Editor’s Note: While shooting the trail ride for the story “Old School is in Session” (Nov. 2007), one of the participants, Reid Norden, shared with us some vintage race photos taken of his dad, Orrin, back when he raced Jeeps for Brian Chuchua’s Jeep in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He graciously offered to share the photos and stories behind each with all of us.
This one is from the 1967 Baja 1000 is of my dad and his co-driver on their way to LaPaz in their Brian Chuchua, 2WD CJ-6. Brian thought it would be a good thing to run a two-wheel-drive Jeep in this class. From the story I was told, they won their class, but Jeep would not say anything about it because the Jeep was only two-wheel drive during a time when they were really pushing the capabilities and adventure of the 4WD.
This is Brian Chuchua’s Jeep Wagoneer that’s prepped and ready for a race with my mom standing by it looking like an early 1970s model. I’m not 100 percent sure what race they were getting ready to go to, but I remember the Waggy and a fiberglass-body Holy Toledo going as well.
The No. 8 CJ-5 was the first Jeep my dad bought new. He used it for hunting and salvaging crashed war planes in the Southern California area. The race was the short-lived Riverside GranPrix that was held in the riverbed of the Santa Ana River near Riverside, California. This Jeep was tuned by Richard Umphress (Dicks Automotive) in Westminster, California, and was a class winner many times on the figure-eight course.
The No. 90 Jeepster was at the Parker 400 in 1972 when they actually drove half the race in California and the other half in Arizona. This Jeepster was part of something my dad and his crew were promoting as the Americana Jeepsters.