6 Second Hero

Oh, he had walked the walk. A blue collar pencil pusher by day. He knew the in and outs of the corporate shell. Nailed the daily punch card and had a perfect record. He would speak when asked and worked hard to achieve goals set by those in charge. A dedicated company man. A company man dedicates his time and effort to help keep the status quo by doing his part Never causing ripples to upset the boat. Just remain a steady hard edged cog in all that keeps the company moving forward. Monday through Friday. Even at his clean desk he did not have any distractions, unlike his co-workers. No radio or personal desk calendars or family pictures. The higher ups liked that, in their mind it kept him focused. Friday would arrive and the seeds of an approaching weekend would sprout throughout the office. BBQ’s,  soccer /basket ball/football/hockey games.  A gathering of co-workers at Benigan’s and knock a few back to start the weekend. He always turned their offers down, he had other plans. As his co-workers left in their shiny new cars and SUVs, He gladly climbed behind the wheel of his trusty 1989 Dodge truck and headed west, his heart and mind focused on his other office which waited.

Friday nights are all about prep. Tear down and rebuild.  Planning, strategy. Dirty Johnny watches the weather and working with Woody, determines sparkplugs, fuel/air ratio, tire pressure. Knowing. The brothers discuss the barometer and weather for the next day.  Dirty and Woody come to a decision and reassemble the smallblock. Ol’ Skinny, well, wise as he is, just watches. Knowing. And as the moon rises and the digger is prepped and ready for Saturday, revelry in the pits is not too uncommon, and the first of many of Golden’s finest is emptied.

The morning sun blasts the pits with warmth.  The temperature creeps as the asphalt gets softer. Skinny is resting on a stack of racing slicks. Late night combined with an early morning. Through the fog of a night’s good time the team works. A mild throb in the skull, but the boys have work as one. A unified  machine of a hidden teamwork. Dirty Johnny casts a glance to the horizon.  Then looks at his watch and studies the track thermometer. “Hmm.” He knows that their time for their first run is not for an hour, but if the conditions are just right.

The pits are strong with the smell of racing fuel. Alcohol. Nitro. Skinny suits up and Woody tends to the tow straps. Dirty climbs into the Dodge and eases the pick up forward. The soft breeze calms and the weather balances. Still. No wind. Dirty Johnny raises an eyebrow.

The launching of a dragster is all about a check list. Woody had lived it since he was only as tall as a racing slick. Everyone tending to the launch has a job to do and most important is the communication with the driver. Fire up, tow straps disengaged, chute straps pulled. Every detail ran through like clockwork and then it was all up to Skinny.
A quick burn out, heating the tires up. Not too much. Guided back into place and then he rolls forward slowly and the Christmas tree lights up that he has pre-staged.

Now he is staged and it begins. Yellow. Yellow. Yellow.

As the yellow light fades he stabs the throttle. A weeks worth of sweat and prep comes down to a millisecond as his reaction time is .499.

Green flashes by and he feathers the throttle. No tire spin, and the small block screams.

And it’s done. He pulls the shoot and coasts..drag chute slowly pulling the dragster safely to a stop.
Numbers flash across the display board. 6.1  201.54.

The crowd howls. Skinny Jim pumps his fist and whoops.
Just another day in his office.

Written for my friend Skinny Jim O’Connell. Happy Birthday, man.

MECUM Auction comes to Portland again in 2018

The collector car hobby is alive and well all cross the America. The “Collector Car Auction” has become a regular on cable TV channels like NBC Sports, The Discovery Channel, Velocity and so on. These events are exciting and fun with lots of glitz and glamour, bright lights, shiny cars, auctioneers, calling out for bids in a cadence that’s hard for the average guy to duplicate and that cadence only adds to excitement and implants a sense of urgency.

Mecum came to Portland again in June 2018. They travel all across the continent producing their collector car auctions in, I think, 18 locations, it’s a traveling show and what a show it is. I heard these auctions described as the biggest and best car show you can attend, and everything is for sale!

Mark Young with the Northwest House of Hardtops @ 11834 SE Stark, in Portland, OR., 503-257-9050, brought much of his inventory to the auction and a lot found new homes. His inventory is usually just spectacular. Rare muscle cars, fantastic restorations, beautiful and well-kept Corvettes of all years. Each offering a treasure to any car guy or car gal.

Mecum offered more than 600 lots this year and nearly 300 sold for about a 50% sell through. Total sales reached 8.3 million. I found many cars that I would love to call mine but alas, my budget just can’t handle what my mind thinks I might need.

