Hawaii’s Pineapple Grand Prix And Other Forgotten Sports Car Races

Anybody familiar with the 2009 movie “Ford v Ferrari” understands the contribution of race vehicle

Anybody familiar with the 2009 movie “Ford v Ferrari” understands the contribution of race vehicle motorists Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles to motorsports. What most persons do not know about are their comprehensive pursuits in Hawaii during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

I experienced no notion both. My curiosity was aroused by a social media graphic of the “Kahuku Stage Pineapple Grand Prix” depicting a ’50s-era AC Ace tooling close to tropical oceanfront scenery. Was this a authentic detail, or only a fantasy poster created by an imaginative artist?

My Google lookup at first conjured up Episode 42 of the anime “Speed Racer” where our hero enters the “Pineapple Grand Prix” somewhere in South The united states. For some explanation the cartoon racers were being necessary to have a pineapple in their vehicle through the race. Some nefarious persons have concealed a diamond in a person of the pineapples primary to numerous attempts at thievery and other high jinks. Interesting stuff, but not helpful in verifying the Kahuku racing tale.

Like several outdated armed forces runways at the close of Planet War II, Dillingham Field at Mokuleia and an airstrip at Kahuku Issue fell into disuse. The prolonged, flat slabs of concrete were being straight away established on by Hawaii’s motorsport fans, to start with by drag racers and afterwards by sporting activities motor vehicle road racing clubs.

As the tracks enhanced and participation picked up both of those venues started to draw in the massive boys. Now, fully sanctioned by the Sports activities Car or truck Club of The us, the Hawaii functions ended up part of the main “airfield circuit.”

Between the 1st to arrive was the John Edgar race staff from California. Edgar was a rich aficionado of exotic race cars, a hobby that, in switch, appeals to the ideal motorists. This included the famous Carroll Shelby and his sidekick Ken Miles. Also, on the Egdar staff was the equally proficient Phil Hill.

Carroll Shelby in 2007 posing with the elusive Maserati 450S, which he finally got to race later in 1957.
Carroll Shelby in 2007 posing with the elusive Maserati 450S, which he at last obtained to race in 1957. Wikimedia Commons/Sherry Lambert Stapleton CC BY-SA 2./2007

To give you an strategy of how fantastic this trio was at their picked activity: Hill won the major just one for Components 1, “The 24 Hrs of Le Mans,” in 1958, Shelby gained in ’59, Hill yet again in ’61 and ’62, and Miles should really have won in 1966, when the Ford GTs, a lot to the consternation of Enzo Ferrari, concluded 1-2-3.

Ken Miles, as depicted in the motion picture, was sabotaged by a bone-headed PR stunt concocted by the Ford fits and came in second on a technicality. The previous yr, Miles experienced been handed more than absolutely by the Ford execs who sent Phil Hill and Bruce McLaren to pilot the newest version of their Ford GT.

That calendar year all the Fords unsuccessful to end, as predicted by Miles. But in the late ’50s, below were some of the finest race auto motorists in the environment, just prior to their championship operates, honing their competencies on the North Shore of Oahu.

In 1957 John Edgar packed his workforce, a Maserati 300s, a Ferrari 410, an more mature Ferrari 847s and a couple of Porsches onto the SS Lurline and established off for the Territory of Hawaii.

They were also expecting the delayed supply of a monster Maserati 450s for Shelby to use to humiliate the level of competition. The workforce set up camp in the Royal Hawaiian Resort and commenced prepping for their debut in Hawaii Pace 7 days. Most of the “prepping” concerned ingesting seriously, partying and hanging out with Duke Kahanamoku.

Kahuku Point Pineapple Grand Prix poster
Kahuku Position Pineapple Grand Prix poster. Courtesy: Robert Carter Artwork

The Edgar workforce transported the vehicles to Dillingham Area for a 7 days of racing. Miles received his course in a Porsche and established the stage for the much more impressive race vehicles to cap the week.

Edgar’s deal with Maserati explicitly mentioned he could not use any Ferraris or risk scuttling his deal, which would have changed the shipping date of the considerably predicted 450s from late to in no way.

With no 450s in sight Edgar resolved to place Shelby in the underpowered Maser 300s. He did, however, examination the waters by permitting Hill do the qualifying runs in the Ferrari, which clocked in at 165.12 mph, simply the speediest motor vehicle on the observe. Nevertheless, as the commence time for the “Gold Cup Challenge” finale neared, Edgar got cold ft and pulled the Ferrari and Hill. Shelby concluded in third place in the 300s, missing 2nd by a mere whisker.

I uncovered a printed program from the “First Running” of the Kahuku Position Sports activities Vehicle Races dated Sept. 2, 1956. So, obviously, road racing was likely strong at both outdated runways from 1956 to all-around 1963. There are accounts of equally Shelby and Miles racing at Kahuku, with Miles in an AC Ace and Shelby in a Maserati. The driver in the “Pineapple Grand Prix” poster appears to be suspiciously like Ken Miles.

Shelby and Miles went on to become associates in the creation of the AC Cobra, which was the AC Ace chassis with a variety of versions of a V8 stuffed into it. A single of the very first 1961 variations featured a huge 6.4 Liter Ford V8, which Miles raced at Sebring. He pronounced the auto “un-drivable,” and nicknamed it “the Turd.” But matters did get improved.

They ongoing to polish and perfect the AC Cobra and finally did race these iconic vehicles at Kahuku. In 1963, in a person of the final events staged there, they received all a few top places with Cobras.

Items improved rapid soon after 1963, and with the construction of Hawaii Raceway Park and strategies for a new resort at Kahuku underway, the old runway tracks last but not least shut down. The roar of engines and the screech of tires gave way to the tranquility of golf and refinement of polo.

The North Shore, as we all now know it, presents no clue as to its earlier incarnation as a incredibly hot location for the noisy and thrilling globe of car racing and the daring and impetuous characters that designed it go.