Jimmy Martin grew up in Oregon’s burgeoning racing culture of the 1940s, made his way to the 1949 Indy 500 as a mechanic, was part of the SoCal performance parts shop and garage culture, traveled up and down the west coast as one of the many that helped to solidify the California - Pacific Northwest racing pipeline of racers, races and a racing culture into the 1960s. Over the decades, he would expand his racing interests and by the 1970s, had come back to where it all started for him in Oregon.
Gene Theissen was a motorcycle racer from Eugene, OR who raced in the 1950s for the motorcycle company BSA, including the Daytona 200 and Nationals, along with multiple regional races, and stacked up land speed records. Flipping through the pages of this recently digitized binder includes the story of BSA, motorcycle racing into the 1950s, the burgeoning of brand teams, and technological advances are all found in Gene’s story.
Mario Andretti and Andy Granatelli are two names not forgotten in professional racing. And while there time racing together may have been a small blip in their long careers, their friendship lasted a lifetime. A kid from New Jersey, Andretti, and another from Texas, Granatelli, who would come to tackle numerous racing types, over multiple terrain, build their teams, and businesses, made a friendship that would last decades.
Toys have the capacity to flood our brain with memories long after they are playthings of our youth. We all have memories of playing with toy cars, dolls, puzzles, games, and coloring books. They mark a time and place both personal and communal. World of Speed’s toy collection is just that, intertwining our collective memories of motorsports from our youth, while being preserved and celebrated as part of the World of Speed Archive Collection.
In celebration of American Archive Month, our staff participated in a series of videos, each choosing a favorite item from our collection.
S1:E1: World of Speed Education Director Lewis Ferguson discusses the racing flags owned by Ed Rose, a racer at Portland Speedway in the 1940s who became an official, starter, and referee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Pacific Northwest Community Racing Timeline shares moments in local motorsports history. Experience firsthand accounts and historical moments of early tracks, those behind the wheel or in the stands, clubs and cars, local heroes and all those that make up the Pacific Northwest's rich motorsports experience.
The PNW Racing Timeline is generated from material included in the World of Speed Archive as well as submissions provided by visitors to the Museum during American Archive Month (2017) as well as through our online submission form. To be part of the experience, contribute at http://www.worldofspeed.org/pnw-community-racing-timeline.
Found amongst the thousands of papers from the Granatelli estate recently donated to World of Speed, "A Gas Turbine Powered Car for Championship Class Racing" is at its core, a pitch to possible investors and partners (some, not necessarily "motorheads") to help back the develop of a gas-powered turbine Indy car for the 1967 Indy 500 with clear easy-to-read sections covering sometimes-hard-to-understand elements (especially for those who don't know the ins-and-outs of cars) needed to produce a high performance race car specifically for the Indy 500.
These photos (WOS#2388) part of the World of Speed Archive were collected over the years with a focus on early and mid 20th century photographs that included atleast one car. Each of the over 200 images has a car included whether as a center point of a family portrait, in the background of life's moments, in your familiar streets, or around the world. Together, these photos give a snapshot not just of the cars at the time but a peak into friendships, fashion, personal pride, city life, small towns, families, and strange and familiar moments.