The Bobsy Formula Fords
There Were Possibly Four Bobsy Formula Fords
Constructed By Jerry Mong
This website is primarily devoted to the Bobsy Sports Racers. However, since the webmaster, Bob Alder, recently acquired one of the very rare Formula Fords made by Jerry Mong (also badged as a "Bobsy"), information on those few Formula Ford (FF) cars is being included on this site. Sorry, Vanguard Formula Vee folks. You'll have to pursue the tracking of those many wonderful Vanguard Formula Vee race cars on your own.
The two FFs featured here are the only two cars confirmed to currently exist. We're still looking for evidence of the existence (past or present) of the other two cars. In the "Formula Ford Bible" (i.e. "The Anatomy & Development of the Formula Ford Race Car" by Steve Nickless), he said four were produced. But, that number is unconfirmed. (P.S. That cool book now brings $140 plus on Amazon. Yikes!)
Mr. Roger Pujol's Bobsy Formula Ford
For years it has been the only Bobsy FF still racing. This author thought it to be one-of-one. This Bobsy FF has been raced on the West Coast by Roger Pujol since about 2000! Talking to Doug Ravizza in Jan. of 2018 (Doug had owned Pujol's car in the past), he confirmed the complete ownership history of Roger's car back to new. It was sold new to Glen Biren, then to John Hutchinson, then to Doug Ravizza. It then it went to a Bob Poli. In about 2000 to Roger Pujol bought the car and restored it, actively racing it since with the West Coast vintage organizations.
(Click on any images to enlarge)
The picture at the right was captured from the internet. At the time it was owned by Doug Ravizza. Circa 1979, it is shown at a regional race at Sears Point. According a recent conversation with Doug, "The 1969 FF was running at least the 3rd or 4th weekend on the same set of tires." Doug was very frugal (read "broke") back then.
pictures at left are contemporary pictures of Roger's car. Looks
like he's got a great crew member, huh?
A word of thanks to Roger who has been very generous in sharing many detailed photos of his extremely well-restored and prepared car. The pictures have been invaluable in restoring the "Pizza-Pizza" car.
Bob Alder's Bobsy Formula Ford
(The Little Caesars "Pizza! Pizza!" Car)
The next Bobsy FF came to the attention of this registry when offered for sale in January of 2018 by Gene Leasure in AZ. It is a "project car" not having been raced since probably before 1984. Your humble and obedient servant (and keeper of the Bobsy Registry) decided it was only right that he should purchase the car to bring it more directly into the Bobsy fold. So it has been added to the Team Terrific Racing fleet of race cars.
It will be a total restoration project. While some period pictures of the car will be featured here, in conjunction with its ownership history, complete pictorial coverage of its 2018 restoration can be seen here, in a separate SmugMug Photo Gallery.
As it turns out, I was able to track this car's ownership back to new! And a most amazing fact was revealed. This car was raced (or tested) when new by none other than Jim Trueman. Jim may not have owned the car, but it seems certain he sat in the car, maybe testing or setting up for a friend up may have been the first owner. Jim was a very successful racer in the '70s who went on to race a Bobsy SR-5 to a couple of national championships (see the History Page). He also campaigned a Jerry Mong built IMSA race car in 1976. He won 125 races in his 23 years as a driver. At one time he owned the Mid-Ohio race track. And he even owned the team in which Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500 in 1986. There is an interesting article on Jim and Rahal's close relationship. Jim died later that year at the much too young age of 51.
Being able to document all this history on this car is pretty amazing considering there have been over a dozen changes in ownership over the years. Equally remarkable is that several of the past owners have generously provided a fairly complete reconstruction of the car's history, complete with some great period photos. Our very special thanks to everyone who has contributed to this story, namely Ken Goodman, Craig Butt, Mike Velten, Roger Schroer, John Myer II, and Thomas Acker/Stu Barnette, all past owners of the car. Thanks also to Gene Leasure who faithfully kept and passed along a lot of key historical documents.
I'd also like to thank Roger Pujol for sharing detailed pictures of his well-restored car greatly aiding me in the restoration of the "Pizza-Pizza" car.
What follows is the chronological history of the car as we know it today. Revisions are made as new information is discovered.
The Ownership History Of The "Pizza! Pizza!" Bobsy FF
(Last updated March 12, 2018 )
|New – 1971:
a new Bobsy FF was raced by Jim Trueman and crewed by Ken Goodman who
worked for Trueman.
According to Ken (in conversations in 2018), Jim gave the car to
him in1970 and Ken then raced it “in about six races, including
entering as FF in a Formula Atlantic race
Mid-Ohio” in which he did
reasonably well. At right is Ken
racing the car at a Michigan Speedway SCCA race in 1970.
Ken has passed along a neat anecdote. The car was used in some Burger King advertising. He drove it to the shootings at a local stock car circle track. The TV ads appeared all over central Ohio. How cool would it be to have a copy of one of those old ads!
Ken then sold it “to a new driver for his first driver’s school and lost touch with him.” Ken couldn’t remember his name. See below how we figured out who it was.
Picture on right was provided by Mike of the car and his family.
