The 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria that took Jerry Bigelow to the 1966 Championship at Northeastern Speedway in Waterford. The car was rescued and taken to the Speedway this past Sunday. The track reunion for this year is July 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check out http://northeasternspeedway.com/ or their Facebook page. (Photo by Big Bigelow)
Jun 30, 2017
Kenny Robinson (a great friend of my Dad’s and winner of the last main event at Northeastern Speedway in Waterford), Bryan Marble and Paul Bellefeuille worked very hard getting Jerry Bigelow’s championship winning car from 1966 back to the Speedway in Waterford, this past Sunday.
They spent countless hours changing and mounting tires and breaking loose the calipers from the rotors. The last year the car raced was 1966.
The car is a 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria two-door hardtop (no post between doors). When the announcer, Ken Squier, said they were running door handle to door handle, he meant just that – the rig still has door handles.
Intact is the chrome “Victoria” on each door. The little door which covers up the key hole for the trunk is still there. Also still in working order, 61 years after it was built, is the door that covers up the gas cap, complete with the bracket for a license plate.
The right rear red plastic tail light lens remains unbroken. The left one is broken but parts of it are still there. I would have thought they’d have removed those before going to the track.
Dad didn’t use the original gas tank. There is a small door just above the trunk where a steel five gallon oil bucket is mounted. I’m told by Kenny, Dad used to stop at Bedard’s gas station on Portland Street on the way to the track every week.
Back in the day, safety wasn’t a big issue so it shouldn’t surprise anyone the battery was moved from under the hood and mounted right beside the gas bucket.
Let’s just say the roll cage isn’t up to today standards. One look at the cars from back then explains why Chris Economaki called the drivers “daredevils”.
Dad drove race cars for 17 years, from 1949 to 1966. When Waterford shut down, a bunch of the guys went to Thunder Road. Dad was an over-the-road trailer truck driver and was away from home during the week, so Thursday’s were out of the question. He did run some Sundays and holiday shows in the early ’60s at The Road, winning a couple of them.
When he stopped racing he didn’t go to watch. As far as I know he only went to a track twice. It was at the end of 1981 to watch his son Bob start his racing career. He died in February of ’82, at the age of 54.
To see photos from the move, check out Northeastern’s Facebook page. The yearly reunion for this year is July 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the track.