Pit Notes: October 2009

Legendary Race Cars by Basem WasefIn keeping with the new FTC guidelines, AWCom acknowledges it has received a review copy of the handsome new Legendary Race Cars authored by Basem Wasef. Because AWCom is not qualified to make a knowledgeable review of this 176-page, 10 x 11 hardbound book with a listed 3124 color photos (we didn’t count) and 57 black and whites, we will send it along to the first journalist who has the expertise and can promise a published review. Others can obtain a copy for $35.00 from Motorbooks Publishing: www.quaysidepublishinggroup.com

The 24 Hours of LeMons continues to grow. Chief perpetrator Jay Lamm announces 23 events for 2010 and looks forward to greeting un-armed and not-on-the-lam participants at one or more of the in-your-face clunker clashes. The schedule is available at http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/events/ and all events are open for entry now. . . Likely the most comprehensive free worldwide schedule of motor sports events is the Motor Sports Diary published by Colin Wilson. Send him an email with “Subscribe,” in the subject line at news@cdwrite.co.uk to receive monthly digests. Publicity releases and event dates are welcome at that address as well. His web site: http://www.Racedates.com, displays most events with additional information, such as website links and other details. The site may be searched by country, by date or by distance.

The Motor Press Guild has announced that Shell will be the presenting sponsor for this year’s Track Days at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Oct. 27-28. . . . McCullough PR is offering advance scheduling for media drives at the 2009 SEMA Show Motor Trend Proving Grounds hosted by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Those interested can get more details and register by contacting Casey Milano at casey@mcculloughpr.com.

The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers is the exclusive hotel partner for the 2010 Chicago Auto Show. February 12-21. The premier property is offering media a special auto show package of hotel privileges and guest rewards and shuttles will continually circulate to and from McCormick Place during the show’s two-day media preview – and by set schedule during the show’s public days Contact: http://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/chicagoautoshow2010

Matt Stone will be signing copies of his book, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, at the Petersen Museum on November 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hollywood Gallery. . . . The recent auction sale at the museum of the Little Red Wagon Wheelstander for $550,000 must have brought a rueful smile to the face of Bill “Maverick” Golden (wherever he may be) who literally broke his back barnstorming the nation’s drag strips in the ‘70s with the Dodge pickup he unintentionally overpowered into a stand up performer for a full quarter mile before it slammed back to the ground. . . . For far less, another novelty vehicle, a Cup Cake Car, conceived by San Francisco area artists for a Burning Man™ event, is offered for $25,000 in the current Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog, as is a limited Neiman-Marcus edition of a supercharged 2010 Jaguar XJL at $105,000.

For a reported $6 million and 605 takes over 3 months, Honda produced this amazing Rube Goldberg TV spot that is billed as the Internet’s most watched commercial. . . . Speed will telecast seven races and CBS will cover two events to provide domestic telecasts of the complete 2010 American Le Mans series. Contact Allison Barry abarry@americanlemans.com
for the race dates.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. bob mc clurg


    I would just like to comment on the “comment” made about Bill,”Maverick” Golden “Inventing” The Little Red Wagon in your latest newsletter, which I otherwise greatly enjoy reading.

    To set the record straight, Bill, “Maverick” Golden DID NOT invent the original “Little red Wagon.” Rather Detroit, Michigan drag racer-race car fabricator Dick Branster, – formerly a partner with Roger Lindamood on the “Color Me Gone” Super Stock Dodge, – built LRW as a test vehicle for Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation.

    The original drivers were Lindamood, and co-fabricator Jay Howell. Believe it or not, the little Dodge A100 was to have been a legitimate drag racing vehicle, only there was one slight problem. Those huge wheelstands!

    Once Chrysler Corp realized that they had a show stopper on their hands, they handed LRW over to Bill, “Maverick” Golden – much to his chagrin, – in lieu of giving him one of the new 1965 altered wheelbase Factory Experimantal Mopars, and a legend was born!

    The Little Red Wagon which was sold at auction was probably LRW #6, or 7 as the attrition rate in this brand of quarter mile “showbiz” vehicles was pretty high.

    How do I know all this? Being a former drag racing photographer certainly helped. But I have also interviewed Jay Howell and Bill, “Maverick” Golden for a story which appeared about eight years ago in TRUCKIN Magazine. And, I am also in the process of gathering material for a planned book on the “A Quarter Mile History of Chrysler Drag Racing!”

    Your old Pal, Bob McClurg.

    PS. Thanks for the plug on the Yenko book a few newsletters back.

    1. Glenn C.

      Bob: Sounds authentic.. I relied on my memory of what Bill Golden told me.

      1. bob mc c lurg

        Glenn-boy. Authentic and on tape! How would you like some Hawaiian correspondance? Bob McClurg

    2. Harry Burkholder

      I am trying to locate a print of the shot you took of our Burkholder Brothers Fuel Altered, way back in the 70-71. It was featured in Hot Rod Mag in the “Hot Rod Racing Gallery” center. It is the yellow lace 23T coming at you during a burnout. Any help locating this shot would be appreciated.
      Hairy Burkholder

      1. bob mc clurg

        Hairy, If I only still had that photo it would be worth a pretty penny! As was common practice in those days, nobody gave anything back! Sorry. Bob McClurg

  2. Paul Stenquist

    Hi Glenn,

    The half-million dollar-plus selling price for the Little Red Wagon at RM’s recent auction didn’t bring a rueful smile to Bill Golden’s face. Instead it left him with an ear-to-ear grin of satisfaction. Yes, the price is over-the-top, but that happens at auctions, and that rather bizarre little truck was a favorite of drag-racing fans for more than a quarter century.

    Golden was a darn good engineer and a consummates howman. His quarter-mile, wheels-up sprints to three-digit speeds were no accident. The truck was originally built for competition in NHRA’s factory experimental class, but it transfered weight too aggressively to be competitive. Golden came up with the idea to turn it into a wheelstanding exhibition machine. He devised a rear braking system that allowed him to steer the vehicle with the brakes. With a lot of experimentation he engineered gearing and engine modifications that optimized torque at a moderate engine speed. A viewing portal in the floor provided a good view of the track with the windshield pointing skyward. In its final iteration, that strange truck could turn a quarter mile faster than a 500 horsepower Corvette or Viper on just the rear wheels.

    Bill “Maverick” Golden entertained literally millions of drag fans
    over a period of some thirty years. Yes, he crashed a couple versions of the truck and was seriously injured at least once. But “Maverick” Golden was a tough and fearless ex-Marine, and he was still riding high at an age when most of us are thinking about retirement. He’s celebrating that action price, and the smile is as real as the man himself.

    Paul Stenquist

    1. Glenn C.


      Please note Bob McClurg’s comment on The Little Red Wagon.
      All I know is what Golden told me when I wrote his press kit.

      What I meant was not to disparage. I am pretty sure Golden would have been glad to take the half million and walk away from the barnstorming life he was leading.

      Glenn C.

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