The Cars

Event Photos





Early this Spring, the Wally Parks NHRA Museum PR and Development director, Tony Thacker, was in contact with staff of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This is probably the largest motorcar "action" event held in the world and certainly larger than anything in the U. S. Held annually for 16 years, it has become "The Place' to see and be seen for European and U.K. racers and fans. Goodwood ( see it at www.Goodwood.co.uk) is the ancestral home of the Duke of Richmond, a great house on 12,000 acres about 60 kilometers SW of London. The grounds include a WW2 air force base, which was the site of the first auto racing after the war, when perimeter roads for the airfield became Goodwood track.

The Festival of Speed is a hill climb up a 1.16 mile 2 lane road which is the driveway for Goodwood House and continues to the top of a hill where the finish line is located. In the past few years, representative groups of specific types of American racers have been invited to bring their cars and attend the event. Some years back it was Junior Johnson. Bobby Allison and a few other NASCAR heroes with their 60's era cars. More recently, the Museum has assisted in a group of Bonneville racers going over.

This year, Goodwood agreed with the Museum that Cackle Cars deserved representation and invited 11 cars spanning the beginning of drag racing to the late 70's.

Cars invited included (oldest to newest) the Art Chrisman #25, the Butler and Cortopossi "Glass Slipper", Art Chrisman's "Hustler 1", the Mooneyes car owned by Chico Kodama and Shige Suganuma, Ralph Whitworth's 4-engined Tommy Ivo "Showboat" , the Tommy Ivo "Barnstormer"recreated by Ron Johnson, The Childs and Albert "Addict", an English car named the "Charley Bang Special", Dave and Charlie West's "Beebe and Mulligan", the NHRA Museum's "Howard Cam Rattler" and the "Over The Hill Gang" RED.


The grounds encompass numerous small villages and have a prestigious tenant, the Rolls Royce factory as well. The race track was the site of the British Grand Prix for some years and is now used for club events and other purposes.



The cars were loaded into containers in mid-May to be rail and ocean shipped to England. Here the Barnstormer is pictured in a container with Tony Thacker, the Museums PR and Development director on the left and Wayne Phillips who maintains the Museums collection on the right.



The NHRA Museum now has it's own "roll-off". Waiting to transfer Ivo's Showboat.


Barnstormer is tied down tight. Everything covered with WD-40 or squirt on wax, or bagged and sealed or in some way protected against the salt sea air. Train to Houston, the boat to Southampton, which is pretty close to Goodwood.



Waiting it's turn is the Childs and Albert "Addict", brought over by Rod Hynes.


Ron and Kol Johnson flew over the day before everyone else and arrived in England on Tuesday the 8th of July. After getting settled in making an effort to cope with the time differences Kol and Ron headed for Goodwood on Wednesday morning. Ron and Kol went to the race course to meet their staff representatives, Charlotte Muir and Jarrah Venable. Jarrah provided their credentials kit and offered to lead them to grounds of Goodwood House where this event takes place. Letting Ron pick up the narrative.

"Kol and I followed Jarrah to the event site and were amazed, possibly stunned, at the size of the grounds and the chaos 2 days before the event opened.

Our cars were parked under canopy roofs that would be the paddocks for some of the hill climb participants. The weather forecast had been predicting rain and rain it did."

"The cars had been unloaded and an attempt was made to keep them and the associated gear, toolboxes, spare parts etc. as dry as possible until they would be moved to our display area the following day. We rearranged most of the cars and boxes/crates to eliminate dripping through gaps in the canopies. Here we met Mike Dunkel who owned the McLaren on the left in "Orange Livery". Mike and his wife Pam are from Florida and have done this before."


"This will give you some idea of the size of the exhibits and the magnitude of the aluminum roadways. There were semi's everywhere and workers toiling in the rain. There didn't seem to be any question on anyone's mind about whether this would be done in time. I, on the other hand, was somewhat dubious. It looked like an impossible task. But, what I hadn't taken into account was that this was England, with a capital E and the English spirit would overcome all odds."


When the crews arrived Thursday, construction crews were busily at work on completing the display. It was a simulation of the starting line of an old-time dragstrip complete with timing tower and Christmas Tree. The "track" was aluminum decking with a black coating that looked just like asphalt. The tower was a structure built around and above two shipping containers nosed together to provide a safe spot for tools and equipment and fuel.


Thursday afternoon about 5:00 the "Health and Safety" team showed up to conduct a noise test of running cars to determine if the level of noise could be injurious to spectators. They had all the cars that could do so, fire up at once with decibel meters stationed at various distances from the cars. It was determined that "ear defenders" or ear plugs would provide enough protection for people standing next to the barriers, but people without them would have to be 30 feet farther from the cars, so ropes were set up.


