PORTLAND PRESS HERALD DARKROOM
Soap box derby

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    Soap box derby - Press Herald photo courtesy Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives | of | Share this photo

    1940: And they're off. One heat of the soap box derby race, on Park Avenue, with Portland Stadium in background. According to the published caption, Kendall Chapman, 14 of Bath, 1940 derby champion, is shown in his tiny ultra-streamlined “Miss Graymore” at the far left, speeding off the ramp soon to leave his two competitors far behind. Significantly, Chapman won the first heat and all heats thereafter. His speedy getaway is shown by his rear wheels being entirely off the ramp, which those of his two rivals still remain on it.

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    1939: A veteran of two soap box derbies, Frederick Lombard Jr. of Portland, was starting anew as he prepared for the big event in Portland. According to the published caption, Fred thought he had discovered the secret of speedster building and expected to make a bid for the big trip to Akron, Ohio where the Nationals were held.

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    1938: Children standing at ropeline, at soap box derby on Park Avenue.

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    1938 : Stanley McLaughlin of 376 Cumberland Ave. sits in his eponymous racer. Stanley was sure that he would be among the winners. The published caption noted that Stanley, who had raced before, had built a much heavier car with a fine job of upholstery.

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    1938 : William Brown, of Ganby Road, South Portland, at the wheel of the Eagle.

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    1938: Freddie Dyer, of Summit Street oils the wheels of his racer.

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    1938 : Joseph Rando, of Newbury Street sitting in his soap box derby racer. It isn't known how he fared in the race but two years later, a mechanical failure in Rando's car resulted in a crash.

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    1938: William Brown, of Ganby Road, South Portland having his racer inspected and weighed. The inspection of the cars was under the supervision of Charles W. Galton, repair manager for Chevrolet. Inspections took place in the Exposition Building. A big inspection platform was installed with a giant Toledo Dial Scale. Trained mechanics checked each car.

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    1938: Boys in the Exposition Building where the cars were inspected before the race.

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    1938 : Alvin Mersky who combed and parted his hair neatly, at work on his racer in June, a month before the derby.

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    1938: Watching the derby while sitting atop a billboard.

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    1938: Soap box Derby contestants pause before going in to see motion pictures of the derby and the rest of the show at the Strand Theater as the guests of Leo Young. Charles O. Titus, Jr. of Scarborough, is center with Mr. Young. Titus’ entry “Blueberry Joe” won second place in the derby.

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    1939: Soap box derby racers at the Expo where their cars were inspected for compliance with the rules.

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    1939: Charles Titus of South Portland, bent low, whizzes to a handy victory in his heat.

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    1939: Charles Titus, South Portland, state champion, sits in his racer with Randall Grenier, Caribou, second place at left and and Donald Packer, South Paris, third place on the right.

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    1939: Winner Charles Titus, at microphone broadcasting over WGAN, with Sam Henderson announcer.

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    1939: One of the repair pits with the car of Kendall Chapman of Bath undergoing quick repairs.

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    1938: Group of racers next to the Expo awaiting the word to move onto the ramp of the preliminary events.

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    1938: Crowd section showing the keen interest of young and old.

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    1939: Champion Charles Titus is congratulated by his grandfathers, C.E. Douphinette, left, and A.G. Titus, right.

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    1940: Harry Storer of Yarmouth wears his derby helmet in May as he collects lumber to use in building his racer’s axles.

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    1940: Soap box derby racer being weighed on a scale during inspection at the Expo building.

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    1940: Spectators line Park Avenue for the derby.

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    1940 : Soap box derby race, on Park Avenue, with Portland Stadium in background. Just after this picture was taken , Jospeh Rando of Portland in the middle car, swerved when a nut came loose on his steering wheel. He swerved to the right, narrowly missing Chester Naples of Rockland (far right) and crashing into the curb. There were no injuries. Clifford Goody of Westbrook (foreground) won the heat.

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    1940: Soap box derby contestants line up for a photograph on the elevated starting ramp.

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