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Big Jim Hall of Houston


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#1 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 15:15

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Eagle Mountain, SCCA National, June 3, 1956: Jim Hall in his 1.5-liter Vignale-bodied OSCA MT4, chassis 1145. Sitting on the tailgate on the right is Walt Gray, whose Allard/Olds is parked on the left. Walt and Jim took the Allard to BM1 [16th overall] at Sebring in 1954.

Long before Jim Hall of Abilene, later Dallas was old enough to get his competition license [in July 1956], there was another Jim Hall in Texas. Late 50s reports told them apart by naming them Big Jim Hall and Young Jim Hall, and Big Jim was the better known in racing circles.

Born in 1907, Big Jim ran his first race on dirt in Houston, on July 4 1928. He raced a Chevy 4, then a Pontiac 6, and then various souped up Model As. He was the first in the area to put a Ford V8 in a Model A chassis. The car was entered in the Nuevo Laredo - Monterrey race in Mexico in 1930 and 1933, an event to celebrate the new 150-mile highway between the towns. Big Jim finished 3rd overall both times. In 1930 he had an encounter with a gas station after missing a turn. In 1933 the encounter was pre-race, with a horse that demolished the radiator shell and hood. Jim ran the race without the items

photo: Jim Hall Family collection
all research Willem Oosthoek.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 May 2010 - 18:29.


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#2 RA Historian

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 18:57

A fine idea for a thread, Jerry and Willem. There has been confusion over the years over the two Jim Halls, and the fact that both were from Texas just multiplies it. Hopefully, you will have cleared it up here :up:
Tom

Edited by RA Historian, 09 May 2010 - 18:57.


#3 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 20:09

Tom:
Thanks for the encouragement

Big Jim Hall was a foreign car dealer and over the years he bought/sold a number of very interesting competition cars as well, some of which he raced. Motor racing history has largely forgotten about him, so it is time for some long overdue exposure.

Even the records of his finish at Sebring in 1954 are incorrect. All reference material have one Charles Hall as the co-driver of Walt Gray, but it was really Big Jim Hall.

all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 04 September 2010 - 08:15.


#4 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 20:30

At least I know now why I have been confused............sometimes. Thanks Jerry and Willem!

#5 Jerry Entin

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 21:06

Posted Image
Big Jim and Corinne Hall in one of the first XK-120 Jaguars to arrive at his dealership.

Jim Hall's early races were with a riding mechanic, mostly to keep the driver behind the wheel in fast turns. There were no bucket seats yet. The mechanic would brace himself against the dash and door, and hold the driver in place.

One of Hall's racers in the thirties was the Hisso, an old dirt track chassis into which one-half of a huge Hispano-Suiza V8 was installed. He drove it on the sand at Galveston Beach in 1937, on a track that was just two straights connected by 180-degree turns. The car's torque was so phenomenal that when Jim got his gears messed up, he just braked slightly, cut the wheel and pushed the gas pedal again. With all this torque he didn't need to down shift. The sight of the tail coming around with great showers of sand must have been spectacular. The Hisso won the race.

After the war Jim fell in love with the new English cars, first the MG-TC in 1947, then the Jaguar XK-120. Having worked for Ford in Houston from 1934 till 1951, he founded Sports Cars Incorporated in 1952 to become Houston's first Jaguar dealer and its second MG dealer.

photo: Jim Hall Family collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 09 May 2010 - 21:17.


#6 Jerry Entin

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 01:10

Posted Image
Bob Schroeder with his new XK-120 at Caddo Mills, Texas, on January 11,1953

One of Jim Hall's Houston customers was Bob Schroeder, who a decade later would race Formula One cars for John Mecom. Bob bought the XK-120 at the end of 1952 and entered his first race at Caddo Mills in January 1953.

Photo: Bob Schroeder Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

#7 Jerry Entin

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:53

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Big Jim Hall and Corinne Hall with Jim's new Jaguar C

Jim Hall made his sports car debut in 1952, at Caddo Mills where he raced a new Jaguar C. First time out he finished second overall to Carroll Shelby, who raced an Allard/Cadillac

Photo: Jim Hall Family Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 10 May 2010 - 11:57.


