Class of 1978 inductee Vic Wilson comes with many accolades including the first ever winner of the Mexican 1000 in 1967. Long-time racer, track promoter and Volkswagen guy, Vic brings the memories alive for us. Congratulations to Vic Wilson, a 1978 inductee into ORMHOF, Vic Wilson is why we say; legends live at ORMHOF.org. Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.
7:06 – in those days, dirt bikes weren’t available
14:21 – I modified the mount for the 50 caliber machine gun to make a roll bar
19:34 – “you enjoy racing, how would you like to drive my Meyer’s Manx in this first race?”
29:14 – no pit stops, no gas stations, Bruce organized people to be at certain locations to fuel us.
38:10 – I raced the Toyota Land Cruiser, broke my nose because the thing is so bloody heavy in the front
44:20 – because of my involvement in Saddleback Park, I got to build, design and layout offroad vehicle parks in California
Special thanks to ORMHOF.org for support and sponsorship of this podcast.
[00:01:14.470] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, I get to interview Victor Vic Wilson. Vic is a 1978 Ormhof inductee. He is, along with his teammate, Ted Mangles, the winner of the very first ever Mexican 1,000 in 1967. Vic is also a two time national 4WD Grand Prix Champion and a two time winner of the Mint 400. Then again, Vic won a second Mexican 1,000 in 1970. I’m sure there’s a lot more to this story and a lot more wins along the way. Vic, thank you so much for spending the time and talking with us today.
[00:02:00.970] – Vic Wilson
Sure. Thank you.
[00:02:03.360] – Big Rich Klein
Let’s start off right away. Where were you born and raised?
[00:02:08.190] – Vic Wilson
I was born in Glendale, California by a midwife of my mother, and spent some of my early first years in Glendale, California.
[00:02:22.000] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. And that was in the 30s, correct?
[00:02:26.620] – Vic Wilson
[00:02:27.620] – Big Rich Klein
Mid ’30s. You’ve seen a lot of history in the United States?
[00:02:34.310] – Vic Wilson
You have no idea.
[00:02:37.770] – Big Rich Klein
I just turned 65, so I’m behind you by a couple of decades there, but that’s a lot of history. I can’t wait to get into this. With growing up in Glendale, you didn’t stay there. Your dad ended up being, or was a the avocados grower, is that correct?
[00:03:03.600] – Vic Wilson
Yes. I don’t know what prompted… I was way too young. I’m four or five years old or whatever, and I don’t know what prompted him to leave Glendale. But I’m sure he was… My dad was a very brilliant man. In fact, when you look at the Google list, he’s in the Google list. Omar Wilson for building a handbuilt car way back, who knows when. But he was, I guess, unhappy with Glendale. And we moved to Vista, California, where he bought 40 acres and built a avocado orchard.
[00:03:50.650] – Big Rich Klein
Interesting. Man, that was pretty early to get into the agriculture down in Southern California like that. Most of that was all done… Citrus was really big. But getting into the avocados?
[00:04:12.000] – Vic Wilson
I’m not sure about the history. All I know is avocados in the Escondido Vista area were very big at that time. The ranch he did put together did grow both avocados and citrus. So citrus will handle cold weather better. And this 40 acres that he had was a sloping a hillside. So he put citrus down low where frost was more likely and kept the avocados up higher where they would withstand cold weather.
[00:04:53.460] – Big Rich Klein
There you go. Absolutely brilliant. Like you said.
[00:04:57.980] – Vic Wilson
[00:04:59.490] – Big Rich Klein
What were the earliest memories that you have of life out there? I would imagine it was around the ranch. Did you guys live on the ranch?
[00:05:10.610] – Vic Wilson
Yes, we lived on the ranch. And earliest memories I can remember is not only rabbit shooting with my 22 because we had lots of rabbits in those days, but also being able to get a driver’s license at 14, and also driving tractors in the orchard, pulling a trailer to pick fruit and so on. So that was probably my first years of navigation with an automobile.
[00:05:46.800] – Big Rich Klein
Okay, that’s cool. And 14 years old to get a driver’s license. Was that pretty standard then or was that.
[00:05:53.730] – Vic Wilson
Like an AgExcept? No, that was a special license that people who were involved in that type of business needed to have somebody else help them to navigate some fruit and things to market. So I started driving at that age.
[00:06:12.130] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. And along with going to school?
[00:06:15.630] – Vic Wilson
[00:06:16.890] – Big Rich Klein
And how were you as a student?
[00:06:21.560] – Vic Wilson
Not very good.
[00:06:24.110] – Big Rich Klein
Your interest or elsewhere?
[00:06:27.510] – Vic Wilson
I was a C student, which obviously is middle of the road. I didn’t really like studying very much. And because of the Ranch and all, I just didn’t take the opportunity to try to learn that much, I guess. I don’t know. But just like I say, I was basically an average student. Okay.
[00:06:54.080] – Big Rich Klein
That’s all right. You seem to have other skills. And one of those, I take it you had a motorcycle very early in your age, correct?
[00:07:06.190] – Vic Wilson
Well, I’m not sure about how early. I’ve been riding motorcycles for, I don’t know, I think I can’t even remember. So many years. But I didn’t have a motorcycle when I was that young. I didn’t probably start getting motorcycles until I was in my mid 20s because I owned a service station. And along with Jeeping, I did a tremendous amount of offroad Jeeping. But motorcycling was also one of my interests. But in those days, dirt bikes weren’t available. So we would take Yamaha’s and not Yamaha’s because Yamaha had a dirt bike. But we would take motorcycles and adapt them into a dirt bike model by putting bigger tires on it and changing the exhaust system and so on and so forth. But Triomphe had a motorcycle called a TR6, and we would take a TR 6 and modify it and make a dirt bike out of it. READ MORE