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Smokey Yunick Speaks


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#1 Magoo

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 23:10

Since he died in 2001, there is now an entire generation of gearheads who never got a chance to see and hear Henry "Smokey' Yunick. Time to fix that. Here's some video that provides a glimpse into the personality of a genuine American character. LINK:


Video: Smokey Yunick Speaks | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#2 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 23:36

Having read his 'Power Secrets' book I envisgaged that his personality was like I have seen.
His book, and articles, made you think. Agree with him or not there was always sound ideas behind his thinking.

#3 Fat Boy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:42

Is Dewey still alive? There's gotta be some great stories in that guy.

#4 Magoo

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 14:24

Is Dewey still alive? There's gotta be some great stories in that guy.


I honestly don't know if Dewey is still alive or is still working for the family. Good question.


#5 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:11


I must recommend reading, Best Damn Garage in Town, My Life and Adventures. Written By Henry himself.

The first page says it all, "It's not politically correct or grammatically correct, but then again, neither was Smokey.

652 pages it is arranged as a comment on something/someone per each of 45 chapters, and fine print to boot. No doubt many would not like what he wrote but he has high praise for many others.

Might still be available through www.carbonpressonline.com.

I hope it is still available.

Regards

#6 Fondles

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 19:59

I must recommend reading, Best Damn Garage in Town, My Life and Adventures. Written By Henry himself.

The first page says it all, "It's not politically correct or grammatically correct, but then again, neither was Smokey.

652 pages it is arranged as a comment on something/someone per each of 45 chapters, and fine print to boot. No doubt many would not like what he wrote but he has high praise for many others.

Might still be available through www.carbonpressonline.com.

I hope it is still available.

Regards


I got a set through http://www.abebooks....u...unick&sts=t
Looks like they have a few sets (second hand) available. I also highly recommend them, they're a fantastic read.

#7 Magoo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 21:21

In the story above there is a link to the family website where you can buy the book in paper, e-book, or narrated audio CD form.

Best Damn Garage in Town is one of my favorite racing books ever even though it is partially...let's just say Smokey enjoyed a story as much as the next person.

Edited by Magoo, 19 February 2013 - 21:22.


#8 just me again

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:16

Hi

More from you tube with Smokey Yunick



This is about Bill France Jr.

Bjørn

#9 bigleagueslider

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:22

The OP summed up Smokey Yunick nicely: He was a genuine character.

Smokey Yunick was equal parts showman and racer. He was popular because he knew playing the part of a simple country-boy taking on the big race teams would appeal to the USAC/NASCAR crowds of that era.

I've read his books, and while I would agree that he was very clever at taking advantage of the rules that existed at the time, he also did not seem to have a solid technical understanding of why most of the things he tried worked or didn't work. His efforts were more a trial and error approach, rather than a science-based approach. In most modern forms of auto racing, Smokey would not have anywhere near the same level of success, due to the much higher technical levels that exist. Smokey Yunick is nowhere close to the technical level of a Ross Brawn or Adrien Newey.

#10 Fondles

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 19:12

I've read his books, and while I would agree that he was very clever at taking advantage of the rules that existed at the time, he also did not seem to have a solid technical understanding of why most of the things he tried worked or didn't work. His efforts were more a trial and error approach, rather than a science-based approach.



Yes I agree with that, I remember reading his autobiography where he mentioned that he wanted to find out if bore or stroke was better for making torque so he build a single cylinder test model and blew compressed air down the spark plug hole. He tried big bore/short stroke and vice versa. But it's very easily worked out in a minute on paper with pi, etc.
But apart from the odd excursion like that he got results in the real world on the track.

#11 Magoo

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 20:44

The OP summed up Smokey Yunick nicely: He was a genuine character.

Smokey Yunick was equal parts showman and racer. He was popular because he knew playing the part of a simple country-boy taking on the big race teams would appeal to the USAC/NASCAR crowds of that era.

I've read his books, and while I would agree that he was very clever at taking advantage of the rules that existed at the time, he also did not seem to have a solid technical understanding of why most of the things he tried worked or didn't work. His efforts were more a trial and error approach, rather than a science-based approach. In most modern forms of auto racing, Smokey would not have anywhere near the same level of success, due to the much higher technical levels that exist. Smokey Yunick is nowhere close to the technical level of a Ross Brawn or Adrien Newey.


