Nash Ambassador AirFlyte: One Of The World’s Worst Cars?

Most of the time I write about cars that are quite nice or are interesting.  Occasionally I do venture over to the nether side, such as a post a few months ago about the Trabant.  I was reading a book recently called “Lemons, The World’s Worst Cars” by Timothy Jacobs.  This book was written almost 25 years ago, in 1991, so I’m sure that some other lemons have come on the scene.

Worlds Worst Cars Book Cover

Interesting Book About Some Undesirable Cars

One of the “lemons” in Jacobs’ book is the 1951 Nash Ambassador Airflyte sedan.  This car did have a somewhat unusual design.  They looked somewhat similar to the Hudsons of that era, but the Hudsons were much more attractive cars.  Craig Cheetham wrote a similar book in 2005 called “The World’s Worst Cars”, but he did not include the 1951 Nash Ambassador Airflyte in that book.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (1)

1951 Nash Ambassador AirFlyte Sedan

George Mason, who was the president of Nash at that time wanted a car that had a streamline and aerodynamic  design.  One of the results of this was the front fender design that had a minimal wheel well cut-out.  This design would have limited wheel movement.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (2)

The Front Wheel Opening Limited The Turning Circle For The Big Nash

The design of the Nash Ambassador Airflyte is very rounded and frankly not very appealing.  The weight of the Nash Ambassador Airflyte surprised me.  The four-door sedan weighed “only” 3,450 pounds.  In the days before thin metal and extensive use of plastics, I was expecting a weight of a little over 4,000 pounds.  The weight of the Nash Ambassador was almost the same as another controversial car, the AMC Pacer, that came along about 25 years later, yet had smaller dimensions.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (8)

Some Referred To The Nash As An “Upside Down Bathtub”

The resultant design of the Nash Ambassador was aerodynamic, but to me it just looks too bulbous.  Definitely not to my liking.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (9)

From This Angle It Almost Looks Like a Saab 96!

One of the options available on the Nash Ambassador Airflyte was a front seat that folded backwards to form a bed.  This option was a favorite of traveling salesmen, sportsmen, and teenagers.  This option is illustrated in the following Nash publicity photo.

Nash Sleeping Car

Factory Cut-a-Way View Of The Fold-Down Front Seat Option

This advertising photo above suggested to me that a “suicide” style door design might have been more appropriate for the Nash Ambassador Airflyte.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (6)

The Steering Wheel Is Huge

As illustrated by its sleeping capacity, the Nash Ambassador Airflyte was a spacious car.  The dash and interior furnishings are typical of this era.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (11)

This Car Had A Three-Speed Column Mounted Transmission

The 1951 Nash Ambassador is powered by a 235 cubic inch inline, overhead valve six cylinder engine.  It had a bore of 3.375 inches and a stroke of 4.375 inches.  It had a compression ratio of 7.3:1 and a Carter one-barrel carburetor.  The result is an engine that produced 115 horsepower at 3,400 rpm.

Nash Ambassador 1951 (4)

115-Horsepower Ambassador Six-Cylinder Engine

The Nash Ambassador was a capable performer in its day.  Four Nash Ambassadors were entered in the 1950 La Carrera Panamericana.  One Nash Ambassador driven by Roy Conner with co-piloto, Robert Green were initially listed as finishing third Overall in the 1950 La Carrera Panamericana.  This car was subsequently disqualified because Conner, a car dealer from Texas, had “felt sick” on the last day of the race.  Another Nash Ambassador, Car #37, driven by NASCAR founder Bill France with Curtis Turner, had crashed out earlier in the race.  It was decided to put Curtis Turner, one of the top dirt-track racers in the USA, behind the wheel of Pat Conner’s Nash in place of the “sick” Conner.

Nash France Turner LaCaPa 1950

NASCAR’s Founder Bill France & Curtis Turner With Their Nash Ambassador, Car # 37, In The 1950 La Carrera Panamericana

The picture below shows the heated discussion that took place at the finish line around Nash Ambassador Car #49 when Curtis Turner emerged as the driver instead of Pat Conner.  These images of the 1950 La Carrera Panamericana came from “The Carrera Panamericana, Mexico” by R. M. Clarke.

