Max Balchowsky -- 4  (Old Yeller Reunion)

Max stands with four of of his creations at a VARA event in Phoenix in 1996.  Two of the cars are well known to California race fans, the others have obscure histories only recently brought to light.

From left, Old Yeller IX, Old Yeller VIII, Old Yeller VII, and Old Yeller II.    (Photo from Reagan Rulau)
Information from Ron Cummings: 

"Old Yeller IX was powered with a big FE 427 Ford side oiler.  It won several southern California club events in 1964.  Max and Ted Peterson later converted the car to Buick power for vintage racing.

Old Yeller VIII is the most mysterious & obscure of the Old Yeller series.  Based on a wrecked E-Type Jaguar, Max started building it as a personal street car for himself.  He added a Chevy V8, reinforced the rear tub, and replaced the entire front sheetmetal shell.  He also replaced the Jaguar independent rear suspension with one of his own design.  (Max retrofitted two earlier Old Yellers with this IRS after previously running live axles on the cars.)

When he grew tired of the uncompleted project, Max sold the car to John Brophy.  Brophy raced many cars and at one point owned and raced "Old Yeller II".

Old Yeller VIII no longer carries Max's IRS, it having been replaced with a Corvette unit. The car is currently owned by Gordon Apker of Washington state and is raced in northwestern vintage events."

Gordon Apker on Old Yeller VIII:

"Thought you might like to know a little more about the # 8 car. It still retains Max's IRS (it was never removed). The center pumpkin is now Corvette, not Studebaker as original.  Max consulted for me when this car was restored.  He built it for Haskell Wexler (his financial backer).  He took a center section from a wrecked Jag and had California Metal- shaping (I still have the invoice for the work) make a new nose, doors and trunk lid from aluminum. They also reshaped the tail ("to dejag it" said Max) and added 58 Chev taillights. He ran a 327 Chev motor with a M22 transmission. 

It was also used in "Viva Las Vegas" where it was repainted twice so it could be two different cars. Was sold to an amusement park owner in South Carolina where it was raced. Somewhere along the way a "boat interior"(coined by Max) was added and enough bondo and fiberglass was added to the nose to add about 100 pounds. All that went away on restoration. 

Max prepared a written history of specs, owners etc. which we had notarized. Thought you would enjoy this info."

P.S.   "Just rechecked Max's paperwork: Trans is a T10, not M22."

More from Ron Cummings:

"Old Yeller VII was sold as a bare rolling chassis to Don Kirby, a driver in northern New York state.  He installed some sort of a body and a Chevrolet motor.  The car was raced in east coast events as "Old Yeller VII".  Max, at the time, claimed no knowledge of the car because it was sold only as a chassis.

According to Reagan Rulau, Brock Yates and some friends later installed an Ambro plastic body that looks like a Birdcage Maserati.  The car now races in that configuration."

Ron Cummings located this ad for "Old Yaller VII".  It appeared in Competition Press Oct. 27, 1962   Vol. 9  No. 8:

"OLD YALLER Mk 7.  Latest car built by Max Balchowsky.  Corvette 327 fuel-injected engine completely rebuilt.  New paint, concours con- dition, over $8000 invested.  Don Kirby, Dreamland Park, Rochester 22, N. Y."

Old Yeller II was a familiar sight in southern California racing in 1960.  It's now owned and raced by Dr. Ernie Nagamatsu and has always been powered by a nail-head Buick V8.

Next:  Max Balchowsky -- 5:  Old Yeller IV Camera Car

Back to:   Max Balchowsky -- 3:  Old Yellers IV / V / IX

Back to:   Max Balchowsky 1:  Old Yellers I / II