Joaquin Arnett- Bean Bandits

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Web article on The Arnett/Granatelli/Couch 1934 Ford Coupe | Mac's Motor City Garage
lovely photos and history of dad's modifications :)  We are thinking and missing him today...

It is Christmas Day and I found this lovely video.. 
Love this OB Lights at night...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wheels TV video of Joaquin Arnett

Filmed at Joaquin's resident in San Diego, CA 


I found this video of Dad, around 2010. It was made when he was 76 years old..
I love being able to hear his voice and see him so into his cars and friends.. He loved racing and building the cars. He had such a camaraderie with the hot rod community.. Many of his personal photos are in this film.  We still have these and are still on the big display boards my brother, Jeff Arnett and I currently have.  
Long time childhood friends, Ruben Lovato, and Leo Leyba both original Bean Bandits are in this video. Dad is discussing the club and roles of the members, including Carlos Ramirez, the driver, and alternate driver Andrew Ortega.  The Paradise Mesa drag strip was being used for the groups beginnings and is shown here.. My mom Viola Arnett, Dad and I watched it at the Petersen Museum at a dinner honoring the pioneers of drag racing. Dad had asked for a copy but things did not turn out. I was glad to see this little gem of a film.. thanks to Wheels TV..

If you would like to comment feel free to do so.. any stories you have to tell are welcomed.. Please leave you contact info if you wish...
Thanks Jackie

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Well here it is again, and I have not written on this site.. Thinking of dad especially during the holiday season, we always loved the celebrations with family and friends.. I found this article written by Ron Muller It was in dad's multiple collections. It also mentions my Uncle, Emery Cook.  I miss those days of the long ago past.  Dad is wearing one of his favorite shirts, and is with my beautiful and sweet mom, Viola.  She was definitely the woman behind the man. Always going to the multiple car part-stores and junk yards finding him this and that... They had been together since childhood.. Nice can click on the article to enlarge it.. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

     Today, I have been thinking a lot about my dad, Joaquin, I am still trying to disperse his tools  & equipment.  His Lathe and Mill are now in Ramona, David Brown Blacksmith will repurpose them..  Jeff Arnett is attending to all his race cars.   I cannot believe how time rushes by.  I am trying to get myself going and organize his vast photos.. Thankfully Emmanuel Burgin is providing me with some motivation.  He is re-starting a book about Joaquin. So I am beginning to do my part in picture organizing So so so many photos...
I have been looking at all the changes in the last years from the Bean Bandit Racing Team the friends of my dad organized to the current situation.  I am confused as to the status of the racing and cars.  Although I did not mean this blog to be about the current issues of the clubs.  I intend it to be just a memory of my father, his contributions to drag racing along with stories of his doings, from family and friends.  I am now on Facebook, and have been able to follow some of those that knew him personally.

A couple of months ago Brad Sonka sent me a note he wrote to a friend about Joaquin. This is it; 
"My father in law from my first marriage , Jaoquin Arnett, was an early dragracer. He built everything from scratch himself with no sponsors and was eventually outspent by those with sponsorships. He ran a twin engine car in the early 50's that ran in six different classes by reconfiguring the car in minutes between races. One engine, two engines fenders on or off, The first time out they won so many of the races the NHRA limited them to four classes. Their club, The Bean Bandits were the top eliminator in many of the first meets but when you read dragracing acticles about the history of dradracing, they mention all the names people are familiar with and then mention the Bean Bandits won. He mostly ran a merc engine on a rear engine chassis,, one of the very first. The engine had  a set of  Ardun heads that he had further improved and that were the first set designed and manufactured by Xorius Duntoff, the designer of the Corvette. The engine is still being raced today by the club. Duntoff tried for years to trade Joaquin another set of the heads so Duntoff could have the original #001 set. Jaoquin finally agreed to give him the brass serial number tags off the heads.

