Author Archives: HKK Productions

The Name of the Game is Winning — The Roger Penske Story — Part 2

.

The Name of the Game is Winning — The Roger Penske Story — Part 2

.

From the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who

Just over a year later, in 1966, Penske was back. He entered a Chevrolet Corvette in the Daytona 24-Hours which won the GT award, and he persuaded the Sun Oil Company to sponsor a Lola T70-Chevrolet sports car to be driven by Penske’s protege, a shy motor engineer aged 29, Mark Donahue.

Donahue proved a wise choice, winning the Mosport round in the new Can-Am Challenge Cup series and taking an eventual second place on points to John Surtees. Soon, Donahue began to work full time for Penske, preparing the cars as well as driving them. Racing Penske’s Lola T70-Chevrolet, Donahue won the 1967 US Road Racing Championship sports-car series. The programme escalated the following year: with an ex-works McLaren M6A-Chevrolet, Donahue won the US Road Racing Championship for the second year running and was third in the Can-Am Challenge Cup behind the works McLarens of Denny Hulme and Bruce McLarens. In the Trans-Am Championship, a manufacturers’ series for 5-liter saloon cars, Penske renewed his acquaintance with General Motors’ Engineering & Development Division by campaigning Chevrolet Camaros. Sure enough, with Donahue doing the lion’s share of the driving, Chevrolet triumphed in Trans-Am in both 1968 and 1969, taking twenty victories from 27 starts.

In 1969, Penske withdrew from the Can-Am series to concentrate on winning the Trans-Am, plus a new venture: an entry in the Indianapolis 500. Donohue, at the wheel of the four-wheel-drive Lola T152 Offenhauser, gualified fourth fastest and finished seventh, also gaining the Rookie of the year award. In February, Penske entered a Lola T70 Mk 3B-Chevrolet coupe in the Daytona 24-hours, Mark Donohue/Chuck Parsons steering it to victory despite several problems. This was to have been a prelude for a Penske-masterminded, General Motors-backed attack on the Le Mans 24 hours in June. Indeed, four works Lola’s were entered for the race, but in April the project was cancelled. Another link with General Motors was the testing of a stock-block Cheverolet-engined Lola at Indianapolis, but it proved uncompetitive.

In October 1969, Penske dropped a bombshell on the racing world. He announced he would be running American Motors Javelins in the 1970 Trans-Am series. Penske had arranged a lucrative deal with American Motors and used his teams engineering expertise to transform the Javelins into race winners. In the 1970 series, they were second to Ford, but in 1971 the title was theirs!

During 1970, Penske once more attempted Indianapolis, this time Donohue managed second in a Lola T153-Ford. A brief, end-of-season flirtation in Formula 5000 saw Donohue winning three races in the prototype Lola T190-Chevrolet. 1971, though, was a more ambitious year. Penske was prosperous and it showed in his business and motor-racing activities. By now he had Chevrolet dealerships in Allentown and Detroit as well as Philadelphia. He was involved in a major Hertz rental franchise, in insurance, a chain of Sunoco petrol stations and Goodyear dealerships. He was an automotive consultant to Sears, developing and endorsing a line of high performance parts, accessories and equipment sold as Penske High Performance Products. He was elected a director of the United States Auto Club, was director of the Ontario Motor Speedway and vice-chairman of the board of Atlantic City Raceway.

On the racing front, however, apart from the Trans-Am series win, plans fell flat in 1971. With Kirk F. White, a Philadelphia foreign-car dealer, Penske entered a superbly prepared Ferrari 512M in the Daytona 24-hours, Sebring 12-hours, LeMans 24-hours and Watkins Glen 6-hours, but each time niggling problems let down drivers Mark Donohue and David Hobbs. At Indianapolis, Donohue appeared in a McLaren M16-Offenhauser (Penske switched from Lola to McLaren, undertaking the Colnbrook company’s pre-race development programme) and led the race until his gearbox failed. Later, another car smashed into the stranded McLaren, while Penskes’second entry of the old Lola driven by David Hobbs was also written-off in a accident. As consolation, Donohue won the Pocono 500 in the rebuilt McLaren later in the year. Penske also tested the Formula One scene, hiring a works McLaren M19A-VFord for Donohue to drive in the Canadian and United States Grands Prix. The car was thoroughly tested prior to the races in typical Penske tradition and Donohue was a superb third in Canada; he was unable to start in America owing to a postponed USAC event and Hobbs drove into 10th place.

In 1972, following visits to Italy, Japan and Germany to talk to Ferrari, Toyota and Porsche, Penske returned to Can-Am to compete with works-assisted, turbocharged Porsche 917-10Ks. Sponsorship came from L&M cigarettes, and the cars, raced by Donohue and George Follmer, proved almost unbeatable. Follmer won the series, while Donohue, after missing four rounds owing to a mid-season accident, was fourth. Donohue also won the Indianapolis 500 in a Penske-entered McLaren M16B-Offenhauser. An American Motors Corporation Matador was prepared for NASCAR racing, but with a 6-liter engine opposing the opposition’s 7-liter engine it was outclassed. Nevertheless, with an imminent change in the regulations it was good groundwork in this very different style of American motor racing. Donohue annihilated the opposition in the 1973 Can-Am Challenge Cup series, this time driving Penske’s Porsche 917-30K, one of the most powerful racing cars ever built, featuring a turbocharged 5.3-liter engine which could be made to develop over 1000 bhp. In effect, this total domination killed Can-Am. Donohue was not so lucky on the USAC trail, however, his Eagle M5-Offenhauser suffering engine failure on every outing, while on the NASCAR front Donohue won the Western 500 in an AMC Matador at Riverside California! In Formula 5000, a special Lola T330 with an American Motors engine proved uncompetitive when matched against Chevrolet-powered machines, although Donohue managed two seconds in the series and AMC reaped the technical benefit.

During the winter of 1973-74, Penske promoted a series of races, the International Race of Champions series, for the top drivers in all spheres of motor sport. The winner was … Mark Donohue following a hectic series of events in Porsche 911 Carreras.

At the end of 1973, news leaked that Penske was to build his own racing car, a Formula One machine. He bought the small, ex-McRae factory in Dorset, England, so as to design and build the car in the hub of Grand Prix racing, Europe. Ex-Brabant designer Geoff Ferris combined his own ideas with those of Penske, Donohue, and Don Cox, Penske Racing Inc’s director of engineering, and the result, which appeared for the first time in the 1974 Canadian Grand Prix, was a conventional machine using the ubiquitous Ford DFV engine and Hewland gearbox. It was sponsored by First National City Travelers Checks and driven by Mark Donohue, who had just emerged from eight months of ‘retirement’, for after the International Race of Champions series he had supposedly quit and been promoted to president of Penske Racing Inc. Donohue also agreed to drive in 75.
The 1974 program also included selected NASCAR events (Bobby Allison won in the Penske AMC Matador (toro toro!) at the end-of-the-season Times 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway) and USAC racing. Over the winter of 1974-75, there was another International Race of Champions series, this time with Chevrolet Camaros, the winner being Bobby Unser. In 1975, the Penske Matador became a strong threat in NASCAR racing, Bobby Allison winning at Riverside California and taking second place in the Daytona 500.

Roger Penske’s serious and analytical approach to motor racing made his team one of the most successful in the world. He raced to win; indeed, he expected to win. For an American team to enter the basically European Formula arena was a major step. Penske had begun cautiously, knowing he lacked experience of this type of racing, but his aim was to win in the end.

***

Who’s In Charge Here? March 1969 Alan Girdler, Car Life magazine

Factory performance equipment are accessible if you’re fast and famous. If you’re just an enthusiast, even finding parts numbers can be maddening. Some automotive factories plan it that way, others don’t know any better.

General Motors is not in racing. Neither as a corporation nor as separate divisions does GM own, enter or sponsor racing cars.
General Motors is a business. By a definition the process of building and selling things people want, to the people that want them. The customers, in significant numbers, want racing cars. Two GM divisions Chevrolet and Pontiac, produce cars that can be raced, and sell them to racers.

This isn’t an evasion of the famous ban. The GM edict prohibits sponsorship, ownership, or entry, by the corporation or divisions. A dealer is free to race. GM, in fact, couldn’t stop him. The divisions can’t get into the ring, but they can serve as trainer, or second. It’s fair to say the divisions are fulfilling an obligation to their customers. Especially when it pays off in more customers, and fulfills GM’s obligation to its stockholders.

