Max Balchowsky 1

Nobody is more deserving of a page on this site than Max & Ina Balchowsky.  Together, this husband and wife team built the Old Yeller cars that defined this era of California racing. 

The Old Yeller legend began when Max and partner Eric Hauser acquired a Special built by Dick Morgensen of Phoenix, Arizona.  Max applied his skills, modifying and upgrading almost every part of the car, and created a potent threat for overall wins. 

Max in fast company at Palm Springs in #70 Old Yeller Mk.1.

Carroll Shelby drives the huge Maserati 450S #98, and Dick Morgenson #46 is in his next project, a Devin-bodied Special.

(Photo contributed by Mike Larkin)

Here's Max at Santa Barbara in Old Yeller I.  He shared the driving with his then-partner, Eric Hauser.

With this car and other Old Yellers to follow, Max showed that guile, intelligence, sound engineering and "Cubic inches" could often defeat "Cubic money" on the racetrack.


Photo by Bob Tronolone, contributed by Mike Larkin)

In l959. Max and Hauser parted company.  Max put the Buick engine into his new car, Old Yeller II.    He claims to have spent only $1456.72 to build this beast.  

While still crude-looking, Old Yeller II was a well-designed, well-developed threat for overall wins against all comers.  Bob Drake, shown below at Santa Barbara in 1960, had many memorable drives in the car.

Drake finished 2nd to Bill Krause's Birdcage and ahead of Augie Pabst's  ultra-potent "Meister Brauser" Scarab at the 1960 "L.A. Times Grand Prix" at Riverside.

Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby also drove Old Yeller II.  Gurney declared it "The best handling car I've ever driven".  (This must have been before the Arciero Bros. Lotus Mk.19 appeared.)

(Photo contributed by Mike Larkin)

(2-25-14)   Excellent episode of "Behind the Headlights"
featuring the wonderful story of Max & Ina Balchowsky
and the Old Yeller cars (featuring Old Yeller II.)

John Brophy and Jerry Entin raced the car in 1963-64

Dr. Ernie Nagamatsu is the proud owner of Old Yeller II today!

Mike Larkin restored Old Yeller I and recently sold the car -- see it as it looks today!

More Max Balchowsky/Old Yeller history on the pages below!
Max Balchowsky -- 2:   Old Yeller III
Max Balchowsky -- 3:  Old Yeller IV/V/IX
Max Balchowsky -- 4:  Old Yeller Reunion
Max Balchowsky -- 5:  Old Yeller IV "Camera Car"
Max Balchowsky -- 6:  Old Yeller VI  "Godzilla"
Max Balchowsky -- 7:  Old Yeller Updates
Max Balchowsky -- 8:  The Doretti-Buicks
Max Balchowsky -- 9:  Old Yeller VII at Watkins Glen
Next:   Alan Connell -- Maserati Type 61-Ferrari

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All photographs and text are the property of Mike Larkin and are protected under United States and international copyright laws.  All rights are reserved and the images and/or text may not be digitized, reproduced, stored, manipulated, and/or incorporated into other works without the written permission of the photographer, Mike Larkin