Nash Conner Car Argument Finish 1950

Heated Discussion After The Initially Ranked Third Place Nash Ambassador, Car # 49, Crossed The Finish Line 

The same Nash Ambassador engine with a slightly larger cylinder bore of 3.50 inches, increased compression ratio and two carburetors became known as the LeMans Six which powered the Nash-Healey to a third place overall finish in the 1952 24-Hours of LeMans race.

Nash Healey 1953 (1)

1953 Nash-Healey

The Nash Healey shown above is probably the design style that most people would think of when they think of the Nash-Healey cars, but the early Nash-Heal;ey cars used the same front grille as the Nash Ambassador Airflyte, as shown in the image below from “Cars of the 1950s” by Consumers Guide.

Nash Healey Early Model

1951 Nash-Healey Used The Nash Ambassador Grille

I’ll leave it to others to decide if the Nash Ambassador Airflyte belongs on a list of the world’s worst cars, but I would say that it could be a contender.

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Veteran Rallyist W. David Teter Passes

Earlier this week Bruce Gezon sent a message that veteran rallyist Dave Teter passed away.  I did not know Dave, but I certainly knew of him.  The Great Race website had the following photo of Dave.

David Teter Great Race Photo

W. David Teter

I obtained an obituary about Dave’s life which I am including below:

W. David Teter, age 77, of Newark, Delaware, passed away on July 12, 2014.

Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, the only child of Catherine Lynch Teter and W. Corder Teter, he graduated with multiple degrees from West Virginia University. He taught Engineering Design and Graphics as well as surveying at the University of Delaware throughout his teaching career, a vocation that was well chosen as he was a true inspiration to his students.

His passion for the WVU Mountaineers was extensive as was his love of car rallying. A co-founder of the Mon Valley Sports Car Club and active organizer for the Brandywine Motorsport Club and the Sports Car Club of America he was instrumental in formulating the rules by which these organizations abide. He is best known as the creator of many Appalachian National Rallies and seventeen March Lamb Rallies, the last of which was in April. A frequent competitor, he won four SCCA National Rally Championships plus the prestigious vintage car Great American Race. He was the recipient of the Robert V. Ridges Memorial Award in 1985.

He was preceded in death by his parents. David is survived by his son, W. Andrew Teter (Cathrine Zell Teter) of Newark and granddaughters Savannah and Kendall.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am on Saturday morning, July 19, 2014, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a visitation will be held from 10 am until 11 am. A Masonic ceremony and committal service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the family gravesite in the Bridgeport Cemetery, Bridgeport, WV.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WVU Foundation, P.O. Box 1650, Morgantown, WV 26507-1650 to help provide charitable support to university functions.

As you can see, Dave had a very accomplished life.  The funeral home for Dave’s service is as follows:

Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes, Inc.

1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE 19720

121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE 19711

214 Clinton Street, Delaware City, DE 19706

302/328-2213 or 302/368-9500

Fax: 302/368-2142 or 302/328-2048

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Before There Was The Mustang, There Was The Falcon

My town, Franklin, MA, has a very enjoyable annual July 4th celebration.  Many people from the surrounding towns come to Franklin every year to take part in the celebration.  In the parade this year was a 1963 Ford Falcon convertible driven by a couple of ladies who were very much enjoying being in the parade with the Falcon.


1963 Ford Falcon Convertible

The Ford Falcon was introduced in 1960 as an economy car that expanded the Ford lineup toward smaller cars.  In 1963 Ford began to add some performance to the Falcon, which was needed.  While this was going on, Ford was developing the Ford Mustang using many parts from the Ford Falcon.

Ford Falcon Futura 1963 (1)

The Ford Falcon Futura Model Designation Is Prominent Displayed On The Trunk Lid

The economy car image and desire for low cost kept the Ford Falcon’s standard interior from being too fancy.  Note the few gages and a 100 mile per hour limit on the speedometer.

Ford Falcon Futura 1963 (8)

The Interior Was Not Overdone.  Bench Seats Were Standard In The Futura

The Falcon was in market competition against the Chevrolet Corvair, the Dodge Dart, Plymouth Valiant, and the Chevy II.  The Falcon was winning over the first generation of Corvairs, due in large part to a scathing book written by Ralph Nader called “Unsafe At Any Speed”.  The Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant cars of the early 1960s where visual designs that are best forgotten.  The Chevy II was a formidable car that was substantial competition for the Ford Falcon.

