Log in to your account

Historic Parking Ahead

» page 2 of 2

Yates remembers the first time he hung around in a garage: “When I was a kid my dad purchased an XK120 Jaguar and it was maintained by a guy named Don McArthur. He was brilliant and had a tremendous understanding of exotic cars. All the biggies in town drove Buicks and Cadillacs, and this Jaguar was an outcast. There were only a few foreign cars, mostly MGs, and this one Jaguar. I remember watching McArthur work when I was a kid. He really had an insightful understanding of automobiles and cared about them.”

click to enlarge The original workbench from the garage's stable days is still in use.

Yates learned early on to appreciate cars and also racing drivers. “My dad brought me home an issue of Speed Age magazine and that was the first car magazine I saw. Then I began to buy Road & Track and Hot Rod." His father owned several Stutz and talked about watching Ralph DePalma race on the big board track at Sheepshead Bay.

What Yates likes even better than exotic racers is The Eliminator, the hot rod that he bought and restored it in 1996. The home-built Model T bucket ran at the Monterey Historics races in 1997. It pounded around the track faster than a handful of sophisticated Ferraris.

Yates acquired the nickname “Assassin” for scathing reviews he wrote about new cars he didn’t like.

Yates calls The Eliminator a junkyard dog. The oil breather catch can is an old Marvel Mystery Oil can, and the coolant expands into a World War II canteen. He points out with terrific pleasure that the brake scoops were made by slicing a Japanese World War II helmet in half and attaching them to the spindles. J. Chamberlain began building The Eliminator in early 1950s for racer and flyer Frank Curtiss. Duffy Livingston completed the car and in 1956 replaced the Flathead V8 with a small block Chevy engine.

The Cannonball Challenger still runs the One Lap cross-country rally that Yates created in the 1980s. “I don’t have the desire to collect many more cars,” he says. “I just like to have a few that I care for.” Secretly, he does have a wish list: A “birdcage” 250F Maserati Grand Prix racer and an original Lister.

click to enlarge Yates favors sprint cars because of the colorful lore of their drivers.

Several years ago, Yates hatched plans to re-create the stir that the Eliminator started. He built a new Eliminator with a 1934 Ford body that has more room than the Model T bucket body of the original, and the hand-made nose was replicated in high-tech carbon fiber. The new car has a Viper drivetrain underneath, and went zero to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, and from zero to 100 mph and back in 13 seconds. “We built it, we might build some more, depending how well this one does.” It's a good bet that the first one will have a permanent home in Yates’ carriage house.

Garages  ·  Advice  ·  Events  ·  Reviews  ·  Online Store  ·  Swap Meet  ·  Contact Us  ·  RSS Feeds  ·  Newsletters

© 2006 Ultimate Garages Promotions, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.