1959 Balchowsky Buick Special

Racing History Timeline - Old Yeller II
1959 Buick Special

Builders - Max and Ina Balchowsky - Hollywood Motors

In the fall of 1959, Max started on a completely new Old Yeller II. Max Balchowsky successfully raced the Old Yeller I in the 1957-58 race seasons and that historic race-car car was an extremely modified “Morgensen Special”. The modifications that were made on the Morgensen Special (designed and built by Dick Morgensen of Arizona) by Max was the use of the powerful Buick engine and many Balchowsky racing / Hot Rod “tricks” that he had learned since the early 1950s.  Max and Ina Balchowsky attempted to build the completely new Old Yeller II in time for October 1959 Grand Prix and they planned seven weeks to complete entirely new race- car at Hollywood Motors garage.

October 10-11, 1959 - Riverside International Raceway United States Grand Prix Sports Car races. from the official program...Sponsored by the Times Mirror Co, "Drivers in today's race"...MAX BALCHOWSKY- "The driver - mechanic who made the backyard specials famous in western road racing, debuts "the Old Yeller 2" in the Times-Mirror Classic. If the race were a popularity contest 35 year old Max would be a good bet to win, for everyone it seems has been helpin him whip his machine together. Chief assistant has been wife Ina who 'blueprinted' the chassis and has done a good share of the tool - twisting. Max has the habit of keeping upo with the imported machinery, and this race should be no different." Note: The Old Yeller II was not completed in time for the October 10-11, 1959 Grand Prix but everyone was anticipating seeing the brand new race car designed by Max and Ina Balchowsky.

November 7-8, 1959 - San Diego - Hour Glass Field-Road Races -Max Balchowsky - flying rock into radiator - DNF

November 1959 - Tucson - Pacific Coast Championship Sports Car Races - Max Balchowsky - Entrant - Max and Fred Hall-Max drove the car to Tucson Arizona for the races - 2nd place finish

December 4-5, 1959 - Riverside International Raceway - California Sports Car Club - Max Balchowsky - Regional race - Main event - was leading through first lap…two experimental tires shredded/ blistered (Max pitted on 3rd lap for two rear tires) / continued with handling problems - DNF-Raced against 2nd place Bobby Drake in 2.8 Birdcage Maserati, winner Billy Krause - Mercedes Corvette (was crashed coupe-new – Chuck Porter new body), Dick Morgensen- 3.0 Ferrari

December 5, 1959 - DRAG NEWS Volume 5 No. 36 - Sports Car Tops Honors ...San Fernando, California Novermber 29, 1959 - San Fernando Drags-  "Max Balchowsky with his "401" Buick powered sports car dubbed, "Old Yeller no. 2" ... "Max went home with all the laurels today. First time he ever managed to pull off this feat at Fernando, taking the TOP TIME, TOP ELIMINATOR, LOW ET, AND MODIFIED SPORTS CAR CLASS."  This was truly an amazing accomplishment with the brand new race car taking all top honors available.

January 24-1960 - Palm Springs Road Races-Eric Hauser (OYI) and Max – OY II-qualified in the front row - B Modified- push rod broke- held 3rd place until tire blew…”re-cap tires”.

January 31 - February 1, 1960 - Pomona Sports Car Races - Max Balchowsky - cracked valve. – Max had lead - DNF

March 5-6, 1960 - Max Balchowsky- Pomona - Pacific Coast Championship Sports Car races - Program photo and comment - “Max Balchowsky of Hollywood is almost always a threatening contender in his now famous Buick powered Ole Yellar Mark II Special” -  DNF-cracked valve/ head gasket – was leading the race -* noted as Old Yeller ‘Numero Dos’- Cal Club Regional race-

April 3, 1960 - Dan Gurney - Los Angeles Examiner–Herald Examiner International Grand Prix – USAC (almost refused permit to race - had medical at track and had Saturday pass – recap front tires disallowed) - 3rd fastest qualifying lap at 2:07.8 - New racing track record (2:08.2) - DNF (lap 40) – was leading - holding an 18 second lead and lead for 39 laps…harmonic balancer parted - cracked crank and blown piston - Winner - Carroll Shelby - Maserati Tipo 61

