This week, the 100 Years of Buggy History series takes a look at the late 1960s. Carnegie Institute of Technology officially became Carnegie-Mellon University, while Sweepstakes also introduced the first official daytime practice rolls! Meanwhile, on the course PiKA and Beta would continue to duke it out, SAE would make their last stand on bikes, and the races would officially become a campus-wide affair with the introduction of the International Club (a.k.a. Fringe).
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 5 at 9:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 6 at 9:00am*
Sweepstakes Committee: Michael Smolens (Chair)
Race Results: (1) PiKA – Shark (2:24.8 – COURSE RECORD); (2) Beta – 00 (2:25.8); (3) PhiKap – Shamrock (2:26.5)
Design Comp: (1) Beta – 00 (434 points); (2) PhiKap – Shamrock (409 points)
Weather: Cloudy, 57-64 Degrees on Friday; Rain, 43-48 Degrees on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1967 Buggy Book Link
1967 saw some changes on the Sweepstakes side of Buggy, with the introduction of practice rolls and haybales, plus Golden Goose’s course record finally falls before the rain rolls in.
- Introducing…Rolls! The biggest news prior to Raceday 1967 was the addition of formal daylight practices for the first time ever. These organized practices, which included coordination with police to close the roads, occurred on Sunday mornings during the Spring semester in 1967. The reason for the change was the increasing volume of traffic in Schenley Park at night, which made it difficult and potentially hazardous to practice the same way that buggies had in the past. In addition to the traffic, an incident at practice in 1966 when some fraternity men were involved in a fight with “intruding teeny-boppers” (per the 1968 Buggy Book) prompted CMU to seek a safer alternative. The side effect of the addition was that buggy became more open – teams could see what the other buggies looked like prior to Raceday, and organizations could send out timers to clock how fast their opponents were going. Of course, Rolls didn’t come about without some difficulty; one candidate for Student Body President for the 1967-1968 year, Ron Haan, ran on a platform of supporting CMU students in their clashes with Pittsburgh Police over practice rolls.
- With…Haybales! It’s unclear if this was added in 1967 or slightly before, but another recently added addition to the Buggy course was haybales in the chute turn! After many occasions of teams spinning out and hitting the curb, Sweepstakes brought in haybales to improve safety. And they were put to the test early, as PiKA’s Tiger Shark crashed into the bales during the race. Thankfully, the bales did their job and saved the driver from an injury that would have occurred from making direct contact with the curb.
- Back Hills Worsen. Even though a portion of the freeroll was repaved in 1966, the quality of the back hills was continuing to deteriorate. The April 12, 1967 Tartan noted that “any buggy that finds itself in any position other than the center of the street is going to have a hard time making the finish without a bent axle.”
- Beta Sigma Rho Gets Bent. It turns out that it wasn’t just the back hills that were problematic. Beta Sigma Rho’s 3-wheeled The Dolphin was unanimously considered to be the fastest buggy in the freeroll, and would have been a contender for a top spot if it could complete the chute turn without incident. But on Sunday, April 30 (the weekend before Raceday), The Dolphin hit a pothole on the street at the top of the freeroll near Westinghouse Pond, breaking its rear axle. BSR chairman Julian Hofberg and his team had their work cut out for them to get it repaired before Raceday, but they succeeded; though it’s unclear if they were able to get the buggy back to its pre-damage level of competitiveness.
- Raceday Preview. Thanks to the addition of Rolls, the Tartan was also able to give a bit of a preview for what to expect on Raceday. An early article from the Tartan Sports Editor suggested that no buggy would break the course record and that the winning time would be around 2:30, but after clocking some practice times, Sweepstakes Chair Mike Smolens wrote that he expected the 2:25 record to finally be broken, potentially by 2-3 buggies. Beta, ATO, and PiKA were the top contenders, with PiKA’s Shark being the favorite (putting up a practice time of 2:30), but the biggest surprise in practice came from PhiKap’s Shamrock, who put up practice times as fast as 2:29. It turns out that the ability to time buggies during practices is a good way to help predict results… Meanwhile, a couple of new buggies made interesting appearances on the course – ATO’s new buggy came equipped with “weird black boxes on the rear wheels with wires connected to who-knows-what inside”, while SAE’s bike had a secret that was being covered up.
