scrapped. I saw the row of frames, a few times and I know nothing went to the scrapper without serious thought. All of them were on a concrete wall about 1.5 feet off the ground. The minute they went out there, they never touched soil until they were called back into duty for a restoration or exit from the property. ALL of the roll bar padding from what I saw was stripped away to eliminate serios rust happening,

    Others, most actually, found homes .
     
  28. Bill Chadbourne
    Joined: Nov 28, 2011
    Posts: 71

    Bill Chadbourne
    Member
    from Sonora Ca.

    Hi Little Fauss! Thanks for puffing up my ego. The 12x car was a good old car, it worked great on dry slick tracks. We also ran it as 4x as Speedway Motors car in 1969. John and I also owned 1970 Roger Beck #2 house car, witch won 1970 Knoxville Nationals and track championship. I will post some pictures when i figure out how to do it. Thanks Bill
     
  29. monkaz
    Joined: Oct 6, 2011
    Posts: 203

    monkaz
    Member
    from gilbert,AZ

    Perhaps someone can help me sort out the history of one of the most famous sprint cars in the history of sprint car racing - Parnelli Jones, Fike Plumbing Spl.

    The former Fike Plumbing Spl. was believed to have been owned by Johnny Anderson who sold the car to Garry Rush in Australia in 1971 0r 1972.

    The problem with this attribution is that the car that Johnny Anderson bought - previously owned by John Pestana and Bobby Lange (1965-1966) and Sherman Cleveland (1968), was purchased new from Hank Henry in 1962 by CRA car owners, Shinohara, Osborne and West. The car known as the SOW Spl. was driven by Bob McCoy and Allen Heath.

    The 1969 NARC (Northern Auto Racing Club) Yearbook states:"Sprint car fans will recognize it [Anderson Chevy] as the former Sherman Cleveland:pestana and Lange Chevy which ran originally as the S.O.W. Chevy with CRA."

    Can anyone help me sort this out? I am sure the car in Australia must be the famous Fike Plumbing Spl. I just can't fit the pieces of the puzzle together.
     

    Attached Files:

  30. Bill Chadbourne
    Joined: Nov 28, 2011
    Posts: 71

    Bill Chadbourne
    Member
    from Sonora Ca.

    Pestana and Lang had two cars, #98 driven by Dick Atkins owned by Bob Lang and #99 driven by Dee Hilman owned by John Pestana. Sherman Clevland was killed in the #99 car at Calistoga. The #98 car was a Hank Henry car, I worked on cars with John Leverenz. I believe the #99 car was a Shilola.
     

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