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Richard (Dick) Waite

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by puff4, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    I'm wondering if anyone happens to have known the late Richard (Dick) Waite?

    He was one of the pit crew when the Harrington LeMans ran in 1965 at Sebring, and was the one who had to rip the fuel cap off when it pitted (because nobody had wire cutters to clip the safety wire holding the cap shut).

    He passed a few years ago, but I know of one of his race cars that may possibly be up for sale.

  2. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Steve Silverstein may have been in contact with him before his passing.

    Re the Harrington. That photo is from the 1963 event the last time it ran when entered under the NART team banner. It also ran in 1962 in a less modified/ tuned state
  3. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    Thanks, Michael!
  4. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor


    Steve, if you happen to see this... did you know much about his Rapier racer?
  5. sunbeam74

    sunbeam74 Silver Level Sponsor


    I raced the Rapier most of the time - shortly after buying it Dick became ill. Dick and I had gone together and bought a Minx to race in the VSCCA Sedan class. Then in 2015 we noticed the Rapier was for sale in England. It is a neat car and both the Rapier and Minx were tremendously fun to race. Both very predictable. Both are fairly stock but for upgraded shocks and the Minx was more of a twin carb "Alexander" setup. The VSCCA sedan class required a stock interiors, bumpers, and the car be road legal.

    Dick passed away a few years back. His daughter is in England. I'm about an hour and a half from Dick's house so I haven't driven it in a few years.
    jdoclogan and puff4 like this.
  6. sunbeam74

    sunbeam74 Silver Level Sponsor

    Clarifying the fuel filler incident at Sebring it was the Sebring Pit Marshal who damaged the filler. The seal had to be cut by the marshal. This letter telling about the weekend was from Dick:


    The following is a rather rambling story about the Sebring Harrington LeMans adventure that I was involved with back in 1963. I've tried to keep it in sequence but it may jump around a bit. Please remember that this was over 35 years ago and some of the facts may be a little fuzzy.

    I first met Stan Hallinan and his partner Tom Fry when I was in college (1956-1959). After graduation I used to hang around D&H Automotive, bought a car or two from them (one of which I still have) and participate in local rallies etc.

    At the time they were a Hillman/Sunbeam dealer, as well as AC's but that's another story. I believe that Bill Kneeland bought his Alpine from them. I'm not sure how the Harrington car arrived on the scene but I'm pretty sure Theodoli already owned it and took it to D&H to have it prepared for Sebring. Tom Fry did all of the prep work (sadly he passed away about a year ago). The only modification that sticks in my mind is that a pair of dual throat Webers was fitted. As events would prove, this was a mistake.

    Several of us hanger-ons were drafted to accompany the car to Sebring and act as pit crew. The tow car was a 1946 Ford Tudor Sedan which I had sold to Stan earlier in which he had installed a rebuilt motor, done a quick re-spray and covered the seats with something vinyl. I believe there were four of us in the car on the trip: Stan, Tom, me and Dave. (Can't recall his last name) Dave was a dwarf and couldn't share the driving chores but his bawdy humor kept us sane.

    The trip to Florida was mostly uneventful as I recall. We met up with Theodoli at Sebring and he provided lodging and invitations to a lot of great parties (met Stirling Moss, Fireball Roberts, Phil Hill among others). I'll never forget one scene with little Davie sitting on top of a grand piano, surrounded by a bevy of British fashion models, regaling them with dirty jokes and generally having one hell of a time. (At this point I should mention that I was 24 years old at the time and wide-eyed at this international event and the celebrities that went with it.

    At the track we shared garage space (in a hanger) with Chinetti's Ferrari team as well as another small Ferrari group which was running a GTO. All the stories you've heard about Ferrari crews and Chinese fire drills are true. What a circus.

    The three Alpine drivers were Bill Kneeland, Jerry Crawford and Theodoli. Bill was picked to start off as Filllipi had to perform some official function at the start (Alatalia was a major sponsor of the race). I'm not sure who went next. I was in charge of refueling, Tom Fry was the mechanic, Dave was our 'runner' and Stan was sort of the crew chief. Although it sounds like we had things under control, chaos reigned a good part of the time.

    As noted Bill Kneeland was first off the line but was overtaken very quickly by much faster cars. Everything seemed to be going ok for the first several laps (forget how many) but then Bill pulled in unexpectedly. He was low on fuel! (At first we couldn't figure it out but eventually we realized that the Webers were using about twice the amount of fuel that the stock setup used.) At the start the pit officials had sealed the gas tank to prevent anyone starting the race with a small load and getting an early lead. We had to locate a pit marshal and have him cut the wire seal. In the rush and confusion the guy cut and yanked at the same time and managed to pull the quick release fuel filler assembly right off the fill pipe and out of the fender. There was no way we could reattach the cap so I had to fill the tank using a funnel pushed down into the fender. It didn't quite reach. Needless to say gas sloshed all over the place and I was soaked in it from head to toe. We didn't have duct tape (don't think it was available back then) so we taped up the hole in the fender with masking tape.

    Once we got the fuel in, Bill went out again but was black flagged within a lap or two and came back in. Seems that on hard left turns the fuel was shooting out of the filler pipe all over the track. In fact we found out later that Mike Parkes (driving a Ferrari GTO I think) spun out on the spilled fuel. The only thing that kept the car in the race was Fillipi's official status and the fact that the pit steward had actually caused the problem. Our solution was to only half fill the tank from that point on. However, it made for a lot of pit stops and a very tired yours truly.

    The only other 'incident' was the overdrive switch packing up. I'm not sure who was driving at the time, but during one of the fuel stops Jerry Crawford rewired the switch (Jerry was an electrical contractor by trade) and it worked fine for the rest of the race.

    Despite the Webers, the car was the slowest in the class. Pitted next to us was the Sports Cars Graphic entry Alpine Hardtop. I think the car was one of their 'project' cars that they wrote a series of articles about. The main driver was Jerry Titus and the mechanic was Doane Spencer. Both went on to bigger and better things. The car was faster than the Harrington but at some point a rear axle broke. Titus managed to get it back to the pits and we were sure it was all over for them. We were wrong. Spencer fished out the broken bits and fitted a spare. It took close to an hour but once back in the race they made up the time and finished ahead of us. A good demonstration of how much faster the car was than ours.

    About the only other thing that happened was that one of the other cars in the class, a Porsche as I recall, went out so we moved up a place. Eventually the end came and we finished. Fillipi was elated, as the car hadn't finished the previous year. He supplied plenty of Champagne for all.

    Strangely I don't remember how I got home. I have no recollection of towing the car back so maybe I flew. It certainly was a grand experience and one, as you can see, I haven't forgotten. About the only regret I had was I didn't get to see any of the race as we never dared leave the pit area and you can't see much from the front straight at Sebring.

    That's about it.


  7. puff4

    puff4 Diamond Level Sponsor

    The “like” button isn’t big enough for this one, Steven. What an amazing bit of history.

    The reason for my post was that the Rapier may well be for sale. Some friends from the Put in Bay race crowd suggested it is now available. I wouldn’t buy it myself, but I’d be interested in helping find it a good and caring home.
  8. Eleven

    Eleven Platinum Level Sponsor

    If I was only younger I would be all over the Rapier.
    What an amazing time to be racing.
    Thank you for sharing.

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