Friday, November 30, 2018

Oscar Koveleski

His M8B McLaren Can Am carwas criticized by the SCCA for it's paint scheme, as they had a rule limiting how much body space could be used for advertising.... he told them "it's just racing stripes"

Oscar Koveleski can be accurately described with two words – speed, and passion. His love of speed started early. As a youngster, Oscar had a passion for model cars and airplanes. He learned to fly at age 9, and at 18 he joined the Philadelphia Region of the SCCA.

His first win came in a 1951 SCCA Regional race at Bone Stadium in Pittston, Pennsylvania. He raced regularly through the 50s and 60s in SCCA Regional and National Races, as well as the 12 hours of Sebring and the 24 hours of Daytona.

in the Ferrari he bought from Andy Warhol

In 1970, he won the ASR National Championship at Road Atlanta, beating 27-time National Champion Jerry Hansen by just one-tenth of a second. From 1969 through 1972, Oscar was a regular competitor in SCCA Can-Am action, with his orange “Car 54” one of the most recognized cars in the series.

Finished second in the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash with teammates Tony Adamowicz and Brad Niemcek – all founders/perpetrators of the infamous PRDA (Polish Race Drivers Assoc) in the Chevy van loaded with 5 drums of 130 octane racing gas.

The PRDA van made one seven-minute fuel stop. The Ferrari consumed 240 gallons of fuel averaging 80 mph; the PRDA van used 356 gallons while traveling a slightly shorter route and averaging about 3 mph less.

the 1st name on the front fender Tony Adamowicz, known affectionately as Tony A2Z, worked as a White House staffer for the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations when he suddenly got the urge to drive racing cars. His talent quickly became obvious – he won the Under 2.0-liter portion of the SCCA Trans Am championship in 1968. He also won a championship in Formula 5000 against world-class competition, and in a Ferrari 512, scored podium finishes in 24-hour contests at both Daytona and Le Mans.

Looking for a way to contribute to better safety for drivers, he joined the board of directors of the Motor Racing Safety Society. Oscar served on the Board of Directors for the SCCA, and promoted SCCA races at Pocono Raceway from 1980 to 1996.

Best known for creating Auto World in 1958, Oscar Koveleski became the man about slot cars, model cars, and radio control cars and remained so for over 30 years. He introduced a countless number of children to racing, both in person and through his mail order catalog that sold model and slot cars beginning in 1958. Oscar contributed to a love of cars and racing early in a child’s life, and many future racers got their start at home thanks to his Auto World catalog.


  1. Model car guy forever, I met Oscar one year at SEMA. What a guy! Great marketer, consummate car guy. The hobby was blessed to benefit from his efforts.

    1. Very cool! Meeting people at SEMA is a hoot!

    2. I was a small kid flying from Suisse to Denmark and sat next to this guy who had a briefcase. I remember thinking how cool the briefcase was and must have shown an interest. The guy brought out a picture of a #54 Jarobee McLaren and signed it to my flying buddy Joey. 40 years later I looked up the signature and it was none other than Oscar Koveleski !!!

    3. WOW! That's really cool!

  2. He always claimed "pole position" at every race and just about any gathering ... he has it now.

    This was a guy who simply knew how to have fun and (better still) share that joy with everyone who he ever came into contact with. The textbook example of a old school marketer, Oscar put his heart where his ego was and never looked back or lingered on any one wild. wonderful, incredible, promotion very long. The cool part was that the product (from kielbasa to Kid Racers) was always as good as the hype.

    His enthusiasm was as contagious as it was unrelenting. Oscar wouldn't even admit it, but he was a pretty fair driver, slugging it out in a Can-Am McLaren. His contribution to the hobby/sport of slot car racing can not be underestimated, it ignited a wonderful era of scale model racing that endures to this day. He was everyone's fun uncle and friend.

    Car 54 is parked but the great joy that always swirled around him still echoes. Thanks Oscar, thanks a whole lot. -Stokes

    PS: I'm a proud member of the PRDA and carry a membership card to this day.

  3. I got my membership card personally from Oscar while staying a couple of units away from him at Seneca Lodge during Vintage week, thanks for the memories.