San Fernando Valley Illegal Soap Box Federation


The Blow N Glo Special, built and driven by Maddog, is a nice-looking car built to compete in the San Fernando Valley Illegal Soap Box Federation races. The February issue of Hot Rod has an article about the S.F.V.I.S.B.F.

"I've been doing dumb and dangerous stuff for years," Paul de Valera, 36, said with a strange sort of exasperated enthusiasm during a conversation a few days earlier at his one-man Atomic Cycles bicycleshop in Van Nuys. Paul and his friend Tick One (it's a name he chose) are the S.F.V.I.S.B.F.'s co-instigators and currently act as the group's half-serious organizers and fun-first spiritual advisors. "It's stupidity," Paul added, "and it infects all of us."

This isn't soap box racing the way it's practiced at the All-American Soap Box Derby — where squeaky-clean preteens line up in cars built by their fathers and a gaggle of aerospace engineers to race down a sanitized hill in proscribed, arrow-straight lanes. In the S.F.V.I.S.B.F., adults in makeshift gravity-powered jalopies clandestinely sneak out early on the second Sunday of each month from March through December to meet and then barrel through unsuspecting suburban neighborhoods or over dirt fire roads with plenty of collisions, corners, and comeuppances.