News blog 1

Press Release Published MB/RM Jan 7, 2017

The Del Monte Trophy Race Group
for 1947 – 1955 Sports Racing and Production GT Race Cars and the 1947-1955 Transatlantic sports racing car challenge

Invitation to Race at the 60th celebrations of the Pebble Beach Road Races and the Laguna Seca Raceway

Following the first appearances, last year, of Rob Manson’s 1949 Baldwin V8 Mercury Special and his 1950 Streets Manning V8 Mercury Special alongside Ernie Nagamatsu’s Old Yeller II at race and hill-climb events in the UK, the tables are turned. UK and European based sports racing and production GT cars from the period 1947 to 1955 are invited to race in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca 16-20 August 2017 and/or to participate in the concurrent Monterey Car Week. Drivers not only get 2 qualifying sessions and 2 races at Laguna Seca, but also the opportunity to get the same amount of track time just one weekend before, at the Historic Pre-Meeting on the same track.

The 1947–1955 Sports Racing and Production GT Race Cars, also known as the Del Monte Trophy Group, includes early production sports cars that arrived in the US after WWII including Jaguar XK-120s, MG T-types, Allards, Kurtises, early Porsche 356s, other European exotics of the day and numerous USA-built Specials … typically based on scrap yard or war surplus-sourced components… known as the hot rod road racers.

Carmel-Monterey-based Rob Manson is working to ensure that these cars remain a prominent and exciting feature at major vintage car road racing events across the US. The Group’s focus for 2017 is Monterey / Laguna Seca in August. These cars would have competed at the Pebble Beach Sports Car Road Race and other venues held in parks, public roads, airports and military bases when the national series included over 30 events nationally.

2017 is the 60th Anniversary of Laguna Seca Raceway, the permanent track built nearby in response to the public demand created by the Pebble Beach Road Races and the 60th Anniversary of the last of the Pebble Beach Sports Car Road Races. A number of activities will be organized for the Del Monte Trophy Group during the Monterey Car Week in mid-August … emphasizing the cars’ significance to the introduction and popularization of sports car racing in the Western US. We are working with The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Laguna Seca Raceway in support of these Anniversaries. Our focus regarding this announcement is racers, owners, historians, media, organizers, marque clubs and several event venues.


This page will carry information on upcoming events for Del Monte Trophy Race Group cars. Please provide information to Rob Manson and Marcus Bicknell (see Contacts page).

2017 August   Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, August. Triumphantly completed.

2018 August   Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Can’t wait.

2019 August.  Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. News: July 2019… the latest bulletin gives details for competitors in next month’s Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion – Group 1.  CLICK HERE

Rob Manson: 1952 Streets Manning Special

Engine: Ford Mercury Flathead (Side Valve) 8 Cylinder (V8)
Displacement: 4185 cc (255 cubic inches)
Horsepower: 198 bhp @5000rpm, torque 300 ft-lb at 1800rpm
Induction: 3x Stromberg 97 downdraft carburettor, Navarro intake manifold
Gearbox: Ford, 3 forward gears and reverse, Lincoln Zephyr gear set
Running gear: 1936 Ford, scrap yard sourced, Manning tubular ladder chassis,
Brakes: Drum brakes from same running gear (Ford Lincoln)
Normal tyres: Dunlop Racing L 16 inch
Based: California, USA
Entrant: John Streets
Designer: Chuck Manning, a stress analyst at Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles who became the first Technical Editor of Road & Track magazine, conceived the type and built the first example, a different car to this one. Rob Manson’s Manning Special was constructed by Wally Chapman, from Manning’s plans, in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother’s farmhouse in Schaghticoke NY in 1952. John Streets helped him finish it, raced it thru 1958, rebuilt it from remains of the wrecked original in 1991 and still looked after the car up to 2017.

