The Corvette Die Cast Car Corral

These limited availability, super rare Franklin Mint 1:24 die casts (complete with box and all original paperwork) can now be yours and are available for purchase exclusively from this site. Please contact me for more information by clicking the contact tab.
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Images of The Corvette Die Cast Car Corral
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The King Richard Petty on the State of NASCAR March 1970

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The King Richard Petty on the State of NASCAR In March 1970

In NASCAR stock car racing, where the drivers have never had much of a say and Bill France has had most of the say, Richard petty stands out as the closest thing to a firebrand you’ll find. He’s doing what Kurt
Flood is doing in baseball, taking the professional athlete out of the
grips of the they’re only dumb-athletes-and-have-to-be-taken-care-of
syndrome and putting them into the position they belong as of vital,
organizing part of the sport. Its rather like the monkey rebelling
against the organ-grinder.

It’s somehow fallen to Richard Petty to become the spokesman for the
drivers on the NASCAR circuit. Part of the reason is the simple fact
that he is president of the Professional Drivers Association, a group
formed by the drivers to promote their goals, namely track
improvements and pension plans. Another part of the reason runs deeper and started earlier, back when his father, Lee, was establishing the record for the most career wins by a NASCAR driver. That record stood until 1967, then Richard broke it.

So it only seems natural that when we fill the NASCAR drivers story
needed telling, we asked Richard petty to tell it. He gives a brief
history of NASCAR, where it is today, and what its future may hold.
Most of all, though, he makes it obvious that in the next decade, as
racing speed’s and purses climb, so will the drivers influence.
And he means it… For himself, for all the other drivers, and maybe
even for a seven-year-old boy named Kyle Petty who already likes to
draw racing cars and tag them with the number 43.

–Editor – Eric Dahlquist

With The start of this new year, we are also getting started on
another decade of automobile racing. It’s going to be a critical one,
especially in NASCAR is Grand National division with which I am
primarily concerned. A day never goes by without someone asking me
about the future of the sport. Most of them are thinking about the
immediate future, this season, after we went through so many radical
changes and suffered so many growing pains last year. I don’t have the
answers for them but I do have some thoughts and suggestions on where we’re headed.

I have always felt that the various organizations which make up the
entire sport auto of auto racing have spent the past 10 years working
against each other, fighting for supremacy. This, before anything
else, must change if we are to progress. If, in the future, they would
work hand in hand I have no doubts that I sport would be number one
rather than number two. (to parimutuel horse racing – Ed.) In the
nationwide attendance.

In any examination of the future, though, I think you must first
consider where you have been. In racing, especially stock car racing,
the history is a short one. NASCAR first ran a Grand National race in
1949 and after 20 years we have come along way. Most of the progress
has been accomplished in the past 10 years.

When I first drove a car in competition in 1959 we were definitely on
a minor league scale. Most of the tracks we ran were small ones with
dirt surfaces. Daytona, which open that year, was an exception, as was
Darlington. But, for the most part, we ran the little shows and got
the little purses. This affected the way we ran our operation. That
season we had a little four-stall garage which was pretty much
run-down as compared to today’s. And we had only four people,
including me and my brother Maurice, working on the race cars.
Look at the contrast today. David Pearson won over $200,000 counting his money from the point fund, and in 1959 the top money winner earned only a fraction of that. Our shop now covers 15,000 square feet and we employ 15 people. The automotive manufacturers have come in with rich budgets and the accessory firms too have added money to the purses.

We’re spreading out of the southeastern homebase across the country.
All that may sound about perfect. It certainly put us on another
plateau. a little higher then the one the sport was on for its first
10 years. But if we are to reach still another plateau, we can’t stand
still and be satisfied with what everyone has accomplished. We have to
keep getting better, and some things have to change for us to do so.
Here is an example of what I mean. With all the progress we’ve made in 10 years we still run 100–mile races for the same first–place purse, $1000. that we did in 1959. We can’t afford to sit still like that.
One of the first areas of changed to be noticed will probably be the
short tracks. As far as the Grand Nationals are concerned there will
have to be a separation of the small tracks and the super speedways.
There is not enough time and money and people to operate on both and do a first-class job. This doesn’t mean that I won’t run the majority of the races, no matter where they are, as I have done for 10 years. It just means that the time must come when I, as a Grand National driver, will be able to run those small ones.

