Vintage auto racing
Rat Rods for SaleRace Car Clip Art

Go Back   Auto Racing Memories | Vintage Race Cars > Auto Racing Memories > The Drivers

The Drivers In this forum feel free to start threads about your favorite driver from the golden days of racing. Make sure to title your new thread with the drivers name first.

Thread Tools
Old 04-16-2009, 04:47 PM   #1
webby's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Lakewood, Colorado
Age: 55
Posts: 1,063
Post Tom Ellis

Here is CNS 121, I picked the number because I am a Dan Gurney fan.

The year is 1969, the place Colorado National Speedway. Return to those thrilling days of yesteryear before the invasion of asphalt descended on CNS.

This was good year for racing the 121 car. The 121 car came from as a still street-able 1957 two-door that I purchased for $50.00, it was black and white, with a 292 c.i. “Y” block V-8, and a three on a tree. During the early Springtime birthing process of the 121 car it took a week to shell it out of all unnecessary stuff, glass, we were allowed to keep the windshield, and chrome trim came off, although we could leave the chrome trim on if we screwed it in place to the body. There was a lot of help, from some of the other car owners and drivers at CNS.

The roll cage, rear end, tuned headers, seat and 5 gallon “Jerry Can” came from Bob Couch and Jim Binkley’s worn out number 17. A ’57 Ford hardtop. Did I say worn out? It’s more like done for, but I salvaged what was still use-able. Cannibalized is more like it. I had new wheels made at C-D Wheel, the tires, street tread design only, came from Phillips and Anderson. The holes in the hood were required, in case of an engine fire.

The motor for 121 came out of my ‘55 Ford Fordor Mainline, which was a street engine with some oats, it was a Louis Walker built 312 c.i. “Y” block; if you are familiar with Louis Walker, you know he did it right. That ‘55 street car would really run. Besides we had another family car.

So there it sat, all welded, blended, mended, and ready for racing . . .Whoa, hold it not quite ready, it needed a paint job. But still there was one problem, a body shop paint job would be expensive, even though I would do the numbering and lettering. So on an early Spring Saturday, around ten in the morning I went to the war surplus store at Alameda and Pecos (Denver), bought 12 spray cans of olive drab . . . Six beers and 6 hours later 121 was painted. This was all done in the “Under the sky” back yard. The next day I marked out the numbers and painted them, along with the bumpers and the grill. Good looking . . . I felt like it was like a KK or Watson built car. Unfortunately I only painted the sponsors names on the grandstand side of the car.

My father-in-law was tight with Bob McDowell at Banner Auto Wrecking, so I got replacement parts at a bargain, Twins Inn across the street from Banner covered the cost of tires, the independent service next to Twins Inn took care of the oil and the ten gallons of gas for each week. My father-in-law provided the car hauler, it was a 1952 IH R190 lot of yards dump truck. My father-in-law helped Gene with the building of the initial CNS, and they remained close friends, so Gene fixed a place where I could unload the car at the track. Did I mention Gene let my father-in-law get in for free?

I had a lot of fun with 121, the first Saturday night out at CNS with 121. It was on the pole in each event of the “B” class races, but we finished the events we were in. 121 missed only a couple of race meets of the 24 scheduled race meets. We were mostly just one or two cars out of the “A” class, but there were a few times that found us running the main event. The mains back then were 50 laps. 121 got crashed a couple of times, and lost a couple of trannies. I had real good friendships at CNS, Paul Anderson #51, Larry Ginardi #3, Bill Micklejohn #13, Fritz #59, they helped us out, and gave me set-up ideas and suggestions, etc., we were never a real threat to the “Chrome Shoes”.

The next year saw some changes in our family, my father-in-law was stricken with cancer, and without him and the rest of the 121 cheering section I lost interest and gave the car to my neighbor to run. I think he struggled to keep it going, I helped when I could, but still it was half hearted at best.

What became of 121? I think it was scrapped by the third owner, now it is only a picture of what 121 was . . . And that is the way it was in 1969.

- Written by Thomas Ellis - CNS 121

webby is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

121, cns, tom ellis

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:27 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.