For access to complete auction results, or for a schedule of Mecum’s upcoming events, you can sign up for the free InfoNet service at www.Mecum.com. Check out some pictures of cars that were offered and put Mecum Portland on your calendar for next June.

If you’re selling, consign early. They will post your car on the site so people shopping can see your car. If you’re looking to buy, check their website for a look at what’s going to be available. Obviously, next years auction won’t be shown yet but don’t forget to check back often to stay up to speed on what’s coming.

Collector car auctions are a great place to locate the car of your dreams and you can buy it there and take it home.

National Collector Car Appreciation Day

As this goes to press, it is Friday the 13th, National Collector Car Appreciation Day. Congress has honored all Gearheads by making this our special holiday. We hope it was special for you.

The Wednesday night Beaches cruise-ins opened out at PIR June 6th. And what a Whopper it was, reportedly over 1800 cars in attendance. Unfortunately I have no coverage of this event as the pixel 2 work phone holding thatinfo, mysteriously disappeared Into Thin Air out there. #GearHeadsWorld is still on the lookout for it.

Tesla Makes The News Again:

Another Tesla Model S has gone up in flames. This one belongs to a movie star who had parked it on Santa Monica Boulevard. Some of you may have seen the viral video. in the meantime, Elon Musk has fired a load of his mid-level managers. Looks like he is trimming things down.

Next we have a self-driving Uber that has fatally killed a bicyclist. The driver was behind the wheel streaming “The Voice.” Charges have been brought.

Speaking of bicycles, did you hear the one about the Motorcycle Company who goes back to building bicycles just like they did a hundred years ago when they started? Yep, we are talking about Harley. It seems that the bubble has burst that consisted of the successful baby boomers who climbed aboard their Harleys in the wake of the tremendously successful Discovery show American Chopper which has also settled back down to earth.
Now Harley is looking at the millennial yuppies who don’t want motorcycles. They prefer Nifty bicycles so Harley will be supplying them. They won’t be cheap. You will have to drop around 4 Grand for one. So, now the word bike will have a whole new meaning for Harley.

We like to put in a good word for the RPM bill which continues to be successfully lobbied. Now we have a new wrinkle, it seems that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, has resigned under pressure. Now we wait to see how all that shakes out.

Now, here is our high performance news of the week. And this, most definitely is a harbinger of things to come. The Pikes Peak competition has recently wrapped. There has been a world record run hosted by an electric car. This was the VW l. D. R electric car. It posted a 7. 57 at 148 mph, which is the fastest run for any kind of vehicle ever!
In conclusion we would like to make mention of The Rockin Around The Block cruise in which is coming right up in Gresham. This is the event put on by the Northwest Motorsports Association to benefit the Mount Hood Community College automotive department. Hot rods will take over the entire downtown for the entire day on Saturday August 11th.

’nuff said, Chuck Fasst.
GearHeadsWorld@blogspot.com

Another Man’s Treasure

What follows is part two of a story I began in the February 2018 issue of Roddin’ & Racin’. It was entitled: “One Man’s Junk…” and told the story of a unique wrecking yard in Springfield, Oregon that is brimming with eclectic vehicles. “Another Man’s Treasure” tells the story of what at first appears to be a similar venue but in fact turns out to be…“a collection”. For the most part nothing is for sale here.

I spent the better part of a day with the owner exploring the grounds and taking pictures. I have known Bob Farwell for many years and consider him a friend. Yes, he’s a chatterbox but if you are willing to listen, he has many interesting stories to tell. He is bright, resilient, insightful, kind of heart and as passionate about automobiles as any person I’ve ever met.

And then there’s “the collection”…Wow. I have to admit that my reaction to it was somewhere between fascination and horror. The tour of his compound left me reeling. I had very mixed emotions about what I’d seen and that makes it difficult to write about. Then a few weeks later I received word that he’d had a fire and a portion of his collection was destroyed. The news made me nauseous but I imagined that it was devastating to him. At that point I decided that the second part of my story would never be published- then I ran into Farwell at a swap meet. I offered my condolences and told him of my decision. Much to my surprise, he was disappointed! In spite of everything, he wanted to see a story about his collection in print.

So here it is. It is not my best work. It is not the story I initially intended to write. It’s not much of story at all but fortunately…the photographs speak for themselves.

