News blog 3 – preparing for Monterey

The Del Monte Trophy Race Group for 1947 – 1955 Sports Racing and Production GT Race Cars

… at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 23-26 2018

2018 Del Monte Trophy Race Group Bulletin #3 – July 15, 2018

Paddock Plan: the filter for us is …. cars that are with prep shops / large haulers AND entrants that want to be elsewhere in the paddock aside from the row we get for DMTRG. The last three years we’ve discovered about 1/3 of cars in our group want to pit “elsewhere” which leaves us positioning 25 or so cars to tell the DMTRG story. We’re working on paddock plans now and positioning respective cars. As usual real estate is at a premium regarding paddock plans and with several special groups and vendor / sponsor displays this year it’s a “tighter” squeeze … again, a work in process. I’ll bet we have a good handle on paddock plan within days.

Posters: we have period race graphics of Pebble Beach racing that we have attached to EZ Ups last few years that we’ll put up again…. 10 or so. For any of you that want a poster of your car from the day or a race image from the day you’d like to have made ….. We have a member of our group that has stepped up and is glad to produce banners. Cost in the past has been ~$75 for a ~4’ x 3’ poster with eyelets. Please tell us asap if you’ve images you’d like to have made to add to the story of our row. The balance of the year the posters are great garage art to tart up your cars hideaway.

Trophies: several of us have been thinking thru DMTRG trophies. Our current thinking is a perpetual trophy …. on the four sides …. two plates with names of great racers of the day … and two plates (one for <2L and one for >2L) which we’ll get updated annually with best spirit / performance recognition for members of our group. Additionally, we’ll have two trophies one for <2L / small bore and one for >2L / big bore …. for the recipients to keep for ever and ever. The big bore award will be titled: Del Monte Trophy. The small bore award will be titled: Cypress Point Trophy. What do you think?… ie feedback please!

Media Plans: we’ll continue to send out DMTRG press releases to targeted publications to position our cars and rich racing history. We’ll be focusing on highlighting three aspects of our 2018 47 – 55 race group: Hagemann Specials, Kurtis 500s, H Mods. Our press release focus continues to be cars that are in DMTRG that are representative of models that raced in the day …. best when the car did race in the day and we have several of them.

Pebble Beach Concours: The 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will have OSCAs as one of it’s featured marques this year. John Grosseto told us they will have 16 OSCAs on the PB lawn. We race on Saturday so we’re good to go to the Concours and make sure to stop by and check in with John and our “race period kin”…

Research – Wally Edwards’ Special – can you help?

Our friend Mike Matune contacted us at the Del Monte Trophy Race Group to ask for help in identifying a 1950s American road race car. Please rack your brains and your files to be able to help him and us.

We now have the pleasure of being able to make available on this web site the two attachments which Mike has and which will help you in your search:

Article in Vintage Racecar magazine – download here

Spreadsheet of the Edwards’ Special activities – download here


Mike’s message:

Hi y’all,

Trust this finds you all well. I came across a question on an American road racing special of the 50s was hoping you could help. In this month’s “Vintage Racecar” magazine, Dr. Mark Brinker’s “Hidden Treasures” column talks about a 1950s Allard Special Mystery” chassis. I have attached a scan of the piece. Here is more on the chassis:

After a little investigation, the consensus feels that the chassis may be the Edwards Special built and campaigned by Waldrip C. “Wally Edwards of San Diego. As you can see from the article and the website, the car’s history is cloudy at best. Among the issues that cloud its lineage is the fact that car numbers for the events in which it ran don’t line up. We have summarized what we think we know about the Edwards Special in the attached spreadsheet. There is some thought that the first and last entries on the spreadsheet may not actually pertain to the car we are seeking, but we have left them on the list until we flush out everything we know.

Tracing the history is difficult because most information on an “Edwards Special” pertains to Sterling Edwards cars. There is copious amounts of information on those cars. We think the Schultz chassis was under a completely different car. I have three books on American road racing specials and none of them mention a Wally Edwards or his car.

Any other thoughts on this one? Please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions. Don’t hesitate to forward this note as you see fit.

Take care, Mike

M. M. “Mike” Matune, Jr.

6121 Mountain Springs Lane, Clifton, Virginia 20124. Email: [email protected]

Joel Driskill reports back… “I saw this car when this video was first put on YouTube and dismissed it as an Allard as it wasn’t uncommon to modify the bodies some. After reading this post my initial thought was def wrong. I’ll also go through my newly digitized video archive (thank you American Hot Rod Foundation) to see if I have any more film of this car. we’ll see.”

