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Ernie Derr - another legend lost

Discussion in 'Historical' started by Beentherebefore, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. MoparNorm

    MoparNorm Active Jeeper
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    The inside story on why those cars were flops:
    From the Virgil Exner biography at Wikipedia.
    "In 1956, during the design of the 1961 models, Exner suffered a heart attack. He resumed work in 1957, working on the designs for the 1962 cars. On July 25, 1957, Exner was elected the first Vice President of Styling at Chrysler. Unfortunately, a rumor that GM was reducing the size of their cars caused the President of Chrysler, Lester Lum ("Tex") Colbert, to order Exner to do the same to his 1962 design — a change Exner disagreed with, thinking it would make his cars "ugly." Exner with his associates had completed work on the second full-sized finless Plymouth since 1955, this one for 1962, described as a strikingly attractive automobile. While he was still recovering from the heart attack, the 1962 models Exner took credit for were downsized by associates. This downsizing drastically changed the cars' appearance. This reduced the cars' appeal and caused a significant drop in sales.
     
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  2. Beentherebefore

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    There is a similar article on exactly that linked on the main Allpar page. I think the writer mentions that Colbert overheard the news that GM would be downsizing at a Detroit cocktail party. The GM exec was referring to the upcoming "Chevy II" compact, not their full sized cars but Colbert didn't catch the full story.

    I will tell you guys this - once the Max-wedge motors became available through Chrysler dealers in 1962, Mopars began suddenly appearing on the street scene where there had been virtually no presence before and what their styling looked like did not seem to be making much difference.
     
  3. Beentherebefore

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    IMCA publicity card from 1967 featuring some of their top drivers - Ernie Derr in the #1, Ramo Stott in the #0, and I believe Lewis Taylor in the #7. As I mentioned over on the USAC thread, similar photos of Mopars battling for the lead in short track action could be shot in Nascar, USAC, ARCA, or PCLM (later Winston West series) all through the mid 60s and the early 70s.

    IMCA publicity card.jpg
     
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  4. Beentherebefore

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    Great shot of Ernie Derr's Dodge in dirt track setup from Pinterest. The pinner says it was taken at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

    Ernie Derr on dirt 2 Iowa.jpg
     
  5. phillip123

    phillip123 Member

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    At least he lived long. RIP!
     
  6. Beentherebefore

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    Winning 25 out of 30 races one year probably kept his blood pressure and stress levels down. That contributes to a long life.
     
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  7. Beentherebefore

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    I didn't know that Ernie's son, Mike, also raced in IMCA.

    Found this photo (shared from Pinterest) of the two of them side by side at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in 1970 in their Dodges;

    Ernie Derr & Mike Derr.jpg
     
  8. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    Hard to follow a guy like Ernie.
    Think Richard and Kyle...
     
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  9. Beentherebefore

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    I don't know how Mike Derr's record compares with Kyle Petty's. A quick search through the "Midwest Racing Archives" shows that he won at least 3 IMCA races driving Mopars .His first came on 8/22/71 at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, then he won @ Sedalia in '73 and'75.
     
  10. Beentherebefore

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    Found this on Pinterest - photo of Mike Derr with his Hemi Charger after winning @ Sedalia;

    Mike Derr's Charger after winning @ Sedalia.jpg
     
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  11. Beentherebefore

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    Photo shared from Pinterest (which looks like it was sourced from the "Midwest Racing Archives) of Ernie Derr battling to a win @ the Missouri State fair in Sedalia in his Dodge Charger.


    Ernie Derr wins @ Sedalia photo.jpg

    The "Midwest Racing Archives" site states that it was not unusual for crowds at these IMCA races held at the State Fairs in Iowa, Minn, or Missouri to exceed 20,000!
     

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