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Jerry Lee 01-01-2013 04:42 PM

Ralph Acierno - Retrospective
(Harry Stone collection) Ralph Acierno and his very stock Lakeside coupe from 1953.
Still running fenders and a full paneled hood at this point.
(Harry Stone collection/Baldridge Studio photo) Ralph and his #5 sit in the infield at
Lakeside sometime in the mid-'50's. Note the roof has yet to be built over the North/East
(Harry Stone collection/Baldridge Studio photo) Ralph's stock car from about 1955. The
#19 in the background might be Earl Mosdorf.

lakeside #29 01-01-2013 06:36 PM

Re: Ralph Acierno - Retrospective
Great pics Jerry Lee. He was one of the CARC pioneers. Can't comment too much, I wasn't there in his days. I did work with one of his cousins at the City for many years. Every now and then Jim would tell a story about cuz.

superstroke 01-02-2013 09:39 AM

Re: Ralph Acierno - Retrospective
In the late 60's, early seventies, Ralph had a Ford tow truck that featured a super charged motor. One of my friends (Bob Bullard) had a Ford Cobra Jet in his wrecker and the two decided to see who would come out on top, racing across the Colfax viaduct. Ralph was victorious. Back in those days, Denver's tow trucks were allowed to chase wrecks. Many times, having a fast truck meant the difference between having or not having a pay check. I used to have a wrecker too. Unlike Ralphs, It needed to be push started most mornings and featured a smoking, gutless motor that required more oil than fuel. My friend Mike Barney had a wrecker too, a 1970 Ford 390 that was black with white bucket seats....freakin cool. Once, while riding with Barney, we chased a wreck that Ralph had also chased. When you had two people in your wrecker, it made life a little easier to get to the still in shock passengers of the now demolished vehicles. They would pretty much sign whatever you put in front of them at this particular moment. I jumped from Barneys truck and rushed the one driver whos car was disabled. He signed on the dotted line and Mike was able to hook up for some quick cash. After I had swept away the debris from the collision, I noticed that Ralph was sitting in his wrecker watching my every move. I tried to avoid his glares, but one time I glanced over and Ralph was signaling to me to approach his truck. My heart sank and I began to walk shaky legged towards Ralphs truck. I stopped a few feet from the window. Ralph asked me to come closer and when I did, he lurched at me, catching my shirt and pulled me close to his face which was now contorted in this "I am going to rip your head off and **** down your throat" look! Basically he told me just that, but added that if I did it too him again, I would not make it to my next birthday. Obviously...I never did that again!! I also witnessed Ralph wrestle a much younger Don Hughes to the ground where he bit Dons ear until it bled. Ralphs picture is posted in an old Denver Police Dept. wanted sheet that features all of the Smaldone family members. Ralph was the real-deal. May he rest in peace.

parrot 01-05-2013 02:42 PM

Re: Ralph Acierno - Retrospective
Nice retrospective, Jerry Lee. One of my favorites, and I go back far enough that I remember that burgundy 3 window coupe from 1955. I believe that the five window coupe is from 1952 when they still had the fenders on them. Interesting that the spare tire bracket is still mounted on the deck lid and the door handle still on the door. Mr. Acierno built a lot of cars for others also. Have run across stories of other drivers who had a car built by him. That's a fun story Rick. There are a lot of stories like that about those guys. Seems that a lot of guys from Lakeside were in the tow truck business at one time or another. During the Sixties, a lot of those trucks were adorned with nice leaf lettering. Some good looking trucks.

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