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Thompson Pages ->
Early years, paddock, starts
Racing I
Racing II
Racing III

Thompson track diagrams and Thompson as it is today
Thompson race program - Haybale

Thompson Ephemera - Thompson Topics postcards

The early years

This was taken in the spectators parking area in 1955. Interesting mix of cars, including the XK-120 with wide whitewalls (!). The car was fairly new as evidenced by the lack of rust ahead of the rear wheels. Interesting mix of cars, isn't it. This is the oldest picture (of ours) I have of racing at Thompson, taken in 1955. The oval was still part of the road course. This is a hoard of XK-120 Jags. I saw a Corvette race for the first time on this day but it didn't do very well - if my memory is correct, the transmission locked in top gear.
The oval in 1955.

[Courtesy of Alex Saidel]

A couple of TD's chasing an unidentified coupe in 1955

[Courtesy of Alex Saidel]


The picture here is of a Chevrolet Special that raced at Thompson in 1954. Chevy powered specials were not unusual in SCCA racing in the late fifties and early sixties but this one is unique in that it was powered by a six cylinder engine, had a fiberglass body, and was used as a learning device for the later creation of a fiberglass passenger car of monocoque construction called the TDX. This predated the Lotus Elite by several years. These pictures were supplied by its creator, and you can get more information here . [Thanks to Pat A for permission.]

This photo was probably taken in 1956. Car #74 is Frank Twaits' Frazer Nash, here driven by Frank Adams. #75 (in the center) is another Frazer Nash, driven by Bill Wonder. Can anyone supply a date for this picture?

[Photo courtesy of James Trigwell]

Number 100 is Frank Twait's Frazer Nash. Number 48 in the background appears to be Ray Saidel 's Allard J2X Le Mans

[Photo courtesy of James Trigwell]

Another shot of the Frazer Nash. These were probably taken on 4 September, 1955.

[Photo courtesy of James Trigwell]

In the paddock

This is Don Adams' Aston Martin DB2. This is the car he raced prior to the Lister Jag shown elsewhere on this site. He thought the Aston was a bit too tame, so he replaced the six cylinder with a Chevy small block V8. The Chevy was hard on the original rear end, so he installed a suitable replacement - note that the car doesn't have wire wheels in the rear in this photo. Class C Modified. Jim Shellington in his Lotus 7 returning from tech inspection (my father is behind Jim, pushing). Eno DePasquale in his #23 Lister-Chevy is probably watching his water temperature gauge at this point.  [Eno is still racing the "EDP" Special he built in 1959 in vintage events, and we thank him for the information on the Lister, which has been a mystery car for several years now.]
Cars lined up in the paddock for practice. A Lotus Eleven (David Fenton), Maserati 250F (Phil Cade), and Porsche RSK (I think). Cars had to cross the track to get from the paddock to the pits.

 The Phil Cade car had been owned by Joakim Bonnier (58-59) and once raced by Phil Hill. It is currently in Spain.

[Thanks to Barrie Hobkirk for info on the 250F.]

Probably taken in 1963.

Newt Davis's S II Lotus Elite. Newt (in sunglasses) owned Lime Rock Lodge and was a partner in Dutchess Auto, which was the east coast Lotus distributor. Lance Pruyn - a superb diver - is at the left. The car had a stage 3 engine with ZF gearbox. It is currently being restored out west. [Thanks to Fred F for the info]
Don Adams again. If his Lister Jaguar still exists, it probably has been restored to better than new condition and will have lost the "patina" it shows here. My impression is that many vintage racers today are a bit over restored. Maybe just jealous....

Don was a friend of my father's and a super guy. His family owned a local Jeep dealership for a while. Don later got into flying and finally made a big name for himself racing Jeeps off-road around the world.

I was too young to be of much use in the paddock in those days and depended on various drivers to slip me a wristband through the fence to get in. I presume Adams was one of those.

Isn't this a great shot? 1964. Malcolm Donaldson in the Zink Petite Mk II. The car was a beautiful little H-Modified special powered by a DKW 3 cylinder engine mounted amidships. Thanks to Hamilton Donaldson for the picture. There are several other shots of Malcolm and the car on this site.

The car used a Jabro Mk III body. It survives and is currently being restored. Jim Broadwell of St.Louis built Jabros - the Mk.III body was made in 3 sections and sold for $360.

The white #87 is the Zink Petite Mk. II, built by Ed Zink. This is prior to Malcolm Donaldson's ownership. The red #39 is a Crosley powered H-Modified special built on a FIAT Topolino chassis with a Jabro Mk I body. The car survives to this day. [Thanks Jerry] I included this shot because it shows a bit of the Petite's space frame. Looks like a Sun tach - remember those?

[Picture courtesy of Hamilton Donaldson]

George Constantine in an ex-Rodriguez Ferrari (Ser # 0746) that had run at Le Mans. On this particular day (Labor Day, 1961) he treated Scarab driver Harry Heuer to an impressive lesson in race driving. They were both beaten by Bob Holbert in a RSK but Constantine stole the show after having been unfairly blue flagged. He and Gaston Andrey later drove the Ferrari at Sebring in the 1962 12 hour race.