One Chevrolet official feels, rather wistfully, that racing would be a better world if all of the factory’s devised cars and components, then sold them to the racers. Maybe so. That’s how they do it at Chevrolet. Where the rules work in favor of such an arrangement, Chevrolet wins.
The Tran-Am sedan racing series is a good example. The rules require that competing cars be certified; that the engines used have factory equipment; that a specified number of engines be produced; and that the car’s shape and dimensions aren’t changed. The entrant can’t do it. His car must have the proper papers, and the factory must file them.
Right. The Z28. Chevrolet catalogued a Camaro with a full-house, short-stroke engine and every component they could think of, and filled the papers.

Here’s where the factory leaves off. The Camaros that won this year’s series were prepared and campaigned by a Chevrolet dealer. He specializes in performance cars. His promotional budget had room for a racing team. Then he arranged for sponsorship by a oil company. More money still, without factory help. With a good starting package, money and skill to develop it, and one of the best drivers in the country , Camaros ruled.

The important lesson for the customer is that he can buy the same package, right off the dealer’s showroom floor. He can buy the same equivalent package with a AMC Javelin, but it’ll come in pieces. From Ford, for 1968, anyway, he got promises. Chevrolet doesn’t own racing cars. It sells them.

How Chevrolet develops its good stuff varies in degree. It originates at the factory. Walter McKenzie, of Chevrolet public relations, cheerfully admits that the factory likes to help racers, but he says there’s one catch: The product must have a future on the production line.

Take this years’ wonder project, the aluminum-block 427-cid V-8. The first examples weren’t even made by Chevrolet! The persuasive Roger Penske talked Chevrolet into lending him the pattern used for the iron blocks. Penske formerly worked for Alcoa, and he persuaded them to use the patterns and cast some aluminum blocks. Penske kept some, and other racers, notably Jim Hall, got some. They had teething problems, but were cured. Hall and Penske had the best engines around. Chevrolet and Alcoa had the benefit of some valuable experiments, cheap.

This year, Chevrolet cast its own blocks. The key point is that before the blocks got off the drawing board, Chevrolets division manager and the design engineer studied the possibilities and decided the lightweight engine could be produced, and would sell, in production cars. Corvettes with the alloy block were to have gone into productions Feb. 1.

McKenzie Said the division could, without much trouble, build lightweight, racing Corvettes, 1000 lb. less than standard, with terrifying horsepower to match. They would not be salable, or habitable, for the street, They won’t be built.

Concepts and designs come from the factory, but the Chevrolet does let some racers-the successful ones-help with field tests. Mark Donohue won the U.S. Group Seven Championship and was a contender in the Can-Am series with a McLaren powered by an aluminum alloy 427, months before production or even introduction.
The first engines oozed fluids from every seam. Rumors about oil coming through the pores were just rumor, Donohue said. The problem was that different metals expand at rates when hot, and special attention must be paid attention, and “They don’t leak anymore.”

A Chevrolet engineer serves as liaison man between the teams and the factory. Donohue and the other racers tell him what breaks and why, and the factory fixes it. Donohue understates, “They’re interested in what we’re doing just as we’re interested in what they’re doing.”
There are no racers in Chevrolet’s engineering section. Donohue thinks this is all to the good. The racing approach, he said, is to make things bigger and stronger, which doesn’t always mean better, especially from a production standpoint.

The first weak point in a new engine is usually the connecting rods. If a Ford engine flings rods , Donohue said, the Ford racers build super rods, each one a hand-crafted jewel. They work, but the price is more than rubies, and they are just about as hard to dig up.

“Chevy takes the engineering approach. They’ll try to build a better production connecting rod and sell it across the country.”
Chevrolet has been in the keen bits business longer than anybody. Starting with the great 1955 V-8, and spurred by the production-is-everything philosophy, the division has acquired a huge supply of bolt-on pieces. Every-thing Chevrolet has fits something else. The guy with the first V-8 in economy trim can thumb through the book and come up with the power-pack heads, manifold and four-barrel carburetor. If that’s not enough, he can get the ’56 Duntov Corvette cam shaft, and keep going, with wilder carbs, better heads, bigger engines that all but climb into the car by themselves. Anybody with a Chevrolet V-8, large or small, can get useful goodies for it, just by going to his dealer.

The surprising thing is that with the biggest selection, Chevrolet gives the would-be buyer the most trouble selecting parts. There is no high-performance catalog. There is no high-performance catalog. They have existed in the past; they may come back tomorrow; but they aren’t out on the dealers counters now.

Chevrolet has the big sales crown, and its executives are uneasy. The politicians, who would be out of business without emotion, roll their eyes skyward at the thought of ads that hint the buyer of a Chevrolet might be lured into buying a car that responds, that will hurl him past the giddy in speed of 65 mph. Chevrolet doesn’t want to offend these public servants. The right stuff is there, but if the buyer doesn’t know what to ask for, or doesn’t luck out with a salesman or parts man that knows his business, he’s in for a tough time.

There is, at the factory, a very knowledgeable man. His job is to know all about special parts. (Watch your language; say “high performance” to a Chevrolet employee and he’ll say “heavy-duty” right back.) He is, though, at wholesale level, keeping dealers up on what’s where. The top exec likes it that way.

“He’s very effective as it is,” Said one. “If we publicize him, he’ll get so work he’ll need two or three assistants. And he probably wouldn’t get them.

But there still is some hope. In 1969, questions about options, parts or interchangeability, could be sent to the Central Office Parts Dept., Chevrolet Division, 3044 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Mich. 48202.

.

.

.

.

Excerpt from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Penske copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019 Chapter Who’s Who — Penske: The Name of the Game is Winning pages 1665 – 1668.

.

.

Excerpt from Car Life magazine, Volume 16 Number 2 March 1969, Special Staff Report, Who’s In Charge Here? Pages 26 – 32 copyright 1969 by Bond Publishing Company, Newport Beach, California.

.

.

Images to come
Copyrighted 2017 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Name of the Game is Winning — The Roger Penske Story — Part 1

.

The Name of the Game is Winning — The Roger Penske Story — Part 1

.

Penske:  The Name of the Game is Winning, excerpts from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Penske

.

From the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Penske copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019 Chapter Who’s Who — Penske:  The Name of the Game is Winning pages 1665 – 1668.

.

.

The Name Of The Game Is Winning — The Roger Penske Story — Part 1

.
The Roger Penske Story begins with The youthful racing driver, and develops into Roger Penske the millionaire businessman Grand Prix car builder, and NASCAR team owner/operator. It spans many years and contains an element of intrigue, because Penske has not always divulged everything, especially where United States factory support is concerned.

Of German descent (his grandfather came from Leipzig), Roger Penske was born in Philadelphia on 20 February 1937. His wealthy father was vice-president  of a warehousing firm and taught Roger early to earn his money. At the age of nine, he and his father became regular attendees at the Akron Sportsmen’s Park, watching midget-car racing. He said, ‘We went for years. It was built into my blood, and I knew I’d race some day.’

At the age of 14, he borrowed sufficient money to buy a Norton motor cycle, a machine used for Penske’s Newspaper route. After a serious accident, though, when a parked car pulled out in front of him and he spent 12 weeks in a hospital, he bought an MG TD and began working for a foreign-car dealer when not at university. Soon, Penske became involved in buying and selling cars, and worked for Ben Moore a Chevrolet dealer. Moore encouraged Penske to take up racing himself and at the age of twenty he took to the tracks with a Jaguar XK 120, also competing in hill-climbs. As soon as he was 21, he became eligible to compete in Sports Car Club of America events and he went to a racing drivers’ school at Marborough. His tutors were two well-known competitors, Dick Thompson and Fred Windridge, and in just one weekend they shaped him into a capable driver. At that time Penske ran  a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette, and by the end of the weekend, which included two time trial races, it was becoming tired (the car not Roger) However, it survived three further races in 1958 – including a victory at Berwick – before it was sold in September when Roger married Lisa Stouffer, restaurant heiress (yes that Stouffers).

