Categories Moonshine

What Famous Sport Has Its Roots In Outrunning’ The Police With Moonshine As The Cargo? (Solved)

What kind of car did the moonshiners use?

  • The moonshine distillers’ favorite rum runner car during the 1940s, and through the mid ’50s, was a 1940 Ford. The flathead V-8 could be souped up, or replaced with a newer, more powerful engine—maybe from a Caddy ambulance.

What current day famous sport came about because of moonshine?

The closest NASCAR comes to grain alcohol these days is in the ethanol filling up gas tanks, but the sport’s moonshine history is beginning to be recognized. In 2017, Parks was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which features a bootlegging exhibit and an authentic moonshine still built by Junior Johnson himself.

What sport did bootleggers create?

Such were the bootlegger roots of the stock car, and what would evolve into the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR, in 1947. Booze runners looked for good mechanics who knew how to make their engines run faster and handle better than police vehicles.

Who is the most famous moonshiner?

1. Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. Of course, we wouldn’t be talking moonshine without the man, the myth, the legend, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. The most recognized modern moonshiner, good old hillbilly Popcorn Sutton was born in Maggie Valley, North Carolina in 1949.

Who started moonshine?

The practice of creating moonshine began in England in the 18th century and quickly spread to the US. For the first 200 years of its consumption in America, it was not illegal to produce moonshine, and issues surrounding the taxation of moonshine played a role in the American Revolution and Civil War.

Was Junior Johnson a moonshine runner?

One of the most prominent displays in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Heritage Speedway is a genuine whiskey still built by racing legend and former moonshine runner Junior Johnson, a member of the Hall’s inaugural Class of 2010.

What was Nascar called before Nascar?

The series began in 1949 as the Strictly Stock Division, and from 1950 to 1970 it was known as the Grand National Division. In 1971, when the series began leasing its naming rights to the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was referred to as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (1971–2003).

What is running moonshine?

In hopes of improving their chances of outrunning prohibition cops, bootleggers modified their cars and trucks by enhancing the engines and suspensions to make their vehicles faster. These cars were called moonshine runners.

When did Junior Johnson run moonshine?

If you got caught, you knew you was going to jail.” However, in 1956, his second season in NASCAR, Johnson got “convicted of moonshining,” per NASCAR.com. This came after he had been working at the family still. Johnson then spent 11 months in federal prison in Chillicothe, Ohio, AP reported.

How was Nascar invented?

Stock car racing in the United States has its origins in bootlegging during Prohibition, when drivers ran bootleg whiskey made primarily in the Appalachian region of the United States. Bootleggers needed to distribute their illicit products, and they typically used small, fast vehicles to better evade the police.

Who owns Popcorn Sutton distillery?

The Sazerac Company has purchased Popcorn Sutton Distilling. The company plans to produce Tennessee whiskey in early 2017.

Who was the richest bootlegger?

Al Capone is perhaps the most notorious gangster of all time, and also one of the richest. During prohibition, Capone controlled the illegal alcohol, prostitution and gambling rackets in Chicago which brought in $100 million a year at its prime.

How old is JB Rader still alive?

JB Rader’s exact age is currently unknown, however, online sources suggest that he’d have been born in the 1940s or 1950s. JB’s former moonshine making partner, Popcorn was born in 1946, so if JB is of a similar age, it would make him around 75 years old in 2021.

Where is moonshine popular?

The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The liquor has seen a popular, albeit legal, resurgence, but its roots are found in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as well as West Virginia and Kentucky.

Where did moonshine come from?

The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. In every part of America, early moonshiners worked their stills at night to avoid detection from authorities. The United States started taxing liquors and spirits shortly after the American Revolution.

Is moonshine illegal in UK?

Home brewing of beer and wine is legal in the UK, but distilling of spirits is illegal without a licence.

Moonshine And Bootleggers, The Outlaw Origins Of NASCAR Are Pure Dukes Of Hazzard

In addition to being well-known, Prohibition Agent Daisy Simpson was also well-publicized in the press. In addition to her home office in San Francisco, she often traveled to other places such as Chicago and New York for business. Daisy had posed as a criminal. It was she who employed her own imaginative disguises and spent her time in speakeasies, hotels, and restaurants across the city. In the event that proprietors or bartenders attempted to offer her alcoholic beverages, she would detain them without further delay.

In addition to being imaginative, she exhibited courage.

As a child, Daisy had been a delinquent, frequenting bars and hanging around with shady individuals.

Despite the fact that Georgia and Daisy were two quite different people, they both possessed the specific abilities necessary to combat what they saw to be the horrors of alcohol.

How a Group of Daring Bootleggers Created NASCAR

It was a two-person effort. With a 39 Ford filled with white whiskey, Bill Blair Sr. sat back as his pal Elmer sped along winding North Carolina roads like he was on the back of the devil’s horse. “Agents would go after Elmer and follow him,” recalls Bill Blair, who inherited his father’s surname as well as his father’s passion for racing. “My father would drive along the road with nothing to occupy his attention.” The agents were from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which is now known as the ATF (Assault Weapons and Explosives).