Ford Falcon Convertible 1963 (8)

Bucket Seats Were Available As An Option

When the Falcon was first introduced in 1960 the only available engine was a short-stroke inline six of only 144 cubic inches that was rated at 90 horsepower. But the extremely short stroke engine design meant that the car developed little usable torque.  The Falcons were very slow.  There was a story in my home town in Ontario that during the late 1960s, the local police chief pulled over a teenager (I am withholding the name) driving an early 1960s six-cylinder Ford Falcon and accused him of “squealing the tires” which would mean a fine for “unnecessary noise”.  The teenager got out of the car, handed the keys of the Falcon to the police chief and told him that the car would not “squeal the tires”, but that the police chief was free to see if he could “squeal the tires” on the Falcon and if he could “squeal the tires”, then the teenager would plead guilty to “unnecessary noise”.  The police chief declined the offer and let him off with a warning.

Ford improved the Falcon for 1961 with the addition of a slightly longer stroke, 170 cubic-inch six cylinder engine that produced 101 horsepower, and in addition, the larger engine had improved torque.  At the same time,  the 144 cubic inch engine was more honestly rated at 85 horsepower, down from 90 horsepower rating of earlier years.

Ford Falcon Convertible 1963 (7)

This Ford Falcon Had The Floor Shift With The Bucket Seats

In 1962 Ford introduced the original small block V8 Windsor engine, which eventually led to the 351 cubic inch Windsor engine. The original Ford small block V8 engine had a displacement of 221 cubic inches.  The second version of the Windsor, introduced during the middle of the 1962 model year, had the same piston stroke but with the cylinder bore increased from 3.50 inches to 3.80 inches, increasing the engine displacement to 260 cubic inches.  The compression ratio was raised fractionally to 8.8:1. The rated power (SAE gross) rose from 145 horsepower to 164 horsepower at 4,400 rpm.

In 1963 the 260 cubic inch V8 engine became the base engine on full-size Ford sedans. Later in 1963 this availability was expanded to the smaller Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet lineups. The early “1964½” Ford Mustang also offered the 260, although it was dropped by mid-year in favor of the 289 cubic inch version of this same engine.  The 260 cubic inch V8 was also used in the 1964-1966 Sunbeam Tiger Mk I.  The subsequent 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk II also switched to the 289 cubic inch V8 engine.

Ford Falcon Futura 1963 (3)

The 170 Cubic Inch Six-Cylinder Engine

In the special rally version of the Falcon and in the early AC Cobras, a high-performance version of the 260 V8 with higher compression, hotter camshaft timing, and a four-barrel carburetor was used. This engine was rated (SAE gross) 260 hp at 5,800 rpm.  This was a substantial horsepower increase over the standard 260 cubic inch V8.

Ford Falcon Futura 260V8 (4)

Ford Falcons With The 260 Cubic Inch V8 Engine Have a Special 260 V8 Insignia On The Front Fender

In 1963 Ford entered three cars in the Monte Carlo Rally.  The team manager was English touring car racer Jeff Uren.  He used his racing mechanics to prepare the Ford Falcons for this legendary rally.  The three cars were driven by the following crews:

  • Bo Ljungfeldt/Gunnar Haggbom
  • Peter Jopp/Grant Jarman
  • Anne Hall/Margret Mackenzie

Ford Falcon Monte Carlo (1)

Bo Ljungfeldt/Gunnar Haggbom’s 1963 Monte Carlo Falcon

The picture below showing the Jopp/Jarman Falcon, Car #221, is rather interesting.  The Falcon is exiting a right turn on a mostly snow-covered road.  Look at the inside front tire.  It is barely touching the road.  This suggests that this car has both good grip and is able to get the power down to the road.  Very impressive!

Ford Falcon Monte Carlo (2)

Jopp/Jarman’s Ford Falcon, Car #221, In The 1963 Monte Carlo Rally

The Ford Falcon team did not get off to a good start.  The team chose to start the Monte Carlo Rally from Monte Carlo itself.  By starting in Monte Carlo that meant that the teams had to take a circular route out from Monte Carlo and then return.  Of the 32 cars that started from Monte Carlo, 17 were eliminated mainly by blocked roads.  This caused the cars to exceed the maximum allowable lateness.  The Bo Ljungfeldt car lost a lot of time during this phase of the rally which put them back in the field.  The Anne Hall/Margret MacKenzie entry was one of the cars that was over the limit during this initial phase of the rally.