New super speedways have gone up, just in the past year, at Michigan
and Texas. They are planning others in other parts of the country. The
people behind them or building with a lot of good ideas. They’re
making the tracks wide and not so steeply banked, sacrificing speed.
After all, competition – not speed – makes racing. This is a good trend.
There have also been marked improvements on facilities at some tracks in the past year and this is another positive sign. But this change is not yet complete. Daytona, for instance, stages the most prestigious race of the year with the 500-miler in February, but the truck has no lounge or rest rooms or anything for the drivers. The only facility we have there been given to us by the accessory firms, who constructed shops in the garage area. We shouldn’t have to rely on involved, but nevertheless separated, outsiders for these improvements.

These accessory companies, like Goodyear and Firestone and Champion and Autolite, have meant a lot to us. Purses have increased largely because of their participation. But I feel they should be more free enterprise among these companies. There are a lot of new people who would like to come in and who would be good for our sport but under the present set up the opportunities are almost nonexistent. A change here would mean more money for the participants in the sport and good advertising results for the companies.

Television will also play a very definite room in our future for the
next 10 years. This medium has a tremendous influence on the
popularity professional football and golf, and it has also put a lot
of additional money into these sports. It can do the same for us,
while we can give it a popular product at the same time.
All of these “ifs”, though, depend upon management of our sport. When I mention management here I do not mean the management from NASCAR officials alone but also management from us, the drivers and the car owners. You can include the automotive manufacturers and the accessory companies in that too. Simply, it’s just going to take the combined efforts of everyone, talking and planning and going hand-in-hand. Anything short of that may well result in regression.

-Richard Petty

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Article from Motor Trend magazine, March 1970, Volumev22, No. 3 Rap ‘n ‘Pinion Page 18 copyright 1970 by Petersen Publishing Company, 8490 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California  90069.

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Image of the Chrysler Penstar
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Posted in Uncategorized

Corvettes That Could Have Been

Corvettes That Could Have Been                                                                                                 and some that you can own…

How would you like to have a die cast metal model of a super rare concept car in your own collection? Well Yes You Can!

Contact me to discuss details and specifications for of the diecasts you see in the following images. Take a close look at the great detail work in these limited edition diecasts. Cheers!

– HKK

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Images of Corvettes That Could Have Been (first 3 images)
Published and Copyrighted by AutoWeek magazine 1400 Woodbridge Detroit, MI. 48207-3187 November 16, 1992.

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Image of The Hot Wheels Super-Charger…It Makes The Race Advertisment Copyright 1968 Matel, Inc.
Image of Aurora We’re for Real Advertisment Copyright 1971 Aurora Products Corp. 44 Cherry Valley Road, West Hempstead, NY 11552.

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Image of The 1971 Dodge Scat Pack Advertisement
Published and Copyrighted by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Motors Corporation

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Images of The Cavalcade of Corvettes & Dodge vs GM – May the Better Car Win
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More ’61 Corvette Mako Shark, ’68 Dodge Charger Concept Car &’69 Dodge Charger Ad

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Images of Mako Corvette Shark (first 4 images)
Published and Copyrighted by the Franklin Mint Precision Models. Official GM Licensed Product. CORVETTE, MAKO SHARK and Mako Shark Body Design are trademarks of General Motors Corp & used under license by The Frankin Mint.

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Images of The The Mako Shark Corvette                                                                             from Corvette Quarterly Magazine Winter 1994 Issue
Published and Copyrighted by the Aegis Group Publishers, a division of Lintas Marketing Communications, Inc. Warren, MI.

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Images of the Chargers
Published and Copyrighted by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Motors Corporation

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Images of 1961 Corvette Mako Shark
Copyrighted 2017 by HKK Productions Inc

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Posted in Uncategorized

1961 Corvette Mako Shark

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Images of 1961 Corvette Mako Shark
Copyrighted 2017 by HKK Productions Inc

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Posted in Uncategorized

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Images to come
Copyrighted 2017 by HKK Productions Inc

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

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

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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

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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.

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

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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’.

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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.

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Images to come
Copyrighted 2016 by HKK Productions Inc

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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

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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

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

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Posted in Uncategorized

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

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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!

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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The Name Behind A Motoring Empire — Louis Chevrolet

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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Posted in Uncategorized