This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series heads to the mid-1960s, where it’s a threepeat for Beta’s 00! Plus, we’ve got a bunch of new buggies, additional Finals, a number of incidents, controversies, and even some curses, and the introduction of a present-day staple, the Buggy Book!
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 1 at 10:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 2 at 10:00am
Sweepstakes Chair: Bill Faircloth (Chair; SAE)
Race Results: (1) Beta – 00 (2:31.5*); (2) SAE – Maroon (Bike) (2:33*); (3 – TIE) Beta – 000 and PhiKap (2:37.7)
Design Comp: (1) SigNu – Lizard; (2) PhiKap – Shamrock
Weather: Sunny, 56-63 Degrees on Friday; Sunny and Windy, 61-65 Degrees on Saturday
1964 saw a number of new or significantly modified designs hit the course, one of which paved the way for Beta to break through for the first time in the post-war era.
- Buggy Gets Ready For Its Close-up. According to the April 22, 1964 Tartan, a New York film company that distributes videos to TV stations and movie theaters would be on hand on Raceday to film Buggy. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the footage (nor can we even confirm it exists), but at least the plan was there. If you’ve seen it, let us know!
- New Buggies Are Built. A somewhat significant number of new buggies or major design changes found their way to the course in 1964. PiKA retired their first fiberglass framed buggy, Cheetah, and rolled out their new buggy, Tiger Shark/T-1, which looked remarkably similar to Shark. PhiKap, a year after rolling out Snorpus, brought out their new design, Shamrock. Beta Sigma Rho produced the only standard trike 3-wheeler in the race, named The Dolphin, to replace its former 3-wheeler, “Wheelchair”. The Men’s Dorms, after having a buggy demolished in a freeroll accident in 1963, brought out a new, unnamed 4-wheeler with a clear plastic body to be run in addition to their no shell, sled-type buggy. Lastly, Beta put together a long-nosed aluminum buggy which has come to be known as the original 000, but at the time was also referred to as “Anteater”.
- From Three Wheels to…Four. Beta also made a big switch with their 3rd place buggy from 1963, 00. Prior to 1964, 00 was a reverse trike 3-wheeler (one of relatively few in Buggy’s history back then). However, after finishing a disappointing 3rd in 1963 after having the fastest Prelim time, the brothers, led by mechanical engineer Joe Van Ryzin, converted it from a reverse trike 3-wheeler into a more standard (for this era) 4-wheeler.
- Heats are Selected. 10 of the 12 fraternities, plus the Men’s Dorms, entered buggies in 1964, and a total of 18 buggies were entered. The heats were as follows:
- Heat 1: (Lane 1) DU – #67; (2) ATO – Andy II (#44); (3) Beta – Anteater/000
- Heat 2: (1) Men’s Dorms – #4; (2) Beta Sigma Rho – The Dolphin (#69); (3) DTD – #8
- Heat 3: (1) SigNu – #33; (2) PiKA – Tiger Shark/T-1 (#2); (3) Theta Xi – #3.14
- Heat 4: (1) Men’s Dorms – #5; (2) SAE – #1; (3) PhiKap – Snorpus (#27)
- Heat 5: (1) SigNu – Lizard (#3); (2) Beta – #00; (3) DU – #76
- Heat 6: (1) PhiKap – Shamrock (#77); (2) PiKA – Shark/S-1 (#17); (3) ATO – Golden Goose (#45)
- Races Start Off Bumpy. Friday’s Prelims didn’t go off without incident. The trouble began with the first heat. In that contest, DU, in Lane 1, was the first buggy up the front hills. But it seems that the Hill 2 pusher’s momentum carried him a little too far, and he fell down. This put ATO and Beta in a pickle. And as ATO’s Andy II (in 2nd up the front hills) swerved to avoid the pusher, Beta’s Anteater/000 collided with the back of Andy II and both ATO and Beta spun out. Due to DU’s interference, both ATO and Beta were granted a reroll on Saturday Morning. The incident left Beta’s buggy with some damage, but the brothers were able to repair it enough to race again on Saturday.
