Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 5, Page

Were you a tank commander?

PARKS: Test driver.

CJ Hart: Did you have some of them quiet engines in there?  Or did you have a V-6 or V-8?

PARKS: No, we had big 8 cylinder engines. The ones we were testing had two Cadillac V8's in 'em from General Motors.  When we got overseas, well, we got the military tanks.

HART: They had some (tanks) in Detroit…….

PARKS: We had five engines in one of those.  I got thrown out of the war because of my back and thrown of the union on account of my mouth.

HART:  Well, it was the other way around with me 'cause I was at General Motors, I was a cartoonist and doing things.  A hobby cartoonist there at the plant and when they formed

the union, they recruited me to come in and do the union paper and I did.  I also had an opportunity to see the inner workings of a union and things like that.  Later on, during the interim from changing from automobile production to tank production they brought me into the management thing and I had the job of doing all the prospective drawings of the internal construction parts and components and stuff like that.  They put me through a crash course and so I was doing all these things that they put up along side the production line so that all these new guys changing over from auto manufacturing to tank manufacturing could come along and look up and see what nut and what bolt would fit in and that was the beginning of production illustration.

PARKS: One of the tnings that happened while I was in the war was that we were up in the mountains trying to move a company of tanks and the elevation was about 10,000 feet or so.  The support vehicles we had didn't have any horsepower.  So I took the tank we had, which was a retriever tank , found a radiator petcock, drilled the  petcock and put it onto the intake manifold on the tank so it ( the engine) could get more air.  I did build and put a Ford V-8 60 engine in a Jeep and we were the envy of the battalion.

 

I like it, hot rodders in war.

PARKS: I tell you, you don’t realize how important it was at that phase in the military service that our country had so many people that were mechanically inclined and could improvise.  Mechanics were something they took to naturally which is something we might lack today because we are more high tech.  But we found over there that it was such an advantage to know a little bit about mechanics.  Being a hot rodder, they didn't call it that back then, being able to do things….

 

How did you get started into the magazine part of the deal?  I mean I've heard a lot of stories about sleeping in the back seat of your car at the dry lakes, taking the original Hot Rod magazine to the Lakes races to sell them. 

PARKS: Well, the magazine (Hot Rod)… there are a lot of stories about how that took place.  I left General Motors after WWII and then I convinced the SCTA that the only way they were going to make progress is if they had somebody in the organization that could work in normal business time.  So I talked them into hiring me as the general manager and left my job at General Motors.  Which is kind of stupid, I suppose at the time because it paid less money to go to SCTA.  I really felt that if there was someone there to work on advertising instead of some volunteer or at a part-time effort, the thing could move forward. 

And so, simultaneously to that this young guy came to see me, he was 19 years old. It was (Robert E) Petersen and at that time Petersen, along with a lot of other people that came out of the film industry, they formed a little combo. They called it Hollywood Publicity Associates and they decided they would pool their efforts and try to go out and get some clients so they came up with Earl Muntz, Mad Man Muntz.  That was their first account that they had. 

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