Article in Vintage Racecar magazine – download here

Spreadsheet of the Edwards’ Special activities – download here

Please send comments on the website to the acting distant webmaster Marcus Bicknell [email protected] The two photos here are linked from with thanks.

News Blog 2 – the 2018 season

Published by MB for RM and DS, April 15, 2018

The Del Monte Trophy Race Group
for 1947 – 1955 Sports Racing
and Production GT Race Cars

Update on the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 23-26 2018…

Acceptance letters are out and we’re again group 2a … Saturday. There will be some added and some dropped out … such is the process.

  • We’re scheduled to start working with SCRAMP re paddock plan
  • Dedicated row “again” with focus on presentation…
  • We’re working on display space for OSCAs (featured at the PB Concourse) and Hagemann cars …

We want to name our row … any ideas?

  • Row graphics … aka signage
  • We’ll put down a welcome mat as last year …. a ground graphic … “START”.
  • It was a door opener, well received and we’ll do it again.We added 8 additional graphics of “racing in the day” last year …
  • An offer for you! … we will get images you have of “racing in the day” printed by our printer. Cost to you will be about $50 per graphic. Great home garage art when not on your EZ Up. If you don’t have pictures … we have images that you could sponsor.

Support for SCRAMP initiatives

  • Paddock tour: very much appreciate small groups of guests are escorted around the paddock.
  • We’ll provide “notes” on racing in the day and cars on our row.
  • Also, one of us will be on duty as the groups come around to tell the story of racing in the day and the cars

SCRAMP media plans

  • We’ve provided “notes” on cars for announcers the last three years.
  • There will again be live video stream of races … we’ll provide info packets
  • Magazine interviews: we reach out and SCRAMP direct publications to us
  • We’ll be reaching out for short statements on your cars

Two wave start …

  • Actually we’d position small bore cars 5-8 seconds behind as we go thru 11 on out lap
  • We’ve long had a view of “> and < 2L cars racing thru turn 2” at the start … context!
  • This is as much for us drivers as a spectacle for the show … several operations issues. We’ll try again!

DMTRG Trophies

  • SCRAMP will cut back on trophies they present this year
  • We’d like to initiate awards sponsored by our group for our group presented during our post event wine and cheese!
  • An idea: Two perpetual trophies … one for each sub group. Trophy with 10-12” wood base with both racers of the day (Pebble Beach races) and current awardees.
  • What do are your thoughts? … We’ve gotten several comments on such over the last couple years

DMTRG Washington, Oregon, NorCal 2019 Series *

  • Last year we were contacted …. during and after the Reunion … about “can we bring our theme and cars” to other vintage race groups …. regarding other events in NorCal, Washington, Oregon
  • We’d work to get paddock places, promoted as a feature group, hotel discounts, etc
  • Best for us … to get more 47-55 cars to come out and join the party. We’d also press for sponsorship by an “industry” player for “support”
  • Current thinking is an event in Seattle / Kent, one in Portland, 2 at Sonoma and Pre / ReUnions at Laguna Seca.
  • If enough of “us all” are interested we’d start pushing on magazines and race groups across the US to recruit.
  • Consider this a bucket list series … we’d start pushing on the topic if we could find 12 – 16 “of us” that would “plan” to do 4 of the 6 events. Tell us if you’d be interested! No commitment at this time but if you’re interested drop a note to Rob or Doug and we’ll keep you current on our progress.

* DMTRG: Del Monte Trophy Race Group

Some things never change – reflections by Peter Darnall

The Parkinson Jaguar Special, now there’s a real sports racing car! Let me share a couple of pictures with you; there’s a bit of a story too. I took this shot (left) of the Parkinson Jaguar Special during the CSRG Season Finale at Thunderhill in November 2017. The car was close; so close I could have stepped into the passenger seat beside John Buddenbaum as he flashed by. These areas were designated “off limits” to the public for safety reasons, but I had photographer’s credentials for the event.

Event programs usually feature in bold print the caveat “Motor Racing is Dangerous.” No argument with the logic; racing automobiles is an unpredictable activity, and no one wants an errant race car ending up in a spectator’s lap. These days, spectators are herded into designated zones and allowed to view the far-off action through a wire mesh safety fence. The cars themselves have become truly bizarre: crash resistant safety cocoons festooned with airfoil devices and tarted up with outlandish paint schemes and corporate paraphernalia.