When I look at the pictures of Ivos history it makes me smile as I look at the fancy machine shop equipment and then think about Jaoquin machining his own carburetors with a drill press in his garage, shaping his own sheet metal, and machining larger parts on a brake drum lathe. He has been inducted into both NHRA and Garlitts museum. I went to his induction in Gainsville Florida held in conjunction with the NHRA Gator Nationals and witnessed the first over 300MPH run."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bean Bandit run from "This era of Bandits"

This was posted by Thomas Ommen Jr,  on facebook.  Thanks for the great post...

Entittled "131 Auto Power/Bean Bandits 8-14-13"
The Auto Power/Bean Bandits entry owned and driven by Derby Pattengill. Running a 392 this modified '29 roadster is running on a 253.475mph record (B/Blown Fuel Modified Roadster). You can feel this one in your chest, a THUMPER! Smell the NITRO? If you consider yourself a hot rodder but don't yet know the Bean Bandits' story, grab your history books

Dan Waldrop says:  Just to set it straight though we enter the car under the drivers name because Julio is not a SCTA member. The car was built for the 2002 racing season by Julio "Lefty" Hernandez. It was the first Bean Bandit car of this modern era.It is the workhorse of the Bandit franchise. In twelve years it has only missed 2 El Mirage meets (one because engine damage and one to attend a Mooneyes Show in Yokohama, Japan). It has never missed Speedweek.It has the fastest Bean Bandit records of our era at both venues (with the 3400 knocking on the El Mirage as we speak) Just some seldom told historyof this car. With all that said Lou Bingham is still the Man...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Joaquin Arnett

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
If you are looking to find info on the Bean Bandit's @ Bonneville this year Please, .. take a look at this page entitled "Bonneville Speed Week 2011" my brother Jeff sent me the link and it pretty much sums up the fun times they had there. Next week it will be one year since my dad, passed.. I still have a hard time with that. I find comfort in knowing that his knowledge and spirit of racing are still with us all. He would have loved to have been a part of this years fun....

Wow - again time has gone by.., lots has happened since my last post. The fair has passed, Jeff is now playing with the young Bandits, and mom and I are thinking of dad, their 65th anniversary would have been (tomorrow), 9-8-1945.. This was always a celebratory event for our family... I will post a couple of photos soon.. and have re-committed myself to adding to the history of dad's group of friends... Time is moving swiftly...

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
Here it is another month has gone by.. Dad's dragster will be in the Del Mar Fair 6-20-2011-->6-27-2011. This month has been one of joy and memories. It has been 16 years as of 5-07-2011 that my brother Sonny passed. I have a hard time getting past the time frame. How time flies keeps coming to my mind.. Mom's Birthday is in 4 days, 5-25-2011. We are doing well but still have so many thoughts of dad and sonny.
Jeff has been working with Julio and going to the drags again. This is a mixed bag of feelings for us to deal with. Jeff seems happy playing with the cars and seeing the young bandits and the elder bandits.
They went to El Mirage on the weekend of 5-15-2011. According to Dan " Derby ran a 195 mph on a 196 record and just missed it. Fabian got a new record in a different class 196 mph. Julio and Jeff ran the Bellytank with your Dad's Ardun in it , Just shakedown runs but went very smooth and all were excited. I actually think emotions ran high to see it go down the track" end quote.. june 12 is next run..
Well I am out of things to say without rambling on.. signing out for now..


It has been a while since I posted on the blog. I seem to have run out of words, and need to get back on task and finish my project. We are doing OK after dad's passing. I can still hear his voice and see his smile. Think about him everyday, Mom really misses his presence. Time is helping but when you are married to a person for over 60 years it is quite a large chunk of time to overcome.
Posted 10/24/10-10:30am
Joaquin Arnett Memorial Nov. 6th, 2010
I was told by that the run was verying moving.. Jeffrey went with the guys and I will post a couple of photos they sent me. It has been a heartfelt month. I went to the San Diego Auto Museum for the Exhibitors Reception. It was very nice and Dad's car (the dragster) was there with wonderful company of a diverse car culture.. the exhibit is called the California Roll.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." author unknown

Dragster to run....... 10-16-2010.... see link below...


