WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Wet salt at Bonneville, circa 1959.
Dave Wallace’s self-imposed rule to not run previously published photos in our “Backstage Past” series gives us the opportunity to browse his cuttingroom floor, digitally speaking, for images that deserve a second look. Often these pictures were cropped or tiny (or both) when originally published, robbing them of the dramatic presentation they deserve, and which we now have space for.
Such is the case with this photo of the Quincy Automotive-loros & Price Gas Roadster shot by Bob D’olivo at Bonneville in 1959. Ray Brock’s account of the 11th running at Bonneville (“Speed Paradise,” HRM Dec. 1959) notes that “heavy summer rains flooded the lake bed during the middle of August,” just weeks before the SCTA arrived. The wet salt caused “only a slight delay in setting up Otto Crocker’s timing lights.”
During the week, conditions improved as the hot sun baked the salt. Runs early in the week, however, were held on a mushy surface that “plastered the push cars,” as the caption for this photo read.
The Model A came to Bonneville with a pair of blown Chrysler engines and ran in both A/ and B/gas Roadster. It finished Second in both classes and reached a “best speed” of 176 mph.
Several entries at Bonneville in 1959 bore the Quincy
Automotive name, in the Lakester, Gas Roadster, CX Roadster, and C/altered Coupe & Sedan classes. That last entry was driven by one Craig Breedlove. Quincy’s ad in the 1959 Bonneville program billed it as the “Largest Speed Shop” in the West Los Angeles/santa Monica area, with locations in Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.
Breedlove was just one of many to race under the Quincy banner and go on to achieve fame. Coincidentally in 1959, John Peters and Nye Frank built a twin-engine dragster that was known as the Quincy Automotive Spl. before it earned its “Freight Train” nickname. —DREW HARDIN