Bo Ljungfeldt/Gunnar Haggbom’s Ford Falcon At The 1963 Monte Carlo Rally

On the stages the Bo Ljungfeldt Ford Falcon, Car #223, was the fastest car and driver in the Monte Carlo Rally.  However due to the time lost during the portion of the rally getting back to Monte Carlo, Ljungfeldt finished in 42nd overall position.  But he and the Ford Falcon certainly made an impression on the Monte Carlo Rally officials.  Some of the competition rules were changed for the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 rally to make it more difficult for cars like the Ford Falcon to win the Monte Carlo rally.

Ford Falcon Monte Carlo (4)

Rally-Ready 1963 Ford Falcon

The Jopp/Jarman Ford Falcon shown above finished 34th Overall and 1st in the over 3000cc Class.  Ford did use the fact that it competed in the Monte Carlo Rally in its advertising for the Ford Falcon.

Ford Falcon Monte Carlo Ad

Note The Mention Of The Monte Carlo Rally In Falcon’s Advertising

Ford also used the improved Falcon performance in more wide-spread advertising as shown below.

Ford Falcon 1963-Falcon-Sprint-ad

Hard The Believe That Falcon Was Supposed To Be An Economy Car

The Ford Falcon was a significant car towards the development of Ford’s sporting image and it helped to blaze the trail for the Mustang.  The Falcon was impressive in the 1963 Monte Carlo, but the Falcons did even better in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.


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Early Announcement Of 2015 Great Race Route

The radiators might still be warm from the 2014 Great Race, but the organizers are already getting ready for the 2015 Great Race.  Next year the Great Race will have a Route 66 theme, as it generally follows the legendary road from Illinois to California.

Great Race 2015 Poster Early

Route 66 For The 2015 Great Race

The 2015 Great Race will start in the St. Louis area on Saturday, June 20, and will finish in southern California on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Further details of the route and the cities that the Great Race will pass through will be made available by the organizers at a later date.

For the 2015 Great Race a private entry fee will remain $5,000, and a $500 discount is available for those who pay a $2,000 deposit by Sept. 30 and the balance of $2,500 by Dec. 31.  It is expected that once again, the first place overall prize will be $50,000, with a $150,000 total prize money pool assuming that a minimum of 100 entries are received.  Contact information is presented on the poster shown above.

This route is something of a departure from recent Great Race events that have been held in the eastern part of the USA and Canada.

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MG J2: Pointed The MG Direction For Many Years

When I was at the rcent vintage Car races at Thompson Speedway I had the pleasure of seeing a very significant MG – an MG J2.  The MG J2 was introduced by MG in 1932 to replace the M-Type Midget.  These early MG’s set the stage for design of the MG cars well into the 1950s.

MG J2 1932 (1)

The MG J2 Cars Were Affordable, Good Looking Sports Cars

The MG J2 was powered by a 847cc four-cylinder which produced about 36 horsepower at 5,500 rpm.  A reasonable top speed of 75 miles per hour could be achieved.   The MG J2 had a four-speed transmission with a very low 5.375:1 rear axle gear ratio. When driven normally, drivers could expect 30 miles per gallon.

MG J2 1932 (6)

The MG J Series Had Four Models

The MG J2 was one model of a four model series:

  • J1 - Four-seat touring model with 36 horsepower 847cc engine
  • J2 - Two-seat sports model with 36 horsepower 847cc engine
  • J3 - Two-seat sports model with a supercharged 746cc destroked 847cc engine
  • J4 - Two seat sports model with 72 horsepower 746cc destroked 847cc engine

The MG J4 was the racing version of the J-Series and a MG J4 finished 6th Overall in the 1934 LeMans race.  These seem like small cars with small numbers to be competitive at LeMans, but those were different times.

MG J2 1932 (3)

Interesting That Lifting The Hood Exposes The Footwell!

I was surprised that when the hood was raised you could see into the footwell.  From a mechanic’s point of view I suppose this is an advantage as they don’t have to stand on their heads into order to work in the footwell.

MG J2 Advertisement

“Safety Fast” Was MG’s Theme

Note that the car shown in the advertisement above has swept front fenders that extends back to the rear fenders.   The swept fender design was introduced in 1934 in the last year of its model run.  The early MG J2 cars only had cycle fenders like the MG J2 car featured in this post, shown below.

