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Thread: James Diedrich Hallum, 5/18/32 - 7/19/16

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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    Default James Diedrich Hallum, 5/18/32 - 7/19/16

    In another big loss for the old-timers of Seattle Outboard and Region 10, Jim Hallum died yesterday from non-smoker's lung cancer. This took him very quickly, which is fortunate, but a few of his old friends were able to talk to him first.

    Jim was the oldest of three children born to Valdemir and Lillian Hallum, and is survived by his younger sisters Mary and Karen and their families. His dad Val (b. 1908), a great guy remembered by some of us, was a dairy farmer before he retired, but had started in his own father's business, Seattle Oxygen Supply. Val was also an outboard racer, starting before WW2. He raced KRs in A hydro with such local notables as Chuck Hickling, Lin Ivey, Dick Polk, Jack Livie, and Leonard Keller, our hardware supplier and one of Val's particular pals.

    Jim was exceptionally mechanically talented from early on, and in high school was racing control-line model planes, even building his own engine on a lathe in the Tolt High School shop. Jim graduated from Tolt High (Carnation, WA) in 1950, but not before he was working on his dad's racing equipment even as Val was going to the airplane meets with him. There is a wonderful photo (which I hope to get scanned and reproduced here) of young Jim driving his dad's boat in his one and only race, which he won, coming out of a turn in front with an enormous grin on his face.

    Jim entered the Engineering program at the Univ. of Washington after high school; he was delayed by illness, but graduated in 1957 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

    At some point in the Fifties, the parents of a young racer, Gerry Walin, who had heard of Jim's abilities, asked if he could get some more power out of Jerry's KR. This started a long association of the engineer Jim and the driver and boat-builder Gerry.

    Also somewhere in the early-mid-Fifties, Jim had obtained a Tenney Red-Head pulse-jet model engine manufactured by engineer/inventor/industrialist and racer Bill Tenney in the Midwest. Having built a couple of airframes to carry this screaming powerplant, and having gotten his best plane to making laps in the 130 to 150mph range, local champion racer Jim traveled to a big national meet in the Midwest. For some reason Jim had another fellow fly the plane, and it didn't quite perform at its best, but after the races Jim and Bill Tenney got together and talked pulse-jets, engineering, . . . and Anzani racing outboards, for which Tenney was the U.S. importer.

    So at some time in the late 1950's we think, or maybe 1960 (nobody can remember any of this exactly anymore), Jim and Gerry began racing and developing the A and B Anzani. Lee Sutter was another SOA Anzani pioneer at about the same time (and we hope he will help correct and add to any of this!). Another essential figure in this period was another young engineer, Russ Rotzler, who had been working with Hu Entrop and who himself occasionally raced one of Entrop's early cabovers. Russ would visit Jim when he was building an engine and bounce ideas off him, which frequently appeared in the next-version racemotor.

    Jim, working as always out of tiny home shops with very simple equipment, managed over the years to transition the rather balky "Anxieties" into increasingly fast and increasingly reliable engines that always held numbers of A and B records during the 1960s and early '70s. It was a lot of work. But it was made more fun by the presence of yet another young U of W engineering student and grad, Ron Anderson out of Port Angeles, WA, who had been racing an Alden-built Hot Rod in BOH before discovering the Anzanis and getting deeply involved in their development. Ron, who went on to the highest levels of factory tunnel boat racing, describes Jim's initial relationship to him as that of a mentor. A couple of other names to add at this point are Ron's brother Don "Dewey" Anderson and Charles "Honker" Walters, both of whom could fairly be called "team drivers."

    We who watched this are of the opinion that Jim Hallum would have had a strong claim to be the best engine man in outboarding at the time, because his Anzanis were outrunning other men's Konigs which actually had more potential power in them than did the Anzanis. Jim himself, a rather shy and self-effacing man who preferred to stay quietly in the background, would never have thought in such terms. There's an old saw about show-horses vs. work-horses, and Jim was emphatically one of the latter. Additionally, he "could do more with less" than about anyone we knew, working at a little bench in a garage with the cars in it, and little equipment beyond a homemade press, a gas-welding rig, a little Atlas lathe, and his "Civil War milling machine," a genuine relic, yet sending world-beating 2-stroke screamers out the door.

    If that's not enough, he helped some dirtbike and flat-track racers, and roadracer Jimmy Dunn with hopping up their bikes. Oh, and he built some racing chainsaws! In these efforts he was among the earlier American developers of tuned exhausts and expansion chambers.

    Have I mentioned that Jim was a regular hiker and fly-fisherman?