  • Instead of making a choice between left and right, he slipped into a nearby maple tree.
  • The agents began firing because they suspected he was running for the tree line.
  • In the manner of a squirrel, Elmer emerged from the tree, opened the door, hopped in, and exclaimed, “Let’s get out of here!” They had 40 miles to travel and were burdened by 120 gallons of white whiskey.
  • The ATF finally caught up with Blair Sr., who was squeezing past them on the back roads.
  • Blair claims that the hideouts were large enough for anyone to drive inside and then close the doors behind them.
  • Despite the fact that the narrative, like many family stories, is impossible to verify, it is consistent with a number of other accounts.
  • The Greensboro Fairgrounds in North Carolina is the site of a moonshine car race.

Blair’s father began hauling moonshine in 1932 as a way to spice up his dairy farm life in High Point, North Carolina.

The man’s father claims that his son “was born for the death penalty.” A gearhead and pool shark, Blair Sr.

Like so many other trippers, he was gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to pursue his ambition of becoming a NASCAR stockcar driver.

Despite the fact that NASCAR has suppressed it for decades, these are the sport’s origins.

Most people connect moonshine with Prohibition, yet Americans have been manufacturing alcoholic beverages in the woods since there has been a tax collector coming to collect on their earnings from them.

Many farmers who lived in the Appalachian Mountains transformed excess grain into spirits, and they despised the tax so much that they tarred and feathered collectors who came to collect it.

Officially, the uprising was declared a failure.

As more and more states restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages in the 1900s, paving the way for nationwide Prohibition in 1920, it was second nature to families who had been selling alcoholic beverages tax-free for decades.

Pierce, author of Real NASCAR, a book about the sport’s roots.

The Internal Revenue Service confiscated a moonshine still, which was photographed at the Treasury Department and turned over to the authorities.

If the repeal of Prohibition had not coincided with the introduction of mass-produced vehicles, it may have remained a tiny, uncontrolled operation.

The topography of the area was conducive to concealment and quick action.

According to Neal Thompson’s book Driving with the Devil, as much as 35 million gallons of moonshine were manufactured in the United States by 1934.

was just one of several young men whose passion for vehicles and thrills enabled them to get illegal alcoholic beverages into the hands of unsuspecting clients.

Meanwhile, others turned off their lights and drove in the dark onto lonely and rugged side roads.

Pierce talks of the moonshiner Smokey Purser, who utilized a variety of disguises, including a priest’s collar and writing “fresh Florida fish” on the side of his car, as well as putting in some dead fish for good measure.

They also learned maneuvers such as the “bootleg turn,” which was a high-speed dance of breaks and gears that completely turned the car around.

Photograph by Bettmann/Getty Images The American Automobile Association (AAA) dominated auto racing at the time, and it controlled the most important race, the Indy 500.

“The majority of the fans were guys, dressed in suits and bowlers and smoking pipes.” Southern stockcar racing, with its desperado drivers and vehicles customized for whiskey tripping, was unusual from other forms of motorsport.

Races in the early days of stockcar racing were a shambles, with scrappy drivers and destroyed vehicles.

Blair Sr.

“It wasn’t the do-gooders who went to stockcar racing,” Blair explains.

At Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1956, Junior Johnson rolled his 1956 Pontiac multiple times, but he managed to escape unscathed via the back window.

Mud had accumulated on windshields, and drivers had placed screens in front of radiators to keep them protected from dust.

Rather than wearing jumpsuits, the drivers donned crude helmets and wrapped handkerchiefs across their faces, as though they were armed bank robbers.

“My papa would spit red dirt till Tuesday,” Blair recalls his father saying.

According to Blair’s father, “He just did it because he enjoyed it.” “It didn’t have any money in it.” Drivers may receive a check for $75 as a prize, or they may discover that a promoter has made off with the prize money.

“White liquor served as his patron.” As far back as the 1950s, according to Pierce, haulers might earn as much as $450 a night transporting moonshine, which was, of course, completely tax-free money.

was at a racetrack or in a tiny town, people would stop and chat to him about anything.

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Blair recalls his mother providing breakfast for the racers at his childhood home.

Thanks to Bill Blair for providing this image.

As a result of fuel restrictions, many young men were sent out to fight or work in shipyards, and vehicle racing was put on hold for a short period of time.

France altered the course of sport forever.

According to Thomspon, the AAA sponsored many stockcar races before discontinuing sponsorship in 1946, noting that “the Contest board is vehemently opposed to what it refers to as ‘junk car’ events.” France had a thorn in his side over the respectability of different races.

He founded the North Carolina Sports Car Club (NCSCC), which compensated drivers for each victory and provided a $1,000 reward to the driver who accumulated the most points from NCSCC events.

Library of Congress/LC-USZ62-96757 (Library of Congress) Under France’s leadership, the masses expanded in size.

