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Donn 'Buck' Allen


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#1 Jerry Entin

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 16:25

Posted Image
Donn Allen in the car from the Clark Gable movie "To Please a Lady"
Donn had the assignment of taking this car to various promotional events.

I am going to tell the forum members about Donn Allen. He was a pioneer in the fuel saftey cell business and also an Indy and Midget mechanic in the 50's. He was on the Shelby Cobra team in the 60's. And he also was on the Chaparral team.

With the help of his daughter Heidi Allen and his family pictures I am going to show what it was like in the day to be part of the racing scene.

Photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 05 August 2009 - 00:00.


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#2 B Squared

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 13:13

Jerry - As always, thanks for your efforts to share these images and stories of the past. Also thanks to Heidi Allen for allowing us to see her family's photo archive.

Brian

#3 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 00:31

Posted Image
Paul Russo and Donn Allen

This was taken at Indy on June 18, 1950. Paul Russo was born April 10, 1914, he had several great finishes at Indy. He came 4th in 1957 driving the Novi and he came 2nd at Indy co- driving with Tony Bettenhausen in 1955.
Donn Allen and Paul Russo were great buddies.

Brian: I know you are going to enjoy this site, all made possible by Heidi Allen sharing her family photos with the Forum members.

photo - Heidi Allen collection
copyright - 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 30 July 2009 - 18:38.


#4 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 00:46

Posted Image
Marion and Donn Allen
Marion's maiden name was Edwards and she was from California, before she was married to Donn Allen she was married to a future Indy winner. I will tell who he was in a bit.

photo - Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

#5 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 01:22

Posted Image
Heidi Allen in the car belonging to Karl and Veda Orr
This picture was taken in 1964. This car was a Mercury powered Sprint type car from the late 40's. Bob Sweikert drove this car in his first sprint car race on Jan 15th 1950 and came second to Johnny Mantz at Oakland. Roger Ward and Troy Ruttman may have also driven this car in the 50's.


photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen
all research Michael Ferner AKA- Fines

Edited by Jerry Entin, 31 July 2009 - 16:09.


#6 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 20:19

Posted Image
Bob Sweikert winner of the 1955 Indy 500
Marion Allen was married to Bob Sweikert from 1948 until 1952. They met at a dance at UCLA.

photo - Heidi Allen collection

#7 Jerry Entin

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 23:55

Posted Image
Donn Allen in 1952 part of the Sam Hanks crew
Donn is the tallest crew member, he is third from the right.
Posted Image
Donn Allen having a chat with the Mayor of Gasoline Alley
This was from 1952 and Donn Allen is talking to Ed Wintergust, the honorary Mayor of Gasoline Alley.


photos- Heidi Allen collection
all research Michael Ferner aka Fines

Edited by Jerry Entin, 06 August 2009 - 14:36.


#8 Jerry Entin

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 16:18

Posted Image
Donn Allen also worked with Firestone Tires at Indy
Here he and what we would now call the other tire technicians pose for a picture besides the Firestone supply truck.
Posted Image
Firestone technicians in another pose.

photo - Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 01 August 2009 - 10:39.


#9 B Squared

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 16:40

You were right Jerry. This is a great collection! :up: Thanks.

Brian

#10 bradbury west

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 17:54

What year would that have been with the Firestone truck, Jerry?
Roger Lund

#11 B Squared

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 18:49

What year would that have been with the Firestone truck, Jerry?
Roger Lund


Possibly 1952?? I'm looking at the partial signage visible on the pit wall.

Brian

#12 Jerry Entin

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 23:54

Posted Image
Here is a nice Ford Woody Station Wagon the Firestone crew used in the day.


photo Heidi Allen collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 01 August 2009 - 00:50.


#13 Heidi Allen

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 00:57

Posted Image
Here is a nice Ford Woody Station Wagon the Firestone crew used in the day.


photo Heidi Allen collection


Actually, I believe that Woody Wagon was Dad's personal vehicle. He also used it to haul around the "To Please a Lady" car!

#14 Jerry Entin

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:17

Posted Image
Johnnie Parsons winner of the 1950 Indy 500
Thanking Donn Allen for helping him with his tires at Indy, Donn Allen also helped build this winning car while he worked at Kurtis-Kraft.

Posted Image
Troy Ruttman winner of the 1952 Indy 500
Nice picture he gave to Donn Allen for helping him with his tires.

photos Heidi Allen collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 04 August 2009 - 01:58.


#15 Jerry Entin

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:05

Posted Image
Donn Allen helping put out fire at Indy
This was before the fire crews that Indy has now, in the day the mechanics grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the scene of a fire.

