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Thread: SCCA regional events in Texas etc. 1960s-70s through the lens of Jerry Melton

  1. #61
    Any idea of the component parts of the 'Monsterati'?

  2. #62
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    Ray,
    I found this write up on Bill and the Monsterati.
    " The first Monsterati was constructed from a very tight budget by Bill Janowski who was attending SMU at the time, pursuing a degree in engineering. Being just a freshman in college, he lacked the means to construct a serious racing machine; instead he focused on building a 'special'. Near the close of 1953, he purchased a 1939 Ford chassis and began work on the project which would take several years to complete. work was done during his spare time and he was given assistance by Bob Gast. Once completed, the car was clothed in an fiberglass and aluminum body shell that was attractive, but not very aerodynamic. The car was completed mid-1956 and brought to its first race the following. Power came from a Mercury flathead engine, which would later be switched in favor of a Chevrolet V8 unit. Drum brakes were placed on all four corners, the chassis had a wheelbase of 100-inches and a length of 132-inches, and the gearbox was a Ford three-speed unit. Many of the other mechanical components were courtesy of Ford, mostly from the 1939 donor car.

    The car was used as a road car and as a racing machine. It was used in SCCA competition, which, after one race, he had qualified for a national SCCA license. The rules were more relaxed for SCCA competition in the 1950's. During the national competition, challenging such marque's as Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes, and Shelby, and battling for position against more experienced and polished drivers, proved to be a challenge. The car was raced in hillclimbs, but it continued to find itself chasing the competition. More power was needed. The popular choice at the time was the small-block Chevrolet unit. With the assistance of three two-barrel carburetors and a four-speed Chevrolet transmission transplanted from a Corvette, the Monsterati was again ready to race.

    The new engine and other mechanical changes proved to be the solution needed to run at the front of the pack. It began setting the fastest times at hillclimbs, such as at the Louisiana Hilltop Raceway, where it ran the course three times, each time besting its previous lap record.

    The car was sold in the early 1960s, and its resume in racing was continued by the subsequent owners. As the years progressed, engines and mechanical components were constantly changed on the vehicle. Improvements, which were sometimes very detrimental, were made to the car. One such change was to the aluminum, where one of its owners had used a cutting torch on the delicate metal.

    During the 1980s, Janowski began searching for his car. It took a few years, but it was located in Texas. Janowski was able to purchase the car and began a frame-up restoration. When completed, the car was entered in historic competition. The car is currently in the care of Bill Janowski and is a frequent competitor in historic competition events.

    The Monsterati was designed and built by Bill Janowski while he was in engineering school at SMU. The car is based on a modified 1939 Ford chassis, has solid axles, drum brakes and the aerodynamics of a brick. It originally had a flathead Mercury engine with a 3-speed transmission, and was street legal. Bill drove the car round-trip from Dallas to Nebraska in 1957.

    When Bill got the urge to race the car, it was converted with a small block Chevrolet and 4-speed transmission. The Monsterati first raced in June 1957 at Eagle Mountain, Texas, and then throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The car was very fast but unreliable and was sold in 1962.

    In 1984, Bill located the 'monster' in Balch Springs, Texas, and he restored it in 1986-1987. The Monterey
    Historic Race in Monterey, California, was the Monsterati's first race after restoration. It has since been raced at over 75 vintage events. The complete history of the Monsterati has been included in two recent
    books: Road Racing Specials and Vintage American Road Racing Cars, 1950-1970. "

  3. #63
    Quite the monster then...

    A '39 Ford Chassis? I suspect that was highly altered as it seems to me the chassis shape would be wrong to come up with that sort of car.

    Though this chassis is a ute, thus had a different rear end, it's essentially the same:


  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
    Quite the monster then...

    A '39 Ford Chassis? I suspect that was highly altered as it seems to me the chassis shape would be wrong to come up with that sort of car.

    Though this chassis is a ute, thus had a different rear end, it's essentially the same:

    The Monsterati was featured in Vintage Motorsports excellent Road Racing Specials series which covered the 1950s and early 1960s era before the onset of professional Group 7 cars.

    The feature on the car says the chassis was 1939, which "was Z'ed, the engine moved back, and the front solid axle radius rods were modified to make the front axle act as an anti-roll bar".

    A lot of popular hot rodding tricks from the time were incorporated into the car. The whole car was said to have been built for $900.

  5. #65
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    The Monsterati was featured in Vintage Motorsports excellent Road Racing Specials series which covered the 1950s and early 1960s era before the onset of professional Group 7 cars.

    The feature on the car says the chassis was 1939, which "was Z'ed, the engine moved back, and the front solid axle radius rods were modified to make the front axle act as an anti-roll bar".

    A lot of popular hot rodding tricks from the time were incorporated into the car. The whole car was said to have been built for $900.
    Steve, must have another read I have the book that they made from that series of articles .. a good read - picked it up again when Mike Ryan was tracking down the Hawaiian Corvette that he has recently acquired

  6. #66
    Semi-Pro Racer Paul B's Avatar
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    Looking at the chassis it appears (From the photos of the car) when they moved the engine back, the engine was lowered quite a lot in the chassis too.

