not forgotten . . .

Ollie Silva


Haverhill, Mass
14.May.1929 - 15.Aug.2004


Ollie Silva was an American Modified and Supermodified auto racing legend. He raced in the Northeast United States, winning many races, track championships, and touring-series championships. Silva drove in modifieds, supermodifieds, pro-stocks, late models and sprint cars. [1] He was the first inductee in the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame when it was instituted in 1998.
One of 16 children born to Portuguese immigrants, Silva started driving at age 10, steering a tractor and a pickup truck on his family's large produce and poultry farm in Topsfield. By the time he was 14, he had secretly purchased a car and hid it in woods near the farm to "practice drive" on rarely used back roads.Silva began racing in 1949 at Dracut Speedway in a 1934 Ford Coupe. Ollie has raced and won features from Canada to Florida, and won an estimated 500 features in twelve states. Ollie drove for many years in a touring SuperModified association known as NESMRA.
Silva drove in underfunded cars. The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune published a story about him in 1999, where he described one race in Quebec: "We just had this little flathead engine. They had these big fuel-injected Chrysler V-8s. But when they got to the end of the straightaways, they didn't know how to drive through the turns. I wasn't going to tell them." "They're speaking French and all of a sudden one guy wants to buy our motor. Another one wanted to buy the rear end. Somebody else bought the transmission. Then somebody else bought the body, frame and roll bars. We came home with an empty trailer" said Mr. Silva. Silva built himself a new racer the next week. Silva had offers to race for big-money NASCAR teams, but he turned them down because he wanted to be his own boss.

Ollie joined forces for several years with legendary and current car owner Vic Miller in a unique 01 Supermodified which was very successful. One of his last SuperModified rides was in the Clyde Booth "nine" car.
Ollie once lapped the entire field twice at the 1974 Hott Wheels 100 All-Star race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. He was a multi-time winner of Star Speedway's International Super Modified Classic.
Silva won NASCAR Modified championships at Star Speedway in 1967, 1968, and 1978. He won Can-Am Classics championships in 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1974. Silva was the four-time champion at the U.S. Winter Nationals. Silva claimed the 1972 World Series at Thompson Speedway.
His career nearly ended in 1978 when he was seriously injured racing at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire driving a modified with the steering wheel on the right side. He returned for a short while in 1980.
Ollie died in 2004, and his memory has been preserved with the annual "Ollie Silva Classic" at the Lee USA Speedway. For the first event, locals built a replica of one of Ollie's 1960s "Big O" coupe modifieds.

  . . . from Wikipedia






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1973 Star Speedway. The incomparable Ollie Silva. Ollie won everything there was to win in the Northeast in this car. His duels with Don McLaren in the early days are legendary. (from Retro Rockets)

1970 Oswego modified show

Dave Thomas and ollie at Star

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  Ollie Silva links
  • tribute page at vintagemodifieds.com
  • tribute page at New England Auto Racers Hall Of Fame
  • A tribute to Ollie Silva by Ken Smith
  • image at RetroRockets
  • please links, stories or images so we can all remember Ollie Silva.

  stats
  • 4-time Star Classic winner (1969,70,71,74)
  • 3-time NESMRA champion



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