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Davey's Recollections of Vasek Polak
by Davey Jordan

When my wife Norma and I, along with some High School friends started going to the Sports Car Races in the late 1950's. I became a fan of the under 1500 cc Modified class, thinking that one day it might just be possible to race one of these machines, Knowing that the Ferraris, Maserattis and Scarabs in the over 1500 cc class were out of the question. I admired the little giant killers, when driven by my heros Ken Miles and Jack McAfee. They would usually beat most of the big bore cars, except for the cream of the crop.

This is where I first heard the name Vasek Polak, the mechanic who took care of Jack McAfee's red and white Porsche 550 Spyder. Rumor was that Vasek had fled the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, leaving his wife and two children, arriving in New York with little more than the clothes on his back and a bag of tools. It didn't take Vasek very long to work his way to the west coast, and setup shop in a small one car show room, with a Mechanic's Bay in the back, located in Manhattan Beach Ca. at 356 South Sepulveda Blvd. After McAfee's string of successes, he was quickly gaining the reputation of being one of the best Porsche four cam engine mechanics. When the Europeans would bring their Porsche racecars to the West Coast for the Riverside and Laguna Seca Grand Prixs, Vasek was usually minding their cars.

Norma and Davey Jordan Porsche Speedster 1961 Norma and Davey in the Porsche Speedster, 1961.

In 1958 Norma and I used our two cars (a 53 Plymouth and a 47 Ford Coupe with a Chevy V/8) for a down payment on a 1958 Porsche Speedster. The beautiful little red roadster even had a jump seat in the back for Carol our one-year-old daughter. At this time we had joined the Pacific Sports Car Club and had evolved from spectators, to helping Ed Barker (a very successful Porsche 1500 S Speedster racer) in the pits.

Santa Barbara had always been our favorite racetrack, and I talked Norma into letting me enter the 1959 September event, "just for one race to see what is was like". Santa Barbara always had enough entrees to have a "Novice Race". We were in "F Production" in the Novice Race and finished second. A month or so later San Luis Obispo staged a Novice only race, and Norma said it was all right to "give it a go" one more time. I put the top down on the Speedster so my friends, Ray and Paul would fit in and drove it up to San Louie. We won our class and drove home oblivious that any thing could go wrong. Ah, youthful enthusiasm is wonderful.

Davey Jordan in Porsche RS60 at Willow Springs 1964 Davey Jordan in Vasek Polak's Porsche RS-60 at Willow Springs, 1964.

With Norma's encouragement and help, we raced our Speedster until 1963, and after winning two championship and Cal Club "Driver Of The Year", we were offered a sponsored ride for Hollywood Sports Cars in a Sunbeam Alpine. During the past couple of years, I had gotten to know Vasek well enough to have small talk with him. His driver at that time was Jay Hills a well-known West Coast driver. Jay and Vasek had a disagreement about the same time that Chic Vandagriff of Hollywood Sports Cars decided to stop racing the Alpine. I was out of a ride, and Vasek was out of a driver. Vasek and I had a conversation at Riverside Raceway, he asked me if I would like to come down to the next race at Del Mar and practice in his Porsche RS-60. I wasn't sure what he meant by "practice" but I jumped at the opportunity.


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