Rod Perry Pictures

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Roddy strikes a checkered flag pose with the Bob Hamke designed and built #3. This car was usually driven by Hamke’s son, Bob Hamke Jr. Designed and built in 1965, this machine was truly revolutionary. Hamke used a much modified Corvair transaxle, the power plant was a methanol burning, fuel injected, magneto fired 327 Chevy. The round, silver tank at his left arm was an coolant expansion tank from an early Corvette, the radiator was in the nose of the car and the car had a sealed cooling system. Note the wing: This wing on the #3 car was the first wing that 119 had, the first of three different wings that 119 would see in its career. The classic Kendall jacket says that this pic was taken either in late fall or during the winter months, you don’t often need a jacket in S Florida!
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This is Rod Perry the way I knew and remember him. Taken approx. 1966-1967 at Old Hollywood, sitting on the scrub rail of 119. His driving suit is a pair of blue work coveralls. Notice the early style helmet, Roddy drove with this helmet until the end of his career. It was metal flake blue, with yellow lettering. Note the pit pass, the little piece of cloth pinned over his left pocket. Some guys used to save them and pin them to a hat, adding to it as the weeks and years went by, wish I had done that!
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Roddy at speed at what is believed to be Medley/Palmetto speedway. The late evolution of the car itself, the rare color photograph, and events, suggest the time circa late 1962-early 63.
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Perry in one of the very early #71 black fords that were known as “black bandits”, for their winning ways. This pic is from Hollywood Speedway, circa around 1956. The car is an early 40’s Ford, with beefed suspension, and a ‘modern’ v8 engine, appears to be a 312 or 292 shoved in. Multiple carburetion was used.
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A checkered flag picture from Hialeah Speedway, circa approx. 1962-63. The flagman in the pic is the well known Windy Meyers. This is an interesting picture, first notice the wing. At first glance it seems to be very crude, but if you take a closer look at it, a wing chord can clearly be seen. So it seems that it was more advanced than the wing in the 7th picture of this series. In addition, the #1 car in the background, who’s driver (believed to be Roy Clanton) is giving Roddy the once over, that wing is more advanced. However, the wing mounting on the Black Bandit is most definitely primitive, to say the least! A good theory is that the old wing was destroyed the week before, and a new one was constructed, but not yet finished, so the half build wing was put on at the last minute by whatever materials were laying around in the shop. Roddy looks quite pleased with himself in this picture, and look at the stands, they are practically empty. The supers would have been the last race of the night, and this pic was likely taken at 1 or 2 AM, one can only imagine what sort of short track carnage happened on that particular long ago night!
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A checkered Flag picture from Hollywood Speedway circa 1969. This was the Blue Jewel at the apogee of its development. During the off season, Bob Hamke had gone over the car from one end to the other. No stone was left unturned to make the car faster yet. First, notice the twin Turbochargers, the one for the left bank can be clearly seen here. The body was changed, there was a new wing built to increase down force. The suspension system was completely re-engineered, the car sat visibly lower. Hamke and Perry were poised to continue their winning ways into the 70’s, but other events got in the way.
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One of the very earliest shots of one of the winningest supermodifieds of all time, the famous #119 “Blue Jewel”. Built by Bob Hamke for car owner Hal Bedford late in the 1962 season, the car made its debut at Hialeah Speedway in 1963, and with veteran Rags Carter at the wheel, started winning from the very beginning. This picture could well have been the cars first win, its Hialeah Speedway for sure. The car did not even have its fuel injection yet, notice the 6 two barrel carbs on the state of the art small block Chevy power plant. Rags Carter went up north as soon as the 1963 racing season started there, Hal Bedford sold the car to Hamke, who immediately put his good friend Rod Perry in it, and as they say, the rest is history.
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Bob Hamke Jr. strikes a pose with 119. Hamke drove the car for a short period of time, before it was sold to New Englander Bill Murphy "The Flying Irishman". This pic is the Blue Jewel in its final, twin turbo form, here the right bank turbo can be clearly seen. How many homemade, twin turbocharged racecars did you know of in 1969? Take note of the wing, this is a pretty accurate feature win total, remember that one wing was completely destroyed in a wild flip down the front straight at Hollywood, damaging many of the feature win stickers. Regardless, not many racecars won at least 84 features!
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With dozens of open wheel racecars with way more horsepower than the suspension and tires of the day could possibly handle hurdling around short bullrings inches apart, disaster was never more than a split second away, and could happen to the best of them, as the aftermath of this grinding crash vividly demonstrates. The racing gods were not kind this particular evening. Due to a possible stuck throttle, Roddy Perry's Black Bandit was torn to pieces in the grinding crash that happened moments before this picture was taken. #71 obviously flipped and rolled far off of the racing surface into the pit area, hopefully no-one was injured. The violence of crash can be easily seen, the front end is torn to pieces, the headers are mangled, the carburetion was ripped off in this violent crash in the early 60’s. The wing is totally gone, scrub rails and bumpers are torn in half, and it appears that the frame itself is torn and twisted. The main role cage area looks like it held up well, the seat did not seem to move, and the bars were well padded, all which allowed the driver to continue to race and win.
