- Written by webmin
Though the Bean Bandits – originally known as the Cam Pounders – weren’t officially recognized by the SCTA as a participant club until 1949, one could be forgiven for believing the club to date back to pre-war times along with the Road Runners and Sidewinders after hearing the stories and the legends that surround the club. In fact, the club has seen two different incarnations for two different generations of Southern Californian racers, though both incarnations were founded by hot rodding legend Joaquin Arnett. Arnett, born in 1927, began driving before he was 10 and, after serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, formed the Bean Bandits simply as a way for him and his friends to compete against high-dollar racers by pooling their money. While many people recall the Bean Bandits’ antics nowadays, the fact was that Arnett, a talented engine builder and junkyard parts engineer, led the club to many drag racing wins and land-speed successes.
Arnett, who had been fighting Alzheimer’s in recent years, died of pneumonia Friday morning at the age of 82.
UPDATE (29.September 2010): Fabian Valdez of the Bean Bandits wrote to tell us that there will be a celebration of Joaquin Arnett’s life at the upcoming California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield.