|Society of Landspeed Racing Historians Newsletter # 7 070928|
SOCIETY OF LANDSPEED RACING HISTORIANS Newsletter #7
1) President's Corner:
We all develop some kind of reference library to aid us in our work as historians. I probably have close
to a thousand car books and many times more than that of magazines. I work mostly with old photos so
I'm always trying to figure out what year they were taken before I head to the books. About two years
ago I put together a page of California license plates to aid me in figuring out the years of the old lakes
shots. I would be lost without it. Being that we Land Speed buffs should stick together I've attached a
copy for you to add to your library and make your work easier. Happy dating. Jim Miller
Editor's notes: The following article and attached photo are from our President Jim Miller.
2) A little Land Speed racing before 1910 in America. To the younger generation of land speed enthusiasts,
Bonneville and El Mirage are the mecca's of our sport. Muroc is our spiritual home and more rescently Black
Rock has joined the list too. If you're a little older you probably know about Rosamond and Harper too. But
what about the really old people? Not many people, even the oldtimers, know about the World and American
speed records set at Cony Island in 1901 or American records set at Staten Island in 1902, yes that New York.
And what if I said Daytona, Florida. No I'am not talking about NASCAR, I'am talking about the automobile
racing tournaments that took place on the Ormond-Datona beach every winter until 1910. The first measured
mile record I've found set at Daytona was on March 26, 1903 by a Stanley Steamer at a laughable 40.724 mph.
Later that day an Oldsmobile upped it to 54.381 mph. Two days later a Winton ran 68.966 mph. Wow! To add
a little perspective an Indian motorcycle ran 56.962 mph. In 1904 the speed fest lasted almost a month with a
World mile record being set at 92.308 mph by Willie Vanderbilt driving a Mercedes. By 1905 trouble was brew-
ing when another Mercedes pushed the record to 109.756 mph but it wasn't recognized because the car weighed
to much. Yep, that rule thing again. Fast foreward to 1909 and an Indian still held the bike record at 82.949 mph
and at the last event held in 1910 none other than Barney Oldfield ran a flying mile in :27.33 seconds for a speed
of 131.723 mph. Now we're talking. Sadly the series of events died not because people were tired of automobile
racing but because another newer thrill show had come to town along with $3,500 for the city fathers. It was the
new era of Flying. To go with the story I've included a photo to wet your appetite. This car ran at Daytona after
the war (WWI) and set a record on the beach but didn't because the French were now in control of World speed
record officialdom and wouldn't recognize the speed because they didn't get any money. Can anybody ID the car?
3) http://www.oilstick.com/sportsfans/pg6070918.htm, Photo is added to the article. Evelyn Roth Evelyn:
Thank you for sharing your website with us to provide more extended coverage.
4) I was in the old Road Race Training Association where Sam Hanks (over 1500cc) and Ken Miles (under)
were our instructors. Steve McQueen was also in the class. We were at Pomona, which also served as a
road course. Hanks borrowed a 300SL Gullwing to demonstrate how to take turn 1, which was at the end
of today's Dragstrip. We stood on the bridge, which was just before turn 2. Hanks came blasting down the
straight quite hot and looped it almost taking out the "snow fence." Slowly the door raised up, and cupp-
ing both hands over his mouth, he shouted, "now that I've showed you how not to take 1, I'll show you the
correct way." He was a great sport and a super instructor. This was after he had won the Indy 500, by the
way. Dick Martin
5) Member Bob Falcon sent in a photo of the Shoehorn emergency extracation device and a nice article. Anyone
wishing to read the article let me know and I will give you Bob's contact information. Do we know whether
present day LSR associations also have such safety equipment and trained personnel?