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Roddy with a win at Medley, around 1956-57. The engine appears to have a single four barrel on it. Multiple carburetion was not in general use, and some tracks went back and forth on limiting the use of anything but a single four barrel. This was one of the potent Austin Ford’s. Black, #71. Roddy’s teammate was Mel Payne, together they were a terror at Hialeah and Medley.
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Roddy is beginning to rack up the wins, this is a pic from 63, judging from the number of win stickers on the wing. And it’s the early wing, the wing was updated in late 1964, with the wing in this pic put on the #3 rear engined car.
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Bob Hamke and Rod Perry strike a pre race pose at the Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway, circa 1969-1970. This was right near the end of one of the most successful racing partnerships of all time. If memory serves me right, this was the first time out for the heavily revised 119 (it did not go real well...they burned a piston, a common ailment of turbo moters to this day). The very advanced homemade twin turbo-charged induction setup that Bob Hamke fabricated can be clearly seen here. Note the massive oil cooler, this was necessary due to the huge horsepower and heat generated by the turbos.
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Roddy is ready to roll in this very nice color pic from Medley, approx. 1962-early 63. Now the Morse-Holland Ford special, Later to become Ed Morse Ford, the evolution of Supermodifieds can be clearly seen here. At one time, this was a late 40's Crosley. Then the fenders came off. Then the body was cut in half lengthwise. Then it was sectioned i.e.; sawed in half the other way. Called “bugs” in some parts of the country, and in some cases exist today as modifieds, down here, the next step in the evolution was to throw the stock bodies away altogether and make them from scratch…hence the term “supermodifieds”. The magneto fired ignition is visible, as are the 6 two barrel carburetors mounted on the 406cid cross bolt main, forged crank Ford power plant. The full floater truck rear end sits on racing slicks, which are mounted on Andy’s wheels, an iconic institution in the local racing scene for decades to come The wing shows a shape, is well mounted, and is starting to sprout side boards. A state of the art, cutting edge racecar from the early 60’s. In the hands of a gifted, veteran chauffer like Rod Perry, the #71 Black Bandit was very hard to beat!
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A very early photo, early 50’s, quite possibly from either Hialeah or Opa Locka. While at first glance this appears to be nothing but a beat up jalopy, a closer look says otherwise, for the times this was a good, well build racecar. Notice the full floater truck rear end, and the heavy duty hub and wheels on the left front. The right front would have a truck axle cut and welded in, and a full floater hub there as well. There is a massive truck radiator, to cool the modified Ford Flathead V8 engine. Notice the 2 Two barrel’s with the “ram air” intake stacks. Look carefully and you can see the doors are tied shut! Regardless, this was a state of the art racecar for the time, probably in the Modified division. Hollywood Ford has been an institution for over 50 years. Looks like Roddy dodged one, notice what is going on behind him!
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Even if you're Rod Perry driving the famed Black Bandit you did not win all the races all the time, you did not even finish them all. Here is the aftermath of a crash at Medley, probably around late 1961-62. The straight axle/leaf spring front end has sustained heavy damage, the truck radiator is bent and probably shot, but the frame appears to be ok. Interesting stage in the breakneck racecar car evolution that was going on at this time. Note the Vertex magneto, the 406 big block Ford/Edsel power plant, and the 6 two barrel carburetors, no fuel injection yet. Notice the very early wing design, pretty much just a piece of metal with some side skirts riveted on. There was no shaping of the wing area itself, that was still a year or so away.
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Roddy strikes a pose beside the rear engined #3 car at the Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway. The second generation header system suggest that this picture is circa 1967. I believe that the lady in the background is Bob Hamke's wife.
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A break in the action at one of the local tracks gives Rod Perry the chance to "clown with the clown" a bit. The first generation exhaust system suggests late 1965 or 66. The three car was very interesting from a mechanical perspective, but unfortunately it never achieved great success on the track. Bob Hamke Jr drove the car most of the time, I believe that Roddy won a feature with it once.
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Roddy enjoys himself at a birthday party. Not sure of the location, but notice the racing banners overhead. Family, racing and work were what dominated Rod Perry's life, he kept things simple and in perspective.
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The feature winners of the evening strike a pose at the flag-stand of Hollywood Speedway, late 50's, early 60's. The driver in the plaid shirt standing next to Roddy is Harry Vernon. At the far right, in the cap is Buck Gibbs. Check out the flagstand, right at the track with nothing but a couple of 2x4's for protection against a wildly flipping racecar. If you were a flagman in those days you had better have your wits about you and be quite agile as well.
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Roddy seems to have a mischievous "aw shucks, did I really win this" look as he accept acolytes from a pretty trophy girl and the car owner after another feature win from the mid 50's. I believe the car was the#73,and the lack of damage seems to suggest that this was one of the cars first wins.
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Rod Perry and his car owner, Carlton Bond pose for a photo in 1952. From the looks of things, this is a little bit of product promotion, as well as showing off a pretty nice trophy.
