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Dare Devil Drivers - do you remember?


f.f.jones
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As a kid, we would attend the county fair each year. A very popular attraction was the stunt driving exhibition. Some years the action was more spectacular, but never dull. Usually all the cars and their drivers survived, but there were times when the driver went off the field in an ambulance and the car on a wrecker. I don't know if this kind if display is still going on (other than monster trucks), but, back then, all the cars appeared to be factory stock - something you could go downtown and buy the next day. 

Any good memories or even stunt driving experience out there?    ...let us know.

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by f.f.jones (see edit history)
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  • f.f.jones changed the title to Dare Devil Drivers - do you remember?

The ambulance stunt was a popular crowd thriller. Very seldom was anyone hurt. The gag was to pretend a driver was hurt, throw him on a stretcher in the back of the ambulance, then take off and let the stretcher fall out the back. With a stuffed dummy on the stretcher.

I believe they were sponsored by a car company that furnished a few new cars, for stunts that wrecked the cars they bought junkers from a local used car lot or wrecking yard and gave them a coat of quick drying white paint. Driving thru a burning wall of boards or hay bales.  Flipping a car.  I remember the shows from the county fair when I was a kid.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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We lived in Livermore Califunny for about 25 years. One of the best parts of that was the annual Airshow at the Livermore airport. It was just close enough to the San Francisco Bay area and enough away from the congestion that several antique airplane groups based out of Livermore. They attracted an incredible lot of antiques and other special aircraft to the annual "Fly-in". We would almost always make a weekend of watching the antiques fly in, and the military flybys would shake our house. Many years we went to the airshow ourselves. We knew a few people involved and it was always fun. 

They often did such silly plays for the audience. Unfortunately, one year we stayed at home and watched from our yard, we missed it. The silly play was someone stealing  a car and chasing an airplane with the pilot taking off and touching down again a couple times. We-ell-----? Someone cut it a bit too close and the plane's landing gear went halfway through the windshield and roof of the new Trans Am (if I recall correctly?). Somehow, the pilot (I am sure a pro!) managed to maintain control of the plane, circle the field, and perform a real emergency landing for the crowd! 

The morning paper had quite a writeup and photos of both the plane and the ripped open roof of the car! 

 

At least one of the years we went to the show, they also did the patient dropped out of the ambulance shtick.

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The Williams twins, Walt and Will, established the Trans-Canada Hell Drivers and were a very popular attraction all over North America. I've just started reading their newly published book "Road Warriors" by Ed Arnold (ISBN 978-1-9991250-2-8).Their cars were supplied by AMC. A '69 Javelin tribute car makes the rounds of local car shows.Bill has passed on, but Walt is still an active 88 year old.

1969_AMC_Javelin_Hell_Drivers_show_stunt_car_tribute_AMO_2015_meet_1of4.jpg

Road_Warrirors_Book_Mock.jpg

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48 minutes ago, J.H.Boland said:

The Williams twins, Walt and Will, established the Trans-Canada Hell Drivers and were a very popular attraction all over North America. I've just started reading their newly published book "Road Warriors" by Ed Arnold (ISBN 978-1-9991250-2-8).Their cars were supplied by AMC. A '69 Javelin tribute car makes the rounds of local car shows.Bill has passed on, but Walt is still an active 88 year old.

1969_AMC_Javelin_Hell_Drivers_show_stunt_car_tribute_AMO_2015_meet_1of4.jpg

Road_Warrirors_Book_Mock.jpg

Here's a link to a bit more history on them.  

 

https://www.thrillshowproductions.on.ca/our-history/

 

I always remember the posters around town at the time of the fall fair with the Presented by Thrill Show Productions on the bottom.  There was a local guy from Woodstock by the last name of Tonner that was on one of those two teams.

 

I remember after one of either an ASA or Nascar North show at Cayuga, Ken Carter doing a jump with a rocket powered car.  The car was several bent into a slight V on landing when the back end hit the ramp first.  Tragically he was killed in another stunt a year or so later at Peterborough.  

Edited by 3macboys
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23 minutes ago, 3macboys said:

Here's a link to a bit more history on them.  

 

https://www.thrillshowproductions.on.ca/our-history/

 

I always remember the posters around town at the time of the fall fair with the Presented by Thrill Show Productions on the bottom.  There was a local guy from Woodstock by the last name of Tonner that was on one of those two teams

I credit one of the Williams boys (Walt I think) with saving a few lives ,including mine. They used to drive school bus in their spare time. We were heading down Shaw Road into Dorchester when the brakes failed on the old cab-forward Wayne bus. We had to cross a double rail line and then take a sharp left turn. Williams managed to shift into a lower gear and hollered for us to get on the left side of the bus. I swear that bus went around the corner on two wheels but it stayed upright. Had we shot straight through, we'd have gone down a deep gully and ended up in the river. All in a day's work for the Williams twins.

Wayne school bus.jpg

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On long island you would possibly see Joie Chitwood once a year maybe, possibly  at the Freeport Stadium, Islip Raceway or Riverhead raceway (?) I believe all the venues mentioned are now long gone ( at least Freeport has been for decades)

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Joie Chitwood and his "Super Chevy Show", as I think they called it, came to the Delaware State Fair every year and I was able to see it once or twice as a kid. A pretty big deal, though I can't remember much more than seeing a car driving on two wheels. These days I have to make do with the demolition derby.

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18 hours ago, Hans1 said:

 

I remember Lucky Lott performances at the 

Michigan Fair Grounds,

 

Lucky Lott's hell drivers

 

Lucky Lott Dare Devil Dinky Toy Thrill Show - Bing video

 

 

I have a copy of the story of Douglas Neal Lott (Lucky Lott) by Dean Robinson (1985 - 112 pages) covering his work with stunt driving, movie stunt engineering and military work including how to successfully ditch a B24 bomber in the ocean. "Being prepared and knowing what you're doing is what this business is all about"  Neal 'Lucky' Lott

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Joie Chitwood shows came to the Astrodome every winter.  We would always go see them.

They always had a big thrill introduced at our show.

 

One year they had 2 cars run up ramps and crash head into each other.  It was spectacular.

But it was the only time they did that stunt.

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Unfortunately no photos but I remember seeing a thrill show using all new 1965 Ford Mustangs at Soldier's Field stadium in Chicago. As an almost new driver it was amazing to see what those cars did! Although today knowing how a 65 Mustang was built they must have been pretty extensively modified to hold up to ramp jumps, etc.

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