Bike path fixture’s ashes will be scattered on Famoso Dragstrip

Jim Boyd behind the wheel of his “Red Turkey” top fuel dragster. Photos courtesy of Nancy Boyd

by Nancy Boyd

Jim Boyd, a longtime Beach City bike path fixture, passed away recently, at age of 82. 

“There’s that guy! He is always out here. I have seen him for years,” people would say as Boyd passed by.

Boyd rode his faithful 1949 Schwinn Phantom along the bike path for over decades. It was a way for him to stay fit enough to keep his license to drive his NHRA Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster. 

Boyd’s passion for motorsports began when he was 9 when he found an abandoned wreck in a vacant lot. He had already been building soap box derby cars and various other wheeled conveyances. 

Jim Boyd appeared to be a bigger than life figure when he peddled down the bike path.

Boyd  was one of the early generationd of hot rod enthusiasts. He raced out of Venice/Culver City area in the 1950s and 1960s, running with legends like Don Prudhomme (“The Snake”), Don Garlitz and Tom McEwen (“The Mongoose ”), primarily at Lion’s Drag Strip. He also worked as a motor builder for top names in racing, including  Keith Black and Mickey Thompson. 

In the 1980s, his race partner came to the house to tell Boyd about the newly burgeoning sport of Nostalgia Drag Racing. Within weeks, he had built a new iteration of his “Red Turkey” top fuel dragster and ran it out of El Segundo Tire Co. for many years. Boyd remained active in the sport as owner, builder, tuner and driver ‘til the end. His oldest son, Mike Boyd, has driven their world famous “Winged Express” fuel altered car for the last 20 years.

People who may not have known Boyd by name would recognize him by sight. His required costume was red OP corduroy shorts, a white T-shirt and flip flops. He rode with a perennial smile on his face and extended a friendly wave to all. People took pictures. He responded to a variety of nicknames, from Hulk, Beach Man, Andreas, Santa and my personal favorite, Legend.

Boyd is survived by first wife, Connie Kellum Boyd; children Mike (Cindy) Boyd, Sherlene (Jim) Peterson, Rick (Bleydi) Boyd; wife Nancy Sullivan Boyd; and son Jesse (Ashley) Boyd. Boyd had a grand total of 9 grandchildren (the youngest, Xavier James Boyd, was just born on Dec. 4, 2020) and 14 great-grandchildren. 

A Memorial Beach Bike Ride is planned for May 15, 2021, which was the birthday Jim shared with son Jesse, and at a future drag race (likely in May 2021 at Famoso Dragstrip in Bakersfield). His ashes will be spread on the dragstrip by Mike Boyd in the Winged Express. ER

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