At the end of 1958, Penske traded in a gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL to purchase his first pure racing machine, the former competition car of Bob Hobart a Porsche RS. It provided Penske with some success, but when attending the Sebring 12-hours early in 1959 he saw the latest model Porsche and decided the RS was too uncompetitive. He bought a Porsche RSK and, co-driving with Harry Blanchard, won the Sundown six-hours at Harewood, Ontario. Later, Penske teamed with Skip Callanan,and won the 8-hour ‘Little Le Mans’ at Lime Rock Connecticut in a Fiat-Abarth. In 1960, he battled with Bob Holbert for the Class F SCCA National Championship, among his successes being victory in all three heats of the Carling 300 at Harewood, ahead of Oliver Gendebien, Pete Ryan and Holbert. At the very end of the year, he purchased a Porsche RS60 from Jim Hall for the rich professional races at Riverside and Laguna Seca, but for once his luck turned sour.

In 1961, teamed with Holbert, Penske finished fifth overall in the Sebring 12-hours and won the Index of Performance handicap section. He chatted with Cooper works driver Bruce McLaren and decided to order a Cooper T57-Climax. Both were delivered in August and until then he raced a Maserati T61, the ‘Birdcage’ model, winning at Elkhart Lake, Lime Rock and Meadowvale. In October, he took part in the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen against cheifly European opposition, finishing a good eighth in his Formula One Cooper. Penske concluded the year with fine performances at Laguna Seca, Riverside and in the Nassau Speed Week with the Cooper Monaco. he won the class D SCCA National Championship plus the Most Improved Driver of the year.

Then came a new episode in the life of Penske. The BS degree in industrial management, gained at Lehigh University in 1959, had not been won for nothing. While at Nassau, Penske had noticed an advertisement on the side of fellow competitors Ferrari and promptly wrote a five page letter to DuPont, who handled Telar and Zerex antifreeze, suggesting he could run under their name. The deal came off and Penske’s cars became known as Telar or Zerex Specials.

Early in 1962, Penske visited Briggs Cunningham, for whom he was to drive a Maserati engined Cooper Monoco in the Sebring 12-hour, and off in a corner he spotted the wreckage of the Formula One Cooper T55-Climax crashed by Walt Hansgen in the previous Octobers United States Grand Prix. In exchange for some Maserati parts, Penske became the owner of the wreckage and, with the aid of Roy Gane, Penske’s chief mechanic, he straightened the frame and rebuilt the car as a single-seater sports-racer. A very light machine, scaling at 1100 lb, it was powered by a 2.7 liter Coventry Climax FPF engine and clothed in a aluminum body, a contribution from Penske’s post-college employer, Alcoa. Known as the Zerex Special, it won three major races at Riverside, Laguna Seca and Puerto Rico, beating top American and European entries, but it caused controversy as its centrally placed seat contravened FIA Appendix C sports car regulations. However, the United States Auto Club, which sanctioned the races, had previously declared it legal. Earlier in the year, Penske had campaigned his Cooper T57 Monoco-Climax successfully to win the East Coast SCCA Championship; he also ventured to Europe, to Brands Hatch on August Bank Holiday Monday, finishing fifth in the Guards Trophy to Mike Parks, Innes Ireland, Jo Bonnier and Carlo Mario Abate. With his Formula One Cooper T55-Climax, now with a 2.7liter engine, he was second in the Pipeline 200 to Dan Gurney and won the first heat of the Hoosier Grand Prix.

For 1963, Penske modified the Zerex Special to a two-seater specifications and brought it to a Brands Hatch for the Guards Trophy once more. This time he walked away with the race, conquering the best European race cars. He also drove a 4-liter Ferrari 330 TR/LM with Pedro Rodriguez in the Le Man 24-Hour, but retired, and in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood he was a disappointed eighth in a special-bodied Ferrari 250 GTO. Earlier in the year, he had co-driven a Ferrari 250 GTO with Augie Pabst in the Sebring 12-Hour, finishing forth overall and winning the GT section. At the end of 1963, Penski found the Zerex Special becoming uncompetitive, beaten by lightweight machines powered by V8 American engines. He switched to John Mecom’s team, driving a Chevrolet-engined Cooper and a Chevrolet Grand Sport V8 coupe.

Early in 1964, Penske gave up his job at Alcoa to take over a General Motors agency in Philadelphia. He joined the General Motors-agency in Philadelphia. He joined the General Motors-backed Chaparral team, taking second place at Riverside, winning at Laguna Seca and in two of the three major events in the Nassau Speed Week-he won the third, too, in a Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. At the end of the year, having already signed up to drive for Chaparral again in 1965, Penske suddenly announced his retirement from race driving. He gave the pressure of his expanded business operation and family responsibilities as his reasons, but added, ‘I hope to be able to sponsor a car one day, just to keep my hand in’.

.

.

.

.

Excerpt from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Penske copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019 Chapter Who’s Who — Penske:  The Name of the Game is Winning pages 1665 – 1668.

.

.

Images to come
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

’64 – ’66 Race Hemi Dodge

Enjoy these new additions to my automotive memorabilia collection. Tell a friend! Share your love of automotive history! Hope you find these as interesting as I do, there is more to come…

– HKK

.

ajfoytwinsina64racehemidodge4web

.

65dodgecoronetanimaltamer4web

.

testingdodgesnew66charger4web

.

.
.
.
.

.

.

Champion Ad “Setting a New Record for the Firecracker 400” and ’65 Dodge Coronet Ad “Animal Tamer”  from Motor Trend Magazine October 1964 — Vol 16, No 10
Published & Copyrighted 1964 by Petersen Publishing Co, Los Angeles, CA

.

.

Image of the cover of Motor Trend Magazine January 1966 Volume 18 Number 1,  
Published & Copyrighted 1965 by Petersen Publishing Co, Los Angeles, CA

.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Content is The King — Part 2: Elvis’ Pink Cadillac & his Other Cars

Elvis55PinkCadillac

.

Elvis'sPinkCadillac24web

.

Elvis'sPinkCadillac34web

.

The Content is The King — Part 2:  Elvis’s Pink Cadillac & his Other Cars

The Pink Cadillac Was Alabaster Gray

In the Fifties, few things symbolized success and the American Dream more than a magnificent automobile. Elvis Presley’s affinity for the Cadillac was real. His love affair with his 1955 Cadillac was well documented and his reputation for collecting cars well deserved.

Though he owned and gave away many different kinds of cars to friends and to total strangers, his 1955 pink and white Cadillac Fleetwood is said to have been his favorite. It has become one of the ultimate icons of Elvis and the 1950’s and it is arguably the most famous car in the world.

Assembly was started by General Motors on May 20, 1955. When complete it was shipped directly to Memphis. And it was a beauty. The stretches of gleaming chrome were magnificent. From its wide whitewall tires to its egg-crate grille this car was the symbol of the fifties. Its .331 cubic inch, 250hp, 8-cylinder engine made it not just a beautiful car, but a powerful one as well. And at a list of $4,342.32, it was a handsome price for its day. This was the 60 Special, the model that had a wheel base 4″ larger than the standard sized coupe or Eldorado.

Latest Features, Most Wanted Extras

Looking today every bit as enticing as the day it was made, it has about 79,000 miles on it. And while we can’t account for every mile, some of the mileage is attributed to Elvis’ generosity…as he gladly lent the car to family and staff whenever the need arose.

Never one to settle for “plan vanilla” when there was a more glamorous option available, the 1955 Pink Cadillac Elvis drove was loaded. It had some fanciful options, for the times. Many were accessories that today we expect to be standard.

For instance, the heater and air conditioning were optional. And at the time, air conditioning cost $575. Also an extra, were the spot lights, one on each side of the car which were remotely operated from the inside. And while FM radios were not yet available, this model had an optional AM radio. The car had some of the latest technological features like an automatic headlight dimmer. In fact, if you study the MRC replica car I’ve photographed and provided for your entertainment, you’ll see the dimmer sitting on top of the dashboard. And while the Cadillac had power windows, the front and rear “vent” Windows still had to be cranked by hand. The car came standard with five blackwall tires, Elvis’ had whitewalls which added $45.70 each. It is interesting to note that at that time, the spare was not only full size but came with its own hub cap…a far cry from the four tires and a “donut” in today’s autos.

When the car was bought by Elvis it was alabaster gray. Elvis wanted pink. He reportedly delivered the car to the custom painters along with cans of Studebaker pink paint.

While Elvis’ mother, Gladys, neither drove nor even had a drivers license, this was her favorite car. This was also the one car that Elvis said he would always keep, and did. It is among the cars on display at the Elvis Presley Automotive Museum at Graceland.

