Friday, April 29, 2011

Just Another Porsche Roadster / Dick Barbour at Riverside International Raceway

Speaking of Dick Barbour in the Monterey Can-Am post...thought I would run a photo of him in 1968. This shot was taken be me at Riverside Raceway while he was competing in a six-hour Enduro event on Memorial Day driving his Porsche Roadster. Proudly wearing silver paint, Dick had added blue to the front valance, up over the headlights and back to a tear drop on top of the fenders. I remember the car well, as I had a sister car to his. In the photo, new to the car he was running 6X15 inch rare and very cool American magnesium wheels. Unfortunately, the car was later damaged in the race with the drivers door caved in. As a side, during that event his co-driver was another San Diegan, Dennis Sherman.

Dick had purchased the Roadster from Dieter Vongehr who had actually rolled it at a Time Trial event at the same track some time before. When Dick retired the Roadster, he sold it to another San Diego racer, Donald Trueblood. At the time Dick was a partner in Automotion, a repair, preparation and accessories business in San Diego on Mission Gorge Road. After the Roadster came a 904 then a 908, later Dick went on to become one of the legends of endurance racing. Driving the renowned Porsche 935, Barbour and his co-drivers had three consecutive class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1978, 79, 80).

Here Dick was coming over the hill at turn seven in his Porsche Roadster, Riverside International Raceway. Image © John Straub
Related post: Dick Barbour's Automotion.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Barona Antique Drags / Just Ol' Americana

Wandering down the staging lane, he was spotted a few steps ahead along with his '30 five window Ford, chopped, channeled, flat-headed with Navarro emblazoned castings, and two 97 Strombergs standing attention over top. The "newsboy" cap on his head, cocked to one side said he was of a younger set. Approaching, I said, "Badass car dude."  He replied, "It's not mine, I'm just drivin' it today." Lucky guy, I thought. While examining his ride with the sun high in the sky illuminating every juicy bit, I noticed "Lefty's Speed Shop" hand lettered and a lemon yellow "Bean Bandit" club decal stuck on the polished rear sheet metal.

Back in the day, the Bean Bandit's home track was a strip south of San Diego on Paradise Mesa. Years before it had been used as the Paradise Mesa Airstrip. The Bean Bandit's then President Mike Nagem got together with the San Diego Timing Association and went to the property owner Henry Adams and convinced him to create a safe place for racers to show what they had. He agreed, and with the help of the Bean Bandits, the SDTA and local law enforcement they organized the country's first legal drag strip in 1951, which lasted until 1958. Many years have since passed. 

"Bean Bandits?" I queried. He said, yeah it's Julio Hernandez' car. We struck up a conversation about the "Bean Bandits" and that my wife's mother had been a member back in the '50s. He nodded his approval. Nice guy, that Lance Conklin, and getting to race the '30...was plain bitchen!

Just then, his lane of competitors was called to order, as he wedged himself into the chopped top coupe and fired up the V-8 it coughed, then barked to life. With everyone's eyes glued, the '30 rolled up to do it's burnout. Smoke streamed up from the skinny white walls as he launched forward. It was an awesome sight. Another day of just ol' Americana'.
Barona Antigue Drags, the Julio Hernandez bitchen '30 Ford. Image © John Straub

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Laguna Seca Can-Am 1970 / Some of The Guys Getting Seat Time

Here are more never before seen images from photojournalist Bob Lapert, with a look at some of the drivers that were running at the Monterey Can-Am at Laguna Seca in 1970. This was before Porsche came to dominance with the 917 race cars. The McLaren was the name of the game back then, with their heart pounding Chevy engines.

Denny Hulme went on to win the event in his McLaren M8D with a time of one hour, twenty-five minutes. Image © Bob Lampert.

Peter Revson driving a Lola T220 Chevy came in 3rd. Image © Bob Lampert

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ramona Dragway / This Sunday

Take a step back with San Diego Raceway at Ramona. Here's an old flyer for the races announcing what winning paid for the different brackets. What really caught my eye, was the $2 admission fee. Whoa, where can you go today, smell the pungent buring tire smoke, feel the roar of engines beat through your chest, and have that much fun for the same amount of money? It's a time only in memory.

I don't remember who won this grudge race between Schartman and was some 45 plus years ago, but I do member both cars were badass. My money would have been on the Comet, I was a Ford guy. Here's a video of 427 Comets and Thunderbolts racing back in the day. Check it out.

Related post:

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monterey Can-Am 1970 / The Ground Shook

The 1970 Canadian-American Challenge Cup season was the fifth season of the Can-Am auto racing series. It consisted of FIA Group 7 racing cars running two-hour sprint events. It began June 14, 1970 and ended November 1, 1970 after ten rounds.

The 1970 season began only a few days after the death of defending 1969 champion Bruce McLaren. McLaren had been testing the new M8D for his Can-Am team when he was killed. Denny Hulme was joined by friend American Dan Gurney in the second McLaren, however was replaced by Peter Gethin following sponsorship conflicts. Dan was the only American driver to win that year, the first two events of the series. The team overcame the loss of their leader to win nine of ten races during the 1970 season with the McLarens.

In October of that year the series moved to Laguna Seca for the ninth round. These are never before seen images by fellow blog follower Bob Lampert, who was then working as a photojournalist.

Dennis Hulme #5, Peter Gethin #7 (went out with a bad battery), Peter Revson # 26, and
Jackie  Oliver #22  start the pace lap under a yellow flag. Image © Bob Lampert

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On The Beach Grand Prix

Not a true throughout car film, but it does have some cool "made for the movie" car racing. The film really centers around a group of survivors attempting to live normal lives in post-apocalyptic Australia, waiting for the inevitable arrival of killer radiation, this is not to pick on Japan at this point. Fred Astaire gives up his dancing shoes to put on his driving gloves and do a little behind the wheel racing. It was filmed in 1959 with Gregory Peck, Anthony Perkins, Donna Anderson, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire. Directed By: Stanley Kramer
Right, Fred and his driving gloves, big smile and waiting for the kiss from the trophy babe.

Part of the racing was done at a "juvenile" Riverside Raceway before track improvements. I don't think I have ever seen so many 356s totalled in such a short time. Also the Jag and Healey 3000 were not lookin' good, but I did enjoy Freds smile as he took the checker.

Check out the video below, worth the time, even if it does score high on the cheese-o-meter.

Left, number 23 goes up in a firey ball! One can only wonder how much that car would be worth today in one piece.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Speaking about Bonneville

The Brits were pretty keen on coming over here and running cars at Bonneville. Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1935 with his "Bluebird" burning the salt to a blistering 300+ MPH and later his son Donald Campbell with a new "Bluebird", returned to the salt, but ended with a high-speed crash in 1960.

On August 23rd, in 1957 Brit ace, Stirling Moss took the MG EX to a record 245.64 MPH in class at Bonneville. The special had a supercharged MGA Twin cam 1489cc engine producing 290hp. A couple of years later American drive Phil Hill took the revised MG EX-181 with a slightly larger engine out and set a new record, at 254.91 MPH. Check out the "BP" logos next to the sign...a better day for "BP!"

Stirling Moss breaking 5 speed records in the BMC MG EX - 181, at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

The EX - 181 looking rather slippery. Image, via.

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