1971 Dune Buggy Class at Pikes Peak (part 2)

The 1971 Dune Buggy Class

Entry list 1971 PPHC Dune Buggies

Part one of this article talked about the reason why there was a recreational class in 1971 and the three car dune buggy team for Crown MFG and their Deserter buggies. Let’s check out the rest of the field and find out how things went.

Wally Drew

Wally was from Colorado Springs CO. He was also the local distributor of the Fiber Fab line of dune buggy bodies. The body style he used on race day was called a Clodhopper and ran a turbo charged Corvair rear mounted engine. Wally also ran several local hill climbs prior to racing Pikes Peak. A four time winner of the Mt. Buckhorn Hill Climb and also a winner of the Crystal Park Hill Climb in the same dune buggy he raced at the PPHC.  His major sponsor was Surplus City of Colorado Springs.

Top photo from race day, bottom picture was prior to the race, still wearing windshield and bumpers etc.

Bert Moore

Not much is known about Bert, he was from Salt Lake City . The car was red and white and wore the number 77. Volkswagen running gear with an unknown body type , engine is listed as Porsche.

Race day at Pikes Peak 1971 Bert Moore

Dick Rayer

Dick was from Cascade CO., at the foot of the Pikes Peak Highway. His car was sponsored by Ken’s Husky / Dick’s TV. The body was designed to follow the lines of the Can-Am series race cars of the day. The owner and builder of the car was Ken Blockhan also from Cascade. The car was powered by a mid-engine turbo charged Corvair motor.

Dick Rayer at Pikes Peak in 1971
Can-Am race style body, Corvair power

The Whitfield brothers

John was from El Paso TX and Bud from Costa Meas CA . Both active in off-road racing.  A true Meyers Manx dune buggy would be John chose with a rear mounted Volkswagen engine. He would carry car number 54 on his orange and black race car.

Bud Whitfield would be in a Deserter dune buggy carrying sponsorship from Crown MFG , no known pictures of Bud’s car from 1971 have been found and he is listed as a “Did Not Start” in some records and others have him as the last finisher. (Help solve the mystery)

Richard Munday

A Boulder Colorado resident, raced car number 43 , with a rear mounted Porsche engine.

Looks to be a Meyers Manx body

Unknown from 1971

Photograph was taken on race day in 1971, diffidently a dune buggy but not a Deserter body. Looks like a Corvair turbo engine.

Time Trails and Race Day !

First off,  the field ended up much smaller then expected , leaving the organizers some what worried about the change to recreational classes. Gates Tire Company was a major race sponsors in 1971 and they loved the dune buggy class. Several of the dune buggy drivers were involved in making a thirty minute advertising film for the tire company and were provided with as many of the “Gates Commando” tires as the needed for the entire practice week and for race day. ( If you have a copy of the film let me know )

Time trail weather was perfect and the guy with the most experience on Pikes Peak, in the class would take the win, Ted Trevor.

Time trial results for the Dune Buggy Class 1971 PPHC

As predicted, the Crown MFG team took the top spots. Overall the dune buggy qualifying times teams were not that far behind the other classes. In the Stock Car Class , Bill Daniels in a Corvette was the winner with a time of 6:11.92 and Bob Seivert in the Four-Wheel Class took the top spot with 6:11.54.  Time trials takes place from the start line to Glen Cove area, which is only the bottom third portion of the course. Race day times, would show how much the altitude effects the smaller engines at Pikes Peak. One issue of note, is the rule of not being able to compete on race day if you do not qualify . With such a small field in the dune buggy class, the powers that be, left it up to the drivers to vote if the none qualifiers , John & Bud Whitfield and Charles Wayne, should be able to run on race day. John Whitfield lost an engine during practice and wasn’t able to make the time trails. Luckily for him the group voted to let everyone run on race day.

Race day, Race Day, RACE DAY !

July 11, another great weather day. The Dune Buggy Class would be the first off.

