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Thread: Early Days of Hot Rodding and Racing in Santa Barbara and beyond.

  1. #41
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Back to September 1953 at Santa Barbara Airport.
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    The first race begins
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    There were some interesting vehicles entered including this V-8 powered Morris Minor convertible, bravely driven by Dave Watson.
    The hood blew off on the drive to Santa Barbara, so a quick stop for a piece of leather and away she goes !
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    ( Ken H )

  2. #42
    A British view of Hot Rods as published in the May 1950 edition of Motor Sport

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  3. #43
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    The fiberglass special that did best at Santa Barbara was the Glasspar G2 driven by Bill Pollack.
    This car had been built up by two army mates, Ed Martindale and Ted Mangos who formed their company known as Maneco starting out in Canoga Park, CA. in less than ideal condition !
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    (Seen using the oil heater.)
    "Ted lived with me at my parent’s farm in Canoga Park, California. We fixed up an old barn on our property, poured cement for a floor (editor’s note: no dirt floor here gang) and built our first frame. We did have a primitive oil heater in barn, though. Oil dripped on a pan, and the fire burned warm. Good enough to start a business!”
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    Known as a plastic power house with a Mecury-Ardun engine, they built a fine race car.
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    Name:  Mercury Ardun engine.jpg
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    I have to admit not knowing much about the Ardun cylinder conversion so I am sharing two sites I found interesting.

    (Ken H)

  4. #44
    Amazingly, that conversion was made for both the 'regular' (3.9+ litre) Ford V8 and the very limited production V8/60...

    Of course, when Chrysler put the latter into mass production it would have far outstripped the numbers achieved by the bigger one.

  5. #45

    Spotted this rod at the Frankton Thunder a couple of years ago.

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  6. #46
    Many years ago, at least 55, I had a friend in Wellington who made his own triple carb manifold for his flathead V8 out of "plastic wood". Looked great and worked well except the the outer two carbs were only for show and the engine ran on the middle carb only. It was a work of art and looked like the real thing.

  7. #47
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    My friend, Stu Hanssen, has located and beautifully restored the 1951 Baldwin Special that his father used to race in California, including Santa Barbara.
    This is a photo of the Mecury engine with Ardun heads.
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    (Ken H photo.)

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    Name:  Stu's Baldwin.jpg
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    (Ken H photos.)

    Here is an article regarding Stu and the Baldwin.
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    Stu at speed at Laguna Seca in the 1951 Baldwin Special.
    (Concept Carz photo.)

    (Ken H.. )

  8. #48
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Stu's father, Bill, drove the car in many Southern California events in the 1950s.
    Note the tyres are a bit different size compared to today plus it looks much better today with all that paint removed !
    1951 Baldwin Special.
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    A 1949 Baldwin competed at Santa Barbara in 1953.
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    The car has been beautifully restored as can be seen.
    Racing Car
    built at Santa Barbara, California, USA
    engineers Willis Baldwin
    production 1
    engine 1946 Mercury V8 w/Edelbrock Cylinder Heads
    position Front Longitudinal
    aspiration Natural
    block material Cast Iron w/Aluminum Cylinder Heads
    valvetrain Tripple Stomberg 95 Carburetors
    displacement 4660 cc / 284.4 in³
    bore 84.1 mm / 3.312 in
    stroke 104.8 mm / 4.125 in
    compression 9.0:1
    power 134.2 kw / 180 bhp @ 4000 rpm
    specific output 38.63 bhp per litre
    bhp/weight 220.32 bhp per tonne
    redline 5000
    body / frame Steel & Aluminum Body over Modified 1946 Mercury Frame
    driven wheels RWD w/1948 Ford Differential
    front tires 6.00-16
    rear tires 6.50-16
    front brakes Drums
    rear brakes Drums
    f suspension Rigid Axle
    r suspension Live Axle
    curb weight 817 kg / 1800 lbs
    wheelbase 2540.0 mm / 100 in
    transmission 1939 Ford 3-Speed
    top speed ~209.17 kph / 130 mph

    Name:  1949_BaldwinMercury_Special1 restored.jpg
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    (Ken H )

  9. #49
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Yesterday after being absent since March I drove down to Moss Motors past the old circuit that held the Santa Barbara Airport races.
    I like to visit the areas of these past events from the 1950s & 60s and photograph how it looks today.
    Such as where Phil Hill in his personal 2.9-liter Ferrari passed the Kurtis 500 of Bill Stroppe who was leading easily until he looked back and powered off into the ditch as a surprised Phil Hill went on to one of his first major wins in his career.
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    Name:  Goleta. 2020.jpg
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    The same area in 2020.

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    2020. Without the crowds and cars.

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    2020. Just power poles, quiet and memories..

    (Ken H)

  10. #50
    Semi-Pro Racer Paul B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Wellington, NZ
    Great pics Ken, Its interesting to see the differences
    I love the Baldwin Mercs, 24 stud side valve power!
    It would be neat to build one of those.

  11. #51
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    English driver Ken Miles was very involved in the Santa Barbara events from scrutineering to driving.
    The founder of Moss Motors, Al Moss wrote this memory of Ken Miles.
    (Al was a wonderful story teller.)

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    So I should be grateful to these two gentlemen in that I have a job and I start again tomorrow operating remotely from home.
    (It will be interesting to see how that turns out !)

    Ken H..

  12. #52
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    I came across some Ken Miles information in the Moss archives and I wanted to share some of it. OK ?