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Taken from a Medley Speedway program around 1958-1959, the points vividly show the domination Rod Perry had over the South Florida racing scene. Notice, only Rags Carter had a higher points total. Keep in mind that Perry, unlike Carter, also competed regularly both at Palm Beach and Hollywood, with similar success.
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One has to do some historical detective work to put all the peices of this picture and article together properly. "The Blue Jewel" has the early paint/number scheme and the early wing, and the feature win stickers are starting to accumulate. I personally feel that this picture is from around 1964. However, the race in question, the World 300, was run from 1966-1969. What I personally think is that this pictures is possibly from a foray to the Mobile International Speedway, perhaps to run the World 200, which was run in 1964 and 1965. The Perry and Hamke duo toured all over Florida and the Southeast, wherever big money races were run.
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Tampa’s Dave Scarborough leads Rod Perry’s Black Bandit and another competitor through the foreboding turns one and two area at the lightning fast Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway. Wing technology was in its infancy when this picture was taken, dating it 61-62. Note the gaping, fresh hole in the wall , obviously yet another hapless driver had plowed through it into the trees beyond. This particular hi banked half mile was especially treacherous, if one looks carefully, notice that , unlike virtually every other racetrack, the walls stood straight up. These walls did not turn a car back into the track, they quite literally often turned into a launching ramp. That is, of course, if the incredible speeds attained on this true-measured around the bottom edge of the track- half mile did not cause a car to smash right through the walls. Notice where Roddy is, high on the track, that was the only fast way around this speedbowl. Check out the “body English” he is putting into the car, wheel cranked over, standing on it. This was a place where only the good and the brave won consistently…and Rod Perry won many a race here.
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Marty Handshaw in the famous #237 leads Ronnie Grim’s #56 and Rod Perry’s Blue Jewel #119 through turns one and two at Hollywood Speedway. Many things point to this being from 1963, possibly ‘64. This is a great picture, much to see here. Good, close, two groove racing, Hollywood Speedway was as close to being the perfect race track as one could get. The technology of the supermodifieds was evolving at breakneck speed, and this picture shows that as well. The wings were light years ahead of what was being run just a year or two earlier. Now they were developing a chord, as well as sideboards to keep the air flowing over the wing. Bob Hamke always kept 119 ahead of the curve, note the size of the wing, it was the best of these three cars for sure. But that was only part of it. Look at the Handshaw car and compare it to Roddy’s hot rod. Notice how much lower 119 is, not to mention the Fuel injected, small block Chevy that was far superior to the heavy, carbureted big block Ford in the Handshaw ride. Handshaw’s Crosley bodied Super was state of the art just a couple of years earlier, built to compete against Perry’s #71 Black Bandit, now both cars were obsolete. Marty Handshaw saw the handwriting on the wall, and rather than compete against the Perry/Hamke juggernaut, sold out and went late model racing at Hialeah Speedway. As for the third car in this picture, Ronnie Grim loved the competition at Hollywood Speedway as well as the thrill of driving what have always been the fastest short track cars of them all. He build a new car, and competed regularly here for years to come. Until one night in 1969 when, in almost the exact spot of this picture, his gold #10 super somersaulted over the turn two fence, rolling violently down the embankment. Ronnie Grim died on the way to the Hospital.
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Roddy strikes a relaxed pose, probably after another feature win, as the crowd is on the speedway. I would date this around 1962, by 1963 Perry would be driving the “blue Jewel”, #119 and this car, the #71 black bandit was sold to Fred Schenk, who campaigned it at Hollywood Speedway where his brother Tom had become the promoter.
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Rod Perry holds the checkered flag high after another feature in the Regal Beer #69, at the
Medley Speedway around 1951-52 .
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Two of the all-time greats, Rod Perry in the #71 Black bandit and Jackie Evans in the Joe Guthrie #3 Coupe battle wheel to wheel at Palm Beach. The date is 61-62 and this vividly shows the two competing car directions that were happening in the South Florida area at that time. Evan’s car was a “Hialeah legal” modified. It had a coupe body that with the exception of the no fenders was more or less stock. Perry’s Black bandit, on the other hand, sported an economy car body, a Crosley hotshot that was then chopped and cut down. Evan’s #3 car would also have had some sort of factory built frame. Perry’s 71 by this time was virtually a tube frame, with few, if any factory pieces left. Of course the most obvious difference was the wing on Roddy’s car, and the total lack thereof on the Guthrie #3 Evans is wheeling. Hialeah Speedway was fast becoming a non-winged, stock car track. Hollywood Speedway welcomed the evolving class soon to become known unofficially as Supermodifieds, both tracks ran on Saturday nights with full stands and packed pits. Medley and Palm Beach were neutral locations, it was an unwritten rule that you could show up and run whatever you were running on Sat night and no-one would bother you.
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One of Roddy’s earliest rides, the Red Lenard #55 “flyer” coup. This appears to be a picture taken either in the pits or somewhere besides the track, note the street car behind and in front of the #55.
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