Marcus Bicknell races the Manning at Laguna Seca in August 2019

Marty Stein: 1952 Siata 300BC

No.32 in our series of cars in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – 1947-1955 Sports Racing & GT Cars group

Race #56

ST402 was the second of the initial three Siata 300BC production cars-an outgrowth of the Orchidea semi-prototype built for Otto Linton and documented at A run of fifty was ultimately built for homologation in the sports racing category.

The first three were delivered to the new owners by Linton in April 1952, though the invoices were not produced until June. 402 and 403 were bought by Tom Scatchard and Henry Wessels III respectively, and were even seen together in several races.

The car has arguably the most extensive and best documented period history of the model, in magazines, books, still photos and video clips. It finished first in class in the Convair trophy race at Allentown, Pennsylvania followed by another class win at Thompson, and then finishing the last race completed on the original Watkins Glen street course in September 1952. In 1953 it reached its zenith, finishing 20th overall, third in class, and eighth on index at Sebring in March of 1953. Its final period appearance was at Bridgehampton that same year.

402 then was converted for street use, possibly in Europe, and then changed hands a couple of times before coming into Marty Stein’s possession and being returned to its racing configuration. The car then began a vintage racing career which continues to this day, and is now believed to be the only 300BC being actively raced in America, with the longest continuous competition history of any of its sisters, spanning over 30 years. It has participated in the Monterey Historic Races more than 20 times, with finishes in the top ten. It has also run in races such as the Wine Country Classic, where it has finished as high as seventh overall, the Coronado Speed Festival, Buchanan Field, Lime Rock, and a return to the Glen for the Fall vintage festival. After a refresh in 1991 it was invited to represent the model in a display class of Siatas at Pebble Beach.

Awards for the car include the Group 3A award at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Best in Performance and Presentation for its group at the Wine Country Classic, and the first Spirit Award in memory of Martin Swig.


Rob Manson: 1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge

Frank Kurtis decided to build a sports car based on his 1952 500A Fuel Injection Special Indianapolis  car. The 500S series sports cars were built at Kurtis’ shops in Glendale California between 1953 and 1955.  Some 30 race cars and kits were sold including 12-15  built by Kurtis.

This car was purchased by a Doctor in Fresno, California whose intention was to race it. The engine chosen was a small block 240c.i. V8 Dodge Hemi which, in race trim, with 3 Stromberg 97 carburetors, developed about 250hp. The Kurtis torsion bar suspension is attached to front and rear live axles. The differential is a Hallibrand quick gear change unit. Brakes are Lincoln drum type. Bodywork is aluminum except for fiberglass nose and tail sections. Wheels were 16″ magnesium. 

The car was raced at Bakersfield, Reno, Moffett Field and Pebble Beach in 1954. Subsequently, it was road raced in Colorado and New Mexico.  It was turned into a hill climb special in 1964 for the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. The Dodge Hemi motor was replaced by the first of a series of ever-larger Chevrolet V8s as the car moved from the sports car to the unlimited category from 1964 through 1969. It was a strong contender but not a winner. 

After nearly 35 years of single family ownership, the 1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge returned to road racing in the late 1980s and has been vintage raced on the East Coast since that time.  It is presented as it raced at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races.

Scott Shelley is driving Rob’s Kurtis at Laguna Seca in August 2019

Rob Manson: 1953 Tatum GMC Special

Charles “Chuck” Tatum was a decorated Marine Corps veteran of Iwo Jima from Stockton, California. He built the Tatum GMC Special in late 1952-early 1953 on a dare from friends Phil Hill, Sammy Weiss and Doug Trotter. Pre and Post War Ford suspension and drum brakes are mounted on a Tatum, designed and built, tube frame chassis. The engine, originally from a truck, is an inline 6 cylinder GMC. For the 1954 and 1955 seasons, Wayne Engineering of Los Angeles, supplied full race 302c.i. versions with its 12-valve cross flow cylinder head. Jack Hagemann of Hayward, Ca. built the all aluminum body.

