The Cars

Event Photos





Bakersfield, CA - October 10 - 12, 2008: The 17th NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion and 8th annual Cacklefest lived up to their star billing in spades. In spite of a shaky economy and high gas prices the near capacity crowd was blessed with Chamber of Commerce weather, great racing and a record number of cacklecars.

Now with the eighth edition of Cacklefest in the books, to use movie terminology, what was once a "Short Subject" and now qualifies as a full fledged "Epic" of stars, sights and sounds. It is apparent that after 17 years the California Hot Rod Reunion has become "The" cornerstone event of the season for Nostalgia Drag Racing and many will say that Cacklefest is its heartbeat. The CHRR is where Cacklefest was born and it remains the granddaddy of all cacklecar events.

There was a full complement of return cacklecars and several first timers including but not limited to the stunning Gingrass & Dearmore AA/FD, the Dailey & Johnson AA/FD and early Northwind fueler restored by Bucky Austin, the beautiful Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda" recreation, Jim Herbert's last FED, Ash Marshall's AA/FD all the way from Australia and more.

Although it is probably overkill, it is our pleasure to present the end result of the efforts of Tony Thacker, Steve Gibbs, Greg Sharp, Wayne Allison, Bill Groak and the rest of the staff of the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum. Kudos as well to John and Blake Bowser and the Famoso Raceway staff for a superbly prepared facility.


Photos by: Bob Brown, Stephen Justice, Steven C. Wallace, Dan Kaplan, Tim Hanaseth, Pam Schavrien, Paul Hutchins, Darrell Conrad, Vic Cooke, Jim Sorenson, Tom Hurley, John Ewald, Pete Gemar, Fred Young and Don Ewald.





For many years, before I-5 was built, travelers on Route 99 drove under this sign if they passed through the downtown of Bakersfield. Situated about 2 hours from LA, Bakersfield was the last gas stop on the way South to LA or the first gas stop on the way North out of LA. One way of the other, the sign was famous.

A few years ago, the city fathers decided to remove the sign from Bakersfiled's main street and it was purchased by the late Buck Owens, the Country Western star for his Crystal Palace nightclub. Today, the sign is visible to the East from the new path of Route #99 as you pass by the intersection of 99 and 58. Look the other way, West and you'll see the DoubleTree Hotel, the host hotel for the CHRR and the site of the Friday night awards ceremony and afterwards the debut fire-ups of the season's most important new "Cackle Cars"!

Bakersfield! The very mention of the name evokes thoughts of drag racing back to the 50's to this day.


From Thursday on from the staging lanes to four rows in there was nothing but a sea of cacklecars. This is Bucky Austin's ever increasing collection.











It was back in July that we heard Bucky Austin's latest restoration had been completed and could be expected at CHRR. Bucky sets a pretty high restoration standard for his work, and The Dailey & Johnson car proved no exception. The late-model hemi-powered Don Long dragster was Hanks last FED, and among the last of the breed to win a national event title. Here's a look at it in Bucky's showcase lineup alongside the Jerry Ruth restoration done some time back.





Several cars made their Cacklefest debut including the beautiful Gingrass & Dearmore AA/FD restoration done by owner, Larry Crossan.







The G & D car was loaded on a trailer Friday afternoon and hauled into town for the Honorees awards at the DoubleTree. The Dearmore half of the original team is John Dearmore, in the far right of this picture. Working fevershly against the clock he and Larry had the bottom end apart and replaced the oil pump right before the car was loaded on the trailer for the trip to town. Some things never change.



Bob Hirsch's tribute reproduction of the Marvin Schwartz "Anaconda" dragster has appeared at several of the SoCal street events featuring cacklecars this year, but for many (even from SoCal) CHRR was the first opportunity to see this car.

Marvin wasn't noted for his cars being "lookers," but this one was the exception. With a chassis mainly of his own construction, he turned to master tin smith Tom Hanna for the bodywork with paint by Cerny to finish it off. Hirsch's reproduction features a chassis constructed by Rollain and Buttera, bodywork by Terry Negman with paint by Mitch Kelley.