Sideburns, Guitars And Cadillacs

Elvis owned other Cadillacs as well, and they are as much a part of the Elvis legend as sideburns, guitars and screaming girls. One is a 1960 Series 75 Cadillac limousine that was customized with gold plated interior gadgets and exterior paint made with pearl, diamond dust and Oriental fish scales. It was more of a promotional tool than a personal vehicle. It went on a charity tour in the sixties, and was donated to the Country Music Association Hall of Fame in Nashville in the late seventies.

As you can tell, many of Elvis’ autos had stories attached to them that have become part of the Elvis legend. A couple of stories surround a white 1956 Cadillac convertible that Elvis had painted a custom purple. Elvis supposedly specified the shade by squashing a handful of grapes on the fender. It is said that the customizers, after painting the car custom purple, sprinkled grape Kool-Aid on the carpet so that it would ‘smell purple’ when delivered to Elvis.

The other story associated with the purple Cadillac took place when Elvis went in to buy the car. The salesman, not recognizing Elvis, and just seeing this kid with sideburns and loud clothes snubbed him, figuring he could not afford to buy the car. Elvis reportedly went outside and introduced himself to an older gentleman who was washing cars on the lot. After asking the man what he was being paid to wash cars, Elvis had the man accompany him into the dealership. Elvis bought the car and told the manager he wanted the old gentleman to have the commission the rude salesmen would have gotten. Elvis drove that car about a year and traded it in. It has been restored and is owned by private collectors. It is on indefinite loan to Graceland.

Elvis and His Other Autos

Next to the Pink Cadillac, a 1956 Continental Mark II was the car that Elvis kept the longest. Elvis was photographed in it many times. One of these photo opportunities occurred when he was on a date with Natalie Wood. It is on display in Graceland.

In 1970, Elvis bought Priscilla a gift of a 1971 white Mercedes Benz 280 SL Roadster. Priscilla drove the car for a long time. She sent it from her home in California to Graceland for permanent display in 1989. The car has a detachable hardtop and a ragtop as well. (This Mercedes is shown on my previous post “The Content is The King” listed in the sidebar.)

Elvis’ purchase of a 1975 Dino Ferrari 308 GT4 Coupe was one of the few times he bought a used car. He paid $20,583 in one payment. Elvis, it was said, liked to drive his car on the highway at speeds of up to 165mph!

Among the other cars Elvis owned was a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk (of the Stutz Bearcat fame) purchased in 1974 for $20,000. It had 18-karat gold plated trim throughout and a red leather interior. Elvis drove this car to the dentist for an appointment on August 15, 1977, and returned to Graceland that night. He died less than twelve hours later. The last time he drove through the gates of Graceland, he was at the wheel of this car.

(This black beauty is shown in my “The Content is The King” post, listed in my sidebar.)

Enjoy!

 

.

TheElvisMomsPinkCadillac55Fleetwood_4web

TheElvisMomsPinkCadilacData_4web

.

.

TheElvisStutzBlackhawk_4web

TheElvisStutzBlackhawkData_4web

.

.

ElvisAutomobileMuseumDriveIn_4web

ElvisAutomobileMuseumDriveInData_4web

.

.

PriscillaPresleys70_280SL_4web

PresleysMercedesBenzData_4web

.

.

.

300SLViaWarhol_4web

.

.

.
.
.

.

.

(4) 2-Sided Images of the Elvis Collection Trading Cards
Copyrighted 1992 The River Group

.

Offset Lithograph by Andy Warhol, titled “Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe” from Cars                                                                                                                                          

Cars is a series of artworks by the American artist Andy Warhol, commissioned by Mercedes-Benz in 1986.

.

.

.

.

.

Excerpt from the booklet Elvis’ Pink Cadillac copyright 1995 Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc used by Model Rectifier Corporation 200 Carter Drive Edison, NJ 08817

Elvis, Elvis Presley and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Cadillac, Cadillac Script, Cadillac Crest, the “V” Emblem and the 1955 Body Style Design are trademarks of General Motors Corporation used under license by Model Rectifier Corporation copyright 1995 Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

.

.

Images of Elvis’ 1955 Pink Cadillac
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Name Behind A Motoring Empire — Louis Chevrolet

CavelcadeOfMuscleCarChevysA4web

.

The Name Behind A Motoring Empire – Louis Chevrolet

.

The Name Behind A Motoring Empire – Louis Chevrolet, excerpts from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Chevrolet

.

From the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, Who’s Who / Chevrolet copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York,  NY 10019 Chapter Who’s Who Chevrolet: The Name Behind a Motoring Empire page 345.

.

LouisChevrolet4web

.

The Name Behind A Motoring Empire – The Louis Chevrolet Story                                                                                                           Louis Chevrolet, founder of the company that bears his name, despite the fact that he parted from it in 1912 after a blazing row with Billy Durant, the head of General Motors

.

Though the car bore that his name became America’s best-selling make in 1929, Louis Chevrolet had remarkably little to do with its success. Indeed, as an engineer with a taste for high quality, he was probably somewhat chagrined to be associated with such a low-cost, volume-production car.

Precision engineering was, indeed, in his blood, for Louis Chevrolet, who was born on Christmas Day, 1878, was the second son of a Swiss watchmaker.

In the mid 1880s, the family immigrated to Beaune, in the heart of the Burgundy wine growing region in France. Young Louis’s first job on leaving school was in the wine cellars, where he showed his latent engineering skills by devising a new type of pump for transferring the wine from vat to vat.

Soon, however, he was working for a local cycle shop and racing bicycles for pin-money. Chevrolet subsequently decided to make the motor industry his career, and traveled to Paris, where he worked for Mors and De Dion before immigrating to Canada in 1900 with his brother Arthur.

Neither Quebec nor Montreal had anything to offer Chevrolet, and soon he was working for the New York branch of De Dion Bouton. When this company folded, he joined the Hol-Tan Company, an importing agency run by partners called Hollander and Tangeman. They specialized in the better Italian cars like Fiat and, later, Lancia. Here Louis had his first opportunity to try a racing car, a 1905 Fiat, setting up a new mile record at the Morris Park racetrack.

This was the first of many successes, and brought him to the attention of motor magnet William Durant, who was then in the process of organizing what would become General Motors. Mr. Durant invited both Arthur and Louis Chevrolet to show their paces in an impromptu dirt track race behind the Buick factory in Flint, Michigan. Louis won, Arthur was offered the job of chauffeuring Durant, and both brothers were asked to join the Buick works racing team.

Louis soon became established as one of America’s leading racing drivers, winning several long-distance events in 1909; the same year he led the Vanderbilt Cup race every lap of the historic competition until eight lamps from the finish, when a broken steering connection forced his early retirement.

This was just one of the many crashes in his 15 year racing career, during which he is estimated to have spent an aggregate total of three years in hospital recovering from injuries he had received on the race track .

In 1910, Louis Chevrolet persuaded Durant that a market existed for European-type light car, and developed the Classic Six which became the first production Chevrolet model, but only two years later he parted company with General Motors after a blazing argument with Durant, which hinged on the fact that Durant wanted to turn the Chevrolet into a cheap model to rival the Model T Ford, while Louis planned it as a low-volume high-quality car.

However, Louis Chevrolet wasn’t out of the motor industry for long, in 1914 he formed his own company, the Frontenec Motor Company, building four, and eight-cylinder racing cars. He also designed the Cornelian Cyclecar for the Blood Brothers Machine Company: this model pioneered the use of aluminum alloys an independent rear suspension on small cars, and a special racing version ran in the Indianapolis 500, the lowest-capacity (engine size) car of its day to appear at the ‘Brickyard’.

The Frontenac cars were built in the Monroe Car Factory in Indianapolis; and it was at Indianapolis that Monroe-Frontenac’s gained their most impressive victories. Though Louis drove there, he was dogged by mechanical failures, and his best performance was seventh in the 1919 ‘500’. It was his younger brother, Gaston though, born in 1892, whose meteoric career was crowned by victory at Indianapolis. Gaston who had followed his brother to America, first appeared as a racing driver in 1917 but was suspended after a few months for taking part in non-sanctioned races. Back in action, he came tenth in the 1919 Indy, won several major track events and then won the 1920 Indianapolis ‘500’ by over six minutes without even stopping to change a tire.

A few months later, in a board-track race in California, young Gaston was involved in a crash with another competitor. Both cars burst into flames, and their drivers received fatal injuries.

Louis Chevrolet was so deeply affected by this tragedy, that he gave up racing himself; but now he moved into the booming go-faster market, building special cylinder heads to boost up the large number of model T Fords all across the country. And it was Chevrolet-modified ‘Fronty-Fords’ that dominated dirt track racing during the 1920s.

