Thursday, October 21, 2021

the dragster pop art of Gerald Laing, late 1960s

From Dragsters, a 1968 portfolio of five prints, an original screenprint in colours on smooth wove paper, signed Gerald Laing in pencil lower right and numbered from the limited edition of 150

At the beginning of the 1960s, Laing was introduced to artists in New York City. He met Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Rosenquist and Robert Indiana. After art school he moved to the US. Laing's career took him from the avant-garde world of 1960s pop art, through minimalist sculpture, followed by representational sculpture and then back full circle to his pop art roots.

Deacceleration 1 and 3

see about 60 of his art pieces at

Laing, after graduating from art school,  moved to New York permanently. It was then that the love affair with the ‘Coffee Grinder’ – a Ford Roadster-based hot rod – begun. “He’d just travelled round the States on a Vincent Black Shadow with my mother in the mid-1960s,” explains Sam. “Upon his return to New Jersey, he pulled up at some traffic lights, and beside him was this hot rod. My father said ‘nice car’, and the chap replied ‘nice bike’, and they swapped there and then.

Later, Laing became disillusioned with the US – namely following JFK’s assassination and the Vietnam War ­– and returned to England, ‘Coffee Grinder’ in tow. Nicknamed after its creator Adam Coffee, it became one of the first hot-rods to be imported into the UK. It no doubt caused quite a stir in London, where Laing could be frequently seen crossing Tower Bridge or parked outside the Horse Guards Parade. “He had it for a good couple of years,” recalls Sam, “then there was a bit of a déjà vu moment: he was driving around Hyde Park, pulled up at some lights, and ended up swapping it with a chap in a souped-up Ford Cortina.”

Larry L is wondering if anyone can name the guys who served with his grandfather, on Tinian, photographed with the B 29s Slave Girl, Lady ion Waiting, and Go Sal, and were in the Tinian Hunt Club together Sam Weintraub


Charles Nicolosi (From Brooklyn is in the above, 2nd from left, and below, 3rd from the left

The job of the Tinian Hunt Club was to find and remove Japanese soldiers hiding throughout the islands in the countless limestone caves; they wouldn’t surrender for cultural reasons and also because their high command told them the GI’s would eat their children.
 Many GI’s and Japanese soldiers died in these efforts. Sam Weintraub came up with an alternative (described in his daily war diary), using psychological warfare, by using captured Japanese collaborators to talk the Japanese soldiers out of the caves by promising them good treatment and food and bribing them with cigarettes and chocolate bars. 
In this way, he and his squad, who became known as the “Tinian Hunt Club,” safely brought out around 500 Japanese soldiers, without further loss of the lives of GI’s

William Jackson Smith standing in front of tent, Nicolosi on the right

By the way, you can read online scans of the Daily Iowan, like the one I'm looking at from June 26, 1945, if you'd like to, with no subscription nonsense. Even has the comic strips 

This newpaper clipping talks about a guy named Toughy, who worked with Maj Sam Weintraub, whose obit mentions him on page 7 of the  so that's quite the connection between sources that collaborate the Tinian Hunt Club

the estimated auction price for this painting by Gerald Laing is about 400,000 British pounds, probably more than the actual race car,........ thank you Steve!

Seen in the cockpit of  "Lotus in the Sunset"  is the unmistakable tartan-adorned helmet of Jackie Stewart, while the vehicle itself is the iconic Lotus 49 Ford Cosworth immortalised by Jim Clark.

The smoking wheel of the Lotus demonstrates his signature replication of halftone dots used in printing – a method he first developed in 1962. The halftone method utilises dots of differing size to recreate an image, whereas the Ben-Day process adopted by Laing’s contemporary Roy Lichtenstein uses dots of the same proportion.

1969,  New York,  Oil on canvas,  60 x 216 inches

Commissioned for the Victory Circle Clubroom of the Ontario Motor Speedway, California by David Lockton in 1969. 

then owned by Vel’s Parnelli Jones Collection, California, 1981.