*Testing tires at Riverside - Max crashes into guardrail - $4.60 as collapsible upper A-arm

May 1, 1960 - Vaca Valley Max Balchowsky - SCCA-RDC-2nd-

May 8,1960 - Valley of the Sun- Phoenix - Regional Race - Max Balchowsky

May 28-29, 1960 - 13th Santa Barbara - Max Balchowsky - 3rd place in Main event on Sunday. Finished ahead of Morgensen in Testa Rossa Ferrari

June 25-26, 1960 - Pomona Sports Car Races - Max Balchowsky - 1st Place – Saturday races - Sunday Main event - 1ST Place- SCCA- 1.22- 20 laps - 40 mile race - 10 turn - 9,000 race fans - 26 cars in class - 2nd - Jim Conner - Birdcage Maserati Tipo 61, Hulette - Jag Corvette, Graham - 250 TR Ferrari, Proctor- Aston Marin Corvette - Nethercutt - 250 TR Ferrari, Patrick - Porsche

July 2-3, 1960 - Bobby Drake- Santa Maria Road Races - 1st place Saturday races -150 cars Sunday CSCC Main event Sunday – 1st place- Cal Club - Winner by 17 seconds and average speed of 75.8 mph. Win over Hulette Special, Jack McAfee- RSK, Jack Graham - 3 liter Ferrari,

July 9-10, 1960 - Vaca Valley - Bob Bondurant- San Francisco Region SCCA

July 31, 1960 - Carroll Shelby- Road America Grand Prix 1st Professional Race–Carrol Shelby was leading by 51 seconds and lead for 31 laps… over Scarab and Le Mans “Streamliner”Birdcage Maserati – DNF. Story goes that somewhere in Iowa during the towing of the Old Yeller II, they unloaded the car and Billy Krause drove the car on the highways for a period of time. At the races, Ina worked an “all nighter” on transmission… as Max and Shelby went on the town (SDI Race Report November 1960).

*Ad - August 5, 1960 - Old Yeller II for sale by Max Balchowsky

September 4, 1960 Labor Day Races - Santa Barbara Road Races - Carroll Shelby – 14th - Lap 6 - Shelby blew bottom of engine and did not race on Sunday - was pre-Race favorite.

October 16, 1960 - Riverside International Raceway - 200 mile 3rd annual Times- Mirror GP - 2nd Place ($2,000) – Bobby Drake -  Autolite contingency check for $150 – 1st- Billy Krause/ BCM - 3rd Augie Pabst/ Scarab - 4th Jim Jeffords - BCM - 5th Carroll Shelby/ Maserati - 6th Roy Salvadori/ Cooper Monaco - 7th Phil Hill/ new Testa Rossa Ferrari - 7th Jim Hall- Maserati *** 10 cars bettered the 2minute 6.97 seconds - 80,000 fans - $25,500 prize funds - 3.275 mile track - new Lotus XIX – Road & Track (January 1961) “ Drake masterfully flying Old Ugly as though it was a well-bred sports car…”.

October 23, 1960 - Bobby Drake & Dan Gurney - Laguna Seca Raceway - Pacific Coast Championship - GP- Drake - 1:19.5 / Dan Gurney (DNS - Lotus XIX) DNF. Dan Gurney races the Old Yeller II - DNF

November 6, 1960 - Pomona Raceway- Billy Krause races Old Yeller II - did not finish. Once asked at the closing of Riverside Raceway… “ What is the most potent race car you have been in?” – “Old Yeller II”

November 27, 1960 - Tucson Arizona - Max Balchowsky - 2nd place – Dick Morgensen 1st place, TR Ferrari

December 11, 1960 - Paul O Shea- 1st  place – CSCC - Las Vegas Road Races- SCCA

*Partial Sponsor - Academy Award winning Cinematographer - Haskell Wexler – Haskell Automotive Research and Development – OY II & OY III (Ronnie Bucknum).

*Chuck Baldwin  (Chuck saw the Old Yeller II race at Road America with Carroll Shelby racing and bought the car January 1961… and sent it to Chicago). Chuck raced the car at Road America, Meadowdale and other race-tracks.