    The justly famous 100mph record set by Gerry and Jim in B Hydro with a rather obsolescent 2-cylinder Anzani, long into the era of Quincy loopers and 4-cylinder Konigs which even in the C and D classes had not yet matched that speed, has been described elsewhere. So has the less-known "D" engine, comprised of two B Anzanis (one of Jim's, one Ron's) mounted side by side on a very impressive Bill Tenny gearbox. I'm trying to coax Chuck Walters, who was the driver of this experimental 140hp brute, to come tell this story and others.

    Ron Anderson moved to Wisconson in the early-Seventies to work for Mercury, and I believe he and Lee Sutter did about the last racing of the "Seattle-style" Anzanis. By that point the weak-kneed Lucas magnetos had been replaced by the Mercury "Super Spark" (right?) CD ignitions, making the final Anzanis, with their four carbs and high porting and expansion chambers actually more reliable than the early ones, certainly a lot easier to get on-plane without fouling plugs. I remember the season that Fantum ran Jim's last iteration of the B Anzani, and that motor ran like a watch, race after race.

    By then the Anzani's time was up, and Jim was working on a B and a C Konig 4-cylinder Gerry had purchased. The C got sold fairly soon, but Jim's reworked B/350 Konig over a four-year period and with three owners and four drivers, won back to back National Championships (Walin and Dick Rautenberg), set a competiton record (Barry Lewis), and was National High Point in 350ccH (Steve Johnson). Jim Hallum could build a racemotor!! He also built what we think was the first alky race conversion of the Evinrude 60hp triple, with much bigger carbs, etc..

    My computer is timing out. I'll be back with more, and am soliciting Jim's other friends, mostly named here, to tell their stories. Among them certainly will be the members of the Losvar family which employed Jim for many years; several Losvars (Art, Jim, Tom, Dave) were racers themselves. Another long-time friend, Leland Schmidt, a local tunnel-boat builder and racer, went on hikes and fishing trips with Jim in later years. In his last years Jim did some volunteer work in the local Duvall, WA food-bank, and we might hear more about that.

    For myself, I want to say that Jim Hallum was a wonderful fellow to talk with. Nobody I've talked to can remember ever having seen Jim get angry. He had taken up working on and flying his old pulse-jet model planes, and some new ones, some years back, and was happy to talk at length of all the technical minutiae and fabrication problems with anyone who was interested in such things, and so I got to assist in a couple of launches. We had shared interests in light planes and old warbirds, which Jim enjoyed photographing, and yakked for hours on these and many other things from the space program to the making of pipe organs, and I will miss it very much.
    Last edited by Ron Hill; 01-27-2019 at 11:05 PM.
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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    This afternoon I got to talk with Dave Losvar, head honcho at Seaway Marine in West Seattle and he cleared up and reminded me of some things. If you were around Jim Hallum at nearly any point of his adult life there would eventually be some reference to "the Boathouse." He worked as lead outboard mechanic for two of these at different times, both in the far northwest outskirts of the Seattle area. First was Art Losvar's Mukilteo Boathouse. Art was a racing buddy of Jim's dad Val, and continued racing even long after all his boys had got into it, running the Service classes far into the years when other men had settled for golfing or a rocking chair.

    After Art Losvar closed shop (I think Dave said 1973) Jim eventually joined the Everett Boathouse, working there well into normal retirement age. Even after retiring, Jim would come into the shop maybe one day a week and work on any little old OMC engines that had come in. There's a whole younger generation of guys that knew Jim from those times. Daren Goehring, a top local racer and Seattle Outboard commodore, has been running the shop at the marina for some years according to Dave, so we can hope Daren will come here and add some stories.

    (To all of you SOA guys who do chime in here, please go tell us your stories about Dick Rautenberg as well. I'm going to contact Dick's daughter Susan (an avid racer herself) to ask if she will write out a good bio of her dad.)


    (EDIT) -- Just was informed by the family that a graveside service will be held on Monday at 1:30 at the Novelty Hill Cemetery, ******************************

    (EDIT) -- Oops, was given the wrong address above. It's 28400 NE 116th St., Duvall.
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    Team Member racnbns's Avatar
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    Smitty

    Thank you for the history lesson. I worked at OMC in the 60's and 70's and was in the race group with Jack Leek as my boss. I heard a lot of the names you mention but didn't know how they fit into the puzzle. You have filled in a lot of the Seattle puzzle for me. I got to know Howard and Penny,Dwight and Zak and a few others from SOA. Always enjoyed visiting with them at Depue.
    Thanks again,
    Bruce
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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    Thanks Bruce, and I'm glad you brought up Jack Leek, one of the older group I'd heard mentioned but didn't know much about when I got into the sport in the mid-'60s as a dumb young kid. Doc Jones is another. That's why I'd like to see some of the Seattle-area racers from the Fifties add their memories to this thread. The majority of Seattle Outboard members, at least through the mid-'70s, seemed to come out of the north end of town, often having had fathers in racing or having known each other for years, where I came in cold from the south end, knowing nobody and nothing. Russ Rotzler can probably fill in a lot about the older days. I'm also awaiting Ron Anderson's stories, including the "dyno races" when he and Jim would tank-test their Anzanis with calibrated test-discs.