Start line at the PPHC in 1971, Dune Buggy Class

The starting order was determined in 1971 by the fastest driver in qualifying going first and following down the line. Some times it was an advantage to going first, hoping the road would be the cleanest with the less ruts and derbies.( Sometimes not !)  Ted Trevor would be off first :

Flat tire slowed Ted into a third place finish

Reeves Callaway was off next,

Reeves Callaway at the start line 1971 PPHC

Not far into the course Reeves’s turbo broke spilling hot oil onto cylinder heads.  . “You should have seen the flames!  I stopped , jumped out and put my helmet over the flaming exhaust pipe.”  

Things were off to a bad start for the Crown Mfg. team and the dune buggy class overall.  Alex Dearborn up next :

Time of 15:56.680  good for 4th place
Dick Rayer on the way up
Dick’s time of 16.03.740 6th place

Wally Drew # 33 , below:

A little sideways and one handed, nice helmet Wally !

The seventh dune buggy to the top was Wally Drew with a time of 15:44.40 making him the fastest, up to that point.  Just one more driver to go. John Whitfield the guy that didn’t qualify and was allowed to run on race day by a drivers vote.

Winner of the 1971 Dune Buggy Class John Whitfield

With a time of 15:10.49 the winner of the FIRST and only Dune Buggy Class was John Whitfield in his Meyers Manx dune buggy running a 2180 VW motor.  (On a side note a Meyers Manx Dune Buggy also won the first Baja 1000 !)

Results for the 1971 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Dune Buggy Class

Fitting that a Meyers Manx with Volkswagen power would win the Dune Buggy Class at Pikes Peak. After all it was, the car that started the whole dune buggy craze. The overall class times were fairly close and the dune buggy class was competitive within itself. Compared to the other classes, Stock Car winner Ak Miller in a 1970 Mustang, with time of 14:18.61 and Four-Wheel Utility Class winner Scot Marlatt in a Jeep CJ-5, with a time 14:35.90, the buggies were slower and the field size was much smaller.

1971 would be the only Dune Buggy class at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The organization would bring back the Championship Class ( Open Wheel) , in 1972, allowing VW/ Corvair sand rail type race cars to run in two classes, with divisions split by engine sizes .

Winners and losers .

One and done for the dune buggy class, but the off -road/ truck class would carry on for many years. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb has been known for trying out new innovations in racing from the beginning. Cars running tank and airplane engines, dune buggies, semi-trucks and now the electric cars and motorcycles. The Dune Buggy Class was a good idea and it attracted new drivers from California . The 1971 dune buggy drivers would go on to encourage other west coast racers, like Rick and Roger Mears, Gary Lee Kanawyer and Bill Brister to compete at future Pikes Peak Hill Climb races.  The winner would have to been the organization for being brave and bold enough to true new ideas. The loser was, sadly only one year for the Dune Buggy Class.

1971 was a good year on Pikes Peak and it started a new trend of drivers who would challenge “The Race to the Clouds’ in the future.  Roger Mears would take overall class wins in 1972 and 1973 in the new class structure beating the higher horsepower traditional upright, sprint and championship cars.  But that is another story, for now, so long and I hope you enjoyed the two part story on the 1971 Dune Buggy Class at Pikes Peak.

 

 

.

 

The Pikes Peak Dune Buggy Class 1971 (part 1)

Only PPHC program to have a dune buggy on the cover

 

Newspaper articles prior to race day from 1971

Pikes Peak as a laboratory for automotive construction and experimentation.  

Big changes can result with big rewards. The folks running the 1971 hill climb race certainly were shaking up the program. Gone was the Championship Class that had ran for the last 47 years. In it’s place would be Dune Buggies, Jeeps and Motorcycles, the so called recreational vehicles of the day. The Stock Car class was still included, now called the “Late Model Stock Car” and of course, they had the largest purse.