Thanks, but I prefer the way things were back in those heady days following World War Two, when European style road racing came to the United States. Sports cars like Don Parkinson’s Jaguar Special were created to be used on public roads during the week and raced on weekends. And they raced on real roads, not designer courses with contrived turns, huge run-off areas, and billiard table smooth road surfaces. Spectators were welcome, but no amenities were provided.

Imagine sitting beside the road in Golden Gate Park. It’s Sunday afternoon in late May 1952. You’re in a small group of people on a grassy slope on Middle Drive West at the intersection of Metson Road. Normally the speed limit for automobiles would be 15 mph, but not today: The Guardsmen sponsored

Bill Pollack driving the #14 Allard Cadillac, leading Phil Hill in the #22 Ferrari 212 Inter. Hairpin Turn Golden Gate Park, Sunday in late May 1952. Photo by Don Palmer, with thanks.

sports car races are on and this intersection is now a hairpin turn at the end of a long straight. The speaker on the makeshift PA System has just announced that Bill Pollack, driving Tom Carsten’s Cadillac Allard, has been timed at almost 140 mph and he’s headed our way.

The black Allard suddenly appears up the road to our left. He’s coming fast, hugging our side of the road. The wheels are stirring up small clouds of dust from the grass and the nose drops sharply as Pollack brakes hard for the hairpin turn. We instinctively pull back a few feet and suddenly the car is right in front of us. We’re almost close enough to read the instruments on the dash as the Allard cuts for the apex of the turn at the intersection. The thunder of the big Cadillac engine makes the ground shake as the Allard accelerates away. The left front fender brushes a hay bale across the road and a bit of straw flies up in the air . . .

Such was my introduction to the sport of road racing! Of course, it was dangerous . . . but that’s not the point. Nobody obsessed on this contingency in those halcyon days.

Don Parkinson was an architect in Southern California. He shared an aspiration to become a race car driver with his brother-in-law, Phil Hill. Unfortunately, Parkinson misjudged the first turn during the Pebble Beach Races in 1951 and smacked a tree with his Jaguar XK120. The badly damaged Jaguar was sent to Roger Barlow’s International Motors in Los Angeles for repairs and rebuilt as a “Special.” The spartan bodywork, with its cycle fenders and subtle curves, was drawn by a teenager named Robert Cumberford. Marvin Faw matched the drawings with sheet aluminum stretched over the modified Jaguar chassis. Richie Ginther reworked the Jaguar engine, enlarging to 3.8 liters. Phil Hill was closely involved with the project from the beginning.

Google it: A record of the names of the men involved with the Parkinson project reads like a “Who’s Who” of the Southern California racing scene; the Parkinson Jaguar Special has a real pedigree. Don Parkinson had considerable success with his Jaguar Special. He took a class win in the feature Guardsmen Trophy event at Golden Gate that first year. He eventually sold the Special for a C-Type Jaguar.

Sports cars would race again in Golden Gate Park the following year. Word of the excitement of racing fast cars on the Park roads had spread and the crowd which showed up was much larger. Workers had spread snow fencing alongside the roads to discourage spectators from crossing the course. The vantage points at the hairpin turn had been fenced off. . . too dangerous they said.

Times were changing.

The Parkinson Jaguar Special was out for the CSRG Season Finale at Thunderhill this year (another photo I took is below). John Buddenbaum was putting on a fine show driving the veteran racer hard all weekend. Clad in conservative white livery and wearing number “3,” the Parkinson Jaguar Special looks much the same as it did over six decades ago in Golden Gate Park.

I wish I could say the same.

November 2017


Download the whole of Peter’s wonderful piece. Click here…. some_things_never_change_p_darnall

Peter takes glorious photos of our cars and several have been posted on our Facebook page   The shot of the front right locked up on the Tatum at Thunderhill in November 2017, right, is a favorite of mine.

Would you like to know more about Peter? p_darnall_bio

William Rooklidge: 1952 Jaguar XK120

Fanning Roadster

Jaguar delivered this XK120-M “open two seater” in July of 1952 through the Hornburg dealership in Los Angeles. The car turned up in February 1955 at Willow Springs Raceway, entered and driven by Howard Fanning of Los Angeles as one of 16 Jaguar XK120s in the “Stock” C class. The car’s racing career was short-lived and ignominious, however, as it was heavily damaged in what turned out to be California’s most disastrous and heavily criticized sports car road race.