Thursday night, 4 of the nitro cars were invited to do a show for the Goodwood Road Racing Club Summer ball. The cars were the Rattler, the Addict, the Barnstormer and the Hustler. As a reward for the show-and-tell, the crew of each car were invited to the Black Tie ball. Not all the crews chose to accept the invitation due to time limitations and other things.

After the dinner there was a very brief announcement of a partnership between Land Rover and Goodwood for future events. Then a fireworks display was followed by a simultaneous fire-up of the 4 cars. Dusty McWilliams was managing the Rattler, Rod Hynes on the Addict, Ron on the Barnstormer and Art Chrisman tending the Hustler.
Here, Ron in his formal wear, blips the throttle on the Barnstormer with Tony Thacker in the seat.

Cacklefest.com believes this was the first time that the crew attire at a cacklefest was a tuxedo.


Art, far left, and Mike Chrisman, far right, pose with Ron and Kol Johnson (left and right). Who says racers don't clean up well? All the participants were highly relieved by having all four cars behave perfectly and give a flame and noise show.

The health and safety people had decreed that no one could be within 30 feet of the cars without ear "defenders" and had further discreetly suggested that the people be in front. So the whole group assembled to witnessed this were really unable to full experience the booming sound and Essence 'du Nitro from behind, where it's the best.
Even so the 120 or so guests were highly appreciative.


On Friday morning the crews arrived at the track and the display was completed and looked great. A little time was used up in getting the cars positioned correctly, starting with the oldest, #25, to the newest at right rear.

Fire-ups were scheduled for 11:00 A. M. and 4:00 P. M. A few cars weren't taking part in the fire-ups. #25 and the "Showboat" would be static displays only.

A vintage American fire-truck had been located and was positioned right under the tower. Nice signs were provided to identify each car and give a little of the history.

In the background is one of the huge media screens that were provided so people could keep track of the on-track action. To the left of the screen was a sound-stage where a series of bands provided entertainment through the day.



Mooneyes co-owner Shiege Sugunuma took a bunch of excellent shots like this one of the cars on a simulated drag strip which was brought in and set up just for the weekend.

Looking out from the top of the timing tower the layout becomes more clear. In the upper left rear you can see the 120 foot tall iron beam sculpture created for this event with 5 Land Rovers attached in various attitudes.

Some of Goodwood House is visible as well, it being the gray structure with the aqua colored domes. The right half of the house is visible in this picture.



The Art Chrisman owned #25. This is probably not only the oldest drag race car in existence but the has the longest history of ownership by the same owner. Art got the car in 1953. Collectors are aware of this as well as he has been offered a reputed $1.1 million for it. To stick it in a container and ship it as Art did is probably the most sportsmanlike gesture of the event. Way to go, ART!




The Glass Slipper is a race car name that has a ring of it's own. Built by Doug Butler and Ed Cortopossi in 1956 it has also been owned continuously by it's builders. It set many drag and salt flat records in the late 50's and is still a runner.





Hustler with Mike Chrisman in the seat.




Chico Kodama and Shige Suganumua's Mooneyes, AA/GD, the first car to go to England in 1963.




Miles, Marco and Andy were all decked out too, MOON Style and standing together looked just like MOON members from that first visit long ago.



NHRA Wally Parks Motorsports Museum Executive Director Tony Thacker was overseeing the "TV Tommy" Ivo Showboat.



The Barnstormer, Kol Johnson on Left and Ron by motor.



Bob Muravez holds a drawing which a local artist Paul Whitehouse had brought, hoping to get autographs of people with the Ivo Barnstormer.



"I'd like to say a very big thank you for allowing me to sit in the Barnstormer... it is something I will always remember. All you guys put on a great show...please come back and see us soon!"
Paul Whitehouse


The Addict getting it's maintenance done by Jim Bonn and Rod Hynes, on the right.






The "Charlie Bang" Special, the only representative car from the U. K.



Bob Muravez and Simon Groves of Eurodragster.com have a "bit of a chat" about the old days and who was who and what was what!


Dave and Charlie West were on hand with their Beebe & Mulligan car.




Having fun!


Dusty and Gwen McWilliams were with the Howard Cams Rattler.




Old time drag racer Jim Busby was at the event with an historic race car which he ran in the hillclimb. Dusty McWilliams put him in the Rattler for a fire-up and he loved it!


Left to right, Bob Muravez, Tony Thacker, Busby and Dusty.


Sonny Diaz, Kelly Brown and Tom Curnow were at Goodwood with their Over The Hill Gang top fueler.



