Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Jim Robbins

  1. #1

    Jim Robbins

    Earlier this week I had an opportunity to meet Jim Robbins at a social event unconnected with racing. I had vaguely remembered that he was involved with Indy Cars in the Lindsey Hopkins era, and I believe also worked with AJ and Parnelli.

    Nice man, but not very forthcoming about his racing days, saying "That was years ago and a different lifetime".

    Anybody have any stories or memories of him?

  2. #2
    Runnin down a dream cbreez99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    anclote key, fl
    Posts
    4,212
    I have met Jim Robbins Jr. years ago(in the 80's) at Road Atlanta...used the name J. Marshall Robbins...he ran second to Paul Newman in the SCCA runoffs that year. He would be about 60 now...is that who you met? I didn't think his Dad was still alive. An interesting, nice looking, somewhat eccentric guy, but a gentleman. Raced a real fast (looked Rousch built) Mustang. He drove it quite well!

  3. #3
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    Jim Robbins , the Indy car owner, is dead(airplane crash).
    His son, J. Marshall did race SCCA Mustangs for some years.

    The "Jim Robbins" you met is not related to the Indy car and seat belt company owner, but he did work around Indy cars years ago, before moving to Nevada. I remember him.

  4. #4
    quiet bat person ensign14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    the thick of it
    Posts
    12,197
    Blog Entries
    2
    The Indycar owner left money in his will to continue entering the Jim Robbins Spl for 10 years after he died, IIRC. By the end the family was using the pit as a sort of executive box and carpeted it as there was no chance they could fund a qualifying worthy car.
    "An emphasis was placed on drivers with road racing backgrounds which meant drivers from open wheel, oval track racing were at a disadvantage. That led Tony George to create the IRL." -Indy Review 1996

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Friendswood, Tx
    Posts
    3,536
    Wasn't he killed in the plane crash that took out USAC management as well. They were returning to Indy from Trenton. 1978???
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
    "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
    >

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mac miller
    Jim Robbins , the Indy car owner, is dead(airplane crash).
    His son, J. Marshall did race SCCA Mustangs for some years.

    The "Jim Robbins" you met is not related to the Indy car and seat belt company owner, but he did work around Indy cars years ago, before moving to Nevada. I remember him.
    This "Jim Robbins" is also the guy who did the restoration/build on the Vukovich Streamliner some years ago.

  7. #7
    Mac and IndyRJC, that's the guy. He's got a bunch of offy parts I know, and currently doing some restoration on a Ford 4 cammer (building headers, etc.).

  8. #8
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    Quote Originally Posted by Fueler
    Mac and IndyRJC, that's the guy. He's got a bunch of offy parts I know, and currently doing some restoration on a Ford 4 cammer (building headers, etc.).
    He also has a fiberglass mold to make the 1935 Miller Ford body.

  9. #9
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    Quote Originally Posted by ensign14
    The Indycar owner left money in his will to continue entering the Jim Robbins Spl for 10 years after he died, IIRC. By the end the family was using the pit as a sort of executive box and carpeted it as there was no chance they could fund a qualifying worthy car.

    That is correct, ensign, The car they entered every year was an old Eagle(1970 maybe??) We would walk past their garage in the old gasoline alley where the car sat, forlornly, untouched, year after year......

  10. #10
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    In the early 70s, when I was working in John Greenwood's Corvette shop in Troy Mich, I drove past the Jim Robbins Seat Belt Co. every day. In the vacant field behind the factory, sat the 1955 Indy pole winning Jim Robbins Spl. driven by Jerry Hoyt. The car sat there abandoned and unprotected with weeds growing up all around it. Thank God, At some point later the car was rescued by, I think, Jack Layton and restored to its '55 Indy condition. Don't know where the car is now but, at least, its not rusting away behind the factory anymore.

  11. #11
    Hi Mac,
    I understand Jim Robbins was killed when his jet engine inhaled a bird on takeoff. Also, wasn't the 55 pole winning car visable from Southbound I-75 just south of the Rochester road exit? I believe he also had a private landing strip on his property between 14 and 15 mile roads, near the Stevenson hwy.

    MC

  12. #12
    Insider
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Elmira, Taiwan, Elmira...
    Posts
    11,896
    Quote Originally Posted by mac miller
    That is correct, ensign, The car they entered every year was an old Eagle(1970 maybe??) We would walk past their garage in the old gasoline alley where the car sat, forlornly, untouched, year after year......
    That wasn't the Wilke family of Leader Card fame?

  13. #13
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    Quote Originally Posted by Motor City
    Hi Mac,
    I understand Jim Robbins was killed when his jet engine inhaled a bird on takeoff.MC
    I'm not sure of the exact cause but that, certainly, could have been what happened. I vaguely recall more family members in the plane...?????