Featured extensively in the 1971 George Hamilton Evel Knievel movie

Here's the nebulous and abstract paragraph definition of the painting, by the artist, which seem to me to be a lot of hyperbole and floof to push the artist's marketing price and branding:

‘It was a systematic and pseudoscientific method of constructing a human image which disintegrated into its separate dots on close examination, and coagulated to become legible when seen from a distance. There was no accident of brushwork and no illusory atmospheric space. In that particularly it can be seen as a reaction against the vague and speculative content of Abstract Expressionist paintings’

Gerald Laing, The Loner, 1969. Whereabouts unknown.

Lotus in the Sunset was commissioned by David Lockton, together with its identically-sized sister painting The Loner, to adorn the walls of the Victory Circle Club at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Hung on opposite walls, the paintings pitted the legendary British Lotus driven by Jackie Stewart against the American dragster driven by Tony Nancy – nicknamed ‘The Loner’ due to his ability to practically field a car by himself. The speedway’s proposed site had been subdivided into parcels of land owned by 150 individuals, many of them Hollywood celebrities. It is through this environment and his close friendship with the likes of Tony Curtis that Laing is thought to have received the commission. The Victory Circle Club was a pioneering private members’ club, hosting the likes of Kirk Douglas, James Garner and Steve McQueen.

I've never seen a 3rd gen Road Runner from this angle. Interesting

catching your car on fire ought to either add a lot of points to your run, or deduct a lot. Either way, it's going to be costly


seems to the the Russian Drift Series, but not last months event at ADM raceway

Denmark is repurposing discarded wind turbine blades as bike shelters

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

great way to indicate a salvage yard

a facebook page for Sweden's motor racing enthusiasts, and compliment of the day .. . Thanks Chris!

 Hi Jesse, I think I`ve followed your blog at least 5 years or more. Was in the Air Force 1974-2014, and I flew in a SAAB 340 with a radar antenna on the roof. Like a mini AWACS. (google S100D) 1700 flight hours 2002-2013. I`ve had several American cars, 58 Impala coupe, 66 Nova SS, 66 Caprice 396", 63 Riviera and now 1970 Camaro RS. So You se why I like your blog so much. Keep up the good work. I just love it. 

 It was very interesting to read about the target towing for the USN, as I have been in the Royal Swedish Air Force for 40 years, as an aircraft technician(and later flight engineer) and involved in target towing for fighter aircrafts. I have also done some dragracing, so your blog is perfect for me. You are the best.


 Regards Chris

Baja racing / SCORE vehicles will be at SEMA

60 vehicles will be on display in the SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience, three featured vehicles will be displayed on their own special stages. The three spotlighted vehicles will be the legendary Big Oly Bronco, Meyers Manx ‘Old Red’, and Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s legendary multi-championship Toyota truck.

Different from the first five years (2014-2018) that it was part of the massive automotive industry trade show, this year’s SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience will be held indoors in a 50,000-square foot area of the North Hall N4 Pavilion and the displays will feature much wider variety and vintage of vehicles from several classes of trucks, motorcycles, UTVs, Baja Bugs, open wheelers, pre-runners and chase trucks that compete in the world-renown SCORE World Desert Championship.

Also a part of this year’s colorful Experience will be classic race vehicles and SCORE lifestyle exhibits that will include Overlanding, Chase and state-of-the-art desert racing pre-runners.

Another of the elements in the dynamic Experience will be the official SCORE Transporter, a stage, racer interviews, and two SCOREvision double-sided LED screens showing highlights of SCORE races, interviews and up close and personal looks of the nearly 60 vehicles expected to be part of the special area of the SEMA Show.

Only the 2nd Meyer's Lynx I've heard of or seen


the only time I've seen one before this was in 2009 when I posted Steve McQueen on one

Looks like more fire than that little extinguisher can put out

not related to car stuff, but as a yooper, I respect the firewood stacking quality so much!

Toyota’s Tacozilla campervan concept will be at this year’s SEMA


The first Toyota Chinooks entered the market in 1973 and were essentially motorhomes with a pop-up roof built on a long-wheelbase Toyota half-ton truck chassis.

cat in the clubhouse

self sacrificing himself to protect his Supra's hood from hail... wow

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Halloween decorations are going up


someone figured out a way to park at the electrical charging stations, with gas powered vehicles, and get away with it, by making a 3d printed adapter that holds the charging connector in place


coolest thing I've seen in a while, built by the guys in the stuctures and electrical shop at VU 4, in the early 1950s, from a JD1 wing tank and drone parts.

