Enough is enough already.
Palin, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Barney Frank, it seems like all
of them – both sides – are mashin’ the pedal, making lots of noise,
and spinnin’ their tires – so concerned about the grandstand and so
negative about each other that they’re going nowhere.
back from this mid-term narcissistic nonsense for just a second.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could fill the field with some racers,
some of those common sense motorized movers who continually get it
done against all odds? You know the type: crusty Steve Kinser still
winning after capturing more than 500 WoO features, even though he
has no right to still be walking upright. Or Randy Queensland and
his family who pulled off the Fall Jamboree this past weekend with a
full pit and full bleachers despite horrific flooding and washed-out
roads all over southern Minnesota.
Well, there may just be a
flicker of hope out there, coming from the most unlikely corner. Way
up there in Strafford County, New Hampshire, running for state
representative, is Marty Harty. It’s as if he has ridden onto the
Republican ballot in an early Ford chassis, powered by a flathead.
Earlier this year Marty was inducted into the New England Auto
Racing Hall of Fame for his prowess as a long-time race car builder.
He is definitely one of the most colorful characters I’ve ever met
and quite possibly one of the brightest. He’s 91 years old.
Much of Marty’s history and philosophy is articulated amusingly in
his informal 2008 self-published 197- page booklet, Half Wit And
Half Wisdom – An Outhouse Reader. Marty’s life has always been
one of a working man, most always on his own clock. It was metal
salvage before a tour in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
Then a fling as a short-order cook in Boston and Hollywood. By the
1960s, Marty and bride Arlene (they had ten children) were into
second-hand goods. It was nothing for them to jump in their
clapped-out VW bug and motor from New Hampshire to Phoenix for a
By the dawn of the seventies, Marty had become
what he has remained right up until this summer, “the Old Yankee
Peddler”. Legendarily popular, he’d go from garage to garage all
over New England in vans veteran of hundreds of thousands of miles,
crammed with every bit of bric-a-brac your neighborhood mechanic
could possibly need.
All the while, though, Marty, with his
slightly mischievous smile and incisive wit, was a little different.
It was as if he was just a tad removed from his own self, amused by
watching the world go by with himself in it. From the very first
paragraph, his book reveals the mind of a life-long learner,
extremely well read. He constantly references Shakespeare, Einstein,
Mark Twain, and Isaac Asimov.
Two chapters in Marty’s opus
are devoted to racing. He details thoroughly a remarkably scientific
approach to chassis and setups, even from back in the fifties. Every
car that he built came with a guarantee. It would win a feature,
provided that, if necessary, Marty could supply his own driver.
Marty’s provision was decidedly unnecessary with the modified he
built in a week with Vic Kangas for Ernie Gahan. Gahan won the 1966
NASCAR Modified title with it.
Needless to say, Marty’s political leanings do not line up with
group-think. He is certainly no liberal. His comment “I will vote
for any laws tending to take mothers out of the workplace and making
homes small-sized, comfortable places instead of edifices glorifying
greed” would do no good for him even with the most conservative
Democrats. Then, of course, Republican hardliners would be done in
by his attitude about the no-tax pledge: “You have it from me right
here – I never, ever will sign that asinine thing!”
|One of Marty’s
Machines at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt.
He’s been around
for a while. (Harty Collection)
are around New England, you can likely find Marty with his placard
(and his NEAR Hall of Fame jacket) at Lee USA Speedway’s Oktoberfest
on October 23-24, just down NH Route 125 from his home.
for me, I’m thinking of moving up there just to vote for him.
© 2010 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181