The Tri-City Speedway, located in North Carolina, was founded by the Blair family in 1947.

utilized to construct the track was not racing money; rather, it was money from the liquor industry.

Despite the large number of spectators, France wished to attract the country club set to stockcar racing.

Despite this, moonshiners continued to race.

won a championship race at Danville, Virginia, in NASCAR’s first year of competition, and he would go on to win three more races in the purely stock division throughout the course of his career, which spanned 1949 to 1958.

Dean Combs, a former NASCAR contender who is shown here with a crew member, was arrested and accused with running an illegal still.

Pierce claims that it gives the idea that just a number of outliers were involved in the investigation.

Moonshine was the fuel on which NASCAR raced, despite the fact that it claimed to only require gasoline.

A moonshine produced by Sugarlands Shine in Tennessee was licensed by NASCAR and made available for purchase in October 2018.

“Moonshine has a historic connection to the roots of our sport, and that association has always been present with our fans…

In recent years, it appears that the relationship between NASCAR drivers and moonshine has become more formalized.

Some males, on the other hand, are unable to keep their hands off the excellent stuff, such as surreptitiously stilled moonshine, white mule, or mountain dew.

In an interview with The Richmond-Times Dispatch, he stated, “I’d drink it for a cold.” He’d whipped up a batch of cookies the previous morning.

Over 200 gallons of gasoline were seized by authorities. Gastro Obscura is a food and drink magazine that explores the most extraordinary foods and beverages from across the world. Sign up for our email newsletter, which is distributed twice a week.

How Whiskey Cars Worked

When they say that need is the mother of innovation, they aren’t kidding; they are saying it because it is true. Consider the following scenario: you live in a small rural Southern town during the Great Depression. Crops have failed, and there is a scarcity of jobs. There is nothing else you have except your automobile, which is a really nice one. Even though it’s an old Ford, you’ve put in a lot of effort into maintaining and repairing it. During the scorching Georgiasun, you’ve sweated over the engine, scratching your knuckles as you wrenched pieces into place so many times that it appears the engine is coated in equal parts blood and grease.

  • The key to a better life is in your possession.
  • Your best times have come from racing through the meadows and back roads of the country, where you have beaten or at least given everyone a run for their money.
  • Despite the fact that prohibition is no longer in effect, many southern communities remain dry.
  • Furthermore, even in areas where liquor is permitted to be sold, if you sell it without the authorities’ knowledge, you are not required to pay taxes.
  • So you’ve landed a job delivering homemade whiskey – moonshine – to residents in dry communities.
  • If you can’t evade the police or the federal income tax collectors, your only option is to outrun them.
  • During the 1920s and 1930s, it was not ordinary for people to steal booze from stores.
  • When the necessity to make a living and the desire to drive fast cars come together in one of the most colorful sports on the planet, you have Formula One.
  • Those initial vehicles raced on weekends in tiny towns around the South and spent the rest of their time as whiskey cars, touring the region making deliveries and dodging the police.
  • Intoxicating as the whiskey they carried, the characters and technology that inspired the forerunners of today’s NASCAR race vehicles are the characters and technology that inspired them.

Why moonshine?

Strangely enough, the origins of a sport may be traced back to an unlawful action. From the 1920s through the 1970s, a variety of causes led to the expansion of moonshinerunning and other illicit liquor sales in the South, including the prohibition of alcohol. The first factor was the ban of alcohol. The countrywide prohibition on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages opened the market to small manufacturers. In addition to creating maize liquor for their personal consumption, certain farmers were given the option to sell their products to a larger audience – as long as they didn’t get caught.

  • If the authorities discover stills, they will demolish them, causing the moonshiners’ profits to be wiped out and making the creation of the following batch virtually hard to achieve.
  • Many counties and towns in the South were declared dry, preventing genuine liquor vendors from selling their products in those areas.
  • In other words, they didn’t have to pay federal taxes on the sales they generated.
  • The third issue that contributed to the persistence of moonshining and whiskey vehicles was simply a dearth of opportunities in the Southern United States.
  • Farm failures plagued small farmers, and the mills that fueled the region’s economy stayed shuttered throughout.

And, when a family was on the verge of extinction, choosing to make do or run moonshine (or both) looked like the most logical course of action. Additionally, outrunning and outsmarting the police may be both monetarily and emotionally satisfying, which added to the appeal.

Whiskey Cars

It goes without saying that whiskey vehicles had to be extremely quick to be effective. Massive V8engineswere the standard, and drivers would tweak them to be even quicker by adding superchargers and turbochargers, as well as boring and stroking the engines to extract every last horsepower. Despite the fact that the majority of moonshiners drove Fords with flathead V8 engines, one common modification was to cram a Ford coupe with a monstrous Cadillac engine – the same engine that Cadillac used to power ambulances.

