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A Pre War Harper Dry Lakes Racing Film

This is an 8 mm film by Tommy Lorbeer with very rare footage showing prewar racing on the Harper dry lake in California during 1940. In addition to the many home built Ford based racing cars and a four cylinder powered Chevrolet streamliner which Bob Rufi set a record of 140 mph, there are some thoroughbreds to be seen; Don Lee’s Bugatti possibly with Bunny Phillips driving. The Don Lee special, which was Offenhauser powered car that Frank Kurtis built in 1936. A front wheel drive Miller-Ford racing car. And we even noticed a Hisso powered roadster. Thanks to Jesse at justacarguy .

5 responses to “A Pre War Harper Dry Lakes Racing Film

  1. There is a thread on the HAMB with this footage and most of thecars have been ID’d, The Bugatti Type 51 is now in Europe.

  2. What great footage, David. In these days where video of everything from the World Trade Center attacks to someone clipping their toenails is available online, it’s might be easy to overlook how rare these images of a bygone era are.

    No class designations : just a number on each door to keep the times sorted out, and a line up of cars for as far as the eye can see. Truly a “run what ya brung” event, and probably one of the last before the dark clouds of World War II descended upon the earth.

  3. Very Cool. I live in Hinkley near Harper Dry Lake. We have been seeking history for our community center. This is awesome ! Had no idea that this even went on out here. Thanks

  4. My grandparents homesteaded near the lakebed where the races were held. They told of some great events with people entering from all over California and a few from out of state, including a few film stars of that era. It is great to see the footage of an actual event. Thank you for posting this.

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