#8 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 00:34

Posted Image
Upon unloading at Caddo Mills in November 1952 the new Jaguar drew lots of attention from the crowd. It was the first C-type in the region. Jim Hall is at the wheel.

Photo: Bob Schroeder Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 07:47.


#9 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 00:41

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The November 1952 Caddo Mills starting grid for the big modifieds. Jim Hall's C-type can be seen at the back of the field, which shows three Allards. Carroll Shelby won the race in Charlie Brown's Allard/Cadillac, while this was also the very first race of Masten Gregory's career, aboard an Allard/Mercury [DNF].

Photo: Bob Schroeder Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 07:47.


#10 Gabrci

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:53

Excellent research gentlemen, thanks a lot!

#11 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:10

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Jim Hall getting ready for the start of Race 2, for the small modifieds, during the SCCA National at Eagle Mountain in June 1956. His car is the 1.5-liter OSCA MT4.

Photo: Bob Schroeder Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 12:11.


#12 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 14:06

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Big Jim Hall posing in an attractive Siata. So far we have not found any evidence he raced the car.

Photo: Jim Hall Family Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 14:07.


#13 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 16:28

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Eagle Mountain 1957: Jim Hall and his Ferrari 375MM #10 try to stay close to Jim Saunders, winner of Race 3 with his FoMoCo Special.

By 1957 the OSCA was sold. Jim Hall bought a Ferrari 375MM from John Kilborn. It was chassis 0376, in which Kilborn and Howard Hively had won the Road America 6 Hours in September 1956. Big Jim Hall ran it first in the Frostbite Races at Eagle Mountain in April 1957.

Photo: Bob Jackson
Willem Oosthoek Collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

#14 ERault

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 16:36

Posted Image
Upon unloading at Caddo Mills in November 1952 the new Jaguar drew lots of attention from the crowd. It was the first C-type in the region. Jim Hall is at the wheel.

Photo: Bob Schroeder Collection


Fantastic, as usual. The two Jim Hall situation is confusing indeed (and then there are the two Bob Johnson...). Jaguar historian Andrew Whyte got it right, though, writing about XKC 015 : "sold via Hornburg to a (not the) J. Hall who raced it once, then sold to newcomer Masten Gregory". But did Jim Hall really raced the Jag only once ?

#15 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 17:12

ERault: Thanks for enjoying this thread on Big Jim Hall and his cars.

We have not been able to find any other races of Big Jim in the C-type. After a number of DNFs with his Allard, Gregory bought it relatively early in 1953.

I was just saying to a friend and fellow forum member Paul Medici, that the C Type Jag was sure a gorgeous looking machine. It made the Ferrari of the day look like a Homemade Special.

all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 17:15.


#16 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 18:22

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Two more Italian exotics in Jim Hall's inventory in 1958, a Maserati 150S and a Ferrari 250MM.

The Vignale-bodied 250MM was chassis 0260, the 1953 New York Auto Show car sold by Luigi Chinetti to Phil Hill. It was the only Ferrari that Phil ever bought new. It ended up in Louisiana when he sold it to Charlie Brown. Brown sold it to Ernie Miller who raced it during 1957. There is no record of Jim Hall ever racing the 250MM during his ownership.

The Maserati #10, chassis 1659, was originally bought by Roy Cherryhomes in October 1955, via San Francisco importer Charles Rezzaghi. He sold it to Allen Guiberson, who entered Bobby Burns and Norm Scott at Sebring in 1956. Burns bought the car and returned to Sebring in 1957, with co-driver Lloyd Ruby. He also entered it in the SCCA National at Eagle Mountain for Peter Proctor and Bill Hopkins.

Some sources claim that Carroll Shelby enlarged the 1.5-liter engine to 2-liter during the winter of 1957/58. This is very unlikely. Jim Hall ran the Maserati at Galveston in April 1958 as a 1.5-liter entry in Race 3, restricted to FM, GM and HM. A 2-liter conversion would have bumped it to EM class. At the end of the year Hall sold it to E.F. Spicer, who raced it at Watkins Glen in 1959, again in FM class so with a 1.5-liter engine.

photo: Jim Hall Family collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 16 May 2010 - 22:27.