- A Few New Buggies. ATO’s new buggy, “Whale”, was built similar to Golden Goose, but added some safety features, including inside padding, safety straps, greater visibility, and more efficient brakes. It also had a modified wheel base to improve maneuverability. In addition to ATO’s new buggy, a few other orgs rolled out new buggies in 1967 as well. SigNu replaced Lizard as the A team buggy with an unnamed buggy that had put up a 2:38.5 in its best practice roll. DU also rolled out a new buggy, which would ultimately be named Lucemobile II, but the buggy wasn’t all that competitive (it had a best practice time of 2:52). Lastly, KapSig had tried for a while to get a buggy back to the races, and they were finally able to in 1967, bringing out a 3-wheeler that required the driver to lie on his back.
- Finals Cancelled. It was a very tight Prelim day, as you’ll see below. But any hopes that Beta and PhiKap had of outdoing PiKA in the Finals were washed away with a typical Pittsburgh rain storm, causing Saturday’s Finals to be cancelled. Efforts were made to run the Finals on Sunday, but the weather on Sunday didn’t cooperate either, and so 1967 ended up as a 1-day race.
- Drop Test and DQs. All buggies were required to have working brakes, and since we’ve got some DQ information for 1967, I thought it would be useful to specify what the drop test was back then. Immediately after the race, each buggy would have its brakes tested to prove they worked. The test required the buggy to be in motion for 5 feet and then come to a stop within 30 feet. The test may have been “easier” back then, but that didn’t stop a number of teams from failing. In total, 6 buggies were disqualified: (1) ATO – Golden Goose (Drops); (2) Theta Xi (Drops); (3) Tau Delta Phi – Black Widow (Lane Violation); (4) DTD (Drops); (5) ATO – Whale (Drops); (6) Tau Delta Phi – White Scorpion (Pushbar)
- Raceday Results. The 1967 Buggy Book includes a list of the 8 Prelim Heats, as well as the rules for 1967, so I recommend you checking them out at the link in the header. And it turns out that only 2 of the heats, Heat 1 and Heat 7, were actually competitive. While we work to update our databases, below are the full results from 1967 (as well as the heat in which they came out of):
- PiKA – Shark (2:24.8) (Heat 2)
- Beta – 00 (2:25.8) (Heat 4)
- PhiKap – Shamrock (2:26.5) (Heat 3)
- SigNu – [No Name] (2:29.7) (Heat 7)
- Beta – 000 (2:34.9) (Heat 8)
- PhiKap – Snorpus (2:35.4) (Heat 5)
- SigNu – Lizard (2:39.1) (Heat 1)
- DU (2:39.5) (Heat 1)
- DTD (2:47.1) (Heat 3)
- Beta Sigma Rho – The Dolphin (2:48.0) (Heat 6)
- Men’s Dorms (2:54.8) (Heat 2)
- Theta Xi (2:57.0) (Heat 6)
- Men’s Dorms (3:06.7) (Heat 5)
- KapSig (3:07.7) (Heat 4)
- DNFs. If you looked at the list above and said “hey, where’s SAE?!” then I’ve got some bad news. Their bikes didn’t have the best year, as both Maroon and Red ended up crashing and earning a DNF. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. Likewise, PiKA’s Tiger Shark suffered steering issues in Heat 8 and couldn’t make it through the chute turn (see the photo above), but neither buggy nor driver were injured.
- Design Comp Results. We put the top 2 above, but we’ve actually got placings for the top 7 in Design Comp: (1) Beta – 00 (434 points out of 500); (2) PhiKap – Shamrock (409); (3) SigNu – Lizard (407); (4) PhiKap – Snorpus (389); (5) SigNu – [No Name] (378); (6) ATO – Golden Goose (371); (7) PiKA – Shark (344).
- 1967 Photos. Below are photos from 1967:
- Note: More photos are available in the 1968 Buggy Book, but it is unconfirmed which, if any, are from 1967, so we have not included them here.