  1. The whiskey vehicles were changed to give them every conceivable edge against law enforcement, in contrast to NASCAR racing, where cars are presumably kept as near to their original configuration as possible.
  2. Some drivers equipped their dashboards with switches that turned off the brake lights when the vehicle was stopped.
  3. Modifications to the suspension were also essential.
  4. It is more likely that authorities would observe a stock automobile driving down the road than than a visibly loaded truck transporting booze and arrest someone for it.
  5. Hidden panels in the trunk, seats, and doors made it possible for unlawful cargo to travel undetected, even if the vehicle was stopped and inspected.
  6. It was at this point when the drivers’ abilities came into play.

Whiskey Car Drivers

Whiskey car drivers were often young guys in their twenties and thirties. While it’s easy to imagine a 20-year-old eluding the authorities in a whiskey automobile, imagine someone much more youthful than that. Moonshine was consumed by boys as young as fourteen years old. As members of farm families, the lads were already accustomed to operating and maintaining agricultural machinery, as well as driving and operating heavy equipment for employment. Moonshine distilling was frequently a family-run enterprise.

  • Junior Johnson, also known as Robert Glenn Johnson Jr., has stated that he has equipped his vehicle with a light and sirens.
  • The authorities, mistaking Johnson for a police officer, would dismantle the barricade, allowing Johnson and his illicit goods to continue their journey.
  • When they were being pursued, they were able to use back roads and shortcuts, as well as double back and hideouts, because of this.
  • The bootlegger’s turn is one of the most well-known of them.
  • Whiskey car drivers, bootleggers, and moonshiners could also drive faster than their pursuers since they were familiar with the routes and understood how fast they could take the local turns.
  • Aside from having intimate knowledge of their vehicles, whiskey car drivers were also skilled mechanics who repaired and modified their vehicles themselves.

However, while bootlegging, moonshine running, and whiskey cars remained into the 1970s in some regions of the Southern United States, what many people believe to have been the golden period of the activity came to an end during World War II, when the majority of drivers enlisted in the military.

However, when they returned, they discovered more respectable methods to put their enormous abilities to use.

Whiskey Cars and Stock Car Racing

It would be an understatement to say that little southern communities of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were severely lacking in entertainment options. In addition to widespread poverty, tiny towns lacked a wide range of activities to engage in. Many towns did not have a movie theater, and going to a larger town that did has a cinema was time-consuming and costly. At the same time, there were no sports to watch because professional baseball and football teams didn’t arrive in the southern United States until much later in the century.

  • Unused meadows and fields would be transformed into racetracks by enterprising farmers.
  • Nobody was becoming rich from the little town races, but a little bit of money and a lot of bragging rights were more than enough for most of the competitors.
  • NASCAR was founded on the idea of growing the fan base that had already been established in those little locations.
  • The fans’ allegiance would be founded on the discovery of a shared tie between themselves and their favorite drivers.
  • This is when the relationship between whiskey cars and NASCAR begins to splinter.
  • There were no restrictions when it came to outrunning the revenuers.
  • Whistle car drivers now had a legal – and profitable – outlet for their talents, and large-scale, legitimate alcohol vendors began to establish themselves in communities throughout the South that previously were barred from doing so.
  • More information about whiskey cars, NASCAR, and other relevant topics may be found by clicking on the links on the following page.

Lots More Information

  • “Raymond Parks, NASCAR Pioneer, Dies at the Age of 96,” by Richard Goldstein. “Moonshine Runners, History, and Their Cars,” Hot Rod Magazine, June 21, 2010. (February 21, 2011)
  • The New York Times, June 21, 2010. “Riding with the Devil,” by Neal Thomson, published in October 2005 (accessed February 21, 2011). New York is the place to be. Broadway Books, published in 2007

How Moonshine Fueled the First NASCAR Races

According to legend, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was founded in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, by William “Big Bill” France Sr. and other businessmen. But what history tends to overlook is what happened before Big Bill arrived at the hotel, and how automobile racing grew in popularity to the point where it became its own major sports series. Every sport, in order to survive, need stars. According to historian Neal Thompson, those stars began their careers in NASCAR as a result of a chance encounter “a gang of motherless, dirt-poor Southern teenagers who travel with the devil in hacked-up Ford pickup trucks loaded with corn whiskey We had whiskey cars because they existed long before stock cars did — they were the finest method of escape a Southern guy could hope for.” A member of the group of adolescents was Junior Johnson, a NASCAR icon and current owner ofMidnight Moonshine who was literally born into the’shinin’ industry.

  1. In 1935, tax collectors invaded the Johnson residence and seized 7,200 gallons of hillbilly pop, which was later destroyed.
  2. He transported 150 gallons of moonshine at a time in a customized Ford pickup truck.
  3. So that he could stay one step ahead of the authorities, Johnson sought the assistance of local grease monkeys such as Red Vogt, the guy who created the term “NASCAR,” to tough up the chassis and swap out the Ford’s engine for Cadillac V-8s taken from ambulances.
  4. They took to the air.” Transporters like Johnson quickly earned a reputation as some of the greatest drivers in the business.
  5. As a result of pressure from local politicians and law enforcement personnel, race organizers prevented them from participating in the event.
  6. The organizers agreed, and a bootlegger was victorious in the end.
  7. In an interview with ESPN regarding the founding fathers of NASCAR, Johnson pointed out the lack of Raymond Parks off the list of the organization’s founding fathers.
  8. In my opinion, he should be credited with being the first contributor to the sport.

