Kevin Ivey of Los Angeles shared this story of his father's days as a young gun:
This 1952 photo is of Marc Ivey as a high school senior in Colton, California, with his '39 Chevrolet. Marc paid $450 for the business coupe (no rear seat), which he upgraded to a club coupe by installing a rear seat. The '39 Chevy was painted Vassar Yellow (a stock Buick color at the time). Under the hood was a Chevy high-torque six-cylinder with a three-pot intake manifold and Carter YF carburetors, with a stock three-speed converted to a floor shift.
Check out the Baby Appleton dual spotlights. These came in handy for tracing around the edge of the movie screen at the Rubidoux and Tri-City Drive-Ins-of course while the movie was running. Wheel covers are '50 Oldsmobile sombrero hub caps.
Marc raced his Chevy at the Colton Drags in the D/G class. The Colton Drags were at the site of the old Morrow Air Field, and Marc remembers he and fellow members of the Crankers Car Club had to clear the weeds from the airstrip on opening day. Marc announced the first day of races until local Colton movie star Gene Evans ("Lassie Forever" and "The Steel Helmet") took over the job.
Marc says, "The car always came in second to the Little Red Wagon driven by a guy from Fontana. I couldn't afford to put it in on a dyno. But after I sold the car to Scottie of Scottie's Muffler in San Bernardino, he figured out right away that the cam was flat and that the engine was over-carbureted. Scottie replaced the cam and switched to a two-pot intake manifold and ended up winning the class at the Colton Drags."
Mail your vintage photos of you and your hot rod, along with a brief story to: Tim Bernsau, Rod & Custom, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, or e-mail them (3x5 inches at 300 dpi) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are unable to return any submitted material.
Wally Parks, 1913-2007We can't think of anybody who has contributed as much to hot rodding as Wally Parks, who passed away on Friday, September 28.
He is probably best known for the establishment of the National Hot Rod Association. Drag racing was just taking off as an organized sport when the NHRA was established in 1951. The organization quickly became its prominent sanctioning body, helping to solidify race classes and rules, building dragstrips around the U.S., and sponsoring local and national races. Today, Wally Parks' name is associated with drag racing in many ways, from the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, to national event trophies, which for years have been informally called "the Wally." Even so, his contributions to hot rodding extend much further.
Wallace Gordon Parks was born 94 years ago in Goltry, Oklahoma. His family moved to South Gate, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, in 1921. When teenage Wally started building stripped-down Model Ts, the term "hot rod" didn't exist, but that's what his cars were. He drove them on the street and raced them on the desert dry lakes. In 1937, Wally and Ak Miller helped form the Road Runners, which joined with other local car clubs to establish the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) later that year.
Wally was working as a test driver for General Motors when the United States entered World War II. Even while serving in the Philippines, he stuffed a V-8 engine into his Jeep. After the war, he returned to his job at GM, and to increased involvement with the SCTA, becoming the general manager in 1947. That same year, he worked with Robert Petersen and Bob Lindsay on the creation of Hot Rod magazine, and soon became the editor. In 1949, he was leading the move to open up the Bonneville Salt Flats for speed trials. Wally left the Petersen Publishing Company in 1963 to become the president of the NHRA. He held that position until 1984, but continued to be involved on the NHRA board of directors.