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 3 at 9:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 4 at 9:30am
Sweepstakes Committee: Jim Wentz (Chair)
Race Results: (1) PiKA – T-2 (2:22.5); (2) SAE – [Maroon?] (2:25.5); (3) PhiKap – Shamrock (2:27.4)
Design Comp: (1) PhiKap – Shamrock; (2) PhiKap – Snorpus
Weather: Cloudy, 67-70 Degrees on Friday; Mostly Cloudy, 53-59 Degrees on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1968 Buggy Book Link
In 1968, Carnegie Tech became Carnegie Mellon, a new course record was set, and a controversial DQ cost one fraternity a trophy.
- CIT Becomes C-MU. It’s official! Carnegie Institute of Technology has now become Carnegie-Mellon University (yes, with a hyphen). It’s a good thing they eventually dropped that hyphen though; c-mubuggy.org would have been weird.
- Money and Buggy. It’s always interesting to see what things cost in an earlier era, and when it comes to 1968, we’ve got a few news items talking about money in relation to Buggy. The first came from the September 27, 1967 Tartan, which included a note from Spring Carnival Committee that beginning this year, they would need to include the cost of hiring police for Buggy into the budget for Spring Carnival. The second note came 2 weeks later, on October 11, 1967, when Men’s Dormitory Council announced that they had approve the spending of $50 on research for a new buggy. Lastly, an article looking at the history of Buggy on April 24, 1968 noted that by the time the current buggies line up to compete on Raceday, over $2,000 will have been spent in direct material costs.
- Paving and Timing. Speaking of money, Sweepstakes also spent some money in 1968. The 1968 races were being timed by a new electronic timing system, with stopwatches being used as a backup. But an even bigger news item was that Sweepstakes had received a commitment from the City of Pittsburgh to repave Frew Street prior to Carnival. Of course, the Tartan reported that commitment on April 24, 1968, which wouldn’t have given the city much time to pave before Raceday, so don’t know if it was completed in time.
- Practice Rolls Become a Yearly Occurrence. 1967 brought the first daytime rolls, but 1968 made it an official yearly part of Buggy. Practice Rolls were scheduled for 6 consecutive Sunday mornings leading up to Raceday, beginning on March 17, from 6am to 9am.
- New Builds. A few new buggies hit the course in 1968. It’s unclear if KapSig brought out the same buggy from 1967, but if they did, they made some major modifications for their 3-wheeler called The Flame. The Men’s Dorms saw how strong SAE and Tau Delta Phi were running and decided to try a bike of their own, modifying a Schwinn racer and calling it the very original “Bike I”. SigNu, meanwhile, rolled out not one, but two new buggies, Hornet and Brother Rat. The two buggies were both identical aluminum designs with fiberglass noses and tails.
- Tartan Predictions. We continue to get closer to the Compubookie era, as the May 1, 1968 included an org-by-org preview of the races. The Tartan had SigNu as the team to watch, with PhiKap and Beta also among the leaders. It didn’t think as highly of PiKA, due to most of PiKA’s A team having graduated, but noted that the buggy was sound and could surprise and take it all again. Meanwhile, the article also suggested that the life of the 2-wheeled bike buggy could be riding on SAE’s race this year (though the Men’s Dorms rolled out a new 2-wheeler this year, so a poor finish wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the 2-wheeler).
- PiKA Sets The Course Record. PiKA’s Tiger Shark crashed into the hay bales in 1967, but it was travelling fast enough that PiKA elected to build a new buggy based on the same design principles. That new buggy was dubbed “T-2”, and it did not disappoint. It put up a course record time of 2:20.9 in its first ever Raceday roll, occurring during Prelims on Friday. The buggy was actually slower in the Finals, but the Finals time of 2:22.5 was still more than enough to win PiKA’s second consecutive Raceday.
