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Hagerty Employee

Driving a race track backwards? In a Qvale? With one leg? That's Toly Arutunoff | Hagerty Media

Under Oklahoma's best blue November sky, the butter-yellow Qvale Mangusta rumbles down a dusty access road, across the leaf-strewn paddock of Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, and onto the front straight. His cane stashed behind the driver's seat, 82-year-old Anatoly Arutunoff points out that we are going the wrong way-backward, against normal race traffic.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/people/driving-a-race-track-backwards-in-a-qvale-with-one-leg-thats-to...
12 REPLIES 12
Flashman
Instructor

An excellent interesting well-written article about a genuine character. It's hard not to be admiring of his life (if only I'd had a genius inventor father) well-lived, if not your writing style.
Karen1329
New Driver

Oh Grace, you are amazing! You certainly captured who I live with everyday and night! He is a running dialog of any synapse that fires off in his brain! No edit button either! Next time I’ll share the “secret word” with you which means all conversation for the day is over! Hahahahaha Karen Arutunoff
Geok86
Advanced Driver

I remember when Toly auctioned his Lancia Flaminia on BaT....he is a very interesting “character” would love to meet, and hang out with him for a day (or longer), as you were able to do.
drhino
Instructor

Great writing; great story.
Grace
Hagerty Employee

thank you!
iraceone
Pit Crew

I met Toly and he was engaging, delightful and clearly loves life with a great humorous flair. Hallett is a wonderful track in either direction and every bit true in that if you learn to drive it well you can drive anywhere.
Thanks for building Hallett and sharing your passion with so many.
Bryan1956
New Driver

My first SCCA race was the 1958 SCCA Petite Prix at the Okla. City fairgrounds. It was a race which included both the Tulsa contingent led by Toly and the Okla City group. Toly was the spark plug behind this event which was a great success and Toly provided Champagne after the racing was over. He also provided about 500 Champagne glasses which he had rented for the occasion. The celebration got a little out of hand and all of the glasses got smashed in a fit of over enthusiasm. Toly paid the entire bill to the rental co. Next time I saw him, we were in the same race at the Monterey Historics, 40 or so years later, he was driving a special bodied 250 SWB. GREAT GUY!
brb
Advanced Driver

Great story well told!
Grace
Hagerty Employee

thank you!
jelliott
New Driver

Pedantry time:
Essentially all vee engines utilize a single casting for the block; what's unique about Lancia's narrow-angle V4s (and the VW engines they inspired) is that there's just one cylinder head casting as opposed to the pair you'd normally associate with a vee engine.

xwingz2
New Driver

Bob Lembke: ...thank you passing on this delightful tale of one of the legends of motorsports. You and I were truly provledge to share the track with Toly. Maybe the first time was when he appeared on either the HP or GP grid in an Opel-GT. Wonder where is that car now!?

By 1976 we were all getting pretty racy in the HP Bugeye cars...and Toly graduated to the Morgan. I was totally unaware of the man's heritage...and admired his choice or 'unusual' machines. So, Ponca City and I found myself (amazingly) running behind the Morgan by about 2". We passed start/finish. quik left and then uphill...1-2" apart. Then the Morgan stops..not 'dead stop' but surely enough to plant the Bugeye bonnet into the Morgan's butt end.

End of event for me.

After the race, my crew and others wanted to know why I 'rammed the Morgan'. In the echelon of the time, the Morgan stood tall and the Bugeye only a few clicks above the Opel-GT!!

In the courtesy of the time, Toly appeared and apologized...apparently the fuel pump was flooding the carb on the Morgan and Toly was switching it on and off...in the middle of the turn, in the trees that lined Ponca City.

The guy is amazing...and it's a regret to have moved away from T-Town and not be able to enjoy Hallett...one direction or the other!! The Story of Hallett is quite amazing...but then, what would one expect from Toly Arutunoff. What a great guy... ed forrest

ShortestCircuit
Pit Crew

It is rare for me to read an article and go "holy... damn..." all the way through, but this one did it. I think there was a sum total of 5 of those Bristols made, and only 2 are known, this being one. Most people would need two lifetimes to experience half what this guy's been through. Great article!