The lead headline on the front page of the following day’s Bakersfield Californian screamed “Race Driver

Killed at Willow Springs; Spectator Mowed Down in Crash.” The article reported that driver Bill Powell died at the event after “his 500-cc race car went out of control and rolled during a practice run.” And three Jaguar XK120s were heavily damaged in the large-bore production car race, which was called after four laps. Noted California racer Frank Monise, Sr., driving the No. 59 Jaguar XK120 coupe, “lost a wheel coming into the east turn of the course” (Turn 8, the track’s highest-speed turn), the article reported, and “ran off the track [and] rolled several times. “Shortly after the Monise accident,” the article reported, Fanning “skidded, rolled and crashed” his No. 68 XK120-M roadster. Jack Graham, driving the No. 30 XK120-M roadster also crashed, but ran long enough to claim second place behind Jim Peterson in his No. 83 Jaguar XK120-M.

Graham Roadster 1955

Although the Bakersfield Californian article reports that Monise’s car hit a spectator and that Fanning skidded as a result of fluid left on the track from the Monise incident, the photographic, documentary and eyewitness evidence suggest otherwise. The Fanning and Graham roadsters crashed between Turns 1 and 2, where the photographs show them resting forlornly after the event, and where spectators were crowded between the track and parking lot during the race. Graham ran long enough to finish in second place, while neither Fanning nor Monise made the podium. And Monise alone crashed at the remote Turn 8, far from any spectators. If a Jaguar crashed from a fluid spill from another wrecked Jaguar, as the newspaper reported, it was likely the Graham roadster that crashed after Fanning.

Monise Coupe 1955

In any event, Fanning, Monise and the injured spectator, the Californian reported, were all “taken to the Lancaster hospital with major injuries.” Fortunately, Fanning, Graham and Monise all lived to continue racing, Fanning for a handful of events in an MGA, Graham for many events, initially in his damaged Jaguar and then in an Aston Martin, and Monise in well over 100 events in a variety of race cars, but never in another Jaguar. Indeed, Monise stripped his Jaguar coupe and sold the chassis, the only remaining usable portion, while continuing to make payments on the car.

Because of the carnage, the promoters, the California Sports Car Club and the Long Beach MG Club, were subjected to withering criticism from the racing press. Powell’s death was “the first driver-fatality in West Coast sports car racing,” Road & Track noted, and the event, “which saw one fatality, one critically injured driver, one badly injured spectator, one injured official and several wrecked automobiles, was badly organized,” with “too many over-eager drivers, no provision for driver tests to prove proficiency, poor crowd control, inadequate flag-men, superficial technical inspection, disorganized ambulance service and in general a complete lack of appreciation for the fact that the future of sports car racing rides on every event.” Another promoter, RRR, took over the Willow Springs Road Races the following year.

Soon after the Willow Springs debacle, Robert Colgrove, an auto body shop owner from Riverside, California, purchased a pair of wrecked Jaguars, a chassis and the entirety of the rolled roadster. Colgrove replaced the roadster’s leather interior trim with black vinyl, replaced the stock seats with bucket seats, hammered the body back into shape, and painted the car “gas tank orange,” before realizing that the front suspension was damaged beyond his capability to repair. The car sat unused in his auto body shop until 1970, when Colgrove sold the car (along with the chassis and a set of photos of the wrecked Jaguars at Willow Springs) to Ellis Lewis, who hoped to return the roadster to the road as a driver. Lewis used the chassis as a rolling cart to store Jaguar engine blocks and transmissions. Stymied by the badly bent front suspension, Lewis stored the roadster in his Riverside barn until 2006, when he sold it to the present owner.

After a ground-up restoration by Fabozzi Metal Works in Norco, California, the roadster sports a suede green exterior and suede green leather interior, a standard XK120 color combination. The roadster returned to Willow Springs in 2011 and first ran at Monterey in 2016, in both events tended by a crew headed by previous caretaker Ellis Lewis. And in 2015, 60 years after the Willow Springs debacle that marked the car’s ignominious motor racing debut, Frank Monise Jr., son of Frank Monise Sr. and an eyewitness to the events that unfolded that fateful weekend, drove the car round “Big Willow,” retracing the path his father had taken for those four fateful laps and indeed Frank Jr. had taken as a boy riding in his father’s and his friends’ Jaguar XK120s.

Revised version posted at Bill’s request, Marcus Bicknell Oct 21 2017

#27 in our series on cars in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group