MG J2 1932 (2)

I Think That The Swept Front Fenders Would Be Styling Improvement

I noted that the front of the MG J2 had an ARCA badge on it.  ARCA stood for the Automobile Racing Club of America.  Back in the 1930s ARCA was the focal point of road racing, including hill climbs on the east coast.  The original ARCA was disbanded when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  After the war, the organization was essentially reconstituted as the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).  Now ARCA, an organization not related to the original ARCA, is mostly associated with NASCAR-light racing.

An information card with this car said that it was imported into the USA by Sam Collier and subsequently raced in ARCA races by Tom Dewart at places like Alexandria Bay, New York.

MG J2 1932 (4)

The Dash Is Wonderful In Its Simplicity

The MG J2 is a wonderful car and it was great to see one of these cars.  They are not very common, but their influence on MG was long lasting.

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2014 Great Race Results

Last weekend the Great Race ended in The Villages, Florida.  I was somewhat surprised by the winning team.  This year might have been the first time, or at least one of the first times, that a “modern” car has won the Great Race.  Typically the Great Race has been won by a car that was built before the mid-1930s.  This year the winning team was driving a 1965 Mustang!  However the winning team, Barry and Irene Jason had won the past two Great Races, although in a much older car.  But with a very talented team!  So this year’s win represented the third year in a row that Barry and Irene have won this event.  With the strength of the field in the 2014 Great Race, this is a spectacular result!  The picture below of the Jasons at the finish was on the Great Race website.

2014 Winning Team 65 Mustang

 Barry and Irene Jason At The Finish!

What this victory tells me is that when a team posts small numbers for an error, then it somewhat takes the factor out of the scoring.  For example, with a daily error of 8 seconds and a factor differential of 0.3, then an older car team would have to score better than 10.3 seconds to beat the newer car.  So as long as a team in a modern car can post low scores, then there will be few opportunities to “old car” your way to the top.

The other class winners were the cars that I showed on my post about the mid-race leaders, with the exception of the X-Class winners, the McPherson College team.  Their 1957 Ford entry is shown below.

GR103 Ford Sedan 1957 (1)

X-Class Winners – McPherson College’s 1957 Ford Sedan

I decided that rather than show winning cars, that I would show some of the more interesting entries.  This GMC pickup shown below certainly qualifies as an interesting vehicle.  When I saw this truck at the start in Maine, I thought that it was the sweep vehicle!

GR60 GMC 630 Diesel (4)

1952 GMC 630 5-Ton Diesel Pickup Truck

The Auburn Buick Special below was a spectacular car.  It has a straight 8 cylinder  Buick engine with lots of carburetors.  This was a pure race car.  There was an attempt to qualify this car in the Indianapolis 500, but it came up short.  However this car seems like it is plenty fast!

GR30 Auburn Buick Special (11)

1932 Auburn Buick Special

The 1957 Thunderbird shown below is a very nice looking car that caught my attention at the start in Maine.

GR11 Thunderbird (2)

1957 Thunderbird

The 1935 Ford coupe show below was entered by Rex Gardner, who is the driving force behind the Vintage Car Rally Association.

GR5 Ford Coupe 1935 (1)

1935 Ford Coupe

As a rally navigator, I am always interested in the set up that other rally navigators use in a rally.  The picture below shows the set up that is used in Rex Gardner’s 1935 Ford coupe shown above.

GR5 Ford Coupe 1935 (3)

Typically Great Race Rally Navigator’s “Office”

In the Great Race the use of an odometer is prohibited.  You can see that Rex has covered up the stock speedometer/odometer display in the Ford’s dashboard.  Mounted high, well within the driver’s sight line is the Timewise 825 calibratable speedometer.  This allows the driver to watch the speedometer and the road at the same time.  Only one analog clock, with no stopwatch function, is permitted, thus there is a large, easily read clock in front of the driver.  One stopwatch is permitted in the vehicle.  I won’t comment on the “left” and “right” markings in front of the navigator.

The following table presents the results from the 2014 Great Race.

