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Roadsters Run in the 1934 Legion Ascot Targo Florio Race

AAA sanctioned stock car racing was popular up until the mid-teens – after World War I it continued until about 1920 when it was relegated to small time promoters running events on dirt tracks across the country. Racing stripped production cars returned however in 1933 when the sanctioning body reinstated the once popular Elgin Road Race in Elgin, Illinois. The 250-mile competition was held on August 26 and won by Fred Frame (winner of the 1932 Indianapolis 500) driving a 1933 Ford roadster at an average speed of 80.22 mph. The event and a free-for-all race with Championship (Indy cars) were sponsored by the Elgin Watch Company.

  • Film of the 250-mile Gilmore Gold Cup Race at Mines Field on February 24, 1934. 

The second AAA stock car race held on February 24, 1934, was sponsored by the Gilmore Oil Company at the Mines Field Airport (now Los Angeles International) on a two-mile dirt road course. Practice for the 250-mile race was run on the Legion Ascot Track. Los Angeles area racing fans turned out in force on February 24, 1934, to watch the race. Four hours later “Stubby” Stubblefield won the tough Gilmore Gold Cup Race (view above) in a 1933 Ford roadster at an average speed of 62.37 mph.

Two months later on April 24, 1934, the next race which is pictured here was held at the Legion Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles. It was a 150-mile race called the American “Targa Florio” and ran on Ascot’s dangerous half-mile oval and a road course carved out on the hill behind the track. Famous early racer Earl Cooper paced the field in his mid-teens Stutz “White Squadron” racing car (it has survived). Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Lou Meyer won the event driving a 1934 Ford roadster sponsored by the Froelich Motors, a Ford dealer in the LA area. Paid attendance was down from the Mines Field race, and many fans who snuck into the event watched it from the top of the hill.

Ted Wilson and are from the Bruce R. Craig collection courtesy of The Revs Institute Research Library.
. the-pits-at-the-1934-legion-ascot-targo-florio-race
  • The racing cars and crews in the pits before the start of the event.

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  • Rex Mays (winner of the AAA National Championship in 1940 and 1941) on the far left in a 1934 Ford.

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  • Earl Cooper and his famous mid-teens Stutz “White Squadron” racing car paces the field before the start.

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  • “Stubby” Stubblefield in the lead with a 1934 Ford roadster followed by a 1932 Ford roadster.

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  • Al Gordon in a 1934 Ford and Louis Tomei ahead in a 1933 Plymouth.

louis-meyer-winner-1934-legion-ascot-targo-florio-race

  • The winner Lou Meyer and his mechanic in a 1934 Ford roadster.

7 responses to “Roadsters Run in the 1934 Legion Ascot Targo Florio Race

  1. No helmets, no roll bars, no seat belts. Mines Field, actually on the east side of Sepulveda Blvd, the present terminal being on the west side, was also the site of frequent air races and the occasional balloon race. The Graf Zeppelin also stopped there on its global flight. Originally bean fields, this was probably a great place to put a road course. The bean fields to the west of Sepulveda were still their when I was a kid, but were not being farmed. Great place for jack rabbits!

  2. Does anyone have movies of this type racing in the 1920’s on the New Jersey board tracks, especially Woodbridge,NJ where my father raced a Mercer ?

  3. Back in 1934, Mascot Pictures made a 12 chapter serial called “Burn Em’ Up Barnes” which was filmed primarily in and around this very track and this road course. It’s your basic serial, but the automotive scenes are definitely worth tracking down a copy!

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