The Baja 1000 race in Mexico had been a huge success in the late 1960s, and off-road racing was taking over the nation. Pikes Peak had been more associated with the Indy type champ cars and drivers, from almost the beginning. The stock car class was a closer mirror to what was happening in Nascar during the 1960s. Motorcycles had not been back to the hill climb race since 1955. There really wasn’t any classes for the off road racing fans at Pikes Peak Hill Climb until the big change in 1971.  Where would the new classes draw their drivers from, would this new idea even  work ?

The 1971Dune Buggy Class !

Yes, I am a VW fan, so I will be covering what happened in the Dune Buggy class for 1971.  First off, let’s look at the basic rules posted for the class.

Corvair  Porsche and Volkswagen aircooled engines only. Mid or rear engine placement. Full body with open wheels, Pump gas powered motors only and the car had to have two seats. Strange mention to a Meyers Manx type body. Nice plug for Bruce Meyers, but in 1971 there were literally hundreds of spin off body manufactures of dune buggy bodies.

(Let’s not forget that Ted Trevor and Don Wilcox had already taken dune buggies to Pikes Peak in 1966 . Quick rule changes, all but outlawed the buggies until they got there own class for 1971)

Entries for the new class.

1971 class entries Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Not as big of class as the organizers where hoping for the field. ( A class of at least twelve cars were expected ) The second surprise was the engine selection . Corvair engines with Turbo’s was the selection of most of the entries.  Ted Trevor was back and with him was a team of three Deserter dune buggies.

“Crown Manufacturing Team”

The team would consist of Ted Trevor, Alex Dearborn and Reeves Callaway.  All three would bring their own specialties to the mix. Ted was the Corvair engine wizard and owner of Crown Manufacturing.  Alex was the man behind the Deserter race cars and dune buggies and Reeves Callaway was the all around race car driver and engineering specialist.

Gazette Telegraph article July 1971

Alex Dearborn 

The following words are from Alex and his recollections on the race at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1971

Alex’s Deserter was used as a test mule for various suspension and wheel combos at the factory location

“It was a big decision for a small company like our Deserter business 
to mount a Pikes Peak effort” . 

First, there was the distance to the event, then the lack of any 
experience with engine tuning at 7-14,000 feet of thin air. The there was the cost. I had done SCCA road-racing for years, and some small hill climbs, but this was the BIG one! 

We made a deal with Ted Trevor at Crown Manufacturing in California 
(who ran a Corvair-powered Manx at the peak the year prior) to send us 
a Pikes-Peak ready Corvair engine, ready to bolt in. In exchange, we sent him 2 Deserter GS kits. We would run the three cars with Crown 
livery, as a team. We reasoned that Ted’s expertise on the 
modified Corvairs would keep us out of engine-tuning difficulties. 
The Crown engine didn’t arrive in Massachusetts until a week before we 
were to depart for Colorado. We decided to run it in on the 
Autodynamics dyno ,to make sure it was ready……and it seized! 

All the race logistics had long since been made, so we really couldn’t 
scrap the trip. I borrowed a street-tuned 1600cc VW from a customer, 
and headed to Colorado with this in the Deserter GT/GS, along with a handful of Weber jets. 
(Using his slide rule, Ray Caldwell calculated the jetting for the 
altitude, and we never changed these) 

My wife Carol and I drove out in our new Vega GT wagon, arriving a 
week ahead of the event. The new class for “VW-derived race cars” was 
full of some interesting machinery, mostly Corvair powered, and, it seemed, all pretty radical in the power department. It was daunting to survey the staging area on the morning of the first scheduled practice. In peak tradition, our group practiced 1/3 of the 12-mile hill course each of three days, all between sunrise and 8:00 , when the hill opened to the public. There 
was snow on the top by the third day, which turned out to be no big 
deal for me, since the 1600cc VW couldn’t spin those groovy Goodyears 
at 14,000 feet anyway. Each day after official practice, Carol and I 
would pay the toll and drive up in the Vega with the public, as many 
times as we could fit in. Of the 156 corners, many were blind, so the 
30 mph ones looked deceptively similar to the 80 mph ones. Go 30 
through an 80 mph corner and you lose the race. Go 80 through a 30 mph 
corner and, well, we didn’t. The course was all dirt then and no 
guard rails. Unfortunately for us the dirt was well-packed and gave 
great grip, so we could have used a lot more HP. Each evening at 
dinner, Carol would make me draw the course from memory on the place 
mats at the restaurant until I got most of the 160 corners identified. 

