Book Review: Wilbur Shaw’s Story Continues in Updated Version of His Autobiography- Part II

Photo above: Bill Shaw next to his father’s famous car and the Boyle hauler.

The second part of the updated Wilbur Shaw biography is called ‘The Rest of the Story.” It picks up the last two years of Wilbur’s life through the eyes of his son, Wilbur, Junior, known as Bill. A nice touch is that the chapter numbers in this section continue from the end of Shaw’s autobiography.

Bill Shaw learned a lot from his father in the nine years he knew him. Wilbur taught him by example as his father had taught him. Although Bill and his father worked with Wilbur’s tools, Shaw had made it clear that he wanted Bill to stay away from any involvement with racing. His friends in racing honored Shaw’s request. Car owner J. C. Agajanian talked Bill out of driving a sprint car when Bill inquired about it.

Bill went to a boarding school in Arizona, where he could fuflill his love of horses and the west. But as the son of a racer, racing was in his blood and his soul. He was more interested in road racing than attempting the Indianapolis 500. A chance meeting with road racing champion Bob Bondurant, who had just opened his now well known driving school. Bondurant convinced Bill to take the school’s course.

After he completed the course, Bill returned to Indianapolis and got a job with Stokely Van Camp, a large food processor. Bondurant called to say he needed help running his school. Bill quit his job immediately and left to become an instructor at the Bondurant driving school in Arizona. Teaching allowed bill to sharpen his own driving skills as he pursued his dream to race full time.

Author Brock Yates had been invited to drive in the 1972 Daytona 24 Hour race. A sponsor conflict would not allow him to drive. he told the car owner Bill would drive instead. It would have been nice if he had asked Bill first. Shaw was more than happy to seize the chance. Bill later drove a Ferrari for the North American Racing Team. After an unsuccessful race in japan, Bill decided he couldn’t continue racing.

Like his father, Bill had his own heart attack as well as a stroke and nearly died. He required immediate open heart surgery. he has recovered well.

Bill has spent the last few years preserving his father’s memory and keeping his name in public view. In 2002, he drove the Boyle Maserati around the Speedway on race morning. His son Peter also drove the car on a practice day. Bill continues to keep his father’s memory alive.

In 2014 the Indiana Racing Memorial Association held  a remembrance ceremony at the site of  Shaw’s fatal plane crash. It was the first time Bill had visited the site.

A new organization, the Boyle Racing Headquarters Foundation, began restoring the Boyle Racing hauler, one of the first dedicated race car transport vehicles. they also started salvaging the building in which the cars were housed. The building, located at 1701 Gent Avenue, was slated for demolition. The building will house a brewing company and have an event space when renovated.

The discovery of the hauler is another adventure. After tracking down several leads, it was found near Crawfordsville, Indiana. the hauler was badly deteriorated, sitting upside down. A tree was growing through the middle of it. The group, headed by John Pappas and Jeff Congdon, was determined to have the vehicle fully restored for the 100th running of the 500 in 2016. They achieved their goal.

Gentleman, Start Your Engines, The Rest of the Story may be purchased through the Boyle Racing Headquarters. Email: donate@boyleracingteam.org.

 

 

 

 

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