- Controversial Collusion DQ Costs a Trophy. SAE’s Maroon managed to earn the 2nd place trophy with a time of 2:25.5. But it was not the second fastest team. That honor went to SigNu, who brought out two new buggies, Hornet and Brother Rat, that put up times that would have placed them 2nd and 5th. However, SigNu was DQ’d for a “roster violation” in what turned out to be a controversial DQ related to collusion. The DQ stemmed from a “friend” of one of the SigNu brothers “assisting” SigNu with their buggies. The issue was battled out in the Letters to the Editor section of the Tartan, with the initial letter claiming that all the “friend” did was tighten 8 of the nuts on the wheels on Raceday and help SigNu during some practices. However, that friend turned out to be a member of ATO, and the issue ultimately came to light when members of PiKA and ATO camped out on the top of Margaret Morrison Hall photographed the ATO brother “assisting” SigNu heating their wheels inside the SigNu tent on Raceday. At that point, Sweepstakes really had no choice but to DQ SigNu for collusion. A letter to the editor on May 8, 1968 claimed that this DQ for such a minor issue was “ridiculous and petty to a tragic degree”, and that allowing individual fraternities, rather than a neutral body of judges, to decide the issue was absurd and emphasized the pettiness and total lack of class of the organizations and individuals at CMU. A rebuttal the following week, however, noted that this was not a minor infraction; the “friend” who assisted with SigNu’s buggies was a member of a different organization (ATO) and had served on their buggy committee for 2 years in preparation for becoming Chair in 1969, and SigNu’s significant improvement showed that the “friend’s” impact was not minor.
- ATO Doesn’t Know When To Stop. As much of an institution as the Golden Goose is within the Buggy world, there’s one thing that it didn’t do very well – stop. Per the 1969 Buggy Book, for the 2nd year in a row, both of ATO’s buggies, Golden Goose and Whale, were DQ’d for failing drops. The 1969 Buggy Book also suggests that Beta Sigma Rho’s The Dolphin once again failed to navigate the chute turn.
- Buggy For A Cause. The April 27, 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Press included a detailed article on Buggy entitled “A Student Demonstration At Carnegie Mellon? Yep! A Demonstration Called Buggy Racing”. The article is an overview of what buggy is and some historical facts that we’ve already covered in this series. But one new piece of information fits in with the current holiday spirit. In 1968, the Council of Fraternity Presidents led a very special buggy build. The fraternities got together to build a buggy for a 14 year old boy with muscular dystrophy to fit the boy’s needs. It’s always nice to see the buggy community come together for a good cause.
- 1968 Video. Want to see what happens when PiKA’s T-2, SAE’s Maroon bike, and PhiKap’s Shamrock duke it out in the Finals? Well, we’ve got the video!
- 1968 Photos. If photos are more your speed, we’ve got some of those as well (more are included in the 1969 Buggy Book, but without being able to confirm the various years, we have not included them here):
Raceday: Prelims on Friday, May 2 at 9:00am; Finals on Saturday, May 3 at 10:00am
Sweepstakes Committee: Bob Gebbia (Chair)
Race Results: (1) Beta B – 00 (2:22.5); (2) PhiKap – Snorpus (2:26.2); (3) SAE – Bike (2:33.4)
Design Comp: (1) Beta – 00; (2) PhiKap – Shamrock; (3) Theta Xi – Xiclone
Weather: Sunny, 64-73 Degrees on Friday; Sunny, 76-80 Degrees on Saturday
Buggy Book: 1969 Buggy Book Link
Unfortunately, the Spring 1969 Tartans are not in the CMU digital archives, so we don’t have a ton about 1969. But we do have some stories, including one of drama in the Consolation Heat. And we know one other important thing – The International Club opens the door to independent organizations in Buggy.
- Independents On The Fringe. In the beginning, Buggy was the domain of the Greeks (in fact, it was initially referred to as the Interfraternity Pushmobile Sweepstakes (or just the Interfraternity Sweepstakes)). Eventually, in an attempt to make Buggy a more campus-wide event, the Men’s Dormitory Council and Citcom Clan were permitted to enter. And in one year, Harry’s Boys Club, a non-CMU organization, fielded a team. But while independents had been allowed to enter for a while, none other than the Men’s Dorms had…until 1969. In 1969, the doors officially swung open to the wider CMU community. And walking through that door was the International Club. The club, made up of former members of DU and pushed by architecture students, built a buggy for the first time, and they haven’t stopped since. 50 years later they continue to race…under the name of Fringe.
- New Buggies. Some new buggies entered the fray in 1969. DTD made a huge improvement in 1968 thanks to a unibody fiberglass buggy, so they decided to roll out 2 new ones in 1969, with their A buggy being named “Bitch 2”. PiKA’s success with T-2 in 1968 prompted their new build, Pi-Thon. The Men’s Dorms built a 3-wheeler with a monocoque aluminum body and disc brakes, which they called Bianchi I. SigNu added a new buggy to their collection with an all fiberglass shell and an unknown name. Theta Xi also planned to enter a new buggy with a fiberglass monocoque shell, which would come to be called Xiclone. And lastly, Beta rolled out a new buggy that would go on to have some success, 825.