In 1929, Louis Chevrolet had just began engineering work on aircraft engines; but the stock market crash, and the following ‘Great Depression’ put an end to this new bold venture and, by 1933, he had been forced to take a job as an ordinary mechanic with of all places, the Chevrolet Motor Company, He gave this up the following year, after his son Charles died. From then on, his life was dogged by disaster after disaster, including the loss of all his designs and drawings in a fire at his sister’s house. Though he managed to find work as an engineering consultant during the 1930s, Louis Chevrolet’s health was breaking down under an incurable illness. He died on June 6, 1941, and was buried beside his brother Gaston, in Indianapolis Indiana.

.

LouisChevrolet_4web

.

LouisChevroletDrivingHis1914Chevy_4web

.

.

.

.

64SuperStockHemiDodgesAndTheirMuscleCarCopetition4web

64DodgeRamchargerAndItsMuscleCarCompetition4web

64DodgeRamchargerAndFreinds4web

CavelcadeOfMusclecarChevys4web

.

.

.

.

Excerpt from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, The Great Cars / Dodge copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019 Chapter Who’s Who Chevrolet: The Name Behind a Motoring Empire page 345.

.

.

Images of The Cavalcade of Muscle Cars — Chevys
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

NASCAR Quiz

HelloNYJimmieJohnson_4web

NASCAR Quiz

.
Q. 1. Who is John Andretti’s godfather? Cale Yarborough, A.J. Floyt, Mario Andretti.

Q. 2. Junior Johnson owned the number 11 car and had what two drivers who each three championships?

Q. 3. Which make car did Richard petty drive to win his fifth NASCAR Winston Cup championship in 1974?

Q. 4. On June 15, 1986, Richard petty made his 1000th career Winston Cup start at which international Speedway? Michigan, Pocono, Riverside.

Q. 5. Who won the inaugural Las Vegas 400?

Q. 6. When did Richard Petty win the title, Winston Cup series Rookie of the Year?
1955, 1960, 1959.

Q. 7. What is the most Winston Cup victories recorded for a Plymouth in a single year? 25, 31, 35. What year was that?

Q. 8. Richard Petty competed in how many consecutive Winston cup races?
550, 513, 500.

Q. 9. What is the most Winston cup victories recorded by Dodge in a single year?
17, 22, 25. What year was that?

Q. 10. Which driver was banned 1961 from NASCAR by Bill France Senior because he led an attempt to unionize.
Answers Below

.

.

.

.

.

NascarJrsBud8-1_4web

NascarChargerKylePetty45_4web

.

.

.

.

.

64DodgeRamchargerAndFreinds4web

64DodgeRamchargerAndItsMuscleCarCompetition4web

64SuperStockHemiDodgesAndTheirMuscleCarCopetition4web

.

.

.

.

.

Answers:

A. 1. A.J. Foyt

A. 2. Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip

A. 3. Dodge

A. 4. Michigan

A. 5. Mark Martin

A. 6. 1959

A. 7. 31 (1967)

A. 8. 513

A. 9. 22 (1969)

A. 10. Curtis Turner

.

.

.

.

.

Images of NASCAR On Broadway, NASCAR At Watkins Glen, and The ’64 Dodge Ramcharger & The Muscle Car Competition
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hell Raisers from Michigan — The Dodge Brothers’ Story

PentstarExplosion4web

.

Hell Raisers from Michigan — The Dodge Brothers’ Story

.

Hell Raisers from Michigan, excerpts from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, The Great Cars / Dodge

.

From the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, The Great Cars / Dodge copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York,  NY 10019 Chapter The Great Cars — Dodge: Hell Raisers from Michigan pages 550 – 552.

.

.

Hell Raisers From Michigan – The Dodge Brothers’ Story                                                                                                           John and Horace Dodge liked nothing more than a stiff drink and a good fight. Yet, they were astute businessmen

.

The superintendent of the engineering works at Windsor, Ontario glowered at the two young workmen. “We’ve come for the job,” said the elder and more domineering of the two.

‘We need only one man,’ said the superintendent. The retort was swift. ‘We are brothers and we always work together. If you haven’t room for the two of us, then neither will start. That’s that!’ The Dodge brothers John Francis and Horace Elsin were like that. Though they were four years difference in their ages – John was born in 1864, Horace in 1868- they were as inseparable as if they were twins. Both were red-headed and both were quick tempered. They were, it was said, always ready to quarrel with anybody else or each other.

John was the natural leader, pushy and talkative; Horace was usually quiet, tolerant and slow-moving. They had left their birthplace, Niles, Michigan, and the early 1880s, determined to become engineers. They found work, and gained valuable experience, in the machine shops in Detroit and Windsor; their idea of relaxation, once the week’s work is over, was to spend Saturday night in the favorite saloon in the roughest part of downtown Detroit drinking themselves to a standstill.

One night, John ordered the bar owner to climb on to a table and dance. When the man refused, John pulled out a revolver and repeated his request. This time the man obeyed, while John hurled glasses at the mirror behind the bar. However, once he had sobered up, he happily paid for the damage.

In 1899, the brothers organize the Evans and Dodge Bicycle Company in Windsor to produce a four-point-bearing bicycle of their own invention. When a Canadian group made a successful takeover bid, the brothers moved back to Detroit, where they established one of the best machine shops in the Middle West. Order, cleanliness and efficiency words hallmarks consumed they were making components for the infant motor industry.

When, in February 1903, Henry Ford asked them to produce the chassis for his new Venture, the Ford Motor Company, the Dodges were already considering substantial offers from Oldsmobile and the Great Northern companies, but the seem to be for greater profit to be made from the new company so, On February 28, The two brothers signed a formal agreement with Henry Ford to provide 650 chassis for its first season of production.

The brothers undertook to deliver the chassis to Ford’s assembly plant on Mack Ave., Detroit, but the cost of $250 each – a total of $162,500. In return, they would receive the first payment of $5000 on March 15, provided that they could show that they had invested that amount in equipment to service the Ford contract. If that investment was then doubled, they would get the next $5000 a month later, plus another $5000 when the first batch of chassis was delivered. This $15,000 was to pay for the first sixty engines delivered, the next 40 would be paid in cash as they were completed, and thereafter there would be a regular payment every month.

It was an arrangement that suited both parties; the Dodges might not have had much formal education, but they were shrewd businessman, and had known Ford for several years.

Within a short while, the Dodge works were engaged virtually 100% on the building Ford chassis, employing a staff of 150. Deliveries started earlier July, and soon Ford was assembling 15 complete Model A cars a day. The Dodge is employed their staff on piecemeal rates, which resulted in some slipshod workmanship, but, as the brothers had invested $10,000 in the Ford company, and as John had been made a director, they soon rectified this state of affairs, and sales forged ahead.

When you Ford introduced the Model N in November 1905, it was announced that the mechanism for the new car would be made entirely within the new Ford factory on Piquette Avenue and that the Dodge brothers would make the chassis for the larger Ford only.

The brothers were now given 350 shares each in the Ford Motor Company, and John became Vice-President. However, as time went on, the independent Dodges became more and more the dissatisfied with the prices they were receiving for the transmissions, rear axels, drive shafts and forgings that they were supplying to Ford. They were worried, two, Ford might suddenly cancel their contract and leave them high and dry. By 1912, they were determined on a course of action: they would become independent of Ford, and build their own cars. In August 1913, John Dodge resigned from the board of the Ford Motor Company, though he maintained friendly relations with Henry Ford, and the brothers continued as shareholders. In fact, the 2000 shares that the brothers now held provide a large portion of the new venture. We were receiving over $1 million a year in dividends, and the properties were estimated to be worth $30- $40 million.

The Dodge car was unveiled on October 14 1914; it was produced in the new Dodge factory at Hamtramck, Detroit, which had been built on a site acquired in 1910. The car was a conventional design four- cylinder model of 3-1/2 liters capacity, with the power output of 25 bhp. There were two distinct features: the gear-change operated ‘back-to-front’, and the 12-volt electrical system Incorporated a North-East dynastarter unit which automatically restarted the engine, should it stall with the ignition switched on.

Thanks to the companies long association with Ford, the Dodge name was already well-known throughout the American auto trade, and soon more than 22,000 dealers across the states were clamoring for agencies for the new car.