All true but unfair and only a small part of who he was.

Smokey was an entire generation older than Brawn or Newey, born 1922. (The comparison is also a little skewed in that Yunick was an engine man.) When Smokey built his first flow bench in the '50s, he had never seen one. Nobody had--they didn't really exist. At that time they were called flow boxes, they were extremely primitive, and only a few of the OEs and their vendors had them. When effectively nobody had access to wind tunnels, Smokey built a water tunnel. That was Smokey: totally autodidactic. Not instinctive, completely analytical.

Smokey was also an 9th grade dropout who taught himself enough English, math, and science to bluff his way through flight school, then flew 57 missions over Europe as the captain of a B-17 before he was 21. Then he did another tour in the Pacific. So one thing about Smokey was it was impossible to scare or intimidate him on any level. Far as he knew, he had already died 20 or 30 times. Bud Moore--there's another one. To call these guys war heroes does not quite capture it.

But I'm rambling. Point is that in the '60s when Smokey was at the top of his technical game -- the era of carbs, mechanical FI, point and CD ignition-- there was no one in the world ahead of him on engines, nobody. In his little concrete block shop in on Beach St. he had everything the OEs had in terms of engine R&D, and he had designed and built it all himself. Dynos, flow benches, motoring rigs. Smoketron. Chevrolet would give him a contract and a pile of money and he would build another addition. Champion Spark Plug would give him another pile and he would build another. Soon it was an entire maze of concrete block buildings, and there wasn't anything Smokey couldn't do for the OEs at a fraction of the cost and time they could do it. And it was also a GMC and International truck dealer. And a helicopter port. Smokey was an expert chopper pilot...and a gold prospector in Ecuador...and an oil wildcatter...and a welder, and a machinist...and a damn good diesel mechanic. Could Adrian Newey rebuild a Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine in the middle of the Amazon?


Yes, time did pass Smokey by in later years, which is when most enthusiasts learned about him. But the generation who passed Smokey by did so by standing on his shoulders, and upon the shoulders of his generation.

Edited by Magoo, 06 March 2013 - 20:57.


#12 Magoo

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 21:04

Folks might find this amusing. The buildings are gone now (the last burned down a year or two ago) but on maps the location is still called Smokey's Heliport. 957 N. Beach St.


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#13 Magoo

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 16:58

I must recommend reading, Best Damn Garage in Town, My Life and Adventures. Written By Henry himself.

The first page says it all, "It's not politically correct or grammatically correct, but then again, neither was Smokey.

652 pages it is arranged as a comment on something/someone per each of 45 chapters, and fine print to boot. No doubt many would not like what he wrote but he has high praise for many others.

Might still be available through www.carbonpressonline.com.

I hope it is still available.

Regards


I can't recommend the book highly enough. Even though it is...imaginative in parts, it's still one of the greatest racing books ever. And yes, it's still available from the family website above.

#14 Fat Boy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 17:36

Yes, time did pass Smokey by in later years, which is when most enthusiasts learned about him. But the generation who passed Smokey by did so by standing on his shoulders, and upon the shoulders of his generation.


+1

#15 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 00:33

The OP summed up Smokey Yunick nicely: He was a genuine character.

Smokey Yunick was equal parts showman and racer. He was popular because he knew playing the part of a simple country-boy taking on the big race teams would appeal to the USAC/NASCAR crowds of that era.

I've read his books, and while I would agree that he was very clever at taking advantage of the rules that existed at the time, he also did not seem to have a solid technical understanding of why most of the things he tried worked or didn't work. His efforts were more a trial and error approach, rather than a science-based approach. In most modern forms of auto racing, Smokey would not have anywhere near the same level of success, due to the much higher technical levels that exist. Smokey Yunick is nowhere close to the technical level of a Ross Brawn or Adrien Newey.

Smokey worked in a different era. No computers, not nearly as much money. Then you had to do it by trial and error, and you got more understanding of what actully happened than doing it with a computer. Brawn and Newey have both built some monumental cock ups, and some very good cars too. As did Smokey so really this is totally unwarranted.
Though probably if Smokey spent a little less time pushing the rules and more within them he may have had even more success.