April 16, 1961 Indianapolis Raceway Park - Chuck Baldwin - Race called due to ice and snow

May 28, 1961 - Meadowdale Raceway- Chuck Baldwin - 1st overall Preliminary race. Feature 100 mile race - 2nd place overall (Scarab 1st place)

June 25, 1961 - Indianapolis Raceway Park - Chuck Baldwin - DNF

July 23, 1961 - Meadowdale Raceway - Illinois- Crashed car - 15th place

August 20, 1961 - Indianapolis Raceway Park - Chuck Baldwin - DNF- Race re-scheduled

September 11, 1961 - Eklhart- Road America 500 Miler - Chuck Baldwin (co- driver Bob Spooner) - DNF

*Ad - January 1962 - Road & Track- Old Yeller II for sale - Harry Woodnorth of Chicago - $5500

March 10, 1962 - Indianapolis Raceway Park - Chuck Baldwin-DNF

*Ad - May 1962 - Road & Track- Old Yeller II for sale- Chuck Baldwin of Wisconsin - $4500

John Brophy of Bull Advertising Agency buys Old Yeller II- January 25, 1963 from Mac Dolien of Wisconsin.

February 1963 - Riverside International Raceway - John Brophy races the Old Yeller II at Riverside in SCCA regional race

April 4, 1963 - Tucson Arizona Race - John Brophy- 5th overall - SCCA sanctioned race

April 27-28,1963 - Del Mar- Pacific Coast Divisional Championship Race - John Brophy

*Ad - May 11, 1963 - Competition Press- Old Yeller II for sale- John Brophy

*Ad - May 3-10, 1963 - "Motor Racing and Economy Car News-For Sale- $2700 Ol Yeller II –Mechanically A-1 – Trailer & spares” - John Brophy

*1964 - Jerry Entin (Drag Racer) buys Old Yeller II and Max helps Jerry get a SCCA license and first race was Santa Barbara.

May 31, 1964 - Santa Barbara Road Races - Jerry Entin - Spins out 1st lap and finishes 8th - Jay Halls 1st

September 14, 1964 - Candlestick Park Road Races - Jerry Entin – shunt first turn with Art Snyder, Lotus – broke steering arm

* Old Yeller II in Viva Las Vegas movie - $4500 (Jerry pays Max $800)

August 17, 1964 - San Luis Obispo Road Races - Jerry Entin- 1st place - C modified

October 3-4, 1964 - Del Mar Road Races - Jerry Entin - Broke axle at start of race - shunt with Lotus 23 (Rich Erikson) - new 425 Buick Max engine

November 1, 1964 - Phoenix, Arizona - Jerry Entin -1st place C Modified

*Irwindale Drags - Jerry Entin - 1st place - 127 mph - low 12 seconds (with road racing set up)

September 6, 1964 - Santa Barbara Road Races - Jerry Entin - 1st place C modified

October 10-11, 1964 – 7th annual Times GP - Jerry Entin entered the Old Yeller I - majority of other drivers raced rear engine race cars. Car broke in qualifying.

*Eric Hauser buys and races Old Yeller II.

*Ad - November 19, 1965 - Competition Press - Old Yeller II for sale- Eric Hauser of Los Angeles - $2500

April 1971 – New owner C.W. “Chuck”Cornett of Fresno-Swiss Racing Team-SCCA Club races- Holtville Old Yeller II

**Last SCCA Club race at Cotati 1973 – Old Yeller II crashes in after race - crew - member driving when crashed

**1978- Old Yeller II bought by Dave Gibb in wrecked state- restored in Santa Barbara- Old Yeller II raced in vintage races (1979- 1990) Owner –Dave Gibb of Oklahoma

*** 1991- Old Yeller II bought by Ernie Nagamatsu from Dave Gibb with related extra spares.

*** The most recent owner and driver is Ernie Nagamatsu of Los Angeles. Ernie has raced Old Yeller II in Historic races from 1991 to present. The Old Yeller II has raced in England at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (2000 & 2005) and the Revival Meeting Races- Sussex Trophy race (2002-2003 & 2004). The legendary race- car has also raced at the Monterey Historics races and the Elkhart Lake - Road America International Challenge races.