Bill Stroppe, A Legend In Off Road Racing

stroppe-1By David G. Firestone

Most racing fans don’t know the name Bill Stroppe, but they should. Stroppe was a long time builder in various forms of racing, including NASCAR and SCORE. Stroppe’s cars have won 5 races from 1957 to 1967, including Parnelli Jones’ last win at Riverside in 1967. He turned his attention to off-road racing in 1965, when Ford released the Bronco. He took to the sport instantly, and become one of the most respected builders in the sport.

He was also a driver, who won the 1971 Baja NORRA Mexican 1000 in the Big Oly Bronco. Stroppe also built trucks for clients, including George Harrison, Larry Minor, Rodney Hall, James Garner, Walker Evans, Steve McQueen, Ted Nugent, Mexico’s President Lopez Mateos, and worked on the Presidential Ford Bronco at the Western White House. By the 1980’s he stared to put together a top shelf Ford racing team under the Bill Stroppe Motorsports banner. This team was part of a larger group of Fords known as “The Rough Riders Off-Road Racing Team.” There were a lot of drivers who raced, Stroppe had a number of drivers. The Rough Riders were one of the best teams in off-road racing, especially desert racing.

One of these drivers wore this helmet in or after 1992 while driving truck #712. This Simpson helmet shows tremendous use, and has a Velcro modification I have never seen before. There are large FORD logs on either side, and the 712 cross design is very visible on the back and top. The visor is held in place with a piece of Velcro, and and has BILL STROPPE MOTORSPORTS added in stick on lettering.  The microphone equipment is still present.stroppe-1 stroppe-2 stroppe-3 stroppe-4 stroppe-5 stroppe-6 stroppe-7Sadly, The Rough Riders bit the dust in 1995, and Bill Stroppe died the same year. But they were dominant, and they were a great group of drivers. They are missed, and will forever be missed.

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