The “Bonnie & Clyde Vintage Hot Rod Racing”, was initiated by Andreas Ullstein who easily convinced Ken Robinson, a long standing friend to join him in that lifetime adventure. Both excessive classic car enthusiasts, who sharing the passion for authentic vintage Hot Rods and Motorcycle.
Ken Robinson & Andreas Ullstein
Since ever they have been fascinated by the mother of all vintage Hot Rod races nowadays; the greatest race on earth, they call it “The Race of Gentlemen” in the USA. Mel Stultz, the founder stated once; “The Race of Gentlemen is an automotive carnival that celebrates American racing heritage. A true homage to automobile and motorcycle history, hosted by the Oilers CC/MC and commonly called the TROG”
However, not less important and on the other side of the pond is the Rømø Motor Festival, in Denmark. Yea, no speed records are set, as they have been set in the past during the years 1919-1924 on the beaches of Denmark. But the enthusiastic team around Thomas Toft Bredahl, Carsten Bech, Steffen Sonnberg, Finn Andresen and Holger Sonnberg, created a true time pocket racing event for pre-ww2 cars and motorcycles in an up-to 1947 styling and engineering.
Now, the team being based in southern Spain, Estepona – Costa del Sol, participates since then in various race events throughout Europe. Ok, here the Vintage Hot Rod racing scene might be substantially smaller, however not less enthusiastic and events can be found in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Wales and England. Until today the team took part in events such as the RIVERSIDE Crazy Car Hop and the Motorbeach Festival in Spain. Also, at the GOW!, the famous Prescott Hill speed climb in the UK, the VHRA Vintage Nationals at the Santa Pod Raceway also UK, or at the legendary Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races in Wales, the Normandy Beach Race in France, the Devil’s Hill Climb at the OSW A-Bombers Meeting in Sweden and of course at the RØMØ Motor Festival in Denmark.
The boys love the vintage racing heritage. Events like the RØMØ Motor Festival for example, are a living and breathing celebration of that history, filled with action and fun for everybody. “Period Correct” is what all are looking for, being it for Motorcycles, Cars or the entire look and feel of their events.
In 2019 the team called their tour throughout Europe the “Die Young But Late” Tour. The tour made the boys travelling over 9000 km, it took them seven months and brought them to nine events in six countries.
“Die Young But Late” Tour 2020; we are all witnessing very serious times. The world is upside down as we are all fighting the pandemic Coronavirus COVID-19. This has triggered, that already many events have been cancelled. Well honestly, nobody really knows where we will stand this season, once this crisis has been overcome.
However, responsibility and solidarity comes first. Stay safe and healthy.
History: There are various theories about the origin of the term “hot rod“. The common theme is that “hot” related to “hotting up” a car, which means modifying it for greater performance. One theory is that “rod” means roadster, a lightweight 2-door car which was often used as the basis for early hot rods. Another theory is that “rod” refers to camshaft, a part of the engine which was often upgraded in order to increase power output. In the early days, a car modified for increased performance was called a “gow job”. This term morphed into the hot rod in the early to middle 1950s.
The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) has been in existence since its first meeting on November 29, 1937 and is considered to be the oldest operating racing organization in the United States. At that first meet between five and seven local car clubs met to organize lake bed races and to establish a set of guidelines to make dry lake land speed trials safer. After World War II, many small military airports throughout the US, were either abandoned or rarely used, allowing hot rodders across the country to race on marked courses. Originally, drag racing had tracks as long as 1 mi (1.6 km), however most common was 1/4 mi or 1/8 mi, and included mainly two lanes of racing simultaneously. As some hot rodders also raced on the street, a need arose for an organization to promote safety, and to provide venues for safe racing. And the National Hot Rod Association was founded in 1951, to take drag racing off the streets and into controlled environments.
In the early days the Ford flathead V8 and the four cylinder “4banger” engine were the most common engine used. Many hot rods would upgrade the brakes from mechanical to hydraulic (“juice”). A typical mid-1950s to early 1960s custom hot rod was fender less and steeply chopped, powered by a Ford or Mercury flathead, with an Edelbrock intake manifold, a Harman and Collins magneto, and Halibrand quick-change differential.
Bonnie & Clyde and the boys are proud member of the Vintage Hot Rod Association, the VHRA in England and the Roadster Club Scandinavia, the RCS in Sweden.
Below you find videos and hundreds of pictures documenting the history of both Hot Rods and the boys today’s adventures tour.
is a 1922 Ford T-Roadster, sitting on a Model A frame with a Model A rear end. He is powered by a 1938 / 21 stud Ford flathead V8. Rebuilt with GEM 8:1 compression cylinder heads, Harmon & Collins” magneto, 97big Stromberg carburettor and a 3 speed transmission. Front hydraulic brakes from a 1938 Ford truck and rear mechanical brakes. Same as our “4Banger”, he was built in a very traditional way, in terms of technic and design, fitted with custom-made “flip” track nose, inspired by a vintage Steyr. Well, as “Bonnie”, he is also from Kansas in the US. Back then the previous owner, Jason “Bugsy” Wolcott shared following with me; The body is an original, dirt track body from the late 1940’s and was raced in Northern California back in the days. At one point, it is to believe he was built as a centre seater drag race car. The roadster ran already at “The Race of Gentlemen” (TROG) some years ago and was bought as a roller from Pete Flaven, a well-known Hot Rod builder from Boston, USA. Also, “Clyde” participated already at the famous Hot Rod Hill Climb in Colorado,USA. Just as “Bonnie”, he received the before mentioned upgrades once he arrived to Spain, to become part of the “Bonnie & Clyde Vintage Hot Rod Racing” team.
is a 1927 Ford T-Roadster, build on a Model A frame in a very traditional way, including the mechanical brake system. The engine is a 1930 Ford Model A four cylinder “4banger” engine, which we hooped up, with a Winfield 6.8:1 compression cylinder head, Thomas twin manifold, two 81” Stromberg carburettors, a 1938 Mallory distributor and a 26 Whippet grille shell and radiator, as well as a 3 speed transmission . I found her several years ago in Kansas, USA where the previous owner had stored here for a long time. She was revitalized at some stage to participate in several vintage Hot Rod events in the US, such as the Colorado Hot Rod Hill Climb. However, her second chance in live she received when arriving to Spain and being part of the “Bonnie & Clyde Vintage Hot Rod Racing” team.