Looks like a wing tank from a  JD1

JD1s were versions of the A26

Utility Squadron 4(VU-4) was stationed at NAS Oceana, Va. Beach, Va. and NAS Oceana, Va. Beach, Va, NAS Chincoteague, VA and NAS Norfolk, VA. and was considered a Sea Duty assignment 

 The VU-4 mission was to provide aerial target practice support for selected ships of the Atlantic Fleet in the Va. Capes area. Aircraft support partially involved 16 F8 Crusader aircraft modified for towing a bomb shaped styrofoam target with internal flares remotely activated by the pilot when on station. The pilot remotely deployed the target on a cable/winch assembly. The targets were painted red and approximately 3 to 4 ft. in size. Approximately one mile of wire cable could be deployed by the pilot via a motorized cable/winch assembly. Most of the time there was no target to recover. Typically daily almost 1/2 of the F8's would be in a non flyable status due to various hydraulic and electrical issues. The F8s had no exterior paint modifications or special markings. Towing these targets had special dangers. I recall one aircraft from VF-102 after shooting a Sidewinder missile at the target forgot where he was and sliced through the wire cable. Fortunately his aircraft damage occurred near the end of one of his wing tips and he was able to land safely. The F8 towing aircraft pilot felt only a slight momentary tug.

The other aircraft used by VU-4(V=heavier than air and U=Utility) were 3 WWII B26 Army bombers modified for target towing capability.  In the photo taken in 1962 at San Juan Naval Air Station when the squadron had a detachment TDY to support Operation Springboard, an annual exercise, the two "bubble" windows were used by the cable/winch operator to view whatever he could subsequent releasing or rewinding the wire cable.

 Usually after a ship's firing practice there was not anything left of the red sleeve target cloth target. This was because in addition to tracking the cloth sleeve target visually, the ship's guns used radar tracking and after the target was destroyed continued to track the wire cable destroying whatever piece. Rarely was a mile's length of cable rewound in the aircraft. This was an extremely dangerous situation for the aircraft and involved frantic radio comms to the ship to stop firing. 

Unseen under the aircraft is a small entry/exit area for the cable/winch operator. The cable/winch operator had to open the bottom area of his compartment to enter/exit the aircraft and for operating the winch/cable/target assembly. He had very little maneuvering room for movement and if not careful he literally could fall through the open area. The operator did not wear a parachute nor did the pilots.

What was very scary was the 3 B26 aircraft assigned to VU-4 had their operational "lives" extended three times when I joined the squadron in 1961. This meant the B26s should have been flown to Litchfield Park, Arizona for parts/disposal years ago. The problem was the Navy no replacement aircraft that could do that unique mission until the mid-60s when several S2F sub tracker aircraft were modified for target towing and Utility Squadrons were decommissioned and Composite Squadrons created.

this 50 year old AMC Ambassador Brougham wagon just sold on Bring a Trailer for $28,000

check out this station wagon that stopped in traffic next to me yesterday

comparison of San Diego county cheapest gas prices, Costco, vs on base, vs on the res, vs ordinary gas stations

 Horizon Fuel Center in Valley Center - $3.49 

Costco in La Mesa - $3.95 

 MCCS Autoport in Camp Penleton - $3.99 

and yesterday I filled up for 4.45 at the inexpensive local station on Texas and Madison

John C. May is Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and President of Deere & Company sold $72,473 of Deere company stocks a few days before the strike began.

 May became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in November 2019 and assumed the position of Chairman in May 2020. He was named President & Chief Operating Officer earlier in 2019

So I assume he makes all the decisions at Deere, and that includes not meeting the unions strike demands, and opening the door for them to walk out on strike

The bridge the Russians almost built in 1977.... in West Virginia

When the coal mines of Vulcan, W.Va., gave out in the early 1960s, the only legal route by which to enter and exit the town was a swinging bridge too narrow to accommodate a vehicle. The 200 remaining residents pleaded with the state to repair the bridge, but no action was taken, and in 1975 the bridge collapsed, leaving the residents hemmed in between a river to the west and impassable mountains to the east, reduced to using a hazardous gravel road owned by the Norfolk and Western Railway. Still state officials were reluctant to rebuild the bridge, noting the limited traffic it would carry and the competing priorities in the state.

