More Unseen Racing Film: Pomona 1956

Another installment from the John McClure archives, this time it’s the October 1956 Pomona Road Races. The particular turn that features prominently in this film looks particularly harrowing—and fun. Plenty of competitors overcooked it a bit, resulting in a whole lot of drifting, spins and oversteer. Great stuff!

Quite a few Austin-Healeys, Lotuses (Lotuses? Loti?), ACs, and the ubiquitous Porsche Speedsters and Spyders (I just love that there was a time when you could refer to Spyders as ubiquitous).

West Coast Sports Car Journal had this to say about the main event in their November 1956 issue:

At the drop of the flag, Bill Murphy was first through turn one, something he has perfected through the years. But right on his tail was Evans, Gregory, Hauser, Bob Drake in Joe Lubin’s DB3S Aston Martin, Miles, in that order. Following at a more leisurely pace was the rest of the pack led by Mike Kingsley in the Sparks and Bonney Special and Fred Woodward in his Jaguar Special…

On lap sixteen, the first three cars were running tail and nose, still at an incredible pace. They were lapping three and four seconds faster than the under 1500cc cars had; and this short twisting course is more suitable for small machinery!

I won’t spoil the finish for you here, but you can download a pdf of the complete article here. You can also download the complete results and race report from the November 2-9, 1956 Issue of MotoRacing here.

7 responses to “More Unseen Racing Film: Pomona 1956”

  1. Cliff Reuter says:

    Floored again! Thanks Harlo!

  2. Dikayl says:

    Great blog Harlo. This footage is a great find.

  3. Stu Schaller says:

    One of the more interesting cars, but which did not do well, was Gordon Cooper’s Nardi-Alfa 6c2500 in race #11

  4. Mike Savin says:


    It happens that I just recently transferred film from this very same race (plus others from
    that period) to DVD.

    And, Your title shot shows the program.
    The car in the title shot is my dad’s AC Bristol,
    with Bob Oker driving.

    This was the first Bristol-powered AC Ace
    in the USA. The photo on the program cover was taken
    a few weeks earlier at Sacramento – where Bob and
    the AC shocked the Production over 1500cc class by beating everyone!! The Bristol was a 2 liter engine
    (Class E) and beat Austin-Healeys, Jaguars, 300SLs,
    etc – and lapping the backmarkers in the process of
    a short 5 lap race. (The first time was on Saturday in the qualifying race – Bob did the same thing again
    on Sunday). On Sunday morning, the AC was the subject
    of many protests – and it was allowed to run.

    Ed Savin, my dad, was the Worldwide distributor
    for the first synthetic lubricant, Steen C. One of his distributors, Carroll Shelby, had the state of
    Texas under dad. It is my belief that it was the performance of dad’s AC that inspired Carroll to build the Cobra.

    – Mike Savin

  5. Steven Smith says:

    LOVED seeing the Beetle.

  6. Harlo says:

    I agree, Steven!

    There’s a driver that currently participates in some of the VSCDA and SVRA events in the midwest that races his early beetle and it always warms my heart whenever he passes someone.

  7. Mike Jacobsen says:

    Oker finished 8th overall in the main! Also the first win for a DB3S here–I was thrilled, since I’d been reading about their successes abroad in Autosport for years. There is a good paddock shot of Masten Gregory in the ex-Doheny/McAfee Monza, who dropped out with overheating. Also note a quick shot of Al Moss’ bronze TC in the paddock, with a scooter strapped on the back–Al still owns it and raced it last year at Monterey. My Dad in our Magnette appears briefly at 1.33 into the small bore race (which tells me the footage to here was shot on Sat, as he did not start on Sunday) rounding the turn before the bridge. Mike Jacobsen

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