  7. #67
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    It is time for some more Jerry Melton photos.
    Rodger, here is some Austin Healey action in Texas during 1964.

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    This is an Austin Healey Corvette. Now that would have been interesting drive !


    (Jerry Melton photos. )

    KJH

  8. #68
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khyndart in CA View Post
    It is time for some more Jerry Melton photos.
    Rodger, here is some Austin Healey action in Texas during 1964.

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    This is an Austin Healey Corvette. Now that would have been interesting drive !


    (Jerry Melton photos. )

    KJH
    Thanks Ken H , KJH, Kyndart, the "Kiwitahi Kid "
    Thanks for those photos, Corvette in a 100/6 or 3000, longer wheelbase so a different beast to the NZ ; Healey - Corvette of Arthur Kennard

    Cheers, Roger D, from B o P ...

    needless to say - Photos stolen already
    Cheers again KJH

  9. #69
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    Harry Washburn was a driver who enjoyed driving Coopers in the Sixties including this ex F 1 Cooper from the 1961-1965 1 1/2 Litre Formula one era. Cooper T 53 # 3 chassis F 1-15-61.
    As quoted in the Oldracing car.com site.
    " Cooper T53
    F1-15-61

    Built for 1961 US GP. Hap Sharp (US) 1961 for US GP. Sold to Alan Connell (US) 1962 for Libre ('Intercontinental') racing in the US in 1962 and later for the 1962 Mexican GP. May have been loaned back to Sharp for the 1962 US GP. John Thompson's The Formula One Record Book lists this as F1-16-61 at the Mexican GP but this car is thought to have been used to create the Zerex Special by then. Note that the T53 demonstrated by Hap Sharp at the Road America 'June Sprints' in 1961 and in 1964, smashing the unofficial lap record on both occasions, is likely to have been his 2.5-litre 1960 Cooper T53 F2-12-60, now in the Indy Museum.

    In 1964, the "ex-Alan Connell 2.5 Cooper Formula One car" was raced by Harry Washburn (Shreveport, LA) in a SCCA Regional at Opelousas, LA, winning the Formula Libre class and breaking the track record. He won again at Mansfield, LA in a Red River Region event a week or two later. "

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    Harry during practice passing one of the outstanding safety features of the GVR, Texas, race track of a hay bale tied to a tree !

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    (Jerry Melton photos ..1964.)
    Here is a report of the racing at that time in Texas.
    " The 1964 Green Valley race information comes from a newspaper-type publication called Southwest Racing News. It is the April 27, 1964 issue [Volume 2, Number 4], published in Dallas. It is the only copy of this magazine I have ever seen and I wish I could put my hands on a complete set. Young Carl Haas must have known about the publication, since the back page contained a full ad for his products: Elvas, Stirling Moss Express Parts Service, Coventry-Climax parts and Hewland 5-speed gearboxes: "We deal in all types of race cars", according to Haas Automotive Imports of 5619 North Broadway, Chicago.
    Back to the race [held the weekend of April 18-19, 1964]:
    " Harry Washburn, husky Louisiana racing ace, continued his winning ways at Green Valley Raceway in the recent Texas Region Divisional SCCA competition, copping the 20-lap feature race over what was perhaps the strongest field ever assembled at Bill McClure's racing hippodrome. Harry's big win did not come easy in his 2.5-liter Cooper-Climax, as he was pitted against Delmo Johnson's powerful Grand Sport Corvette, George Koehne's Genie-Ford, Mason O'Keiff's Lotus Formula Libre, Bill Fuller Jaguar /Chevy, Charlie Barns' Merlyn, Homer Rader's Lotus and Jack Saunders in Herb Stelter's open wheel Kurtis/Chevy."
    Results [both races combined CM to FM, Formula Libre and Formula Junior; 25 entries]:
    Race 6, preliminary
    1. Delmo Johnson, Corvette Grand Sport [CM]
    2. Mason O'Keiff, Lotus Formula Libre
    3. Harry Washburn, Cooper Formula Libre ["both short axles became unglued"]
    4. Jack Saunders, Kurtis Formula Libre

    Race 11, Feature Race.
    1. Harry Washburn, Cooper Formula Libre
    2. Mason O'Keiff, Lotus Formula Libre
    3. Bill Fuller, Jaguar D/Chevy [CM]
    4. Charlie Barns, Merlyn [FM]
    5. Homer Rader, Lotus 23 [FM] "


    ( Ken H )

  10. #70
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    In 1959 Harry Washburn was part of the very successful Roosevelt Racing Team driving Fiat-Abarth 750 cc cars.
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    The Roosevelt Racing Team transporter ready to head out.

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    A team that included a young Roger Penske.

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    Also Dan Gurney along with Harry Washburn.

    (Clippings thanks to Cliff Reuter )


    ( Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 09-28-2018 at 08:37 PM.

