In California, during the late 1930's, a hobby known as Tether Car Racing began. The idea was to power a miniature a race car with a gas engine, attach it to a center post using a wire or cord as a tether and go as fast you can. Many of the early cars were home grown. As such, many family names attached to the cars are now household words for tether car enthusiasts. Names like Dooling, McCoy, Mathews, Barney Korn and countless other are still recognized today.

World War II slowed the hobby, but it began again when the troops came home. As the racing matured, so did the tracks. Oval tracks were seen near most major cities in the U.S. Then came the "rail" tracks. These were a slightly elevated track with banked turns. These tracks allowed the several cars to be attached to a rail at the same time and race against each other. The hobby flourished until the 1950's. Reasons for the demise of the hobby vary depending on who you talk to.

Today, the collectible nature and interest in the older cars continues to increase. The racing aspect of the hobby has also realized a resurgence with tracks in Long Island, NY, Anderson,IN, Whittier Narrows ,CA and in several locations in Europe.

To gain a better understanding and appreciation of the history of Tether Cars, I suggest reading "Vintage Miniature Racing Cars" by Robert Ames. Library of Congress Number 92-074297.


Sacramento Valley Race Car Association

The first meeting of the racing enthusiasts in Sacramento was held at a service station in February of 1940. The small group, which consisted of six men and one lady.

In those days there were very few autos in Sacramento, so the track was the wide space in front of the service station. Some racing was done at the Municipal Airport, and in a wide street at the local cannery or the State Fair grounds. They would run their buzz-buggies any place they could find a smooth surface. The cable was a window sash cord and held in the center by a man.

The first club was named the "Sacramento Valley Race Car Association". It was so named because most of the members lived in the small town of Woodland in the Sacramento Valley. The first club contest was held at the Matmore Cannery in Woodland. Trophies and merchandise were given away. The club raffled a car at twenty-five cents per ticket. The club made about a hundred and fifty dollars on the raffle.

The next race was the State Championship held at the California State Fair Grounds in Sacramento. By that time the club had grown to twenty-five members.

Then came the war. By 1942 the racing had come to a standstill. The club money was put into the bank, with the understanding that it must not be spent on anything until the boys returned home.

After the war a new club was formed. It was called the Sacramento Miniature Race Car Association" (SMRCA). The money from the old club was transferred to the new club and used to purchase an electric timer.

By 1947, the SMRCA had grown to over forty members. They now had their own race track at Del Paso Park, called "Del Paso Speedway". The property was donated by the City of Sacramento. The track was a 1/16th mile in length and had grass in the middle. Club racing was done on Sundays and admission was free to spectators.

Paraphrased from the Inaugural Program of the Del Paso Speedway.
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