- More Prelim Incidents. But Heat 1 wasn’t the only one that saw an incident; in fact, Friday’s Prelims were bookended by them. In the 6th and final Heat, for the second year in a row, ATO’s Golden Goose had too much speed going into the chute and couldn’t quite handle it. This time, the Golden Goose ended up crashing into the curb, knocking off the hatch that covers the driver from above. Based on the photos that we have, it appears that the Golden Goose was far enough ahead of PiKA’s Shark and PhiKap’s Shamrock that the driver was able to pick up the buggy and continue pushing it. Meanwhile, behind ATO, PiKA’s Shark and PhiKap’s Shamrock ended up going through the chute together, colliding with each other. It’s not clear why, but both PiKA and PhiKap were granted a reroll; maybe because ATO’s crash is what ultimately led to the collision between PiKA and PhiKap? Is that correct? Well, if you were at CMU in 1964, let us know! In addition to that, SigNu’s Lizard was involved in an incident with another buggy the night before Raceday, resulting in a weakened rear suspension that led to a broken axle and poor finish in Heat 5.
- Saturday Rerolls. The three teams that had initially advanced to the Finals were SAE’s Maroon (Bike) (2:30.9), Beta’s 00 (2:31.5), and PiKA’s Tiger Shark/T-1 (2:39.5). But due to the incidents on Friday, there were 2 reroll heats that went off on Saturday morning. In the first, Beta’s 000 and ATO’s Andy 2 faced off again, and this time Beta’s 000 prevailed without incident. In the second reroll, between PhiKap’s Shamrock and PiKA’s Shark/S-1, it was PhiKap who earned the victory. Both Beta’s and PhiKap’s performances in the rerolls were better than PiKA’s Tiger Shark/T-1 had run on Friday. So in a quirk of the rules at the time, PiKA’s buggy was apparently eliminated from the Finals. Meanwhile, both Beta’s 000 and PhiKap’s Shamrock apparently clocked in at 2:37.70, and so they were each awarded 3rd place.
- Finals Match Race Ends in a Fitting Manner. Because of the rerolls, only Beta’s 00 and SAE’s Bike ended up competing in the Finals. And that match race wasn’t without controversy either. SAE’s bike crossed the final line in 2:33, well ahead of Beta’s 00, which finished in 2:47. However, one of SAE’s pushers had stumbled in front of Beta’s buggy, causing Beta’s buggy to slow down. Because of the interference, SAE ultimately conceded the race and Beta earned their first Buggy victory since 1935. Officially, the times were reverted back to their Prelim result, and thus Beta’s 2:31.5 is technically the winning time, even though SAE’s 2nd place time of 2:30.5 was faster.
- A Dean Gets Involved. We don’t have many details, but according to the May 2, 1965 Pittsburgh Press, a dean at CMU was watching the races from the Finish Line and became so engrossed in the finish of one of the races that he didn’t notice a buggy coming right at him. He was run over…
- 1964 Photos. We’ve reached a point in time when we’ve got SO MANY photos. So check them out, and if you can ID any of the unidentified buggies, please let us know!
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 7 at 10:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 8 at 10:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Roger Powell (Chair)
Race Results: (1) Beta – 00 (2:28.77); (2) ATO – Golden Goose (2:31.90); (3) SAE – Maroon (Bike) (2:32.05)
Design Comp: (1) Beta – 00 (444 points out of 500); (2) ATO – Golden Goose (410 points)
Weather: Rain early, overcast, 74-79 Degrees on Friday; Sunny, 78-84 Degrees on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1965 Buggy Book Link
1965 welcomed the addition of a new Consolation Finals and familiar staple of Buggy over the last 55 years – the Buggy Book!
- Introducing…The Buggy Book. The “Carnegie’s Grand Prix” article in the April 1964 edition of the Carnegie Technical turned out to be incredibly popular – so much so that per the October 14, 1964 Tartan, Popular Mechanics sought permission to reprint the article. And National Geographic covered buggy in their March 1965 issue, in an article entitled “Pittsburgh: Pattern for Progress” (note: we haven’t been able to access this article yet, but if you have access to the National Geographic’s digital archives, let us know!). All of this sudden interest pushed the Carnegie Technical to do something even bigger in 1965. They decided to devote an entire edition to Buggy! The edition would be 28 pages, with photos from recent races and highlights of Buggy history, plus photos and descriptions of each team and their entries, with a close look at past performances, problems, and advantages. It would also include design rules, Sweepstakes officials, a course map, and a heat sheet, and they sold the edition for 50 cents each. Little did the publishers of the Carnegie Technical know that their special edition in 1965 would still be published 55 years later, if the form of what we now know as the Buggy Book.