MY GS had run flawlessly all week, so I had the great advantage of 
being able to concentrate on learning the course. On race day, when 
the green flag fell I was about as ready as 
could be. The first car I passed was Reeves’ GS, sidelined . Other 
contestants suffered from various mechanical mishaps as well. These, 
along with some “irrational exuberance” cut the field down to size 
enough for me to finish 4th. 

The Deserter was a cut above the normal Dune Buggies of it’s day. A true tube chassis mid-engined race car. For more information on the Deserter line of dune buggies check out the Deserter Owners Group

http://www.bimelliott.com/dog.html

Reeves Callaway

Reeves’ car was much different from the other two Crown MFG team cars. The car was ran mostly in SCCA racing, prior to Pikes Peak. The non- production Deserter dune buggy body had a Group 7 type Can-Am style nose equipped. The Corvair mid mounted engine was turbo charged with water injection and a Porsche cooling fan system running a Hewland gearbox. Upon arrival at Pikes Peak adjustments in turbo boost to run at altitude and an increase in ride height had to be made.

Top Reeves Callaway at the PPHC,, bottom picture practice with the Deserter before heading to Pikes Peak in 1971

To find out more on Reeves Callaway and what he is up to in the racing world today  :

https://www.callawaycars.com/

Ted Trevor

Seven year veteran of Pikes Peak and a winner in 1966 with a Meyers Manx dune buggy. ( With a Corvair rear engine). This time around in 1971 he would be in a yellow Deserter GT running a mid engine Corvair with his companies Turbo adapter kits.  Ted was the hands down favorite going in to practice week and time trials.

Practice makes perfect and Ted wins the time trails in 1971
Ted’s Crown Manufacturing Corvair powered Deserter dune buggy still survives today. Photo from practice at Pikes Peak 1971

 

Check out part two for the remainder of the field and what happens at time trials and race day !

 

Pikes Peak Hill Climb programs over the years.

1916 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program

In the beginning .

The first “Pikes Peak National Hill Climbing Contest” program was really spectacular  for its time.  Thirty two pages in full, with classic ads throughout. Name brands like, Cadillac, Packard, Marmon, Excelsior Autocycles, White Motor Company, Gargoyle Gasoline and many more. Luckily the PPIHC organization reprinted this program during the 100th anniversary in 2016. It is a must have souvenir program even as a reprint. One bit of trivia from the program, is the Broadmoor Hotel advertisement. The actual construction wasn’t completed when the program was printed and the drawing of the Hotel placed in the ad was for a  different design then what finally got approved and built.

The 1920s and 30s

No race from 1917-1919. When racing resumed after World War I in 1920, the program was reduced to a four page handout for the remainder of the 1920’s. Not many of the folded paper versions of the program have survived.

The 1925 PPHC program hand out.
1925 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program 4 page handout.

In 1935 once the original contract for ownership use of the road was completed, no one picked up a new contract. The wasnt a race in 1935. The local VFW (Veteras of Foreign Wars) picked up the sponsorship for the hill climb race in 1936 up until the race stopped in 1941 for WW2.  The format was more like a traditional program with a thicker cover type with more pages (6-8 pages).

1936 Pikes Peak Hill Climb program.
PPHC 1938 program

1940s

The paper handout style was used one last time in 1940. The first use of color since 1916 appeared on the cover in 1941.

missing 1946 program cover image please help

The 1950’s

The use of photography, graphics and color would signify the programs of the 1950’s. The “Princess Power” contest ladies made the cover in 1954 and the Dodge Pace Car made the cover in 1955. The first full color race car photograph cover was in 1956. (Keith Andrews). The famous PPHC fish logo, made the cover in 1957 and stayed for the last three years !

