Thanks to the efforts of Tom Householder, a fine friend of fiberglass for many years, we have a rare treat – a panorama of the start of a race back in 1956 – and square in the middle of the panorama is one of our favorite cars….
a Victress S1A!
Tom worked hard to put together a panorama based on film footage, and Tam McPartland featured Tom’s final work on his website – Tam’s Old Race Car Site. Click on the link below to visit the original story:
Tom has updated the information originally on Tam’s website, and has made this information available to all of us fiberglass enthusiasts. He also sent us a higher resolution panorama to share here at Forgotten Fiberglass. The updated information appears below.
Tom Householder’s Panorama (Updated Information as of 4/26/2011)
“This is a panorama I constructed from the Savin family DVD of the Bakersfield races held May 19-20 1956. This is the grid for the final race on Sunday. There’s a little bit of everything in this race. I believe there are five Specials in this race, as follows:
- #70 is Max Balchowsky in one of his Doretti-Buicks
- Behind Max is Carlyle Blackwell’s orange C-Type Jaguar
- The Powell Buford Victress S1A is #172 (Powell/Hauser)
- Behind The Cad-Allard is an MG V8.
- A bit obscure is the “Double Bubble” Prototype in front of Max – nice shorts!
There are also three AH 100 cars, one AH 100S, as well as an AH 100-4.
Entrants you don’t see here are John von Neumann in the Ferrari and Richie Ginther and Ken Miles in Porsche Spyders. They were coming off of the previous race and came in the back door to start the race. They turn up in the film of the race start”
How Did The Powell / Hauser Victress Finish?
Tom Householder also sent us a link to final results of the race which showed that car #172, the Victress S1A owned by Powell and driven by Eric Hauser finished…..first in its class!!! Here are the results of this race:
Wow! That’s pretty darn impressive gang. So I poked around abit on Tam’s website and found another reference to this car, and the following picture:
The car is in a different race and has a different paint scheme, but it’s the same car. Back in 2009, Bill Quirk, Production Manager of Victress from 1952-1961 commented the following on this picture:
“I agree that #171 looks like Eric (Hauser). When Bob (Powell) was behind the wheel, he was hunched over, not sitting straight up in the seat. I know. I took a ride with Bob, out in front of Victress (Manufacturing, Inc.) and it was one of the wildest rides I ever had. Bob was a great guy and his funeral was the first one I ever attended. A sad day and great loss.”
Bob Powell passed away on February 12th, 1955 – he was 25 years old.
He was killed at the Willow Springs Raceway, driving a Formula 3 owned by Harry Morrow, owner of Autobooks in Burbank, California. I understand from Eric Schultz who was a friend of Eric Hauser, that Hauser continued to race Powell’s Victress in his name – and may have done so with the permission of Bob Powell’s widow. This explains the racing results from Bakersfield in 1956 showing both Powell and Hauser being associated with the car.
We tend to focus on how fun it was “back in the day” to go racing, but tragedy was around the corner for so many of these enthusiastic young builders and drivers. I salute Bob Powell and his accomplishments from so long ago.
I’m still gathering information and history on this famous racing Victress from the past. But one thing I can tell you now is that it hasn’t been found. Or if it has, I haven’t seen pictures of cars we’ve found that match any of the unique characteristics shown on some of the other pictures of this car.
So have at it gang! Here’s a pretty special race car with very impressive racing history. Go forth and seek, my friends. And all of us here at Forgotten Fiberglass will help you confirm what you may find. And celebrate your awesome fiberglass find as well!
Nothing would make the folks from Victress and many more of us more proud than finding and restoring this beauty – and honoring both Bob Powell and Eric Hauser at the same time.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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