The road of life takes you on many highways and byways. Through nameless towns, over tranquil rivers and fields that go far beyond the range of sight and sound. But those journeys always lead you somewhere. It may not always be the route or to the destination you had in mind, but along the way you’ll see tremendous things and undoubtedly meet some people that will touch your life far longer than their time with you.
For those of us at Kettle Moraine Preservation & Restoration, one such individual that is still affecting our daily lives was Michael Reynolds Argetsinger. Mike graced this earth from July 12, 1944 to July 7, 2015, and impacted everyone he met- usually in a graceful, subtle manner that may have gone unnoticed at first. Yet the dignified, positive way Mike went about his life had a magnetic effect on those around him, drawing unlike people together in ways we have never seen.
Mike’s passion for the history of the motorsport led him to cross paths with us in 2005. We were fortunate to have him drive one of our SCCA Spec Miatas from time-to-time over the next few years and showcase some of our cars at the International Motor Racing Research Center, an archival and research facility he championed and helped manage in his hometown of Watkins Glen, New York.
We were slated to have Mike drive our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF from Road America into downtown Elkhart Lake for the Road & Track Concours d’Elegance in July 2015, but we lost Mike a few weeks prior.
However, even in loss, you cannot lose a person. Our Eagle DGF driver, Jacques Dresang, still wears red socks whenever he races in memory of Mike. Whenever we don a sport coat, Ray-Ban sunglasses or share a word of kindness or camaraderie with another individual, Mike is there. Even our yearly ‘Holiday Shindig’ is rooted in a key element Mike shared- unity among people from all walks of life.
Thus, in the five years since his passing, we’ve tried to find a vintage Formula Ford that Mike may have owned and raced. Another effort to bring people together- bringing out a car that was raced by one of the most fullhearted people we have ever known. It hasn’t been easy. Most vintage FF’s do not have log books intact, nor do they have many identifiers attached to them that make them jump out and say who may have shoe’d them at some point.
However, a few weeks back, fellow Formula Ford legend Frank Del Vecchio posted a classified ad on Facebook for two Elden Formula Fords for sale. One was a rather rare Falconer-bodied Elden PH10A, but also, in the corner of the ad was a bare frame of some Elden origin. It had a few chassis modifications through thr years, but it is an Elden. Outboard rear brakes, PH10 bodywork and curiously, a logbook number stamped into the roll hoop from the Watkins Glen SCCA Region, Mike’s home region.
Upon further review, we made some calls to Mike’s family and friends as well as some key individuals here in the United States and in in England who know Eldens. We shot away some emails and went over photos of Mike racing in Europe in 1973 where he raced and helped organize the American Express Formula Ford Cup. In that series, he raced an Elden of some origin with PH10 bodywork and outboard rear brakes, and it just-so-happened that he exported the Elden to the US in early 1974.
If you know how stories are told, you’ll understand where this one is headed: we believe with considerable certainty that KMPR has just purchased Mike’s old Elden Mk10B. It’ll take some doing to get it back to race worthiness, but we intend on having it back running and sporting the ‘American Express Racing Team’ colors he ran in 1973 while stationed in Europe.
Yes, our marque of choice may be that of All American Racers; but our hearts are always with people- and when it comes to all of this car madness, Mike helped paved the way for us in many routes we cannot begin to explain.
Thus, in tribute to one of the finest people we have ever had the pleasure of knowing, we will bring to life a sliver of Mike’s time on this earth to the track via a car most never saw compete with him aboard.
So let’s keep this journey going- red socks and all.
Special thanks to Frank Del Vecchio, Lee Green, Peter Argetsinger, Brian Brown, Joe Marcinski, Josh Ashby, Bill Green, the IMRRC, Paul Pfanner, Allen Brown, Larry Haynes and Tim Woelk for their efforts.
We had a tremendous time at Road America this past weekend for the VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, featuring the 50th Anniversary of Formula Ford competition.Our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF qualified 8th and managed to come home 6th out of 63 cars that started the feature race for Club Fords. Another ten cars started the weekend, but never made it to the green flag on Sunday.
Walking away 6th of 73 that came to the track is something we'll never forget- the Eagle ran beautifully, as it has for the last ten years with us. The chassis is always predictable, and is driven with preservation and tomorrow in-mind; though pushed and raced as designed.
Special thanks go out to All American Racers, American Cylinder Gas, Werth Racing, Point B Suspension and everyone else who helped us this weekend.
As well, kudos to Steve Beeler, who has been planning the FF portion of the 50th for the past two years, and to VSCDA for running such a seamless event.
We have some exciting news coming up on September 24th that is going to be very special for us, and we think many of you will think so as well.
We had a wonderful time at the Rolex Monterey Reunion this past week, where our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF #005 took home the Rolex Award for Excellence in the Formula Ford category.The Eagle will be sporting #146 next month as we will be competing in the VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival, with the event featuring the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford competition.
Thanks to Jeff Werth (stage left in the group photo) for these great shots!
Yesterday was very up and down affair. After starting P12 and running 11th, we had an off course excursion after picking up clag whilst avoiding an exhaust pipe that was rolling down the racing line in turn 9. The result was a heavily damaged nose and a DNF.
For the feature race, we started 49th and came through to finish 20th. Our efforts for the weekend earned the team the Rolex Award for Excellence for the Formula Ford category in FF's first appearance at this prestigious event.
Our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF #005 rolls off 12th tomorrow morning out of the 56 Formula Fords that are entered here at the Rolex Monterey Reunion. Follow us live on imsa.tv at noon CST for our heat race and 4:15 CST for the main event! [Brad Newman Photo]
Former owner of Eagle DGF #005, Chuck Raggio, visited with us during the weekend of the Pre-Reunion and shared his memories of racing the rare Formula Ford. Chuck took some wonderful photos of the car, and even tried it on again for good measure. Thanks for everything Chuck!
[Photos Courtesy of Chuck Raggio]
Solid run out here at the Monterey Pre-Reunion. The morning qualifier was limited due to an incident, but DGF #005 came away with a P12 starting position in the 37-car field. After some early battles, the track got a bit greasy in the final two laps and the result was 11th at the line. Thanks to Brad Newman for some of these stellar photos!
We have our ex-Pete Lovely 1958 Thames 800 F1 transporter all ready for its return to the streets of Elkhart Lake Saturday night!
As well, we will be at the track this weekend supporting the #50 B-Sedan Datsun 510 of our friend and three-time SCCA Runoffs national champion Jeff Werth, who has a made a career out of taking Datsuns to the front.
Jeff will be coming out with us to Laguna Seca in a few weeks to help with our efforts at the Monterey Reunion and Pre Reunion, where we'll try to take our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF to a track it knows very well.
We wouldn't normally post a photo of a car dealership on our page, especially one that is of a brand we don't have in our shop, but this one is special.
We present a slice of history, located in Fife, Washington- Pete Lovely Volkswagen. Circa 1973 or so is our best guess.
Its neat to think our Thames 800 was probably running around the back lot, delivering transaxle parts or picking up the trash, as we know it did later in its life.
Special thanks to the Fife Washington Historical Society for the use of the image.
All American Racers Eagle #7225 is back home, and still gleaming from the weekend at the famed Milwaukee Mile, which is 30 minutes from our home base. Much thanks to Vintage Indy Registry for putting on such a well-run event that was both entrant and spectator friendly. Great cars and people all-around.We'll have our ex-Pete Lovely Thames 800 at the WeatherTech Int'l Challenge at Road America next month, once again partnered with a friend's 1959 Stanguellini Formula Jr.
Come see the patina and smell the Castrol R!