He backed it with all he had, right up to the day he died.” Although it may have gone without saying, it was not mentioned that Parks had acquired his money through moonshining. Photography by Racing One and used with permission from Getty Images

NASCAR Legend of Legends: Introduction – From The Moonshine Still To The Racetrack

When compared to the history of every other professional sport in the United States, NASCAR has had a very colorful past. The birth of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and all of the other professional sports that we as Americans enjoy watching pales in contrast to all of the interesting stories behind every amazingly colorful individual that helped to shape the sport that we know and love today, especially in the United States. The lives of everyone involved in the sport, from current legends who seem bigger than life, such as (my personal favorite) “The Intimidator”Dale Earnhardt to “The King” Richard Petty to pioneers of the sport like as Junior Johnson, will undoubtedly be filled with more than a few strange stories.

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There are other pieces in this series, which I’ve termed “NASCAR Legend Of Legends,” that will cover each of these topics in greater detail.

The Beginnings

When compared to the history of every other professional sport in the United States, NASCAR has had a very colorful past…. The beginning of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and all of the other professional sports that we as Americans enjoy watching pales in comparison to all of the exciting stories behind every unbelievably colorful character who helped to shape the sport that we know and love today, especially in the United Kingdom. The lives of everyone involved in the sport, from current luminaries who seem bigger than life, such as (my personal favorite) “The Intimidator”Dale Earnhardt to “The King” Richard Petty to pioneers of the sport like as Junior Johnson, will no doubt be filled with more than a few strange stories.

There are other pieces in this series, which I’ve labeled “NASCAR Legend Of Legends,” that will cover each of them in detail.

From Running Moonshine To Racing

At some point during the 1930s, moonshiners began racing their souped-up vehicles that had been specially adapted to transport moonshine on the track. They’d race them at both fairgrounds and genuine race tracks, depending on the situation. Furthermore, they would soon learn that others, often in their tens of thousands, would pay to watch them race. Bill France, who was still a bootlegger in the 1940s but would go on to found NASCAR as a professional sport, recruited moonshiners from the surrounding area to start racing professionally in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

  • It was at Daytona Beach, Florida, in December 1947 that he collected the cream of the crop of stock car drivers, mechanics and owners, when leaders convened and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was formally established.
  • And the rest, as they say, is history.
  • Because many of these anecdotes originate from southern drivers, I can’t promise that they’re all accurate 100 percent of the time.
  • Sometimes it is this aspect of the stories that makes them so compelling, and it is entirely up to the storyteller’s choice as to what elements are used for dramatic impact.
  • I’m going to get things off with a story about Junior Johnson, who is regarded as an icon and pioneer in the world of racing.

He goes into further detail about those cherries, but the bulk of the book is a crazy narrative involving hundreds of law enforcement officials and his family’s moonshine still. For now, get warmed up with this video of some of his most memorable NASCAR moments, which includes:

Our Favorite Moonshine Cars of All Time

Moonshine, my music is based on genuine events. I hope it will soothe your brain and kill your agony in the same manner that it has done mine (in due course), since I’ll either make a killing or go to prison. Because even if the fuzz is comin’ gunnin’ boy, I’m still running.–Moonshine lyrics, written by Matt Lockhart Moonshine has a long and illustrious history in many parts of the United States. After all, we like our beverage and we enjoy not having to pay taxes. A good number of guys were slain or put to prison at the time when the world was sepia and grey and men wore hats because they had a proclivity for running the shine back in the day.

  • Not only did such behaviors result in inebriation, but they also resulted in no tax revenue.
  • Moonshine runners, also known as bootleggers, whiskey trippers, or blockaders, fought back with vehicles that had been carefully modified to evade capture.
  • Despite the fact that they were unique and strong, the moonshine-hauling vehicle was one that did not stand out, with its enchantment hidden beneath the surface of the water.
  • Some of the best hotrods that have ever traveled the roads of West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, and the Carolinas were created only for the purpose of serving as a tool in the moonshine trade, and no other purpose.
  • As opposed to that, they were put together by well-connected individuals who recognized horsepower and cargo-carrying ability.
  • The drivers of moonshine cars were a fiercely competitive lot.
  • NASCAR is the offspring of moonshine and individuals who didn’t enjoy sitting through an afternoon worship in the Church of Christ.
  • Book reviews have poured in from small independent bookstores to major New York trade publications such as Publisher’s Weekly for the novel Gods of Howl Mountain, which is set against the backdrop of bootlegging and dirt track racing in the mountains of 1950s North Carolina.

Click here to see whether the book is available for purchase online!

