The Car


Ordinarily, pictures of this quality would be easy to discount.  In fact, the slides from which these images were retrieved have been ignored at the bottom of a box for years.  The subject matter, however, warrants the effort expended to bring them to you.  These homegrown snaps were taken by the owner/operator of Hollywood Sport Cars, Chick Vandagriff.  I suspect the polite thing to say about their unschooled nature is probably nothing.  The important detail is that they document the Class 'B' production race from the Santa Barbara Road Races of 1965 - a contest that Jim Adams, driving the Doane Spencer built #55 Tiger, dominated until the very end.

A serious gathering of horsepower, Halibrands and hay bales.

Sorted out and way under way, all the way.

Within a rearview mirror's reflection of the starter's flag, Adams was already capturing the lead over a very impressive field of well-known, vigorous competitors.  To his right, Jerry Titus' white Shelby (SFM5R001) claimed the coveted inside line, but there was no holding off the charging Hollywood Sport Cars machine.  In like fashion, Dick Guldstrand's red Corvette (car #56) hugged the taillights of B9470048 through the first few turns, but was soon relegated to a well-known hare and hound routine.

The Cobra contingent, Ernest Kesling (CSX 2458, racing in A Production) and Lothar Motschenbacker's silver # 1 car (also thought to be wearing an AP marker) were omnipresent, but never gained the prow of the pack.  For them, the May 30th afternoon was occupied chasing Ian Garrad's second West Coast effort at proving the Tiger's proficiency.  To argue that the gentlemen, "International Automobiles", came to compete was rewarded with an amazing demonstration of first time, out of the box performance.

Alphabet soup - Adams, Guldstrand and Motschenbacker.

Then there were two.

The approach seems to have been get it started, point it down the track and never let up.  If that's what was required, Mr. Adams had all the tools to fill the bill.  Lap after lap the challengers were found failing to better his pace, or tenacity.  There is a rather impressive picture in Taylor's book (taken during this race) showing both front wheels nearly clear of the payment on an upshift into fourth.  The Spencer-conceived power plant was reported to generate 349 bhp and from the evidence in these photos, no one could dispute the claim.  Regardless of what you may have read, the #55 Tiger did not win this race.  Fan belt failure curtailed the dazzling display and allowed Titus to capture the class win.

As you relive this exposition, I should issue a deserved "Thank You" to the current CAT club big cheese, Dan Walters. Dan told me he had known of Vandagriff's secluded transparency collection for several years.  Getting the box unearthed however, happened only because of due diligence.  And, even though converting slides to a more practical form required some rather "low tech" projection and photographic equipment, it still needed doing.  The long-term transportation and storage in the back of a not so classic Ranchero might also fall into the category of extraordinary foresight.  Regardless, without all of the principals, none of this would have been possible.

Put a fork in 'em, they were nearly  done.



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