- Link to the Buggy Book. The 1965 Buggy Book is incredibly fascinating. Not only does it give a summary of the teams’ recent histories and have articles discussing pushing, driving, etc., it also goes into significant detail about the design of each buggy. Early versions of the Buggy Book also included the Preliminary Heat schedule. So, rather than repeat all of that here, from this point on I am adding a link to each year’s Buggy Book in the header for the year. You can find it above, and I highly recommend reading these early ones, as they are more than just a list of team members; they’re a detailed look at the thought process of building a buggy and the technology available in 1965.
- Finals are Expanded. The biggest change in 1965 came with an expansion of Finals. This year, for the first time, there would be 2 Finals heats – a Championship Heat and a Consolation Heat. The top 3 times from Prelims would advance to the Championship Heat, with the results of the Championship Heat determining the Top 3 trophies. The 4th-6th fastest times in Prelims would advance to the Consolation Heat, which would determine the final results for the 4th-6th place finishers. The purpose of this was to prevent the possibility of a mechanical timing error in determining the winner.
- Rules Recap. In addition to the Finals expansion, the 1965 Buggy Book includes the rules for Sweepstakes, and since it’s the first time in a while that we’ve had these, it’s worth recapping the ones that may be a little different from where we were previously or where we are today.
- Safety Inspection – Each Buggy is required to pass a safety inspection, which has 3 requirements: (1) 45 degree vision to each side; (2) adequate brakes; and (3) nuts involved in the control of the buggy must be fastened with lockwashers or locknuts.
- No buggy may be longer than 15 feet, the width may not exceed 5 feet, and no internal propulsion is permitted.
- No two buggies from the same organization may race in the same heat, and there are 10 minutes between Heats.
- As long as a buggy and driver are complying with the rules, if the buggy is involved in an accident, or slows or stops to avoid an accident, it will be eligible for a reroll, and the reroll will be granted if the buggy is immediately impounded and passes (except for accident damage) a safety inspection.
- A few additional rules (of the 10 total) resulted in race DQs that are still on the books today: Transition Zone Violations, Pushbar (Hill 5) Violations, Pacing, Loss of Mass, and Design Failure/Intentional Collision (which would be similar to today’s Interference)
- Course Marshals Added. It seems that Sweepstakes had enough of the crowd issues that had plagued it in the past, including 1964, when a dean was reportedly run over by a buggy. So in 1965, they introduced course marshals to help keep the course clear during the race.
- Designs of the Era. A couple of different publications took a look at the design of buggies present in 1965. The April 29, 1965 Tartan noted that there are two main types of buggies used: one, a low, streamlined frame with soapbox derby wheels, and one, a bicycle frame with large diameter tires. DU had their own modification, with the driver suspended above the road between 4 large bicycle wheels in a tubular V-shaped frame. The article noted that some buggies are worth as much as $1,000 in material value. Meanwhile, the May 2, 1965 issue of the Pittsburgh Press went even further, noting that Beta’s 00 has cost about $2,500 to build and maintain over the years (including the cost of converting it to a 4-wheeler). It stated that most buggies are built of fiberglass with barely enough room for a driver to wear a heavy sweater, and are operated from a prone position. ATO driver Lee Mennell described driving the Golden Goose as “like being sealed inside a rolling coffin”. And secrecy was still a big thing in 1965, as the Pittsburgh Press reported a rumor that the PiKA brothers working on the new buggy had their mouths taped in order to keep them quiet.
- More Buggy Changes. The 1965 Buggy Book shed light on several buggy changes being rolled out by orgs this year, so while it’s worth checking out the Buggy Book in full, I wanted to point out a couple of summary items. ATO reached back in time in 1965, pulling Andy I out of retirement to race as their B-Team buggy. Beta’s 000, which was previously aluminum and damaged in its 1964 3rd place finish, was redesigned with a papier-mache frame, sporting the Sunday comics over a chicken wire base. Meanwhile, Tau Delta Phi made their triumphant return to Buggy after a 6 year break with a 2-wheeled bike.