Bob Farwell is a collector of a different sort. He collects antique cars, race cars from different eras and much, much more. There is a collection of radio controlled airplanes, small industrial engines and mechanical oddities. What appears at first to be a scrapyard is in actuality an uncategorized assemblage. Every object is somehow meaningful to Farwell and worthy of saving. Every object has a story attached- a story that Farwell is anxious to tell. I think in many cases the stories are of more value than the objects themselves.

Farwell has had an interesting life full of ups and downs. He has been a championship winning race car owner. He has lost one of his best friends (due to heart failure) in a midget that he owned. He is the former owner of Cottage Grove Speedway and readily admits to losing a fortune in that endeavor but expresses no regrets. Until very recently, he owned a successful bar and grill adjacent to the State Fairgrounds. And of course, he still owns an amazing collection of race cars. They include:

A 1957 Grant King Big Car powered by a 302 c.i. GMC engine. King was a master race car builder of Chinese descent with strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. Eventually he settled in Indianapolis where he built numerous racers that compete in the Memorial Day Classic
.
The Rennsport house midget. A 70’s era bullet propelled a 165 c.i. “Staggerfire” V-4 engine. This potent racer was driven by some of the best short trackers in the business including Jimmy Sills and Jan Opperman.

An extremely rare Don Edmunds-built, rear engine midget powered by an Auto-Craft (Full race Volkswagen) engine. This car was campaigned in the Pacific Northwest but remains a bit of a mystery. Edmunds acknowledged having built the car to Farwell but it is not mentioned in the exhaustive biography on Edmunds published by Paul Weisel, Jr. last year.

Rebel Rally

The goldRush Rally is the craziest exotic car parade that you have never heard of. If you have heard of it, then you probably stumbled upon it somewhere in the back roads of the United States or caught ‘dope’ pictures on social media.

Though it is referred to as a ‘rally,’ those who organize it are adamant that no street racing is to be tolerated. This is not a cross-country barnstorming, but more of a wild group road trip. Almost 200 participants sign up to caravan in their Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris, McLarens, and more. There are no restrictions on makes, models, or years of the participating cars, though most that are entered are considered to be ‘exotic.’

Each year, the route changes. For the special ten-year anniversary this June, expedition stopped in ten metropolitan cities from Boston to Las Vegas. Lasting little over a week, they happened to swing through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an afternoon.

There is nothing subtle about a fleet of candy-colored supercars arriving at your office- especially on a grey Tuesday morning. This was the VIP group, which included nascar Champion and 2014 Indy500 starter Kurt Busch driving a menacing 2018 Ford GT and former Seahawks Defensive End Cliff Avril in his own Black Panther themed ride. All of a sudden, there was a spectacle. These magnificent cars were a taste of the 200-odd legion on their way.

“We get guys from all over the country” explained one of the drivers named Geoff. “Most own their own cars, but sometimes you’ll get someone from another country that rents a new Lambo or something just to participate.”
Geoff Fear owns a luxury watch company that sponsors the series and has been an eager participant since the beginning. Decked out in Premiere Jewelry logos and goldRush stickers, Fear rocked a classic Gulf paint scheme this year on his McLaren 570S. Every car sports their own unique design and attitude – each wilder than the next.
Geoff represents most that run this rally. This tradition has turned from a lighthearted week of parties and supercar spectacle to a close-knit reunion. “This is my family and I look forward to this every year,” he said earnestly before smirking and adding “There is something about running from the cops that really brings people together.”

As one can imagine, discretion is not the goal of this organization. No matter the city, a crowd gathers. This often times includes the Fuzz. Sometimes the police are present to provide an escort, and sometimes they are present to provide tickets. The series rules specifically state:

“The goldRush Rally (the “Rally”) is not a race. You must not compete in any manner with other participants. You must not place any bets of any kind in relation to the Rally… You must comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the City, County, State, and Country in which you are present at any given time during the Rally, including but not limited to all speed regulations, laws of the road, etc.”

But being pulled over is a regularity. Speeding tickets are a mark of pride but not getting caught is the ultimate prize.
From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Las Vegas strip, goldRush embodies a new type of gearhead. It is luxury, it is humor and it captures the elusive idea of ‘cool.’ There is an outlaw vibe here and the cast of characters has no shortage of personality. In their mission statement, goldRush even refers to themselves as both a ‘social event’ and a ‘lifestyle brand’ and travel days are almost exclusively covered with new media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Besides a presence at sema, this organization’s focus is not on media attention — but bringing like-minded people together.

This is a tribe and yet another flavor of car culture, one that is still creating their own mark and community. These guys have a mix of crazy eccentricities and attitude. In a word, these guys are rebels.

