From the Editor’s Desk…….
Connell R. Miller
Well, it looks like the end of the 2013 drag racing season is drawing nigh. Tonight I’ll DVR the NHRA’s (way-too-late) qualifying at Pomona on ESPN2 and watch it Sunday, followed by the “Big Show’s” finals. This race is always a bummer for most of us because, after Mike, Dave, Gary and the others have bid us adieu and the closing credits have rolled, our sport’s only TV coverage is kaput for the year.
There will still be plenty of racing going on around the country, though – particularly in the southern climes. We here at NDW urge our readers not to weenie out – just trade those shorts, tee shirts and flip-flops for jeans, long sleeves and tennies and enjoy the cooler weather and great racing at your local drag emporium (don’t forget that old formula: cooler air + lower humidity – higher track temperatures = mo’ faster & quicker!).
With maybe less racing and certainly fewer motorsports of all kinds on the tube, this should give our readers more time to look at all the wonderful photographs we have for you this month along with some great stories from our contributors. Our photomeister, Martin Libhart, and a few others, have supplied us with a lot of super images from the California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield to go along with Stormy Byrd’s “shootin’ from the hip” account of the event. After reading us from cover-to-cover, this slack racing period might also afford you the time to peruse all our back issues.
While NDW is at the forefront of the current nostalgia movement, with our coverage of all the great cars, drivers, teams and events, don’t forget that we also want to feature stories and photographs from the very beginnings of the sport forward as well. Particularly due to the explosion of social media sites – namely Facebook - more and more of our past is being revealed as stories are told and photos dug out, scanned, and posted. This, of course, not only gives so much pleasure to us “old farts,” but they act as history lessons to the many younger readers we have. You’ll see several black & white photos I’ve contributed this month, scanned from old negatives I finally dug out of a long-hidden box. Some are from ’57 and ’58 at Caddo Mills and a few are from the 1958 NHRA Nationals at Oklahoma City.
This racing “downtime” is your chance to search for/dig out/scan those old photographs, as they need to be preserved in the digital world anyway. Even a simple photo editing program can crop and enhance those shots before they’re saved for posterity. If you have some good ones, contact us as we might be interested in using them. Should there be a good story that goes along with those pictures, that’s even better.
In our first issue I mentioned my involvement as a crew member on a 1940 Mercury D/Gas car during the summer of 1958. Moving to a different state in 1959 and with the owner, Dubby Erwin, perishing in a dragster crash a few years after that, I didn’t know what had happened to the car we lovingly called, the Green Bean. Due to his noticing my mention of the “Bean,” a few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Texan Jerry Barnes telling me that the old Mercury has not only survived, but has been given a magnificent restoration and is now living a second life as his proud, show-quality and street driven car! Jerry sent photos of the “new” black cherry Green Bean as well as a nice story on its history and the restoration, which you can read in this issue. I’ve included a photo I took of it as Dubby pulled to the line at the 1958 Texas State Championships where we won D/Gas and set a record.
It’s always wonderful when these old cars survive. Many wind up restored as “cackle” cars, some are now in museums, and a few are able to be up-dated enough for current certification and actually put back in competition. Cars like the Green Bean are unique in that they have been transformed and are now re-born to the world as street rods…and with their linage and history intact!
We’re putting out a call to our readers: If you have, or know of, such a car with a racing past like the Green Bean that is also now serving a second life as streetable transportation, it might make for an interesting story, so please contact us!
MORE PHOTOS ON NEXT PAGE HERE
Nostalgia Drag World - Connell R. Miller, Editor-in-Chief