SPEED AGE Magazine

  January February March April May June July August september October November December
1946         Vol. 1, No. 1 Vol. 1, No. 2 Vol. 2, No. 3 Vol. 1, No. 4 Vol. 1, No. 5 Vol. 1, No. 6 Vol. 1, No. 7 Vol. 1, No. 8
1947 Vol. 1, No. 9 Vol. 1, No. 10

Vol. 1, No. 11

Vol. 1, No. 12 Vol. 2, No. 1 Vol. 2, No. 2 Vol. 2, No. 3 Vol. 2, No. 4 Vol. 2, No. 5 Vol. 2, No. 6 Vol. 2, No. 7 Vol. 2, No. 8
1948 Vol. 2, No. 9 Vol. 2, No. 10

Vol. 2, No. 11

Vol. 2, No. 12 Vol. 3, No. 1 Vol. 2, No. 2 Vol. 2, No. 3 Vol. 2, No. 4 Vol. 2, No. 5 Vol. 2, No. 6 Vol. 2, No. 7 Vol. 2, No. 8
1949 Vol. 2, No. 9 Vol. 2, No. 10

Vol. 2, No. 11

Vol. 2, No. 12 Vol. 3, No. 1 Vol. 3, No. 2 Vol. 3, No. 3 Vol. 3, No. 4 Vol. 3, No. 5 Vol. 3, No. 6 Vol. 3, No. 7 Vol. 3, No. 8
1950 Vol. 3, No. 9 Vol. 3, No. 10

Vol. 3, No. 11

Vol. 3, No. 12 Vol. 4, No, 1 Vol. 4, No, 2 Vol. 4, No, 3 Vol. 4, No, 4 Vol. 4, No, 5 Vol. 4, No, 6 Vol. 4, No, 7 Vol. 4, No, 8
1951 Vol. 4, No, 9 Vol. 4, No, 10 Vol. 4, No, 11 Vol. 4, No, 12 Vol. 5, No, 1 Vol. 5, No, 2 Vol. 5, No, 3 Vol. 5, No, 4 Vol. 5, No, 5 Vol. 5, No. 6 Vol. 5, No. 7 Vol. 5, No. 8
1952 Vol. 5, No, 9 Vol. 5, No, 10 Vol. 5, No, 11 Vol. 5, No, 12 Vol. 6, No, 1 Vol. 6, No, 2 Vol. 6, No, 3 Vol. 6, No, 4 Vol. 6, No, 5 Vol. 6, No. 6 Vol. 6, No. 7 Vol. 6, No. 8
1953 Vol. 6, No, 9 Vol. 6 No, 10 Vol. 6, No, 11 Vol. 6, No, 12 Vol. 7, No, 1 Vol. 7, No, 2 Vol. 7, No, 3 Vol. 7, No, 4 Vol. 7, No, 5 Vol. 7, No. 6 Vol. 7, No. 7 Vol. 7, No. 8


We’ll say it again: You never know what might come across the desk here at Hemmings Central. Here’s another example, a photo print that shows the company cars lined up at the curb in front of the editorial offices of “Speed Age” magazine in Hyattsville, Maryland, which is just outside Washington, D.C.

speed 1.jpg

Clearly, the photo dates to the early 1950s, and besides the Fords and the Chevrolet Styline Deluxe convertible, there’s a very early Pontiac Catalina hardtop and what may be an immediate pre-war Lincoln convertible, judging by its round, unskirted rear-wheel openings. If you never heard of “Speed Age,” it was an authoritative racing and performance magazine which stood during its existence as an East Coast rival to “Hot Rod.” At the time this photo was taken, its editor was Don O’Reilly, the very accomplished racing photographer, who likely saddled up one of these cars during the season and roared off over two-lane highways to a crude fairgrounds track nearly ever weekend once it stopped snowing. A goodly chunk of the late Mr. O’Reilly’s photo archives are now in the custody of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Don O'Reilly: O'Reilly is best known as a nationally syndicated columnist, NBC broadcaster and publisher. His Speed Age magazine, first published in 1947, was the first general circulation newsstand magazine devoted to motor sports. His photographs, covering the approximate years of 1938 to the mid 50's, were eclectic and included AAA, Indy, early NASCAR, speed trials on the sands at Daytona, sports cars and boats. His negatives are believed to be, in part, in the NASCAR archive although historian Phil Harms has many.

