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.
Seattle International Raceway (SIR) was and is a hot spot for drag racing. From 1997 to 2009, Jeff Dykes was the official track photographer for SIR. He captured hundreds of drag cars, motorcycles and racers. As part of our Faces, Places, Races series, help us identify content in some of these photos or just scroll through the impressive photo collection.
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.
Salem’s Hollywood Bowl, like many local tracks across the country and the world, brought amateur racers to the track, forging friendships along the way. Some names would become more well-known over the years. Some became lifelong friends. Some, a hard pulled memory. Each of these racers are responsible for the ever-evolving world of racing, and examples of racing during the 1950s in the Pacific Northwest.
In preparation for the upcoming Harley-Davidson exhibit at World of Speed, we unpacked and processed a collection of items donated by a past local Harley dealer as well as items on loan from our friends in Washington. Some will make it into the gallery display cases, other will be showcased in the Archive Room, while even more will be available in our online collection catalog. But for now, here’s a teaser of some quick pics along with some quick facts about Harley, its engines, racers and a few other surprising facts for Hog lovers, motorcycle fans, and Americana hobbyists.
The scrapbook of local racing fan Gary Larson focuses on racing in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in western Oregon during the late 1940s. Articles focus on the fatal accidents of Les Anderson, Mike Moore, and Rex Mays among others, the near fatal accident of Allen Hobson, stories of Bob Gregg and other local racers, and the return of Big Car and Indy-style racing at Portland Speedway. The scrapbook also includes member cards, pit passes and photos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Explore the scrapbooks of 1960s Indy race car fabricator and mechanic local John Feuz who worked on cars designed by Rolla Vollstedt and driven by Len Sutton, Billy Foster, and Cale Yarborough. Filled with articles, photographs, papers, these scrapbooks primarily contain newspaper articles and photographs from 1964 to 1966. The focus of most of the materials cover a transitional and innovative time when rear engine cars were coming into vogue along with major changes in body styles and suspension packages. Drivers A. J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Jimmy Clark, Roger Ward, Bobby Unser, and Graham Hill are also included while covering both the triumphs and tragedies of the Indianapolis 500 participants and provide a real look into three years that were pivotal for the race.
This digitized scrapbook is a window into the world of motorsports in the 1930s with all the fascination and thrill of true speed enthusiasts. Volunteer Au Nguyen highlights some of the pages he found while scanning these rich scrapbook in the WOS Archive. Check out the included flipbook as well for a page by page look at the racing articles and photos from the 1930s.
Local racer Sue Mitchell is part of World of Speed's recent Women in (DRAG) Racing exhibit at World of Speed through November 2017. Sue has loaned her scrapbook to the WOS Archive to be fully digitized with the help of volunteer Au Nguyen. Get a taste of what's available in this newly digitized scrapbook, available in the Archive's online collection catalog, with a selection of images picked out by volunteer Au..
The World of Speed Archive just digitized two scrapbooks belonging to racer Art Pollard of Medford, OR. A true local hero, Art went from racing midgets and modified stock cars in the Pacific Northwest, to Indy cars in USAC, the pinnacle of American automobile racing. At his prime, Art was wheel-to-wheel with Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and the Unsers.