Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Daytona

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Callaway Chris
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Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Daytona

Post by Callaway Chris » Wed May 12, 2010 6:00 pm

Cool story!!


Cool cars!


Callaway Chris
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Re: Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Day

Post by Callaway Chris » Wed May 12, 2010 6:03 pm

A few pics - the King Daytona and Queen Daytona cars were destroyed. The 440 powered car they also had, still exisits..
Image

Image

Callaway Chris
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:46 pm
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Re: Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Day

Post by Callaway Chris » Wed May 12, 2010 8:45 pm

Cool feature :beer
September 19, 1994
A Peacekeeping Force
Warring gangs downshift at Big Willie Robinson's drag strip
Ken McAlpine

It's a sunny Saturday, and spectators at Brotherhood Raceway Park are holding their cars. At the starting line a Ford and a Chevy, both souped up, lay down serious rubber. Their spinning wheels spew billows of white smoke. The noise is like Velcro tearing inside your skull.

But the source of the auditory agony isn't tire screech. It's the chubby fellow whose screams are assaulting a defenseless public-address system. His name is Willie Andrew Robinson III, but he prefers to be called Big Willie.

"Which car you want?" yells Big Willie. His question is directed to the track announcer, a frequent target of Big Willie's good-natured hustles. "I got 20 hot dogs with chili and onions against whatever you can put up. You beat me, you can throw a picnic. Invite everyone you know. Maybe even have some leftovers. C'mon now, don't be scared. If you're scared to bet, you deserve to lose."

The announcer picks the Ford. "Bung mistake," says Big Willie, cackling.

The colored bulbs on the starter's tree light up one at a time, top to bottom: yellow, yellow, then green. Big Willie implores the racers, "C'mon, cut a good light and run straight." The Chevy does precisely that, squealing down the quarter-mile track to a convincing victory.

"Hooo-eee!" he shouts. "My lucky day! Just got Thanksgiving dinner squared away! Hot dogs with chili and onions!"

Two more cars pull up to the line. Big Willie turns to his foil with a toothy grin. "Listen," he says. "I'll give you a chance to get some hot dogs back. I have a heart."

He's a man with a heart, all right. And a cause. That is why he has worked so hard to preserve this drag strip on Terminal Island, at the western end of Los Angeles Harbor. The raceway, which has gone in and out of existence for the past 20 years, is a demilitarized zone of sorts. Gangs from south-central Los Angeles, from the barrios at the city's eastern edge and from the San Fernando Valley come here to slam down the accelerators of rusted Pintos, sleek Camaros, jacked-up station wagons and other moving contraptions. Overseeing it is 52-year-old Big Willie, a 6'6", 300-pound peacekeeper.

"Black, white, yellow, brown, skinheads, Nazi party members, Muslims, we got 'em all," he says. "They're all here at the track, and they're communicatin'. And once they start communicatin", they start likin' each other, and once they start likin' each other, they forget about the hate." Big Willie's operation consists of' several acres of asphalt, a line of cracked barricades and a POW-MIA flag popping in the sea breeze. The site is called Brotherhood Raceway because brotherhood is what Big Willie has preached since 1966, when he returned from a two-year tour in Vietnam and formed the National and International Brotherhood of Street Racers, a group of hot-rodders who provide an antidote to racial unrest. The only requirements for membership are a vehicle and a lead foot.

In the early days, members gathered at night on deserted streets and in back alleys, holding races that drew hundreds of fans. Drag racing on city streets is illegal in Los Angeles, and the police considered shutting down the enterprise. Ultimately, they decided to look the other way. "They would come and help out with traffic control," says Big Willie. "We weren't supposed to be there, but we were bringing peace to the streets."

Finding a tract for a bona fide drag strip wasn't easy. There was the matter of noise, and the scarcity of unused land in the city—not to mention the brotherhood's potentially combustible membership. But Big Willie persisted, and after a long search, the races moved to Terminal Island in 1974. Over the next decade, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission shut the raceway down several times because it needed the land for storage or port access. Each time, Big Willie would pester then Mayor Tom Bradley and the city council for help in finding a new spot by showing up at council meetings and making speeches about how his strip helped keep the peace. "I've never known anybody more persistent," says Bradley. "He just won't give up on his dream. He can be so persuasive that many people who at the outset are opposed to his ideas are finally overwhelmed."

