I love surprises….
Back in April, 2012 when I heard from Bob Walters and the history of his Meteor SR-1 he called “La Bomba” I was thrilled. Hooking up with first-person history is essential to establishing the heritage and provenance of each and every car and marque on our site, and it’s through conversations like the ones I had with Bob that can help all car enthusiasts appreciate the cars we love for all the wonderful history that they have.
During our conversations (we had more than one) it turned out that Bob had bought his Meteor directly from Dick Jones – and it was Dick’s personal car which meant it was Meteor #1. What a great car to have bought – a factory car and one that where everything was done exactly right – just like Dick wanted.
We have photos of this car – Meteor #1 – being built that Dick Jones shared with me, and we will also share these photos in a future story here at Forgotten Fiberglass. And…we recently saw photos of this car when we heard from Paul McJones whose father had taken photos of the Dick Jones Meteor #1 back around 1954. Click here to review this story with photos.
But enough about the intro….let’s kick off this story with Bob’s letter to me back in the summer of 2012.
And away we go…
Letter From Bob Walters: May 12, 2012
Hi Geoff and Good Morning!!
I have been digging around for several weeks and finally have found a few items that may be of interest to you. The enclosed photos of what I called, “La Bomba.” The photos came out very well and I am sorry I could not find more.
Also you will find a paper copy of an award regarding a hill climb in Golden, Colorado which indicates a second place for “Bob Walters.” Actually, Dick Jones drove the car & took second place! Dick gave them my name, but he drove the car!!! This was in 1956 and was called the “Buffalo Bill Mountain Climb.” Keep in mind that this was 56 years ago and I’m now 85 years old!
I know that Dick thought I was “nuts” as I did an engine swap as I wanted more horsepower. I actually found a big V8 out of an Oldsmobile and it was more responsive but really sounded great with a special exhaust system. I remember Dick’s wife Bev and as I recall they had three children – two girls and a boy.
The photos enclosed show the Meteor in front of our first home at 2400 Newport Street, Denver, Colorado. I paid $12,000 for this brick two bedroom home on a corner lot. Very nice neighborhood and we raised our five children there. I got on google a few months ago and the house just sold for $200,000!!!
This just about wraps things up for now, but if by chance I find anything of interest I will send it on. Good luck on your book.
More From Bob Walters
After receiving the letter, I spent additional time interviewing Bob. Here’s some more information that I learned:
Bob first learned about Dick Jones and the cars he was building when he saw an article in a local Colorado paper or when he saw it at a race near Colorado Springs when he lived near Denver – it was one or the other. From the first time he saw the Meteor, he immediately admired the design and workmanship, and was amazed that a car of that beauty could be built from scratch – a hand-built car and not a production car.
Bob bought Dick’s Meteor in 1955/1956 when he was about 25 years old. He made a few changes including installing a bigger engine from an Olds 88 and replaced the transmission. He kept the torque tube driveshaft and radiator. Bob thought he would have to do suspension work because the engine was heavier than the original Ford flathead, but it turned out not to be the case – he left the suspension alone.
He owned car for about 3 years, and sold it because he was moving from Denver, Colorado to Lincoln, Nebraska. He never raced the Meteor or took it to car shows or drove it outside the Denver area. Bob used it solely as a pleasure car. It did not have a hardtop. He told me several times, “ I just loved to look at the car – it was simply beautiful.”
After Bob sold the car, he learned it was in a bad accident. His best friend, Fritz Gassman, had an auto body shop in Denver and Fritz knew about the accident, but Bob never learned if the car was totaled or not – so it may still be out there.
So…is Dick Jones first Meteor still around?
More than one special back in the day was in an accident and was brought back to life without a scratch showing on the body, so it may be so. Recently, we found the Meteor built by Dick Jones brother – Larry Jones – and we’ll share more on Larry’s Meteor in a future story. And other early Meteors exist such as the ones owned by Mike Wittman and Bob Curtis, so additional research is needed.
But what about the lost Meteors? These are ones I’ve heard rumors of existing when I’m doing research in the dark, smoke-filled rooms on the internet. Could one of these be “La Bomba?” Could one of you “Meteor owners” out there own the Meteor and not know its heritage?
All will be revealed in future stories here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Thanks again to Bob Walters for sharing with us his memory and story of the car. Bob is 87 years old this year and doing great. We wish you the best of strength and health Bob – and thanks for spending a bit of time with us.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
I am an editor for a prominent vintage motorsports magazine and I would love to get in contact with anyone who currently owns, knows the history or knows what happened to the Herb Mai MG V-8, Bob McClure Jag Special or the Bob Carnes and Chuck Frederick’s Jagallacs which ran the Hill Climbs at Buffalo Bill Mountain or Pikes Peak back in the day. Thank you, TS
Correction Bill Barker @ KOA not ‘come on down’ Bob!
If you like researching with a computer, you may be surprized what turns up. In 1953 a Cadillac Special was entered by Bob McClure. For 1954 he had a Jaguar Special built. The Cadillac fits better on the Sports Custom site. This car can be found on rhe Kustomrama site. It was found in 2013 on Craigs List. Advertised as a Cadillac Allard with a value of over $70K !!!
Bob was one of Bob Carnes pals in the early days of the Denver Sports Car Club. There about 10 pics of the McClure Cadillac on the Kustomrama site + lots of other vitrage lead-sleds. The McClure was made of mostly Buick parts with a 331 Cad engine.
ColoradoHillclimb.com, October 1955 Road&Track, Cliff Reuter’s Eleterini.com site. Last year the Georgetown Hill Climb was revived after 60 years.
Going back to 1954 – When Dick moved to Westminster rumors ran wild with the SCCA guys – “a new Ferrari in town” There was a lot of west coast interests in Denver, too. Bob Hope owned KOA radio and TV and brought in a number of Hollywood guys to run it. Bob Barker was a talk show host with a Cadillac powered 1939 Lagonda. He MCd the MGCC Glenwood Rally for years. This is the oldest sports car rally in the US.
What started the end of Hill Climbs was that one of the Gov’s less bright aids got brushed by a car at Aspen. He was up there partying – nothing to do with the sports car event. He came back to Denver and complained to the Gov. I have a Railton that was being modified for the 1955 season. It was put in storage un-finished for years. Somehow the 1955 Buffalo Bill was run – could be presure by Coors who filmed these events. When the LeMans wreck happened it was the final blow to Colorado Road Racing. There arveral places to research this – http://www.ferrariexperts.com/SCCA%20results%1954.htm#BUF [more]
Now it seems to work. The period when Dick Jones came to Denver is one of the most colorful in the area sports car history. There was infighting in to factions which caused the Denver Sports Car Club and the Rocky Mountain MGCC to be formed. At the time Bob Carnes ran a 120 Jag coupe with a Cadillac engine. Bob McClure had a custom bodied Jag. And a local Dentist had a Allard Hemi [it started with an Ardun Merc which a friend owns] The last Buffalo Bill Climb was in 1955. Gov Johnson put an end to using Colorado roads for racing. Georgetown and Aspen ended in 1954 and some how they got the 1955 Golden one in [more]