Southern California Chapter

Literature Fare

After a five-year absence the chapter will be hosting its 28th Literature Faire in 2014. Following are previous years’ Fares and locations.

27           6/28   2009    NHRA Motorsports Museum, recipe Pomona
26           6/29   2008    NHRA Motorsports Museum, Pomona
25           6/24   2007    NHRA Motorsports Museum, Pomona
24           6/25   2006    Irwindale Speedway
23           6/26   2005    Irwindale Speedway
22           6/27   2004    Irwindale Speedway
21           6/23   2003    Irwindale Speedway
20           6/30   2002    Irwindale Speedway
19           6/24   2001    Irwindale Speedway
18           6/25   2000    Irwindale Speedway
17           6/27   1999    Irwindale Speedway
16           6/28   1998    Pasadena City College
15           6/29   1997    Pasadena City College
14           6/30   1996    Pasadena City College
13           6/25   1995    Pasadena City College
12           7/24   1994    Pasadena City College
11           6/27   1993    Pasadena City College
10           6/28   1992    Pasadena City College
9            6/23   1991    Pasadena City College
8            6/24   1990    Pasadena City College
7            6/25   1989    Pasadena City College
6            6/26   1988    Pasadena City College
5            6/28   1987    Rio Hondo College
4            6/29   1986    Briggs Cunningham Museum, Costa Mesa
3            6/30   1985    Briggs Cunningham Museum, Costa Mesa
2            6/24   1984    Briggs Cunningham Museum, Costa Mesa
1            6/26   1983    Briggs Cunningham Museum, Costa Mesa

Chapter Awards

The chapter also has a history of presenting its own award for deserving publications.

In 1999 the Southern California chapter of the SAH decided to present an annual award to honor one of its founding members, the late James Valentine. A committee consisting of Darwyn Lumley, Stan Lucas and Bob Ewing created criteria for granting the award, including such things as “contribution to historical knowledge”, original research, documentation, use of photos or illustrations, and emphasizing that the work submitted for judging must have been published in the year immediately preceding the award, and most importantly must be connected to the role of the automobile in the western USA, especially southern California.

Our first winner was Real Road Racing: The Santa Monica Road Races by Harold Osmer. Harold would be back in 2001 with Where They Raced: Lap 2. His original work in 1996 Where They Raced, had explored sites in Los Angeles where races were held in the early 20th century. His later work expanded the story to all of southern California, including what had become of the original sites.

Our winner in 2000 was much more controversial. Sam Fiorani’s article in the publication Collectible Automobile, entitled The Story of the Vector, was labeled “factually incorrect” by one judge, and praised by the others since the Vector program was a product of local design and development. The article was our first winner not bound in a hard cover.

Our fourth annual award, in 2002, was heavily contested; as no fewer than five published works were nominated. The judges selected Bonneville Salt Flats by Louise Noeth, also known in motor sports circles as Landspeed Louise. We also saw the need to expand the categories of entrants into three “divisions”: books; magazine articles or monographs; and electronic media including videos. We also began rewarding the winner with a bottle of champagne as well as a plaque or trophy.

The year 2003 saw dual winners for the first time. In the periodicals division A Full Classic Mercury by Bill Deibel, and in the book division King of the Boards: The Life and Times of Jimmy Murphy written by Gary Doyle. And in 2004 the book division winner was The Record Setting Trips: By Auto From Coast to Coast, 1909-1916 by Curt McConnell, published by the Stanford University Press. The periodicals winner was Heartache on the Lake by Ken Gross, dealing with the death of Rulon McGregor in 1949 at El Mirage Dry Lake.

In 2005 a former winner appeared in a new category. Louise Noeth, now a journalist for the Goodguys Gazette, wrote about the neglect by the FIA of important records in What’s an FIA World

Land Speed Record Worth. And former sports car racer Bill Pollack won the book division with Red Wheels and White Sidewalls, his memoir of racing in an Allard at such venues as Pebble Beach, published by Brown Fox Books.

In 2006, after seven years of holding our awards presentation at the Justice Brothers Museum, we moved the event to the NHRA Museum in Pomona, and once again we had a bit of controversy, as well as a record number of entrants. Tom Madigan’s Edelbrock: Made in USA took the book division award, but the judges were unable to break the scoring tie in periodicals. Louise Noeth became a three-time winner for Speedy Thoughts From Wally Parks, the founder of the NHRA, and shared the award with Michael Lynch for James Dean’s Last Race, published in Road & Track.

November 2007 saw the Valentine Awards presented at the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, and we had the most unusual winner in the history of the award. For the first time we  had a “triple header”, as Alan Moss was the first ever  winner in the electronic media division for Films of the  Fabulous Fifties, detailing the development of sports car  racing in southern California. Bob Falcon won the periodical division for How It Started: Early Midget Racing In California, published in The Alternate. And our unusual  winner was in the book division where Zamboni: The Coolest  Machines On Ice, by Eric Dregni told of the development in  southern California of the machines which make hockey games  and ice capades possible.

The November, 2008 awards were hosted by the Toyota USA museum, and again Bob Falcon was the periodical division winner for The Inside Story: Sachs/McDonald, 1964 Indy 500, dealing with a tragic crash during the race, published in The Alternate. And Joe Scalzo won the book division for City of Speed: Los Angeles and the Rise of American Racing, published by Motorbooks, and covering the sport from Harry Miller to Carroll Shelby.

To start our second decade of the Valentine Award we went to Corona, California and the Tom Malloy race car collection, perhaps the largest collection on the west coast. And both Louise Noeth and Bob Falcon had articles competing in the periodicals division, with Louise winning yet again for The Science of Speed, illustrating the role of the aerodynamicist in the development of the Spirit of American land speed record car. In the book division we had For the Love of Old Cars: The Jack Passey Story, by Ken Albert, a memoir of collecting, selling and competing in California.

In the fall of 2010 the chapter was in distress from an absence of leadership related to multiple health crises, but the Valentine awards went on at the Lew Webb Collection in Aliso Viejo. We had a truly outstanding winner in Wheels of Change by Kevin Nelson, published by Heyday Books and the California Historical Society in 2009.