  11. #71
    Semi-Pro Racer Paul B's Avatar
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    Ken,
    Great piece of history of the Fiat Abarth, neat looking car too. I did not know the likes of Gurney & Penske etc. raced these.
    I guess they would have been great to drive being very light, nice design by Zagato too, Zagato also continued this type of basic design into the 1961 Zagato Aston Martin which was a beautiful car.
    There would be very few of these left now I guess and what would be left would likely command very high eye watering prices.
    Great post!
    Cheers
    Last edited by Paul B; 09-29-2018 at 07:13 AM.

  12. #72
    Semi-Pro Racer Spgeti's Avatar
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    There is one in NZ Paul.
    Denny Hulme and Angus Hyslop won their class in 1961 at Le Mans in an Abarth 850S. They came 14th overall.

  13. #73
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    Two Fiat Abarth photos by Jerry Melton about 1964 in Texas.

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  14. #74
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    Some of the competition that Harry Washburn faced at the SCCA race at Green Valley Raceway. April 1964.
    Delmo Johnson in his powerful Corvette Grand Sport.
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    Bill Fuller in his D Type Jaguar powered by a Chevy engine.
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    Mason O'Keiff in his Lotus 27 # 21.
    "Lotus 27 [27-FM-8] (G Mason O'Keiff): One of the first Lotus 27s to enter the US was chassis 27/FM/8, ordered by Lotus Southwest to be fitted with Lotus-Ford twin-cam engine for regular customer G. Mason O'Keiff (Houston, TX) to race in the SCCA's new libre category in 1964. O'Keiff scored 9 points in SWDiv and qualified for the Run-Offs, where he finished third. His car was then classified as Formula B in 1965 and O'Keiff used it in pro events. His last known appearance in the car was at the Las Vegas race in April 1966."(Oldracingcars.com)

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    (Jerry Melton photos..)

    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 09-29-2018 at 10:03 PM.

  15. #75
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    In Sept. 1968 Jerry Melton was in mid America at the Steel Cities Raceway in Ohio near Detroit and Cleveland.
    Today it is known as the Nelson Ledges Raceway.
    The 1968 Detroit Region National Championship Races had a wide array of entrants from Alfa Romeos, McLaren Can Am cars to Yenko Stingers.
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    Alfa Romeo Duetto

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    An Austin Healey 100

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    Two 1966 McLaren M1s passing a Bobsy SR 3 (A slight speed difference involved here !)

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    Richard Fegan in his "Yenko" Stinger.

    (Jerry Melton photos.)

    What was a Yenko Stinger ?
    Read about them at this site.
    https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hm...r/3741141.html



    (Ken H)

  16. #76
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    The "Bobsy" was a line of sports cars built by Jerry Mong nearby in Ohio. They were well built and popular at that time and came with various engines. Some examples were there in 1968.
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    Al Beasley in his Bobsy- DKW # 41

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    Dick Ganger in his Bobsy- Imp # 95

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    A Bobsy SR2

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    John Lawrence in his Bobsy SR3 # 76

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    Chet freeman in his Bobsy SR3 # 31

    Some Bobsy information at this site.
    https://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/...bobsy-sr3.aspx


    (Jerry Melton photos.)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 11-29-2018 at 10:49 PM.

  17. #77
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    Ken H - you are back - good to see more of the Jerry Melton collection, Cheers " The Kiwitahi Kid " from the " Omokoroa Lad ".
    Read a bit about the Bobsy in one of my American Books

  18. #78
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    Thanks Roger.
    Cliff Reuter who gave me permission to use the Jerry Melton photos likes the way they are presented here on TRS and he also enjoys all the different comments etc. so any additional inputs are appreciated.
    1968 was the first year of the 3rd generation Chevrolet Corvette, known as a C3 and the Stingray was now one word instead of the earlier Corvettes (1963-67 C2 were Sting Rays) As there were over 20 different engine sizes they often raced in different classes such as AP or BP.

    Here are some examples of the C3 Corvette Stingray. Sept. 1968.

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    Ron Weaver in his C3 # 83

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    Tony Delorenzo in his C3 # 7

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    (Jerry Melton photos )


    (Ken H )

  19. #79
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    In 1968 the Corvette Sting Ray C2 was still a popular car in US regional events such as this.
    ( I always liked the look of these Corvettes )

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    Alan Barker in his C2 # 27

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    Bob Bierneth in Corvette C2 # 10

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    Bill Schumacher in his Corvette Sting Ray # 69

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    Hard charging Jerry Thompson in his Corvette C2 # 61

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    (Jerry Melton photos.)



    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 12-03-2018 at 07:55 AM.

  20. #80
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    A bit of Ford power was needed in the field such as ;
    James Harrell in his Ford Falcon # 23
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    Charlie Lowe in his Shelby Cobra 427 # 29
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    Jack Hurt in his Shelby Cobra 427 # 1
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    John Mahler in his Shelby Mustang GT 350 # 99
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    Sydney Finkel in his "Pegasus Racing Team" Shelby GT 350 # 33
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    (Jerry Melton photos..)



    Ken H

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