The 1960’s

The cover graphics got a little boring in the early sixties with the fish logo theme, but the wonderful cover photograph covers from 1966 and on would make up for it.

The 1970’s.

In addition to the use of photographs on the covers, several years, the covers would receive an artist touch. Note worthy covers were , Peter Helck in 1973, and Leonard Wheatley in 1977 and 1978.  Buick Pace Cars made the cover in both 1975 and 76 and the only dune buggy to ever appear on the cover was in 1971.  Artist H. Gene Yancey would finish off the decade with the cover art in 1979, including drawings inside the program of Rick Mears and the PPHC flagman Art Walsh.

The 1980’s.

What can you say about the 80’s ?? Graphics would take over most of the cover designs. Buick would once again have a Pace Car on the cover (1981), except the Indy 500 targa top pace car on the cover wasn’t used at Pikes Peak, but a more subdued T-Top car was used. Artist H. Gene Yancey did the wonderful cover in 1980. Modern computer art made the cover in 1982. There was an art contest done for the 1984 cover and the winner was Lori Pate of Littleton Colorado with her colorful tire tread design. The 1988 cover illustration was done by automotive airbrush artist Mark Westfall. My personal favorite, in the 1980s, was the 1989 cover with a Newman-Dreager open wheel race car artwork. Chevrolet provided limited edition posters to it’s dealership with that image in 1989 to celebrate some of the greatest Chevrolet wins at Pikes Peak. ( PPHC fans will notice that the car on the cover,is actually going downhill at that location on the course.)

The 1990s.

Race cars and photographs would take the majority of the covers in the 1990’s. Bill Brister in his Wells Coyote took the cover in 1990 starting the decade off with a bang. The cover artwork in 1992 was by Jim Swintal and was also used for posters that year. Those marvelous posters have become a much desired PPHC collectible.  Besides the drawing in 1971, the cover in 1994, was the first year for a motorcycle photo to make the program cover. Likewise the first semi-truck made the cover, ( Kenworth driven by Glenn Brown) in 1998. The program from the “75th Running of the Race to the Clouds” in 1997 is also a much sot after collectible for hill climb fans.

PPHC Programs available for viewing !

The Pikes Peak Library District Special Collections department has 31 programs available for the public veiwing. You can’t check them out but they have a great room to read them in and the folks are great to work with. Here is the list of what years they have and contact info.

https://pikp.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/PPLD/search/results?qu=pikes+peak+hill+climb&te=

The Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs also has around 20 programs that the Library doesn’t have. A little harder to get access too but available by appointment only. Contact info below:

Welcome to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Did you like this blog post ?

Hope you enjoyed seeing the many years of Pikes Peak Hill Climb program covers. (If you have a picture of the 1946 program cover please contact me)

What other items from the race are you interested in besides the race cars and drivers? Posters, diecast, books, clothing etc……?

If there are enough folks responding to this post, there could be additional posts of  PPHC memorabilia in the future.  There is a bunch of stuff out there, but getting harder to find as the years go on.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Nice to see many of you folks coming back time and time again!

Oldsmobile Toronado at Pikes Peak (part 2)

To recap part one of the story. Oldsmobile had a hit with the Toronado at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race, starting with the pre-production model testings in 1965 to the stock car class wins in 1966 and the 1-2-3 finish in 1968.

Gazette Telegraph newspaper ad from June 1969
Even the comics were advertising the Oldsmobile Toronado advantages at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1968

1969 PPHC

Nick Sanborn had the two stock car class wins with the Olds Toronado but switched to the Mercury Cyclone in 1969. When asked about the change, Nick simply replied, ‘Bigger engine”.  Four drivers would take the challenge with the Toronado’s in 1969. Frank Sanborn, Bruce Jacobi, John Rhodes and Butch Lacey.  Bobby Unser had a factory backed monster Ford Torino built by Holman-Moody-Stroppe with engine work by Smokey Yunick. From day one of practice it was going to be a race for who would get 2nd place to Mr.Unser.  As anticipated the 429 Torino would take Bobby Unser to first place in the time trials and first on race day.  The Toronado drivers had it rough on race day finishing, 6th Rhodes, 7th Peterson, 8th Jacobi and Lacey with a blown engine, “Did Not Finish”.