    Quote Originally Posted by Motor City
    Also, wasn't the 55 pole winning car visable from Southbound I-75 just south of the Rochester road exit? I believe he also had a private landing strip on his property between 14 and 15 mile roads, near the Stevenson hwy. MC
    Yes sir, that was the location. I don't recall the airstrip at the factory but there was a small airstrip a few blocks away that could have been his.

  14. #14
    master of time and space
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    INDY
    Posts
    3,148
    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander_48
    That wasn't the Wilke family of Leader Card fame?
    No, this case was the Jim Robbins family.

    Following Bob Wilke's death, son, Ralph, took over the race team and they continued to race at Indy and the rest of the circuit. Ralph was much less generous with funding for the team and Leader Card eventually faded from the scene. The Leader Card race shop is still operating on Crawfordsville Rd in Indy but is now occupied by PDM Racing.

  15. #15
    Insider
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Elmira, Taiwan, Elmira...
    Posts
    11,896
    Quote Originally Posted by mac miller
    No, this case was the Jim Robbins family.

    Following Bob Wilke's death, son, Ralph, took over the race team and they continued to race at Indy and the rest of the circuit. Ralph was much less generous with funding for the team and Leader Card eventually faded from the scene. The Leader Card race shop is still operating on Crawfordsville Rd in Indy but is now occupied by PDM Racing.
    What I remembered was a photo of an early Eagle, but long obsolete, with flat tires sitting in a garage at IMS. The image stuck with me because it looked so sad, much like seeing a derelict building that used to house a thriving business. Time marches on...

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by mac miller View Post
    I'm not sure of the exact cause but that, certainly, could have been what happened. I vaguely recall more family members in the plane...?????


    Yes sir, that was the location. I don't recall the airstrip at the factory but there was a small airstrip a few blocks away that could have been his.
    Robbins was killed together with his wife, Frances and their son, Leslie (who for a number of years was my best friend) and a few Robbins' employees when their plane crashed shortly after take off from the Flying R Ranch outside of Platte South Dakota, in October 1966. The Robbins' owned a cattle ranch there and were returning to that airstrip you mention behind his plastic molding factory in Troy, Michigan after a weekend of pheasant hunting. (A trip I had taken a few times myself).

    Robbins was a player in racing in the 50s and 60s. But he seemed to want to stick to older technologies and his days as a major player were pretty much over by 1965 or so. I remember going with him and Les to a race in Milwaukee in June 1965 and sitting in the pits. A pretty big deal for a 15 year old kid.

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    942
    I seem to recall involvement in NASCAR by Jim Robbins as well. Does anyone have any similar memories?
    Jeff Downer
    Indianapolis, Indiana

  18. #18
    Registered User LittleFauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    584
    .....'Wow, 'For those of us that were either too young at the time or just couldn't be there, it's very enjoyable to read what went on behind the scenes. So, thanks again for the brief history lesson, especially to davidp for the obvious, first-hand knowledge. I too, remember reading years ago about Jim Robbins' will, that after his death, the estate would continue to enter a car at Indianapolis.

    And, actually not to take issue with davidp but, the Jim Robbins championship racing team was still going strong in the late sixties with both rear engine pavement cars and dirt-track cars. Someone within the team had the wherewithall to go to Grant King and have him build one of the most beautiful and potent dirt cars ever and install an Indy Ford DOHC V8. And then hire a little punk kid rookie driver from California named Bruce Walkup to drive it! The car was repainted and renumbered for 1968 and Denver's Jim Malloy was hired to drive full-time for the team. 'Would sure like to know who that guy was?

    macmiller: John Greenwood??? I used to get SOO frustrated years ago opening up a new issue of Road & Track, Motor Trend (etc) magazine wanting to get stories and pics of F1 and Indy Cars but instead getting a full blast of John Greenwood and his Corvette racing at wherever.....24-Hours of Daytona, etc. It sure seemed like that guy got more than his fair share of press and coverage???

    [IMG][/IMG]

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    USS Cornfield, in permanent drydock
    Posts
    3,516
    Quote Originally Posted by indybail View Post
    I seem to recall involvement in NASCAR by Jim Robbins as well. Does anyone have any similar memories?
    You're probably thinking of Marty Robbins, the country singer who raced at Nashville Speedway and Daytona from the early '60s until his death in 1982. His cars were usually purple with bright yellow or neon green numbers and trim.


    Dan
    Tibi Fumus Obsidio Septum Doro

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Bristol NH, center of the New England racing world.
    Posts
    2,319
    I distinctly remember Jim Robbins on the rear quarter panel of a Junior Johnson Torino or Cyclone circa '68 or '69. Car #98 with LeeRoy Yarbrough driving.

    Bunch of pictures showing this.

    http://www.legendsofnascar.com/leeroy_yarbrough.htm
    I'll see YOU at the races!