The Tatum GMC Special was an active road racing participant and occasional winner, throughout California, from 1953 through 1955. During that period it also won the Best Sports Car Trophy at the 1954 Oakland National Roadster Show and was Hot Rod Magazines’s Cover Car for October 1953. The Tatum turned 157 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and co-starred with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in the Hollywood epic JOHNNY DARK. Chuck Tatum raced his Special in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races. The Tatum GMC Special has been an active vintage racing participant since the mid-1980’s and is entered in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion most years since 2015.

In 2021 the car was driven by Blake Tatum, Chuck’s son, as a tribute to the 70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races. At our request Blake sent some information about him, as a driver…

Blake Tatum, race driver, in his own words.

I got interested in racing as a little boy; I spent hours hanging out in the garage watching my dad build and work on race cars. When I would come home from school I would sit in whatever race car we had sitting in our garage and pretend to drive it. As I got older the desire to race cars intensified but the financial resources never showed up.  Finally when I was about 27 years old I could afford to go SCCA racing. Since my background was in Volkswagens and since my dad was the builder of the Crusader Formula Vee we decided that was my path into road racing. My dad and I built a new car based on the then current hot setup for Formula Vee.

Our first car was not a smashing success mainly because the learning curve for me as a driver and for us as designers was not up to the standards being set at that time. In 1994 we redesigned the car and instantly went faster.  I won the regional Championship in the ultra-competitive FV class that year.  From there I again won the regional championship in Formula Vee in 2005 and 2006.

I won the Formula Car Challenge FV Championship also in 2005. This was a Challenge series between everyone on the west coast.  The Championship race was at Kent Washington, a track I had never driven on. I qualified on the pole in damp conditions but when the race started it was sprinkling. Unfortunately I only had intermediate tires for conditions that called for rains. Not knowing the weather for that part of the country, I figured it was going to be a sunny weekend since it was the very first weekend of September. At the start I fell back to third place and was able to hold onto the position but the guy in front of me was my rival for the championship and he was on rain tires.  With one lap to go he spun at turn three and I was able to slip past. From there it was a matter of who was able to keep the car headed the right direction in the now torrential downpour. Luckily I had just enough grip to beat him to the finish line and take the Championship.

I still race the Formula Vee and also have a Formula First which my dad and I built together.

At one point I had the track record in Formula Vee at Laguna Seca which was eclipsed when the runoffs were held at the track. I currently have the track record for Formula First at Thunderhill Raceway Park and at Laguna Seca. I have over twenty victories in SCCA racing and over fifty podium finishes.

My very first victory of any kind was when I drove the Tatum Special at an CSRG event back in 1998 at Sonoma Raceway and I look forward to driving it at the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Laguna Seca, August 14/15 2021.

As a side note I am currently the editor of the SCCA San Francisco Region’s magazine called The Wheel and have been on the SCCA Board of Directors for the region for over 12 years.

Here’s a picture of my father and me that was in the program for the 1965 SCCA races in Stockton California.


Blake Tatum                                                                            By email Tue, 3 Aug 2021


PS Marcus, it’s a shame we cannot meet in person. I really like your writing style in the press release!

See also Blake Tatum’s article at

Stu Hanssen: 1951 Hanssen Baldwin Special

This the third car built by Willis Baldwin of Santa Barbara.  It was raced from 1954 thru 1960 by Wm. Hanssen at tracks such as Palm Springs, Hanson Dam, Santa Barbara, and the famed Pebble Beach circuit. It is based on a shortened 1947 Ford chassis and is powered by a Ford Flathead V8 with an Ardun overhead valve conversion. The suspension and running gear is Ford.

Unlike Baldwin’s other Specials, this car has an all aluminum, full fender, envelope style body.


