Alton “Al” Oakes was born in New Brunswick, Canada, but he headed to in 1945 Maine so he could serve in the United States Army Air Forces during WWII.
After the war, Oakes moved to Bristol, Connecticut to work as a Master Technician for Industrial Riggers, a position he held for more than 25 years. Oakes then went on to work for Loehmann Chevrolet in Waterbury for the next 15 years.
Oakes piloted a number of race cars over the years, many of them Chevys sponsored by Loehmann Chevrolet.
Oakes used the name “Growler” on all of his race cars, beginning with an Anglia that ran in B/Gas. At one event at Charlestown, RI, Oakes broke the front suspension of the Anglia during eliminations. Undeterred, he opened up the exhaust on his tow car, a 1939 Chevrolet, and went on to win the class. After the race, he reconnected the exhaust on the Chevy and used it to tow the Anglia home for repairs.
Never one to stay stagnant, Oakes raced a number of different cars in a number of different classes over the years. He ran Chevys in Stock, Factory Experimental, and Gas classes at tracks all over New England.
The Orientals Hot Rod Club is proud to induct Al Oakes into the New England Hot Rod Hall of Fame