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  • Who was who?

    This one is for Dick Ralstin...
    What was the controversy about Jim Rathman.... Or was it his brother Dick...
    ZOOOM
    "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
    James Hurtubise, June, 1964

  • #2
    Originally posted by Zooom
    This one is for Dick Ralstin...
    What was the controversy about Jim Rathman.... Or was it his brother Dick...
    ZOOOM
    The one we knew as Jim was actually Dick... Dick (the real Dick) was too young to enter a race at some track and he used his brother's ID to get into the race... by the time they got to Indy the change had stuck and they continued to race under the other's name...

    How bad would that be to have an Indy 500 victory and see your brother's name on the Borg-Warner??

    "Ooh woo, I'm a Rebel just for kicks, now
    I been feeling it since 1966, now..."

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    • #3
      C'mon hozer... you'r too fast...

      I was hopeing that DR would have had an interesting comment or two on the subject. The part that aways befuddled me is the film clips that have surfaced in the last ten years or so. Am I seing Dick Rathman as Jim, commenting on his win... or is it really Jim poseing as Dick... Who the hell knows anymore???
      DR... any comments???
      ZOOOM
      "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
      James Hurtubise, June, 1964

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      • #4
        Hey Zoom,

        I was never around the Rathman's enough to get to know either of them very well so I am afraid I can't help you with your search.

        I heard the story Whosyer (Champion) Sparkplug was telling and always igured that was the story, how long the switch lasted I don't know.
        Dick Ralstin www.dickralstin.com

        Satisfaction guaranteed or your Monkee returned

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        • #5
          HO, Ho, Ho,... stumped the teacher!!!

          ZOOOM
          Hell, I don't know either....
          Z
          "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
          James Hurtubise, June, 1964

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          • #6
            Here is a question for you Floridians.
            In Melbourne, Fla there is Jim Rathman's Chevrolet Dealership
            who is the owner is it Dick or Jim???

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mother Duck
              Here is a question for you Floridians.
              In Melbourne, Fla there is Jim Rathman's Chevrolet Dealership
              who is the owner is it Dick or Jim???
              I'm not a Floridian but the dealership is owned by Jim (the 1960 500 winner whatever his original name was). His brother Dick passed away several years ago and I think he was working for Jim in later years. Supposedly, Jim's wife was friends with the wife of one of the General Motors presidents (I believe it was Ed Cole's wife) during the 1960's. The two wives got their heads together and Jim was offered the Chevrolet franchise in Florida only under the stipulation that he would retire from driving race cars. The deal apparently worked because Jim did quit driving completely at about the same time he started the dealership.
              Also, from what I have heard neither brother was too bothered by changing names. Most of their racing friends knew the original Jim as Dick and Dick as Jim. I don't know if they went so far as to make it legal or not. I wonder what their mother called them after the switch?
              BTW, even Donald Davidson was fooled for many years concerning the Rathmanns. DD went for years saying that the last Indy 500 winner born in Indiana was Jim Rathmann (who was supposedly born in Valporaiso, IN). What he didn't realize was that Dick (who was older and was originally named Jim) was the brother born in Indiana. Jim (the 500 winner; not the original Jim) was born in California after the family moved there. When Dick started racing under Jim's name he had to produce the Valporaiso birth certificate to authenticate his age. He stuck with the story for decades. DD finally found out the truth about in which state Jim (the 500 winner) was born many years later. In fact, I think DD was still stating that Rathmann was the last winner born in Indiana well into the 1990s. Does anyone here remember more about this?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by indyrjc
                I'm not a Floridian but the dealership is owned by Jim (the 1960 500 winner whatever his original name was). His brother Dick passed away several years ago and I think he was working for Jim in later years. Supposedly, Jim's wife was friends with the wife of one of the General Motors presidents (I believe it was Ed Cole's wife) during the 1960's. The two wives got their heads together and Jim was offered the Chevrolet franchise in Florida only under the stipulation that he would retire from driving race cars. The deal apparently worked because Jim did quit driving completely at about the same time he started the dealership.