It's quite a beautiful and detailed effort. When Marvin built his car in 1967 it stood out from the crowd with it's ultra-long wheelbase, which prompted it's name. Had to be the longest wheelbase car out there that year, although we all know that many others would soon be even longer. It still looks pretty long to today's eyes as you examine the car.

I saw this car run a couple of times, although always without the nosepiece. Marvin preferred to forego the weight of the body for competition it seems, but without it the car looked quite different. Just lots of pipe with some wheels attached up front, LOL!

Vic Cooke









This is a genuine Eagle Electric car that was driven by Frank Rupert. It's a basic Woody car...no tail or nose. Was found and restored by Stan Canter, of Spokane, WA. Jason Rupert, son of the original driver, was in the car here.




Another newby and definitely the winner of the long distance award was Australia's first cacklecar - the "Scorcher" AA/FD of Ash Marshall. The car was purchased from Leland Kolb and shipped down under in the early 70s. It has been restored over the last two years by Dennis Young and George Bukureshliev who was in the seat for the cars maiden fire up here at Bakersfield.

The complete history of this car - its racing days and restoration - will soon be available on Cacklefest.com







The Ron Johnson pit was awash in red as it featured his Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer", his Shubert & Herbert Chevy fueler, the 4-engine Tommy Ivo "Showboat" and Bruce Larson's 1973 Ivo rear engine car. For a little relief from Red, Don Prieto's Hustler 6 provided a counterpoint in Silver.











Ivo was on hand Saturday to sign autographs.


Always looking great - Jim Green's "Assassin"



John Ewald's Mastercar and BankAmericar - both Cacklefest staples.



Al Bergler and company made the long trek to Bakersfield with his new rig and three beautiful cars.


Now, focus on the center car (The Probe) on the side of the trailer. Look at the photo above then the one below. How trick is that! The image "follows" you.




Not to be confused with the John Wiebe 1971 "Violin Car" which was a featured car last year, this is a different earlier model Wiebe car, and apparently the real deal. It's an SPE - Roy Fjasted car, owned and restored by Wayne Patrick.


Terry Maestrejuan's "Thunder Chief" and Paul Schavrien's "The Poachers" shared a pit on the return road side of the pits.



Sam Chastain brought the Iron horse from his home in Auburn, California. The car was originally owned by Dan Richens of Salt Lake City, who was a railroad engineer, hence the name.


Bob Creitz from Oklahoma brought his restored car. Tom Hanna did the restoration about 4 years ago. Creitz and the original driver, Steve Carbone, were reunited with the car at Bowling Green in 2005.


Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson raced this car at the end of the 60's. When it's career was ended, Mike parked it. It sat, just like this until Mike decided to start bringing it to cacklefest events. The chassis and body have never been touched up, they are totally original to the 60's. The motor is a different matter as Mike is one of the most competent engine builders for cacklecars as well as race cars. This one runs a very high percentage and makes a lot of noise with Carl in the seat.



Dave West had this car built by Pat Foster about 8 years ago. It is a perfect duplicate of the original which is long gone. Tim Beebe, the Beebe of Beebe and Mulligan has become an unofficial part of Dave's team and handled the original motor work for Dave. Tim is currently crew chief on Jim Murphy's nostalgia AA/FD. Dave lives in Paso Robles and enjoys the good life of retirement and car collecting.


Tom Ivo in his element - the seat of Ron Johnson's Barnstormer.






Ewell Bell Stecker AA/FD



Corey Conyers who works for Tom Hanna came to the CHRR to help Bob Creitz and ended up getting a fire up in the Mastercar.



