Make your reservations Now!
Dinner is catered and open to the public ($20/person), reservations are required prior to 6 p.m., Monday prior to dinner, either
On-line HERE or
call 805 296-1935
Dinner price: $20/pp.
View pictures from June Dinner Meeting here.
A graduate of UCLA, Steve Snyder lives in Seal Beach, California. In 2009, he retired from Vision Service Plan (VSP) after a 36 year career working in sales and sales management. He then began his quest to learn more about the World War II experiences of his father, pilot Howard Snyder, and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth. It became his passion, and after 4 ½ years of dedicated research, resulted in his book, SHOT DOWN, which has received 25 book awards. A member of numerous World War II organizations, Steve is past president of the 306th Bomb Group Historical Association. He keeps very busy making PowerPoint presentations to all types of organizations and attending air shows around the country signing copies of his book.
SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth by Steve Snyder, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller and recipient of more than 25 national book awards.
SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by author Steve Snyder’s father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgium border on February 8, 1944.
More information on the book and Seve Snyder can be found at this link.
Just a reminder that reservations are open for the 12th Warbirds Wings & Wheels Plus Swap Meet. The show has always been one of the largest events held at the museum each year with all profits help fund the general operations of Estrella Warbirds Museum. This year's event was rescheduled from May to October due to the prior Covid concern restrictions. We are actively seeking reservations for the following catagories:
Last month, we hosted one of the Petersen Auto Museum Members, the largest auto museum in California. On Saturday, July 10th, we were the destination for one of the largest groups of Audi owners coming from the Bay area to Los Angeles! Approximately 250 (!) pristine Audi's of every size, shape, and color lined the EWM taxiway and display areas on the grounds. Ken Neuman did a marvelous job of coordinating the event both on the months prior and during the display. We're looking forward to their returning (but on a cooler day). Temperatures were well over 100 degrees and judging by the huge numbers of feedback, it didn't dampen their enjoyment of all aspects of the museum.
Restoration crews have been making good progress on both our Vought Corsair II A-7C and the Burma Jeep Bomb Carrier. As you can see most of the work on the A-7 is now centered on finish details and markings.
If you had seen the Burma Jeep prior to restoration, you may think this is a completely different vehicle. Nope! When the vehicle restoration experts take on a new project, it is usually a complete frame-up restoration so it looks as though it was fresh off the factory production line. Awesome work guys! Your attention to detail is quite amazing and definitely rewarding. It is much appreciated!
Very possibly, this race car, in conjunction with the owner/driver, Bill Vukovich, Sr., was the most famous and most written about combination in post WWII short track racing in America. Painted bright red and named "Old Ironsides," it was a popular racing combination while Billy Vukovich drove for the Edelbrock Dirt Racing Team throughout the west coast URA (United Racing Association) at venues such as the Rose Bowl and the Colliseum in Los Angeles, as well as numerous short tracks which allowed him to race 7 or 8 times per week! This combination won the URA championships in both 1946 and 1947 even though this 2 cylinder Drake powered race car was pitted against the flathead V-8 Fords and often again the dual overhead cam 4 cylinder Offenhauser power plants that Dale Drake helped design and manufacture. Incidentally, this Drake 2 cylinder was a Harley Davidson Water cooled 89 cubic engine V-Twin, gasoline fueled engine. It is our understanding that this car, with Bill Vukovich at the wheel, and with the help of his mechanic brother Mike, won the equivalent of approximately $900,000 in 2009 prize money dollar value. "Old Ironsides" eventually found its' way back to Mike Vukovich, who along with his son-in-law, Frank Prieto, restored it back to this original condition.
Dirt track racing on the west coast was just a warm up as Billy's sights were set on much larger racing venues such as the Indianapolis 500. In 1952, his sophomore year in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 500-Mile Race, he quickly moved up from his starting position in the middle of the third row to take the lead, and led 150 laps in dominant fashion before suffering steering failure on the 192nd of the 200 laps. He returned to win the race in consecutive years, 1953 and 1954. He led an astounding 71.7% of laps that he drove in competition at the track, and remains the only driver ever to lead the most laps in the race three consecutive years.
Unfortunately, Billy Vukovich was killed in a chain-reaction crash while holding a 17-second lead on the 57th lap of the 1955 Indianapolis 500. Vukovich was the second defending Indy 500 champion to die during the race, following Floyd Roberts in 1939, and the only former winner to have been killed while leading. He is also the first driver to be killed during a World Championship race
Billy Vukovich was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 1972. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, and inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992, and into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1990.
His son, Bill Vukovich II, and his grandson, Bill Vukovich III, also competed in the Indianapolis 500, with Vukovich II taking second in 1973, and Vukovich III being named Rookie of the Year in 1988. Vukovich III died on November 25, 1990, in a crash during practice for a CRA race at Mesa Marin Raceway, in Bakersfield, California.
This is truely one of the many reasons Estrella Warbirds Museum is proud to be home of the incredible Woodland Auto Display! If you haven't visited here yet, please put it on your future agenda.