 2014 Great Race Final Results

1 35 G 1966 I & B Jason 1:02 0.980 1:00.76
2 91 E 1933 J & E Fredette 1:21 0.815 1:06.02
3 66 E 1932 Knowles/Gentry 1:34 0.810 1:16.14
4 2 G 1932 Graf/Bell 1:36 0.810 1:17.76
5 38 E 1938 G & J Martin 1:38 0.840 1:22.32
6 92 S 1928 Nelson/Schindler 1:47 0.780 1:23.46
7 54 E 1936 L & J Feeney 1:45 0.830 1:27.15
8 1 G 1916 H & D Sharp 2:28 0.660 1:37.68
9 58 E 1928 R & K Fredette 2:09 0.780 1:40.62
10 57 E 1939 S & E Tourje 2:02 0.845 1:43.09
11 71 E 1940 Hollansworth/Holmqui 2:04 0.850 1:45.40
12 42 S 1917 Klinger/Reckow 2:42 0.670 1:48.54
13 6 G 1932 V & G Cunningham 2:15 0.810 1:49.35
14 75 S 1940 Kozloski/Coon 2:10 0.850 1:50.50
15 27 E 1928 R & A Dinges 2:39 0.780 2:04.02
16 7 E 1932 Cothern/Hewitt 2:42 0.810 2:11.22
17 31 E 1931 C & J Caldwell 2:44 0.805 2:12.02
18 93 E 1932 G & C Mace 2:46 0.810 2:14.46
19 45 E 1929 S & J Hedke 2:55 0.840 2:27.00
20 53 S 1965 Bryan/Gomez 2:43 0.985 2:40.56
21 81 S 1965 L & J Goode 2:48 0.975 2:43.80
22 29 E 1937 Haverty/Pusey 3:28 0.835 2:53.68
23 23 E 1969 Blood/Keller 2:57 0.995 2:56.12
24 88 S 1939 Sweezey/LaBier 4:01 0.845 3:23.65
25 9 S 1932 Menneto/Parizo 4:12 0.810 3:24.12
26 84 E 1936 Bell/Marble 4:06 0.830 3:24.18
27 19 SR 1935 J & B Hensler 4:09 0.825 3:25.43
28 24 SR 1937 Rubright/Jenkins 3:32 0.985 3:28.82
29 56 S 1933 Lockwood/Millikin 4:52 0.815 3:57.98
30 70 S 1936 B & C Croker 4:49 0.830 3:59.87
31 99 E 1965 Stumb/Brown 4:07 0.975 4:00.83
32 34 SR 1946 Jobe/Prueitt 4:39 0.880 4:05.52
33 47 S 1940 Tribble/Rookey 4:19 0.985 4:15.12
34 97 S 1934 T & B Karr 5:24 0.820 4:25.68
35 83 S 1929 B & I Deering 5:39 0.790 4:27.81
36 65 S 1965 G & B White 5:02 0.975 4:54.45
37 98 S 1947 J & J Wagner 5:40 0.885 5:00.90
38 103 X 1957 McPherson College 5:29 0.935 5:07.62
39 17 S 1941 B & D Stahl 6:16 0.855 5:21.48
40 8 SR 1968 L & H Marcus 5:44 0.990 5:40.56
41 63 S 1950 Corey/Jones 6:42 0.900 6:01.80
42 102 X 1956 Ponca City 7:02 0.930 6:32.46
43 46 E 1929 Merrill/VanSchoor 8:20 0.790 6:35.00
44 4 G 1932 Reeder/Stone 8:18 0.810 6:43.38
45 55 E 1916 Mussche/Coad 10:24 0.660 6:51.84
46 80 SR 1940 Gordon/Nerad 8:28 0.850 7:11.80
47 78 SR 1948 Chapman/Hill 8:14 0.890 7:19.66
48 77 S 1937 P & B Vicari 7:35 0.985 7:28.18
49 14 S 1967 A & H Runck 7:41 0.985 7:34.09
50 62 S 1962 J & Z Hausmann 8:21 0.960 8:00.96
51 105 SR 1959 Riggs/Conant 8:47 0.945 8:18.02
52 64 SR 1970 D & J Elliott 8:20 1.000 8:20.00
53 104 X 1928 Galax, Virginia 10:42 0.780 8:20.76
54 20 SR 1965 Creary/States 8:34 0.975 8:21.15
55 96 SR 1954 O & M Hallowes 9:32 0.920 8:46.24
56 101 X 1964 Mobile, Alabama 10:05 0.970 9:46.85
57 12 SR 1954 C & N Patton 10:42 0.920 9:50.64
58 16 SR 1969 J & M Powers 10:06 0.995 10:02.97
59 11 SR 1957 E & B Kaplan 11:05 0.935 10:21.78
60 28 S 1928 Habetz/K. Fredette 13:46 0.780 10:44.28
61 49 S 1936 S & G Antonelli 11:16 0.965 10:52.34
62 48 S 1963 E & R Overmyer 11:58 0.965 11:32.87
63 86 SR 1972 D & L Rush 11:34 1.000 11:34.00
64 60 SR 1952 W & S Herrmann 13:38 1.000 13:38.00
65 73 SR 1936 B & D Stroman 16:27 0.830 13:39.21
66 41 SR 1930 Clarkson/Johnson 16:35 0.890 14:45.55
67 39 SR 1964 Sellenriek/Schwartz 15:44 0.970 15:15.68
68 51 SR 1953 Wheeler/Hardy 16:23 0.965 15:48.60
69 21 SR 1963 C & K Woodard 17:40 0.965 17:02.90
70 15 S 1936 B & J Jacobs 20:53 0.830 17:19.99
71 32 SR 1967 Tanner/McShane 18:52 0.985 18:35.02
72 68 SR 1966 Nawojczyk/Leach 19:28 0.980 19:04.64
73 100 SR 1965 T & P Pease 19:44 0.975 19:14.40
74 18 SR 1967 M & M Buchanan 21:29 0.985 21:09.67
75 89 SR 1967 D & D Martin 22:37 0.985 22:16.65
76 108 SR 1959 O’Connell/Kohlmeyer 24:12 0.945 22:52.14
77 79 SR 1931 Piekarski/Stroud 31:54 0.805 25:40.77
78 67 S 1932 C & M Miller 35:15 0.810 28:33.15
79 94 SR 1967 Niss/Campbell 29:58 0.985 29:31.03
80 25 SR 1962 Swindle/Hallquist 32:12 0.960 30:54.72
81 72 SR 1969 M & R Perlman 34:38 0.995 34:27.61
82 109 SR 1970 Wam/Akasaka 40:59 1.000 40:59.00
83 3 S 1915 Buonanno/Clark —- 0.650 —-
84 76 S 1928 D & S Lowe —- 0.780 —-
85 85 SR 1929 Ricca/LeBlanc —- 0.790 —-
86 95 SR 1930 Kloth/Clark —- 0.800 —-
87 5 G 1935 Gardner/Hastert —- 0.825 —-
88 90 S 1935 M & T Stahl —- 0.825 —-
89 36 E 1936 Moore/McKone —- 0.830 —-
90 37 E 1932 Harper/Blair —- 0.835 —-
91 33 S 1937 J & J Schmitt —- 0.835 —-
92 69 SR 1939 J & C Glasgow —- 0.845 —-
93 30 S 1932 Reinan/Brungardt —- 0.855 —-
94 26 SR 1957 Self/Tate —- 0.935 —-
95 61 S 1961 Corey/Ullman —- 0.955 —-
96 43 S 1964 Hammer/Bonter —- 0.970 —-
97 87 SR 1965 Wright/Amendola —- 0.975 —-
98 22 S 1969 Green/Barbour —- 0.995 —-


