Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Martin Autio "The Flying Finn", Sponsorship and Fan Base 1953/54...

Here is Martin in his 1930's Ford Coupe looking great along the back stretch of the CLE racetrack in 1953. The next pic is Martin himself driving his decked out Ford pickup with that flying #21 painted in the side of his truck as well. Looks like Martin was not just named the Flying Finn because on the side of his car it also says "Fooch". The writing along the top of the car proudly says "Master Cleaners" phone 37701 as noted on the advertising below.

This was a great day for Martin as he took 3 first places on August 27th, 1953, and also managed to finish 8th out of 10th in points for the 1953 racing season.  John Zatti had also set a new time trial track record....click on the article twice to read it all.   As racing fans of the local track you will also recognize many of the other drivers here, a few of which are still with us to this day....but many sadly are not. The entertainment given us by these great guys were second to none!  My album states that this last photo from Brian Skedgel's collection is also Martin(correct me if I'm wrong here!)
"Master Cleaners and Tailors" and "Twin City Shoe Hospital" sponsored many a car and driver in those early years and in turn the fans supported the businesses. Sponsorship was crucial to help with expenses for car and driver. Here is a present day photo of the same building where Master Cleaners handled their business at 1023 Victoria Ave. It is right next to Breeny's Auto Body.....and Breeny's used to be Red Marsonet's Service Station....all of this right along our old cruisin' strip in Fort William.
This 1953 program cover which has appeared before in this blog site shows the sheer amount of people that attended the races right here in Fort William and Port Arthur. The last photo is of Peter Medwid(writer for the Port Arthur News Chronicle in 1954) who summed it up by noting that additional bleachers were added to accommodate and ADDITIONAL 2800 fans at the old CLE race track..........Oh!....how we long for those good ol' days!!
Thanks for coming back again and again to this blog page, and hope you have enjoyed the stories and pictures.
Be sure to click on the pictures once and some twice!


kyllimarjaana said...

Funny coincidence, my maiden name is Autio.

Dave Cano said...

Are you sure it is just a coincidence?