Skip to main content
Herman Booy

Herman Booy

Born in New Jersey in 1936, Herman Booy came west to the off-road Mecca of San Jacinto, California when he was just 11 years old. Shortly after enrolling at Cal-Poly, Pomona, Herman went to Glamis where he fell in love with performance sand vehicles. Once he completed his time in college, Herman focused his attention on building sand machines. Always an innovator, Herman’s first competitive effort was a single seat “C” Class buggy driven by Dennis Irwin and maintained by Booy. The pair ran hillclimbs and Sand Drags whenever they could. During this time, Herman developed the back/undercut groove for implement tires that gave them an edge at these events and the buggy became a consistent winner.

Of course it wasn’t long before everyone was using this new technology so, in the late 60’s, Herman worked with Ken Stuart at Skat Trak to develop the now famous paddle tire, which revolutionized the world of competitive Sand Sports. As Sand Sports gained momentum throughout the Pacific Southwest, Herman worked with the Inland Empire Dune Buggy Association (IEDBA) to help bring Sand Drags to the San Jacinto riverbed and later donated much of his time working with Sand Sports and 4-wheeler groups to standardize class rules for competition. Naturally, Herman’s principle interest was in the area of high horsepower vehicles Throughout his career, Herman’s skills as a sand car builder, mechanic and innovator were in constant demand. He built cars with various engine builders such as Dale Williamson, John Palmer and Dave Stults and built and wrenched for Hank Eckhardt on his rear engined blown Chrysler powered Funny Car. He built two Funny Cars and two Dragsters for Larry Minor and was a mechanic for Larry and Roger Mears in Minor’s “Smokey SS1” class one buggy in the NORRA Mexican 500 during the early 70’s.

Herman built a number of sand vehicles for himself, not the least of which was a sand dragster which propelled him to the “100 Yard World Record for top speed on sand” as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

As a builder, mechanic, driver, promoter and innovator, Herman Booy has indeed been a master of Sand Sports at every conceivable level. There is little doubt that without the influence of Herman Booy, the world of Sand Sports as we know it today would have a very different history.

ORMHOF is proud to be the caretaker of one of Herman Booy's buggies.  This buggy was built by Herman for Henry Eckardt in 1967. It was donated to the Hall of Fame by ORMHOF inductee Larry Minor, and is one of the ORMHOF vehicles on display at major automotive museums across the United States to further the Hall of Fame's mission to educate and inspire present and future generations of the off-road community by celebrating the achievements of those who came before.  Larry Minor does a walk-around of the ORMHOF Herman Booy buggy in this 2019 interview:

Learn more about ORMHOF Legacy Inductee Herman Booy in this Conversations with Big Rich Podcast:

ORMHOF Class of 2004 inductee Herman Booy was larger than life. Listen in as his daughter and nephew, Sherry and Steve, share life on the sand with Herman and his brother, Hal, and all the adventures they had. We are thrilled to be able to offer interviews with inductees’ families when the inductee is no longer with us. This is our history.

7:17 – There are these sand dunes over here called Glamis; why don’t you come on out here?

14:38 – we got back to camp, and one of our buddies was gone!

18:59 – an amazing engineer for a man not classically trained as one

21:49 – Dad took the conveyor belt out of the rose business and stitched it together to create the first paddle tire

27:43– no raffle tickets from Loretta, so she shot him!

33:40 – the Blue Goose was one of the first modern type motorhomes they built from a bread truck

42:32 – he had to push that car across the finish line to get the win

52:50 – what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work, so you figure out what you did wrong and fix it again.


"Thank you for the awesome childhood." — Sharon N.