                He and Ed Cole's wife were also the ones who hooked up the early astronauts with sweetheart deals on Corvettes. (I have read some accounts that imply that deal went beyond Corvettes to other cars in the Chevy lineup, too, so that Mr. Astronaut got the deal on his 'vette, which everybody knew about, but Mrs. Astronaut could also get a similar deal on, say, an Impala or a station wagon. But I don't have any confirmation of this.) The story goes that after Rathmann befriended members of the Original Seven, the Original Seven, if they were so inclined, got freebie Corvettes (Scott Carpenter wound up with a Cobra later on), but after about 1962 or '63 when the second and third groups of astronauts came in, they had to pay for 'em-but they paid some sweetheart deal far below even dealer cost. Mrs. Cole realized that astronauts, who were kind of celebrities at the time, should be seen driving Chevy's flagship sports car because it would be good PR. They generally weren't base models, either-generally fuelies in the early days, or big blocks, convertibles, or both later on. They could get custom work done on 'em too-some Apollo crews ordered their cars with custom paint jobs that identified them as one crew, but with subtle color variations between the cars of the Commander, Lunar Module Pilot, and Command Module Pilot, as seen here with the crew of 1971's Apollo 15 crew: LMP Jim Irwin, CMP Al Worden, and CDR Dave Scott....



                The Lunar Rover Vehicle was not to the best of my knowledge part of the production Chevrolet lineup. Talk about off-road....

                There are lots of stories about the astronauts' exploits with Rathmann in those cars. One is that Rathmann told a friend that he wasn't bothered too much by the idea of racing at Indy or Monza, because he was a top driver and he knew what he was doing-but riding along in a Corvette with Gus Grissom was a scary thought....

                Another, related by Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff, tells of the time Jim went flying with Gordo Cooper in a twin-engine Beechcraft, and Gordo advised him never to fly under a flock of birds, because they'd crap all over the airplane in fright. Rathmann said something like, "Aww, come on now...." And Gordo happened to spot a flock of birds flying LOW over the marshland below, and said, "No, really-I'll show you!" So he dove the plane down until, according to Rathmann, they could hear the props slicing through the tall grass, and flew under the low-flying flock of birds.

                At the end of the flight, a slightly shaky Rathmann climbs out of the plane, grateful to be back on terra firma, and looks back to see Gordo pointing at a bunch of splattered bird doo-doo on the roof of the fuselage, grinning that big Gordo Cooper grin, and repeating in that distinct Oklahoma twang, "See-I told you!"
                Last edited by Sea Fury; 10-28-2005, 12:05 AM.
                "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

                "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

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                • #9
                  Wow... I just thought I would lob another bomb into the forum...

                  The posts have taken on a life of their own.
                  I didn't expect that the thread would last this long.
                  I see that this thread has triggered memories that go far beyond what I expected. CONGRATS
                  You all never fail to amazie me!!!
                  It's good to be a part of this!!!
                  I wait for each evening to see what the Forum brings me.....

                  ZOOOM
                  "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
                  James Hurtubise, June, 1964

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey Sea Fury & Indyrjc

                    Great Stuff, those are really great stories, I could listen to more all night. Indtrjc I have never heard Donald mention the Rathman's but believe me the next time I talk to him I will ask.

                    I know I had never heard the whole story before, but I just supposed he had, that is great.
                    Dick Ralstin www.dickralstin.com

                    Satisfaction guaranteed or your Monkee returned

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Once they made the switch they never went back... who died as Dick was the real Jim and who owns the Chevy dealership and a place on the Borg-Warner is the real Dick.

                      And the reason they kept with it was that everybody in racving knew them under the wrong name then once Jim, er, I mean the real Dick won Indy it was pretty much a done deal.

                      I don't know if it was done legally but when you start putting your name on Chevrolet Dealerships they just about had too.

                      I didn't know about the Chevy Dealership until I moved to Florida and when I saw there was a Jim Rathman Chevrolet I couldn't resist asking. the guy who answered the phone who identified himself as a salesman said no.

                      But when did you ever talk to a car salesman who knew more than you did??

                      "Ooh woo, I'm a Rebel just for kicks, now
                      I been feeling it since 1966, now..."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Whosyer-Sparkplug
                        I didn't know about the Chevy Dealership until I moved to Florida and when I saw there was a Jim Rathman Chevrolet I couldn't resist asking. the guy who answered the phone who identified himself as a salesman said no.

                        But when did you ever talk to a car salesman who knew more than you did??
                        Pretty sad salesman there considering that Rathmann has his Indy car in the showroom.

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