It doesn't look
toooo '70s, does it? The picture at left, also
provided by Mike is the car at some car show. It's true "Ford
Blue" color is much better rendered at left. He said "Dad
owned part of a company that remanufactured Ford parts. They used the
blue paint on Ford tractor generators." Wonder where
that paint came from?
was this A 1972 receipt for an engine re-build (by Jerry
Mong, no less!) in the car’s documents.
It had “Mike Velton” [sic] on that receipt.
A 2018 internet research found and contacted “Mike Velten”
and he confirmed that he purchased the car
a kid who worked for Jim Truman.“
was Ken Goodman.
talking with Mike in 2018, he said “Can’t
remember who I sold it to but it was in 1972.”
|1972 to 19??||?? Being researched.|
|19?? to 19??||
Ralph Denney of Columbus. He did not race the car. While he is researching the owner prior to himself, he doesn’t think it was Mike. Apparently Ralph did not race the car.
|?? to 1980:
Roger Schroer purchased the car from Ralph Denny (year?). The picture is from the logbook. However, clearly it's the Mike Velten car (note the mirrors, headrest, and the unique upswept exhaust are all identical.). Roger confirms it was taken while he was racing at Nelson Ledges, but not 100% sure it is him sitting on the trailer. The logbook entries reveal Schroer raced the car at Nelson Ledges in ‘79 and Roger says "I raced the car 4 times in ’79 at Mid Ohio, Nelson, and Waterford, suffering repeated mechanicals." The picture at right was recently supplied by Roger. It's a print from a slide, c.'79. Roger is on the left and his friend Nick Miller is on the right. Not sure what track..
Interestingly, Roger went on to become highly involved, as driver and developer, with an electric powered Bonneville record holding "Buckeye Bullet" streamliner. 300+ MPH is a long way from a Formula Ford!
The logbook indicated he sold the car in 1980 to Craig Butts.
Butt owned the car for a year, auto-crossing the car. Sold to Larry Green.
the logbook, Larry
Green did the Nelson Ledges Driver School
in Aug. of ’81.
He then sold it back to Craig in ’81.
|Yes, Craig bought it back, owing it for a second time.
He continued to auto-cross the car, not road race. According to conversation with Craig in 2018,
“One ‘rumor’ I
heard years after owning the car was that Jim Trueman once owned the
car. . . .but that was never confirmed.”
Well, Craig, the rumor has now been confirmed (kinda' sorta')
, by the Mike
Velten's engine rebuild receipt (dated 1972) and him remembering he
"purchased it from
a kid who worked for Jim Trueman" which would have been Ken
Goodman. But. . . .that doesn't confirm Jim was actually the first
owner of the car.
Craig sold the car to
John Myer. John Myer indicated it was apx. 1984.
|~1984 to 1987:
|John D Myer II. A trailer registration (OH) in the car’s documents was issued to Myer in 1985 which indicated he owned the car at least during that time frame. A Feb. 2018 internet search for Myer resulted phone/email conversations with him and confirmed he did indeed purchase the car from Craig Butt in OH. However, John realized even before actually racing the car that open wheel racing wasn't his cup of tea. Thus, he never raced it while he owned it. He said he moved to Ashville, NC and repainted the car (from the black #7) to the Little Caesars livery because he had a couple of franchise stores there. The 241 car number was chosen because Little Caesars' tag was "Buy one get one free" or "Two for the price of one." Thus the "241." He only used the car for store promotional purposes. He thought about auto-crossing the car, but never did. Sold the car to Tom Acker (& Stu Barnette?) in '87.|
|1987 to 1989:
|Thomas Acker & Stu Barnette owned for a couple of years. Per a Bill of Sale they sold the car to Don Schlueter 9-11-1989. The Little Caesars "Pizza! Pizza!" livery was on the car when they owned it and when they sold it to Don Schlueter. Picture at right dated May of 1989. Not sure if they ever ran the car.|
|While Donald Schlueter purchased the car from Acker & Barnette, a friend of his, Gene Leasure, had encouraged him to buy it. The picture at left was provided by Acker and Gene Leasure confirmed it is him standing next to the trailer. He was there to close the deal on behalf of his friend, Don Schlueter, and then he arranged to have the car shipped from Florida to Don in California. But for some reason Donald never raced it in the four years he owned it, rather totally disassembling the car.|
Leasure then purchased all the disassembled bits from Donald in 1993, but
he never got
around to completing the car or racing it.
(Gene had way too many other neat cars to mess with the
FF!). Gene sold to Bob Alder
Jan. 2018, still disassembled.
Jan. 2018 -- The picture at left is the the car when it was offered for sale in early 2018 by Gene Leasure. A neighbor friend of Gene's and car nut, Franklin "Rudy" Randolph, assembled all the boxes of bits into a complete display car to help sell it. Easier to sell a complete car than a pile of boxes, huh? And, it worked! I took the bait.
It has not been on track probably dating back to 1984. It's been a "project" car for the last two prior owners (Schlueter, and Leasure) who never raced the car. Don't know if Acker ever raced it but his partner Stu Barnette said he never did. And John Myer for sure never raced it. So, the last owner to run the car for sure was Craig Butts in 1984, some 34 years ago!
Alder will be restoring the car over the summer of 2018 retaining the Little Caesars livery. To follow the details of the restoration, please visit the SmugMug site devoted to that continued history of the "Pizza! Pizza!" Bobsy Formula Ford.