Oregon has so many motorsport milestones found within the World of Speed Archive Collection that it was hard to pick just one for every decade but we did. From the first transcontinental race across America ending in Oregon in 1905 to the return of Indy car championship racing at PIR in 2018, Oregon has had some great racing moments. Portland was home to the Dutchess, the only female race team manager of her time. Willy T. Ribbs became the first racer of color to win the Rose Cup; and a soon-to-be President Jimmy Carter waved a race flag at PIR.
During the 1930s and ‘40s, the enigmatic “Duchess” was the only woman race car owner, manager or promoter. Most knew her in racing only as the Duchess, but Portland’s Dorothy Hylah Gruman raced midgets and big cars under her Duchess Racing Team throughout the west coast, mostly Oregon and California. The digitized scrapbook of articles, correspondences, photographs, publicity and papers relates primarily to the Duchess, her drivers, and her part in racing; there are a few photos relating to her husband and boxing as well as a singular photo print of Art Pollard.
Each decade has its quintessential car culture movies but it was the 1950s that would first solidify the relationship between cars and movies, and the culture they shaped and was shaped by them, from teen culture to racing culture, dating culture, counter culture, and club/gang culture, all of which continue to find there way into car (and motorcycle) movies and television show to this day.
The World of Speed Archive in making its way to Collins Gallery at the Multnomah Central Library in downtown Portland for the month of September and October, celebrating the history, technology and culture of racing during the 1950s, '60s and '70s, with a focus on local racing, motorsports in pop culture, and the evolution of technology. Images include only a taste of the breadth of items that will be on display, as well as the content included in each of the twelve display cases.
New digital videos from the Archive are now available online including the first Rose Cup Races, the first time Indy car CART racing came to PIR in 1984, and the 1963 Portland Grand Prix as well as clips of 1950s-1980s jalopy, stock, motorcycles and sidecar racing, and film of Barney Oldfield. Enjoy! For more racing films from our collection, visit https://vimeo.com/worldofspeed.
It has been just over three years since World of Speed opened its doors to the public. And since then, we have been supported by individuals and organizations who have generously given images and artifacts to the Museum’s Archive Collection. The World of Speed Archive is continuously finding ways to share the items donors and lenders have so generously brought into the World of Speed Collection. As we continue to preserve the history, technology and culture of motorsports to celebrate and educate for generations to come, we want to say thank you to the individuals and organizations that have contributed to the World of Speed Collection.
During the early 1900s, car race tracks were yet to be an option. Instead, races happened on unpaved streets, later evolving in road race courses. In 1909, a few quiet Portland streets were turned into a race track, complete with crash and first aid car. While most of the streets named in the photo notes are no longer on a modern day Portland map, these photos are a peek into not only early racing but the early layout of Portland's city streets.
The Archive volunteers have gotten their hands on some pretty great materials while helping to preserve a wide range of motorsports materials. Glenn has started to unpack a donation from a past Harley-Davidson store manager. Steve is taking on the papers of local Indy car designer Rolla Vollstedt while Gregg and Frank top off our annual magazine sorting project. Tom J. is incorporating new magazine issues and titles into our master magazine list after the annual volunteer sorting project. Meanwhile, Au has moved to the prints collection of SIR track photographer Jeff Dykes.
With over 400 magazine titles covering decades of racing, cars, motorcycles, models and more, the World of Speed Archive can help. If you've got a subject that's peaked your interest, we can suggest titles or time periods to sift through for that perfect article or subject you've been craving to find out more about. From niche titles to international brands, these magazines have a wealth of information from how-tos to who's who's. Check out our list of all magazine title available.
Just a taste of the many books from bio picks to behind-the-scenes exposés, award winning cars to engineering feats, motorcycle care to auto math, and even pulp fiction. Books reviewed include: Behind the Wall: A Season on the NASCAR Circuit; Faster! A Racer’s Diary; Drag Racing’s Quarter-Mile Warriors; Offenhauser: The Legendary Racing Engine and the Men Who Built It; Road Race of Champions; Auto Math Handbook: Calculations, Formulas, Equations and Theory for Automotive Enthusiasts; Motorcycle Detailing Made Easy; and Cobra: the First 40 Years.
If you've missed any of the latest additions to Inside the World of Speed Archive, here's a quick list of links where you can find hundreds of scanned photos and complete scrapbooks from our collection, highlights of local legends and surprising stories, as well as print and video interviews and presentations.
The Granatelli Technical Drawings Collection includes over 4000 drawings and covers the multiple business Granatelli was connected to from Grancor onto Studebaker, Paxton, and STP as well as the multiple relationships with parts developers and builders along the way including Novi, McNamara, McCulloch, and Ferguson and many more. The small collection of scanned images of oversized blueprints and hand drawings below are made possible with the help of Kelley Imaging Services located in Tigard, OR.
Herm Petersen’s scrapbook contains over 100 pages of drag racing history during the 1970s with numerous local newspaper clippings and magazine covers, much having to do with his own harrowing career as well as other racers thriving in the Pacific Northwest and on the national stage at the time, including Don Garlits, Jerry Ruth, Gaines Markley and Bob Mitchell.
Did you know that the framing of the large projector screen at World of Speed is designed to replicate the drive-in movie theater that was a quintessential part of Portland Speedway?
Check out photos of Portland Speedway alongside images of World of Speed as well as range of items from the World of Speed Archive’s collection highlighting the Speedway’s 75 years of racing before closing in 2001.
Using images and technical drawings from the World of Speed Archive's Granatelli Collection, volunteer Tom Stycznski elaborates on his volunteer talk presentation covering Andy and his development of race cars starting with his early years in Chicago, building Grancor and the Hurricane Hot Rod Association along with his early years in race promotion. Learn about his relationship with McCulloch, Paxton and Studebaker; the development of the Novi engine for Indy car racing; and the partnership with Ferguson to get it to the Indy 500; and then finally the move to the turbine engine and Andy's relationship with STP. Also, check out blueprints and technical drawing of the 1969 Indy car and the land speed record Avanti.
Part of the early hot rod SoCal scene of performance car shops, Bob Tattersfield of Electric & Carburetor Engineering Co., built speed parts during the late 1940s and early 1950s including dual manifolds and superchargers. Tattersfield partnered up with Frank Baron to build the Tattersfield-Baron Special streamliner race car. Check out the flipbook of images from WOS Archive Tattersfield photo collection.
With images and artifacts from the Collection along with researching local newspapers, WOS Archive Associate Archivist Sara Paulson shares the story of the TWO Rose City Speedways of Portland, once from the beginning of the 20th century and one re-branded just in time for the 1980s. Spoiler alert, it includes the now Rose City Golf Course and the now closed Portland Speedway.