MOTOR Austin

The Auto Enthusiast's Guide to Austin.


Hot Rod History [clear]

Famous Racing Texans

By: motoraustin 7/20/2011 11:40:15 AM

The photo above is from the long gone Texas Speed Museum in Austin. Rod Kennedy (founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival) was the owner and operator from 1967 to 1970. This photo was from a Texas Speed Museum periodical dated November 1969. The caption was "The 'Famous Racing Texans' wall at the Texas Speed Museum honors A. J. Foyt, Jim Hall and Carroll Shelby as well as Johnny Rutherford, Jim MacElreath and Lloyd Ruby."

I don't have time for the rest of the story, so, more to come...

Photo Copyright James Wilder, MOTOR Austin. Do not use without permission.

Longhorn Speedway Austin Speed-O-Rama

By: motoraustin 6/3/2011 1:13:41 PM

I visited the F1 construction site last weekend and also stopped by the old Longhorn Speedway. That got me interested in doing some research and writing up a short summary about the old race track.

Instead of waiting months, I will simply keep updating this entry as I review all the info I have collected.

The track has been called several names such as Austin Speed-O-Rama (or Speedorama for those who hate dashes), Longhorn Speedway, Paramount Austin Speedway ('70s) and Bad Boyz Speed-O-Rama. It was also informally referred to as Lockhart Speedway probably due to the fact that highway 183 was known as Lockhart Highway.

Austin Speed-O-Rama was opened in 1960 by A.B. Wusterhausen and his son Louis Wusterhausen. The 1/4 mile asphalt track is located at 183 and FM 812. Louis Wusterhausen was the track manager. Louis was killed during a race at Texas World Speedway on October 8th 1972 while driving a 1971 Camaro.

In 1971 and 1972, TV announcer, news anchor, singer and songwriter Jerry K. Green leased and operated the track, bringing in NASCAR for the 1972 season. He was also the track announcer in 1970. According to Jerry, the track was quite successful during those years and all the proceeds were reinvested to improve the track. However, the prosperity of the track suffered a blow when unrelated financial problems caused Mr. Green to lose the lease.

In 1992 the track was definitely called Longhorn Speedway. This is according to an image of an old program flier I found on the net. The program boasts of 32 years of racing.

In 2003 the track was owned or leased by Paul Miller. Accounts that I have found say that the track was being restored and was scheduled to reopen as Bad Boyz Speed-O-Rama on July 4th, 2003. However, accounts also reveal that there were too many complications and it appears that the track missed the target date or never reopened.

According to some track list databases, the promoter was Lisa Painter, and the contact email was They even had a web site with the name of

2011. Word on the net is that Sandra Bullock bought the track for Jesse James, but things happened. As of June 6, 2011 the track is for sale (or lease) again.

Other Interesting Info

The venue was apparently used for concerts from time to time as I have found references to a Janis Joplin concert being held there. There is also an account that on Saturday, May 4, 2002, the Alamo Drafthouse used the venue to show the cult classic movie Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! Apparently the Kontinentals car club were in attendance (this could be an article of it's own!). Tim League, owner of the Alamo Drafthouse, mentions in a blog post that one of the Kontinentals pulled up in front of the screen between features and proceeded to do an extended burnout.

Mary Ann Nauman, owner of Thunder Hill Raceway has a great deal of history associated with Longhorn Speedway. Her father and mother, Jake and Frankie Wallace both raced and promoted stock car racing at Longhorn Speedway. In the 1990's, her brother-in-law, Alvin Stewart, managed Longhorn Speedway and she was involved in the promotion of the track.

Please donate photos and information!

More to come...


Link Roundup and References

Last update: Sept 15, 2011 - added images.

Killed Myself When I Was Young

By: motoraustin 5/23/2011 8:53:07 PM

Killed Myself When I Was Young from The Jalopy Journal on Vimeo.

A vintage racing crash compilation.

No seat belts. No roll cages. Wheels that broke all to often. That's the way racing started. It seems that everyone just accepted the fact thaat racers died. Few lived beyond their 20s.

The song behind this video is "Killed Myself When I Was Young," written and performed by A.A. Bondy. The song is from the "American Hearts" solo album, released in 2007.

"Killed Myself When I Was Young" was also featured on Season 4 of the television series "Friday Night Lights," which was filmed in Austin and Pflugerville Texas.

John Wesley Carhart - Austin Connection

By: motoraustin 1/11/2011 10:19:47 PM

While doing a little research on automobile history I ran across this interesting connection between John Wesley Carhart and Austin Texas.

John Wesley Carhart was recognized as the "father of the automobile" by the Horseless Age magazine in 1903 for inventing a two-cylinder steam engine powered buggy he called the Spark.

Carhart, also an M.D., eventually came to Texas where he established himself in Lampasas, La Grange, Austin, and San Antonio as an outstanding skin and nerve specialist.

Carhart died at San Antonio on December 21, 1914, and was buried in Austin.

It appears that he abandoned any further refinement of steam powered automobile design to focus on the medical profession. However, he clearly left his mark in automotive history.

Read more here:

RIP Mercury 1938 - 2011

By: motoraustin 1/3/2011 8:35:45 PM

As of today, the Mercury name disappears from dealerships, marking the end of a once-heralded brand that was a step up from Ford, the everyday people's car.

Today, few recall that Mercury once was beloved as a stylish and powerful ride. It had roles in movies ranging from "Rebel Without a Cause" (James Dean was behind the wheel of a customized 1949 Mercury) to "On His Majesty's Secret Service," in which James Bond's love interest drove a souped-up red 1969 Cougar XR-7 known as the Eliminator.

Excerpt from The Detroit News:

Mercury rolls into history with build of final Grand Marquis

Mercury on Wikipedia