From what I can tell the 2014 Great Race was a success with over 100 entries.  This is one of the premier rallies in the USA. For more information you can see their website at


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Vintage Festival At Thompson Speedway

This past weekend I went to the Vintage Motorsports Festival at Thompson Speedway which celebrated the grand reopening of the historic road course at this facility.  Thompson Speedway was one of the first closed-course purpose built road racing tracks in the USA.

Program Cover

While the event lasted three days, I only attended the last day, Sunday June 29, 2014.  On Sunday there was a morning car show in the pit area followed by races in the afternoon.  At the Thompson Speedway, due to Sunday noise restrictions, racing is only permitted after noon.

On Friday night there was a banquet where Fox’s NASCAR announcer, Mike Joy, was a featured speaker.  Bob Melhado, Chief Steward for the VSCCA races forwarded the following photo to me.  The photo shows, from left to right, Gordie MacKenzie who was a very well-known and successful Jaguar racer in the 1950s and 1960s, Ernie Stuebesand, and Mike Joy, who is seated.

Gordie MacKenzie Ernie S Mike Joy

Gordie MacKenzie, Ernie Stuebesand, and Mike Joy

There was a tremendous amount of eye candy at the Thompson Speedway.  I have selected some of the photos that I took on Sunday, but there were many more great and interesting cars at the Thompson Vintage Festival, but I had to draw a line somewhere.  The racing was a combined Vintage Racer Group (VRG) and Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA) event.  Each organization had their own races.

