THE BERNIE'S LIQUOR SHOP 71

 

 

     The first time I ever got to visit the legendary Fonda Speedway was right around 1962. My uncle and I had gotten there really early, had watched every detail of the track preparation, and were getting a little sick of sitting there by the time warmups and practice laps were beginning. I had visions of Danish, Corey, Herbert, and Lazarro swimming in my head; and I had actually seen the likes of George Baumgardner and Dutch Reed performing in Vermont at the old Otter Creek Speedway earlier that year.
    The very first car to appear out on the track, however, was an unfamiliar red and white 1937 Ford coupe, being identified by announcer Mike Valchovic as "Leeeeeeee MILL -in - tunnn, from Palatine Bridge". Ever since I have a soft spot in my heart for that first Fonda car I ever saw. I have seen the owner's name spelled a number of different ways, but I will go with Bernie Maruska.
    Apparently, the main wrench [and perhaps the actual owner] of the car was Dick Bennett. I just recently [March 2011] found a number of photos from Gerry LaVallee, which I am gratefully placing here. CLICK HERE for those.


Ladabouche Collection Photo by Russ Bergh
Leeeee   MILL - ing- tunnn ! with that first car I ever saw on Fonda.

  


Source Unknown
Mr. Lee

 

From Otto Grahams Site
An earlier version of the
71 with either Irv Taylor
or maybe Millington.

John Grady Photo
Lee, around 1962.

Gater Racing News Photo
Around 1964, with a
Chevy . Looks like a wreck
with Robbie Kotary.

Steve Judd Photo
Lee and that later Chevy
version of Bernie's car

John Grady Photo
My favorite shot
of Lee and car.


Courtesy of Jo Towns via Otto Graham
Mr. Lee in a later coupe.

EARLIEST VERSIONS


Schenectady Collection, Otto Graham
Ken Jones, with a very early version.

Schenectady Collection, Otto Graham
Ken Jones, with a very early version.

GERRY LAVALLEE PHOTOS
[All From Jalopy Journal]


Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington wins

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington with
the 1967 version.
 

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington with
the Dick Bennett Valiant

 

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington 1960's

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Robbie Kotary wins

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Ken Jones, with a
1950's version.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
A rare Jim Luke
sighting in that car.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Don Wayman, Berni Maruske,
Dick Bennett, as the Fonda
"Ford Champions".
 

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Bennett, Maruske,
Wayman, and crewman.
 

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Don Wayman wins

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
In the wall at Fonda.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
A fire in the pits.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Dick Bennett and
Bill Kollar, Sr..
 

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington wrinkles
the 71 at Fonda.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Showing Jerry Cook
the way around Fonda.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Jack Johnson, at speed.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Jack Johnson wins

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington missing
some of the roof.

 


Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Mr. Lee, in color.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Lee Millington, 1967.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Jack Farquhar with
the Valiant.

Courtesy of Gerry LaVallee
Jack Farquhar with
the Valiant.
   

 

 


Courtesy of Lew Boyd
My buddy Lew Boyd, with the car in the 70's. The three window coupe reminds me of one such
car that made the rounds among Gloversville area owners in the 1960's.


Gater Racing News Photo
Lee wads up one of Dick's 71's in a clash with the Ward Petit 148 of Robbie Kotary.

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