    I have to admit I was not a fan of Mr. Miles after 1966 Le Mans 24 Hr race as he felt he had been cheated of the win but if you listen carefully to Chris Amon in this short 50th Anniversary clip, he felt that they were ahead easily by a minute in the # 2 GT 40 when Mr. Ford gave the slow down orders.
    Chris would have been the one to know !

    Instead you get garbage articles with headings like this.
    " The Ford GT40 Mk II that shouldn't have won Le Mans in 1966"

    But Ken Miles has grown on me over the years as I have learned of his skills and determination and willingness to help others etc.
    He was a tough man.

    (Ken H )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 08-03-2020 at 10:51 PM.

  13. #53
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Ken Miles was born in 1918 near Birmingham at Sutton Coldfield. At age 16 he began an apprenticeship at Wolseley Motors as he had a love for motorbikes and cars at an early age. A trip to Donnington Park in 1939 to watch Tazio Nuvolari impressively manhandle a massive Auto-Union to a win increased his desire to go racing. But the war intervened and served in several conflicts before he got out in 1946.
    He bought a Frazer-Nash and installed a Ford V-8 and had fun competing in hillclimbs and club events from Prescott to Silverstone as long as the events were no more than 3 laps as the V-8 overheated on the 4th lap !.
    Attachment 67152

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    Plus some Trials events with his wife Mollie ( A good test of a marriage !)
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    (Ken H)

  14. #54
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Al Moss had business contacts with John Beazley who was the general manager for Gough Industries who were an importer and distributor for MG in California. Beazley was from Ken Miles hometown and knew Ken would be a good service manager in their Los Angeles plant.
    So Ken Miles moved to the US with his young family just before Christmas in 1951.
    Ken found the time and used his skills to build a MG Special known as the R-1.
    It was very successful with Ken driving;
    "old Number 50" incorporated a slightly modified MGTD Mk 2 engine, stock TD gearbox and reworked TC brakes and wheels.
    In 1953 Ken won 10 races in a row including at Santa Barbara in the under 1500 cc Class.

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    The car has been beautifully restored and often appears at historic events.

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    (Ken H)

  15. #55
    That is a smart-looking car...

    And a nice restoration.

  16. #56
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Ken Miles did all the work himself.
    Note that he built it like an English RHD.

    It must be just for display now as it would need at least a roll cage to compete wouldn't it ?


  17. #57
    Thanks for the link to Chris Ken. Even the so-called deadheat had cars staggered so I have never been able to comprehend the "result"

  18. #58
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Ken Miles sold the R-1 MG Special to fellow racer Cy Yedor as he needed the money to build his second MG Special for the 1955 season on the West coast tracks in the US. The new special was dubbed "The Flying Shingle" due to its low profile at that time. It had a cut down MG grille, a modified TF engine with a TC gearbox and like all MGTCs it was RHD and he stated that it took him 4500 man-hours to complete.
    It was a winner right from the beginning.
    One of its first races was at the Santa Barbara Airport races of 1955.

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    Ken preparing his car before racing at Santa Barbara.

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    Ken Miles on the Santa Barbara course. ( # 50 was a favored number for Ken )

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    1955 at Pebble Beach. Both of Ken Miles MG Specials together on the grid with Cy Yedor driving the R-1.

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    The beautifully built car was deservedly on the cover of the May 1955 Road & Track magazine.

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    These last two photos show how the car was shown at the 2006 Pebble Beach gathering and the beautiful craftsmanship of Ken Miles.

    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 08-14-2020 at 01:47 PM.

  19. #59
    World Champion
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Los Olivos, California, 93441
    Something we don't see enough of.
    A salute to the racing mechanic.
    This one from 1955.

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    How the Santa Barbara classes were assigned in 1955.

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    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 08-16-2020 at 06:05 AM.

  20. #60
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Omokoroa Beach Bay of Plenty NZ

    Santa Barbara to Herne Barbara.

    Ken H,

    Like that class information - good stuff.

    Have recently borrowed a series of photo's [ maybe considered stolen ] from an archive that BMC BOY has - a sereis of Ngatives which he has scanned to positives on the Matamata Street Races - seem to be from 1964 / 65 meetings. Now to find a thread to put them on.
    Already have photos from Alan Boyle, John Larry Lawton and stuff - programme results from others - so maybe a -
    " Waikato / Bay of Plenty story " , on its own thread -
    not on Baypark, just the earlier stuff.
    Mount Maunganui - street, Matamata street - Waharoa grass airfield, plus a few Hillclimbs by TVCC, Hamilton CC and others.
    Will have to have a think about it.
    The BMC BOY archives included a couple of photos with the Ruddspeed 3000 AH 4000/4200 of Russell Leathers - Ruddspeed , then the McLaughlin brothers and now with Myles Hicks,Gavin's son - was going to be Gavin's project, sadly he didn't see it through.
    Have just seen a recent photo of the progress.

    Keep up the Santa Barbara story - as a guy who likes Hot Rods as well as " English Sports Cars " I enjoy it.
    Never owned one, the closest I got was driving this. !!

    My sons - which he brought to Auckland for me to sell when he went to Australia in 1991. Pity really, It was serious bit of kit !!

    Photos from Herne Barbara - those garages .. Honourable Son [my stepson ] and his Mum - my Wife in the Car. 1991

    Name:  My Cars #201 The Garage 1991 T Bucket  AH and MG (2).jpg
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