The Marque’s rise was meteoric: By 1916, annual production was Americas fourth biggest, with over 70,000 cars delivered. A big boost to Dodge sales that year came when General ‘Black Jack’ Pershing ordered 250 Dodge staff cars to help him in his campaign against the Mexican bandit, Poncho Villa. Villa subsequently returned the compliment by adopting the Dodge as his official car-but he was killed while riding in it in 1923.

John and Horace Dodge may have been illiterate, but they coined a word to describe the Dodge’s performance that became every day term: dependability. In 1920, the Dependable Dodge was second only to the Model T in sales. By this time, the link with Ford been finally severed: alarmed by Henry Ford insistence, in 1916, that he would henceforth ignore dividends altogether, except for purely nominal payments, Dodges brought a suit to protect their income. It ended with Ford buying them out-and all the other shareholders in the Ford motor company for a total of $106 million, of which the Dodge Brothers share was $25 million. However, although the case was hard fought, personal relationships between the Dodges, and Henry Ford remained friendly and free of bitterness.

.

.

.

.

Excerpt from the book The World of Automobiles, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car, The Great Cars / Dodge copyright 1974 by Orbis Publishing Limited, London distributed by Columbia House 51 West 52nd Street, New York,  NY 10019 Chapter The Great Cars — Dodge: Hell Raisers from Michigan pages 550 – 552.

.

.

Image of The Chrysler Penstar Explosion
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized

A.J. The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver — Part 2

GoldsmithPettyIssacRaceHemis64Daytona5004web

.

AJ — The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver Part II

.

AJ Foyt — The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver, Excerpts from the Book, Part II

.

.

From the book The Life of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver written by AJ Foyt with William Neely copyright 1983 published by Warner Books Inc, NY,  NY Chapter 6 “The Good Years” pages 172 – 180.

.

.

.

Writers are constantly writing about sportsmanship in racing. They say I’m the worst loser who ever lived. They’re probably right. But I didn’t start in the sport to lose. And I didn’t become the first four-time USAC champion by being a loser. I did it by being a winner. And I went on to win more championships. None of them by losing.

Racing is not a professional for sportsman. I mean, there are guys who run over you to win. If they try, you have to run them off the track for the run you off. I drive hard, but I drive clean. And I can give as much as I can take. More, in fact.

Cheating doesn’t fall into the same category. I think any race driver worth his salt will cheat if he can. And you know, I think “cheating” is a poor choice of words. We just bend the rules as far as they will possibly bend. If there’s a loophole, we will sneak through it. Al Unser said, “A.J. showed us all how. He wrote the book on bending rules and running hard. The guys in racing are tough, but Foyt is tougher. I mean, he won’t hurt you to win, but he will risk hurting himself. We just practice what A.J. preaches.”

I think that says it pretty well.

NASCAR drivers pride themselves on their “cheating.” They think they invented it. They didn’t, of course, but they sure worked it out to an art. It was more of a necessity for them than it was at Indianapolis. Indy cars are race cars from the first bolt to the last, but stock cars, actually start out as true stock cars, right-off-the-showroom-floor passenger cars.

The first NASCAR race was in something like 1948, and a bunch of guys, including Richard Petty’s father, Lee, got together at a dirt track in Charlotte and raced whatever cars they could come up with. The run-what-you-brung days. The rules were that the cars had to be late model and had to be completely stock, which is about as dangerous for racing is anything could be.

Even today’s cars–hell, particularly today’s cars (1983) — would be totally unsafe on a racetrack. The shock absorbers and the springs are designed to give a good, soft ride, and that’s not what you want for racing. You need a stiff suspension so the car won’t lean and bounce all over the racetrack. And the unit-body frames, or whatever the particular manufacturer wants to call them, aren’t strong enough to withstand the average 50-mile-an-hour crash, let alone a high-speed crash.

But those first stock cars were just what the name said. Lee Petty had borrowed a friend’s Buick Roadmaster for the first race, because it was heavy and fairly fast for a street machine. He was leading the race, but the car got to bouncing so bad that he flipped it. Totaled it. After the race, they washed off the number and towed it out to the highway and pushed it in a ditch, so the guy who owned the car could collect on his insurance.

It was right after the first race that they started to cheat. First came stiffer shocks. When everybody started using them, NASCAR threw up its hands and made them legal. Then other suspension parts. Legal again. Then wheels and exhaust systems. And on and on until the stock car was a fast, safe machine.

This is were I came in.

The track record at Indy was 158 miles an hour. In 1965 Darel Dieringer sat on the pole at Daytona with the speed of 172. Man, that’s motoring!

Dieringer’s Mercury was the only Ford product that had a chance. I had been racing Fords, but I switched just before I went to Daytona. The Dodge was a faster race car.

Dieringer got an early lead, but he couldn’t hold off the Mopars. Richard Petty took over at about the fortieth lap, and Bobby Isaac (in his Race Hemi Dodge) and I were right behind him. I had a little trouble getting past Richard the first time, because he drives the same kind of groove I do — up high. But they do a thing in NASCAR called “drafting,” and that helped me.

Drafting is simple. You just pull right up behind a guy at full speed and you follow him. And I mean right up behind, a few inches away from his rear bumper. What it does is stretch out the air foil that flows over the car at high-speed. Instead of the two separate foils it makes one long one, which is more streamlined. Both cars go faster and they give better mileage. We did it at Indy some, but it works better on the bigger stock cars. Also, the Daytona track is much better for it, because you hardly have to lift for the turns. The track has a much-higher-banked turns — 31 degrees, compared to 12 degrees at Indy — so you can get on a guy’s bumper and stay there for as long as you want. Then, when you’re ready to break away and try to pass him, you just pull down out of the draft and there’s a sort of slingshot effect from coming out of the partial vacuum you’ve been running in. It’s only a couple of miles an hour, if your car is about as powerful as the one you been following, there’s no way he can keep you back there.

The NASCAR drivers rather be running second, in somebody’s draft. They usually wait until the last turn of the last lap to break the draft, and then they sail right on by to win. Unless, of course, they’re much faster to begin with. Then they’re just like any other race drivers. They pour it on and build up as big a lead as they can.

The battle between Isaac and Petty and me went on for lap after lap, until Richard blew his engine. After that it was back and forth, Isaac one lap and me next the next. Until there was only one lap left.

Bobby Isaac was leading and I was right on right on him. Right on him. A couple of times I was so close you couldn’t tell I was tapping his bumper or not. The papers said I was, but I really wasn’t. You try not to hit somebody at 200 miles an hour, and we were running pretty close to that in the straightaways. Isaac expected the slingshot. As I said, there’s not much the front car can do about it. He can’t keep you from passing, so the only thing he can do is use up the best part of the track, so that passing can be so dangerous that you won’t try it.

That’s exactly where Isaac was — right in the middle of the groove. He expected me to pass coming out of Four, but as we came out of Two, headed for the back straightaway, I made my move — earlier than most of them would’ve done it, because they figured that would give the guy a chance to slingshot them out of Four, If I got by in Two, I could hold him off. I knew it.

I drove up high on the bank and started past Isaac on the outside. The force of breaking the draft, plus the speed from coming down off the high bank, shot me right square in the path of Isaac’s front bumper. I felt my car get a little light, like it was on its tiptoes, but I kept my foot to the floor. Isaac had two choices: hit me square in the side, which would have meant crashing both cars at 175 miles an hour, or back off. He drove down low on the apron and backed off.

He had to drive down so low that he had no chance of getting set up to slingshot me in Four. I won Daytona. No driver had ever won both Indianapolis in Daytona before. And I did it in the same year.

It was a six-car Mopar sweep. Ford had used the slogan “Total Performance” the year before, because they had totally dominated racing, so after the Daytona race, Dick Williford , Plymouth’s PR man, passed out badges that read “Total What?” Everybody was wearing them that night at the party at Robinson’s.

At Salem, Indiana, they offered a $1,000 bonus to the first driver who could break the 100-mile-an-hour mark on the half-mile track in a sprint car. Nobody had ever done it. I went out and turned a 100.1 on the first lap.

Next I went to Sebring, Florida, for the twelve-hour sports-car race. Very European. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time I could handle European types. It was a sporty-car crowd, though, and a lot of them said that just because the driver had won Indianapolis and Daytona didn’t for one minute mean that he could come down there and just walk away with everything.

There were a lot of people with tweed on. And sports caps. They brought along fancy baskets of food and they sat around their cars, with little, checkered tablecloth’s on card tables, drinking wine and allowing as how their own kind would win this race.