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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    Aw nuts, I sure wish I had known about this a while ago so I could have bought a jar as a gag gift for Jim, who fought with the Lucas magnetos on Anzanis for years:

    http://www3.telus.net/bc_triumph_registry/smoke.htm



    (EDIT, 4/23/18) Looking at RacingFan1's scans of 1953 Propeller magazines, I see a number of Region 10 race results where Jim's dad Val Hallum finished first or second in A Outboard Hydro. I believe Jim was chief mechanic on his dad's outfit.

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    Team Member OldRJexSea's Avatar
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    Default Re-post of 2016 lost reply to Smittythewelder's Jim Hallum remembrance.

    Early in 2017 the carefully filed post-it note with Smitty's phone number fell out of the stack of desk paper. I gave him a call to ask if he had managed to survive into 2017 without trauma. He had. Then he reminded me that my 2016 long reply to his Post remembering Jim Hallum had been lost from the Forum, system problems. Smitty asked if I could reload the file if I had kept a copy. I am now going to try that reload. I reworked the file with a few more details and added a set of 4 photos taken from Hallum's video production about his Anzani which set the B-Hydro record over 100 mph with Gerry Walin and their true prop riding hull.
    The file upload worked in 2016 so maybe I will be lucky again in 2017,
    Rus Rotzler
    ===
    NOTE:
    The long .rtf text file must be viewed with a good word processor program to see the photo images at the end of the file. A simple text edit program may not display the images.
    The photos are really worth a viewing. Anybody recall seeing a 4 carburetor -B- Anzani or the record setting prop on it straight from Entrop's Merc 75-H crew-sock prop bags?
    Jim Hallum.JPG100 story.JPG
    4 carb.JPGfoot w:Entrop prop.JPG
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by OldRJexSea; 10-05-2017 at 10:04 AM. Reason: photo reload
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    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    I haven't been able to post much here the last year or so, but I guess maybe that goes for a lot of others, otherwise, why is there not more here about Jim Hallum? I remember him from when I first started racing, and he was a legend then. I wish I had been more mature the few times I was around him and had the courage to come up to him and talk. We were busy the few times we went to DeLake, and took a lot of time trying to figure out setups since there was no testing, but we pitted on the far west where Mike Jones, Rick Sandstrom, and some of the other heavy hitters of the day were, but didn't talk to Jim. He was right there, and I saw him along with Jerry Walin, but I was too shy and intimidated to talk to guys that had set unbelievable records that I read about before I even saw my first starting flag. I did talk quite a bit with Jerry Walin in our pits in 1976, but never really with Jim. I got a head shot of him at that race and he took some film of me racing. I thank Mark Demaray for gathering up autograph photos for me of himself, and some others, but he was not able to get the one I sent him for Jim Hallum. This thread needs to continue, because there is way too much that has not been posted yet.



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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    Good to see some continued interest in this, Wayne. Good, too, that you brought up Mark Demeray's name as well, since Mark became one of the central players in what was about the last of Jim Hallum's boat racing project phases, the development of motorcycle powerheads for alky outboard use.

    As with all of this old stuff, remembering exact years is difficult, but I'd guess that by about 1969 or so, interest in motorcycle-to-outboard conversions was gathering among the most widely-experienced and tech-savvy outboard tuners and their circles around the country. As oldsters may recall, alky ("Outboard" was the designation then) engines had to be approved for use by the APBA (maybe NOA as well), so while anybody could run the approved Mercs, Champs, Konigs, Anzanis, and Quincys, et al, you couldn't use a Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, or Honda. At the same time, the general motorsport-oriented public was getting accustomed to motorcycle engine displacement as measured in cubic centimeters, and the gear-heads among outboarders were realizing that while our displacement designations of Class "A" or "B" or "C" had no meaning to outsiders, changing those designations to "250cc" or "350cc" or "500cc" would make much sense. My own little contribution at the time was to write up a proposal that APBA drop the whole business of "approving" particular engines, freeing the creative engine-tuners and builders to apply what was current tech in bikes or sleds or whatever as long as it met the other racing rules and fell within class displacement limits . . . which should be designated in cc's. I sent copies of this letter to several APBA big-shots, who at that time happened to include fellows I knew from Reg. 10 (Sandstrom, Mike Jones, Howard Anderson). How much effect that letter had, I don't know; probably not a lot since as I say the idea was already in the air here, and I suppose all around the country. In any case, the rules got changed, which led to some very innovative engine projects from top tuners including Jim Hallum.