#16 bigleagueslider

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:07

All true but unfair and only a small part of who he was.


I fully appreciate what Smokey achieved in his life, especially in light of his humble origins. I also greatly appreciate the fact that he, and many others of his generation, courageously volunteered to fight for the freedom of others in WWII. But the only intention of my comments were to provide some perspective of the Smokey Yunick "legend" versus reality. The popular legend surrounding Smokey Yunick is mostly the result of how he was portrayed in the media as being a simple, poor, country-boy racer outwitting the big money race teams he competed against. And it made for great press, since everyone loves an underdog, right?

I'm an engineer by profession, and I've studied many of the engine theories promoted by Smokey. From what I saw, most of them had serious shortcomings. Thus, the question I would pose to you is can you name a single one of Smokey's engine concepts that actually gained wide acceptance? You probably can't.

The fact that Smokey had limited formal technical education or limited financial resources is a hurdle faced by many people in history. The Wright brothers started with far less than Smokey, yet rather than relying on an approach of trial-and-error or blind acceptance of popular conceptions, the Wrights chose to start by building their own wind tunnel so that they could gain a knowledge of basic aerodynamic science. Within a short time, the Wrights knew more about aerodynamics than anyone else in the world. And because the Wrights chose to pursue an approach based on scientific process, rather than simple trial-and-error, they achieved great success.


#17 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:37

This is something that has been brought up before, here and the Nostalgia forum. Too many professionals spend too much time believing the text book. Wheras the self taught usually do not even have it tpo read and make things happen that is not possible,,, by the book. Many racecar builders for decades,of all persuasions, as well as hotrodders have done what the book says isnt possible, and have done for decades. Often the book is right, and very often it is wrong too.
Smokey pioneered cars that were succesfull, and some that were not. I have only read the Power Secrets book but that gave an understanding of how things work, and often what does not. I may well disagree with waht he says sometimes, but he thought about the process,, unlike the proffesional who do not. Or use a computer to think. But if you have no idea of the answers the computer will possibly tell lies. Part of the problem with the modern world, never qustion.

#18 just me again

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 08:25

Hi



I just had to put the hot vapur engine in here. (I have no sound on this computer, so do not know the quality of the Youtube clip)

I think if it´s just half true what he writes in his book about how he researches the vapur and flow in the intake, exhaust and head of the engine, then he was way ahead in understanding these things, and maybe he even has taken a few secrets with him.

Bjørn

#19 Magoo

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:01

I fully appreciate what Smokey achieved in his life, especially in light of his humble origins. I also greatly appreciate the fact that he, and many others of his generation, courageously volunteered to fight for the freedom of others in WWII. But the only intention of my comments were to provide some perspective of the Smokey Yunick "legend" versus reality. The popular legend surrounding Smokey Yunick is mostly the result of how he was portrayed in the media as being a simple, poor, country-boy racer outwitting the big money race teams he competed against. And it made for great press, since everyone loves an underdog, right?


I think you have Smokey mixed up with someone else (Harry Hyde maybe?). Smokey did indeed present a blue-collar persona and he did have a salty vocabulary, but he was never "a simple, poor, country-boy racer outwitting the big money race teams." He was never portrayed that way to my knowledge and I know he would never portray himself that way. He was a factory racer and R&D stop for Hudson, Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Chevrolet again, and Ford again. The infamous Chevelle (actually, there were at least two) was built by Chevrolet R&D in Warren.


Nor did Smokey have anything but the greatest respect for trained engineers and formal education. He was envious of formal education as much as anything. He was the champion and patron and cheerleader for Embry-Riddle University in Daytona.

Smokey had a problem with two kinds of people: 1) middle-management corporate types, who he called "pelicans" and 2) Bill France. He was never opposed to money or engineering. He spent his life in the pursuit of both.




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#20 Fat Boy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 17:50

I've read all his books (that I know about).

2 things:

I think if he would have set aside the engine side of racing and worked on the chassis side a bit he would have been pretty damned tough to beat.

I wish I could get Curtis Turner in one of my racecars.

