(click to enlarge photos)
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.
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.
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.
Above and below: Staging the Slow-Mo in Sayers’ automart for publicity in many directions. Roger Dudley — an old acquaintance since passed — took both pictures.
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-shun 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.
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 1930s, mostly.
NEWS of STAN SABRES’ DEATH by HEART ATTACK, Seattle Times Sept. 17, 1956
More From RON’S COLLECTION – A GENUINE MODEL SLO-MO-SHUN IV
ABOVE: Ron Edge’s glossy of the “revolutionary” Thriftway Too with its cabin at the bow’s end. The driver, Bill Muncey, and the hydro’s celebrated designer, Ted Jones, signed the print over to Ron and his brother Don.