Petersen Collector Car’s Roseburg Auction

Roseburg in July is a great place to be for people who like hot rods, old cars. street rods etc. “Graffiti Weekend” as its called, offers car shows, cruise-ins, circle track racing, collector car auctions and more. There is something for everyone and it’s not actually just the weekend. This year it started on July 4 and lasted into the weekend. Some may say that the 4th stretches the events out to make it a long weekend and I can see that. Suffice to say, there is something going on every day that’s bound to appeal to many.

The Petersen Collector Car Auction at the Douglas County Fair Grounds is the one I like the best. This year’s auction offered a great array of interesting cars for sale. Not all of them old cars necessarily but many were, both stock and modified. The inventory represented a very diverse selection of rigs ranging from the 1920’s to a late model 2013 hi-rise Dodge Diesel 4 X 4, as well as Corvettes, Jags, BMW’s, and motorcycles. The responsive viewing audience of 400 plus with nearly 300 registered bidders purchased 45% of the 80 vehicles that were consigned. Curt and Susan wanted to say, “Thank you to everyone that participated in the Roseburg Graffiti Weekend Auction.”

This company is an Oregon family owned and operated business that holds three auction a year, in a couple different locations. Every sale typically has a great selection of cars to choose from and this year didn’t disappoint. I’ve bought and sold cars at these auctions and have always gone home happy. Curt and Susan Davis put together a wide variety of cars and trucks to sell and they enlist their family and friends to make these one-day events fun and enjoyable. Please follow them on Facebook and watch the website www.petersencollectorcars.com for the next auction coming in the fall.

Memorabilia sells first in the “warmup auction,” which includes beautiful and well built “man cave items” like custom phone booths, service station type yard lights, combination air & water stands and petroleum signs, provided by Pedersens Petro Retro of Roseburg, Oregon. They will be happy to “custom build” to your color scheme and product designs to fit your personal needs. Call Brent @ 541-868-5222.

Seventeen-Year-Old Wins 58th Annual Rose Cup Race

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 19, 2018) — The Rose Cup Races concluded its 58th year running this past weekend at Portland International Raceway (PIR). The Pacific Northwest’s premier amateur road racing event featured racing competitors from both the Oregon Region Sports Car Club of America and the Cascade Sports Car Club, competing in four amateur race groups: Spec Racer Ford, Great American Stock Car Series, Spec Miata, and a Vintage race group.

This year’s event also highlighted the return of professional sports car racing to PIR for the first time since 2009. The Pirelli World Challenge, considered North America’s top GT production-based road racing sports car series, brought more than 20 different manufacturers and 40 separate models to the Rose Cup Races, with four race groups and seven classes. The weekend marked the first time Pirelli World Challenge has raced in Portland since 2005.

The official winner of Sunday’s 58th Rose Cup race was the team of teenager Parker Chase and veteran Ryan Dalziel, who drove their Audi R8 LMS to victory in the GT SprintX feature. Chase, a 17-year-old from New Braunfels, Tex., scored his first GT Overall win. Dalziel, a multi-time GT race winner, started the race in the No. 19 Audi and was running third when he passed off the car to the teenager. Chase is the youngest driver in the history of the event to win the Rose Cup.

“It was terrific to work with PIR, the local sports car clubs and the Pirelli World Challenge folks to bring professional sports car racing back to Portland,” said Gary Bockman, President of Friends of PIR (FOPIR), the organizer of the event. “The hot weather matched the hot action on the race track, that’s for sure. We thank the many volunteers that made this event possible and we are already looking forward to the 59th Rose Cup Races in 2019.”

Racing on the Rouge

Getting up a ‘0’ dark hundred on a Saturday morning, I am heading to my old stomping grounds, Grants Pass. I am going to the Boatnik. The Boatnik is a four-day festival over Memorial Day Weekend. The festival has a big parade, golf shootout, brewfest, carnival, 5K run, concert, white water hydroplane races, drag boat exhibition, and sprint boat exhibition on the Rogue River. I have been involved with sprint boats since the start in the Willamette Valley and here I am heading south on I-5. The sprint boats are part of the big Boatnik parade. I asked if I could ride in the back of one of the tow rigs in the parade. Hundreds of people line the main street, I waved and took photos.