6) My name is Brett Arena, archivist for the A.F. Gilmore Co. I just found out about your organization
yesterday from Bob Falcon who has been very helpful in providing his extensive knowledge of local rac-
ing history, including that of Gilmore Stadium, as I have only been here about a year. Because Gilmore
Oil used to sponsor vehicles that held land speed records, we would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
If you would like to give me a call, my number is 323-939-1191 (BArena@afgilmore.com). Thank you,
Brett Brett: Welcome. I've added you to the list. Carmen Schroeder's Gilmore Roars Again reunion was
often held at the Adobe and many of us remember the rich legacy of the Gilmore Oil Company in automobile
racing. Our group is new and we will probably evolve, but here are the fundamentals of our group. 1) Jim Miller
is acting President and I'm the Newsletter editor. 2) Our goal is to secure a museum or a wing in a museum to
house the artifacts that have accumulated concerning hot rodding and landspeed racing. We need a curator who
will restore, save and catalog photographs, books, magazines, biographies, tapes, artifacts, relics and any other
object relating to the birth of hot rodding and landspeed racing. The majority of which resides in Southern Calif-
ornia, but does not have to be exclusive to this area. 3) To help our individual members keep in contact with
each other and to provide support in their endeavors to record, photograph, tape and write books and magazine
articles on the topics of hot rodding and landspeed racing.
Since hot rodding and landspeed racing are so closely intertwined as to be nearly impossible to separate, we
have kept our group focused on these two subjects. But we realize that many hot rodders left the lakes and
went into oval track, boat racing and other forms of motorsports. These forms of racing often have their own
museums and memberships, but landspeed racing and hot rodding do not have a lot of museums and research
sites at their disposal. The combined numbers of amateur hot rodders and landspeed racers far outnumbers all
other types of motorized racing, although the hot rodders were not always racers. Many fine museums have set
aside areas to display hot rodding and landspeed exhibits. The problem is that the total amount of artifacts that
we can potentially donate to any one museum is nearly limitless, while the space available is tiny. Many hot rod-
ders and landspeed racers have no place to donate their collections and much of our valuable heritage is lost to
the garbage dumps as heirs who have no interest in our hobbies, dispose of what they inherit. There is no cost
or requirement to join, except a fervent desire to save, record and restore our heritage. Members are encouraged
to tape those still living from the early days of hot rodding and landspeed racing. Other than that, members are
not under any obligation other than what they chose to do. We are loosely based on the SAH, or Society of
Automotive Historians, except without dues or official duties. Normally I do not list phone numbers or email
addresses, but in your case I put in that information since your job becomes simpler when people call you rather
than when you have to track them down.
7) I would sure like to be a part of this outstanding group of people you have put together, and others who
have joined. Although I may be one of or even the youngest in the group my dedication to the sport and
my website Landracing.com is one of the best online news networks about Landspeed racing. Jonathan
Amo http://www.landracing.com Dear Jonathan: Welcome to the group. Back issues of the newsletter
are on the way. They will explain our goals and purposes. We are also looking for an official website to store
our photos, newsletters and stories about landspeed racing and the history of it. Please let us know if that is
something that is feasible.
8) A quite informal 10th anniversary celebration of the supersonic land speed record set by ThrustSSC is
planned for Gerlach, Nevada. The official anniversary is Monday, October 15, but some folks plan to
arrive as early as the 13th and stay. A number of ThrustSSC team members and supporters plan to
come from the U.K., but at this time, neither project leader Richard Noble nor driver Andy Green plan
to attend. A barbecue is planned and probably a little lie-swapping and drinking. Bev, proprietor of
the Miner's Club bar, would appreciate a rough head count for planning the barbecue--telephone her at
775-557-2389. Charles Shaffer
9) Land Speed Louise Ann Noeth has invited us to attend the Motor Press Guild Luncheon on Tuesday, Oct 2,
2007, 10:30 am, $25 each, open seating, no reservations. It will be at The Proud Bird, 11022 Aviation Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90045 310-670-3093. Special Event Lunch - JCB DieselMax Extravaganza. The world
record-setting 350mph DieselMax streamliner will be parked at the portico. Also on hand, an 80ft Hospitality
Trailer, a four-machine "Dancing Digger Show," a performance by the JCB GT Backhoe Wheel-Standing
Dragster and a Backhoe Rodeo (skill challenge) - a chance for attendees to try their hand at driving a backhoe
with a prize for the winner. For information, contact Louise Ann Noeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's notes: The newsletter is late due to problems with my server, Juno.
Members: Jonathan Amo, Brett Arena, 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, Mike Kelly, 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, Eric Rickman, Willard
Ritchie, Roger Rohrdanz, Evelyn Roth, Ed Safarik, Frank Salzberg, Charles Shaffer, Mike Stanton, Doug Stokes,
Bob Storck, Al Teague, JD Tone and Jack Underwood.