Heidi Allen will tell about this picture: The picture of the car on fire - Bayliss Levrett and Bobby Ball both crashed on the same day, front page news and write up in the Indianapolis Times dated Sunday, May 11, 1952.

Bayliss Levrett's car caught fire, the article stated "Buck Allen raced to the fiery crash with an extinguisher and succeeded in keeping flames from reaching the fuel tank." Just another reason Dad got started making safety fuel cells.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 01 August 2009 - 12:09.


#16 Jerry Entin

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:14

Posted Image
Car on track after fire

Posted Image
Car with fire out
Note the brickyard was made of bricks at this time.


photos Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 01 August 2009 - 12:17.


#17 Jerry Entin

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 21:39

Posted Image
Donn Allen with one of his safety fuel cells
This picture was taken in 1968 and it shows Donn with one of his fuel cells. They were made from his own formula and his ideas on what a cell should consist of.
Very similar to the thinking in helicopter fuel cells of the time.

Posted Image
Here is a display of the fuel safety systems Donn Allen made.

photos Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 04 August 2009 - 01:24.


#18 Bruce302

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:41

I have one of Donn Allen's fuel cells in my car. It is neat to read about the guy behind them.

Thanks, Jerry, another great thread.

Bruce.

#19 Jerry Entin

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 13:48

Posted Image
Marion Allen with Helicopter fuel safety cell
Donn Allen made this fuel cell for Hughes Helicopters.

Sadly Heidi Allen's mother Marion passed away in 1999. She left some typewritten notes on Donn Allen's racing career. Here is an excerpt from those notes:

After the war, in 1946, Donn went to work for Frank Kurtis (Kurtis Kraft, Glendale, CA), where he helped build Indianapolis Speedway cars. Donn was assigned the construction of the car in which Johnny Parsons won the Indy 500 in 1950.
Posted Image
Donn Allen crew chief on dirt car of Johnny Mantz
After leaving Kurtis Kraft, he toured the racing circuit with Agajanian’s championship dirt cars as chief mechanic. In spite of several accidents and damaged equipment, they managed to win two of the major championship races in 1950.

While working for Firestone’s Racing Division at the Indianapolis Speedway, he traveled to all National Championship events across the country.
photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen
all research Michael Ferner aka Fines

Edited by Jerry Entin, 06 August 2009 - 14:38.


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#20 Jerry Entin

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 19:27

Posted Image
Tim Mayer and Donn Allen
This is at Monterey in the early 60's. That is Tyler Alexander holding the wrench.
This was a Lotus 23 run by Tim Mayer that year.

Posted Image
Donn Allen and Parnelli Jones at Riverside
Donn Allen was the shop foreman at Shelby's when the King Cobras or Cooper /Fords were built.

top photo- Gary Knutson
bottom photo- Heidi Allen collectioin
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 05 August 2009 - 01:04.


#21 Jerry Entin

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 21:43

Posted Image
Donn Allen overseeing the progress on the Daytona Coupe build.

Posted Image
Donn Allen helping build a Shelby Daytona Coupe
This was at the Shelby shop on Princeton Street, It was near the Marina del Rey area of Los Angeles. Not far from Venice. This shop was the ex Scarab works shop of Lance Reventlow.

photos Heidi Allen collection
photographer Dave Friedman

Edited by Jerry Entin, 04 August 2009 - 01:39.


#22 Jerry Entin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:13

Posted Image
Daytona Coupe in 1965 at Daytona
On the front tire is Charlie Agapiou at the back is Donn Allen and across from Charlie is Ron Butler.

photo Heidi Allen collection
photographer- Dave Friedman

Edited by Jerry Entin, 04 August 2009 - 01:29.


#23 Jerry Entin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:36

Posted Image
Allen Grant's Daytona Coupe
Allen Grant told the Shelby crew he would load his car himself. He didn't want anyone messing with his machine. He seems to have slightly missed the ramps.

photo- Heidi Allen collection
photographer - Dave Friedman

Edited by Jerry Entin, 08 August 2009 - 09:19.


#24 Jerry Entin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 10:10

Posted Image
Outside of Donn Allen's shop in the early 70's.
This shop was located on Bankfield Street in the Culver City area. Donn Allen's next door neighbor was Ryan Falconer.

#25 Jerry Entin

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 00:12

Posted Image
Donn Allen in the center with Kurtis crew.
This was by Frank Kurtis's shop in Glendale. Frank Kurtis is behind the fellow in the drivers seat.
Posted Image
Donn Allen on right middle of picture
Donn was always the tallest of the workers at the Kurtis shop .

photos Heidi Allen collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 08 August 2009 - 17:46.


#26 HistoricMustang

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 12:58

Jerry, as usual, simply wonderful information and photographs that takes us all back in time.

Henry :wave:

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 13:45

Thank you to Heidi as well... a great contribution...

What have you got for us next, Jerry?

#28 bradbury west

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 22:13

Couldn't agree more. As I have said before, archive stuff from "down there" or "over there" is all new to us "over here". Many thanks, just brilliant.
Roger Lund

#29 Jerry Entin

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:00

Posted Image
Donn Allen during the build of the Shelby Daytona Coupe.
Posted Image
Donn Allen fitting the shocks on the Daytona Coupe.

I am glad everyone is enjoying reading about Heidi Allen's dad, he was a great guy and his accomplishments in motor racing deserve to be seen .

photos - Heidi Allen collection
photographer Dave Friedman

Edited by Jerry Entin, 06 August 2009 - 02:06.


#30 Jerry Entin

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:15

Posted Image
Sebring, Florida in 1965
This was a torrential downpour in the pits. Tires were floating away at this race. On front left hand side of the car is Donn Allen on the right front is Ron Butler, this is the finished Shelby Daytona Coupe, designed by Pete Brock. On the pit wall in the helmet is Al Dowd.


photo- Heidi Allen collection
photograper- Dave Friedman

Edited by Jerry Entin, 06 August 2009 - 06:55.


#31 Hse289

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 08:55

:clap: Excellent pictures Jerry and Heidi, especially the King Cobra. Paul

#32 chuckbrandt

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 15:48

This is fascinating Jerry and Heidi. Thank you so much for bringing Donn to our attention though these great photographs.

Heidi I need to talk to you about a book I am writing about the Shelby King Cobras. Would love to see what all you have on them.

Thanks, Chuck

#33 Jerry Entin

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 18:41

Posted Image
Doc Allen manning the entrants gate
Donn Allen's dad was known as Doc Allen. He was a Dentist. Here he is helping Stubby Stubblefield get his car onto the race track. The Pith helmet he is wearing was signed by all the drivers of the day. Donn Allen later donated it. Doc Allen was very active in racing. He passed away Jan. 1, 1937, after a brief 3 day illness.

Posted Image
Donn Allen in his first race car
Having a dad like Doc Allen, young Donn had only one way to go, that was race cars.
Notice who signed this picture. Wilbur Shaw himself. That is what I call high powered friends.


photos - Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 August 2009 - 12:40.


#34 chuckbrandt

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 23:43

Posted Image
Donn Allen and Parnelli Jones at Riverside
Donn Allen was the shop foreman at Shelby's when the King Cobras or Cooper /Fords were built.

bottom photo- Heidi Allen collectioin
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen
[/quote]

A bit more head scratching here. I'm not entirely sure it's even a king cobra or a cooper monaco. If it is, the frame has been radically modified, they normally have a second hoop behind the axle, if it is this one has been chopped off and had it's suspension radically changed.

The Hewland Transaxle bothers me too. Need to research when they came out, I honestly thought it wasn't until '65.

Chuck

Edited by chuckbrandt, 09 August 2009 - 00:08.


#35 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 00:45

A bit more head scratching here. I'm not entirely sure it's even a king cobra or a cooper monaco. If it is, the frame has been radically modified, they normally have a second hoop behind the axle, if it is this one has been chopped off and had it's suspension radically changed.

The Hewland Transaxle bothers me too. Need to research when they came out, I honestly thought it wasn't until '65.

Chuck


Could this be the Mecom Lola T70 from 1965? I don't think Parnelli had a roll bar to speak of in 1964. You can see a white roll bar in this photo. And Mecom used Firestone while the King Cobras used Goodyear? I wish that guy would stand up so we could see what it says on the back of his shirt !

Vince H.

Edited by raceannouncer2003, 09 August 2009 - 00:51.


#36 Heidi Allen

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:48

Could this be the Mecom Lola T70 from 1965? I don't think Parnelli had a roll bar to speak of in 1964. You can see a white roll bar in this photo. And Mecom used Firestone while the King Cobras used Goodyear? I wish that guy would stand up so we could see what it says on the back of his shirt !

Vince H.



According to notes my Mom left, Dad worked for John Mecom in the mid '60's, (I remember moving from Los Angeles to Houston as a kid). After a lot of hard work, they won the first two races they entered - Mecom's first wins in two years. Could this picture be from Monterey, CA ?



#37 chuckbrandt

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 02:19

Yes after looking up a few T70s I think that's what it is. There may even be a distributor in the back of the motor in this picture - chevy.