Don Blenderman: 1955 Murphy Kurtis 500SX

Frank Kurtis, the highly successful Indianapolis car constructor, built four Kurtis 500SX sports racing cars at his Kurtis Kraft facilities in Glendale, California. Each car was unique.
This is chassis number 3 (8 55 SX3) commissioned by Culver City Buick dealer Bill Murphy. Murphy had owned and raced two earlier Kurtis 500S sports cars, but this car was to give him the most success. In two years of competition, the Murphy Kurtis 500SX achieved an astonishing 18 Class victories and 9 Overall wins, in 31 starts against America’s and Europe’s best professional drivers. It competed in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races. Indy winner Sam Hanks provided race support for the big Kurtis until Murphy retired in 1957. Subsequently, the car was raced by several guest drivers including Bill Pollack and Chuck Daigh.

The Murphy Kurtis 500SX retains its original Holborn-Injected Buick Nailhead engine, Jaguar 4-speed transmission and Halibrand differential. The truss-type frame uses solid axles, front and rear, that are sprung by a transverse torsion bar system developed by Kurtis for his Indy car chassis. The full fendered alloy body is substantially original. A true “time capsule” race car, demonstrating the rapid professional evolution of locally-built Specials, during the first five years of sports car racing in California.

The car sat at Murphy’s dealership for 20 years until it was purchased by Rich Siefried. Siefried restored it. In 1980 it won its Class and the Sears Craftsman Trophy at the Monterey Historics and the Pebble Beach Cup at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 


Steve Schuler: 1955 Hagemann Chrysler Special

The Hagemann Chrysler Special was built for amateur racer John Barneson by Jack Hagemann of San Leandro, California. Hydroplane and race engine builder George Nauro was chosen to build the powerful Chrysler 300 Hemi motor.

Hagemann developed his metal shaping skills during WWII at the Alameda Naval Air Station. He had already designed and built a number of early 1950s northern California Specials with strikingly beautiful alloy bodies. He used that experience to shape the several easily removable panels that comprise this full fendered, all aluminum body.

The chassis was also designed and built from scratch, using the most advanced speed equipment and components available. Hagemann built a ladder-type frame of steel tubing. Front and rear solid axles are suspended by torsion bars and radius rods and the differential is a Halibrand quick change unit. The car was the first to use disc brakes at the Pebble Beach Road Races.

At the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races, Barneson finished 2nd in Class and 12th Overall, in the Del Monte Trophy race. He then won the next three races and had podium finishes throughout 1956 and 1957. Subsequent owners raced the car continuously into the mid-1960s. In 1965, it won the SCCA Pacific Coast Championship. It’s current owner has been racing the Hagemann Chrysler Special in vintage events, in it’s original 1955 configuration, since 1980. It is participating in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group at the 2017 Monterey Reunion Laguna Seca Raceway 60th Anniversary Races.


Lou Pavesi: 1953 Huffaker-Marston Healey

The Huffaker-Marston Healey Special was built in Marin County, California, for sports car salesman and enthusiast Mick Marston, by famed race car constructor, Joe Huffaker. It is the first Huffaker built sports racing car.

Marston acquired a wrecked Austin Healey 100 sports car which became the donor of most of the Special’s components. Huffaker designed a tubular chassis, and a de Dion-type rear suspension with inboard rear brakes and torsion bar springing. The original engine was race tuned and for a short period was equipped with a rare, but unreliable, Hunter Twin Cam cylinder head. The body is a light and functional all aluminum design built by Huffaker.

Mick Marston raced his Healey Special from 1954 through 1958 at tracks throughout central and northern California. It was a strong and consistent finisher against the 3 liter Ferraris and Maseratis in the D Modified race group. It competed in the Del Monte Trophy race at the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races.

The current owner has vintage raced it since 1978 including 17 appearances at the Monterey Historics/Reunion. Huffaker Engineering continues to maintain the car in race condition. The Huffaker-Marston Healey Special continues to be a treasured member of the Pavesi, Marston and Huffaker families.



It’s a beauty !