After the parade all the sprint boats were towed to a boat ramp just down river from the main festival at Riverside Park. Here we unladed the boats and got ready to go for the day. For all you gearheads who don’t know what a sprint boat is, let me explain. Sprint boats, or as they are sometimes called, jet sprints, started in New Zealand and Australia. These boats are “unbelievable”! 14 feet long, custom aluminum hulls with V-8 Engines. The hulls are fitted with full roll cages. The engines vary from small block Chevys with carburation, to big blocks with fuel injection, to aluminum big blocks with twin turbos. The hulls differ depending upon the manufacturer or if they are custom built. There are different classes depending upon engine size. The horsepower ranges from 600 hp to 1500 hp with speeds well over 100 mph and 0-60 speeds in as little as 3.5 seconds. These boats were built to turn sharp and fast with up to 7 Gs through a 90 degree turn.

A sprint boat would normally race on a track made of ditches 15 feet wide and 2 feet deep. The track is made of islands and predetermined course through the islands. This is where the boats need to go. It’s a timed event with only one boat at a time on the track. The driver goes through the course with directions form the navigator and hand signals as fast as he or she can.

This race is a little different, there are not ditches, just a river with a current. The course the boats go through is determined by buoys set up in the river.

We had to share the river wit drag boats and the small wood outboard powered hydroplanes. So, when they were done we set up the buoys and were ready to go. The boat ramp was down river a ways from where the course was. You could see the spray of the boats as they went around some of the buoys. There was about a dozen sprint boats there so everyone went out at least four times. There was only one boat that had to be towed back.
This was an international event. There were boat teams and drivers from Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Australia.

We were done on the river; all the teams will be on the river tomorrow. I had a great time but now I’m heading home for a family get together. If you get a chance on Memorial Day weekend head to Grants Pass for the Boatnik. Also, if you want to see sprint boats in action you can go to Youtube under “sprint boats.”

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of it All

Hey there GearHeads, after the glowing report we gave on the new Corvette ZR1 in this last column — I guess I would have to say that we are somewhat obligated to report on the latest, not so good news at press time. It seems that one of these glorious new Corvettes suffered grievous injury at the hands of, shall we say, a high-level GM exec.
“A good Corvette gone bad… With a little help.”

Right, you all heard this. It was the pace car at the Indy Car races and the big wig behind the wheel appears to have gotten a little over-excited and got himself into a understeer situation in a corner as he was leading the pack. So, the old girl came around on him and he put her in the wall. Oops! We are guessing that at some point during the ride, he reached down and clicked the Traction Control button to the off position. But we are just speculating. Let’s just say that it was a party foul.

And now for our monthly report on the Muskfather. The boys over at Bangshift have reported something about a memo regarding a movement to “flatten” Tesla’s management structure. Whatever that means. However we can say in his defense that his production numbers are climbing.

Aw but what is not so good is the latest from Consumer Reports. They have downgraded the Tesla 3 due to its stopping distance. They are saying that it is worse than a Ford F-100! Finally there is speculation that those Tesla big rigs we have seen, might have been some kind of one-off deal. Nobody is seeing any others around. So I guess we won’t be hearing anything about their stopping distance anytime soon?

Now here is a bit of the ugly – some of you may have heard about the “Social Credit” program going on over in China? That deal is so incredibly ridiculous and repressive that I won’t even waste time in this column. But I will mention that China really likes the EVs! Well, small wonder that they would like the electrical vehicles, seeing how they are sitting on the largest cache of rare earth metals that are required to make batteries.

Anyway, China has decided to be a good Big Brother to all of their population who can afford to buy the new EVs. They will receive license plates for free! However, the rest of the poor misfortunates who cannot afford them, will have to pay excessively High premiums for their plates and they will have to wait a very long time to get them.
Perhaps this may lead to a glut in the market for gas-powered, Chinese cars. Anybody interested?

In conclusion, I would like to jump up onto my stump for a moment. I don’t know if it is my social sciences college degree from back in the day. or my days as a Navy guy staring into a radar in various parts of the world or my more recent, short career with the Merchant Marines where I was a watch stander all around the world. But I have always been an observer of society and how it is changing. By that I mean – not for the better! Everybody pulling for their own selves or their own ideologies at the expense of others. There is that saying – history is doomed to repeat itself. I often wonder why us humans in our civilizations can be so damned dumb through the centuries?

I have recently been in situations where I have been personally harmed by others asserting their will over me. And these others were racers. It is painful for me to note that even amongst racers, there are those who would hold so little regard for the welfare of fellow Gearheads. It’s sad.

’nuff said on that. So GearHeads, most of you should know by now that National Collector Car Appreciation Day is coming right up in July, Friday the 13th. This would be a good time for car clubs or events to incorporate this into their day. At least we should all take the time to think about the impact our whole industry has had on the American way for the last century.

