Thursday, March 31, 2011

CLE Grandstand late 1950's and early 1960's.....

The CLE grandstand which stood approximately where the centre hallway of the Silver City Movie theatre is today was filled to capacity every Wednesday night in the 1950's and the early 1960's to watch stock car racing(jalopy racing as some would call it) to the thrill of thousands who attended. It was probably the most watched and supported sport here in Fort William and Port Arthur(well maybe next to hockey).
The common denominator for these next 10 photos is the grandstand. These photos clearly show its size and the thousands of spectators who attended.

Here is Glen Kettering giving his brother Barry a pep talk during a pause in one of the races(person behind his car is unknown). Note Barry's cut down coupe(what hot rodders call channeled). It was such a beautiful car that it could very well have made hot rod status for the street. Barry's fans lined up along the fence to view their idol(are you there? ...I am somewhere). The next picture which I have featured before again shows the crowds in the grandstand viewing a typical controversy with Louis Tocheri. Gotta love Louis' deuce 5 window coupe.

Tons of people again in these photos... the first one showing Albert Massaro #88 smiling directly at the camera and behind him is #13 Wes Inkster, who had a very tragic accident at the CLE track in the '50's which ended his driving career. #46 is Bill Machinski behind the wheel of his Plymouth coupe. Also note the extra seats between the grandstand and the fence. They were added due to the influx of more and more racing fans.

Here is a little incident between #54 Wally Prokosh and the Potter and Kerr driver Johnny Zatti. Off in the distance on the left is the packed grandstand as usual. #15 here is Lorne Morin's car with Merv Dove's borrowed engine(that's the typical gentleman that Merv Dove was). I believe it is a Plymouth 3 window coupe all cut down as they all started to do in the early 1960's.

Here is #2 Jerry Lepinski from the USA with his famed 1932 Ford 2-door sedan...another one that was beautiful enough to be street driven. Of course the grandstand is filled to capacity. The next picture shows the empty grandstand and gives you an idea of how huge it was. The cars in this photo are unknown.

Coming near the end of the racing years at the CLE track, these two colour photos show the beginning of the Late Model stock car years and the beginning of the super mods and sprint car era here. These photos were taken at the 1965 International Dirt Track Championships at the good ol' CLE track. Seeing these last photos almost brings a tear to the eye as it was truly the end of an era at the CLE track and of course the beginning of another era 2 years after these photos were taken, at Riverview Raceways, out highway 61.
Thanks to all those that took these wonderful photos for us to enjoy forever!!
Click on all photos once or twice to enlarge to screen size!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as a kid i can remember lining up to get a chance to ride a modified like the ones you have shown .. and then one day that dream came to ... I got to ride in the famed #57 ...WOW