|SPEEDSTER and RACER HALL of FAME|
At the Speedster Reunion in 2005 at Lincoln, Nebraska, the Model T Ford Club of America
established its Speedster and Racer Hall of Fame. The purpose of this Hall of Fame is to
collect biographical information on current and past individuals who have been involved
with Model T Ford speedsters and racers.
Born in 1882, in New Castle, IN, Roof became a machinist apprentice at the age of 17 and a
member of the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1919. His career spanned five decades,
primarily spent designing and producing Speed Equipment. From 1911 to 1949, Roof was
granted twelve US Patents; eight were Model T speed items.
The awesome Type C 16-valve came out in 1923, followed very shortly by
8-valve cross flow heads, both of which became available in overhead cam versions in the
mid-twenties. Even the famous Frank Lockhart drove a Type C overhead cam car to victory in
Indiana in 1926.
Builder, Owner, Driver
Noel E. Bullock, born March 31,1899 in Franklin, Nebraska, began his racing career in 1918. He built his own bob-tail racer and immediately started winning races on the dirt tracks of the area. In 1919 his father helped him purchase a Curtis Jenny Biplane and Reed Davis taught him to fly. They formed the North Platte Aircraft Company and performed the aerial programs. In the early 1920s, Bullock, with his Rajo Ford Special, won at least 80 races in the Midwest and in 1922, the "Kid" froom Nebraska beat the best by winning the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in hi own creation.
Bullock moved to Los Angeles, California after the 1924 racing season where he formed an automotive parts and machine shop; he continued to race at Banning, Legion Ascot and other California tracks. Bullock was also a firm believer in commercial aviation and had a contract with an air service to fly mail and passengers daily between La Paz, California and Mazatlan, Mexico. On December 22, 1934 the plane he was piloting was forced to make an emergency landing in the ocean. He and six others perished.
Dean and elder statesmen of Mid-America dirt track auto racing, Leonard Kerbs was born on
December 22, 1895, in Otis, KS. The Kerbs Machine Shop provided resources to support a
highly successful dirt track racing career starting with an Indian Motorcycle in 1914
and then a bob-tailed flathead Model T Ford in 1915.
In 1922 "The Kansas Cyclone" switched to Frontenac overhead valve
heads and Kerbs made his mark on dirt track racing throughout the Great Plains and Rocky
Mountain regions with the Kerbs Specials. Perhaps his finest year was 1923, winning many
races on tracks ranging from half-mile to two miles with features from ten to 100 miles
long. Many of these races were head-to-head, winner-take-all contests with his loyal
friend and fierce competitor Noel Bullock.
Presented in grateful recognition and appreciation to Bill and Joyce Smith for providing the lifestyle pattern for the "American Dream". Their legacy includes five decades of providing the Speed community with the very best in machines and equipment for race cars, street machines, and children's pedal cars. Providing vintage speed parts and antique automobile parts, perhaps most notably the authentic Model T Ford brass windshields, has made Speedway Motors a prominent icon for Speedsters across the country.
"Speedy Bill" Smith, a "man on a passionate mission", is singularly
dedicated to preserving the rich history of the golden era of American Racing with the
Smith Collection Museum. Called the "Holy Grail of Speedsterdom", future generations will
be forever grateful for this wonderful "National Treasure". Bill and Joyce have worked
for over fifty years putting together this magnificant collection; and folks, "they're not
Born 50 years too late, Ed and Karen have a romantic
infatuation for the Model T Ford, Speedsters, Race Cars, and this golden era in general.
Ed says it best, "There is joy and excitement in the challenge of
restoring or building a machine that not only performs well, with Karen and me in the cockpit
dressed in the appropriate attire, but completes each run successfully. I sincerely believe
that we are blessed as the temporary caretakers of a piece of history and that cars should
be equipped with components of the era they represent."
Howard and Dorlyne Genrich have been international ambassadors of good will and spokespersons
carrying the Speedster and Racer message for more than 30 years. "Humble" Howard's Lucky 7
Speedster, is perhaps the most recognizable fast Ford on the planet.