The Top Cars for Bootleggers and Moonshiners

Without further ado, we offer to you AutoFoundry’s ranking of the top bootlegging automobiles from the Prohibition era to the present day. We selected these rides based on their popularity with whiskey-tripping tourists, its cultural value, and their overall amazingness.

The Ford Model T

Image courtesy of Wikipedia of a 1926 Ford Model T coupe. Although the tin lizzie is less spectacular than some of the other models on this list, it nevertheless deserves to be considered the most popular whiskey automobile of the Prohibition era. T-Model Fords were equipped with inline fours that had a displacement of 177 cubic inches and generated 20 horsepower. It had a top speed of 40-45 mph in factory trim and could be purchased for approximately $250 brand new. The most famous moonshiners, like as Raymond Parks, would drive their loads down from the highlands in the dead of night, then dress in a suit and mix in with the early-morning commuter traffic in places such as Atlanta.

The irony is that Henry Ford was an ardent supporter of Prohibition, prohibiting his factory workers from consuming alcoholic beverages (both on and off the job), and yet his machines would contribute to the emergence of a whole new type of criminal: the bootlegger.

The Ford V-8

1940 Ford Coupe / Image courtesy of Perich Brothers (PerichBrothers.blogspot.com). This is, without a doubt, the most iconic bootlegging automobile of all time, particularly the Ford coupes from the years 1939 and 1940. For squeezing extra power out of these flathead V-8s, whiskey mechanics had a number of techniques up their sleeves. Bore them, stroke them, add hotter cams and larger carburetors to make them more powerful. All of the fundamentals of hot-rodding were in the process of emerging at the time.

With its massive freight carrying capacity and incredible power, the 1940 Ford equipped with supercharged V-8 Cadillac ambulance engines served as the ideal moonshine-running vehicle in many respects.

Even when driven in its factory configuration, the 1940 Ford V-8’s torsion bar gave an extraordinarily steady ride, which was particularly useful for bootleggers traversing nighttime red-dirt bends with 100 gallons of highly flammable alcohol in their trunks.

1951 Ford Pickup

1951 Ford Pickup / Photo courtesy of RPMCT.com Probably the most well-known moonshine-running truck in history, the 1951 Ford pickup is still in use today. It has a fairly aggressive appearance, even by today’s standards, thanks to its toothy single-bar grille and wraparound bumpers. What made it such an excellent transporter of moonshine was, of course, its spacious engine compartment, which could accommodate very huge V-8 engines, as well as its pickup truck.

Apparently, there is a souped-up 1951 Ford truck on display at The Blue Ridge Institute in Ferrum, Virginia, as part of the White Liquor Exhibit.

1961 Chrysler New Yorker

Image courtesy of AutoTraderClassics.com of a 1961 Chrysler New Yorker Junior Johnson, NASCAR star and former moonshiner, was a fan of the 1961 Chrysler New Yorker, which was one of his favorite cars. It cost $5,000 back in the day, which was more than the price of my first automobile, a secondhand Trans Am, which I purchased in 1986 for $3,500. The fact that this big-finned sedan represented the peak of elegance fifty years ago made it particularly useful to moonshiners, as did its cargo-carrying capability and big-block V-8 Fire-Power engines.

In order to avoid being apprehended, Junior had supposedly fitted a series of toggle switches in his New Yorker, which allowed him to turn off his taillights, brake lights, or both at the same time.

1966 Dodge Coronet

1966 Dodge Coronet / Photo courtesy of CarGurus.com The 1966 Dodge Coronet (with with a Hemi engine) has been dubbed “one of the quickest sedans of all time,” which, given the car’s 426 Hemi V-8, is certainly an underestimate of the car’s true capabilities. The stock engine produced 425 horsepower, but everyone knows that it was insanely simple to extract even more power from these engines. Bootleggers preferred the 4-speed manual transmission, and they would jack up the rear suspension with up to ten leaf-stacked springs in order to keep the car’s ride level when it was loaded down for a run.

1971 Ford Custom 500

Image courtesy of IMCDB.org of Gator McKlusky’s 429-powered Ford Custom 500. The 1971 Ford Custom 500 is included on our list because of its position as Burt Reynolds’/Gator McKlusky’s whiskey-hauler in the 1973 classic, White Lightning, which starred Burt Reynolds and Gator McKlusky. With a 429 Police Interceptor/Cobra Jet engine, Gator’s full-size Ford automobile, which was brown with a blue upholstery and black steelies, was prepared for the chase. In addition to police agencies and taxi fleets, these cars were also popular with anybody looking for an inexpensive vehicle with plenty of sitting capacity and the might of a V-8 engine.

