San Fernando Drags

Fairly often in the ’50s the various sports car clubs sponsored drag races at one or another of the strips operating in southern California. Local strips included El Segundo, Saugus, Irwindale (Azusa at that time), Colton, and San Fernando. Here are the results for the SCCA’s event at the latter on April 8th, 1956, as printed in the club newsletter the following month.

“The San Fernando Drags were held on Sunday the 8th of April with the results shown below. Fastest time was put up by Ernie McAfee in the 4.4 Ferrai–12.24. Eric Hauser, in the Victress, went thru in 13.09 as did Jerry Austin in a D Jag. John von Neumann clocked 13.15 with the Monza, and Jay Chamberlain put the Lotus through in 13.43 for fourth FTD.


Class B Mod.
172 Hauser, Eric Victress 13.09
27 Salat, S.W. Jag 140MC s/c 14.10
10 Hagerty, Bob Wildfire 15.26
19 Sloan, Dan Olds Allard 15.85

C Mod
4 McAfee, Ernie Ferrari 4.4 12.24
133 Austin, Jerry D Jag 13.09
26 Cannon, John Cannon Spl 14.19

C Stock
3 Anderson, B.C. Thunderbird 14.50
28 Eurengey, Al Jag XK120M 14.74
163 Friedman, Bill Jag XK120M 14.81
42 Kinner, Bill Corvette 15.39
2 Peterson, Ralph Corvette 16.22
9 Dair, Jack Thunderbird 16.45
226 Hall, Cameron Jag XK120C 16.97
22 Watelet, R.P. Jag XK120 17.23
7 Wogan, J.C. Jag XK 140MC 17.42
21 Matheson, James Jag XK140MC 17.64
15 Fullien, F.J. Jag MK VII 18.48
14 Krueger, Rudolph Jag XK 120M 18.52

D Mod
111 Von Neumann, J Ferrari Monza 13.15
87 Anderson, Michael Hairpin Spl 15.29

D Stock
5 Jones, Harry MB 300SL 14.54
18 Buchanan, G MB 300SL 16.26
80 Weber, Ch Lancia Spyder 17.71

E Mod.
112 VonNeumann, Josie Ferrari 1.9 14.85
50 Sawyer, Bob Frazer Nash LeMans 16.34
24 Jacobsen, Lars MG NA s/c 17.23

E Stock
113 Bracker, Lew Porsche 1600 14.99
11 Bethell, Alan Triumph TR 3 17.16
29 Verrecchia, V Siata 208S 18.73

F Mod
159 Eschrich, Dr. W Lotus 15.14
23 Timanus, John MG Spl 16.91

F Stock
8 McArthur, S.G. Porsche 1500 18.73
30 Davis, D MG TF 19.73

G Mod
16 Chamberlain, J Lotus 13.43

G Stock
129 Lawrence, J MG TD MK II 18.38
13 Garlick, W Porsche 1300 19.86
20 Herrmann, Ben Volkswagen 20.32
25 Sargent, Earl MG TC 21.30
6 McKenzie, Dr A Porsche 1300 20.70
1 Gebhart, Art MG TF 20.24”

Your writer was present at this event and was quite astonished at the announced time of Jay Chaimberlain’s Lotus XI climax, a quite impossible time no matter what the gearing was and remains my thinking. This was the first Lotus XI on the coast and it did well racing, but it did not beat the Porsche 550 engined Lotus of Bill Eschrich whose time seems about right–a wee bit quicker than Road and Track’s road test of John Porter’s 550. Other surprises are the time of anderson’s TBird–way too fast for stock, and Bracker’s Porsche, which was a frequent winner on the track and did have the lowest gears available as well as expert tuning. Remeber that “stock” really meant stock at that time-but some makes provided factory options for racing that made the difference between some of these results where two of the same model have significantly different times. A bit slower than expected are Sawyer’s LeMans replica F-N (the same car had won Sebring 5 years earlier!), and, alas, my Dad in the Magnette at 17.28 was more than a second slower than the previous drags we had run. Incidentally, I have transcribed this as printed, and several of the times for G Stock are listed out of order or the times are typos! The Canon Spl was the gull-winged car with a 240 Offy. Ernie McAfee was, alas, killed in the same Ferrari at Pebble Beach a few weeks later. The car was a beast to handle; those who saw it say he missed a shift and locked up the brakes coming into the bottom tight turn. He was a first-rate driver at this time. –Michael Jacobsen

3 responses to “San Fernando Drags”

  1. James says:

    The Frazer Nash of Bob Sawyer was not the actual car that won the 1952 Sebring 12-hours but a similar one and the first imported into the US in 1950. Coincidentally the first owner of Sawyer’s car was Larry Kulok of New York and he was also one of the winning drivers at Sebring in the Duke Donaldson-owned FN.

  2. Robert E. Richer says:

    From the head of the Frazer Nash section of the VSCC (UK), and present owner of my Le Mans Replica:”Thanks Robert. It was actually a similar Nash, not the Nash that won Sebring in 1952 – four years earlier. Coincidentally, Larry Kulok was the first owner of this car and also one of the winning drivers at Sebring in the Duke Donaldson-owned car.”

  3. Mike says:

    I have no doubt these comments are correct, even though Sawyer told me at the time it was the Sebring car of Kulok–or perhaps he just told me it was Kulok’s and I assumed the rest! MJ

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