- Beta’s “B” Team Takes The Crown. As a reminder, in 1969 there was a Championship Heat and a Consolation Heat. If you ran in the Championship Heat you could get no worse than 3rd. Beta’s new buggy, 825, was entered as their A team buggy and was very fast in the Prelims. So fast, in fact, that their speed caused the buggy to spin out, damaging one of the wheels and costing the buggy any chance of making it to Finals. Instead, Beta ended up qualifying for the Championship Heat with their B team buggy, 00. The Championship Heat consisted of exactly the same buggies as appeared in Prelim Heat 6 the day before, except this time, Beta’s 00 was pushed by the A team pushers. Beta’s A pushers ruled the day with their B buggy, 00 (suggesting that a good push team is a key component to winning) and cruised to a 4 second victory, giving their “B” team a trophy. The SAE A bike pusher tripped in lane 1, otherwise the race would have been more interesting as Lou Malizia would have beat the other two teams over the hill by a good bit.
- Consolation Heat Drama. ATO A was granted a Reroll from their Prelim performance, and ran alone for time on the second day, but did not beat the Top 3 times from the Prelims. So they were slotted into the final standings based on their time in the Reroll. That left just two buggies in the Consolation Finals; SigNu A and PiKA A. SigNu ran the wrong buggy in the Consolation Finals. They wanted to beat PiKA and knew that their B buggy was faster/lighter. So they put their B buggy in the Consolation Finals with their A pushers. So Sigma Nu was DQ’d at the start – ran a 2:23.95 and beat PiKA passing them on Hill 5. PIKA ran a 2:24.8 but failed the brake test. That put ATO 4th, PIKA 5th, and SN 6th.
- TDP’s Buggy. We can’t tell if Tau Delta Phi built 2 new buggies for 1969, or if they continued to use the same 2 bikes that they had used in years past. But either way, based on the 1969 Buggy Book it appears that the buggies that TDP used had new names. The A team buggy was just referred to as No. 13, which is a little boring. But their B team buggy was dubbed the “Denbeigh Super Chauvinist Mk III”. I dare any current team to top that one.
- New Buggy Incidents. Without the Tartan, we don’t have a ton of information about the 1969 races from the written historical record. One thing we do know SigNu’s B buggy lost a wheel during the freeroll and put up a DNF (though it seems that the buggy may have gotten an unofficial second chance to prove itself in the Finals; see above). We also know that KapSig’s buggy was wrecked beyond repair during the race, though we don’t know exactly what happened.
- 1969 Full Results. While we work to update our database, below are the full results from 1969:
- Beta B (00) – 2:22.50
- PhiKap A (Shamrock) – 2:26.20
- SAE A (Bike) – 2:33.40
- ATO A (Golden Goose) – 2:30.30 (Reroll)
- PiKA A (Pithon) – DQ (Drops) (Time was 2:24.80)
- SigNu A – DNS (Used B Team Buggy; Time was 2:23.85)
- PiKA B (T-2) – 2:35.90
- PhiKap B (Snorpus) – 2:36.31
- Tau Delta Phi A (No. 13) – 2:36.50
- DTD A – 2:37.52
- SAE B (Bike) – 2:39.70
- ATO B (Whale/Tin Buggy) – 2:41.60
- DTD B – 2:42.34
- Beta Sigma Rho A (The Dolphin) – 2:45.00
- SigNu B – 2:47.20
- Theta Xi A (Xiclone) – 2:49.08
- International Club/Fringe A – 2:50.15
- Men’s Dorms A – 2:55.27
- Men’s Dorms B – 3:02.10
- DU A – 3:10.20
- DNFs: Beta A (825; Spin in Chute); KapSig A (Crash); Theta Xi B (unknown)
- 1969 Photos. We’ve got some 1969 photos:
- 1969 Video. We also have a compilation video from 1969! The video appears to begin with the 1969 Finals, with SAE in Lane 1, PhiKap in Lane 2 and Beta in Lane 3. It also includes a look at the 1969 Drop Test, as well as an assortment of other buggies.
Something to add or correct? Let us know!