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  • [Photographs of an Exploded Bell Housing on a 1950's Dragster]

[Photographs of an Exploded Bell Housing on a 1950's Dragster]

400.00
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[Photographs of an Exploded Bell Housing on a 1950's Dragster]

400.00

An outstanding packet of photography from the early years of American organized drag racing documenting the aftermath of the failure and flying-apart of a clutch and flywheel on an early dragster, likely over the famed Santa Ana Drags, an abandoned Orange County airstrip regarded as the first American drag strip and in operation from about 1950 to 1959. The photographs, likely captured in or slightly earlier than 1955, capture different angles of the incident and are stamped by prolific HOT ROD MAGAZINE photographer Eric Rickman to the final print verso. The exterior wrap of the packet is stamped by Chic Cannon, a sport pioneer and member of the "Drag Safari," the first organized drag racing exhibition of the country, foundational to the formation of the NHRA. Cannon was the earliest and likely most influential proponent of safety in the sport. An excerpt from his self-published autobiography GONE RACIN' (2015) provides background on these photographs:

"I always had a lot of fun explaining to the racers why we had the safety requirements like bell housing covers to contain the explosion of a clutch and flywheel at high RPM. A lot of contestants thought that I was too hard on them, so I could always explain why they were enforced. I had pictures of the Bean Bandits Dragster that exploded the clutch that Rick had taken at Santa Ana Drag strip when they did not have a flywheel cover. The driver, Joaquin Arnett, was very lucky that he did not lose a foot. Even an old tire casing cut to fit over the flywheel housing and tied on securely would held save a driver's foot." (pp.35)

The "Bean Bandits" were a prominent, Latino drag racing team out of Southern California, active during the sports national emergence in the 1950's and led by Arnett. The image notations here are in black wax pencil and while condition here is exceptional for a group of prints which might have un-luxuriously travelled the country in the 1950's, we presume this to the very packet of photographs Cannon describes in the above quote as stamping and print qualities strongly suggest circa-1950's production. A remarkable early drag racing item and uncommon record of its early Latino contributions. 

CANON, Chic E. : RICKMAN, Eric (photographer) : [Drag Racing] : [Latino Interest]. [Photographs of an Exploded Bell Housing on a 1950's Dragster]. [Santa Ana, California]: [ca. 1955]. 8 black and white silver print photographs. Each single weight bordered prints. Each approximately 8" x 10" and bound with a plain front card wrapper via four staples at the upper margin. Front wrapper panel with discrete ink stamp of "Chic E. Cannon." Final print with stamp to verso: "PLEASE CREDIT / HOT ROD / MAGAZINE / TREND, INC. / PHOTO BY / ERIC RICKMAN." Prints with markings and print text in holograph print in black wax pencil to borders and over image areas. Everything well preserved. About near fine.

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An outstanding packet of photography from the early years of American organized drag racing documenting the aftermath of the failure and flying-apart of a clutch and flywheel on an early dragster, likely over the famed Santa Ana Drags, an abandoned Orange County airstrip regarded as the first American drag strip and in operation from about 1950 to 1959. The photographs, likely captured in or slightly earlier than 1955, capture different angles of the incident and are stamped by prolific HOT ROD MAGAZINE photographer Eric Rickman to the final print verso. The exterior wrap of the packet is stamped by Chic Cannon, a sport pioneer and member of the "Drag Safari," the first organized drag racing exhibition of the country, foundational to the formation of the NHRA. Cannon was the earliest and likely most influential proponent of safety in the sport. An excerpt from his self-published autobiography GONE RACIN' (2015) provides background on these photographs:

"I always had a lot of fun explaining to the racers why we had the safety requirements like bell housing covers to contain the explosion of a clutch and flywheel at high RPM. A lot of contestants thought that I was too hard on them, so I could always explain why they were enforced. I had pictures of the Bean Bandits Dragster that exploded the clutch that Rick had taken at Santa Ana Drag strip when they did not have a flywheel cover. The driver, Joaquin Arnett, was very lucky that he did not lose a foot. Even an old tire casing cut to fit over the flywheel housing and tied on securely would held save a driver's foot." (pp.35)

The "Bean Bandits" were a prominent, Latino drag racing team out of Southern California, active during the sports national emergence in the 1950's and led by Arnett. The image notations here are in black wax pencil and while condition here is exceptional for a group of prints which might have un-luxuriously travelled the country in the 1950's, we presume this to the very packet of photographs Cannon describes in the above quote as stamping and print qualities strongly suggest circa-1950's production. A remarkable early drag racing item and uncommon record of its early Latino contributions. 

CANON, Chic E. : RICKMAN, Eric (photographer) : [Drag Racing] : [Latino Interest]. [Photographs of an Exploded Bell Housing on a 1950's Dragster]. [Santa Ana, California]: [ca. 1955]. 8 black and white silver print photographs. Each single weight bordered prints. Each approximately 8" x 10" and bound with a plain front card wrapper via four staples at the upper margin. Front wrapper panel with discrete ink stamp of "Chic E. Cannon." Final print with stamp to verso: "PLEASE CREDIT / HOT ROD / MAGAZINE / TREND, INC. / PHOTO BY / ERIC RICKMAN." Prints with markings and print text in holograph print in black wax pencil to borders and over image areas. Everything well preserved. About near fine.