- The Bump-and-Run Begins. In the early years, the bump-and-run technique of pushing (giving the buggy a shove, then running to catch up to it) was prohibited by the rule that required a pusher to be in contact with the buggy at all times. But by 1965, that rule had long since disappeared. So SAE decided to take advantage of that opening and the lightness of their bike-style buggy by introducing what they referred to as the “spurt” technique for pushing. Evidently, some buggies may have been to heavy to use this technique effectively, but SAE found that it maximized the push and the overall speed, and eventually led to the modern era in which all teams use the bump-and-run technique.
- Beta’s Big Year. It seems that, at some point during practice rolls, Beta’s 00 had an incident and was damaged, as the May 5, 1965 Tartan notes that Beta has repaired the damage and would have the buggy ready to race. Repaired might not have been the right word though, as the Buggy Book indicates that 00’s components were almost completely rebuilt. The old shell and pushbar remained, but under the hood were significant design improvements and updates. And because of those changes, Beta also re-entered the Design Competition for the first time since their 1962 win, having taken the past 2 years off (possibly to focus on winning the race).
- Full Prelim Results. Thanks to the May 12, 1965 Tartan, we have the full Prelim Results as well as heat information. Friday opened with rain showers early, but luckily they ended prior to 10am and the races went on as scheduled. All 20 competitors passed their safety inspections and made it to the starting line. In Heat 1, Beta’s 00 set the time to beat at 2:27.7, and no other buggy came close the rest of the day. Heat 2 saw ATO’s Golden Goose complete the course without incident for the first time in 3 years, earning a spot in the Finals with a 2:31.77 time. Meanwhile, Beta Sigma Rho’s buggy was DQ’d for a transition violation at the Hill 4-5 transition. In Heat 5, Tau Delta Phi’s return to the races didn’t end so well, as their buggy Black Widow was double DQ’d – Once for a lane violation, as it left its lane on the Front Hills, and once for a Pacer on Hill 1. The biggest surprise came from the Men’s Dorms, whose #5 buggy went from being dead last in 1964 to 9th, entering the top half of the field. Meanwhile, SigNu was dealt a devastating blow to their Design Comp threepeat hopes, as their fastest buggy clocked in at 2:58.5 in Heat 7, which was not fast enough to make it into the top half of competitors (the minimum requirement to qualify for Design Competition). The full Prelim Results were:
- Beta – 00 (2:27.7)
- ATO – Golden Goose (2:31.77)
- Beta – 000 (2:34.27)
- PiKA – Tiger Shark (2:35.4)
- PiKA – Shark (2:36.27)
- SAE – Maroon (2:37.2)
- ATO – Andy I (2:37.8)
- DTD – 88 (2:44.85)
- Men’s Dorms – 5 (2:45.8)
- PhiKap – Snorpus (2:50.1)
- DU (2:50.85)
- Theta Xi – 3.14 (2:54.57)
- DU (2:56.55)
- SigNu – 13 (2:58.5)
- PhiKap – Shamrock (2:59.0)
- Men’s Dorms – 4 (3:05.9)
- SigNu – Lizard (3:11.9)
- Beta Goes Back-To-Back. Beta’s 00 went into the Finals as the heavy favorite and came out on top, winning in a time of 2:28.77 (slightly slower than their prelim time), but it wasn’t without some excitement. 00 and ATO’s Golden Goose were apparently neck-and-neck as they entered the chute. The Golden Goose went into a “power slide” and made contact with 00, resulting in a “very clean hole” in the side of the Golden Goose. The Golden Goose dropped off of 00 a bit there, with Beta’s 000 coming up behind, and ATO was just barely able to hang on for 2nd, just 0.15 seconds ahead of 000. In the Consolation Heat, SAE’s Bike took the victory earning them 4th place overall, while PiKA’s 2 buggies finished in a dead heat and were each awarded 5th and 6th place.