So the residents of Vulcan wrote to the Soviet embassy in Washington, requesting foreign aid. Soviet journalist Iona Andronov arrived on Dec. 17, 1977, to survey the problem. “He was sincere,” said resident John Robinette. “The Russians said they would keep an eye on the bridge and see if it were built. If not, they would.”

Within an hour the state announced it would do the work, and today a one-lane bridge connects Vulcan to the outside world. “Our government was afraid the Russians would build the bridge,” Robinette said. “They were embarrassed into it, and nothing will convince me otherwise.”


Vulcan, too, sits in a straight line between the Tug Fork River and the tracks. The only legal way in and out of the town is the Vulcan Bridge, which connects residents to the unincorporated community of Freeburn, Kentucky — also in Pike County.

Just like the Nolan Toll Bridge, the Vulcan Bridge was originally built in the early 1900s to assist the local coal business. With a bridge, workers in Vulcan — which was a thriving coal camp — could walk to work in Kentucky’s mines instead of rowing across the river. Eventually, the Norfolk & Western Railway established a passenger stop on its line running through the town, meaning more workers could access the mines.

By the 1970s, though, trains traveling through weren’t carrying passengers or workers anymore, only coal and other resources. The mines across the river needed fewer workers, not more, and most of the bridge’s use came from day-to-day activities by the residents of Vulcan.

In 1974, the wooden bridge gave way to rot and collapsed.

For the 50 or so families in Vulcan, the only way in and out of the town without the bridge was by a narrow, rocky right-of-way sitting on the top of a small cliff and owned by the railway.

For a year following the collapse, John Robinette, a former carnival worker, bartender, notary public and the self-proclaimed mayor of Vulcan, tried working with legislators to repair the bridge.

He spoke to the county, with no luck. He reached out to lawmakers in both Kentucky and West Virginia, with no luck. He tried working through the governor’s office to receive federal help, but again, had no luck.

He was told time and time again that there was no money available to spend on the bridge, according to reports in the Gazette at the time.

Finally, in 1976, growing increasingly frustrated with what he saw as American bureaucratic run around, Robinette took his community’s problems overseas.

He wrote to the Soviet Union and detailed the situation in Vulcan — the bridge, the state’s lack of funding and, in his opinion, the country’s lack of concern. His first letter — sent to the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. — went unanswered by the Soviet government, at first. Eventually, though, he was contacted by Iona Andronov, a Soviet journalist interested in hearing Robinette’s story in person.

On Dec. 16, 1977, Andronov set foot in Vulcan for the first time. Within hours of the Russian’s visit, according to news reports, word came down from then-Gov. Jay Rockefeller’s office that West Virginia would begin working with Kentucky immediately to build a new Vulcan Bridge.

Charles Preston, of the West Virginia Highways Department, speculated to the Gazette at the time, “that somebody in Washington said, ‘do it and shut this guy up.’ The story was embarrassing. It became an international incident.”

Even with the assurances from the state government, Andronov said he reported to Soviet authorities after his visit that a bridge could quickly and easily be built. The Russians, he said, would have built the bridge if the state “had not kept its promise.”

To Robinette, though, the source of the funding for the bridge didn’t matter as long as it got done — and soon. “If the Russians call tomorrow and say they’ll build a bridge, I’ll say go ahead,” he told the Gazette on Jan. 4, 1978. “It’s first come, first serve.”

Two years later, on July 4, 1980, the 300-foot bridge opened — costing a little over $1 million (almost $4 million in today’s dollars), with the price split between West Virginia and Kentucky.

Robinette and Vulcan’s residents celebrated the opening of what they called “the bridge the Russians almost built” with illegally imported Russian vodka and an American flag hung high.,_West_Virginia