Almost 30 years after his crusade began, Big Willie is still at it because the ills he has fought with missionary zeal—racism and violence—are still alive and well. So is his manifesto: If you're racing, you're not killing.

Big Willie would rather press ahead than look back in anger. Back to his childhood in the 1940s in New Orleans, with its separate schools, separate churches, separate racetrack seating for black people. Back to Louisiana State University in 1960, where he ambled out of history class one day to find the windows broken, headlights smashed and tires cut on his prized 1953 Oldsmobile hot rod. Back to yesterday's news stories of children gunned down in the streets. "There's a lot of ghosts around me, lot of ghosts," says Big Willie. "I don't have time to sit down and cry. I got to keep pushin' forward to bring more people together, so we don't have this crazy violence out there."

Everyone is welcome at the track, where the motto is: Run what you brung, tow what you blow. Big-rig trucks, Volkswagen buses, go-karts, bicycles, dog sleds and a motor home built out of the front half of an airplane have all rumbled down Big Willie's drag strip. The eclecticism of the machinery is matched only by that of the crowd: tattooed muscle bikers, Hispanic kids in white T-shirts and floppy pants, bony black youths sporting hair nets and oversized jewelry, motorheads elbow deep in engines, families sprawled in beach chairs and eating picnic lunches. Even Big Willie's mother, Lula Mae Robinson, has raced here, piloting her Cadillac with aplomb. "Man can show up naked driving with his privates, he's welcome here," says Big Willie.

The melting-pot atmosphere is due in large part to Big Willie's disregard for profits. Ten dollars gets you in the gate, but Big Willie lets in an armada of folks for free: veterans, policemen, firefighters, Big Brothers of America and anyone who can't afford the admission. "It's not good business," says Tomiko Robinson, Big Willie's wife of 25 years and his assistant at the strip. "But it's the way Willie wants it."

Big Willie is not, however, a starry-eyed softy. His supporters go on about the size of his heart; but it's public knowledge that he once ripped a car door off its hinges to rescue his wife from her race car after a crash. Brotherhood members police the track, but it's Big Willie's presence that ensures calm. On the rare occasions when a fracas seems imminent, Big Willie halts the racing, collars the suspects and drags them out on the track, where he berates them in front of the crowd. As he shouts, he jabs the air with a deli-pickle-sized finger while the sinners stare at the ground. "By the time he's done," says Tomiko, "they're so embarrassed they've forgotten why they're angry."

Big Willie makes ends meet at home by doing assorted odd jobs. Despite the flexible admissions policy, the track stays solvent, thanks to a combination of municipal largess, private support and Big Willie's creative street bartering. He leases the strip from the city for $1 a month. The barricades and bleachers are on loan from the Long Beach Grand Prix. Local businesses chip in product prizes. Graffiti artists paint the signs. A lawyer agreed to represent the raceway pro bono after Big Willie used his street connections to locate the man's stolen car.

The folks along the strip say Big Willie has helped curb violence outside the raceway gates. "Since we've had this drag strip, things have been much more mellow," says Reggie Foley, a 26-year resident of Compton, a south-central L.A. neighborhood familiar with gang violence. "Man's doin' a wonderful job. We're thankful Willie believes."

Says Steve Soboroff, a former harbor commissioner, "L.A. could use a lot more people like Willie. So could the world."

At the moment, however, the world seems more concerned with commerce than with calming hotheaded kids. Next spring, a harbor expansion project is scheduled to gobble up the drag strip and replace it with a coal-exporting facility. Officials say they have no plans to furnish another spot for the strip.


But Big Willie doesn't seem overly concerned. He believes he has the support of Mayor Richard Riordan and hopes to set up drag strips in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Orleans. With characteristic optimism, he says, "This is one story that doesn't end here."