Joaquin Arnett has Passed
October 12, 2010 From Cousin Cookie.....
Good Morning and thank you all for coming,
My name is Orlean Cook Mireles; most of you know me as Cookie. Joaquin was my Uncle, my mother’s brother. To me he was my Uncle Darling. My mom said he got that nickname from a baby sitters daughter when he was very young. As children it was always Aunt Vi and Uncle Darling it wasn’t until we were teenagers that it felt odd calling our Uncle “Darling” so my brothers and I shortened it to Uncle.
Most of you know Joaquin as the founder and driving force of the “Bean Bandit’s” but that was just a small part of the man that was my uncle. He introduced my father Emery Cook to his sister, Boogie and they married that following year. My uncle and dad had a mutual respect for one another as rivals in the racing community but outside of that they were brothers.
My uncle was the top body and fender man in San Diego in the days when cars were made of metal. He could finesse the damaged metal on a car and you would never know there was a dent. He was good, very good. He and my dad built my first car from two different salvaged Volkswagen Beatles to make one, it was an orange Superbeatle. I loved that car.
In th
e late 60’s and early 70’s uncle and my dad both built dune buggies. The competition took a new form, off roading. Those were fun days. They used to race up the face of Paradise Hills, not far from the old Paradise Drag Strip of the 50’s. We went camping to Ocotillo, Pismo Beach, down into Mexico, south of Ensenada, dune buggies and motorcycles in tow. Camping on the beach in Mexico, riding the dune buggies to Punta Bunda, the Blow Hole and the long ride to San Filipe. It was family time, moms, dads and kids.
Then into the late 70’s and early 80’s uncle’s interest turned to bicycle riding. He started a riding group affiliated with AYH, American Youth Hostel. They would ride on Sunday mornings at 9 am and leave from the County Administration Building downtown and ride for 2 - 3 hours. My dad past away in 82’ and uncle got mom into riding as a form of therapy and so my brother and I joined the group, along with other member of our family. Our Sunday riding group on average totaled around 20 to 30 people every Sunday morning and we would ride at least 10 miles. Usually down Pacific Highway to Shelter Island and back and sometimes to Mission Beach. When we’d go to Mission Beach we’d stop at Carlos Murphy’s and have a margarita or a beer and then continue on our ride.
Uncle discovered spandex and started sewing bike shorts for everybody in these crazy colors. And because the fabric stretched 2” he made the bike shorts two sizes too small. We all looked so cute, especially the guys, what fun we had. If uncle noticed someone having a difficult time going up a hill he would ride up behind them and put his hand on their back and give them an extra push. He was always such a strong man. Riding uphill with one hand and pushing someone else with the other. Amazing. He organized bike rides from the Administration Building downtown, over the Coronado Bridge, down the strand to Imperial Beach and back to downtown, Rosarito to Ensenada, Tecate to Ensenada, Carlsbad to downtown San Diego and the big one Mexicali to San Filipe, 120 miles. Uncle was usually the first to finish in our group.
He also had a boat and would go fishing for lobsters. He did that for a few years. He was a man of many talents and interest. Always busy. In his later years you could find uncle and his beloved dog Katy going for walks in the neighborhood and hills of Encanto.
Feeding the neighbors horse carrots and making sure his homeless friend had food.
These are some the memories I have of my Uncle Darling. He was a very unique man with many talents and we will miss him but he will live on in our memories.
Two of my Uncle’s favorite saying were “Well anyway…” and “If it does not grow from the ground we can make it...”
There was a quote I found on the internet and it just happened to be one Jackie found also that touched our hearts, the author is unknown it is “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”
This is Katie...his dog...
I have been working on a place to put all his accomplishment and a collection of his stories. He loved stories, to tell them and to hear them.. Many have shared them with us and it makes me happy to hear them. Please add your comments below .... Thank you Jackie

