Stories from the Archive

Oregon Motorsports Milestones 1905-2018

Oregon Motorsports Milestones 1905-2018

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.

Developing the Granatelli Race Cars

Developing the Granatelli Race Cars

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. 

A Tale of Two Rose City Speedways

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.

Old Scout Made it to Portland in 1905, Winning the First Transcontinental Car Race

Old Scout Made it to Portland in 1905, Winning the First Transcontinental Car Race

The World of Speed Archive recently scanned a group of images from our Collection covering the first transcontinental race (Photo Profile - 1905 Transcontinental Race, WOS#3805). Check out how on May 8, 1905, a pair of 7-horsepower Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabouts, notably Old Scout and Old Steady, made their way from New York City to Portland, Oregon.

Women in Racing - Open Wheel Edition

Women in Racing - Open Wheel Edition

Each year, World of Speed highlights a new group of women in motorsports through artifacts, images, videos and words. This year's Women in Racing - Open Wheel Edition showcases Janet Guthrie, Danica Patrick, and local Lindsay Barney. Look back on the past and check out material from previously highlighted women including Lyn St James, Cindi Lux, and Michelle Miller; as well as video of local racer Ariel Biggs.

 

Collection Highlight: Steve Denbo, PIR Drag Strip Manager

Collection Highlight: Steve Denbo, PIR Drag Strip Manager

Volunteer Steve Dietz highlights the Steve Denbo PIR Drag Racing Collection after organizing the collection, making his way through each of the over a half dozen boxes, helping to identify items for the display, and creating the finding aid for everyone to be able to see and experience the full Denbo collection donated by Roseie Denbo. 

Dana Bates: The Woman Behind Peggy Llewellyn's Winning Suit

Dana Bates: The Woman Behind Peggy Llewellyn's Winning Suit

Dana Bates, CEO of Bates Custom Leathers, designed the leather Peggy Llewellyn wore when she won the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Championship (2007). Bates shares what it takes to design and construct a racesuit for maximum performance. Llewellyn’s leathers will be on display as part of the upcoming next generation of Women in Racing exhibit unveiling December 10th. You’ll also see Angelle Sampey’s leathers.

Archives from the Streets was a Big Success!

Archives from the Streets was a Big Success!

Once a month the World of Speed Archive hosts Open Archives Days but in October, at part of National Archive Month, we used the days for Archives from the Streets: an event that invited you to show off your own racing collectibles or keepsakes by displaying them here at the museum alongside items previously donated. In case you missed it, here is your opportunity to look at the interesting array of objects shared. 

Collection Highlight: Starter Ed Rose

Collection Highlight: Starter Ed Rose

The World of Speed Archive has just processed a rich collection of papers and artifacts originally belonging to Ed Rose, a well-known starter in the Pacific Northwest during the heyday of racing. From the collection’s racing programs and newspaper clippings to its RRAO patch and 1960s Portland Speedway poster, there is something of interest for motorsports fans, researchers and enthusiasts alike.

 

Adventures of World of Speed Archives Intern Amanda Stowell

Adventures of World of Speed Archives Intern Amanda Stowell

One the most fascinating experiences for an archivist is the discovery of a unique, obscure, or rare object. At World of Speed, with the intake of many especially varied donations, locally and nationally, the Archive has the opportunity to experience such instances any time we meet a potential donor or open a donor shipment [...]

"Old Timer" Racers Picnic Yields Great Stories

If we haven’t met yet, know that I love stories, stories that I have to reach to imagine myself in while being completely in awe of skill and style, the ones you have to consciously follow because if you don’t, it might just go over your head. And I was not at all disappointed when I found my way to the Old Timers BBQ out on Blue Lake in Fairfield, OR.

Walking up to the picnic, I immediately spot Jack Corley, part photographer, part racer, part maverick who walked into the Archive Room just a month ago to name faces and cars in photos part of our Open Archive Days. I literally took a step to the right and see the name of someone I knew only by reputation (his Collins Champ Car is on display at World of Speed) but had yet to meet face-to-face: Del McClure. As we flipped through pages of his Blue Crown car, I listen to a story filled with twists and turns, speckled with names, ingenuity, and triumphs.

 
Del McClure holding book covering history of the Blue Crown

Del McClure holding book covering history of the Blue Crown

 

There’s always a moment when I know that I should have hit the record button but it’s usually when I’m too enthralled to make someone stop. I listened as Jack Gillis recounted his early day with the detail you can’t help but be impressed with (my response, "wait, you were high school when you did all that?!), Bob Coutts pointing out the many indy roadster he built over the years (including the Kuzma-Meyer at World of Speed), and Norm Zaayer who I introduced myself with the line “There’s a picture of you in the museum.” Luckily, that got a smile. And if you want to hearing a lively history of Portland Speedway’s final days, Fast Freddy Miles gave me the best rendition I’ve heard so far.

 
Bob Coutts talking about his cars, including #93 third from the top.

Bob Coutts talking about his cars, including #93 third from the top.

 

I might have forgotten to hit record last Sunday (there were so many more than just ones shared here) but with the help of Mark Brislawn and Don Barber, and plenty of others, World of Speed hopes to bring these “old timers” together for a group storytelling session to record their amazing stories to be available in the Archive Room as part of our oral histories collection.

 
Jack Gillis on left and Norm Zaayer on right.

Jack Gillis on left and Norm Zaayer on right.