Book Review - City
Los Angeles and the Rise of American Racing
Fast Times in L.A.
by Joe Scalzo
by Chuck Arehart
may get credit for starting the domestic auto industry,
but author Joe Scalzo doesn't want anyone to forget
the influence Los
Angeles has on the U.S. racing world.
When race cars evolved from the first horseless
carriages, the Indianapolis 500 became the yardstick.
Even if a manufacturer didn't win a race,
they learned what happened when an engine was abused
for 500 miles.
In a somewhat disjointed writing style, Scalzo tells
the tale of how Harry Miller engines dominated Indianapolis in the 1920s, and later morphed into the product of Fred
Offenhauser, who worked for Miller. His "Offy" engines
would go on to dominate Indy from the late 1940s well
into the 1970s. There are many great stories to read,
and that's essentially what this book is: a remembrance
of drivers, engine and chassis builders, team owners
and even fabricators, all either founded or based in
the L.A. area. All of the greats who raced on ovals,
road courses and even the Bonneville Salt Flats are mentioned,
along with stories you may not have ever heard about
Scalzo uses a lot of nicknames and odd subject references
throughout the book, so it's an attentive read. Excellent
photography is provided on nearly every page, with captions
to supplement the text. City
of Speed truly dives headfirst into the L.A. racing scene, meaning even the knowledgeable racing fan is sure to learn something new.