- 1965 Photos. Below are photos from 1965:
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 6 at 10:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 7 at 10:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Paul Magnuson (Chair)
Race Results: (1) Beta – 00 (2:27.02); (2) ATO – Golden Goose (2:29.5); (3) PiKA – Shark (2:30.5)
Design Comp: (1) Beta – 00; (2) SigNu – Lizard
Weather: Sunny but Windy, 73-76 Degrees on Friday; Sunny, 51-61 Degrees on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1966 Buggy Book Link
1966 saw a couple of team curses continue, as both Tau Delta Phi and (even moreso) Beta Sigma Rho continued their run of bad luck, while Beta looked to threepeat amidst delays and controversies.
- Fresh Roads. For the first time since 1946, we have records of the roads being paved! Specifically, the portion of the road running from Westinghouse Pond to Phipps Conservatory. Unfortunately, that didn’t address the “numerous potholes” that the 1965 Buggy Book stated were the biggest difficulty for a Hill 4 pusher, but it was a start. Instead, those would need to be handled by the Pothole Fairy, who teams with Sweepstakes to fill in some of the worst of those holes.
- KapSig Returns. KapSig, missing from the races since 1962, elected to return to Buggy in 1966 with an all new all-aluminum build and lucky number 13 (which had apparently been given up by SigNu). There was a lot of excitement surrounding the return of the most dominant team of the Pre-War Era. Unfortunately, a broken axle suffered shortly before Raceday was too much to overcome, and they ultimately failed to make it to the starting line.
- Other New Buggies. Several organizations rolled out either new buggies, or significant modifications from 1965. DU tried to go a little more simplistic than their previous underslung design and built a new buggy made of aluminum and plywood. Theta Xi added a second buggy to their fleet that was made out of fiberglass and plywood. Tau Delta Phi, after a promising performance in 1965 with their bike, Black Widow, decided to bring out a second, lighter bike named White Dwarf. White Dwarf had an aluminum frame with 26 inch pneumatic tires covered in white airplane silk. SigNu elected to run Lizard back, but made some significant changes to the buggy to put an end to their previous mechanical failures, including a “space frame” pioneered by Maserati and new brakes. DTD replaced their fiberglass shell with one made of cheesecloth and shellac to decrease the weight. And Beta decided that as much as people enjoyed reading the Sunday comics on their papier-mache shell, it would be better to create a fiberglass shell for 000, and so they did.
- Delays on Friday AND Saturday. Raceday 1966 didn’t go off without a hitch. In fact, both days ran into logistical problems. On Friday, Sweepstakes was ready to roll out a new electric timing system to help improve accuracy. But due to problems with the new system, the start of Friday’s races were delayed for 45 minutes. Not to be outdone, some form of mixup between Sweepstakes, the City, the police, and Phipps Conservatory (we don’t know who was actually to blame) resulted in cars being parked in the parking spots on the course across from Phipps. Finals were delayed over 1 hour as Sweepstakes tried to figure out what to do. Ultimately, some cars appear to have remained parked on the course, which came into play during the Consolation Finals (see below).
- Beta Sigma Rho Curse Continues To Burn. Beta Sigma Rho was not the luckiest of Buggy organizations. In the past, their issues had included pushbars that broke off in pushers hands, judges that accidentally stopped timing in the middle of heats, and pushers being run over by motor scooters. They had hoped that their curse was over in 1966. But just days before Raceday, at 3:00pm on Tuesday, April 26, the Beta Sigma Rho house caught fire, forcing the brothers to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere. Luckily, although there was significant property damage and the building was gutted (requiring extensive repairs that ultimately led to CMU constructing a new building), no brothers were injured. The fire began in the house’s pledge room and spread from there, though the exact cause of the fire was never determined. The good news is that the brothers were able to get The Dolphin out of the basement before the fire department arrived. But to add further insult to the already sad story, BSR’s The Dolphin was the only buggy to officially suffer a major incident on Raceday, as the lone 3-wheeler turned too quickly in the chute and spun out, spinning 180 degrees and breaking its axle and shearing rubber off of the front wheel when it hit the curb (the driver was uninjured). The buggy, the pre-race pick for 3rd place finisher, was travelling faster than any other buggy that day according to an observer in the May 11, 1966 Tartan. The buggy ultimately finished the race for the first time ever, but in a non-competitive time.
