Category Archives: Auto Racing 1946 – 1965
The annual Millers At Milwaukee meet is one of the few such events in the country that cater to vintage oval track enthusiasts. The focus of the event has always been the Miller Racing cars created by Harry A. Miller, and later cars powered by the Offenhauser engine. It is held at the Milwaukee Mile race track at the State Fair complex; the track opened in 1904 and is the oldest operating auto racing track in the country.
The 19th annual 2014 Meet was held last weekend with well over fifty cars attending. The two-day event has always been a fun and low-key gathering where you can see, touch, smell, and get up close to the cars. There is plenty of time to talk with the owners of the racers, and possibly even get a ride in a two-man car out on the track. A number of other related early racing cars and specials also attend so, it is a chance to see some very interesting machinery.
You can learn all the details about the event at Millers At Milwaukee. A great deal of information about the cars that Harry A. Miller built and the history behind them can be found at the Miller-Offenhauser Historical Society. And thanks go out to Lee Stohr of Stohr Design for his photos.
Follow along above as Jean Jennings takes us to the Millers At Milwaukee event in 2013 to meet up with Miller collector Dan Davis and run a number of his cars out on the track. You can also read her post about the adventure at Jean Knows Cars.
For this Sunday’s video, we have footage from one of the numerous short tracks that dotted southern California in the years immediately following the Second World War. The type of cars seen here offered a much more affordable way to get into racing than with the purpose-built midgets and so-called Big Cars that had been prevalent on the oval tracks in the nineteen-thirties. The vast majority of these roadsters were Ford-based.
It was the wide availability of inexpensive Model “A”, “T” and 1932 to 1934 models, flathead V-8′s and the speed parts for them that made it relatively easy to build a competitive car on a budget. An interesting footnote occurs at the 2:20 minute mark where we see a very young and very serious looking Dick Rathmann, the future Indianapolis driver. His expression might be at least partially explained in the last paragraph of this brief biography. You can see many more post-war racing posts on The Old Motor.
- 1936 Soapbox Derby photo courtesy of the Bridgeport, CT Library
For a little bit of off the beaten path Sunday entertainment, early Soap Box Derby photos are featured today, and an excellent video below showing a film of the 1936 running of the national runoffs. Watch as it is described how the series was run at the time, including the big event that year in Akron, Ohio, only three years after it first began in 1933.
The photo above is from Bridgeport, CT, and shows the running of only one of over a hundred regional races held at the time. The event was run there on July 25, 1936, over a course that was 1,050 feet long. It was sponsored by Cochrane Chevrolet Company (Chevrolet was the national sponsor) and the Post Publishing Company.
The photo below was taken in Albany, NY, where that city’s first race was held in 1940. Chevrolet dealers in the area and the Albany Times Union locally sponsored the Derby. The racing continued off and on in the New York Capitol region until the seventies, when it ended there as the series started to fall out of favor at the time.
You can learn the complete history of the Derby at Smithsonian.com. You can also watch a film, Kid Auto Races at Venice starting Charlie Chaplin at what may have been the first event of its type in the land, and also see photos of many early derby cars here on The Old Motor. Video courtesy of USAutoIndustry.
- Photo courtesy of the The New York History Blog