10-10-2010 SDUT article:
By Blanca Gonzalez
Friday, October 8, 2010 at 2:36 p.m.
Joaquin Arnett Jr. had a way with cars and machines.
A drag-racing pioneer, he was known to beat well-financed competitors with hot rods he built using junkyard parts. As a youth, he once turned his mother’s new kitchen mixer into a sander, and as an adult, he used a weed-Wacker motor to fashion a big blender to make margaritas.
The native San Diegan was a cofounder and leader of the legendary Bean Bandits racing club. The tight-knit group won nearly 400 trophies in the early 1950s in races throughout the country, but their shoestring budget sometimes forced them to sell their trophies back to the drag-strip operators to get gas and food money for the trip home.
Mr. Arnett died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease Sept. 24 at Country Hills Health Care Center in El Cajon. He was 83.
His passion for cars started at a young age, and he was driving by the time he was 13 years old. The money he earned from a paper route went to buying his own car from a junk yard. He learned to weld and repair and modify cars at a neighborhood shop. “He loved to tinker. People have called him a mechanical genius,” said his daughter, Jackie Arnett Sonka. “He had an aptitude for it. He was a do-it-yourself guy.”
Pat Durant, a longtime friend and Bandits club member, said Mr. Arnett was the undisputed leader of the group. “He was an amazing guy. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do,” Durant said. “He built his own house. He built three (racing) streamliners. We were the first to go 130 (mph) and 140 on a drag strip in 1951. Those were records at the time.”
The Bandits group helped establish legal drag racing in the region at the Paradise Mesa drag strip. Their competition rules became standard for drag strips nationwide. The group was mostly Latino but also included Caucasian, Asian and African-American members.
“They relished that here they were a bunch of renegade kids and they were beating racers with big sponsors,” Arnett Sonka said. “They were touring all over the country, and they couldn’t stay at some hotels because of their skin color. They experienced a lot of prejudice (but) my father had a lot of pride in his (Mexican) heritage.”
Mr. Arnett won the first National Hot Rod Association’s national meet held in Pomona in 1953, a competition featuring more than 300 cars. A 1953 issue of Hot Rod magazine featured Mr. Arnett and his trophy-winning dragster on the cover along with an article about his car-building skills. A replica of the car, which he also built, is on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum through January.
In the 1950s, race-car driver, promoter and businessman Andy Granatelli offered Mr. Arnett $3,000 for his handmade 1934 coupe. The sale was made after Granatelli also agreed to give him tickets to the next Indianapolis 500.
Mr. Arnett was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Florida in 1992.
Although the Bean Bandits were known as a social, fun-loving group, they also experienced tragedy. Mr. Arnett’s eldest son, Joaquin “Sonny” Arnett III, died in a 1995 crash while racing at El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert.
Mr. Arnett continued designing and incorporating safety features in a new streamliner.
Joaquin Espinosa Arnett Jr. was born Nov. 27, 1926, in San Diego to Esperanza Ramos and Joaquin E. Arnett. He attended Memorial Jr. High and San Diego High schools and served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II.
He married the former Viola CeseƱa in 1945.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Arnett is survived by a son, Jeffrey; a sister, Noralund Zumaya of San Diego; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove.

The NHRA will hold a commemorative run of Mr. Arnett’s dragster Oct. 16 at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield.

