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Yesterday motorsports lost another legend. I met Andy Granatelli in 1967 when my uncles very good friend Jim Lytle was commissioned to build the monocoque chassis in their Santa Monica shop for the STP turbine Indy car that ran in '68. To a young teen ager he was bigger than life.

Godspeed Mr Granatelli
My buddy and his dad worked for him. As a kid my buddy used to go to all the various races and take a clipboard to each car and make sure they had their STP stickers in place,, he has some pretty cool stories, including a long standing friendship with Richard Petty.

90 isn't too bad, can't say he didn't get to live life!
 

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steelcomp was here
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Met him a few times up at Jack Mendenhall's annual GasUp in Buellton. RIP Mr Granatelli.
 

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RIP in peace Mr. G.

I remember thinking as it happened, damn, that turbine car kicks some ass, everybody's ass. Instead of leading for 178 laps the driver should have been told to lead the last 22 laps by just enough to win...car might not have broke and could have run many more races before being restricted out of existence. I know, sand bagging is not cool, getting a pilot to run @ 90% is about impossible...but something as simple as a throttle stop could have put the car (just barely) in the winner circle for another few seasons.
 

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I grew up in Santa Monica, Ca
I had a shop across the street from them
Still have a couple Paxton blown cars
they helped set up
 

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steelcomp was here
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I grew up in Santa Monica, Ca
I had a shop across the street from them
Still have a couple Paxton blown cars
they helped set up
I had an interview with Vince @ Paxton when they were still in SaMo, not long before they moved up north. Quite a contrast between him and Andy.
 

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I had an interview with Vince @ Paxton when they were still in SaMo, not long before they moved up north. Quite a contrast between him and Andy.
He will be missed, and join some of Santa Monica greats !
I was lucky to know many of them well

Jack Engle - Engle cams, I went thru school with his boys and boated together
Hilborn , my brother rented the same room from jack,next to the dyno
Phil Hill- F1 world champ my other brother dated his daughter

Racing Legend Barney Oilfield moved to Santa Monica,and founded the bus system my great grand father was his race mechanic. So Barney moved our family with him.

I was lucky to know some great home town Hero's

The STP Indy car and the Freight Train rocked :D
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I had an interview with Vince @ Paxton when they were still in SaMo, not long before they moved up north. Quite a contrast between him and Andy.


I take it you are talking about brother Vince and not Andy's son Vince. I met Vince briefly at the same time, but he had zero impact on me then. He simply wasn't the Indy/STP Granatelli, even though I think he was running the Paxton shop in SM at the time. In comparison to what I was seeing that day, Vince was waaaay down the list. :happy:

The main thing I remember was seeing the bare chassis for the turbine car sitting on a granite jig table, with a mock up "jet engine" in it, and knowing the guy that was building it lived a block down the street. If the name Jim Lytle doesn't ring any bells, he was the guy that stuck Allisons virtually anything, and drove most of them, including a chopped 34 Ford that is now in the Garlits Museum. A stop off at Jim's shop was a daily thing just see we could "help" out. :D
But seeing that "jet engine" Indy car was over the top compared to anything he ever did in his garage. It left a big impression a young kid.






Seeing aircraft V12s stuffed in 34 Fords and White dump trucks was one thing, but a JET engine in an Indy was something else.


One of the things that Jim was least known for, but is one of the reasons the car is in Garlits museum is that the 34 Sedan was the very first car to have a one piece lift off fiberglass body at least 5-6 years before Ford did it on the 67 Comets. Ford got the idea from Tom McEwen who was very good friend of Jim's

That's Bills dad ( my uncle) in the sun glasses lifting the right rear of the body. And CJ "Pappy" Hart of Lions on the hood of the Caddy push car.

Jim Lytle big al.jpg


EDIT!! I just realized that Hot Rod is dated May 1967. That means I saw the chassis sometime is 66. Damn, I was younger than I thought.



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