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Vasek Polak
By Steve Andersen

I have sent you an expanded clip of Vasek Polak at Riverside Raceway in, I believe, 1964 (it could have been early 1965). As time goes by memories fade, but I will describe the video as best as memory allows...

The clip begins with Mr. Polak doing some engine inspection to his car prior to sending it out for practice laps. In the background wearing a blue shirt, sunglasses, and hat, is his friend and fellow countryman, Anthony Svenka. Like Vasek, Anthony also escaped from the Iron Curtain and made a success in America.

The next scene shows the car being driven out of the parking lot to the starting grid. Practice laps commence - during which time a "fender bender" occurs (not shown).

The final scene shows Anthony and Vasek sharing a conversation in lawn chairs just prior to Mr. Polak's entry being trailered back to the lot by his Porsche-powered VW bus. After Vasek inspects the damage, he humorously staggers back to me and my camera, then imitates shooting himself in the head.

My personal recollections of Mr. Polak are as follows:

He was a humorous man with his directness and common-sense comments. When I first met him I drove a 1960 Corvette. When I converted to a Porsche, he convinced me that since I drove "A Monster" (a term that he applied to any V-8 powered car), I should buy a Super 90. I followed his advice and drove that car until 1967 until my expanding family forced me into a new family car, a Chevy Impala.

I smile when remembering him driving me around town in his Porsche-VW bus; and how he delighted in surprising any "bullies" that thought the bus would be easy pickings for intimidation. That van was fast!

Vasek and I were friendly enough to be on a first name basis. Whenever I ran into him at a race event or car show he always greeted me with a bear hug and a pat on the back. As a designer of tools and dies I met many diemakers and engineers who defected from The Iron Curtain and made me recognize even more what America is about... These people came here, many with nothing, and realized success in our system.

With regard, Steve Andersen

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