#17 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 21:28

Posted Image
Jim Hall with one of the two miniature Grand Prix cars he bought in Italy in 1958.

The following comes from Big Jim Hall's son Jim, the third Jim Hall, who raced as well, starting in 1962 when he reached 21:
"My dad won a BMC and /or Jaguar sales event for dealers throughout the U.S. He and mom traveled to England and then on to Italy. There they visited and stayed with Masten Gregory, who was living just outside of Rome. Masten took dad to visit with Piero Taruffi, who had recently retired after winning the Mille Miglia. While there, dad saw these miniature Grand Prix cars, which were knock-offs of Ferrari and Maserati GP cars of the early 1950s. They were beautifully finished and battery powered, using an electric motor; one speed forward plus reverse. His plan was to import them and sell them through his foreign car dealership. However, the customs import tax was almost as much as the cost of buying and shipping the cars to the U.S., so he gave up on the idea. The final cost was just too high and left no margin for profit.

My sister Judy had one which she drove around the grass area on Richmond Avenue in Houston. Dad gave the other to Dale Duncan for his daughter.

My dad never raced the Ferrari that belonged to Phil Hill. He and mom would take it out for a drive around Houston on Sundays. Imagine the astonishment of Houstonians seeing a Ferrari driven on the street."
We have Jim Hall's sister Judy Berk to thank for scanning the above family photo collection pictures for this site.

Photo: Hall Family collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 11 May 2010 - 21:35.


#18 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 00:10

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Carroll Shelby and Charlie Brown's Allard/Cadillac, winners at Caddo in November 1952.

ERault:
The following is from Big Jim's son, who appears as the young boy in the C-type photo:
"This was my dad's first and only race in his C-type Jaguar. We had started up there on Friday night after work, using a trailer that Jim Saunders had just built for my dad, The trailer axle was too far forward and it fishtailed badly. We could do only 35-40 mph, so we returned home, slowly. Dad unloaded the car and took the trailer over to Jim Saunder's house. Jim reloaded the axle rearward and we [just dad and me] traveled to Caddo Mills for the race. I am the young kid behind the man kneeling down by my dad. I was only 11 years old.

I don't recall whether they had a short race, but the feature race was run in the rain. It was only raining lightly at the start, but eventually it became a hard driving rain with water 2-3 inches on the front straight. The faster cars were leaving a water trail 30-40 feet high and about 75-100 yards behind them. It looked more like a boat race.

My dad had told me to stay in the tow car. This was the first time that I had gone to a race where dad was actually racing. I was so afraid that he was going to die. I remember crying all through the race. I kept getting out of the car so that the rain - I got drenched - would hide my tears. I remember one thing clearly, that being that my dad's car was belching a 4-6 foot stream of fire out of the exhaust every time he lifted off to downshift at the end of the front pit straight. I told him about this, but he didn't believe me.

Carroll Shelby won driving a brown Cad-Allard for Charlie Brown. Dad finished second after having two rather high-speed off course excursions trying to catch Carroll. Dale Duncan, as I recall, was third. Carroll had gotten a big lead because in those days you could only pass on the right. Dale, when running second, had pulled over to the right [inside] of the course to let water out of his goggles because he could not see. So dad had to pull up behind him and wait for an opening to pass.

I don't recognize anybody else in the photo with the C-type. Dale and Masten [Gregory], also racing there, are not in the photo."

photo: Bob Schroeder collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 12 May 2010 - 13:53.


#19 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 13:39

Posted Image
Little Jim Hall at his first race
It must have been in the genes, because "Little" Jim Hall, Big Jim's son, competed as well. Here he is at Mansfield on September 1, 1962, in his first race appearance after turning 21 on August 18. The car is the original Morgensen Special, now with 301 c.i. Chevy and Devin body. Harry Washburn showed him the way around the track in practice and Jim won the Novice race, followed by 2nd overall in the prelim and 3rd overall [CM1] in the feature.

The car had been sorted by Tony Foyt, A.J.'s dad, who squared up the chassis [the right side was one inch shorter than the left side] and slowed down the throttle response to make it easier to drive. The Devin/Chevy was good for 170 mph.

Photo: Jim Hall Family Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 12 May 2010 - 13:46.


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#20 cabianca

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 14:45

Fabulous stuff as always from Jerry and Willem. I was alway under the impression that the Jim Hall in question was referred to as Old Jim Hall, not Big Jim Hall. Perhaps the Old Jim Hall moniker came later, when historians were trying to sort out which Jim Hall drove which races.

#21 ReWind

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 14:59

It seems there were FOUR Jim Halls:
1) the subject of this thread (b. 1907)
2) the well-known one of Chaparral fame (b. 1935) (stats from 1959 - 1970)
3) another one (stats from 1968 - 1970) - could this be Little Jim Hall (b. 1941)?
4) the fourth one (stats from 1984 - 1985) - car # 66 suggests a link to 2)


#22 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 15:19

Posted Image
Jim Hall 2 and his mentor Davey Evans
Young Jim 2 is the blond haired kid next to the official in the striped shirt. This is the Hall/ Haas F-5000 team at Elkhart Lake in the day.

ReWind:
You are right about the 4 Jim Hall's

The son of "Young" Jim Hall [the one of Abilene, Dallas and Midland] was also called Jim. He helped on his dads race teams when he was young and now runs his own Go-kart training facility. Young Jim's son was a go kart and Formula Mazda driver in his youth. A very accomplished one by the way.
Here is a link to Jim Hall's Go Kart School:
http://www.jimhallkartracing.com/

photo: Mil Ovan Jr.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 12 May 2010 - 15:37.


#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 15:37

Born in 1907, Big Jim ran his first race on dirt in Houston, on July 4 1928.

all research Willem Oosthoek.


I am wondering...

I have a J. M. Hall from Greenville (Texas?) in my database, entered for a AAA race at Abilene (TX) on September 22 in 1926, in a "Hall & Mitchell Special" - is that too early for Big Jim?

#24 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 16:38

Posted Image
Big Jim and his car
Michael:
Although Big Jim Hall developed an appreciation for cars at an early age [as the photo indicates], an article in the March 1965 issue of Southwest News magazine regarding his race career is very explicit about his first race: a half-mile dirt track in Houston on July 4, 1928. He had just turned 21. His car was a Chevy 4. Some of the other dirt tracks he raced on were Seguin, San Marcos and Belton. By the way Big Jim's initials were J.W.

photo: Jim Hall Family collection
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 12 May 2010 - 17:15.


#25 fbarrett

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 17:10

Posted Image
Eagle Mountain 1957: Jim Hall and his Ferrari 375MM #10 try to stay close to Jim Saunders, winner of Race 3 with his FoMoCo Special.

By 1957 the OSCA was sold. Jim Hall bought a Ferrari 375MM from John Kilborn. It was chassis 0376, in which Kilborn and Howard Hively had won the Road America 6 Hours in September 1956. Big Jim Hall ran it first in the Frostbite Races at Eagle Mountain in April 1957.

Photo: Bob Jackson


Jerry:

Interesting photo credit! Professional photographer Bob Jackson also shot the iconic image of Ken Miles in the "jumping" Shelby Mustang GT350R at Green Valley in February 1965. Still, he is far better known for winning a Pulitzer Prize for his unforgettable image of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. I believe Jackson still lives in Colorado Springs.

Frank


#26 Jerry Entin

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 17:26

Frank:
You are right. Willem Oosthoek is using the archives of his friend Bob Jackson for his upcoming book on Sports Car Racing in the South, from Texas to Florida between 1957 and 1963.

Bob Jackson also took many pictures of Young Jim Hall's race cars in the day. He is a very accomplished photographer.

Edited by Jerry Entin, 12 May 2010 - 17:32.


#27 ReWind

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 17:36

Is this man (b. 27 June 1907 d. September 1973) the right one?

#28 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 02:22

Rewind:
Big Jim's son just confirmed that it was indeed his dad's birthday. Big Jim passed away on September 29, 1973.

