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Circle Track Hot Rods in Post-War California

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.

5 responses to “Circle Track Hot Rods in Post-War California

  1. I’ve seen this video before and I’m glad you posted here at the Old Motor for us to enjoy. It just amazes me how these guys would run flat out with the most minimum of safety gear and driver protection. And I know a lot of them got seriously injured or killed doing what they loved. Still the rawness of this film and the daring “do or die” attitude of the participants to me seems legendary. Oh, did you mean Jim Rathmann @ the 2:20 mark of this video?

  2. Does anyone know how long this track was? I would guess 3/8 miles. I timed one of the laps at 19 seconds. It would be nice to be able to figure out the speeds they got and compare them with what we get in our vintage racers (I think they ran quite a bit harder than we do).

  3. Love the exhaust pipes on the #8 car!

    It is interesting to compare the height of the cars that used a standard Ford chassis.body, and the cars, such as #22, that use a lowered frame and body.

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