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  Astronaut vette dealer Jim Rathmann (1928-2011) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Astronaut vette dealer Jim Rathmann (1928-2011)
328.5KF
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posted 11-24-2011 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328.5KF   Click Here to Email 328.5KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indianapolis 500 winner and supplier of Chevrolet Corvettes to many of the early astronauts, Jim Rathmann, passed away yesterday (Nov. 23, 2011) at the age of 83.
Son Jimmy Rathmann said in an e-mail message to Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials that his father died Wednesday at a hospice facility in Melbourne, nine days after having a seizure at his home. He was 83.
There are many colorful stories surrounding Rathmann and his relationship with the astronauts, including one that I hadn't known about until reading the articles on his passing.
He became close friends with the early astronauts and even convinced one of them to place his car dealership decal on a cart that was driven on the moon. Rathmann also became part of the GCR Corporation team that raced in the USAC Series in 1966 and 1967. The "G" represented Gus Grissom, the "C" represented Gordon Cooper and the "R" was for Rathmann.
I'm assuming that the cart they are referring to is the Modular Equipment Transport (MET) used by Shepard and Mitchell on Apollo 14, but I'm not certain of that.

machbusterman
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posted 11-24-2011 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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ApolloAlex
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posted 11-24-2011 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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GACspaceguy
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Richard Rogers
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posted 11-24-2011 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Rogers     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Delta7
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posted 11-24-2011 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Jeff
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posted 11-24-2011 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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jasonelam
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mach3valkyrie
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apolloprojeckt
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413 is in
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albatron
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posted 11-24-2011 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad indeed. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim at some of the ASF events a few years back. A very nice man and Indy winner himself I believe?

RIP.

Cozmosis22
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posted 11-24-2011 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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ejectr
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posted 11-24-2011 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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328KF
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posted 11-24-2011 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by albatron:
A very nice man and Indy winner himself I believe?
Yes, in fact his 1960 Indy 500 win was his first and only professional racing win.

.

randy
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capoetc
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history in miniature
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sts205cdr
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David Carey
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KSCartist
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JohnPaul56
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Dave Clow
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posted 11-26-2011 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

I think the Rathmann insignia in question might actually have been on the Apollo 15 rover. I've seen a display on the rovers at the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA that mentioned this (I can't say whether or not the the display was a permanent exhibit). Francis French will likely know the answer.

FFrench
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posted 11-26-2011 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dave Clow:
Francis French will likely know the answer.

I have heard that rumor too, Dave, but can only give you a third-hand answer. Dave Scott was asked in recent years about it and says it was not on the Apollo 15 rover.

Al Worden and I tried to track down the story a little for Al's book, without luck. Andy Chaikin had not heard of it. Photo experts looked through all images of the rover on the moon from many angles and couldn't spot it. Al had no recollection of such a sticker, and he has been close to Rathmann for many decades. If anyone does ever find out for sure, I'd love to know.

We did, however, put a number of Rathmann car racing stories in Al's book "Falling To Earth," as Al was very close to him and participated in a lot of racing with him. I'm sad to hear we have lost another person so closely tied to the social lore of the golden age of human spaceflight.

astro-nut
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posted 11-26-2011 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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My thoughts and prayers for his family.
God Bless!

Richard Rogers
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posted 11-26-2011 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Rogers     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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328.5KF
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posted 11-26-2011 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328.5KF   Click Here to Email 328.5KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The reason that I assumed it was Apollo 14 was the fact that the articles mentioned a "cart", not a "rover". I also understand that he had a very close relationship with Al Shepard.

Perhaps it's a question that can be directed to Ed Mitchell by anyone who may see him at one of the autograph events that he regularly attends.

Grounded!
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ApolloAlex
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posted 11-27-2011 04:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Kite
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spaceman
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Henk Boshuijer
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ringo67
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East-Frisian
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rjb1elec
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Jay Chladek
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posted 11-28-2011 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Yes, in fact his 1960 Indy 500 win was his first and only professional racing win.
It wasn't his only professional win. He had a couple others as well in Indycars, but they were either unofficial exhibitions or non-points races. Rathmann was the winner of the 1958 "Race of Two Worlds" (also known as the 500 Miglia di Monza), an unofficial event staged on a 2.64-mile banked oval at Monza, Italy, that featured Indy cars and modified Formula One and sports cars. Watch the film "Grand Prix" if you want to see the Monza banks in action.

He also won race heats at a USAC Indycar doubleheader staged at the Daytona speedway in 1959. It was the ONLY time Indy cars raced on the high banks of Daytona and they never did it again because the cars with those skinny tires were topping out at about 176 mph and a driver got killed that weekend (shades of Dan Wheldon's wreck almost).

328KF
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posted 11-29-2011 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah I should have edited after I posted that... I came across some of those as I read more about him this week. "Grand Prix" is a cool movie for it's time, and I also have a great history of the Indy 500 documentary video with coverage of Rathmann's win there.

Even with his limited success on the circuit, he was highly regarded among his racing peers.

hlbjr
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posted 11-29-2011 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My family bought a motorhome from his dealership back in the early 1970's and I was more impressed (at the time) with his Indy 500 win than his relationship with the astronauts.

.

Gilbert
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SkyMan1958
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posted 11-29-2011 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Sorry to hear it. I know that he and Gordon Cooper smuggled Scotch (an individual serving size bottle) and cigarettes aboard Sigma 7 before launch, and that Schirra downed the booze as soon as he could aboard the recovery ship... leading the doctors to wonder why he had alcohol in his system.


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