#21 bigleagueslider

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:58

I think you have Smokey mixed up with someone else (Harry Hyde maybe?). Smokey did indeed present a blue-collar persona and he did have a salty vocabulary, but he was never "a simple, poor, country-boy racer outwitting the big money race teams." He was never portrayed that way to my knowledge and I know he would never portray himself that way. He was a factory racer and R&D stop for Hudson, Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Chevrolet again, and Ford again. The infamous Chevelle (actually, there were at least two) was built by Chevrolet R&D in Warren.


If you take a look at the engine "innovations" attributed to Smokey Yunick, such as his "vapor carburetor" or "adiabatic engine", you'd note that they had serious practical limitations, and that's why they never gained commercial acceptance. The limitations resulting from Smokey Yunick's lack of formal technical education are made obvious by the instance where Smokey decided to add a wing to the Indy car he was running in 1962 based on other designs he had seen. When the car ended up running slower lap times with the wing, Smokey failed to grasp that the problem was due to the fundamental relationship between lift and drag.

The most obvious example of how Smokey Yunick chose to portray himself as an underdog is that of his book's title, "Best damn garage in town". He imagined himself as being a simple "garage mechanic", fighting against the entrenched big-money racing world establishment. Compare the title of Smokey's book to other classic race engineering texts like those of Carroll Smith, "Engineer to Win" or "Tune to Win". No false humility or self-promotion. Just sound engineering principles.


#22 Magoo

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 16:59

If you take a look at the engine "innovations" attributed to Smokey Yunick, such as his "vapor carburetor" or "adiabatic engine", you'd note that they had serious practical limitations, and that's why they never gained commercial acceptance.


The hot air engine might fairly be called Smokey's folly, if there was such a thing, but it was borne of the limitations of the technology of the time. When he conceived these ideas, digital EFI, direct injection, high-energy ignition, stratified charge, HCCI, etc. did not exist--and due to his background in carburetors and distributors, he didn't see them clearly on his radar. It was nothing more or less than his attempt to do homogeneous charge LBC with carburetors. If Smokey were here today, he would be the first to say don't go that way, go this way.


The limitations resulting from Smokey Yunick's lack of formal technical education are made obvious by the instance where Smokey decided to add a wing to the Indy car he was running in 1962 based on other designs he had seen. When the car ended up running slower lap times with the wing, Smokey failed to grasp that the problem was due to the fundamental relationship between lift and drag.


No, that is exactly what Yunick (and cam maker Bruce Crower, who actually fabricated the wing) grasped from the experiment, immediately. What do you assume they concluded?

I guess I would ask where were all the professionally trained engineers and designers in 1962 who didn't even have the vision or foresight or imagination to attempt a wing at all. If a wing on a race car and how it works are so bleeding obvious to you, why wasn't it obvious to Colin Chapman and Costin and Crosthwaite and Terry et al?

Smokey's effort failed in the execution, but nobody else, it would seem, managed to perceive even the basic merits in it. On that point, Yunick was a half-decade or more ahead of Chapman and crew.



The most obvious example of how Smokey Yunick chose to portray himself as an underdog is that of his book's title, "Best damn garage in town". He imagined himself as being a simple "garage mechanic", fighting against the entrenched big-money racing world establishment. Compare the title of Smokey's book to other classic race engineering texts like those of Carroll Smith, "Engineer to Win" or "Tune to Win". No false humility or self-promotion. Just sound engineering principles.


Carroll Smith was a clever self-promoter trading on his reputation just like Smokey. His books are written in a clearly identifiable persona which is in part an extension of his own personality. It's schtick, just like Smokey, merely a different schtick.

And it's kinda funny that you don't recognize it in Smith. It's been often commented upon in this forum. The racers one generation newer than Carroll pick up on it instantly and it often rubs them the wrong way, just as Smokey seems to rub you the wrong way. Really, it's only a matter of style, i.e. writing voice.

But again I will caution you about this theory you have developed that Smokey ever considered himself an underdog or little guy or wished to portray himself that way. That's not who he was at all. He preferred to speak in a salty, shop floor manner and that is as far as that goes. In no sense was he dumbing down or abasing himself. In his mind he was the smartest guy in the room and often (but not always) he was right.


