Gary Lambert Memorial  2       10/14/06

1962 Chevy Pickup

He also had a 1962 Chevy step-side pickup. Gary did the bodywork and paint on this truck too. He liked the way the 327 ran in his Nova so he put one in his truck as well. This truck was a workhorse as it towed his racecar from track to track over the years. 

He would occasionally tow a friend’s racecar to some local stock car tracks as well. The stock car Gary would tow reminds me of another time I had with him. 



Orange Show Speedway

In 1973 I was 17 years old, a junior in High School and Gary offered to take me to the stock car races in San Bernardino at a place called the Orange Show Speedway. This was a ¼ mile track and a lot of local guys raced there on Saturday nights. One of the things he liked to do was go into the pits so he could see all the cars. If one of his friends needed help in anyway, he could jump right in and start turning wrenches. You had two choices of seating, you could sit on either the spectator side or on the pit side but to be able to get into the pits, you had to be 21 years old. Gary said it wouldn’t be a problem getting me in so when we arrived, you had to buy a ticket and then present your pit pass.

To obtain a pit pass, you had to sign a waiver and once I had filled in all the blanks, I handed the paper back to the guy in the ticket booth. Now this ticket booth was one of those small “one man” types like the kind you would see at a carnival. When the guy looked at all the info, he had one question for me…”what year were you born”? Now I wasn’t expecting this and the look on my face must have said….OH DAMN!!. Well Gary heard the guy ask me this and right away stepped out of the guys sight and held his hands down by his waist. When I looked over at Gary, he was flashing me some fingers, like a third-base coach in baseball might do and I was in the batters box looking for a signal. Gary had five fingers on one hand and three fingers on the other. And he had them in the right order so I didn’t mess up. Now all this took place pretty quick but thinking back, who looks away from somebody after being asked what year you were born? I answered the question “1953” and the guy in the booth said “okay” just like that. I couldn’t believe he let me in because he had to know I wasn’t old enough by the way I acted. I guess this kind of thing was no big deal, as long as you answered the question correctly. The guy ended up giving me my pit pass and from that day forward, I was able to get into the pits. Looking back, that was some quick thinking on Gary’s part to help me get that pass. Way cool!

Driving the Anglia

One of the many fond memories that I have while I was still in High School was cruising around town in Gary’s 1958 Anglia. This car is an English Ford (if you’re not familiar with it) and has a very short wheelbase (in other words, the car was very short and small). Originally these cars came with a four-cylinder engine but Gary put a 301 cubic inch small block Chevy in it along with a four-speed transmission. The Anglia was very light and only sat two people. The car was also scary fast, which was right down his alley too. Gary put in very low rear-end gears, (5:38’s) which meant you had to shift a bunch as you drove it. Now the clutch he had back then was very hard to push in because it was a three-finger type and was made for a lot of horsepower, which made driving it for very long quite hard on your left leg. With that said, Gary turned to me one day and told me, “you drive, my leg is tired”. Well, I didn’t have much experience driving a stick back then because both of my parent’s cars were automatics.



Gary pulled into a parking lot, got out and walked over to the other side, which meant that I was being thrown into the deep end (at least in my eyes I was). When I pushed in on the clutch, I couldn’t believe how hard it was and knew right then I was in trouble. I found first gear and then tried to ease out on the clutch, which didn’t happen very well and proceeded to make a fool out of myself. Gary laughed and said, “Easy does it”. At that moment, it was like 'God' had spoken to me and that everything would be all right. Gary had a way with words and his teaching abilities were the best, which helped calm me down. I felt like a King behind the wheel that day and couldn’t believe he let me drive. On the other hand, he must have trusted me, or he wouldn’t have let me. Once my leg had gotten tired (which didn’t take very long), it was his turn to be back in the saddle. He said to me, “already?” And all I could do was say thanks for letting me drive.



A few minutes later, we cruised through the bowling alley. The bowling alley always had a lot of people coming and going so this made for a good place to drive through. The side door of the bowling alley had a speed bump right next to it, which meant going over it was a slow process. Right when we were going over it, some girls were coming out and Gary leaned over and asked them “Did someone call for a taxi?” Being that the car was yellow, it was pretty funny. Boy did I laugh because he always had something funny to say.


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