Good call Vince.

Edited by chuckbrandt, 09 August 2009 - 02:21.


#38 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 03:48

Posted Image
Jim Hall and a few of his buddies
"A" Hardcastle and Frank Lance and Bob Schroeder and Dick Hall, Jim's older brother and Ronnie Hissom and Gary Knutson and Donn Allen.

Chuck and Vince: That isn't a King Cobra in the picture with Donn and Parnelli. I didn't say it was, I said that Donn worked at Shelbys as the shop foreman when the King Cobras were being built.



photo - Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen
all identifying Gary Knutson

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 August 2009 - 04:36.


#39 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 04:13

Posted Image
Chaparral crew at Monterey
On the left are Gary Knutson and Frank Lance on the right is Donn Allen in the yellow sweater near the fence is I believe Dick Hall.

photo - Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 August 2009 - 04:15.


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#40 Hse289

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 09:05

Jerry, ooops my mistake, it was me who thought the car above was a King Cobra. :blush:

#41 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 14:20

Posted Image
Donn Allen working next to the Chaparral 2 waiting for it's new body.
Note that the Chaparral 2 was originally going to be a Coupe. It was later changed to a roadster. In the background is Hap Sharp's Cooper Monaco.

This comes from Gary Knutson: " That is the start of the body buck that was made for the first Chaparral 2. It was eventually filled in with styrofoam, coated with plaster of paris and glassed over to make the mold for the first bodies. It was originally going to be a Coupe."



photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 August 2009 - 15:29.


#42 hlfuzzball

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 16:24

Posted Image
Sebring, Florida in 1965
This was a torrential downpour in the pits. Tires were floating away at this race. On front left hand side of the car is Donn Allen on the right front is Ron Butler, this is the finished Shelby Daytona Coupe, designed by Pete Brock. On the pit wall in the helmet is Al Dowd.


photo- Heidi Allen collection
photograper- Dave Friedman

===================================

Al Dowd is between car and pit wall, in front of tire handler.


#43 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 21:24

Posted Image
Donn Allen working finishing the Daytona Coupe

HL: I agree with you, my mistake.
The #14 car was driven by Bob Johnson and Tom Payne and finished 7th. In 1965 at Sebring.


photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 August 2009 - 15:56.


#44 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 13:12

Posted Image
Donn Allen next to a couple of Jim Hall's Formula cars.
These cars were driven by Jim Hall and Homer Rader and Jim Hall finished 4th at Mexico City in 1962 in the Formula One race. The crew on these cars were Errol Kaufman and Frank Lance.

photo Heidi Allen collection
copyright 2009 Heidi Allen
above information as told by Frank Lance

Edited by Jerry Entin, 29 September 2009 - 22:11.


#45 Jerry Entin

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:50

Posted Image
Errol Kaufman and Donn Allen and Frank Lance

This is the Chaparral crew at Elkhart Lake in 1962.

photo- Frank Lance collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 23 September 2009 - 12:16.


#46 Jean L

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 17:55

...

Edited by Jean L, 23 September 2009 - 17:58.


#47 Jean L

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 17:57

I believe it is at Mosport,two week later,#4 was different.

#48 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 18:13

I believe it is at Mosport,two week later,#4 was different.


...but that appears to be the #66 Lee Hall/Glenn Carroll Porsche RS60 in the background, which would make it Elkhart Lake, right? Tom???

Vince H.

#49 Jerry Entin

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 23:40

Jean L:

Frank Lance said it was at the 1962 Elkhart Lake 500, held in September, that the picture was taken.

The following is from Willem Oosthoek: Definitely the September 1962 Road America 500, where Errol Kaufman joined the Chaparral team. The passenger side race number [seen here] was a black #4 painted on the white body, while the driver race side number was a white #4 superimposed on a dark circle.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 23 September 2009 - 23:42.


#50 RA Historian

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 00:45

The confusion regarding the number roundels and color is because in the early 1960s Road America issued its own number stickers for the cars. Each class had a different color for the background for the number. For example, (this is an example, not necessarily the actual colors used. I am too tired at the moment to go look them up!) class CM would have a light blue background, class DM would use a yellow background, class EM would use a red background and so forth. All with contrasting numbers. The purpose was to aid timing and scoring as to the classes. This being of course in the days of lap charts and stop watches.

Now, here is where the confusion comes in: these track issued number stickers were only applied to the RIGHT side of the cars, the side facing the timing and scoring stand. The left side of the car remained as the car owner painted it. Hence, the two sides of the Chaparral pictured were indeed different for this race.

Tom