#23 Magoo

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 17:16

The most obvious example of how Smokey Yunick chose to portray himself as an underdog is that of his book's title, "Best damn garage in town". He imagined himself as being a simple "garage mechanic", fighting against the entrenched big-money racing world establishment.


I see where you went wrong. Smokey WAS IN FACT a garage owner -- heavy truck dealership, to be specific. "The Best Damn Garage in Town" was in fact its actual name and it was a GMC, Detroit, Cummins, and International dealer. The race shops were housed within this facility, but HD truck and industrial diesels were always the bread and butter. None of that was an act in any way. That's who he was. Perhaps It only seems incongruous to you that a diesel truck shop operator could also be a racer and an engine R&D contractor for the OEs, but it wasn't incongruous to him. He wasn't imagining himself anything in that regard. That's all you, man.

#24 Dipster

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 18:11

I see where you went wrong. Smokey WAS IN FACT a garage owner -- heavy truck dealership, to be specific. "The Best Damn Garage in Town" was in fact its actual name and it was a GMC, Detroit, Cummins, and International dealer. The race shops were housed within this facility, but HD truck and industrial diesels were always the bread and butter. None of that was an act in any way. That's who he was. Perhaps It only seems incongruous to you that a diesel truck shop operator could also be a racer and an engine R&D contractor for the OEs, but it wasn't incongruous to him. He wasn't imagining himself anything in that regard. That's all you, man.



I really hate it when threads seem to get personal.

All I can say is, based on what I hace read, if I had achieved half of what Smokey Yunick did I would be as proud as punch. Seems to me he didn't do too badly at all.



#25 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 00:03

I see where you went wrong. Smokey WAS IN FACT a garage owner -- heavy truck dealership, to be specific. "The Best Damn Garage in Town" was in fact its actual name and it was a GMC, Detroit, Cummins, and International dealer. The race shops were housed within this facility, but HD truck and industrial diesels were always the bread and butter. None of that was an act in any way. That's who he was. Perhaps It only seems incongruous to you that a diesel truck shop operator could also be a racer and an engine R&D contractor for the OEs, but it wasn't incongruous to him. He wasn't imagining himself anything in that regard. That's all you, man.

Though it probably would not happen in this day and age as he was not 'corporate' enough.
These days it is often 'image' over substance and in this PC world Smokey, and numerous other counterparts world wide would not have the image.
Fancy knowing more than the factory types!

#26 Magoo

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 14:26

I really hate it when threads seem to get personal.

All I can say is, based on what I hace read, if I had achieved half of what Smokey Yunick did I would be as proud as punch. Seems to me he didn't do too badly at all.


It's odd I am cast here in the role of the defender. Usually I am the one objecting to the mythologizing of Smokey.

#27 Fat Boy

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 17:58

Carroll Smith was a clever self-promoter trading on his reputation just like Smokey. His books are written in a clearly identifiable persona which is in part an extension of his own personality. It's schtick, just like Smokey, merely a different schtick.

And it's kinda funny that you don't recognize it in Smith. It's been often commented upon in this forum. The racers one generation newer than Carroll pick up on it instantly and it often rubs them the wrong way, just as Smokey seems to rub you the wrong way. Really, it's only a matter of style, i.e. writing voice.

But again I will caution you about this theory you have developed that Smokey ever considered himself an underdog or little guy or wished to portray himself that way. That's not who he was at all. He preferred to speak in a salty, shop floor manner and that is as far as that goes. In no sense was he dumbing down or abasing himself. In his mind he was the smartest guy in the room and often (but not always) he was right.


Carroll's talking voice and his writing voice were pretty damned close. I worked with him on his last pro gig and then would see him around from time to time after that. He came across a little better in the books, to be honest. I guess by the time I knew him technology had passed him by a bit. He knew this and would say as much. Having said that, he had a lot of track savvy and was strong once at the track. He had a tougher time, actually, between the races, IMO. I didn't get the feeling like there was a lot of engineering going on there.

#28 Magoo

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 18:15

It takes guts to put it all down in writing, which is like chiseling it in stone. From that moment on you're a fixed target and everyone can take shots at you, dissect you, shrink you. It's like painting a bull's eye on your back.