The Bean Bandits club is planning to hold a celebration of life on Nov. 6th 2pm-6pm at 34 E 17th Street in National City CA.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure." author unknown

Joaquin Arnett
by Thomas Fengler
Legendary drag-racing pioneer, Joaquin Arnett, Jr., 83, of San Diego, passed away in his sleep Sept. 24 at Country Hills Health Care Center in El Cajon. He suffered from Alzheimer’s.
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) named Arnett its first National Champion in 1951. Two years later, 15,000 spectators watched Arnett capture the first NHRA Drag Race Championship at Pomona during a two-day, 850-run meet in which he competed against 374 other cars to win.
A beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Arnett was born Nov. 27, 1926, to Joaquin and Esperanza Arnett in San Diego’s Old Town.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Viola Marie Arnett; his daughter, Jackie Arnett Sonka; son, Jeffrey Michael Arnett; sister, Noralund Zumaya; six grandchildren: Erik Arnett; Tara Dawn Arnett Sanchez; Chad Arnett; Ian Arnett; Cassandra Arnett and Joaquin Arnett IV; five great-grandchildren: Lauren Arnett; Priscilla Arnett; Gregory Sanchez; Ava Sanchez and Isabelle Hebish. He is preceded in death by his sister, Hilda Hernandez; and son, Joaquin “Sonny” Arnett III, who died in a car crash while racing at El Mirage in 1995.
Arnett grew up in San Diego, attended Stockton Elementary School and Memorial Junior High School, served in the Merchant Marine during World War II and participated in the battle for Iwo Jima. Upon returning home, Arnett married Viola, the love of his life, who he had known since early childhood.
Arnett was the founder of the Bean Bandits, the famed San Diego drag-racing club. Formed in 1950, the Bean Bandits established rules for drag-racing competition that became standard for strips throughout the country and were adopted by the National Hot Rod Association. Since then, the Bean Bandits have captured more than 350 major trophies and set numerous records; most of them in cars built by Arnett.
In February, 1953, Hot Rod Magazine featured Arnett and his trophy-winning dragster on its cover along with an article on his car- and engine- building skills. This car will be on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum from Oct. 1 through the end of January.
“I never even thought about getting hurt or something coming loose in the car. I had so much faith in Arnett that I didn’t question it. I would look at something and I’d say ‘That’s going to hold,’” said Carlos Ramirez, a club member, now deceased.
In 1992, Arnett was inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Ocala, Florida where his name is inscribed on a marble monument along with other top names in drag racing at the Don Garlits Race Museum. That museum also has a replica of the actual 1953 Arnett dragster that will be on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum. Arnett built the replica for Garlits.
In the early 1990s, Arnett built three Streamliner-class racers that “Sonny” Arnett drove to record speeds: 202-mph on the 1.3-mile course at El Mirage in July, 1991; 231.946-mph which established a new Land Speed Authority record at Bonneville also in July 1991 and 227-mph at El Mirage in July, 1992.
“Joaquin was interested in mechanics from an early age. One of the first tools he built was made from his mother’s brand new Mix-Master that was given to her at Christmas by the Bridges family of Point Loma. He turned it into a sander,” recalled his sister, Noralund Zumaya.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A Mass will celebrated at Saint John of the Cross, 8086 Broadway, Lemon Grove, Calif. at 10am., October 12, 2010.
Joaquin’s 1951 dragster is displayed at the San Diego Automotive Museum. On October 16, it will make a run at the Famosa Raceway, Bakersfield CA.
An event honoring Arnett’s life is being planned on Saturday, November 6th, 2 pm -6pm at 34 E 17th Street in National City, CA.

Dad in his new liner with his new blue flame suit.. early liner days when he tested the new car....

Jeff and Dad at Bonneville....

Me, Mom and Dad (Jackie, Viola and Joaquin)

If you have stories about my dad, please jot them down in the comment section.. they are welcomed and appreciated.. I will be able to add them here. Thank you

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San Diego, CA, United States
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I spent my early week-ends going to the drags with Mom, Dad and my brother Sonny. We mostly went to the Paradise Mesa Drags. No pit passes back then We were free to go to the starting line and watch them push start my dad's cars. We would run all around the surrounding canyons and had lots of freedom. My mom would bring Beans, Rice and tortillas which we all ate for lunch..