That was enough right there.

The thing I hated most was the Le Mans start they used in the race. You know, where they line up all the cars on one side of the track and the drivers on the other, and they shoot a gun and you’re supposed to run like hell and jump in your car, start it, and roar off. Shit. That’s stupid.

Everything that could possibly go wrong did. Even with the snooty sporty-car drivers. There were two identical Austin-Healey’s — a team — parked side by side. Both drivers ran over and tried to jump in the same car. Man, they were fighting each other over who’s car it was. They were dead serious. I thought it was as funny as hell.

Another driver jumped in his Ferrari roadster and his entire leg went down through the spokes in the steering wheel. He almost killed myself getting it out. Me? I didn’t get a much better start. For one thing, the special Corvette that John Mecom had built wouldn’t start. The goddamn car wouldn’t start. The field went roaring away without me. The people in tweed snickered. I could see them over by the fence and on the bridge that went over the track. When I finally got it fired up, and nailed it, the car left in a cloud of burning rubber. I had to catch the field, and I had to show a few bastards what a real racer could do.

It was a twisting, turning road course. You have to be right on in the corners. There were tight turns — even a hairpin — and a long straightaway were you could really motor.

By the time I got back to the start/finish line, where the stuck-up sporty-car spectators were, I had passed fifty-one cars. I shrugged as I went past.

I had won the race, hands down, but the car went sour. Still before I dropped out, there were a lot of believers in the crowd.

By the time I got back to Daytona in 1965, I had a following in NASCAR.

I had switched back to Ford, because there had been a lot of changes in the year since the last race. For one thing, Mopar cars were gone. They had won so many races that it got boring — boring to everybody, that is, except the Chrysler people. Ford complained bitterly. They designed their own sophisticated engine and took the plans to Bill France, who ruled NASCAR with an iron hand. France took one look at the engine, which probably cost $20,000 a copy, and said, “Whoa!”

“Listen, if I let you guys use this engine,” he said, “Chrysler will be in here next week with something even more exotic, and it will become the biggest pissing contest in the history of racing.”

They had secret meetings over the whole thing. Very few people knew what was going on, but I got inside information from my friends at Ford. I’ve never before told anybody about my conversations with Ford.

In a desperate attempt to keep the thing from getting any more out of hand, Bill France made the decision. It was based on his fear that NASCAR racing was rapidly approaching the Indianapolis status, where it was so expensive to build a race car that the little guy didn’t have a chance. Mr. Bill France had started Nascar because he wanted the little guy to have a chance. If the engine war got any worse, there would only be a handful of drivers who could afford to put cars on the track that were competitive.

France didn’t allow Ford to bring in their new engine. He outlawed the Chrysler Race Hemi. Chrysler was so pissed off that they pulled out of racing completely, (unfortunately) leaving a lot of their best drivers high and dry. And out of racing.

Lucky I had an official Ford ride.

There really wasn’t much of a race to it. I got out front and built a lead so big that it didn’t look like anybody could catch me. A whole bunch of top Ford executives, including Henry Ford ll, had come down from Detroit to watch their cars get back in the winner’s circle. They leaned back in their expensive seats and counted the laps until the checkered flag, when they could go out and needle the Chrysler people. It was the old Goodyear-Firestone tire thing again – the thing most big companies get into racing for in the first place. They only tell their stockholders that it’s for their image.

They were content in their paddock seats, but I was bored with being so far out front. By then we had two-way radios, and I had been talking to the guys in my crew. The radios are usually reserved for vital information, but at that point I was so far ahead that the only vital information I asked for was the phone number of a really good-looking brunette who was standing at the hurricane fence behind my pit. The stop before, I had asked one of the guys if you gotten her phone number. I mean, that how silly the pit stops were that day.

I radioed again: “Did you guys get the phone number?” “No, we’ll go get it, A.J.,” a guy said. “Now, will you go on and race. We’re tryin’ to take a nap in here”.

They were lounging all over the stacks of tires and generally just soaking up the Florida sunshine. It was time to shake them up. Without saying a word on the radio, I brought the car down low coming out of Three. I was down on the apron and around through Four and coming into the pits before any of them even noticed that I wasn’t out there on the track anymore. All hell broke loose. They fell over the tires and ran into each other trying to get to the pit wall. Up in the paddock seats, the Ford executives dropped their drinks. Although Buddy Baker was way back in second place, he could win. And he was driving a (Chrysler) Plymouth.

I came in sliding to a stop in front of my pit. They were all there, wide-eyed and in a state of panic. They didn’t have any tires ready or any gas. They were just standing there. “What the hells wrong?” they all screamed at the same time.

“Did you get that sweetie’s phone number?” I asked.

What?” they said. Again all at same time.

“Did you get her phone number?” I asked again.

“We got the goddamn phone number. We got it. Now get the hell out of here.”

I dumped it in first and stood on it. The car got a little sideways as I roared out of the pits. Nobody ever knew why I came in. But up in the stands, the Ford executives collapsed in their seats. I was out in plenty of time to beat Buddy Baker to the checkered flag. But my pit crew was still in a state of shock.

And they didn’t get that phone number at all.

After the race the guys have their annual party at Robinson’s. Of course, they have one the night before the race and the night before that and every night at Daytona. I didn’t go. Bill Neely and I were out racing our rental Fords on the beach. It was a good race. I got him on the ocean side – his mistake – and I guess he figured the beach went straight up to New Jersey or someplace. It doesn’t. At the big turn in the beach – a left-hander – I got it crossed up in front of him and he had to either T-bone me or drive into the ocean. He drove into the ocean. At an indicated 100 miles an hour. You’d be surprised how fast a car stops in water. We left his car and called Avis and told them someone stole his racer.

Meanwhile, back at the party, it got pretty wild. Darel Dieringer left in another rental car, and somewhere between Robinson’s and Ormond Beach, he flipped it, (again) at about 100 miles an hour. A cop was parked beside the road and saw the whole thing. He rushed over, just as Darel was pulling himself out of the driver’s window. “Howdy, Officer,” he slurred.

“Why you’re drunk,” the cop said.

“Of course I’m drunk,” Darel said. “You think I’m a stunt driver or something?”

.

Like  what you see and want more? Click for my post A.J. The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver — Part 1. Enjoy!

.

.

AJFoyt1stBobbyIssac2nd64DodgeRaceHemisDaytonaFirecracker4004web

BobbyIssacAJFoytPaulGoldsmithBuckBaker64RaceHemiDodgeBoys4web

NascarGrandNationalBridgehamptonLINY19634we

BobbyIssacRaceHemi64DodgeAtBristol_4web

Nascar64FordFilmCarForRedLine7000_4web

RichardPetty64RaceHemiPlymouthBelvedere_4web

ColorMeGoneIIHemi64DodgeRogerLindawood_4web

AutoDaredevilsInternationalChampions1959DodgeBoys_4web

.

.

Excerpt from the book A.J. — The Life of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver written by A.J. Foyt with William Neely copyright 1983, published by Warner Books Inc, NY, NY
Pages 172 – 180.

.

Posted in Uncategorized

A.J. The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver — Part 1

AJFoytsForthIndianapolisWin1977Crop_4web

.

A.J. Foyt — The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver, Excerpts from the Book
From the book A.J. — The Life of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver written by A.J. Foyt with William Neely copyright 1983 published by Warner Books Inc, NY, NY. Chapter 6 “The Good Years…” pages 166 – 171.

.

I had conquered Indianapolis. In the history of the race only six drivers had won it more than once Tommy Milton, Louis Meyer, Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Vukovich, and Roger Ward. The next step I told myself was to the three-time winner plateau that would eliminate half of the six.

I won a record of 10 championship races that year, which ran my grand total to 28, and all time record. I did it in only five years. Ralph DePalma had won 26, which took him 20 years to do, and Roger ward had 25, which took 13 years.

I felt it was time to take on the best in stock car racing ; NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. What it really means is balls-out racing from wire to wire in a big American sedan that they call a stock car, which of course is about as far from stock as I am a chess champion.

The guys who drive NASCAR are legends, too. Many of them got their start running moonshine on some back Southern road at night, with a car load of cops chasing them flat out. As NASCAR is done mostly in the south, because that’s where all the wild drivers come from – from the hills of the Virginias and the Carolinas. They always sounded like my kind of race drivers, so what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to race against them?

