May 9, 2016 – Long time racer, bon vivant, and super car enthusiast Toly (Anatoly) Arutunoff is a 60+ year SCCA member, an H-Production national champion. He competed in the Targa Florio, Sebring, Daytona, as well as the legendary Cannonball Run. He’s written two books about his fascinating days racing around the world. He also founded the first Ferrari dealership in Tulsa, Oklahoma and built Hallett Raceway. He also vintage raced for decades and even managed to compete in Schenley Park 15 times including our first in 1983. He qualified for the first year of recognition of the “Legends of Schenley Park” and will be racing with us in his 1955 Thunderbird!
In his own words:
“Mama. Dada. Nope, the first word I said was ‘car.’ As a toddler I remember lowslung roadsters zipping through Beverly Hills. Being a normal sort of boy, I became a hot-rodder after we moved permanently to Oklahoma in he late ’40s. I’d chuckle at magazine pictures of yellow and black Fiats with top speeds of 87mph, or even 91! Wow! I had a supercharged Lincoln convertible when I was 15 that would tear the treads off Goodyear Double Eagles–they soon revamped the design–at 128mph.”
“And then! Vacationing in Italy with the family we stumbled upon the last running of the Mille Miglia! That did it! I pivoted to sports cars. Porsche Carrera Speedster. Alfa 2000 Spider. Lancia Flaminia Zagato 3C (which I still have). Abarth 2000SP for Daytona and Sebring, also with a Lancia Stratos. Oh, there were racing Lotuses and my national champeenship with my Morgan 4/4 in pouring rain. There was an automotive patent and a car built to my specs and Hallett Motor Racing Circuit that I designed and built west of Tulsa. I ran the first PVGP in my Cooper-Ford (which I also still have) towed up from Tulsa with my ’69 Buick Gran Sport Skylark Stage 1–I mean you just can’t get ALL the hotrod blood out! And I’ve run over a dozen since and here I am again. And loving it! If you have half as much fun as I’ve had through all the events at Schenley Park you will have memories that will last a lifetime. And God bless everybody in the park this weekend.”
Most sincerely yours
Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff
Toly’s wife attended many Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix’s and helped to add more color to Toly’s words. “Toly is very modest but it is worth knowing that he went to college when he was 14 1/2 and has degrees in everything from English Literature, Physics, to Astronomy to name a few earning both Masters degrees and a Phd by the time he finished at age 29. At one time in his racing-for-fun-career he held 18 track records and raced darn-near close to 80 different marques. He has raced every major track in the U.S. and Europe and was the only American racing in Europe in the late 50’s/early 60’s including Spa, the Nurburgring and the original Targa Florio. He was even offered appearance money by Count Johnny Lurani back in the day but Toly felt he was having too much fun so it must be time to come home! He fondly refers to those days as ‘it was like buying a glove and playing for the Yankees.’ And, yes, in spite of his oh-so Russian name he is Oklahoma born and bred and proud of it!”
Interview with Toly Arutunoff from The Motorcar Society on Vimeo.
ONE OFF by Toly Arutunoff
Amateur road racer, raconteur and car guy extraordinaire, Anatoly Arutunoff tells a lifetime of his favorite true first person stories. From his youth in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to participation at the real Targa Florio, to eventually winning the SCCA runoffs in his Morgan 4/4, to more recent times on the historic rally circuit Toly makes you think you were there sharing all the adventures and camaraderie. There are intriguing family moments, the exuberance of youth and brushes with greats such as Redman, Clark and Moss plus many lesser known players from the past sixty years who collectively molded the sports car culture that has always surrounded the author. Written in an uncomplicated and light-hearted style the reader will either renew a relationship or discover a new friend in a man who suggests, “All the car stuff I’ve done is a sort of cross-section of what you would have done, if you’d been young in the sixties and had the money.” Ride with Toly on the roads and racetracks in America and Europe and share in an experience that is truly “One Off!”