My construction almost became a club function especially when a
person, unknown to me but knowing of my state wide search for the rare eight spoke metal
wheels, came forward with the location of what became a set of these unknown wheels. Twenty-one
years went by before the identity of the manufacturer was known. Now the stage was set for
me to attend the Endurance Runs, not only Ed Archer's but the others that were cloned".
77 Years of Restoration
A well-known 1930's northern California Racecar driver and mechanic, Vic won several first place finishes in the Long Beach Hill Climbs in the 1960's and 1970's. Vic drove the early Santa Clara Valley Endurance Runs in his Mercury speedster (restored by Vic in the 1950's and now resides in the Smith Collection Museum). Later Vic restored another Model T Ford Speedster and continued to run in the Santa Clara Valley event. Vic drove the Calistoga Classic dirt track races in the early and mid-1970's and in the late 1970's through the 1990's, drove in many vintage oval track races in the south-east and mid-west.
Next came the restoration of an American Body Company
Speedster loaded with original teens accessories, then a sporty Ames Cloverleaf Ford,
followed by a one-man Racer found on Mission Street in San Francisco. Vic next built up a
few more Speedsters from parts; then acquired an authentic Paco staggered seated Speedster
from Chuck Davis; a close friend from the mid-west who caught the fever from Vic, and
specialized in Miller Racers. Vic's Paco also now resides in the Smith Collection Museum.
Historian, Restorer, Collector
Larry Sigworth has owned Model T Ford Speedsters and promoted the Speedster Hobby for over 36 years. He began collecting speed parts and literature about 1970. Finally, in 1991, he completed the historically accurate restoration of his beautiful 1922 Paco bodied, Frontenac-powered Speedster. He is nearing completion on a very rare, first year production, 1915 Paco bodied, Roof powered Speedster noted for its unique cowl side air scoops. Larry has original history on both cars, particularly the 1915.
Larry is a premier Speedster historian. After conducting over 25
years of research; he has nearly completed a magnificent 600 page unpublished book on Model
T Ford Speedsters. Excerpts from this outstanding effort have been published primarily in
the Vintage Ford and Secrets of Speed magazines and are partially available on CD.
Larry kindly and generously shares his materials and knowledge to all who ask.
Historian and Author
Universally honored and acclaimed, Bruce McCalley is the godfather of the Model T Ford
world. An eloquent spokesman and writer, Bruce was the primary co-founder of the Model T
Ford Club of America and founding editor of the Vintage Ford magazine. Retiring as editor
in 1990, Bruce continues to this day, serving as editor emeritus, honorary director and Web
Less well known perhaps, were Bruce's contributions to the Model
T Ford speedster and racer hobby. From the beginning, Bruce published articles in the
Vintage Ford magazine dealing with speedsters and racers including coverage of the Shell
Hill climbs in California, the Chandler Park hill climbs in Oklahoma, the Montana 500,
other hill climbs, endurance runs, individual restorations, authentic racing equipment,
eventually dedicating primary coverage of an annual issue to speedsters and racers.
Driver, Designer, Builder
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1884. After high school he joined Mercedes as an engineering
apprentice, later was a demonstrator and public relations in Stuttgart. Joe began racing
in France in 1897, and after driving several premier races in Europe, he immigrated to the
U.S. in 1903. Shown above driving Case number 8 in the 1911 Indy 500; a racing accident
ended his brilliant auto and boat racing career later in 1911.
A RAJO Model T Racer was built to promote the new cylinder head;
weighing only 950 pounds with an aluminum body, wire wheels and high-tension magneto,
the Racer had very successful 1920 and 1921 racing seasons.
In 1913, Los Angeles was an exciting place to be, especially for Ed Winfield who loved
motorcycles and automobiles, and delivered auto parts by bicycle to area dealers and
mechanics. Gifted YMCA instructors taught Ed basic mechanics and electricity. Even as a
young mechanic at the Flintridge Garage, and later for the Cadillac dealer, all the difficult
problems came to Ed.
By the mid-twenties a Winfield carburetor and racing cam was the
hot racing setup. By 1927 Ed was the West Coast Champion and drove number "1". Although
Ed's racecar had "Miller" beauty, it was the famed "2up/2down" flathead engine that beat
the great overheads of the day.
