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Thread: Looking for Wayne Walgrave

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    Team Member Master Oil Racing Team's Avatar
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    Default Looking for Wayne Walgrave

    This is quite a roundabout story that has been developing for the last couple of days. It has some very interesting twists and turns so far, and probably will continue, and hopefully get to the end and find the motor. Steve Wetherbee, son of Alex Wetherbee and nephew of Tommy Wetherbee has filled me in on what he has been up to the last several days. Here goes.

    A man by the name of Mark Bratton from Corpus Christi, Texas flew airplanes and raced carts and small sports cars on local circuits and SCCA. He was acquainted with Alex Wetherbee probably through flying, and knew that Alex raced hydroplanes. He was also friends of the LaBonte's as was Alex. Alex and Mr. LaBonte both worked at a base at the Naval Air Station which was a helicopter and aircraft repair facility. Terry and Bobby LaBonte were both racing carts, and three quarter midgets when this story was beginning to unfold. Mark Bratton had a Merc 44 deflector installed in one of his race cars and Alex Wetherbee gave him contact info for OF Christner and told him about the loopers Chris was now making.

    Mark bought a 6 cylinder looper from Chris and had it shipped down, but is was not the 60 or 66 inch variety. It was 50 cubic inches to make it legal in the sports car class he was running. The story is still coming together, but it seems the first place they went to run it was at Road Atlanta, and Mark Bratton had hired a guy to run it rather than himself. Coming up to the start, the driver punched it and the front wheels came off the ground, and the throttle got stuck. Approaching the first turn, there was not enough weight on the front wheels to make the turn and the car did all kind of didos in the grass before he got it under control and back on the asphalt. He came from behind and passed everyone then ran it into a hay bale.

    Mark had some success with it but because of some problems with cooling and maybe warping, Mark thought a cast iron block could help solve those problems, so he had one cast. Seems that the motor ended up being banned at some point and around 1970 local boat racer Richard Fry ended up with it. Alex Wetherbee had a McDonald cabover when he got out of racing and sold everything. His brother Tommy and Richard had planned to get together and campaign together with that boat and motor, but it didn't happen because Alex sold the cabover. Richard sold the motor to Wayne Walgrave in the early seventies around 71 or 72. Richard told Steve that if he gets into contact with Wayne and mentions Richard's name that he will probably hear him curse every name in the book. Don't know if there were any other problems, but Wayne did not expect the motor to be 50 c.I., and had to resleeve it.

    That's as far as we are at this time. Steve will be getting together with Mark Bratton's son John next week who has pictures of the car and maybe some other information. Steve has the serial number and has spoken to Paul Christner about it. It was special made because of the displacement and the pipes are different because they had to fit in a car. It ran on gas and oil. When we get more information, we will post it. In the meantime we would like to get contact information on Wayne Walgrave. He was the last know owner, and he was at the first DePue Reunion. Most people filled in a stat sheet at the reunion, but I don't know if Wayne did or who has that information now. Maybe Ron does. So there is another identified looper that started out in a car and maybe ended up in a boat. It all adds to the Quincy legend.



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    Well....making some headway regarding this particular 6 cylinder looper. Charley Bradley got me Wayne's phone number and I should be talking to him sometime Monday.



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    BoatRacingFacts VIP racingfan1's Avatar
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    Wayne , I don't know if it is the same motor but Mark Suter has a Walgrave motor in his collection.

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    Dale and Wayne, the Walgrave 6-cylinder Looper I have in my collection was originally made for and sold to Wayne Walgrave so it doesn't sound like the subject motor.

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    BoatRacingFacts VIP racingfan1's Avatar
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    Thanks Mark , just thought I would throw it out there , you never know.

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    I kind of figured that Wayne had another 6 cylinder besides the car motor. Here is the latest info I have. John Bratton was just a kid when all this was happening, but he has some photos and paperwork. According to what Steve originally said, Mark had a Merc deflector in the original car and Clayton Elmer just told me it was a Mark 75. This morning Steve was told the first engine was a 3 cylinder McCullogh, and it was not performing well. It could be that the original was a McCullough and he swapped it for the Mark 75. Clayton saw the Mark 75 in the car at Corpus Christi. John was about 5 when he first came to watch us race in front of my Dad's house and today he showed Steve some pictures of a Konig with the can, and some boat trailers. It was probably then that Steve's Dad Alex told him to get in touch with O.F. Christner, which he did. The first looper went into that first car, and it was a 44. There were some problems with it. Mainly cooling. Mark had a cast iron block made and did some changing on carb and exhaust location and other stuff. It was an improvement, and was very fast, but unreliable. It couldn't last the distance primarily because insufficient cooling. A second car was built and this one had the six cylinder looper. It is a great looking car. The bell exhausts stick straight up in the air. John told Steve it had scary power. Still, it was unreliable in the long haul, and they later switched out to a Honda motorcycle motor.

    John will be scanning a bunch of pictures for Steve as well as other information he can gather. John thinks the original 44 looper may still be at his Mom's house and the first car might still be in possession of another friend of Steve and John whom they raced carts against. When there is enough for sure information gathered up a separate thread for this car Quincy will be started so it will be easy to find. More when we get it.



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    Getting a few more pieces together thanks to Charley Bradley. Richard Fry sold the motor to Wayne Walgrave in 1976, some 6 or 7 years after Alex Wetherbee sold the McDonald Cabover. It was a 50 cubic inch six cylinder looper. Wayne had it resleeved to 850cc to race in the new Pro class 850 hydro. He raced it at Hinton in the 1977 Pro Nationals and won the championship. That was the only time he ever raced it. After that Wayne raced the six cylinder looper that is now in Mark Suter's collection. Wayne sold the motor to Bruce Summers. Now Charley is going to check in with Bruce.



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    Got more information coming in from several sides, and it's too much to go into right now until we get more info. The cars are called "rattler". Images of them are on the internet. Paul Christner has dug into some stuff he has not fully researched before and some interesting things are cropping up. Steve Wetherbee and I decided from the beginning to do a write up from what we learned from John Bratton for the Paul Christner's Quincy Welding webpage. The reason for this particular thread was to locate Wayne Walgrave to trace the last known whereabouts of the 6 cylinder looper. We are far along the trail now including info from Bruce Summers. There is too much info flowing in now, and we found Wayne Walgrave, so the next step is to gather up all the info and write a story for Paul's website. Once that is done, we can start a new thread on the Quincy headline here on BRF for info and comments regarding this motor. I can assure you that I learned a few more interesting facts this afternoon.



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    Team Member BJuby's Avatar
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    This sounds extremely interesting and can't wait for the writeup. "Good hunting".

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