RAOUL 'SONNY' BALCAEN

Subtitle My exciting true-life story in motor racing from Top-Fuel drag-racing pioneer to Jim Hall, Reventlow Scarab, Carroll Shelby and beyond

Pete Lyons, Jill Amadio
Price $40.00
Description Description Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen grew up in Los Angeles at a time when it became the epicentre of American motor racing, nurturing a vast talent pool of people whose influence has echoed through to today.

As a teenager, he successfully competed with his home-built Top Fuel dragster during the formative years of the sport. With Lance Reventlow, he worked on the famous Scarab sports cars and was standing in the dyno room when the team’s all-American Formula 1 engine was fired up for the first time. A period as Jim Hall’s crew chief and a close association with Carroll Shelby added to the know-how that guided him towards becoming a successful entrepreneur and led to all that followed.  
  • Aged 17, Balcaen built his own Top Fuel drag racer, the ‘Bantamweight Bomb’, which he developed relentlessly and drove to many successes. 
  • His role in the fabulous Scarab sports cars — the landmark all-American racers — and insights into life with their creator, the incomparable Lance Reventlow.
  • Working as crew chief to the brilliant Jim Hall, preparing and running his Lotus Eleven and Lister-Chevrolet long before the famous Chaparrals emerged.
  • A second spell with Scarab, this time with the Formula 1 project — the first American Grand Prix car — plus a special job for Reventlow converting a Scarab sports racer into a street car. 
  • Onwards into setting up his own successful business, IECO (Induction Engineering Co), to create and sell high-grade performance and appearance accessories, with Chevrolets — especially Corvair and Vega — featuring strongly.
  • His many-faceted dealings with Carroll Shelby, leading to consultancy and even assignments as occasional Shelby American company pilot.
  • Along the way we meet many other big names of the era, including Chuck Daigh, Bruce Kessler, Warren Olson, Dick Troutman, Tom Barnes, Phil Remington, Ken Miles, Leo Goossen, Jim Travers, Frank Coon, Ed Donovan and Pete Brock. 
This engaging memoir is the very personal history of a momentous time and place in which we meet a who’s who of West Coast road-racing heroes.
Format:
Format Hardcover + Jacket 320 Pages
ISBN:
ISBN 9781910505779
Size:
Size6.10 in x 9.20 in / 154.94 mm x 233.68 mm
Published:
Published Date November 15th, 2022
Pete Lyons
Pete Lyons is an international motorsports reporter, photographer and award-winning book author in the fields of Formula 1, Can-Am, Endurance sports cars, Indycar, Trans-Am and many more forms of the sport. In his decades-long, worldwide career, Lyons has authored 14 books and also been a staff and/or freelance contributor of stories and/or pictures to numerous enthusiast publications, including Autosport, AutoWeek, Car and DriverRoad & Track, Vintage Motorsport and many others. His honors include 2 Dean Batchelor Awards for Excellence in Journalism, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jill Amadio
Jill Amadio is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books and has a background in journalism with National Speed Sports News, Motor Trend, Kelly Blue Book, Los Angeles Daily News, Condé Nast, Washington Examiner and Gannett Newspapers as well as a spell as communications director for Skoal Bandit Racing.
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