Newsletter of Sports Fans   #5  070912

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THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER:  To most historians, Land Speed Racing doesn't show up on the radar. 
  Maybe we're cursed.  The more we know, the more we don't know and that sets us off to search for even
  more.  In the last couple of years I've gotten really serious about documenting our history. The earliest
  event on So-Cal lakes that I've run across so far took place in 1914. Joe Nikrent set a one mile AAA
  records of 108 mph driving a Buick. Pretty soon that will be 100 years. We've got lots of holes in between
  to fill in.  Jim Miller         
Caption for the photo in the attachment: A side view of Bill Burke's Bantam coupe at Bonneville in 1950.
  It was entered by Burke and the Dahm brothers, Jim and Tommy, in Class B Modified Coupe. The car
  was powered by a 249" Merc and ran 141.509 mph for second in class. In the upper left is the Bell Auto
  Parts tent, who sponsored the car. Mickey Thompson would later own the car and run it with twin en-
  gines.  AHRF/David McConaughy Collection.           Jim Miller
1) WHAT'S SHAV'S BIRTHDAY?  Doug Stokes       Doug: It's September 16, of course, for the newspaperman
  who gave car racing a great deal of fair coverage in the L. A. Times. Shav Glick is the grand old man of Southern
  California journalism and he wrote in a style that was plain and factual, with honest terms that hot rodders like.
2) I would appreciate a copy of The Society of Landspeed Racing Historians Newsletter please.         Gary
  Carmichael          Gary: Welcome.  Back issues of the Newsletter are on the way.
Editor's notes: The SCTA Minutes 1937-1948 book is coming along really well.  The text and index are done
  and the photographs are being inserted into the text by my brother, David Parks. Dad is doing the captions. The
  book is a fascinating history of the beginnings of the SCTA. We hope to have it printed and available for sale by
  November 1, in time for the Open House on the 2nd at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.  On the
  7th of November, a Wednesday, the opening of the exhibit for the 70th Anniversary of the SCTA will start and
  last through the month.
3) This came through fine and it is posted on the website.  Thanks for the change.  I do appreciate it.  It is
  posted  I may have to change the coding as I use the date
  for the pobb also.  As long as they stay in the right folder it won’t be a problem.   Evelyn Roth      Evelyn:
  Thank you for posting the newsletters and the other racing articles on your website,  To the
  readers of the SLRH Newsletter, Evelyn has posted the Gas-Up Party and Dry Lakes Hall of Fame on her site.
  She also posts the Mendenhall Gas Pump Museum news and photos as well.  She has posted obituaries and the
  Gone Racin' by-line column and biographies of various racers.  Oilstick has been one of the mainstays among the
  landspeed racing websites available.  We are grateful for Evelyn's efforts to keep news of landspeed racing in the
  public's view.
4) Recreating a legendary car.  A couple of years ago I was talking to Jim Lattin about old time lakes cars.
  I brought up the Bill Warth car that ran a Model B engine at Muroc in the '30's. Relateing a little more car
  history, it ended up in Stu Hilborn's hands and was the first lakes car to set a 150 mph record. With a little
  arm twisting I talked him into doing a repro of the car since it was so significant. I was lucky enough to
  have some pictures of the car being modified to take the 21 stud flattie that it ran and also some build
  photos of the unique 4-carb intake manifold. That was the easy part. The first order of business was what
  kind of car had donated its chassis to Mr. Warth as a basis of the car. As luck would have it, one day while
  snooping around at the Petersen Automobile Museum I spotted a '23 Chevrolet. Before you know it I'm
  crawling around on the ground under it. Yes, this was the chassis used for the car. After acquiring a frame
  the car took shape quickly at Lattin's workshop. As luck would have it, Stu agreed to be the consultant on
  the recreation. We had a meeting to discuss the car and Stu related that he had only run the car after the
  war (WWII). I went home and did a little digging through some old S.C.T.A documents. Starting with
  Warth, I recorded every date and speed the car had run from day one until Stu sold the car to Gerry Grant
  of piston ring fame. At our next meeting I presented my findings. It's interesting how some dates and
  speeds jog the memory. Stu lit up and remembered bringing the car home on December 7, 1941 no less
  and running it in 1942. At that time he was a paint chemist and mixed the paint for the car and a special
  blue color for the aluminum cylinder heads. He then went on about how he made the grill shell insert by
  cutting out every other row from a piece of stamped metal and filing for hours, all with a big grin on his
  face. The point of all this is that we used some old photos and documents to recreate a piece of history
  that would show the current and future generations what real hot rodding was about. We also got an 88
  year old Stu Hilborn to be a 27 again and climb into his race car. That made my year.     Jim Miller   Jim:
  My brother David and I were there for the unveiling and you are all to be commended for your efforts.