Was the Torondo finished at Pikes Peak , did they pass the torch over to the Fords for good?  Frank Peterson didn’t think soand he would be back with a vengeance in 1970.

Red-White and Blue !

Frank Peterson already had 3 years racing the Toronado at the Peak and a veteran of the hill climb since 1959. He already had a hand in the two previous Oldsmobile wins as a builder on Nick Sanborn’s winning Toronado’s and the other Money Olds teammates that finished 1-2-3 in 1968. The fantastic patriotic red, white and blue paint job on his 1969 Toronado would take him to his first stock car class win in 1970. Believe it or not at the time some people did not like Frank using the flag as a paint theme on his car in 1970. He definitely started a trend, and by 1976 the majority of the race cars on the Peak carried a patriotic theme. (In my opinion it is one of the best paint schemes to ever race the mountain.) Dick Harris and rookie Jerry King would also drive Toronado’s in 1970.

1970 PPHC

Nick Sanborn still in his Mercury, would take the first spot in time trails in 1970 with Frank Peterson and his Olds in second. Race day would finally see Frank Peterson get his stock car class win and the Oldsmobile Toronado was back in the top spot. The bad news, the two other Toronado’s driven by Dick Harris and Jerry King did not finish on race day.

Frank Peterson ads after winning the 1970 Pikes Peak Hill Climb in his Oldsmobile Toronado

Even the model car companies got on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Toronado band wagon. These models bring big bucks at online auction sites.

The 1970 PPHC winning Toronado race car lives !

Frank retired the Toronado in 1971 and the car remained in storage for decades. Mechanically the car was still in good shape but the paint job needed help. Level One Restorations of Arvada Colorado would get it looking like new once again. Check out their work on the Toronado at :

https://levelonerestoration.com/portfolio-view/pikes-peak-hill-climb-1969-toronado/

Muscle Car Enthusiast magazine did a full feature on the car after the restoration. The article can be seen at Frank’s own site,  “Lakewood Manufacturing”. While you are there check out his other Pikes Peak Hill Climb cars.

http://www.frankpetersonlmc.com/Petersons_-_Muscle_Car.pdf

 

I was fortunate to spend some time with the car this summer at the Hagerty Insurance open house.

The 1970 PPHC Stock Car Class trophy on display with the car
The seat and pedals were moved towards the center of the car for better weight distribution.

 

Larger then stock radiator and custom made Hooker Headers
Nice touch in engine compartment next to the coolant overflow was a military ammo can full of lead weight and engraved with crew members initials

Thank you Frank and Kaye Peterson and Hagerty Insurance for a great time.

Last gasps for the Toronado at Pikes Peak.

Jerry King the Rookie of the Year in 1970 would go on to run his Oldsmobile Toronado until 1972 . Bob Fling would make history by running the fastest time of any of the Toronado drivers with a 14:17.16 in 1972 which by that time, was only good enough for 7th place. Two others Rudy Proctor, 11th place finish and Jerry King “DNF” ran Toronado’s in 1972.   That was the last of the breed to compete in the Race To the Clouds.

Overall in seven years from 1966 to 1972 the Oldsmobile Toronado would take THREE overall wins in the Stock Car Class, TWO second place finishes ONE 3rd and ONE forth place finish. (Not too bad). Ten different drivers in seven years and the fastest time of 14: 17.  The car may of had a short time frame racing on Pikes Peak, but it  definitely made an impact. To this day when folks are asked about the top ten all time cars of the PPHC, Frank’s Toronado seems to come up on everyone’s list.

If you have additional information or photographs of the Toronado’s racing at the Pikes Peak hill Climb , please comment or email me. Thanks !