This is quite a long discussion but very well worth reading:
For those who want a quick read hear is the gist of the story:
I am the old gieser that the guy who started this tread met at the San Clemente DNV while waiting in line for our Specially Constructed Vehicle Sequence numbers. I would like to correct several things that he didn't remember correctly. FIRST I was 62 at the time, not 65 -70!
I wrote a very detailed reply last week but I didn't save it and it hasn't been posted so I will summerize:
I was a young boy (10) in Burbank and my father did not race cars.
My dad met Dr. William F. Eschrich when our family chose his medical practice as our "family doctor" in about 1952. My dad and "Doc" hit it off right away because they were both very mechanically inclined and liked all sorts of vichiles.
Doc had a Simca bodied, Offenhouser powered, sports racing car. My dad became his entire crew for So. Calif. Sports Car Club of America and Cal Club events (today this would be the Engineer, Crew Chief and pit crew all in one)
from 53-56 with the agreement that he could bring his famaly to the races.
Doc was mostly an "also ran" with the Offy and we saw the introduction of the new Porsche Spyder when Johnny Von Newman (Neumann?) brought a prototype to an indurance race at March Field (before Riverside Raceway was built just to the north). We saw the number of Spyders increase and when Doc heard about Dean's wrecked car (he had a newspaper clipping taped to the wall of his shop) the next thing I knew Dean's car was parked under a green canvus tarp situated between Doc's medical building (an old house) and his shop in the back. This was 56. Jay Chamberlaine, the local Lotus dealer, was anxious to sell Doc a Lotus IX rolling chassis and let Doc drive his Mk IX at Palm Springs during Saturday practice to see what Doc throught of it. Doc ordered a rolling chassis and he and my dad began the engine installation.
In June of 56, when school let out, my dad took our family (my mom and older brother and I) on a road trip to see the USA before he was to start his own small aircraft valve and seal company. While in Florida my dad drew up, and mailed, Doc the plans for a tuned extractor exhaust system that was not possible on the Spyder because of the engine being right at the back of the car. Dick Stowe was helping Doc while we were away and when we returned home in September, Doc had completed the exhaust system and he and Dick had taken the "Potus" to it's first race at Paramount Ranch. I don't remember how it did. The next race ws at Santa Barbara and this is where Rolf (Dean's mechanic) came by to help. He had a box of carburetor jets and, because my dad's exhaust system breathed so well, the main jets had to be doubled in area. The car did very well in Saturday practice giving Ken Miles, in Von Newman's Spyder, a run for his money. I don't remember how he did in Sunday's race but there was a problem. Doc had a doctor friend who also raced. Doctor Troy McHenry, who generally raced a Allard, also bought a Porsche Spyder and, while not doing as well as some of the others, he had his car dissassembled to figure out ways to lighten it. I did not know it at the time but evidently Doc Eschrich gave some of Dean's Spyder parts to McHenry because they were specific to a Spyder and Doc E. was essentually running a Lotus.
The next race was at Pamona Fairgrounds and we were pitted right next to Mc Henry. Neither would race again. Doc McHenry would be motioning that something was wrong with his car as he came by the pits and within a couple of laps he lost control and hit a small tree and was killed. It was not the Doctor that bought Dean's car that was killed and this is where the myth that the car and parts were jinxed started. Eschrich was leading the race with Richie Ginther coming up the challenge. They both spun "in some gravel" and were out of the race. The car was hurt badly enough to need serious repairs but his medical practice was directly in the way of the planned "Golden State" freeway and he had to put off his racing plans until he got this practice relocated further down Magnolia Blvd. When Doc was back in bussiness and wanted to pick up his racing where he had ft off my dad told him that the "Potus" would be obsolete if they just rebuilt it as was. My dad drew up a sketch of what he thought should be made. Pete Lovely had already shown a new direction with a Porsche powered (not Dean's engine) Cooper F1 car called the "Pooper" several years earlier. Doc was not ready to start again from scratch and so the "Potus" chassis was raised up to the rafters in the new shop and that was the end of it. Doc's three boys were getting old enough to get involved in outings and they got motorcycles (Triumph Tiger Cubs and "21"). My dad bough a Cub "in a basket" that he re-built for my brother and I. Doc bought a bus that had been used by a guy with a seal act and took out the seal tank to make room for Bikes. We would all go to the dessert outside Palmdale. Doc had been somewhat of a motorcycle champion and liked to ride. Doc had boats, bikes, Jeeps, race cars, trucks, a Munce Jet, a Cadillac powered Wildfire and a 65 Corvette that he took to Bonneville after going with us and my dad's 300SL in 62.
Doc died, of caner I believe, in late 89 and my dad died of a Heart Attact, Stroke and eventually caner in January of 90. At Doc's funeral reception his boys confirmed that the engine was still on it's stand with a plastic cover over it.
Doc's boys are VERY reluctant to talk about the Dean equipment or "Potus" because of the harrasment that they have received over the years but I think that it is a tribute to their father's life of skill, resourcefullness, ambitition and ability that he was able to do all of these things and enjoy his passion for mechanical equipment. He help with my Burbank "Cracker Box Durby" car when my dad was out of town and crewed on my dad's 50 ft. sail boat around the channel islands. There wasn't much he hadn't done."
Edited by David Birchall, 04 May 2011 - 16:38.