Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen
Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen

Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen

My exciting true-life story in motor racing from Top-Fuel drag-racing pioneer to Jim Hall, Reventlow Scarab, Carroll Shelby and beyond

Regular price$39.00
Author By Raoul F. Balcaen, III with Jill Amadio and Pete Lyons
ISBN: 9781910505779

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Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen grew up in Los Angeles at a time when it became the epicentre of American motor racing, nurturing a vast talent pool of people whose influence has echoed through to today. As a teenager, he successfully competed with his home-built Top Fuel dragster during the formative years of the sport. With Lance Reventlow, he worked on the famous Scarab sports cars and was standing in the dyno room when the team’s all-American Formula 1 engine was fired up for the first time. A period as Jim Hall’s crew chief and a close association with Carroll Shelby added to the know-how that guided him towards becoming a successful entrepreneur and led to all that followed. This engaging memoir is the very personal history of a momentous time and place in which we meet a who’s who of West Coast road-racing heroes.
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Key content

• Aged 17, Balcaen built his own Top Fuel drag racer, the ‘Bantamweight Bomb’, which he developed relentlessly and drove to many successes.

• His role in the fabulous Scarab sports cars — the landmark all-American racers — and insights into life with their creator, the incomparable Lance Reventlow.

• Working as crew chief to the brilliant Jim Hall, preparing and running his Lotus Eleven and Lister-Chevrolet long before the famous Chaparrals emerged.

• A second spell with Scarab, this time with the Formula 1 project — the first American Grand Prix car — plus a special job for Reventlow converting a Scarab sports racer into a street car.

• Onwards into setting up his own successful business, IECO (Induction Engineering Co), to create and sell high-grade performance and appearance accessories, with Chevrolets — especially Corvair and Vega — featuring strongly.

• His many-faceted dealings with Carroll Shelby, leading to consultancy and even assignments as occasional Shelby American company pilot.

• Along the way we meet many other big names of the era, including Chuck Daigh, Bruce Kessler, Warren Olson, Dick Troutman, Tom Barnes, Phil Remington, Ken Miles, Leo Goossen, Jim Travers, Frank Coon and Pete Brock.

Format: 234x156mm
Page extent: 320pp
Illustration: 102 photos, including colour

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“There is so much history included in this book, a super story, written by a man with dirt under his fingernails... Could well be my Book of the Year.”

“Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen seems like the kind of guy you’d love to bump into in LA and wile away a day shooting the breeze about the old days.”

“A dazzlingly clear piece of eyewitness testimony to the birth of serious international American racing… engrossing… an eye-opening and entertaining account.”

“In this refreshingly personal book, Sonny’s love of motor sport and down-to-earth nature shine through.”

“A tale well told… A trip through a unique, exciting, glamorous and challenging time in racing.”

“Balcaen has lived a full, rich life… Well-paced… surprising insights.”

“A fascinating autobiography of one of the most remarkable American automotive engineers… most enjoyable.”

Photo extracts from the book

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
A review in which you feel like you are alive looking through a window of racing past

I felt a word picture of a most exciting time ,told with passion.

Superb insight into a trend setting era in motor sports.A personal experience told with passion.

Perfect account from a real racer!