—Chuck Fasst, GearHeadsWorld.blogspot.com

My Vintage Vantage

At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway you are in constant search of the next good vantage point. There isn’t one spot from which you can view the entire 2.5 mile oval but there are countless positions to observe from and there is always much to see.

This morning my perch is among the seventy five privately owned vintage Indy cars that are participating in the weekend’s festivities. I am an interested bystander as Greg Wilke prepares to take the family’s 1968 Eagle out for the morning session. Wilke is struggling and his female companion seems more intent on documenting the occasion on her cell phone, than assisting him. When his new carbon fiber helmet topples free and begins sliding down the nose of the race car, I can no longer stay behind the barrier. I snatch the helmet just before it hits the blacktop and with that, I have become “a crew member”. Wilke is wondering out loud where the hell his teenage son is and fussing with his belts. Ultimately I get him to stand up in the cockpit. I unsnap some of the upholstery and lengthen the lap belts a bit. As we get the five point buckle fastened, Junior arrives with the starter. The engine shrieks to life and away Wilke goes. I scramble to the closest vantage point; the grassy knolls inside turn two but the Eagle fails to appear. Apparently Wilke stalled the racer somewhere on his way to the track. They got it re-fired but it wouldn’t go in gear. Back in their pit stall, Wilke handles the disappointment of not getting to run much better than I would have. “I’m an owner, not a driver.” He says. Mostly he is pissed at his son who talked him into taking the racer out in the first place. He is grateful for my help and gives me the history of his car.

This Eagle is a sister car to the one in which Bobby Unser won his first Indy 500 (1968). The Wilke family (Leader Cards, Inc.) has owned it since it was new. It has participated in four 500’s always piloted by hard charger, Mike Mosley. It has carried Bardahl livery, Zecol/Lubaid, Murphy’s dept. store and in its final season; Vivitar Cameras. It has been propelled by various power plants: turbo charged Offenhausers, four cam Fords and Chevrolets.

In my fantasy I own a vintage Indy car with a small block Chevrolet engine- Just because they’re somewhat familiar to me, affordable and I want to be able to drive it! Not even in my fantasy world do I own an Indy car with an engine valued at twice the cost of my house.

I think the Klingerman brothers have the right perspective on this. They located a couple authentic one off Indy Specials from 1969 and ’70 and built their own engines for them. Though their Cecil and Morris Marauder chassis originally cradled exotic Offys and Fords they replaced them with production based units. The Cecil carries an injected Chevy Sprint Car mill; the Marauder rocks a Ford which they turbo charged for fun. These alternatives make perfect sense to me particularly if you plan to take the cars out and play with them (which the Klingermans do).

Steve Francis of New Milford, CT appreciates what the Klingermans have done but was fortunate enough to locate an Indy car in Australia that was powered by a Chevrolet engine since day one. His Cheetah is one of two cars built by Howard Gilbert for the 1967 season. The companion car to Francis’s in fact, was the surprise winner of the ’69 season opener in Phoenix driven by George Follmer. So the classic “cigar-era” Cheetah is not only historically correct but inexpensive to maintain.

Others will say: “As long as we’re fantasizing, why not go for broke?” Okay, if money is no object, I want the 1946 Novi.

When racing resumed at Indianapolis after World War II, Frank Kurtis introduced a new profile to the Speedway. Piloted by Ralph Hepburn his supercharged, V8 powered, front wheel drive monster broke the track record in qualifying. Though it was a full five miles per hour faster than its closest competitor, the Novi balked during the race. In 1947 team owner W.C. Winfield brought two cars to the contest and by driving with a light foot, Herb Ardinger managed to start and finish the 500 in the fourth position. His teammate Cliff Bergere meanwhile barfed the engine in the second Novi after starting on the front row. By its third appearance the Kurtis Novi’s reputation preceded it. Bergere abandon his seat declaring that the car was too dangerous to drive. ’46 pilot Hepburn climbed in and promptly hammered the wall, killing himself. Duke Nalon now assigned to the former Ardinger ride, qualified easily in the eleventh spot and brought his Novi home third. Though the Novis would continue to compete for many years and typically qualify among the fastest, they would never place any higher than third.

So which of the two team cars is this #15 Kurtis Novi? It hardly matters but I would put its value at well into the millions. If you were to take this specimen out for leisurely cruise and hurt the engine, where you gonna find another one? Unfortunately some toys are too valuable to play with.