- Black Widow Gets Bit. Tau Delta Phi’s White Dwarf, which was completed just 1 week before Raceday, was light enough that TDP decided to run it as their A-Team. Which was a good choice, because their other buggy, Black Widow, also had a curse attached to it. The May 7, 1966 Pittsburgh Press cited a fraternity brother’s suggestion that the wind on Friday might hurt the 2-wheeler’s momentum. But the wind wasn’t ultimately the problem. Black Widow was leading its heat and making good time when suddenly a car drove past the barricades (if there were any barricades) and on to the course. The lead truck tried honking its horn to clear the road, but it was to no avail, and Black Widow was forced to swerve to avoid the vehicle and ended up tipping over. Tau Delta Phi was granted a reroll due to the incident, but the buggy was unfortunately DQ’d in the reroll for a Pushbar violation.
- Beta Goes For Three. As the only buggy to break 2:30 in 1965, Beta was expected to once again earn the first place trophy with their buggy 00. And they didn’t disappoint. After setting the fastest time in Prelims (we believe), they were matched up against ATO’s Golden Goose and PiKA’s Shark in the finals. Beta was in Lane 1, meaning that they started from behind, but by the time they entered the freeroll Beta was already 10-15 yards ahead. That advantage was thanks to pushers Don Keefer (E’ 67) and Ray Burdett (E’ 67), members of the CMU Basketball team. ATO and PiKA went into the freeroll neck-and-neck, but ATO was able to pull away from PiKA and actually catch up to Beta in the freeroll. However, Beta was too good on the back hills and sprinted away to win by 2.5 seconds. Meanwhile, PiKA caught back up to ATO on the back hills and actually passed ATO briefly on Hill 4, until PiKA’s wheels made contact with ATO’s, causing PiKA to fishtail. That hiccup allowed ATO to get back in front and Hill 5 maintained that edge, allowing ATO to finish 2nd and PiKA 3rd.
- Consolation Controversy. While the Championship Heat was somewhat close, the real drama during Finals came from the Consolation Heat. The three teams that qualified for the Consolation Heat (finishing 4th, 5th, and 6th in Prelims) were Tau Delta Phi’s White Dwarf, SAE’s Maroon (bike), and Beta’s 000. White Dwarf was the biggest surprise on the course; its time in the Prelims was a “wind-blown” 2:33.29 (per the May 11, 1966 Tartan), and it blew that away in the Finals. However, because this was the Consolation Heat and only determined 4th-6th, the heat was untimed. Unofficially, Tau Delta Phi clocked in at 2:28, which would have been the second fastest run of the day, making it clear that the 2-wheeled bike-style buggies were here to stay. Meanwhile, Beta’s 000 finished 2nd in the heat, defeating SAE’s Maroon. But because of the cars parked on the road during the Finals (as noted above), Tau Delta Phi and SAE each petitioned Sweepstakes to use their Prelim times in the event that the Prelim times were faster than the Finals times. Sweepstakes granted that request, and since SAE’s Prelim time was faster than Beta’s Finals time, SAE was awarded 5th place (much to Beta’s chagrin).
- Rounding Out The Top 10. We actually don’t know who finished in 7th place in 1966. But rounding out the top 10 were PhiKap’s Snorpus in 8th, and then a tie for 9th between SigNu’s Lizard and ATO’s Andy I. This was particularly important for SigNu, as the 18 second drop from 1965 allowed Lizard to qualify for Design Competition, which it had won the past 2 times it had qualified, and enabled it to take home the 2nd place Design Comp award. PhiKap’s Snorpus shaved over 10 seconds off of its 1965 time to become one of the most improved buggies. In fact, nearly 2/3 of the buggies improved on their time from 1965.
- 1966 Photos. Below are some photos from 1966:
- 1966 Video. As a late edition, we’ve actually got video of Raceday 1966! It was mislabeled as 1978, but the video includes Beta A’s 00 in Prelims Heat 2 (both on Hill 2 and the back hills), ATO’s Golden Goose going through the Chute, and the Consolation Finals between TDP A’s White Dwarf, Beta B’s 000, and SAE A’s Maroon.
One final note: If you notice anything that seems incorrect, let us know! Either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it updated.