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!

Monday, May 23, 2011

CRUISIN' THE DUB 2011....Don't miss Sunday nights at the A & W!!

A new season starts this Sunday night at 6:30pm at the A&W on Memorial Ave. right here in Thunder Bay. Also be sure to get your entry in to win a specially prepared Harley Motorcycle before the closing date on May 29. Click here for more details and to enter http://www.aw.ca/

Here is Larry's letter on the details. NEXT here and continued below is a bit of A&W History that some of you many not know about!!

Here are a couple of old A&W photos from somewhere in North America showing the original Cruise Night drive-ins....Gotta love the logo in the first picture, "If you Drive, Drink A&W Root Beer". That's a great motto for today as well. Also check out some of the prices on the front of the drive-in in the second photo here.

To add to the interest here in Canada, is a little A&W Canadian history too. The last picture here is of my grand-daughter and Patrick Wilson's daughter taken last year at "Cruising the Dub 2010".
I am going to try a few more links here...hope they work! First is an old A&W Radio jingle heard in the late 1950's click here http://www.radiowest.ca/sound/a&w.mp3
The next is a link to local vintage A&W photos and items of interest on this blog done last year http://hotrodsandjalopies.blogspot.com/search?q=a%26w ...be sure to view them and come back.
Thanks to Lawrence at A&W for hosting the long awaited "Cruisin' the Dub" right here in Thunder Bay!
Click on all pictures and stories to enlarge them(some twice)!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Club "17", The Tedaires Trio and Early Racing Sponsorship....

It is always interesting how local racing lore and local history in general overlap each other, particularly during the 1950's and 1960's. The Club "17" story here is a prime example. You will have to read the whole post to get the total story.

Here we have an early Ford jalopy, about a 1936 coupe with #17 on the side....not just any #17 but sporting Club "17" Tavern. It was very obvious that Club "17" was the major sponsor of this Jalopy. The next picture is the racing roster from 1953, clearly showing a Mr. B. Martin driving the #17 car.

The Tavern was on the corner of Highway 17, which is West Arthur Street now, and Neebing Avenue, hence...Club "17" Tavern. It was an extremely popular place to go to dine and dance and at that time it was actually in the country.(The property is well within city limits now). It was a somewhat middle class establishment and you could get a very nice dinner with some top notch entertainment at a reasonable cost, or you could rent the whole place for a wedding reception or small convention.

The first item here is a matchbook cover from the 1950's or early 1960's. The 1959 phone book clipping is next showing many of the local haunts from the same era. The next shot is a few swizzle sticks showing both Fort William and Thunder Bay on them.(Remembering that Fort William and Port Arthur were amalgamated into the city of Thunder Bay in 1970.) The last photo is a couple of different 1970's glasses from my collection, both showing Thunder Bay on them.

One more matchbook cover showing Thunder Bay. The next image is that of the cover of the Lakehead Guest. The Lakehead Guest was published for many years as a tourist brochure showing all the great things to see and do in the Lakehead Cities of Fort William and Port Arthur. This 1968 brochure was loaned to me to copy by my friend Bill Exell who actually appears in a photo in the last image here. He is playing the Chordovox for a group called the "Tedaires Trio" along with Louis Clowes on rhythm guitar and Jack Miskelly on drums...Where?? You guessed it....right here at the Club "17 Tavern. Jack and Louis passed away over the years but Bill is still around and playing keyboard, but mainly for his own entertainment now. Bill also restores vintage Ford cars one of which is seen by scrolling down in this post. I also have the privilege in knowing Louis Clowes son Bill, a local antique entrepreneur with his family always giving him a hand.

On this page of the Lakehead Guest is another ad showing the Club "17" Tavern and the Tedaires Trio playing. This next photo(a studio photo for advertising) and the one below also belong to Bill Exell who graciously loaned them to me for this post.....What handsome dudes!!

On the left is Louis Clowes, in the middle is Jack Miskelly and Bill Exell is on the right in the B&W photo. The colour photo here is Bill taken last summer at the A&W Cruise night with his 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible....Very cool Bill!!

WHERE WAS CLUB "17" Tavern...

This is the only rendition I have of what it looked like back in the 1950's with a 1955 Oldsmobile parked out front. If you go west out what is now Arthur Street past the expressway and turn left at Neebing Avenue to go to the Valhalla Inn, you will see an Enterprise Rental place(a Robin's Donuts before that) on the south/west corner of Arthur and Neebing......that is where Club "17" was. It was around until the late 1970's then disappeared along with many local establishments that had a tough time competing with chain restaurants and taverns. These places are sadly gone forever, but were always helping out local folks such as the stock car and jalopy guys of that era, sponsoring them to keep their cars running and helping to entertain all of us during the Hot Rods and Jalopy era........

Thanks again to Bill Exell for the Tedaires Trio photos and for the use of the Lakehead Guest 1968.

Be sure to click on all pictures(sometimes twice) to enlarge to full and readable size...