5) wrote:
    I was listening to the Jerry Doyle show ... he had a stand in, some guy named Chris out of I THINK,
    Kansas City.  Anyway this guy ranted about the expenditure, how thrill seekers put themselves at
    risk and create these scenarios.  He then tried to say he's (Fossett) been unsuccessful many times
    and required searches in the past.  I wasn't aware of that.
First, I've been critical of Fossett after his RTW balloon flights for greedily going after record after record in any
  field he could find.  A sore point for me are the glider records which have almost always set in the past by talented
  and dedicated individuals, not by deep pocketed types who traveled the world to remote areas for the unique
  conditions, bought the best coaches and equipment, and bulldozed his way into the record books. Some of the
  altitude record he has set were once held in 1948 by Paul MacCready who set his world records as a college
  student in a pre-WWII Polish wooden glider. Fossett has barely exceeded a record set in 1961 by Paul Bikle in
  the Tehachapi hills, using his privately owned Schweizer tin glider, back when Bikle headed up Edwards flight test.
  No exotic locales, no pressure suit, in fact a well outdated sailplane being flown to its max by an observant and
  well organized pilot. And almost fifty years later Fossett was able to exceed it by barely 4000 feet by going to
  Argentina and hiring a world class glider test pilot as "co-pilot and crew!"  I heard he was trying to talk Rutan and
  Branson into letting him pilot the first civil orbital flight.  Craig Breedlove, whose jet powered car Steve apparently
  bought, is a unique breed of dreamer, self taught engineer, and fearless driver, whose greatest talent was his ability
  to get others to buy into his dream. He came close to beating Green and Noble to the sound barrier with a tenth
  of the funding.  Compare the cost and true achievement of his orbital flights to the Rutan/Rutan/Yeager efforts.
  Now, that being said, Fossett's solo balloon journeys were initially funded solely by Steve, and truly remarkable
  for their trail blazing and courage. I only recall his having to be rescued at sea once, maybe twice, and NO search
  effort was involved.  Most importantly, while I question his flawed drive and ego, I admire his achievements and
  inspiration.  In summary, I have nothing but disgust for the current crop of media personalities, self appointed
  celebrities, politicians and the ilk whose SOLE talent is to dig up tawdry criticisms, wrong-headed evaluations,
  and downright lies relating to people they should be respecting. These rabble rousers' sad lives are filled with shrill
  rancor, merely to get them greater exposure.  I have a hard time even viewing them with Christian pity.  I truly
  pray for a good outcome. Bob Storck            Bob: Many of us were there in '97 when Breedlove, Noble and
  Green dueled in the desert to see which team would set the record.  As amateur and professional historians, our
  job is to compile, save and restore all the documents that we can find.  Eventually we will write on what we know
  and leave an archive to the next generation of historians and fans of land speed racing.  While we do form our
  own opinions, which are very necessary, in our hearts we hope that all the landspeeders, including the rich and
  not so rich alike, will come back safely.  We hope Fossett is safe and that he runs for the record someday.  Even
  with his money, it won't be an easy record to break.  As for Noble, he relishes the idea of someone breaking his
  record or coming VERY close to it.  Craig and Sir Richard were good friends and often their 'duel' was beneficial
  to each side as it helped both of them.  I saw the Brits come close to financial disaster at Black Rock.  They had
  been reduced to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the ladies said that they could barely afford that.  The 7
  weeks had reduced us all to the breaking point.  Breedlove stepped forward with a statement to the press that
  his car was ready and the record was in his sights.  The truth was that the car wasn't and most of us knew that,
  and we can't prove that he made the statement to help Noble.  But after that statement to the press, donations
  from Europe jumped dramatically and made a great deal of difference to those struggling to stay and complete
  their task.  In my opinion, Craig's presence at Black Rock was as much in support of his friend as it was to set
  the record himself.  Landspeed racers are enemies of the clock, not of each other.
Members: Henry Astor, Glen Barrett, Warren Bullis, Gary Carmichael, Jack Dolan, Ugo Fadini, Robert Falcon,
Rich Fox, Glenn Freudenberger, Bruce Geisler, Stan Goldstein, Walt James, Wendy Jeffries, Dick Martin, Ron
Martinez, Tom McIntyre, Don McMeekin, Tom Medley, Jim Miller, Don Montgomery, Mark Morton, Louise
Ann Noeth, David Parks, Richard Parks, Wally Parks, Erich Rickman, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik,
Frank Salzberg, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, Doug Stokes, Bob Storck, Al Teague, JD Tone and Jack