Those who tuned in to the live-stream introduction of Chevrolet’s mid-engine C8 Corvette in July saw vintage footage of a single-seat roadster driving around GM’s Milford Proving Grounds and fishtailing up the dirt switchbacks of Pikes Peak. Chevy’s ’20 Corvette has roots back to that little car, the first Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, or CERV I.
It would be nearly impossible to pinpoint the one person who invented, say, drag racing or road racing or most of our popular motorsports, which typically evolved with input from many “fathers” over long periods of time. Not so monster truck racing. That entire phenomenon—part competition, part spectacle, part thrill show—can be laid at the feet of one man: Bob Chandler. And one truck: a blue ’74 Ford F-250.
This summer will mark the 66th year since a group of Georgetown residents looking to promote interest in their small Northern California town hosted the first Jeep Jamboree over the rocky Rubicon Trail. Since then, the owners of countless Jeeps—and Scouts, Broncos, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and dedicated rock buggies—have made the trek, from first-timers crossing off a bucket-list rite of passage to family members following years of four-wheeling tradition.
Hot Rod—the bible of all-American, big-cube performance—allotted four pages of its July 1967 issue to a story on an import-car dealership in Riverside, California, that was on the cutting edge of a growing automotive phenomenon.
Dick Scritchfield, at the time Car Craft’s associate editor, made a swing through the upper Midwest in late 1966 and banked quite a few stories for Car Craft issues to come. One of his many stops was at the Nickey Chevrolet dealership in Chicago, where he documented one of the earliest 427 engine conversions into the then-brand-new ’67 Camaro.
The 500-acre motorsports complex that is Daytona International Speedway opened 60 years ago, with NASCAR’s first Daytona 500 taking place on February 22, 1959. But the history of racing at Daytona Beach goes back much further, to the beginnings of the 20th century, when automotive and racing pioneers (including Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford) used the hard-packed sand between the Ormand and Daytona beaches to look for the extreme limits of performance. Land-speed records were set in Florida as a record-run venue in the ’30s, long before the discovery of the Bonneville Salt Flats.
In January, George Poteet’s 1936 Ford, nicknamed the 3-Penny Roadster, was voted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) at the 70th annual Grand National Roadster Show. Its subtle styling changes and impeccable workmanship by the crew at Pinkee’s Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado, were accented by a subdued, warm-gray paint job meant to evoke chocolate milk. The color was the inspiration for the hot rod’s name, as that’s what the creamy treat cost when Poteet was growing up.
The December 2018 RM Sotheby’s auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum made headlines for the $22 million paid for a ’56 Ferrari 290 MM—a race car with provenance that included such notable pilots as Juan Manual Fangio, Phil Hill and Stirling Moss. Parked just a few feet away from that historic prancing horse during the auction’s preview was another ’50s icon: a ’32 Ford known as the Lloyd Bakan coupe.
While he’s best known for the camshafts and valvetrain products bearing his name, Bruce Crower has applied his innovative thinking to address performance issues of all kinds.
In this rare color photograph from the Petersen Publishing Company photo archive, Connie Swingle pulls the front wheels in Ed Pink’s Old Master Top Fuel dragster at the 1966 NHRA Winternationals.