The late Harry Morrow, founder of the historic Autobooks in Burbank, got Bob interested in
Bob bought a truck and a stake bed trailer and began hauling lumber from the San Jose area to L.A. and literally lived in his truck for several years. Spending most of his time in the Northern and Central part of the state, Bob met and married Ruby in Santa Maria in 1957 and then moved to San Jose. When the lumber industry slowed, Bob hauled for the cannery industry and finally Bigge crane and Rigging Company where he worked for 18 years before retiring.
Sporty Car Racing
Like so many hot rodders, Bob enjoyed the dry lakes and the side-by-side racing of the oval tracks, but safety was an issue. Going to the "sporty car" races, as Duffy Livingston liked to call them, with Phil Hill, got Bob's interest.
Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had nothing on hot rodders like Bob Wenz when it came to Yankee engi
He went from 229 ci in his eight-cylinder Flathead Ford to 30 ci on his single-cylinder Ariel engine that came out of Bob's motorcycle. Bob built the first Formula III car in the country at the time. Driver skill had to make up for the lack of ponies.
"We ran the Formula cars at Carroll Speedway a few times. They had a lot of people in the stands to watch the races. I remember Cooper ran a factory Formula III car with us.
"Phil Hill worked on the pit crew of a Midget that ran Gilmore and he actually drove a race in a Midget and it scared the hell out of him, so he got out," Bob chuckles.
You might think Bob was behind the wheel constantly, driving the truck on weekdays and race cars on weekends-and he was. Bob was a regular competitor until he retired from road racing in 1975.
Following in the trucking industry like his friend Dick, Bob purchased this Ford Flathead
Bob's wife, Ruby, died several years ago and he has occupied his time (two-and-a-half years) restoring a '49 Ariel motorcycle from a basket case. He's also gone back to his roots building a '29 Ford Model A roadster pickup, but he's taking his time: "Originally I dug the thing out of an orchard. It was completely apart when I found it in 1971 ... I'm still working on it."
Both retired and in their eighties, these two men had one hell of a work ethic. They didn't hope a job would happen-they made the job happen, leading busy productive lives since losing contact with one another.
Reflecting on those formative hot rodding years must give Bob and Dick a sense of pride to have been a part of it. It's an honor to have written their combined stories.
(Dick and Bob have talked by phone a few times since they got in contact with one another. They live 700 miles apart. Hopefully they'll meet face to face soon.)
Bob's stunning '27 T roadster posted a 128.02 mph at El Mirage in 1948. The '32 Ford Flath
Lois in her V-6 Buick-powered '27 Touring, "Annabelle", she owned for 22 years with her gu
Check out the lightening holes. Bob's racer weighed 550 pounds soaking wet, making the pow
Bob, seated in the beautifully restored Formula III car he once owned and raced, receiving
The difference between racing an open-wheel Model A rear-engine (Ford-powered) roadster at