Alan Janes, a former crew member for Jim Herbert, is now the owner of the Raynor-Bishop-Herbert Woody car. He did a lot of the restoration work on the car at Dave Uyehara's shop. This is the car in which Jim was burned pretty badly at Kingdon when an oil filter split open. It was dark blue back then with lighter blue lace panels and gold leaf lettering. Henry Walter did the paint and lettering. The white and orange paint scheme as shown on the car now came later, but it is unknown who did it then or now. The engine in the car now is owned by a friend of Alan's. It came out of his street car. Davey had it on 85% with 35 degrees of lead for the Cacklefest.


Nobody has more fun at these deals than Herm Petersen. Herm hails from Washington and had a serious injury in the 70's and left racing. He embarked on a new career as a charter fishing boat owner/skipper and is busy as all get-out during the summers. When he saw all his old racing buddies having too much fun at Cacklefests he restored one of his front motor cars and now has something to do in the off-season.







Bill Pitts Magicar was one of the many fire-ups over the weekend. In the car for this one was Ross Preen who came, with his wife Jude, to the CHRR all the way from Australia for their vacation.

"My wife and I, just had the best time all weekend at Bakersfield, and the friendship and hospitality show to us by everyone we met made the trip from Australia very worthwhile. To see the pics of myself in the "Magicar" brought it all back again (I can almost smell the Nitro!) in spades, it was an experience that I will never forget". Ross




Carl Olson warms up Mike Kuhl's hemi.



Famed photographer and Lions Drag Strip historian, Don Gillespie was another 1st time "driver" in John Ewald's Mastercar.






Gillespie, Larry Sutton and John Ewald.


Wayne King's pit - Peregrine and all.



Always the center of activity, the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum was well represented. Here is the Swamp Rat 3 owned by Sonny Messner. It is the only Garlits Swamp Rat car ever owned by someone other than Don, who built this fine recreation for Sonny about 4 years ago. Behind it is the Art Chrisman Hustler.



The Speed Sport Roadster, Kenny Saffords car and the Howard Cam Rattler rounded out the NHRA Museum area in front of the Renegade Toter Home/Stacker Trailer rig on display by Bill Schneider of the Phoenix Renegade dealer. Bill and his life partner, Darielle Moody Price (Don Moody's daughter) brought the rig from Phoenix empty and loaded it up with cars at the Museum in Pomona and brought them to CHRR. Word is that Bill and this type of rig may make a "Cacklefest Tour" in 2009 taking Museum cars to as many as 9 events around the country. Renegade Motorhomes and Trailers are marvelous devices and the Renegade Company is to be thanked big time for considering this assistance to the Museum.



Another CHRR first timer was the newly restored Perrenot Family "The Gizzle Hopper" Lincoln powered AA/C.



The Gas Ronda Ford Funny Car may have doors and fenders, but there's no problem recognizing it's a race car when it fires up.


The Schrank Brothers from Washington ran this car in the early-mid 60's with blown DeSoto motors.


Brent Seaman (adjusting valves) brought his restored "Outcast" AA/FA all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.




John Peters had his Freight Train running on all 16 during this Saturday fire-up.



Katie Capps, daughter of Ron and Leah Buttera Capps, brought the Buttera family full circle with her fire-up in the Ewald Bros. BankAmericar. Her grandfather, the late John Buttera was in the seat for two fire-ups before he passed. His daughter Leah was in the car at the 2008 March Meet.






Bobby Hansen brought his car, the Wynn's Spoiler from the LA area. Bobby has a company called Hansen Chassis and builds all types of cars including race cars. This one originally belonged to his Dad.



The Yeakel Plymouth team includes members of about 5 families who were all involved with the car back when Tom McEwen drove it for Lou Baney. Frank Baney, Paul and Jim Rossi, Chuck Goebel and Chris Young (Lou Baneys son) all have a hand in the venture and turn out at events, where the group really shows how you can have a good time at the races.



Chuck Goebel on the left, then Frank Baney, Jim Rossi and Paul Rossi.


We'll close this page with Paul Rossi in the Yeakel Plymouth car doing what these cars do. Entertaining the fans with a CACKLE!


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