Chevrolet Corvette 1964 (2)

1964 Chevrolet Corvette

In addition to cars in the pits and on the track, I was able to walk through the garage and see the cars being prepared.  The picture below shows a couple of MGA race cars in the garage.

MGA Race Cars (1)

Two MGA Racers

As the case for any race event, there were a number of Porsche cars present.  The Porsche 911 shown below is but one of many Porsche cars there.

Porsche 911 1968 (1)

1968 Porsche 911

There were quite a few Lotus 7 cars at Thompson.  The Lotus 7 is a street car that seemed to be designed as a thinly disguised race car.

Lotus 7 Green Yellow (4)

Lotus 7

In addition to cars that were actively being raced there were a number of interesting cars around the track and in the spectator’s parking lot.  One of the more impressive cars at the track was the “blower” Bentley shown below.

Bentley Blower (4)

A “Blower” Bentley With The Front-Mounted Supercharger

While many of the cars were quite immaculately prepared, one car stood out to me due to the healthy dose of patina displayed on the car.  The Bugatti shown below looks like it has been sitting in the garage for many years and just got pushed out for these races.

Bugatti Special (3)

Bugatti Special

In the pre-war race there were several race cars that appeared to have more of a history on dirt tracks than on road courses.  However during the race these sprint cars were quite competitive.  The Dreyer Ford Special shown below had a small Ford “flathead” V8 engine.

Dreyer Ford Special (4)

Dreyer Ford Special

A car that is no longer seen on a race track in the Ford Thunderbird.  The mid-1950s 2-seat Thunderbird shown below is reminiscent of the days when there really was “thunder” in the Thunderbird.

Thunderbird (3)

Ford Thunderbird

The Lotus Evora shown below appeared to be the personal car of one of the racers.  This is a very impressive car!

Lotus Evora (1)

Lotus Evora

In addition to race cars, there were a few very interesting and unusual cars there as well.  The Citroen van shown below fits into that category.

Citroen Van (1)

You Don’t See A Citroen Van Everyday

Another interesting spectator car was the TVR 280i convertible shown below.  Car #136 shown in the background is a Marcos.

TVR Tasmin 280i (2)

TVR 280i

There were interesting cars in the parking lot as well.  Check out the Alfa Romeo Giulia SS shown below.  Also the Porsche beside the Alfa Romeo belongs to Jim Garfield of Rhode Island.  I know Jim from a few years ago when he wanted to buy my Brantz Retrotrip odometer.  I told him that I was not interested in selling it to him because I had some issues with it.  However I did lend the Retrotrip to Jim so that he could try it out and form his own opinion.  I looked inside Jim’s car and I notice that he now has his own Brantz Retrotrip odometer and a nice set of watches.  Jim and his son, Mason, were attending the Thompson Vintage Festival as crew members for a Porsche 911.

Alfa Romeo Giulia SS (1)

An Alfa Romeo Giulia SS

The Jaguar below has that color that I always associate with the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar race team.

Jaguar XK140 1955 (4)

Jaguar XK140 Racer

Another great spectator car was the Lotus Elite shown below.  As I noted in a recent discussion on the Lotus Elan cars, the Lotus Elite was the precursor to the Lotus Elan in the road cars that were built by Colin Chapman.

Lotus Elite (2)

Lotus Elite

One of the oldest cars at the Thompson Vintage Festival was a 1932 MG J2.  This is one of the earliest MG cars.  This car was raced in England from 1932 to 1934 before it was imported into the USA.  This car looked beautiful, but it had some difficulties on the track during the pre-war race and only was able to complete one lap.

MG J2 1932 (1)

1932 MG J2

Another MG racer at the Thompson Vintage Festival was the MG P Lester Special shown below.  This was also a very impressive car.

MG P Lester Special (6)

MG P Lester Special

One of the most storied race cars in the northeast USA is the car known as “The Old Gray Mare”.  The Old Gray Mare has been raced continually from the early 1930s.  There are numerous photos of this car  on race courses and at the Mount Washington Hillclimb over the years.  Power comes from a Ford “flathead” V8 engine.

Old Gray Mare (3)

The Old Gray Mare

Below is a front view of the legendary Old Gray Mare.

Old Gray Mare (4)

Front View Of The Old Gray Mare

In summary, the Thompson Speedway Vintage Festival was a very enjoyable event.  I hope that it becomes an annual event.  It is wonderful to have road racing return to Thompson.

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