Carroll was one of the first working race engineers to write tech, back in around 1970 for Sports Car Graphic. At that time, nobody did that. One of the smartest things Carroll ever said to me: half the guys didn't want to tell what they knew, and the other half didn't want to tell what they didn't know.

#29 bigleagueslider

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:15

I see where you went wrong. Smokey WAS IN FACT a garage owner -- heavy truck dealership, to be specific. "The Best Damn Garage in Town" was in fact its actual name and it was a GMC, Detroit, Cummins, and International dealer. The race shops were housed within this facility, but HD truck and industrial diesels were always the bread and butter. None of that was an act in any way. That's who he was. Perhaps It only seems incongruous to you that a diesel truck shop operator could also be a racer and an engine R&D contractor for the OEs, but it wasn't incongruous to him. He wasn't imagining himself anything in that regard. That's all you, man.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing Smokey for pursuing success by taking full advantage of every opportunity made available to him. The only thing I'm saying is that I don't personally consider Smokey as being the type of "technical wizard" that most people typically portray him as being. In the field of recip engine technology, the genuine geniuses are guys like Otto, Diesel, Ricardo, Buchi, etc.

As for garage mechanics, I would put Harry Miller above Smokey.

#30 Magoo

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:28

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing Smokey for pursuing success by taking full advantage of every opportunity made available to him. The only thing I'm saying is that I don't personally consider Smokey as being the type of "technical wizard" that most people typically portray him as being. In the field of recip engine technology, the genuine geniuses are guys like Otto, Diesel, Ricardo, Buchi, etc.

As for garage mechanics, I would put Harry Miller above Smokey.


Can't disagree with any of that. I'm sure Smokey would be thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence as Harry Miller.


#31 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 12:17

It takes guts to put it all down in writing, which is like chiseling it in stone. From that moment on you're a fixed target and everyone can take shots at you, dissect you, shrink you. It's like painting a bull's eye on your back.

Carroll was one of the first working race engineers to write tech, back in around 1970 for Sports Car Graphic. At that time, nobody did that. One of the smartest things Carroll ever said to me: half the guys didn't want to tell what they knew, and the other half didn't want to tell what they didn't know.


I don't know about the tech stuff, but I'd recommend Drive to Win to all starting drivers. Unless you or Fat Boy see/know of glaring errors, it seems like a good Race Car Driver 101. My takeway was mainly "Don't just show up, treat this like your profession" which seems obvious but not so much when you're young.

#32 John Brundage

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 16:37

I reffer to Carroll Smith's books for the technical and to see the thought process used in the past. I find this usefull when working on F5000 and other vintage race cars.

#33 Fat Boy

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 03:53

I don't know about the tech stuff, but I'd recommend Drive to Win to all starting drivers. Unless you or Fat Boy see/know of glaring errors, it seems like a good Race Car Driver 101. My takeway was mainly "Don't just show up, treat this like your profession" which seems obvious but not so much when you're young.


I think 'Drive' is a pretty good book. There's not a lot in there that I have an argument with. The 'If this : Then that' section is a mixed bag. Some people might tend to use it as gospel and get confused. Overall, though, I think it does what it's meant to do.

Carroll's folly was in 'Tune' with the whole 'mass centroid axis' theory. What the hell, though, it was a long time ago and very few people outside of Maurice Olley really had vehicle statics sorted, much less vehicle dynamics. At least he was thinking enough about things to have some sort of an idea. It wasn't right, but it showed he was thinking.



#34 Magoo

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 15:20

Because you asked for it! More of the wildly popular early NASCAR stuff, when there was variety on the racetrack. Smokey's world:


More Early NASCAR: The Cars | Mac's Motor City Garage


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#35 Magoo

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:08

I must recommend reading, Best Damn Garage in Town, My Life and Adventures. Written By Henry himself.

The first page says it all, "It's not politically correct or grammatically correct, but then again, neither was Smokey.

652 pages it is arranged as a comment on something/someone per each of 45 chapters, and fine print to boot. No doubt many would not like what he wrote but he has high praise for many others.

Might still be available through www.carbonpressonline.com.

I hope it is still available.