At the appointed times, Tony Thacker would become the announcer and tell a little about each car and the owners and crew. Then the crews prepared to fire the cars.

At the front of the display, Jarrah Venables (in the hat) would count down, make a last minute show of hands and then signal the flagman to wave the green. At this point all the cars able to fire would do so.

Each car was allowed to run as long as their fuel and engine temp would allow. The Glass Slipper running alcohol was the longest running car to begin with.


The final result of the "Health and Safety" noise tests was they decided no spectators should be within 30 feet, with or without "ear defenders" so everyone had to get behind the ropes before the cars fired up.



All the crews were given a lanyard with a medallion providing access to a few special spots on the grounds. One was the drivers club, primarily for the hill climb drivers and their crews/families. Everything was free and there were three meals per day. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon Tea were all excellent with a great variety of hot and cold food and beverages. For a person who knew what the famous drivers looked like this was a real treat. The driver celebrities included Sir Stirling Moss, Derek Bell, David Hobbs, Eddie Cheever, Bobbie Allison, Bobbie Unser and many more. There were contemporary Rally, Grand Prix, Motorcycle drivers as well as folks like Nick Mason, drummer for the Pink Floyd band who owned and driven many fast cars.


Allen McNish Audi LeMans driver & winner with Charlie West.


Ferrari F1 Paddock


McCaren Mercedes


Saturday afternoon was probably the first time in history a titled "Lord" sat in a Cackle Car when Charles March, aka Lord March, aka The Duke of Richmond, aka The Earl Of March, agreed to sit in the Howard Cams Rattler. Lord March was already wearing a drivers suit because he is a hill climb entrant himself, drives a Porsche race car (not a passenger car) in the hill climb.

Pictured are Lord March in the car, from left to right Gwen McWilliams , Tony Thacker, and Dusty McWilliams, all on the NHRA Museum team.

Lord March liked it enough so there was talk of him coming back Sunday afternoon to do it again, but there were undoubtedly immense calls for his time, and it didn't happen. However, once is pretty good. Rattler, by the way, is probably the best available seat at an event like this because Dusty has it sharp and it is loud and smelly. Both of those are good in this venue!



Lord March here, one might say a rose between the briars, posed with Ron Johnson on the left and Bob Muravez on the right. Muravez and Lord March were exchanging experiences sitting in the Rattler, as Bob has been it numerous times also. This weekend he was there to drive (sit in) Ron's Barnstormer. Both were happy to meet the Lord!


Lord March and Dave West.


Saturday afternoon the RAF Red Arrows gave a demonstration of precision flying that was awesome. It lasted about a half hour and was the cause of many a crook-in-the-neck. Highly appreciated.

Earlier in the week there was a flyover by the new Airbus mammoth jetliner which was indeed a sight to see. Since this was not an air show, there were no planes on display.


Saturday, Shiege and Chico bought an event tee-shirt and had everyone on the U. S. Drag Team 2008 sign it and it was presented to Tony Thacker. Here is the team. Tony holds the shirt.

In front is Gwen McWilliams, "Charlie" West, Dusty McWilliams, Tony's daughter Mia, and Shige Suganuma. Kneeling on left is Kol Johnson, behind him is Sheri Butler, Ed and Sandy Cortopossi, in the green cap, Dave West, then Doug Butler, Tony, Pat Curnow, Chico Kodama in white and Art Chrisman. Back row, left is Rod Hynes in white cap, Sonny Diaz, Tom Curnow, Ron Johnson and Mike Chrisman. Missing are Jim Bonn are Kelly Brown.


Tom Curnow, Art Chrisman, Ron Johnson, Dust McWilliams, Lord March, Bob Muravez, Kelly Brown, Mike Chrisman and Dave West.


Your basic lawn ornament.



Saturday night was the high spot of the week for many. The major social event for a lifetime for many of us. The invitation only "Ball" at Goodwood House. 1200 people in Black Tie and Gowns, cocktails, champagne, dinner, champagne, desert, champagne and then out back for a musical extravaganza and fireworks show.

This is the main entrance to Goodwood House and security people were diligent in checking invitations.


This is the main seating area, where entrants who paid to be at the event were seated. The tent was as long as it looks at about 300 feet. Two nights before it was the site of a cocktail party at the first "Black Tie" event and was filled with the most awesome collection of vintage cars on display. The cars would be auctioned Friday by Bonhams and the selection included a little of everything, all in #1 condition.


Champagne reception prior to the ball.


Tony Thacker and Ron Johnson.


A view of the back yard and some of the guests.