When I got to Daytona, which is the Indianapolis of stock-car racing, I found out that everything I had heard was true. They were harder charging than most of the Indianapolis drivers. More than that, they raced every weekend, and that’s tough. They all know each other’s driving style like they knew their own. I didn’t. But I knew my own. That had to be a good start.

Another thing I noticed about those guys is that they played as hard as they drove. I mean, they went out and drank and raised hell all night and then got in the race car the next day and went like crazy. I couldn’t understand how they could even stand to listen to a race car with a hangover, let alone drive one.

There was a place called Robinsons, where the race crowd went to drink. Two of the top NASCAR drivers, Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly, had an apartment across the street and they rented it at race time. One night somebody asked Curtis why they stayed over there. “It isn’t exactly the best apartment in Daytona, you know,”the guy said.

“I know that,” Curtis said. “but I figure the worst that can happen to me is that somebody might step on my fingers.”
Curtis had an airplane. He flew the plane around about like he drove his car, flat out all the time. Curtis and a friend were up flying one day – flying and drinking, I might add – and they ran out of bourbon, so Curtis said, “Don’t worry ’bout it, pal; that’s Gaffney, South Carolina down there and I’ve got a friend that runs a bootleg business out of the back of his restaurant. We’ll just fly down there, land this little ol’ plane, and get us another jug. Hell, we’ll be back in the air before anybody sees us.”

Sounded logical to the other guy. But what they didn’t know was that there was a Little League baseball game being played right next to his friends restaurant. And Curtis’s planeis wasn’t exactly a “little ol’ plane”. It was a twin-engine Aero Commander. We had to fly under a power line to land. Just as they ready to touch down, Curtis noticed the line of traffic coming from the ball game. He pulled it back up and got out of there, but he knew somebody had to get the numbers on the on the underside of his wing.

They flew all the way back to Charlotte about 50 feet off the ground, so the radar wouldn’t pick them up. And instead of going to the Charlotte airport, They went to little strip at Concord, a few miles away. When Curtis radioed in to the man in the one-man tower, he garbled his numbers; you know, this is N-murf-mrf, grumf, murrf, requesting landing instructions.” He didn’t want them to find him because he knew he would lose his pilots license.

The voice of the other and said it’s no use Curtis they’re looking for you all over the South.”

These were the guys I would be racing against in NASCAR. And I was eager to watch some of them run, like Richard Petty, David Pearson, and drivers would been making the kind of name for themselves in stock car racing that I had at Indy. I wanted to beat them. I have taken on the old-timers at Indy-and the newcomers-and I have beaten them. And I like the view from the top.

It was supposed to be a big Mopar year. “Mopar” stands for Chrysler products Dodge and Plymouth. They were strong because of their Hemi engine, which was a whole lot better than anything else around the stock circles because of it special combustion chamber, which gave it its name.

I had a Ray Nichels-prepared (Race-Hemi 1964) Dodge, so I knew the car was competitive. But I knew it was going to be tough competing against the Southern drivers who raced every week. They knew the tracks and they knew each other. And they weren’t at the slightest bit impressed with the fact that I was a two-time Indianapolis winner and USAC champion. Their champion was Richard Petty, and they had USAC drivers come down before to take over. It hadn’t worked.

But we gained a mutual respect for one another. They have the right idea about racing; I’ll say that. They were loose and relaxed, but when they got in a race car, they were flat serious. “The bullshit stops when the green flag drops” was there motto.

Joe Weatherly came up with the best line I’ve ever heard about spinning a race car. He came out of the fourth turn and got a little sideways. He gathered it up some, but the car started to slide the other way, then back to the way it started. It went back-and-forth down the straightaway, first one way and then the other, but by the time he got to the first turn, he didn’t have it gathered up all the way, and he hit the wall. He was walking back to the pits and a reporter asked him what had happened – there’s always someone around to ask dumb-ass questions like that. “I got behind on my steering” Joe said.

But it was Fireball Roberts who put one of the reporters in his place. Same situation, probably the same reporter. “What happened out there, Fireball?” He asked. “I crashed; that’s what happened out there. It is possible to crash, you know” he said.

They talked a lot about cheating and NASCAR, like the time Cotton Owens showed up at Atlanta with the Grand National Stock car-those are the fast ones. Well it turned out that the car he had built was faster than anybody else’s. Much faster. NASCAR officials went over the car with a fine tooth comb. They waited they were under it over inside. I took the engine apart, but they couldn’t figure out why it was so much faster. They were restrictions, but the car seems to meet everyone of them. David Pearson as a driver help, but not that much.

Finally somebody remember the templates. They use exact-scale metal brackets, patterned from showroom cars. They slip up template over the car, just to make sure the drivers haven’t lowered them. That’s the only reason; just a guard against lowering the cars. They put it over Cotton’s car, and everybody looked on in amazement. What they were looking at was a perfect seven-eights-scale race . Cotton had built the body. A size smaller. Because of that, the car and less frontal area, and less wind resistance. It went faster. But the work that went into the project must have been something like building the pyramids. It almost worked.

Another time,  Smokey Yunick showed up at Daytona with one of his creations, which Curtis Turner was going to qualify. NASCAR rules say that you can cut out the fender openings to accommodate larger tires. But smoky hadn’t cut them out. The rest of the drivers Raised hell. “You have to cut them out,” they claimed.
“Nope” Smokey said. “The book says you can cut them out”

Curtis went out and turned the first 150-mile-an-hour lap at Daytona. The smaller wheel openings probably helped in the wind resistant department.

Then he cut out the wheel openings. More hell-raising. “You can’t do that” they all said.
“Sure you can,” Smokey said. “It says you can cut them out, but it doesn’t say when.”

When Smokey announced that the engine Curtis had set the track record with was just his back up engine, everybody almost fainted. “Wait’ll y’all see the race engine.” He didn’t have a race engine any stronger than that one, but he had them completely psyched out. And that’s part of the game.

But some of Smokey’s cars were flat suspicious. Once they accused him of having an extra fuel supply somewhere in the car. Again they went over every inch, but they couldn’t find a thing. They told him to take his car on back to the track. Curtis got in it and drove away. Later he came back when nobody was looking and got the gas tank they had forgotten to put back on.
“How’d that sumbitch run without the gas tank, Smokey?” Curtis asked in the garage area.
“Just gas in the carburetor, Curtis. That’s all,” he said.

Everybody but the NASCAR officials knew better. “Funny, but poor sportsmanship,” the newspapers said!

.

Like what you see & want more? Click for my post A.J. The Life Of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver — Part 2. Enjoy!

.

VictoriousAJFoyt4web

.

AJFoytsVictoryCarBahamas1963_4web

AJFoyts67IndianapolisCar4web

AJFoytsForthIndianapolisWin1977_4web

.

Excerpt from the book A.J. — The Life of America’s Greatest Race Car Driver written by A.J. Foyt with William Neely copyright 1983, published by Warner Books Inc, NY, NY
Pages 166 – 171.

.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

1964 Dodge 383 4-Speed Polara Road Test

50thGoldenJubilee_copy4web

.

Take a step back in time, 50 years or so, and test drive a car of many firsts – the 1964 Dodge Polara 383 engine, 4-speed manual transmission. This car was nicknamed the Golden goer, due to its gold paint scheme in honor of the 50th Dodge Anniversary. Here is an article that describes how the car preforms on a test drive from highway to around town, from Motorcade Magazine, copyright 1964 by the Coronado Book Corporation.  Enjoy! There’s more to come…

– HKK

.

.

64DodgePolara383_4SpeedRoadTest1_4web

64DodgePolara383_4SpeedRoadTest2_4web

64DodgePolara383_4SpeedRoadTest3_4web

64DodgePolara383_4SpeedRoadTest4_4web

64DodgePolara383_4SpeedRoadTest5_4web

.

.

61DodgePhoenix1_4web

61DodgePhoenix2_4web

61DodgePhoenix3_4web

61DodgePhoenix4_4web

.
.
.
.

Image of the cover of Golden Jubilee of Dependability 50, World’s Fair Edition, Dodge News Marketplace, Volume 29, Number 1, 1964
Published and Copyright 1964 by Alsack Corporation

.

.

Article entitled “R & R Road Test — Dodge 383, 330-HP Four-Speed”
Copyrighted 1964 by Coronado Book Corporation, Published by Motorcade Magazine

.

.

Images of The 1961 Dodge Phoenix
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

.

Posted in Uncategorized