Louis, Arthur & Gaston
Louis, Arthur and Gaston, were exceptionally talented Racecar designers, builders and drivers. Louis led the way; born in Switzerland in 1878, moved to France in 1886, entered the US in 1901, later followed by brothers Arthur and Gaston. Louis' achievements are legendary; became famous overnight in 1905 by beating Barney Oldfield; went Buick racing in 1908 and designed and built the first Chevrolet in 1913. That Louis was a superb Race Car driver was demonstrated by his expert preparation and handling of the Cornelian in the 1915 Indy 500.
The Brothers started the Frontenac Motor Corporation in 1913 and
won many races in the late teens and eventually culminating in the winning the Indy 500
in 1920 and 1921. Gaston was the winning driver in the 1920 Indy 500 but died later in the
year while racing the board tracks.
Henry's Number One Driver
Frank Kulick was one of the five original employees of the Ford Motor Company and was Ford's number one factory racing driver for a decade beginning in 1904. His first race car engine was two Model A two cylinder engines bolted together to form a flat four that pumped out 20 HP. Named the "Baby Limited" she weighed only 881 pounds, allowing Frank to prove to all doubters the advantages of a favorable power-to-weight ratio. At Empire City Frank was the first to navigate a one-mile dirt track in less than one minute and wound up the 5 mile record in the process.
Frank won many races in the 1910 to 1913 era driving special Model T Fords including victories at Brighton Beach, New Orleans and the Algonquin Hill Climb. In 1911, driving a stripped and reworked Model T, Frank Kulick beat Bob Burman's Blitzen Benz in a one-mile oval speed record run (50 sec. flat) at Detroit Fairgrounds. But when Henry Ford attempted to enter Kulick and the "Super Ford" in the 1913 Indianapolis 500 he was told 1000 pounds would need to be added to qualify, Kulick recalled, "Old Hank told 'em 'We're building race cars, not trucks.'"
Kulick was a Ford Motor Company executive, involved in both the ten million and the fifteen million Model T activities. In 1924 Frank drove Model T number ten million on a cross-county publicity tour ending up in Hollywood, and was involved in a number stamping ceremony for Model T number fifteen million.
Author, Historian, Restorer
Fred and Lavina’s lifetime Model T adventure began in the summer of 1953 with a $25 1926 T Ford Runabout. In 1971, inspired by Wayne Atkinson’s Fronty Speedster at the Denver National Tour, Fred began the study and restoration of Model T Speedsters that continues to this day.
Their first Speedster began with the crafting of an all steel
body using photos and prints of the early Ames Lotus Speedster model 828. The car had a
Model R Fronty head, Bosch front plate, Winfield carb, AC brakes and Stewart wire wheels.
Fred and Lavina have driven this always reliable Ames thousands of miles in the 36 years
In 1973, they were the prime movers in starting the Model T Ford Club of Tulsa, noted for the annual Chandler Park Hill Climbs and a website featuring technical information and Speedster tips. Fred served as President in 1981 and later as Director of the MTFCA. In 1982 Fred and Lavina together received the coveted Rosenthal Award.
Fred has contributed many technical articles to the Vintage Ford including articles on race drivers Noel Bullock and Leonard Kerbs, and is active in producing the MTFCA Video Tapes, with many of the topics coming from his shop "The Model T Garage". He was the primary author of the MTFCA Transmission Manual and has served on several technical research projects, including the cam project resulting in the manufacture of the widely accepted Stipe Cams, plus the latest version of the transmission alignment project recently added to the Tulsa website. Fred is nearing completion of a very correct 1917 Roof/Laurel Speedster with a Roof Type A head and an original body acquired from Jarvis Erickson around 1990. Fred is the founding director of the MTFCA Speedster and Racer Hall of Fame, currently housed in "Speedy Bill" Smith’s Museum of American Speed in Lincoln Nebraska.
