by Frank J. Majauskas » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:08 am
Hey Guys, I had the pleasure along with Mike Leroux to spend some time with Al Oakes
yesterday at his home. Al raced the Loehmann Chevrolet ”64 Impala B/FX and quite a
few other race cars. Billy Casey once told me that Al Oakes was one of his heroes. Billy
said, “Anyone that tows an Anglia to the track with a ”39 Chevy coupe is definitely COOL” ❗
Al is 87 yrs old now and is as sharp as a tack. It was so great to listen to his stories. If
anyone remembers, Al rode his motorcycle to the Dover Fest @ Big Al’s two years ago. Al
says he will try and make this year’s Dover Fest, probably not on his bike though. 😆 Al is
quite a guy and I hope he makes it to the Feat and you guys get a chance to chat with him.
ps. That ”39 Chevy tow vehicle eventually ended up with a 409 in it while Al owned it….
HOW COOL IS THAT ❓ 😀
Re: Who’s on line? the DAILY ‘CHAT’ that never ends
Postby VBOB » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:40 am
Does anyone know what the 8 1/4 painted on the side of the 1964 Chevy “Growler” was suppose to mean????
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Unfortunately when I asked Al about the 8 1/4 on the side of his car, he didn’t remember
it’s meaning. Not a big deal, but now it has us all curious ❗ So, I guess we have to do some more investigating.. 😆 I’m sure we’ll find out it’s meaning down the road some
I just wanted to throw in a couple more pictures of the different cars that Al raced. What a
wide variety of cars he ran ❗ He raced that ”39 Chevy with a 265 ci and won numerous trophies. He even made a run in a C Dragster and ran on the record with it. I’m trying to remember all the things we talked about when we visited, before I forget. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s my brother and I raced an Anglia. I thought it might have been Al’s old Anglia. He said NO way. He had let one of the ”Drag n Run” boys out of Bristol, CT make a pass in it and the flywheel blew. The flywheel came through the floor and went through the roof. No injuries, but that was the end of the Anglia. 😮 It seems to me that Al flew under the radar. He was out there racing, but did he get the acknowledgement he deserved ❓ I DON’T KNOW ❗
Frank ….you And V-BOB holding out on us (Photos) …I’m going to Invade Bobs Attic..Then go to your house 😆 That Camaro looks ‘just’ like a Westchester car with Loahmann’ where something else would have been ??? Hey the Red car has ‘7 liters” maybe 8 1/4 for liters ???
Ah Dino, You know the ”V” Man and myself would never hold back pictures from you ❓ 😆
I’m pretty sure almost all my pictures came from our site ❓ OK, back to that 8 1/4 on
Al’s ”64 Impala. Looking at the conversion table for cubic inches to liters or the other way
around, 409 ci = 6.70 liters and if you do 8 1/4 liters it equals 503.44 ci. 😆 Anyway,
we’ll get to the bottom of this somehow ❗ 😆 Maybe we’ll have to get in touch with
Al’s brother Dudley who also worked at Loehmann’s the same time as Al did……. 😮
Funny you mention Al blowing his clutch/flywheel.
I was racing Al, and his “Growler” Anglia with my ’38 Chev. for the B/G final at Dover, and I blew my clutch/flywheel. A piece hit a spectator, other pieces destroyed the floor of my car, also went thru the roof, I was holding the Hurst shifter in my hand, or I would have lost that as well. I had a Wedge blow proof bellhousing that held up only because it blew the back of the engine block, and bolts off. I wound up in the swamp at the end of the track.
Eventually I had to go to court with Chet and Joe because the spectator sued everyone. The pit passes that year apparently weren’t backed up with any insurance. The spectator got $40,000.00 if memory serves me right. Thankfully I didn’t have to go in my pocket. 😀
The lite payment was because they had pictures of the spectator doing heavy labor after claiming he couldn’t work. 🙄
John, I’m pretty sure I heard the story of your clutch/flywheel explosion from John Shimer,
but not in such detail. I’m glad no one was seriously hurt and that incident didn’t cost you.
I just thought of something….Everyone must have a special story or stories of their race
days at Dover. Wouldn’t it be nice to see them all in a book? John, it was so nice to have some time with Al and listen to his stories. On the way home, I kept thinking of questions I wanted to ask him. Hope I get another chance.. 😛 Thanks for sharing your story John.
Jim Foote from Ct. just called .He’s GOT the 39 Coupe….waited 44 years to finally get it Found it at an estate sale. Had Al sit in it in Oct. And sign his name on it. I’ll get some more info.
Jim Foote 2:01pm Mar 7
Al Oakes 39 Chevy. The story goes that Al sold the car to a family member and they sold the car to Dave Rubin of Southington Ct. 44 years ago. Dave passed away 2 years ago and left the car to his stepson who then sold it to me.The car has a 400 SBC with a 4 speed and a 57 Chevy rear with 3:73 gears. I stopped down to see Al when I first got the car and he showed me a few of the things he had done to the car when he owned it ,the hidden oil pressure gage behind the ash tray,the B52 bomber starter button and the only modification to install a 409 (A ding in the fender seam )which was done with a hammer so there was clearance for the generator.The car is just like it was when Al owned so I have no intentions of changing or modifying the car because it is a piece of history
Where are the “Iron Fireman” door signs ??? 😉
WOW Al’s 39 sure looks good , it had to have been repainted , one time when I was home on military leave Al took me , the 39 Chevy and the 69 Camaro to the Valley for a day of racing , he even bought me lunch at the track , that was the best leave I had during my 4 years of active duty , while spending the day with him I found out that the 39 was for sale and the asking price was 1500 but after spending 1 year over seas I only had 600 saved and the money my folks were holding for me when I went in the service got used as a down payment on my sisters car , she told a little fib and told them I said it was OK , 👿 , bottom line , I went to my next duty station in Colorado Springs Colo. without the 39 , and the rest is history ,,, mike L. ,,,
Good story Mike and you’re so right…That is a beautiful 39…….. 😀
Mike, On that race day with Al, he was towing the Camaro with the ”39 Chevy that was
powered with the 409 ❓ Am I right about that ❓ If so, how COOL ❗ 😮 😆