The Glass Slipper team, from left Ed and Sandy Cortopossi and Sheri and Doug Butler.


The Chrismans, Art and Dorothy, Mike and Cathi.


The rest of the guests were seated in one of the numerous main floor rooms in the house configured for the night as dining rooms. This is a shot taken in the "Tapestry Room" where the U. S. Drag Team members were assigned adjoining tables.


From the Over The Hill Gang, Tom and Pat Curnow.


The Mooneyes team Shige and Chico and from the addict, Rod Hynes and Jim Bonn.


From left to right, drag team members Tom Curnow, Ron Johnson, Kol Johnson, Ed and Sandy Cortopossi.


Jim Bonn, Gwen and Dusty McWilliams.


"Charlie" and Dave West were the Beebe and Mulligan team and also celebrating their 37th anniversary.


Chico Kodama and Rod Hynes.


Dave West and his hero - Art Chrisman.


Not a team member, but a recognizable drag racing personality from the 60's, Jim Busby (Busby and Westmoreland) and his wife. Jim sat in the Howard Cams Rattler on Friday and sent Dusty an e-mail saying he had more fun in the Rattler than he had in his hill climb entrant, a Lola race car.


After the dinner, The Lord had a little entertainment set up for the guests. Out back of the house was a monster stage and a band with about 15 dancers ready to entertain. The band did salutes to Ike and Tina Turner, The Who and others. The drummer for a "Pink Floyd" salute at the end was Nick Mason, former drummer for Pink Floyd. Although 58 years young, Mason would have no trouble finding gainful employment in his trade, should he somehow misplace the fortune he has accumulated.

The stage was a multilevel scaffold and people were everywhere, supported by a light and smoke show and then the last 20 minutes was a fireworks display that was simply awesome.


In 1964, Tommy Ivo and Don Garlits took the first two top fuel cars to England as part of the second U. S. Drag Team. One of the pictures that Tommy has in his archives is a shot of he and Sir Stirling Moss next to the Barnstormer.

In issue 40 of The Rodders Journal, there is a 22 page article about the Barnstormer and one of the pictures used, was the shot of Ivo and Sir Stirling.

Ron hoped that Moss would be at the event, as he has been for eons, and took his copy of the magazine along. His intention was to have Moss autograph the picture of he and Ivo. Here's a shot of Moss and Ron just after the signing ceremony was completed. Mission accomplished.

By the way, when changing planes in Amsterdam on the way over, Johnson spied a stack of this issue of Rodders Journal on the newsstand in the airport.


Sunday afternoon, the event closed with the last Hill climb runs completed by about 6:00. The U. S. Drag Team of 2008 were requested to attend the awards ceremony and inform staff when they arrived. The team was ushered into one of the large dining rooms which was set up for cocktails. More Champagne. From left to right, Art, Ron and Kol enjoy a sip of the bubbly while waiting for whatever was next.

At the end of the outdoor award presentation to the hill climb participants, Lord march invited the Drag team to the stage. There he presented each person with a medallion on a ribbon lanyard. Then all award recipients and their guests were invited in for cake and guess what, more Champagne.

About 8:00 the weary group started to disperse to the car park areas. Unlike American events, even the most prized of guests parked in one of the car park areas as passenger cars were simply not allowed in the event areas.


Just above Tony Thacker's head is Sonny Diaz, one of the original owners of The Over The Hill Gang car.


Again behind Tony is Sonny Diaz, then Jim Bonn of the Addict, Pat and Tom Curnow and Kelly Brown who drove the Over The Hill Gang Car and won Indy in the early 80's.


Front center Charlie and Dave West and Doug Butler peeking over Dave's shoulder. Front right Ed Cortopossi, Gwen McWilliams and Art Chrisman with Mike on his left.


NASCAR legend Bobby Allison & Art Chrisman.


The Earl of March and Lewis Hamilton-F1 Mercedes driver.


The area was roped off and on each side was a line of the winning cars. These were the cream of the crop, both driver and car and many very valuable cars were in this paddock.



Lord March as he begins to make the award presentations. Each award recipient got a large bottle of Verve Cliquot champagne.


One of the greatest drivers of all time, Stirling Moss at the Awards Ceremony.


The ceremony was set up on the right side of the house, which isn't really the side since it sort of slants toward the back like a swept wing on an airplane.


The Medallion. A keepsake of a lifetime for most if not all, of the participants.

Many said it was the most memorable event they had ever been to and it's hard to argue with that.

Disney would be hard pressed to produce a function any better than the staff and volunteers did and the whole event was conducted with the highest degree of professionalism.



Check back for more event coverage as they happen.


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