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Thread: 1966 West Coast Offshore

  1. #1
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default 1966 West Coast Offshore

    This is a cool picture of Thunderballs...picture is by Bruce Howell/Santa Monica Outlook.

    Holman-Moody Formula Wins Catalina Cup.

    Do you know who Larry Smith is? How about Chuck Daigh?? Chuck averages five requests a week for autographs...

    A 23' boat, imagine the size!!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Default Grand Prix

    Chuck Daigh and Grand Prix racing seem to go together.
    RichardKCMo

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    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Went By Chuck's Today!!!

    Richard, we have been trying to make an electron BOBBLEHEAD, becasue you were right about CHUCK...Sometimes called the King of Riverside International Raceway. Chuck owned that track...

    We have failed so far with Electronic Bobbleheads, but we owe you one...

    Chuck is the one who helped Peter Rothchild go 93 MPH for a diesel powered BOAT speed record...

    Chuck even made air driven valves for a Ford Flat head....He figured out how the Formula One guys must be doing it, and made them for he El Mirage Dry Lakes car...

    He get autograph requests and throws them way...a very humble guy!!! (He's like why would someone want MY autograph)..

    Larry Smith, of course, started Scaarb Boats....I think the plugs were built right near my shop in Santa Ana...wooden plugs, built by a guy that had worked for Ron Jones, when Jones was in Costa Mesa....

    And Peter Rothchild, came from Powerine Oil company...you know that NASTY old OIL!!!

  4. #4
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Chuck Daigh

    There will be a memorial service for Chuck Daigh at his shop on Saturday, May 31, 12
    Noon to 2 PM hosted by his daughter, Denise.

    There will be a tent with tables and chairs nearby. All Fabulous Fifties non-members are
    invited. There will be refreshments and food with wine provided by Frank Arciero.
    You are invited to bring stories and memorabilia to honor Chuck.

    The shop is located in Costa Mesa at 670 W. 17th Street, Building F4.

    CHUCK DAIGH, THE UNSUNG HERO
    By Art Evans

    Carroll Shelby once remarked, “There are only two people I can think of who could sit
    down, take a welding torch, build their own chassis, go out to test it and then win races with it.
    They are Jack Brabham and Chuck Daigh. I put Chuck in the same category as Jack.”

    Except for the war years, Chuck Daigh has been associated in one way or another with
    internal combustion engines. At age 15, while still in high school, he ran a Union Oil gas station
    in Long Beach where he grew up. In his eighth decade he was busy at work preparing a car for a
    record run at Bonneville. Between those times, he had a legendary career both behind the wheel
    and wielding a wrench. Bruce Kessler told me recently that he thinks Chuck was the most under
    appreciated racing driver of his time. According to his Sebring teammate, Dan Gurney, “Chuck
    was not only an excellent engineer, but he could also drive the wheels off a car.” Dan went on to
    say, “When I got into racing, I soon found out who the real heavyweights were. In those days,
    Chuck was like a god to us.”

    Daigh’s parents moved to Long Beach in 1923 where Chuck was born on November 29th
    of that year. His father owned and operated a garage where, according to older brother Harold,
    they grew up. Both were typical hot rodders. They made a car with a Model A chassis and an
    Alfa Romeo body. Chuck graduated from Compton High School in 1941.

    Along came the war and Chuck joined up and served with the famed 82nd Airborne
    Division for the duration. In the spring of 1943, the division parachuted into Sicily and later
    dropped near Salerno, Italy, and took Naples in October. The next month, they left for England
    to prepare for D Day, when they jumped into Normandy. After the Battle of the Bulge, they took
    Luxemburg where Chuck was shot and mustered out in 1945.

    Returning to Long Beach, Chuck and Harold built a track roadster and raced it at Carroll
    Speedway in Gardena. Chuck was out practicing when J.C. Agajanian came over and asked
    Harold who was driving. Harold replied, “Oh, that’s Chuck; he’s just fooling around.” “I don’t
    know about that,” J.C. said, “but he just broke the track record!”

    In 1952, Benson Ford hired Chuck, Clay Smith and Bill Stroppe to build Lincolns for the
    Mexican Road Race. Chuck went along as a riding mechanic and navigator. His first sports car
    race was at Moffett Field in 1953 piloting Marion Lowe’s Frazer Nash. Then he came in fourth
    overall in the main event at the October Terminal Island race behind the wheel of the ex-Dan
    Parkinson (Phil Hill’s brother-in-law) Jaguar Special. His first sports car victory was at Willow
    Springs in May 1954 driving his Kurtis with a Lincoln engine. Next, he started driving the
    Troutman-Barnes Special for Dick and Tom. After winning the fall 1955 Santa Barbara, he
    campaigned the car for another year winning more than his share of races and always was a
    front-runner.