Fiat Abarth 1000.

I really like this picture because it just epitomizes amateur racing. It's Bill Smith's Lotus 20. The prototype Bonnet Djet, owned and driven by DB distributor Howard Hanna. As a new model, it was placed in class HM, and later moved to G-Production. [Thanks for the info, Jim]
Ollie Schmidt's Lola-OSCA (Chassis BR-10). This car had a 750 OSCA engine - it was when researching this picture that I learned that OSCA made two types of cylinder head for the 750, each with the valves swapped left-to-right. The intakes are on the left on this head. The car has been restored and was shown at the Amelia Island Concours in 2007. Bob Columbosian's Lister. It started life as a Lister Bristol, chassis number BHL 7, driven once by Archie Scott-Brown. It was rebodied prior to being brought to the US into what was termed the "Flatiron-Wakefield" type body and was the first Lister imported into the US. In 1961, it had a small Buick aluminum V8.

Thanks to Gil B for providing the critical info and for being so insistent that I get it right! ]


The station wagon is a '62 or '63 Ford Taunus. The HM special may have been Hillman Husky based. Does anybody recognize it? The Yenko team cars - both appear to be 1961 models. This was a class act.
I'm not sure why I took this one. Something caught my eye, though. Have you noticed the large number of Valiant station wagons in these shots? This was Bob Grossman's V6 Ferrari - note the light roll bars that were common in this era. Probably taken 2 September 1963.
I think this was a Lister Chevy. Note the drain pipe exhaust (and is that really a roll bar?) Interesting signage on the truck ("Powered on the road by Studebaker"). A beautiful SWB Berlinetta in the paddock, owned at the time by David Perry. Happily, it survives today.

[Photo courtesy of David Seielstad]

A Ferrari, looking a bit shabby. I doubt that anyone would strap a suitcase so casually on it today. No wheels, however, have ever matched the beauty of those Borrani wires. Looks like an AC Bristol behind it. Photo probably taken 13 or 14 October, 1963. David Seielstad photographed the same car the week before at Marlboro. He also supplied the story behind it. Charlie Hayes (a well known Ferrari dealer and driver of the era) had the car up for sale in Maryland when it was damaged by a garbage truck. Repairs were partially done when these pictures were taken - the front chrome pieces and headlight covers hadn't been fitted yet.

300SL Gullwing. The owner is avoiding a hot cabin.

[Photo courtesy of David Meisner]


David Meisner took these shots in September of 1963 with his trusty Kodak Brownie Starflash. The Bugatti roadster was a modified Type 37 GP car. (I wonder if the Sun tachometer is original) The 1927 vintage Bugatti had its original 1500cc engine replaced with a 2.3 liter Type 35B engine. It is currently in the Schlumpf museum. Here it is shown parked in a spectator parking area at Thompson.

Bob Russell with his Autodynamics FV about 1966. How many paddocks still look like this.

[Photo courtesy of Bob Russell]

Frederick Becker and his son Pete with their Kieft Formula 3 car. Look carefully and you'll see the bungee cord and wire rear suspension. Today, Pete runs Vintage Race Prep and is still heavily involved with Formula 3 . Take a look at for more info. [Photo courtesy of Peter Becker]

Everyone hovering around Maclane Tilton's Cooper looks happy.

[Photo courtesy of Peter Becker]

I think the extreme negative camber was unintended on Willie Gadwa's Cooper. Willie, Denis McKenna, Joyce Koster, and John McKenna.

[Photo courtesy of Peter Becker]

"Scuderia Rainville". Charlie Rainville and his son Paul use their Stanguellini to improve their vantage points. Charlie's Veloce is to the right and his wife's Alfa Sprint is to the left. The Stanguellini cost $4260 new when purchased from Momo's in April of 1960.

[Photo courtesy of Paul Rainville]

I'm pretty sure this is Thompson - Rich would like to know more about the car and people pictured. Anybody? It's also shown here.

The photo was developed in September of 1962.

[Photo courtesy of Rich Luszczak]

Does anyone recognize any of the cars or people here? This shot shows a typical paddock scene of the era and there's something interesting for sale just behind the TR-3.

The photo was developed in September of 1962.

[Photo courtesy of Rich Luszczak]

Jim Bean's Lotus 7 - Jim is at the far right. The year is probably 1962 or 63. Can anyone pinpoint it?

[Photo courtesy of Jim Bean]

At the start - Standing starts were used in the 50's and 60's. These were often 10 or 20 car drag races to the first turn. Dangerous, but exciting. The start and the moments leading up to it are worthy of a section of their own.

Jim Shellington in his Lotus 7A consults with Candy Poole. Art Tattersall's P1800 was a surprisingly quick Volvo and this shot also includes Tom Flaherty in his Alfa. I really like this picture and thank Jim for providing it. Chuck Daigh in the Scarab, next to George Constantine's 4.2 liter Aston Martin. This was one of the fastest Astons in the world at the time and Constantine was a tough man to beat.

