This is one of the more interesting race cars on display as both the owner, Vel Miletich, and his regular driver, Allen Heath could have books written about them.
The colorful Heath was also known as "Splinterhead" as he had numerous serious accidents during his Hall of Fame career with one in 1953 causing him to lose his left hand. He worked with UCLA to help develop the first "hook" prothesis. Within one year of his accident, he won a 100 lap midget race in San Bernardino.
Vel was first a sponsor of this car. He later purchased it and hired Allen Heath as his driver. Vel is well known for his Ford dealerships, Vel's Ford. He later hired an upstart driver named Parnelli Jones. This eventually led to the Vels/Parnelli Jones partnership, a win at Indianapolis, and later, numerous Indy Car wins with the so-called Super Team of Joe Leonard, Mario Andretti and Al Unser Sr.
Very few Rip Erickson cars have survived over the years. This particular one is really unique in that they ran a Big Block Ford engine. While the engine was powerful by early 1960's standards, it was also much heavier than most engines used at the time which made handling and corner speed an issue. Even so, this car accounted for numerous wins and quick times. This historical survivor was meticulously restored by former Sprint Car Champion, Jon Stanbrough.
1962 Sprint Car
- Year Built: 1962
- Vehicle Type: Sprint Car
- Built By: Rip Erickson
- Suspension: Cross Leaf Spsring Front, Parallel Torsion Bars Rear
- Engine: 390 cubic inch Ford Block, Fuel Injected on alcohol
- Owner: Woodland Family Collection