Some images from our local history and around the world, depicting typical scenes of the popular motor sport of Stock Cars dating back to the early 1950’s - Proof that Stock Cars have always been a popular spectator event all over the world and South Africa is no exception .
Two of the prominent drivers in the mid 50’s were Terry McManus pictured with his 1937 Studebaker and Vim Michaels (below) with his pre-war Plymouth Coupe
Above left -Leon Mitchell started racing at Goodwood in 1956 with a 1935 Buick. He is pictured here behind the wheel of his 1941 Studebaker which lasted him for no less than 7 seasons and earned him many successes. After his retirement in 1971, his Son Leon Jr or “little Mitch” followed in his footsteps to become both commentator and chairman of the Beaufort West Stock Car Club. Above right - Jack Clifton was a force to be reckoned with in his 1937 Plymouth which once held the lap record at Goodwood. Jack is pictured above after winning both the “American Swiss” and “Track Thrills” trophies on 29 March 1958. He was also an accomplished ramp jumper having cleared 9 cars driving a 1937 Dodge. He is also the Father of Johnny Clifton who needs no introduction.
Left -Leon Mitchell seen in his 57 Ford # 60 as a member of the Cape Hell Drivers in 1971 and just before his retirement from the sport. Attempting to overtake on the inside is the 58 Ford of Doep du Plessis #90
Left -Ena de Waal, a veteran of many ramp jumps and motor races was probably the only female driver at the time. Here she is seen standing with her stock car at Goodwood in the mid 50’s. She was also a founder member of the Cape Hell Drivers as well as the proud Mother of Deon and Belinda. Right -Ena mixing it with the men in her 55 Ford during her Cape Hell Driving days (28 September 1968
A very modified 1955 Chevy seen here at the “Dust Bowl” Roy Hesketh track in Pietermaritzburg in the early 60’s.
Mr Speedway, Mr Hot Rod, Mr Oval or just plain Buddy, Buddy Fuller is known by a thousand names but answers to only a single passion, motorsport. After an involvement lasting almost 70 years, he is recognized not only as one of South Africa’s most successful speedway riders but as the doyen of oval track stock car racingpromoters in the mid 50’s,
Bill Hastie standing next to his Plymouth Just before the last race prior to the winter closing in 1958. The picture was taken behind the pits at the Goodwood Show Grounds arena, a familiar and popular space used by drivers right up until the 90’s.
Bill smashed his car that night and broke a leg. In the early months of 1959, Bills stock car was being repaired by Willy Somes (His best friend and also a well known stock car driver) at his Wynberg workshop. Bill arrived at the workshop to check on the repair progress. As he stepped out of his car, he suffered a massive heart attack and died instantly (Sunday 15 March 1959) at the age of 35 - His son Graham aged 6 was holding his hand, a sad story indeed, however his Son and daughter Lynda can be proud of the fact that their Dad has a reserved place in history amongst esteemed legends of the Goodwood Oval Raceway.
(All the SA images can be clicked on to enlarge)
Left- Paired cars of Jock Lloyd and his good buddy Ken Freeman #61 - Their flathead V8 Coupe’s are slightly different Jock raced under #13 only in 1957. Centre -Jock Lloyd at Brafield advertising his White House Garage 1957,Right - Jock Lloyd in action at Staines with the Bull Terriers Team Ford Coupe 1957. Photos courtesy of Don Roomes with thanks.
The late John “Ginge” Jones heading into battle at Lydden 1957
The late John “Ginge” Jones of Maidstone #144 car.
Photos courtesy of John Jones Jr. With thanks
Not really the sport in which one expects to find a 1928 Bentley 6.5Lt limousine. The debut of Huddersfield driver Alex Landsborough’s magnificent sedate machine at the Belle Vue on August 11 1954. Another driver Ken Smith raced a Rolls Royce to destruction at Belle Vue in that year
An oil painting by artist / driver Gene Mace known as the “Red Knight” depicting his upside down #42 car
Don Luck. Promoter and a pioneer in the sport starting things off at Long Eaton in 1954.
Gene Mace “The Red Knight” car 42
Images courtesy of Jim Luck with thanks
Stock car of George Teese #175 sponsored by Bray Motors being towed to a 1954 Harringaymeeting.
Left -Victorious Moment for Aubrey Leighton #42 at Brafield in the notorius Packard. Centre - Aubrey’s Son Keith and Friend Steve Gately with the Packard (retired) in the weeds at Earls Barton Motors - Photo courtesy of Steve Gately with thanks. Right - In 2011, the superb Keith Barber recreation of the famous #42 car - Photo courtesy of Keith Barber with thanks.
Pat Willis at Brafield 1957 in his Packard
http://www.oldstox.com Extremely Interesting website and well worth a visit. Thank you David Kipling for your assistance
These images are of particular interest because of the story that accompanies them;
A tourist visiting Nice came across a quaint Street Market when his eye caught a glimpse of a very fancy tin box which had a rather antique and mystique look about it and decided to purchase it. On opening the box he
discovered that it contained old photographs of Stock Cars. Later research revealed that the pictures dated back to 1956. The box was purchased in 2006 which made the pictures in the box 50 Years old at the time.”
The Early Days In Sweden
Not to be left out in the cold as it were. The Swedes had there fair share of the Stock Car sport with it’s thrills, spills and occasional roll overs. Yes, stock car racing quickly caught on and as long as there were cars to race, there would be men who would dare to compete.
Old stock car records can be found on virtually every continent. Likewise in South Africa we saw the emergence of Stock Cars and many of us grew up with names like Buddy Fuller and Jack Holloway who were the doyens of oval track racing in the hey days. I guess many countries had there own stock car promoters who encouraged the sport and provided great spectator entertainment - Sweden was no exception.
Ted Hogan, CNE in 1957 - This was the year that the rule book was opened up to any body style. The Super modified is born
Jimmy Howard at the CNE in 1959
Chuck Walker at Delaware in the early 1950’s. A typical stock car of the era
Johyn McIntyre, Delaware 1950’s
Stu Trudel, Lansdowne Speedway, 1959
Geoge Bowers , CNE 1952
Ivan Moore, Pinecrest, early 1950’s
Images and captions http://www.canadianracer.com
Dover Speedway - Dover NJ Early 50’s
Photo Frank Smith, Bruce Craig 0 Bobby Joos collection
Hinchliffe Stadium - Paterson NJ Photo Bruce Craig - Bobby Joos collection
Morristown Speedway was a 1/2-mile dirt oval also located in North Jersey. There was a 100-mile race run on August 24, 1951. Dan Bailey and Frank Mundy both driving 1951
Studebakers finished 14th and 23rd out of the original 44 entries for this 100-mile race. Tim Flock, Lee Petty and Buck Baker all won races at the Morristown, NJ Speedway
Photo Bruice Craig - Bobby Joos collection
Photo Joe Young
Henry-Jay mounted on a wall at the Vineland Speedway NJ HJ’s were a rare sight In South Africa. The only restored HJ remaining in SA was exported to Australia in 2003
Ready for action
Al Tasnady leads them
Images Taken from the New Jersey Auto Racing History website - Courtesy of Fred Hahn with thanks
A few random images from the Maryland Stock Car Racing Hall Of Fame website, Courtesy of Al Torney with thanks
Ted Hogan was Canada’s best known stock car racer in the rough-and-tumble days of the sport. Known as “Terrible Ted” or “Mighty Mite”, Hogan chalked up a record 37feature wins and a number of track titles at the CNE between 1954 and his death in plane crash in 1960.