Seattle Now & Then: Stan Sayres on Broadway

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:The front end damage to the white Shepherd Ambulance on the right is mostly hidden behind the black silhouette of either officer Murphy or Lindberg, both of whom answered the call of this morning crash on Feb. 18, 1955.
THEN: The front end damage to the white Shepard Ambulance on the right is mostly hidden behind the black silhouette of either officer Murphy or Lindberg, both of whom answered the call of this morning crash on Feb. 18, 1955.
NOW: After nearly a quarter-century at the northwest corner of Broadway and Madison, Stan Sayres sold his Chrysler-Plymouth dealership.  Stephen Lundgren, First Hill historian and Program Coordinator for Harborview Hospital Patient Relations, reminds us that the Sayre’s corner later became home for Harborview’s Madison Clinic and its pioneer treatments with AIDS/HIV.
NOW: After nearly a quarter-century at the northwest corner of Broadway and Madison, Stan Sayres sold his Chrysler-Plymouth dealership. Stephen Lundgren, First Hill historian and Program Coordinator for Harborview Hospital Patient Relations, reminds us that the Sayre’s corner later became home for Harborview’s Madison Clinic and its pioneer treatments with AIDS/HIV.

The tableau of milling pedestrians, crashed cars and two cops scattered before this Moorish “temple” to the American Automobile (the name is written in tiles across the top) was roused by Mrs. Sally Jo Nelson who badly turned her ankle while decamping from a city bus at Second Ave. and Columbia Street on the Friday morning of February 18, 1955.

An earlier year at the intersection, this time looking east on Madison and thru Broadway.  We don't know the date.  What you think - judging by the motors?
An earlier year at the intersection, this time looking east on Madison and thru Broadway. We don’t know the date. What you think – judging by the chassis?

Once called, Shepard Ambulance driver George Gagle sped to Nelson’s rescue, with red light flashing and siren sounding.  Barreling west on Madison Avenue, Gagle had the right-of-way.  More fatefully for his passenger and young assistant Abel Haddock, Gagle crossed Madison’s busy five-star intersection with Harvard and Broadway Avenues through a red light with these results.  And the 21-year-old Haddock was seriously injured.

1 ST-2-18-1955-ambulance-Broadwy-Madi-wreckWEB

The gleaming backdrop here is Seattle Gold Cup legend Stan Sayres’ Chrysler-Plymouth dealership.   In part because of his showmanship, the sportsman Stanley St. Clair Sayres’ sales career at this corner was a great success in spite of starting in 1932 during the Great Depression.  Designed and built by two more legends, Ted Jones and Anchor Freeman, Stan Sayres’ Slo-mo-shun IV won the American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup in Detroit in 1950 with Sayres in the cockpit.  The victory brought the annual race to Seattle where it stayed until the year Mrs. Nelson fell from the bus.

2 American-Automobile-Co-Broadway-&-Madison-Stan-Sayres-1950-WEB

Above and below: Staging the Slow-Mo in Sayer’s automart for publicity in many directions.   Roger Dudley – an old acquaintance since passed – took both pictures.

2 Slo-mo-shun-IV-American-Automobile-Co-Broadway-&-Madi-Dubley-2-1950WEB

1955 was Stan Sayres’ tough year.  Days before the August race, the Gold Cup Committee upheld the decision of the race’s referee.  Slow-mo was no longer allowed to enhanced starting speed during count-down by passing directly under the Mercer Island Floating Bridge along Lake Washington’s West shore.  Then during the race, Sayres’ Slo-mo V flipped and his Slo-mo IV, while leading the race, conked out on the sixth lap of the final heat.  Seattle lost the Gold Cup back to the Detroit River.   A year later Sayres died of a heart attack in his sleep.

Strikers from the Ron Edge Collection
Strikers from the Ron Edge Collection

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?  Yes Jean – a few pix and clips about Sayres and his hydroplanes and also a few candid shots of Broadway in the 30s – mostly.

I know not the year, but I assume it is a scene from the Gold Cup when it was still in Seattle.
I know not the year, but I assume it is a scene from the Gold Cup when it was still in Seattle.

1955-Gold-Cup-Program-cover-regattamag-wEB

1955-Gold-Cup-Program-Stan-Sayres-WEB

1955-Gold-Cup-Program-Stan-Sayres-2-WEB

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A classic interview by P-I's ancient sports editor, Royal Brougham with Stan Sayres on Jan. 20, 1955, the year of more great expectations.
A classic interview by P-I’s ancient sports editor, Royal Brougham with Stan Sayres on Jan. 20, 1955, the year of more great expectations. [CLICK TWICE to Enlarge]
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NEWS of STAN SAYRES DEATH by HEART ATTACK, Seattle Times Sept. 17, 1956

obit Please-Lord-Sayre-pits-9-17-1956-WEB

obit Stan-Sayers-Obit-page-2-8-17-1956dsWEB

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More From  RON’S COLLECTION – A GENUINE MODEL SLO-MO-SHUN

kidkit Stan-Sayres-Slo-mo-shun-ModelWEB

kidkit Slo-mo-shun-model-Trade-mark-WEB

kidkit Slo-mo-shun--nameTrade-mark-WEB

Aqua-Follies-program-1955-2k-web

Not a model - the real Slo-mo at MOHAI with the original Boeing Mail plane beyond hanging from the ceiling.
Not a model – the real Slo-mo at MOHAI with the original Boeing Mail plane beyond hanging from the ceiling.

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Ron Carver-photo-of-Miss-Thriftway-II-signed-to-Ron-&-Don-Ted-Jones-and-Bill-Muncey-WEB

ABOVE: Ron Edges glossy of the “revolutionary” Thriftway with its cabin at the bow’s end.  The driver Bill Muncey and the hydro’s celebrated designer, Ted Jones have signed the print over to Ron and his brother Don.

 

The Gale wins the Gold Cup in 1955 by a few seconds and confounds Muncey, the Thriftway driver.
The Gale wins the Gold Cup in 1955 by a few seconds and confounds Bill Muncey, the Thriftway driver.
How times change.  One year earlier, in the 1954 Gold Cup, the Gale wound up in a rose garden.  (Courtesy again, Ron Edge)
How times change. One year earlier, in the 1954 Gold Cup, the Gale wound up in a rose garden. (Courtesy again, Ron Edge)

 

 

 

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