Author, Historian, Restorer, Mercury Guru
Jarvis Erickson was born in Seattle in 1935 and grew up in the Echo Lake area just a few miles north of Seattle with Grandma Minnie Butzke. By 1950 Jarvis was a junior at Seattle Lincoln High, when a school-mate took him to see his first Model T Ford and the dad showed him a photo of a Speedster he once owned. Jarvis was hooked! Jarvis harvested many of his early Model T’s and parts from the many small farms just north of Seattle to the Canadian border. Over the years Jarvis traveled all over the US collecting Model T Speed equipment and "fast paper" (speed documentation of all forms, books, photos, advertising flyers, etc.), and now owns the world’s largest collection.
Jarvis has owned most of the Model T overhead valve
conversions and from these materials, has written many articles for Vintage Ford, Secrets
of Speed, F.A.S.T., and others, including a series of articles documenting most
of the Model T Ford overhead valve units with directional views of each.
It was 1957 when Jarvis first saw a Mercury Speedster photo,
and Mercurys would dominate Jarvis’ life from that day forward. Today Jarvis is busy
restoring 4 of the 5 Mercury Speedsters he has owned, each a different body style
based on year of manufacture. Very special is a rare Mercury body for a Chevrolet
chassis, but Jarvis' pride and joy is the replication of Frank Gegoux’s famous 1923
cross-country "Desert Pal."
Jarvis has the world’s largest collection of Mercury
documents and photos and is nearing completion of a "Mercury" book over 200 pages
in length with about 4 chapters to go. Other highlights include the National
Speedster meets, 1993 in Kansas City and 2005 in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Mercury
Club meets under the old grandstands in Hershey, Pennsylvania.|
Godfather of the Speedster Hobby
Murray Fahnestock served as the Technical Editor and contributing Editor-in-Chief to the number one trade journal for Ford owners, dealers and mechanics from 1914 to 1955. During the Model T Era, the name of this periodical changed from time to time as its focus changed. It was originally known as the FordOwner. Next, it became the Ford Owner and Dealer, then the Ford Dealer and Owner, and finally the Ford Dealer and Service Field.
Throughout the Model T Era, Murray
published dozens of articles relating to building Model T speedsters. Murray's wife
Hazel provided the line drawings that accompanied many of Murray's articles. These
articles covered everything from speedster body building to installing a supercharger,
and were the primary means by which Model T owners and mechanics learned how to build
speedsters. Fortunately, these articles have been preserved, and are still the primary
source of speedster building information for modern speedster builders. Thus there is
little doubt Murray Fahnestock is the "Godfather of the Model T Ford Speedster hobby."|
In the 1950s, Dan Post published several books containing primarily Murray's technical writings plus advertisements from the Ford owner periodicals. These books include The Fast Ford Handbook, The Model T Ford in Speed and Sport and FordOwner. From the Fast Ford Handbook: "Across the land the young at heart were conceiving, building and driving a breed of off-hand automobile based on the spidery underside of the Model T Ford. Practically infinite variety characterized the species, for each was the physical manifestation of its creator's grand and immensely personal dream."
& Speedway Engineering
"Making the Ford Fleet-Footed"
J. R. Craig and William L. Hunt formed Craig-Hunt Inc. about
1916 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Little is known about Craig, but Bill Hunt was a
successful race driver during the teens and twenties. It seems that Bill's primary
interest was to sell just enough racing equipment to finance his own racing activities.
By 1918, Craig-Hunt was selling a complete line of
racing equipment including underslung brackets, wheels and engine parts, and the famous
torpedo tail "Speedway" body modeled after the Peugeot racers. Variations of this body
became the dominant design used on racecars throughout the 1920's, '30s and '40s.|
In 1920, Craig-Hunt Inc. reorganized and became Speedway Engineering, coining a new slogan, "Making the Ford Fleet-Footed", and introducing an 8-valve Ford rocker arm head designed for Speedster use. They also introduced a light-weight aluminum cylinder block for racing, weighing only 42 lbs without the sleeves.