    IIRC, the first of these was a 125cc Yamaha, an already-obsolete example with the sole advantage that Jim or some friend had it so it cost nothing. Converting it to outboard racing use was a matter of cutting and welding on the crankcase so it could be mounted to a towerhousing, raising compression and re-jetting and re-timing the gasoline engine to use methanol, lowering intake timing so that the engine had enough low-end to get on-plane (no 6-speed gearbox here), building a pipe and brackets, and so forth. So many guys have done this over the years that the process is no longer a novelty, but Jim was among the very first to do it. Jim Losvar was the driver of this early (was it the first-ever??) motorcycle engine in the previously tiny, Konig-dominated 125cc Hydro class. I should call him and see if he will come here and tell us about it.

    I referred to Mark Demeray as being part of this motorcycle-to-outboard phase of Jim Hallum's racing "career." Mark, a top local A Stock driver, who had been a shop assistant to hardware manufacturer Leonard Keller as well as one of the boat-builders at the Craig-Craft operation, became the driver of Jim's second 125cc Yamaha, an up-to-date 1972 motocross motor. Mark took this to the Nationals and won the class, and opened a lot of eyes to what could be done. I know that at Yelm that year, Jim got a couple of offers to buy the motor by some big-name drivers from out of the region. Again, let's hope Mark D. will come here with more, and more accurate, info on all of this.

    One of the more exciting of these projects was Hallum's outboard racing conversion for Cliff Kelley of a 500cc Kawasaki Mach 3 triple, which old guys will recall as one of the awesomely fast road bikes to come out in the very early Seventies. The sight of this brute, with three expansion chambers pointing aft of the forward-oriented cylinders, was a jaw-dropper. Dwight Malhoit currently has this engine in his stash of goodies, so ask him about it. Another first for Hallum was his early-Seventies conversion of the then-new three-cylinder Evinrude of 55-60+ horsepower (depended on year) that was one of the first loop-scavenged production outboards in this country. Because of it's odd (for us) displacement of, IIRC, about 49 cubic inches, Walin ran it as an F. This engine was a natural for OMC-mechanic-Jim; among other mods, he widened the front of the crankcase to take much larger reedblocks and carburetors from some larger OMC product.

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    Team Member smittythewelder's Avatar
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    I had missed the fact that Russ Rotzler had got his wonderful post of old memories re-established here. Don't miss clicking on his link, above. I hardly knew him back in the day, and have had more conversation with him since Jim passed than I ever had earlier, but Russ is a prime example of fellows who were primarily gear-heads rather than drivers, and were consequently never big names in the sport even though motor-racing, and particularly open-class racing, is as much a sport for creative techies as it is for drivers. I hope Russ will continue to serve up his thoughts here; he is a smart and personable man with wide experience. For instance, back in the years we've been covering in this thread, Russ designed an interesting loop-scavenged engine to possibly replace the then-aging B Stock Merc 20H, and some of you would surely be interested in his drawings.

    Additionally, let's hope we can get others who knew Jim to post here, including Ron Anderson (whose one post was lost), Don Anderson, Lee Sutter, Chuck Walters, Leland Schmidt and all the Losvars, and others who knew Jim very well.

    It's hard to see in those photos, but one of the nifty gizmos Hallum fabricated for the Anzanis was his cockpit-controlled mixture adjustment for the big Vacturi carburetor. In the days when they were still using the Lucas magneto, the Anzanis attempting to set records in the cool autumn weather at Yelm and Delake were prone to fouling plugs while trying to plane-off with their big props. To address this, Jim built a rack-and-pinion adjuster attached to the high-speed needle of the Vacturi, with a Bowden cable leading to the cockpit of whatever boat was being used. The engine having been started, Gerry or other driver would get on-plane with a lean mixture, then move the mixture control to the full-rich racing position.

    Possibly there are photos of another very cool piece of Hallum hardware (and again I'm hoping others who were there can improve this account by telling us if Gerry or Ron or Lee or whomever had some hand in these deals). To reduce whatever windage was created by the conventional steering bar/cables/clamps hanging outside the cockpit, for the 100mph Karelsen, Jim built a cable steering system that was entirely contained within the cockpit, out of the wind.
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    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    When I revived this thread Smitty, I knew I could count on you to add some more to it, and you have been exceptional. Sometimes Lee posts, but Ron, Don/Dewey, and others don't. I loved the time at Ralph Donald's several years back getting to talk to Ron and Don again after so many, many years, and they have so much they could add, but a lot of the old racers don't write about it. They will talk to you, but not post.


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