#29 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:04

Posted Image
Big Jim Hall with one of his favorites, a Ferrari 410S

Another car that ended up in Big Jim's stable was this 4.9-liter Ferrari 410S, chassis 0596. Bought by A.D. Logan in 1958 from Luigi Chinetti for $10,000, Ray Jones took it to victory at Mansfield in August 1958. When Logan knocked out third gear during a private session, he sold the car to Bruce Danielson. Skip Hudson raced it for Danielson at Pomona in March 1959 [3rd overall].

During his ownership Hall let his friend Dale Duncan race it a number of times. With a bumper for protection Hall also drove it in the streets of Houston.

Photo: Jim Hall Family Collection.
all research Willem Oosthoek

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 May 2010 - 01:17.


#30 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:16

Big Jim Hall with one of his favorites, a Ferrari 410S...During his ownership Hall let his friend Dale Duncan race it a number of times. With a bumper for protection Hall also drove it in the streets of Houston.

Photo: Jim Hall Family Collection.
all research Willem Oosthoek


Apparently Duncan was fourth OA at the Galveston SCCA Divisionals, Sept. 16, 1962. Wow, what a road car! That would certainly rival an XKSS.

Vince H.


#31 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 19:16

Posted Image
Bruce Danielson's Ferrari 410S, as raced by Skip Hudson at Pomona in March 1959
Vince:
It is difficult to image how the 410S would compare to an XK-SS from traffic light to traffic light. According to Dick Irish, who was present when A.D. Logan bought the car in New York, its acceleration was so ferocious that the back end would break loose all the time.

Photo credit: David Martin , courtesy of Tam's Old Race car website

Edited by Jerry Entin, 14 May 2010 - 19:20.


#32 pete3664

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 22:10

Can anyone identify the 2 Maserati's behind the Ferrari?

#33 Jerry Entin

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 23:25

Pete:

The Maseratis are the Micro-Lube Specials owned by fellow Houstonian Ebb Rose. On the left is the Chevy-engined 300S [chassis 3052] raced by Lloyd Ruby; on the right the long-nose 300S chassis 3073] raced by Bob Schroeder.

all research Willem Oosthoek

#34 Jerry Entin

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 17:57

Posted Image
Another shot of Jim Hall's 410S Ferrari in its early 1960s street version, complete with Big Jim's favorite number 10.

Jim Hall family Collection

Edited by Jerry Entin, 16 May 2010 - 18:01.


#35 ERault

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 10:33

Posted Image
Two more Italian exotics in Jim Hall's inventory in 1958, a Maserati 150S and a Ferrari 250MM.

The Vignale-bodied 250MM was chassis 0260, the 1953 New York Auto Show car sold by Luigi Chinetti to Phil Hill. It was the only Ferrari that Phil ever bought new. It ended up in Louisiana when he sold it to Charlie Brown. Brown sold it to Ernie Miller who raced it during 1957. There is no record of Jim Hall ever racing the 250MM during his ownership.

The Maserati #10, chassis 1659, was originally bought by Roy Cherryhomes in October 1955, via San Francisco importer Charles Rezzaghi. He sold it to Allen Guiberson, who entered Bobby Burns and Norm Scott at Sebring in 1956. Burns bought the car and returned to Sebring in 1957, with co-driver Lloyd Ruby. He also entered it in the SCCA National at Eagle Mountain for Peter Proctor and Bill Hopkins.

Some sources claim that Carroll Shelby enlarged the 1.5-liter engine to 2-liter during the winter of 1957/58. This is very unlikely. Jim Hall ran the Maserati at Galveston in April 1958 as a 1.5-liter entry in Race 3, restricted to FM, GM and HM. A 2-liter conversion would have bumped it to EM class. At the end of the year Hall sold it to E.F. Spicer, who raced it at Watkins Glen in 1959, again in FM class so with a 1.5-liter engine.

photo: Jim Hall Family collection
all research Willem Oosthoek


The wonderful BARCBOYS.COM shows a photo of Spicer's Maserati 150S at the 1959 Watkins Glen GP : http://www.barcboys....MAseratiWeb.jpg

Seems to be a different car ?

#36 Jerry Entin

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 17:12


You are right, ERault:

Although assumed to be the same 150S car for a long time, the photo clearly shows that the Spicer car is a different chassis.

all research Willem Oosthoek