By 1923, national advertising had stopped and in 1925 the business was purchased by Carl Rogers, a race driver and local Green Engineering dealer. Although Craig-Hunt and succeeding companies were never hugely successful, their products were successful on the racetrack. The story goes that a 16-valve Craig-Hunt racer #5, owned by J.P. "Pappy" Stewart and driven by Bill Melaun, won 74 first places out of 86 starts during 1920 in Texas and Oklahoma.
|RACERS and SPEEDSTERS of FAME|
This Racer was one of a three-car team entered in the 1924 Indy 500 by a downtown Indianapolis Ford Dealer, Barber-Warnock. Louis and Arthur Chevrolet were hired to manage car construction while the cars were built by dealership mechanics. On race day the Chevrolet Brothers performed as team managers and the mechanics formed the pit crews. It would be Barber-Warnock's second to last 500 effort.
The three cars, numbered 26, 27, and 28, were assembled primarily of
Ford production parts (75% indicated) plus Frontenac race parts produced by the
Manufacturing Company, also from Indianapolis.
Rescued from a Long Beach back yard in the late 1950s, Racer number 4 was brought to northern California to wait 10 years for caretakers Ed and Karen Archer to discover and fall in love with her. It took about a year, but with the help of Vic Sala, Old number 4 breathed fire again in 1968, and has since roared to a modern record likely more illustrious and diverse than any previously experienced; events such as; Endurance Runs, Hill climbs, Autocross, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1, mile oval tracks, 2-1/4 and 1-3/4 mile closed circuit tracks, 2 visitor laps at speed at the Indy 500, many tours and driving events, several times driving over 5000 miles round trip to attend a 300 or 400 mile tour.
The few changes made since were always in pursuit of era correctness.
Retaining original livery colors of yellow with black trim, powered by the awesome Rajo Model
B Overhead, dual Juhasz 1-5/8" barrel valve carburetors, splash lubrication plus a small
oil tank mounted under the right side fed by hand pump with dash sight feed, fuel pressure
by right mounted hand pump for access by riding mechanic, Colombo cross-drive with Bosch
magneto ignition, thermo-siphon cooling assisted by belt driven water pump, "dog bone"
radiator cap with Boyce Motometer, link chain driven Stewart 120 MPH speedometer and
3000 RPM tach, 30 x 3 1/2 Perlman clincher rim artillery wheels, Muncie 3 speed plus
Ruckstell 2 speed axle, suicide front axle with special lowered center to clear hand crank,
frame mount radius rods both front and rear, "Z" drop rear with Master external brakes. She's an
awesome machine correctly representing the ultimate Ford Racer of the mid-teens.|
Owned by Bobbi and Larry Sigworth
Excitement was running high in 1974 Lincoln, Nebraska when Bobbi and Larry Sigworth examined the remains of an old race car with staggered seating for a riding mechanic. It would take several years of research to determine this car was the only original late-style Model 21 PACO extant. It had a suicide front end lowered 5 inches with split wishbones and de-arched rear spring. The crankshaft had Dunn counterweights and was drilled for full pressure oiling. A Green Engineering oil pump was driven off the rear of the camshaft.
Larry used most of these parts, but proceeded
to warm things up a bit by adding the famed Chevy Brothers Frontenac Model R head with a
1-1/4-inch Zenith carburetor and a Bosch 513 front plate distributor. Inside the engine
were aluminum pistons with lightened and polished rods, magnets removed, flywheel
lightened, and the transmission shaft drilled for pressure oil.
& Speedway Engineering
Restorer, Collector, Mercury guru
In 1952, when he was 15, Joe bought a Model T coupe equipped with a milled head, sodium filled valves, and dual carburetors. He still has this car. During his senior year in high school in 1956, Joe learned about all the important stuff old speedsters and speed equipment. He saw a picture of a Mercury bodied speedster built by the Mercury Body Corp. in Louisville, KY from 1921 thru 1926 in one of Dan Post’s articles. It was love at first sight. Since then Joe has dedicated his life to researching, collecting, restoring, and preserving the Mercury speedster body. Over the years, Joe has collected many pieces original Mercury literature, as well as six Mercury speedster bodies. He has since sold four bodies but he still has two with all the special original Mercury equipment.