Callaway Chris
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Re: Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Day

Post by Callaway Chris » Wed May 12, 2010 8:51 pm

For sale:
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BIG WILLIE DUKE AND DUTCHESS DAYTONA

Offered for a very limited time is 1 of 3 69 Daytonas that were owned by Big Willie Robinson and the Brotherhood of Street Racers. Now the only 1 left in existence. These cars were given to sponsor street racing to sell cars, just like the Silver Bullitt was given to Addison. As the Sixties drew to a close, the social upheaval seen in other spheres of society influenced drag racing as well. In the wake of the 1968 Watts riots, legendary street racer Big Willie Robinson figured out a way to use drag racing to change society. An imposing, muscular 6'6" Vietnam vet with a badass Hemi Daytona Charger and trademark bowler hat, Big Willie was the undisputed king of the late '60s- '70s East L.A. street racing scene. In response to the growing influence of drugs and street gangs, Big Willie and his wife Tomiko organized the 'Brotherhood of Street Racers' as a way to channel the energy of South Central youth away from crime and violence -- "peace through racing," as he put it. Working with local officials and police, Big Willie was the driving force behind the building of Brotherhood Raceway Park on L.A. harbor's Terminal Island. Before it closed in 1995, BRP was a popular destination for young South Cental racers and is widely regarded as the birthplace of import drag racing -- the 'Fast and Furious' scene. Efforts are now underway to reopen BRP, hopefully extending Big Willie's legacy to another generation of L.A. gearheads of every ethnicity.

This Daytona is the last of the 3 given to Big Willie. The car is all numbers matching. 440 with 727 Torqueflite and a 4.10 Dana. The car has the original teardrop hood that was used on the King Daytona in the movie "Two Lane Blacktop." There is a long history behind this car and it is well documented. You will get the original helmet that Big Willie's wife Tomiko used to race the Queen Daytona ,The car was resently shown at "The Forge Invitational" in Chattanooga, Tn. along with several monumental cars such as the Sox and Martin prostockers, and Dick Landy's prostockers and many more. The car has been featured in Mopar Collector Guide and on the Hot Rod Powertour. Now is your chance to own a rare piece of Mopar history. The car is just as it was when we removed it from Big Willies back yard where it had sat since 1976. It is a controversy within itself as to whether to restore this car or leave it as it is. I guess that will be up to the buyer to make that call. Willie had ran this car with a Keith Black Hemi and a Clutchflite. This is a true XX29 Daytona! This car is a significant piece of Mopar race history and should be treated as such and is priced as such.

I WOULD BE WILLING TO TAKE OTHERS CAR AS A PARTAL TRADE IF YOU WOULD LIKE ANY MORE INFORMATION ON THIS CAR FEEL FREE TO CALL ME @ 763-245-0134 OR E-MAIL CUDACOREY@HOTMAIL.COM

DO YOUR RESEARCH , GOOGLE IT OR ASK AROUND THIS IS A SUPER RARE PIECE OF MOPAR HISTORY AND CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR THAT MATTER , AND STREET RACERS NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL.

Callaway Chris
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Re: Anyone know the legend of Big Willie Robinson & King Day

Post by Callaway Chris » Sun May 27, 2012 11:40 am

Big Willie has passed away, forever closing this chapter on drag racing


http://bangshift.com/blog/big-willie-ro ... -died.html


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Also:
Drag racing legend Willie Andrew Robinson, widely known as “Big Willie,” died on Saturday in California. Robinson was the founder of the International Brotherhood of Street Racers. The club was formed after the Watts Riots in 1965 in an effort to promote positivity in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department approached Big Willie to form the organization with the intent to bring peace to the community. Robinson was a drag racing advocate who succeeded in opening Brotherhood Raceway Park on Terminal Island in the Los Angeles Harbor in 1976. The track was eventually closed in 1995, but Robinson continued to advocate for the power of drag racing to alleviate racial tensions. His popular slogan, “Run what you brung,” is infamous in the drag racing circuit. Robinson took his concept to other cities to alleviate tensions, and met with Pres. Bill Clinton to explain his concept. He was 70 years old.
Artist Lee Quinones befriended Big Willie and submitted this tribute:
Heard the News today, oh boy, about a lucky Man that made the grade…
Lucky was Willie that he was and will always be a man of not one color, but wore a multiple of colors for the human race.
A lucky Man that was Man enough during those turbulent tumultuous times to yell out, “Power within the people! clear the smoke screen and let the tires do the screaming”… Clear your heads and line ‘em up heads up in a sudden place where every thing and every one is equal…. The line. The line of life where we all start in a leap of faith to rid the hate being spoon fed on a slate…. The line, where you can’t hear your self think, but your engines on the brink because you brung what you bring hoping that it’s enough from the Connecting Highway to Van Nuys with the Woodward stuff….. Whether it’s round and round, figure eight or going straight, we all sense that finish line some where on the horizon reminding us that maybe we can land in another place and time of alignment.
Lee Quinones

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