Regards


Here's a review of the book with ordering info, links, etc.


http://www.macsmotor...-smokey-yunick/



The book review feature at MCG, called "Bookshelf," is a bit different in that we don't review every book we are sent. The Bookshelf will consist only of those books that truly belong in every enthusiast's essential collection. Best Damn Garage in Town easily qualifies.


#36 Magoo

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:35

Here's a little video about one of Smokey's closest friends, Mickey Thompson, who he described this way: “There ain’t now way I can tell you really what this cat was all about. This was a very, very special human. He had the balls of a dinosaur and the persistence of a hungry tiger. His mode of operation was ’bout like a 95,000-pound, 600hp diesel tractor and trailer coming at you running 80. That man did not know what ‘It can’t be done’ meant.”

M/T worked 20 hours a day and slept the other four with a telephone on his stomach for when ideas woke him up. At the time this film was made, he was working three jobs; Night pressman at the LA Times, running his muffler shop, and managing Lions Dragstrip. And building his four-engine streamliner to run at Bonneville. The film, produced by Goodyear, is about the 1960 LSR attempt -- only 12 minutes, well worth the time.


Video: Mickey Thompson, Fastest Man on Wheels | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#37 Magoo

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 15:57

Here's yet another Smokey Yunick production, the 1955 Southern 500 in Darlington -- the first major NASCAR win for the Chevy V8.

There are a lot of old NASCAR races on the web in video form. If you are of a mind to watch any of them, watch this one. Very well done newsreel edited from five-plus hours of race length to a few minutes with all the action...but what makes it really worthwhile are all the vignettes featuring Herb Thomas, Yunick, the Flock brothers, Fireball, Curtis, the whole crowd. Far more than words or photos on a page, here you see them in living form. See Fonty Flock judging a beauty contest! That alone is worth the ticket.


Video: The 1955 Darlington Southern 500 | Mac's Motor City Garage.com


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#38 Tony Matthews

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 16:41

A wonderful film - scarey safety though! I was also delighted to see that the best girl won the 'Miss Southern 500' sash - Martha Williams of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina got my vote!

#39 Magoo

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 16:59

A wonderful film - scarey safety though! I was also delighted to see that the best girl won the 'Miss Southern 500' sash - Martha Williams of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina got my vote!


Co-starring Fonty Flock as the inappropriate uncle who makes everyone feel a lit-tle uncomfortable.

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#40 Grumbles

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:31

Can't disagree with any of that. I'm sure Smokey would be thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence as Harry Miller.


A very late response I know, but I don't think Harry would've been anywhere near as successful as he was without the efforts of Leo Goossen. Harry certainly had some great ideas (as well as quite a few hare-brained ones) but it seems Goossen was an essential part of making the good ones work. Although he never attracted the limelight like Miller did he was a very important contributor to the success of the Miller/Offy engines as well as Miller himself.


#41 Kelpiecross

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:05

Co-starring Fonty Flock as the inappropriate uncle who makes everyone feel a lit-tle uncomfortable.


Or maybe more than a little.

#42 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:45

Or maybe more than a little.

Very much more than a little, but some of it may have been put on for the camera. I'm trying to be kind. Also, times have changed, off-track as well as on.

#43 desmo

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 13:32

Fonty just makes some funny faces. Geez, guys.

#44 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 23:44

Very much more than a little, but some of it may have been put on for the camera. I'm trying to be kind. Also, times have changed, off-track as well as on.

A total ham up for the camera

#45 bigleagueslider

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:49

.....M/T worked 20 hours a day and slept the other four with a telephone on his stomach for when ideas woke him up. At the time this film was made, he was working three jobs; Night pressman at the LA Times, running his muffler shop, and managing Lions Dragstrip. And building his four-engine streamliner to run at Bonneville. The film, produced by Goodyear, is about the 1960 LSR attempt -- only 12 minutes, well worth the time.......


Coincidentally, my father started working as a press operator on the graveyard shift at the LA Times at the same time Mickey Thompson worked there, but my dad did not remember him by name. My dad also said the wages for pressmen at that time were barely enough to cover room and board. So it seems amazing that Mickey Thompson could afford to go racing on such an income.