[Photo courtesy of Bob Russell]

Constantine in the Aston, Lister Jag to the rear.

[Photo courtesy of Bob Russell]

Lance Reventlow in his Scarab. Reventlow started behind Daigh and Constantine. He was an heir to the Woolworth fortune and put his money to good use. Number 91 was a Ferrari 375MM, serial 0364AM, powered by a Chevy V8, and driven here by Rich Lyeth, who called it the Hi-Torque Special. It was raced by Jim Kimberly in earlier years.

[Photo courtesy of Bob Russell, info on #91 by Giorgio G. and Dave Nicholas.]

Frederick Becker in his Cooper Formula 3 car. Originally, the car had a Lancefield long-stroke Norton which was then replaced with a short stroke "Beart" Norton. Francis Beart tuned the factory racing bikes, was a legend in England, and helped put Norton on the map in the US as well.

[Photo courtesy of Peter Becker]

Frederick Becker again, in his Kieft. This car had a J.A.P. engine, which was one of the staples (along with Nortons) of the Formula 3 engine crop. Engines were limited to 500cc max displacement and were typically of motorcycle origin. J.A.P. was well known in England for their contract work for other companies. They made cylinder heads for the Lotus Elan and 23 for a while. Milo Kibbe's Cooper is at the right.

[Photo courtesy of Peter Becker]

I really like this one. JD Iglehart in the Bobsy on the pole. 1965 or 66.

[Photo courtesy of Hamilton Donaldson]

The Zink is on the pole. Jabro Mk 1 behind, OSCA along side. The #99 OSCA is probably serial 764, shown elsewhere on this site. At this time it was owned by Scott Gerrish driving here.

[Photo courtesy of Hamilton Donaldson]

Thompson start. Harry Heuer is in the Scarab. George Constantine drove the #49 (Ex-Le Mans, Ex-Rodriguez) Ferrari. The Porsche RS60 is Bob Holbert's and the dark car behind the Porsche is a Cooper-Porsche driven by Bruce Jennings. The starter is Britt Ragsdale.

[Photo courtesy of Jim Shellington]

The start of a race, probably A and B Production, with three Ferrari short wheelbase Berlinettas up front. These races were usually won by a Ferrari or Corvette although sometimes a Porsche Carrera would upset things. All three makes had distinctive and equally beautiful exhaust notes. The Ferraris are driven by Charlie Hayes, Bob Grossman, and Bob Hathaway. Taken 3-4 September 1961.

Stew Rutherford's Chevy Special in its early single-seat configuration. The cockpit was widened and a token passenger seat was added later. The original light blue color shown here was Stew's wife's favorite color. The car was later painted red.

[Stewart Rutherford collection]

This photo is particularly interesting to me since it may show 2 cars that we owned at one time (After this was taken). Our BMW 507 was a duplicate of this one except for the wheel covers and the red car in the left background behind the wall is very likely our Lotus Eleven. I'll need to research the rest. What a great shot!

[Stewart Rutherford collection]

Start of an open-wheel race, probably in September 1960.The car in the pole position is probably the Tec-Mec Special -  just next to it is a Formula 2 Cooper and just on the Cooper's left rear corner is Phil Cade's 250F Maserati. Notice the hoard of 500cc Formula 3 cars just coming over the hill. F3 cars had no starters and often asked to do a standing start. They were usually sent on ahead to do a pace lap and the other cars, usually much faster, were started just as the F3's were in sight behind them. This was a very dangerous way to start a race.

The car following Cade's Maserati appears to be the  Fitch Jaguar special which recently sold at auction for $$$$$$.

"We're pretty sure the Tec-Mec was owned throughout this time by Gordon Pennington of Florida. He was the person who financed its building in Italy and we checked and it was still under Pennington ownership when Tom Wheatcroft bought it for his Donington Collection in England in the late sixties. What we do not know is who was driving it at this race as it was thought to have remained stored in Florida from Dec 59 'til Wheatcroft bought it.....until now." - Barrie Hobkirk

[Thanks to Barrie Hobkirk for filling in details on the Tec-Mec and several other aspects of this shot]

The start of what appears to be an E-Production and F-production race in summer 1959. The pits seen in many of the other "starting line" photos on this page are in the upper center of this shot. At this point, the leading cars are about to start braking for turn 1. The cars are a mix of Triumphs, AC's, Porsches, a Lancia, and Frank Twaits' Frazer-Nash. The Frazer-Nash is now owned by James Trigwell.

[Photo courtesy of Duncan Johnson]

Jim Bean waits for the festivities to begin. This pavement section still exists, with a few faded positioning numbers and lines.

[Thanks, Jim]

1955 Deutsch-Bonnet (Le Mans) HBR in the paddock in 1959. This was one of three factory team cars used at Le Mans in 1955. Greg Wing has some interesting web pages with more on this car and his father Gordon's adventures at .