The 1974 Pontiac LeMans

Pontiac LeMans from Moonshiners in 1974 | Photo courtesy of Popular Hot Rodding The 1974 Pontiac LeMans made our list because it is the automobile driven by Fire Chief/Moonshiner Tim Smith in the Discovery Channel’s smash-hit showMoonshiners, which premiered in 2007. The large disco-era A-body is leveled at the back with heavy-duty station wagon springs, and it has a single-stage black urethane paint job done by Maaco in one shot. The true excitement, though, is found behind the hood. The LeMans was initially powered by a rudimentary two-barrel 350, but Tim and his son rebuilt it on a tight financial budget in 2011.

Estimated power output: 400 horsepower. More information on this bootlegging beast can be found on the website Popular Hot Rodding. Are there any that we’ve overlooked? Please share your thoughts in the comments section! Tags:Bootlegging,Classics,Ford,Moonshine

NASCAR’s Most Colorful Drivers of All Time

  1. NASCAR is a sport founded on the personalities of its participants, who may appear to be larger than life at times. From the early days when drivers came from a background of moonshine production to the present day driver who, like their ancestors, was eager to live life on the edge, there has been a constant evolution. Some of the most illustrious winners in sports history were also colorful people who helped to shape the sport into what it is today. In that case, here are the “Ten Most Colorful Drivers in the History of NASCAR.”
  1. Darrell Waltrip, also known as “D.W,” was one of NASCAR’s most successful drivers, winning over 84 Cup races and three drivers’ championships throughout his career. He was also inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Waltrip was recognized as a terrific talker, but he was also renowned as someone who could clearly back up anything he said.
  1. According to a reporter from Sports Illustrated, Curtis Turner once stated, “I enjoy drinking and parties more than racing, but I am better at racing.” Turner enjoyed flying airplanes and even flew his single-engine plane all the way to his home in Mount Airy, North Carolina, landing on the main street and then parked his plane at a local cafe for breakfast, which was a first for him. In July 1950, he became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two Grand National races at a row from the starting line, winning in Rochester, New York, and Charlotte, North Carolina, respectively.
  1. During an interview with Sports Illustrated, Curtis Turner stated, “I enjoy drinking and partying more than racing, but I am better at racing.” As a child, Turner enjoyed flying airplanes and even flew his single-engine plane all the way to his home in Mount Airy, North Carolina, landing on the main street and then stopping for breakfast at the local cafe. Rochester, New York and Charlotte, North Carolina in July 1950, he became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two Grand National races in a row from the starting line by leading every lap in both races.
  1. Bobby Allison was a member of the renowned Alabama Gang. Allison finished third in the all-time NASCAR Cup Series standings with 84 victories, matching him with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Allison is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500, including in 1988, when he finished second to his son, Davey, in a nail-biting 1-2 finish. Allison, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, won the Cup championship in 1983, but his finest season may have been in 1971, when he won 11 races for three different teams, including his own, to claim the championship. Alison’s professional racing career came to an end in 1988 when he sustained a severe head injury in an incident at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. Ironically, both of Allison’s sons, Clifford and Davey, were killed at racetracks in 1992 and 1993, respectively, in a tragic turn of events.
  1. A true folk hero, Junior Johnson was once labeled “The Last American Hero” in an Esquire story. After honing his driving talents as a moonshine runner, he was apprehended by federal investigators at his father’s moonshine still in 1956. He was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison after being convicted. He returned to NASCAR and utilized his moonshine-running talents to rise through the ranks to become one of the sport’s most successful drivers. It was in the 1960 Daytona 500 that Johnson achieved his most notable triumph, when he pioneered the practice of drafting and exploited it to slingshot past quicker cars. Johnson was a competitive driver who raced for a number of team owners. His best season came in 1965, when he won 13 races for his own team, which was a career high for him. He announced his retirement from racing the next season after amassing 50 victories in his career. He went on to become one of the most successful car owners in the history of NASCAR, winning 132 races and six titles with drivers Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip, among other notable achievements. Johnson was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class in 2010.
  1. Tony Stewart’s hero is none other than A.J. Foyt, which is only right. Stewart was crowned Sprint Cup Champion this year, and he is widely regarded as one of the most talented drivers in the sport. He is similar to his hero Foyt in that he is an outspoken individual, both on and off the track. His strengths as a driver provide as a counterpoint to his sometimes aggressive approach to dealing with problems. Because of his IndyCar background, he was given the moniker “smoke.” Despite being a former IndyCar winner and a previous USAC champion, Stewart has shown to be equally as good in stock cars since capturing the NASCAR Cup rookie of the year award in 1999. Stewart has won 39 races and three NASCAR Cup titles in his career, which spans 12 seasons (2002, 2005, and 2011). After winning 33 races and two championships with Joe Gibbs Racing before launching his own Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2009, Stewart has developed a fiery attitude and a proclivity for controversy that are reminiscent of his mentor’s. Stewart, whether you like him or not, is always entertaining.