    In 1957, Lance Reventlow asked Troutman and Barnes to build an all-American sports
    car. The partners wanted to involve Chuck, so he went to work at Warren Olson’s shop where
    the car was to be constructed. Warren said of Chuck, “He was one of my two most valuable
    employees; the other being Phil Remington. Chuck would try anything. If something didn’t
    work, it didn’t bother him. He would just try something else or do it a different way.” Chuck was
    responsible for the Scarab engine, suspension and brakes. The first Scarab—the Mark I—won its
    second race at Santa Barbara with Lance at the wheel.

    The first big-time professional road race in Southern California was the U.S. Grand Prix
    for Sports Cars sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in October 1958. Lance had named Chuck
    his number one driver and entered two Mark IIs. Chuck won against very serious competition,
    making a name for the marque. That year, in a Scarab, Daigh won the opener at Meadowdale. At
    Montgomery he defeated the Cunningham Lister team led by Walt Hansgen, and won at Laguna
    Seca and Nassau.

    After the Scarab days, Chuck raced at Sebring three times, winning one with Dan Gurney
    in a Ferrari Testa Rossa. He also race in Europe including Silverstone and Le Mans, usually in a
    Maserati. During Carroll Shelby’s GT-40 effort at Le Mans, Daigh was in charge of carburetion.
    Even so, the Ford mechanics thought they knew better. Bruce McLaren went out to practice and
    complained, so, unknown to the factory people, Chuck fixed the problem. Bruce credited both
    his Le Mans wins in part to Chuck.

    Daigh didn’t confine himself to four wheels. He had a very successful career with an
    offshore racer called the Thunderball. Chuck not only built the engine, but was also the pilot. In
    later years, he left Long Beach and moved to Costa Mesa where he set up shop.

    A few years ago, I visited Chuck in Costa Mesa. There sat his Bonneville streamliner, up
    on blocks. It was gorgeous; a work of art! It seemed to me it would be as at home in the Petersen
    Museum as on the Salt Flats.

    After a brief illness, on Tuesday morning, April 29, 2008, Chuck Daigh passed on. He
    was 84 years old. He was not only a great driver and designer/mechanic, but also a wonderful
    person. I’ll miss him.

    I understand a Scarab reunion is planned for the July 17-20 Kohler International
    Challenge with Brian Redman at Road America. Augie Pabst told me that a remembrance of
    Chuck Daigh will be included in the celebration.

  5. #5
    Team Member russhill's Avatar
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    Default Chuck

    Ron,

    When did he die and why a 6 month wait time for the memorial? I loved Chuck. As somebody once said he could take a handful of mud and make a super racing engine from it. I didn’t know him except for reputation, when he was winning practically every race ever held on the Riverside International Raceway.
    I remember talking with Peter, Larry and Chuck before they built the Thunderballs. Have a lot of neat stories about that. You know Peter lived up in Beverly Hills next door to Pickfair where Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks lived.
    I’ve got stories about Peter and me in Hawaii. You won’t hear them here.
    I helped them win the nation championship in 1966—but that’s another story

  6. #6
    Team Member lilabner's Avatar
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    Default

    Chuck was also a big wheel at Holman Moody in Charlotte in the late sixty's when I worked for them..He was one of my idols when I was in high school..
    Likes Ron Hill liked this post

  7. #7
    Administrator Ron Hill's Avatar
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    Default Costa Mesa, California's 50th Year Celebration

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hill View Post
    This is a cool picture of Thunderballs...picture is by Bruce Howell/Santa Monica Outlook.

    Holman-Moody Formula Wins Catalina Cup.

    Do you know who Larry Smith is? How about Chuck Daigh?? Chuck averages five requests a week for autographs...

    A 23' boat, imagine the size!!!!
    I was contacted by the city of Costa Mesa, because of BRF, they had read that my Ron Jones Tunnel was built in Costa Mesa. They were getting ready for the city's 50th year celebration. I gave the people, 6/1/2016, a list of people to talk to. As it turned out most were dead, so they ask me more questions.

    Offshore in the 1960's was a fun deal, my brother named the CLUB POPBRA for Pacific Offshore Power Boat Racing as Florida was OPBRA, Offshore Power Boat Racing.

    Chuck Daigh and Peter Rothchild were the first west coast offshore champions.

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