Don O'Reilly started his award-winning writing career in 1931 a correspondent for the North Attleboro (MA) Chronicle and the Attleboro Sun.Around 1937 he became a stringer for the Boston Post, the Boston Glove, and the Herlad-Traveler.During World War II, he served for three years in the US Coast Guard.

Following the war Don accepted a position as writer/photographer for the Washington (D.C.) Post.Two years later he became the editor and publisher of Speed Age Magazine, the first US motorsports newsstand magazine.While still editor and publisher of Speed Age, he became the manager of the NASCAR news bureau and the producer ABC's Speed Weeks USA radio broadcasts.

From 1968 to 1980 Don received awards for writing and broadcasting from Popular Mechanics, The Saturday Evening Post, Stock Car Racing, Argosy, Small Cars, Drag Racing USA, International Car Racing, Illustrated Speed Way News and other publications.He also received awards from the Mutual Broadcasting Network, ABC, and NBC.During his spare time, he managed to write seven books, including The History of Daytona Internal Speedway and a biography of NHL player Gordie Howe.

Don is a member of the National Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the National Old Timers Auto Racing Club.He lives with his wife, Edith, in Daytona Beach.Although he no longer participates in the sport he loves, he does live close enough to Daytona International Speedway to enjoy the sound of race cars!

Richard Adams:The Chicago based Adams was a controller for a food vending business in Chicago . Originally active in the Midwest and with friends Army Krueger and Bob Sheldon, Adams shot AAA champ, sprint and midgets along with Indy beginning just after WWII. His archive also includes early sports cars, NASCAR and AAA stock cars. His 4x5, black & white negatives were produced with a Speed Graphic. Adams was most serious about his career in racing photography and realized a dream when he assumed the position of Chief Photographer for Don O'Reilly's Speed Age magazine in the early 50's. He relocated to Silver Springs, MD and also functioned as the magazine's controller. Adams ' work was often published in Speed Age and Illustrated Speedway News. Friend Bob Sheldon recalls that Adams, who also was an aficionado of jazz music, was always chasing women. “He looked just like Robert Taylor and knew every stripper in Chicago ” said Sheldon. Adams died young, in the early 1960's, of cancer. His missing negative archive, long sought by researchists, recently (2007) surfaced when his son stepped forward and sold his father’s negatives to Dick Wallen.

Harold Bergquist: Bergquist, who resided in Lafayette, IN, covered Midwest AAA sprint car and midget action with his 35mm camera. He was active in the early to mid-50's. Many of his photographs were published in Speed Age.

Russ Reed: From Oakland, CA, Reed was an award winning photographer for the Oakland Tribune. He received a national award, the Look Magazine “Sports Photograph of the Year”, on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town television show. It was for a shot of Rudy Tarditti getting upside down at the Contra Costa Speedway in 1953. Reed used his favorite camera, a Fairchild K-20 which was a wartime, aerial camera which allowed him to squeeze off sequence action. According to Jim Chini, the camera used a roll of 4” wide film and was powered by a battery the size of a Buick. He also used an ancient Graphlex, the venerable Speed Graphic, and 2 ¼ and 35mm equipment. Reed served as a photographer's helper in the Navy during WWII. He began shooting in 1938 in Portland, OR and continued actively until 1957 when he began to slow down. He did shoot sporadically into the late 1980's. Reed was creative in selecting unusual vantage points for shooting. He covered mostly west coast events including Oakland Stadium, BCRA midgets, jalopies and AAA races. He also shot Indy on several occasions. He was a featured photographer for Speed Age magazine. His negatives are all black & white. Reed died in the mid-1990's.

Spot Enterprises: Aka “Spot Photos” was a do-all track concession business owned by Ed “Coke Bottles” Elliott (for his thick lens glasses). Spot operated a traveling photo both that also sold decals, belt buckles, jacket patches as well as mail order photos. Ed and his occasional partner Don Mohr started around 1947, shooting west coast URA, AAA – action and posed, in 4x5 format. Elliott and Bob Russo founded National Pit Pass Weekly in 1954 with Russo writing and Elliott peddling. The paper was sold to Floyd Clymer around 1958. Elliott stayed on as editor. Russo left in 1957. For a time, Elliott was the west coast business rep. for Speed Age. Elliott seemed to cease shooting around 1954. His surviving negatives eventually found their way into the Bruce Craig Collection.



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