Selwood speeder clocked at 145 MPH

Why police won’t ticket him …

When Marvin Price fired up his hand-built racer for us, the deep-throated rumble of the powerful engine could be heard for blocks. David F. Ashton photo

By David F. Ashton

The low growl the racecar’s powerful engine attracted the attention of everyone around. Was the car’s driver about take a reckless spin around Inner Southeast Portland?

No, it was just Marvin Price, and his partner Tom Hanna, tuning up their pride and joy ‚  a bright red, 1974 “sprint car” racer.

“It was built by Grant King in Indianapolis, Indiana,” Price told us. “It was driven by, among others, Tom Sniva–who went on to win the Indy 500, become a CART champion.”

Price, a Westmoreland resident, told us he is currently the president of West Coast Vintage Racers. “Our motto is, ‘If you don’t run ’em, why have ’em?’ We race vintage oval track cars.” The league, he said, holds races up and down the west coast, from northern California to Washington.

“I always wanted to be a race car driver,” said Price. “I never had the funds to be one. A few years ago, my friend, Tom Hanna, and I were at the races and got all ‘juiced up’ hearing, watching, and smelling the races. We decided no one would hire us to drive their car. We’d have to get one of our own.”

What started as a fix-up hobby grew from there, Price told us. “It wasn’t built for show, but it really is show quality. We run it and race it.”

Depending on how it is geared, on a one-mile track, Price reported the open-wheeled racer can run as fast as 180 MPH. “Without a windshield, it would be uncomfortable at that speed,” he added. It qualified at 146 MPH on a half-mile oval.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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