Bob Doyle Museum

Return To The Road


Article and photos by Ken Paulsen

The Thunder Road Milk Bowl classic race annually brings down the curtain at this popular Vermont track. It is an event filled with pageantry, great racing and for the past three years coupes representing the early years of Thunder Road have returned to add to the race festivities.

The coupes start the afternoon’s activities circling the oval and then park on the infield. In many cases, the original driver is once again in the car and introduced to the race fans. The cars remained on view in the infield while two B features were run to determine the final positions in the big race. They then take a parade lap before exiting to the pits were they continued on display after all racing has concluded for the day.

The vintage cars span the first six of the speedway’s 45-year existence. Some are restorations of actual cars that raced the asphalt oval, others are replicas of great competitors and, in one case, the car is totally original.

Vintage coupes provide the backdrop for the Color Guard.
Bag pipes and Honor Guards are part of pre-race activities.
Norm “The Flying Frenchman” Chaloux is next to a replica of his 1960 car.
The latest Lloyd Hutchins Jr. car was completed three days before the 2004 event.

Norm “The Flying Frenchman” Chaloux led the coupes onto the track driving a replica of his 1960 stock car. Chaloux was a crowd favorite during racings heyday in Northern Vermont. The #12 1936 Ford was just completed in 2004 by Lloyd Hutchins Jr. three days before the Milk Bowl. Chaloux had no idea the car was being built until Hutchins invited him to see the finished vehicle. It did not take much coaxing to get him behind the wheel for its first public unveiling.

Representing the 1961-62 years is the #46 1934 Ford originally driven by Roy “Pappy” Forsythe. He won the Thunder Road points title in 1961. This car was virtually unbeatable that year claiming 10 features. Ray Coffin succeeded Forsythe as the driver in 1963 before Larry Granger took the wheel to finish the season.

One of the more famous cars in the Northeast is this George Barber built ’34 Ford originally driven by Pappy Forsythe.
Ray Coffin and Larry Granger also drove it.
Three of the cars in Lloyd Hutchins growing stable of stock cars were on display.
All three were completed over a period of 14 months.

Another Hutchins’ car on display was the #76 Ford three-window coupe driven by Henry “The Frozen Logger” Montandon to the 1963 Labor Day Classic Championship. The car was only raced that one year. The body and frame are now part of a hot rod while the roll cage was used in Hutchins recreation of the original car.

The vintage flathead coupes were on infield display prior to running the Milk Bowl.

Johnny Gammell won the 1964 Vermont State Championship driving the #32 Fitzgerald Ford. Gammell also took the 1969 edition of the Milk Bowl. Each year he has been in Doug Farrow’s replica of that fast little coupe to the delight of the Milk Bowl crowd.

The first Milk Bowl was held in 1962 with Harold “Hardluck” Hanaford coming home the victor. He won again in 1964 driving the #30 1932 Ford that he built. Hanaford has come back each year to drive that car and has been the honorary starter for the race. He also won 1964 and 1965 track championships in this car. Paul Zampieri found the car in a field and, along with Hanaford’s help, restored it to its original condition.

A third car from the Hutchin’s stable represents 1965. Completed in late spring 2004, the #68 Ford Wanabee (part Plymouth, part Ford) replica is a truly beautiful stock car and a fitting tribute to the original car’s owner, George Hay. Doug Ingerson drove the Hay 1934 Ford coupe in 1963 and 1964. Rene Charland drove it in 1965. Larry Demars drove for Hay in the late model cars starting with the 1966 season when he won the first of two consecutive season titles. He was behind the wheel of this car in 2004.

This beautiful coupe body is part Plymouth and part Ford.
The former Dearborn coupe enters the Thunder Road track for the first time in 38 years.
Pictured is a rare example of an original stock car. Denny Dearborn built, owned and drove this car until he stored it at the end of the 1965 season.

The last car was truly unique. Former stunt driver Denny Dearborn raced the#7 1932 Ford coupe on the Thunder Road oval in 1964 and 1965. With the elimination of the coupes as a class after the ’65 season, Dearborn parked the car in his garage and put a tarp over it. That is how it remained for the next 38 years. He rejected all offers to sell it until 2003 when he finally gave in to Lucien Lizotte who met Dearborn’s price. The flathead engine had some frozen parts necessitating a temporary engine swap until it can get rebuilt. Otherwise, the car has reappeared at Thunder Road exactly as it looked when it last exited the track in 1965. To his credit, Lizotte has resisted any desire for a cosmetic update. This car is original and that is how he intends to keep it.

The current car owners should be commended for the investment and commitment they have made in preserving these cars representing Thunder Road’s early years. Likewise, speedway officials should be applauded for making the coupes part of this prestigious racing event. Racing history is being preserved for future generations in Vermont.

Harold Hanaford won the 1962 Milk Bowl in a car almost identical to #7 and the 1964 race in the #30 car.
The latest Lloyd Hutchins Jr. car driven by The Flying Frenchman, Norm Chaloux.
The American Canadian Tour pace car leads the coupes on the Milk Bowl parade lap.
The vintage coupes on display in the infield prior to the Milk Bowl.
Ray Coffin next to the car he drove in 1963.
A replica of the Hutchins/Montandon car that raced at Thunder Road in 1963.



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