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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Newspaper ads/ 1963 Philippine Soap Box Derby

-->The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move.

The first All-American race was held in Dayton on August 19, 1934, after an idea by Myron Scott, a photographer for the Dayton Daily News. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.(wikipedia)
Why is it called the "Soap Box" Derby? Were the cars ever made from soap boxes? Was a soap company an early sponsor? Kids would take empty soap crates or wooden soapboxes that were destined for the trash, put wheels on them and race them usually downhill. The wheels were often from baby carriages. The first ones were steered by ropes tied to the axles or simply by placing the feet on the axles and pushing on the one you needed to go in the correct direction. (internet source)

Philippine Soap Box Derby- 1962

-->Soap box derby was one of the country’s biggest summer sports events in the 50s and 60s. Close to 300 kids vied for the title, racing against time down in a 300 plus-meter course. Their race cars were made of wood on a steel chassis, which were hoisted up 16 feet to a holding pen before they were released.
Soap box derby racing was introduced in the Philippines in 1955 at Clark Air Base. The following year, under the sponsorship of the Better Boys Association, the first Philippine national soap box derby was held in Quezon City on Highway 54 (now EDSA) near Camp Murphy, with Rafael Prieto, coming out as the champion. Since then, the soap box derby races, which aimed to instill discipline among the youth, show them the value of sportsmanship and respect of the rules,
became an annual event, with the champion each year going to Akron, The popularity saw its decline in the latter part of the 60s and was eventually scrapped. It was temporarily revived in the 80s, but the enthusiasm and interest to the sport was not there.

This was how this section of Quezon Blvd. looked like in 1962 when racers, with crowds cheering, streaked toward the finish line.


Did you know that in the 60s, part of sloping stretch in Quezon Blvd was used as the venue for this grand sports spectacle? These races, from 1961 to the latter part of the 60s were held in this section of Quezon Blvd, from near the junction of West Avenue and Quezon Blvd (within the vicinity of JUSMAG Officer’s Clubhouse) up to Roosevelt Avenue near the Pantranco bus terminal. The area, which was closed to traffic for two days, was turned into a gigantic field with lots of ambulant vendors i.e. selling ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy. Festive moods filled the air as people, young and old, witnessed the races.

8th National Soap Box Derby/ May 18 and 19, 1963


May 19, 1963--- Fourteen-year old Emmanuel Nolasco, a Philippine Trust Company entry tops the 1963 8th Soap Box Derby. A veteran of two previous Soap Box Derbies, Nolasco negotiated the 975.4 foot course on the gravity-propelled races in 26.8 seconds to nose out Carmelino Dumo, 13-year old of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, in a virtual photo-finish. The triumph entitled him to a four-year college schorlarship at the University of the Philippines and the chance to compete in the All-American Derby in Akron, Ohio.
A total of 296 participants took part in this year’s derby. Eighteen were eliminated on the first day. About 3,000 fans and spectators braved the sweltering heat to witness the finals, in front of the Jusmag Officer’s clubhouse on Quezon Boulevard Extension, Quezon City.


Anonymous said...


Blast from the Past talaga ito. Malapit lang ang bahay namin sa Pantranco noon, and I used to see this spectacle in the early 60s. Doon mismo sa may gate ng bahay ng kaklase ko sa Quezon Blvd. Kila Corinna Benipayo, nakaklase ko sa UST.


Rodolfo Samonte said...

Nalito ako sa caption. Akala ko Quezon Blvd. sa may Quiapo. Hindi ba Quezon Blvd Extension na pag nasa Quezon City?

Video 48 said...

Tama ka, Rod, it used to be Quezon Blvd. Extension.

James DR said...

Simon, natatandaan ko ito, nung bata pa ako, nanonood din ako nito sa may Pantranco/Roosevelt Ave. Malapit lang yun sa tinitirhan namin noon sa Felipe St., na ang tinutumbok ay yung dating mansion ng mga Poe sa Roosevelt.

Video 48 said...

Auggie, James, sarap ng buhay dati!


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