  1. The NASCAR racing series was founded by moonshiners and outlaws, as well as a variety of colorful characters who bumped and banged and fought their way around speedways all across the Southeast, as we previously stated. Cale Yarborough, on the other hand, was rougher and harsher than the rest. Yarborough, a former semi-pro football player and Golden Gloves boxer, snuck into Darlington Raceway as a child and then lied about his age in order to compete in a race as a teenager, according to his autobiography. At the age of 18, he made his NASCAR debut and went on to win 83 Cup races over the course of his 31-year career, including four Daytona 500s and five Southern 500s. Yarborough is one of only two drivers in history to win three consecutive Cup titles, doing so for Junior Johnson from 1976 to 1978, winning the championship with 28 victories in 90 starts over the course of three years. Yarborough is also well-known for a battle with Bobby and Donnie Allison in the infield grass at the conclusion of the 1979 Daytona 500, a race that helped to establish NASCAR as a legitimate professional sport.
  1. Richard Petty is a fictional character created by author Richard Petty. When television was introduced to NASCAR, Petty quickly rose to the top of the sport’s popularity. He is the Babe Ruth of NASCAR, both in terms of accomplishment and in terms of legendary renown. Petty, who competed in NASCAR from 1959 to 1992, holds nearly every record in the sport, including the most starts (1,185), the most victories (200), the most pole positions (123), the most Top 5 finishes (555), the most Top 10 finishes (712), the most championships (seven), and the most autographs signed (countless). His 200 career victories represent a mark that is unlikely to be equaled or even surpassed. Furthermore, his 27 victories in 1967, including 10 consecutive victories, rank alongside Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak as one of the most extraordinary achievements in sports history. Although Petty was a dominant force on the track, he has proven to be even more so off it, serving as NASCAR’s primary ambassador and becoming a famous character who is still a fixture in the sport today. While donning his characteristic cowboy hat and sunglasses, he set the bar for fan involvement and sponsor relations, eventually becoming the most well-known driver and personality in NASCAR history. The only knock against Petty – and the only caveat that prevents him from being ranked No. 1 on this list – is that he accumulated the majority of his victories and championships during the 1960s and 1970s, when NASCAR’s top stars competed in 40 to 50 races per year, often against inferior competition at small-town short tracks across the country, preventing him from reaching the summit of the sport. Petty has 200 career victories, 140 of which occurred before the current era (1972), when he won an average of 44 races each season.
  1. Richard Petty is a fictional character created by author Richard Petty in the 1960s. The arrival of television brought Petty to the forefront of the racing world. When it comes to accomplishments and legendary stature, he is NASCAR’s Babe Ruth, to put it mildly. He raced in NASCAR from 1959 to 1992 and holds nearly every single record, including the most starts (11,185), the most victories (200), the most pole positions (123), the most Top 5 finishes (555), the most Top 10 finishes (712), the most championships (seven), and the most autographs signed. Petty retired from racing in 1992. (countless). A record that is unlikely to be broken, his 200 career triumphs are a testament to his dominance. In the same way, his 27 victories in 1967, including 10 in a row, rank alongside Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak as one of the most extraordinary achievements in sports. Although Petty was a dominant force on the track, he has proven to be even more so off it, serving as NASCAR’s main ambassador and becoming a legendary personality who is still a part of the sport today. Wearing his characteristic cowboy hat and sunglasses, he established the bar for fan involvement and sponsor relations, becoming possibly the most well-known driver and personality in the history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The only knock against Petty – and the only caveat that prevents him from being ranked No. 1 on this list – is that he accumulated the majority of his victories and championships during the 1960s and 1970s, when NASCAR’s top stars competed in 40 to 50 races per year, often against inferior competition at small-town short tracks across the country, preventing him from being ranked No. 1. Four hundred and forty-one of Petty’s career victories occurred before the modern era (1972), at which time he won an average of 44 races each season.
  1. Richard Petty is a fictional character created by writer Richard Petty. When NASCAR was first shown on television, Petty quickly rose to the top of the sport’s popularity. He is the Babe Ruth of NASCAR, both in terms of achievements and in terms of legendary renown. Petty, who competed in NASCAR from 1959 to 1992, holds nearly every record in the sport, including the most starts (1,185), the most wins (200), the most pole positions (123), the most Top 5 finishes (555), the most Top 10 finishes (712), the most championships (seven), and the most autographs signed (countless). His 200 career victories represent a mark that is unlikely to be surpassed. Likewise, his 27 victories in 1967, including 10 in a row, rank with Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak as one of the most extraordinary achievements in sports history. As powerful as Petty was on the track, he has been much more dominant off it, serving as NASCAR’s primary ambassador and becoming a legendary personality who is still a fixture in the sport today. Wearing his characteristic cowboy hat and sunglasses, he established the bar for fan involvement and sponsor relations, becoming possibly the most well-known driver and personality in the history of NASCAR. The only knock against Petty – and the only caveat that prevents him from being ranked first on this list – is that he accumulated the majority of his victories and championships during the 1960s and 1970s, when NASCAR’s top stars competed in 40 to 50 races per year, often against inferior competition at small-town short tracks across the country. Petty has 200 career victories, 140 of which occurred before the modern era (1972), during which he won an average of 44 races each season.
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