Ford Racing Fights Back

We knew our pals in the Ford camp would have somethingto say about ourdeclaring the LS as the hottest thing going. Ford Racing's Jesse Kershaw argued against the LS and in favor of the new 5.0L four-cam engine in the Mustang, citing its lower weight (400 pounds), better looks, more efficient factory power compared with displacement (412 hp from only 302 ci), and the high-tech nature of its variable cam timingthat boosts torque, making it feel like a bigger engine. Jesse says, "Twin variable independent cam timing allows us to dial in a nearly optimal horsepower-to-torque curve throughout the entire powerband. Cutting it out loses nearly 10 percent of the torque at low rpm. Others have done this with active intakes that alternate between short and long runner, but that's like an on/off switch, whereas variable cam timingis like a dial that turns it up as needed."

He also argued the price point, sayingthat the 5.0L crate engine is a good candidate for bangforthe buck. "You can buy a brand-new, all-aluminum engine making more than 400 hp with the air inlet and all wiringto plug it into anythingfor right around $8,000 from Ford Racing," he says.

Yes, the engine is brand new, but we've already reported on a lot of guys running in the 10s and even a few in the 9s with them, and the aftermarket is falling all over itself developing speed parts for it thanks to the rabid drag racing bent of the Mustangcrowd. And Jesse points out that Ford Racing's supercharger kit, which is CARB-approved, bumps output to G42 hp. It's a good time to be a Ford fan. But will the 5.0L catch up to the LS in swap popularity? HRM

ThfBXO*'

By Dave Wallace

Photography: From the Source Interlink Media archives and Bob D'Olivo's Walls of Fame

Documentingthe Great Races of the '60s and 70s With HOT ROD'S Master of Photography

> "The '60s were truly the golden age for every form of racing. Take Day-tona: I went there when guys were running old cars on the beach, not sophisticated stuff. Then Bill France built the speedway, and his racers had to build new cars for the new track. That finally got the attention of the manufacturers, and all the factories came in. Ford's sponsorships in the early '60s really got NASCAR going, and that's when the racing got good. You can see how stock the stock cars were in 1963."

> "I like everything about this photo. It captures the changing technology of the time, and you see both drivers' faces." [Adds John Zimmermann: Al Miller started 31st and finished 9th in Mickey Thompson's Chevy-powered No. 84; Harry Chapman started 12th and finished right behind Millerinthe Offy-powered Watson roadster.]

> "I like everything about this photo. It captures the changing technology of the time, and you see both drivers' faces." [Adds John Zimmermann: Al Miller started 31st and finished 9th in Mickey Thompson's Chevy-powered No. 84; Harry Chapman started 12th and finished right behind Millerinthe Offy-powered Watson roadster.]

Anyone too young to have experienced the golden age of American motorsports firsthand is fortunate to be able to access photographic evidence from the '60s and '70s. Luckily for us all, those two decades roughly coincide with the peak of Bob D'Olivo's career as an action photographer. For both of these reasons, we have chosen to focus on that incredible era for this second of two articles chronicling the mans life and work (The Jan. '11 issue contained part one.)

Although Bob continued to trigger shutters on behalf of Petersen Publishing Co. right up to his 1996 retirement, most of this photographic directors work in the '80s and early '90s involved a desk and Petersen's photo studio. "When I was hired in 1952, we had three magazines and 35 or 40 people," he recalls. "Within a year and a half, we were up to 70 employees. Eventually, there were hundreds. As a company grows larger, you need more control. In my case, that meant less travel and more managing. I was ultimately responsible not only for the photographic quality of dozens of magazines, but also for managing the photographers, running the photo studio, processing the ylm shot by all the staffs, and archiving that ylm in the photo and research library. I had some good people in my department— particularly Marji Dickinson, my executive assistant who mothered that place for 26 years—but Pete and [company president] Fred Waingrow wanted me there in the building, understandably''

