Bill Pollack on driving
the "Baldwin Special"
"Ken Simpson, the owner of the Baldwin
was the kind of a nice person you wished were the majority in this old
world. Ken was a true enthusiast and loved to see the car go. Making it
go was the job for Warren Olson, later of Scarab fame.
Once we figured out how to keep the flathead
Ford cool the car proved very reliable. The key to the cooling process
was to cut down the impeller on the water pump so that the impeller was
just for looks. The water just circu- lated in a natural manner, hot water
going up and cooler water going down. Sounds simple and it was and it worked.
I really liked driving this car as it
felt very solid to me. The front end was basic Ford solid axle, with not
too much going on. Rear end was pretty much the same. The result was a
car that was essentially honest in handling. There were no tricks, no surprises.
I remember one Palm Springs race. Was in in the second or third row at
the start and made up my mind that I wanted to get into turn one first.
There was not a lot of road from the start to the first turn. When the
flag went up I had my foot in it and went around everyone; I got into the
first turn way too fast, probably ten or fifteen miles per hour over what
was sane. It was very tempting to take to the desert and not even attempt
to make the turn. Something in me said, "what the hell, give it a shot."
I did and the car just held on and we made it.
Another time at Willow Springs, the top
radiator hose let go and I was getting a face full of steamy water. With
a twist of the steering wheel the car was going backwards at speed and
the water was blowing away from me like a rooster tail. This was one of
the rare dnf's for that car. Willis built a very strong car that could
take a hard race, with a new set of tires she was ready to go again. This
was your basic race car. It followed orders and got you to the finish line
in one piece."