Joe is one of the hobby’s greatest
authorities on Mercury
speedsters. He has used that knowledge and skill to complete the 30-year restoration
of his 1921 and 1926 Mercury speedsters. In addition, he has helped many other Mercury
owners by supplying information as well as many original and reproduction parts.
Some of the parts Joe has reproduced include the gas cap, 3 piece windshield, oval
deck lid, floor board foot rest, door vents, top supports, radiator supports,
large step plates, and small step plates.
Historian, Restorer, Collector
Although Chris Egsgaard made his living working in the movie
industry, his passion was the Model T speedster. Chris was an extraordinary
collector of racecars and Model T speed equipment. He seemed to know where all the
good stuff was, and was able to buy it. He had a large collection that included
several Ed Winfield designed and modified engines including a Rajo OHV engine with
a Winfield roller tappet camshaft, and the famous 1927 ‘two up and two down’ racing
He contributed at least three
excellent articles to the Vintage Ford magazine covering Winfield carburetors, the
Winfield ‘two up and two down’ engine, and Rajo/Gallivan DOHC heads.
Speedway owner, Auto racing Promoter
Frank Funk was never behind the wheel of a racecar.
He never worked in the garages or served as an owner. Yet, Frank was one of
the finest sprint track promoters in the history of American auto racing.
His impact on the sport will always be remembered.
By 1932, the track was paved and the banking had grown to 25
feet high. The grandstands could seat 6,000 spectators, and the grounds could
easily accommodate 12,000 to 14,000.
Builder, Owner, Driver
John Gerber was one of the most successful dirt track racecar
drivers in the Midwest and Southwest from 1923 through 1937. At one point in 36
starts, he won 28 races, finished second seven times, and suffered one DNF because
of tire failure. He was an “independent” who built, owned, and drove his own
racecar with very little outside sponsorship. He was one of the most innovative
racecar designers and builders of the era.
Although his new “Bobtail” racer was called a Chevrolet or a Whippet,
most of it was Model T Ford. The chassis was Model T, but the engine was a 490 Chevy
block mounted on a Model T crankcase and hogshead. The Chevy crankshaft was adapted
to a cut down Model T flywheel and planetary transmission.
(Elvin Morton, Jack Brett)
Just when Elvin Morton and Jack Brett formed the Morton &
Brett Company is unknown. There is some pictorial evidence that suggests that the
Chevrolet Brothers used Morton & Brett to build the bodies for their 1916 and
1919 Frontenac racecars. It also appears that the Craig-Hunt Company contracted
Morton & Brett to build the “Speedway” body for them about 1918. In 1920, they
were operating a shop at 811-815 Twenty Third Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.
About 1925 they introduced the Indianapolis 8 valve, overhead
valve cylinder head. It was a cast iron head with four exhaust ports and one intake
port on the right side. The intake and exhaust manifold were cast integral with
the head. In 1928, they modified this head, and became the first company to market
an OHV head for the Model A Ford engine.
|2008 RESTORATION of the
Owned by Joe Michalek
The Mercury Body Corp. in Louisville, KY built the Mercury speedster body from 1921 thru 1926. Joe Michalek has owned Mercury speedster #1155 for thirty years. His Mercury was built in 1926 shortly before body production ended. It has taken most of those thirty years to find all the special Mercury factory parts that were included with the body and complete the restoration. These original special parts include: splash aprons, Mercury radiator shell with Fedders core, the factory dropped axle with the word Mercury embossed on it, special rear frame kick up channels, a 5-piece hood with 13 louvers on each side, a footrest, a spare wheel carrier with special wing nut, cowl vents, large and small step plates, special gas cap, and barrel shape headlamps. Also included is the optional special three-piece windshield, top bows, a canvas top with an oval beveled rear window, and motorcycle type fenders.
The car uses a 1926 chassis
and engine. Very rare 21-inch Ash wire wheels and lock rings are also used.
The engine features a C-35 Rajo cylinder head with a Zenith HP5A side draft
carburetor. A Bosch front plate distributor provides ignition. The engine has
been balanced and the magnets have been removed from the flywheel. The drive
train includes an aluminum Warford transmission and 3 to 1 gears in the rear end.