Upper managements gain was a loss for Petersen's many magazines and millions of readers. Although the country's best-known automotive photographer was never the most popular man on campus, even editors who considered him arrogant and aloof—

or worse—were hard-pressed to achieve comparable quality. Thirty years later, some publishing veterans say Bob's action work has never been matched. Among them is the man himself, who is either unable or unwilling, at age 83, to name anyone currently active whose work impresses him. "There are lots of car photographers out there now," he answers after a lengthy pause. "Some good ones, too. However, many of their action photos are heavily manipulated in the computer, using Photoshop: spinning the wheels, blurring the road surface, cleaning up or replacing backgrounds, etc. Editors and art directors love it. I love it, too; they've created an image with visual impact that makes for good-looking magazines. What ticks me off is the byline, 'Photo by ' That's bullshit! It's a created image; the guy did not take that photo. You cannot take that photo. I know! Sometimes, the Photoshopping is done by another person. So, lets call it 'Image by,' or 'Photo imaging by'; not 'Photo by'! "

For some classic examples of untouched work that was naturally terriyc, without autofocus or computerized metering, right out of the camera and lab chemicals, youngsters and photography students need look no further than these pages. Condensing Bob's output during auto racing's golden age to these couple of dozen photos is admittedly unfair both to him and to his hundreds of thousands of other archived images. However, we let him select about half as his personal favorites, and the rest are some of ours. Rest assured, none of them is Photoshopped!

[Editors Note: Automotive historians Jack Reynolds, John Zimmermann, and Forrest Bond contributed invaluable research to this article. Thanks, y'all!]

> "Tom Medley and Eric Rickman were the entire photo department when I got there in 1952. Tom sure enjoyed shooting, but he was a better cartoonist than photographer and very knowledgeable about hot rods and go-karts. He's a good man. We spent a lot of time together, on and off the job—like opening day of the trout season at Lake Crowley every year. This was the art room at 5959 Hollywood Blvd., 1964. Petersen bought that building early in 1952,1 believe, and stayed there until we moved to Sunset in the late '60s. Pete didn't believe in renting. He owned all the buildings he was in and wound up with a lot of them before he sold the company in the mid-'90s."

> "I always looked for new ways to cover racing, whatever it was. This is Indy, '65 NHRA Nationals. I went up in the stands, probably with a Hasselblad 250mm telephoto, to get the backlighting. You never know exactly what you're gonna get. When I squeezed the trigger, I couldn't have known that Jack Merkel would smoke the tires while Doug Cook was in the air, but I knew the lighting was cool."

> "Here's Linda Vaughn's first Daytona appearance as the new Miss Hurst Golden Shifter in 1966. I'd met her even earlier when she wasthe Pure Oil girl. We became good friends and still are. That's George Hurst waving at me. I met him when he showed up on Hollywood Boulevard with some motor mounts, asking to see someone at Motor Trend. Nobody there wanted to talk to him, so they asked me to grab a camera and just go talk to the guy. He told me all about how these mounts adapted popular engines to various cars. I shot a few pictures to help him out, and he never forgot that."

> "When the other photographers all rushed to get a headshot of Dan Gurney at Indy, they made a great background, so I shot from the rear. Aflashbulb or strobe lasted Viooo to l/2oooof a second, so catching that guy's flash was pure luck. It really makes the photo." [NOTE: Thanks to Jack Reynolds for help in identifying Gurney's '66 Eagle. —Ed]

> "This looks like a Trans-Am event in 196? or 19G8, although I don't know why Porsches would be out there at the same time. I'm shooting from Turn G at Riverside."

> "Here's a driver change during the Daytona 24 Hours. That's Roger Penske's Trans-Am car and Mark Donahue at the right. I don't remember who's replacing him. I used no strobe because the flash would've destroyed this shot. It was awfully dark, and I was shooting handheld, probably at V30 of a second, so I had to be either pushing the speed of Tri-X or using Kodak's Record film, which was made for copying documents. It had a speed of something like ASA 2500, so it was grainy, and it took a different process. A lot of photographers didn't know it existed, but I used it a lot to capture action in low light."

> "John DeLorean is accepting the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 196?, when the GTO got it. That's Walt Woron, the editor, makingthe presentation in Palm Springs. I knew DeLorean very well, both at Pontiac and when he went with Chevrolet. He still had a good life and a beautiful wife, Tom Harmon's daughter."

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Responses

  • marty cronin
    What year did petersen publishing move to 5959 hollywood boulevard?
    5 years ago

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