THOSE PERILOUS ROADSTERS

 

      Right after the second World War [and actually a bit before], guys were taking early thirties coupes, removing roofs, fenders, and other
parts, and racing these things without the benefit of any type of safety protection. Around New Hampshire, they were called "mud buggies", and in New York they were referred to as jalopies or roadsters.

     The cars were also very popular in California. The only area round here in which they prospered at all was New York. Tracks from South Seneca, to Perth, to Ticonderoga, to the greater Troy area sprang up. After the highly - publicized death of one new driver named Louis Willette, the New York State Police moved in, invoking archaic Sundayt Blue Laws, and closed down tracks that ran these roadsters.

    The roadsters produced a few prominent drivers,most particularly Corinth's Artt Pratt. A few men, like Ken Meahl, Bob Whitbeck, and Carl Taber, did race or build stock cars. Mostly, the roadsters faded away into history, a brief but fascinating hiccup in the whole scheme of things.


Found by Dan Ody
This is most likely an early, pre - WWII track near Scotia, NY. I wouldn't diginify these things as roadsters.


Found by Dan Ody
This is  another early, pre - WWII track near Farmington, NH. Future race track promoter extraordinaire,
Charlie Elliott, throws his mud buggy into the lead in an early race show.

CENTRAL and WESTERN NEW YORK
Early Undertermined Roadster Locations

 
Historic Aerials.Com
The early roadster track
in Corinth, NY
 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
An early ad for the
Mohawk Oval in
Scotia.
 
Courtesy of Chuck Pastor
An early Western NY
roadster photo.
 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
The old Fultonville
cinder track. These cars
belonged to future Burden Lake promoter Harold Garstang.
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Bill Chick at Hemlock
Speedway in late '40's.
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Ernie Wright
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Hemlock Speedway action.
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Not sure if this is the
same as Hemlock Speedway.
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Jerry Earl at Hemlock.
 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
The trouble with roadsters.

Seneca Falls Speedway
Seneca Falls, NY

 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
Dust proof ? My Foot !
|
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Roaring roadsters ! 

Courtesy of David Delange
A car serves as probably one of the few publicity mechanisms available to the track.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
Somebody's 1940 Ford bears one of those 1950's wire - on bumper signs for the track.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
Preparing the winning car for the big race. This may be A young Ken Meahl, from Lockport, NY.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
Lining the field up on the front stretch.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
This photo, taken over the starter's flag stand, shows the field getting the green.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
A curious crowd mills around the winning roadster entry. One other shot showed a young man staring at the dust - covered winner like
he had seen some sort of alien.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
The curious spectator doesn't seem to dare get near the daring young winner, who has the word "Lockport" on his back. It is likely a young Ken Meahl.
 

Courtesy of Half Fast Video
This is likely the site of the old Seneca Falls Speedway, as seen in the 1990's.
 


Burden Lake Speedway
Averill Park, NY

 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
Albany area driver Del
Moak in his Deep 6
roadster.
|
Courtesy of Ken Gypson
Buzz Hackel [front]
and a group of mostly
roadster drivers

Source Unknown
A winning roadster driver
celebrates early in the
track's history.
 

Courtesy of Dan Ody
A field of roadsters
takes off.
 

Courtesy of David Delange
Car 1 leads Del Moak.
 
  
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Bob Hart in
Burden Lake
roadster action.
 
Courtesy of Ken Gypson
Howie Westervelt and
son in his roadster.
  
Courtesy of Hackel Site
Buzz Hackel with
a roadster victory.
 
Courtesy of Ken Gypson
Buzz Hackel [front]
and Howie Westervelt left]
with HW's roadster.
 
 
Courtesy of Dan Ody
A field of roadsters
heads to the backstretch.
 

 

The Perth Area Speedways
Perth and West Perth, NY
 

 
Courtesy of Jay Mooney
Pete Corey
at West Perth
Speedway with the
Bob Whitbeck #7.

Courtesy of Andy Fusco
West Perth roadster
race in 1949.

Tom Postcards
West Perth
Speedway adv.

Peter Bretz  Leader Herald
West Perth roadster
action.
 

Courtesy of Starin Familyy
A man works on the
#4 roadster.
 

 

Champlain Speedway

Ticonderoga, NY
 

 
Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
A big meeting around
the roadster of Irv Rooker.

Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
The #9 of Leo Wells
chases Del Moak's Deep6.

Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
 Irv Rooker's car
with son, Bill aboard.

Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
Leo Wells in another
entry, on the frontstretch
at Champlain.

Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
The other Leo Wells car.

 
Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
Lining up on the main
straighttaway. Champlain
Was well organized for
a late '40's track.
 
Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
Roland Swinton in car #26.
 
Courtesy of Joan Swinton Walker
The infield pit area.
 
Courtesy of Half Fast Video
Champlain is now
under water. See the circular
tree arrangement in
the center of the shot.
 
Google Earth Image
A different look.

 

 

 
From Dan Ody's 8MM Old Speedways DVD
Leftovers from an era: A roadster races with more traditional stock cars at Fairmont Park
Motor Speedway around 1950 at Fair Haven, VT. The camera person must
have been in a tree.

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