Book Name: Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick (Biography)
Publisher: CarTech Autobooks and Manuals
Number of pages: 184
Illustrations: 450 photos
Year first published: 2021
Author: Dean Fait
The first book covering the life and times of Arnie Beswick is now available from CarTech Books. CarTech sent me a review copy of the new volume, entitled simply Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick.
I wish this had arrived before I penned my recent profiles on the Star of The Circuit II and the Super Judge. It would have been a nice tie-in, but I am thrilled my posts are accurate based on the information in the book.
Beswick Biography is filled with stories and anecdotes
Author Dean Fait has accumulated a mammoth amount of information about Beswick’s extensive career. And what a career it had been. The book delves into Beswick’s early Stock and Super Stock efforts in meticulous detail. This section occupies nearly half the book.
When the volume reaches the mid-1960s, it steers into Beswick’s first foray into the A/FX classes. This, of course, brought about the altered wheelbase match racers, which in turn morphed into Beswick’s long line of flip-top funny cars.
After a barn fire destroyed most of Beswick’s racing assets, Beswick began a 14-year hiatus from racing. The Farmer returned to the sport in 1986 and the book details his Pro Mod and nostalgia activities. The final pages relate Beswick’s recovery from a horrible racing fire in 2003. Most 73-year-olds would have called it a career at that point, but Beswick still wasn’t finished with the quarter-mile. After 50 years of driving every form of full-bodied race car, Beswick emerged from a medical coma and returned to the dragstrip.
Over 450 illustrations
CarTech states there are 450 photos in the book, many of them from Beswick’s personal collection. All of Beswick’s rides are covered in detail: the Mystery Tornado, Tameless Tiger, Star of the Circuit, Super Judge, Boss Bird and the various Passionate Pocho entries. In addition, there are photos and descriptions of the Dodge and Oldsmobile door slammers Beswick launched his career with. Beswick’s short, but successful stint behind the wheel of a Dodge Challenger flopper is also explained.
The edition is a true time capsule of drag racing history. We are presented with images of the bizarre creations from the 1950s and follow along as they evolve into the high-tech race cars of today. Beswick’s cars get center stage, as they should, but there are glimpses of the coupes and rails that clashed in the early years of the sport.
Amazing Win/Loss Record
To demonstrate Beswick’s astounding racing record, Fait dug through old articles in Drag News and other early racing publications to unearth events at tracks such as Cordova, Half Day Speedway, US30, Indianapolis, Yellow River, Lions, Bakersfield, Union Grove, York and many others. Beswick was a fixture at events that include the World Series of Drag Racing, the US Nationals and the Daytona Speed Weeks. Win or lose, Fait faithfully reports how the Farmer fared during these events.
The story of Beswick’s short hitch as a Mercury team driver is explored over several pages, but I think this is the weakest point of the book. We are given the facts, but I felt there must have been some deep soul searching involved. I expected a deeper sense of what was going on in the background.
In fact, the entire section on the transformation from A/FX to altered match racer doesn’t receive sufficient analysis. The wheelbase modifications are described matter-of-factly, with little embellishment. I would have preferred more behind-the-scenes discussion of Beswick’s metamorphosis from A/FX to mash-bash match racer.
The Beswick Biography contains stories of Nicholson, Petty and others.
Fait atones for this with vivid descriptions of Arnie’s frequent match races with Don Nicholson, Gary Dyer, Jim Lieberman, Ronnie Sox and Richard Petty. The fact that Beswick could run with and often beat these superstars with Pontiac power is mind-boggling.
Drag racing fans of all stripes, whether or not they are Beswick fans, will find this book captivating. In some places, the writing is moderately pedestrian, but overall, race fans will find this a page-turner
Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick can be ordered from CarTech Books at 800-551-4754, or purchased through the website at www.cartechbooks.com.