  21. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    USS Cornfield, in permanent drydock
    Posts
    3,516
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Spencer View Post
    I distinctly remember Jim Robbins on the rear quarter panel of a Junior Johnson Torino or Cyclone circa '68 or '69. Car #98 with LeeRoy Yarbrough driving.

    Bunch of pictures showing this.

    http://www.legendsofnascar.com/leeroy_yarbrough.htm

    I saw the same at the link you provided. Lee Roy drove the Jim Robbins car at Indy in 1967 and in 1969, so maybe there was a tie-in of sorts between the Indy effort and the 1969 NASCAR deal.

    it's been done before and since...


    Dan

  22. #22
    Registered User cz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    SF, CA
    Posts
    289
    Quote Originally Posted by mac miller View Post
    In the early 70s, when I was working in John Greenwood's Corvette shop in Troy Mich, I drove past the Jim Robbins Seat Belt Co. every day. In the vacant field behind the factory, sat the 1955 Indy pole winning Jim Robbins Spl. driven by Jerry Hoyt. The car sat there abandoned and unprotected with weeds growing up all around it. Thank God, At some point later the car was rescued by, I think, Jack Layton and restored to its '55 Indy condition. Don't know where the car is now but, at least, its not rusting away behind the factory anymore.


    This car went up the hill at Goodwood this year. It appears to be the Robbins entry from 54 (Niday), 55 (Hoyt) and 56 (Griffith) although the F1 Fanatics blog where I found the image misidentifies it as a 1951 Stevens.

  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    942
    Quote Originally Posted by Tifosi View Post
    You're probably thinking of Marty Robbins, the country singer who raced at Nashville Speedway and Daytona from the early '60s until his death in 1982. His cars were usually purple with bright yellow or neon green numbers and trim.


    Dan
    Oh, I remember Mary, lol. But I believe Dan is right about LeRoy and that jogged my memory enough to check something and sure enough the Jim Robbins team gave both Cale Yarborough and Lee Roy Yarbrough their rookie rides at the Indianapolis 500.

  24. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Friendswood, Tx
    Posts
    3,536
    I think you will find this is the car Mike Nazeruck finished second in at Indy his rookie year as well.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Niseguy View Post
    I think you will find this is the car Mike Nazeruck finished second in at Indy his rookie year as well.
    I'm pretty sure the car Nazaruk drove to second in '51 was the same Kurtis Johnnie Parson's won with in 1950 and finished second with in '49.
    That car had an amazing record.
    "You know what the trouble about real life is? There's no danger music." - Jim Carey

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by cz View Post
    ....This car went up the hill at Goodwood this year. It appears to be the Robbins entry from 54 (Niday), 55 (Hoyt) and 56 (Griffith) although the F1 Fanatics blog where I found the image misidentifies it as a 1951 Stevens.
    According to the 1955 Clymer Yearbook, the car was built in 1951 for the Ansted-
    Rotary company.

    However, it was not entered in 1951 by Ansted, or was there a Stevens that qualified. I believe Bobby Ball drove this Stevens under Ansted ownership in 1952 after driving a Schroeder chassis in '51.

  27. #27
    Registered User cz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    SF, CA
    Posts
    289
    Quote Originally Posted by Roadster Fan View Post
    According to the 1955 Clymer Yearbook, the car was built in 1951 for the Ansted-
    Rotary company.

    However, it was not entered in 1951 by Ansted, or was there a Stevens that qualified. I believe Bobby Ball drove this Stevens under Ansted ownership in 1952 after driving a Schroeder chassis in '51.
    I'm sure you're right. I just did a quick check of Robbins' entries in the Popely book.

    I thought it was coincidence that I looked for Goodwood photos after reading the 1966 Graham Hill thread on this board and there was the 1955 Jerry Hoyt car on the same page.

  28. #28
    CMF rrrr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    None of your business
    Posts
    16,571
    Quote Originally Posted by davidp View Post
    Robbins was killed together with his wife, Frances and their son, Leslie (who for a number of years was my best friend) and a few Robbins' employees when their plane crashed shortly after take off from the Flying R Ranch outside of Platte South Dakota, in October 1966.
    I found the NTSB report for the crash, it was actually in September 1966.

    http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/br...id=23146&key=0

    The aircraft was a Rockwell Jet Commander 1121...note the tail number was N500JR, one of many aircraft belonging to racers that have used the number '500' over the years.

  29. #29
    Been at Indy since 1956! ZOOOM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Plainfield, Il.
    Posts
    4,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Roadster Fan View Post
    I'm pretty sure the car Nazaruk drove to second in '51 was the same Kurtis Johnnie Parson's won with in 1950 and finished second with in '49.
    That car had an amazing record.
    Correct, Chassis# 316 , became the KK3000 in 1950.

    ZOOOM
    "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
    James Hurtubise, June, 1964

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •