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Old 04-21-2008, 08:43 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Lost In Connecticut



So the basic story is simple enough. Jim Miller was a hot rodder. He owned and ran Miller's Speed Parts in Hartford, Connecticut from the 1940's and well into the 1950's. ...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

cool article. hartford's about 10 minutes south of me. I have to wonder though, if this car wasn't built to race at limerock park or the newly opened roadcourse at thompson international speedway (both tracks in CT). it looks to have quite a sports car/british influence in it's body design
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

i'm from ct and i did some quick research after reading this post. Jim miller i didn't get too many hits off the google machine, but Charles Gattilia got into racing Studebaker's and didn't do too bad. more info to come.

July 27, 1952 Dayton, Ohio One half mile dirt track 100 mile race

Charles Gattilia Studebaker Finished 9th/24 entries
August 3, 1952 Richmond, Virginia One half mile dirt track 100 mile race

Ebe Yoder 1952 Studebaker #35 Finished 14th/24 Entries
Emanuel Zervakis Studebaker Finished 15th/24 entries
Charles Gattilia Studebaker Finished 16th/24 entries
August 10, 1952 Williams Grove, Pa One half mile dirt track 100 mile race

Charles Gattilia Studebaker Finished 13th/24 entries

October 12, 1951 Thompson, Conn Thompson Speedway mile paved track - 100 mile race

Charles Gattilia, 1951 Studebaker, Colonial Motors Studebaker - Started 28th, finished 11th/38 entries

Don Bailey, 1951 Studebaker #54 - Started 18th, finished 12th/38 entries

Frank Mundy, 1951 Studebaker #23, Perry Smith Studebaker - Started 2nd, finished 21st/38 entries

October 14, 1951 Shippenville, PA Pine Grove Speedway - mile dirt track - 100 mile race

Charles Gattilia, 1951 Studebaker, Colonial Motors Studebaker - Finished 13th/20 entries

Don Bailey, 1951 Studebaker #54, Finished 15th/20 entries
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

I live 15 miles from Clarion and 20 from Shippenville (post lfacts above.) A friend has old B & W photos of those area tracks and i saw an old listing of him.. Conn. from here is 6 hr.drive,, probably 8 or more then.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

ryan, do you have better scans of the car where you can read what it says on the side?? the large bold lettering looks to be something german?? "die stroud......" maybe a restaurant/inn sponsor?? if it has a sponsor on it (besides the "miller speed parts" on the door) it must have been raced somewhere??

btw, the black shadowed profile looks just like jim miller with his beard.

another tidbit that i have no idea if related or not. Dale earnhardts first car owner was a James miller in 1973 who owned a 56 ford. this was on the dirt.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Very cool car, pretty advanced engineering for its time. It would be interesting if any of you guys out east could track down Charles daughter and see if she knows where the car might have gone. She should be about 60 now, probably married with a different last name. Finding her might be tough but the HAMB sleuths are the best!
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

I like how the throttle is positioned right between the right door release and the hood release!!! perhaps that was supposed to be labeled "choke"?

I can just imagine Charles going for broke on the track, sliding out of a corner, and going for that throttle lever....and accidentally popping the hood open! ha ha
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Old 04-21-2008, 08:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Another great hot rod tale and with a mystery ending. Finish looks good.
I too noticed the "throttle" position. Surely a print/label error. The car looks too well organised to have such a haphazard throttle location.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

my 50 chev has a hand throttle and choke as well as foot feed, stock..
makes cold weather idling a snap
hmmm
Amish i don't think so
two many zippers and the wife has no bonnet ... wrong type of horses harnessed up...
maybe he did PRES. LINCLON impersanations at a local library..

any suggestion of the brakes used ? wheels tires seem low profile?
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

My buddy Moon remembers Jim Miller and Charles Gattilia,he bought his Wayne (GMC)head from him.Jim also ran a midget around this time....Moon says he was quite a character.Moon Burgess,by the way was well known for his and Joe Fontana's GMC stock car...over 60 wins...he's gonna go on the HAMB and check out the sports car,and see what else he can recall.There is an awful lot of history from around here,but little ink,I think cause most of the good mags were on the coast.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Nice post Ryan, I have relatives out in that area that I visit once or twice a year. This will be something to think about on the next trip I take. Now I'll never be able to drive past a barn out there without wondering...
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

I work about 10 minutes from the Thompson track, and have taken a few laps around it myself in a race car. There's also a good swap meet there every Fall.

I had no idea it's been around since the 1950's. Cool.

They just had a guy die there in the Spring 'Icebreaker'. Also had one die last Fall in a wreck too.

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Old 04-23-2008, 11:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete1930 View Post
I work about 10 minutes from the Thompson track, and have taken a few laps around it myself in a race car. There's also a good swap meet there every Fall.

I had no idea it's been around since the 1950's. Cool.

They just had a guy die there in the Spring 'Icebreaker'. Also had one die last Fall in a wreck too.

Pete

the high banked oval at thompson was the first asphalt paved oval track in the country, opening in 1940. they called it the indy of the east. The road course (now unused) opened in 1951 or 52. I've raced there myself a few times in a midget, and can tell you it is FAST! 28 degree banked 5/8th mile track gets you up to about 140mph. I knew shane, but not well. he was a nice guy who started racing the year I got out of it. It's always tough to lose a driver like that. R.I.P. Shane
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Geez Ryan, I wish you'd posted this last week. I just did a search for "Gattilia" in CT in whtiepages.com and talked to Charles' wife! She and Charles (who out of the house at the moment) live just a few blocks from the Connecticut Street Rod Association's club house where I was Sunday for an NSRA Safety Inspection Day. Charles wife knows of the CSRA and where their club house is and says he would have liked to have gone over and seen the ~90-100 cars they had there.

She says that he was contacted by someone from the Studebaker club looking for any history on that car which it seems is one of many Jim had. She said they would like to know what happened to Jim because they lost track of him years ago. He was the money man behind this car and Charles was his driver. She says that Charles does not have any special interest vehicle now and that his current involvement at 81 is mostly limited to watching the Speed channel and specifically NASCAR. She thinks that the car was taken to Bonny but doesn't remember how it did.

Since there are at least a dozen CSRA guys w/in 10 miles of Charles you can bet that this won't be the end of this story. The HAMB is on the case.

Next call is to my buddy Steve who lives in Wallingford and A. is the president of the CSRA and B. owns the ex-Thacker and Shine roadster and C. has a Bonneville Night in the winter that Charles should get to attend/

Thanks for posting this.

To be continued............

Dennis
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Remember buying flathead speed parts from Miller in the early 50's.
His shop was on John St. in Hartford, not too far from where I worked for New England Auto Body on Hudson St.. Always marveled at the Offy powered midget racers he was working on.
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
His shop was on John St. in Hartford,
Any idea what's there now? Know anyone who might know what happened to Mr. Miller?

Dennis
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:45 AM   #17
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

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Originally Posted by 59BuickWagon View Post
Any idea what's there now? Know anyone who might know what happened to Mr. Miller?

Dennis
Haven't been there in years, but I know that all of the original buildings were torn down years ago and I believe apartment buildings were put up. Miller just sort of faded in to obscurity
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Hey 59BuickWagon any updates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 59BuickWagon View Post
Geez Ryan, I wish you'd posted this last week. I just did a search for "Gattilia" in CT in whtiepages.com and talked to Charles' wife! She and Charles (who out of the house at the moment) live just a few blocks from the Connecticut Street Rod Association's club house where I was Sunday for an NSRA Safety Inspection Day. Charles wife knows of the CSRA and where their club house is and says he would have liked to have gone over and seen the ~90-100 cars they had there.

She says that he was contacted by someone from the Studebaker club looking for any history on that car which it seems is one of many Jim had. She said they would like to know what happened to Jim because they lost track of him years ago. He was the money man behind this car and Charles was his driver. She says that Charles does not have any special interest vehicle now and that his current involvement at 81 is mostly limited to watching the Speed channel and specifically NASCAR. She thinks that the car was taken to Bonny but doesn't remember how it did.

Since there are at least a dozen CSRA guys w/in 10 miles of Charles you can bet that this won't be the end of this story. The HAMB is on the case.

Next call is to my buddy Steve who lives in Wallingford and A. is the president of the CSRA and B. owns the ex-Thacker and Shine roadster and C. has a Bonneville Night in the winter that Charles should get to attend/

Thanks for posting this.

To be continued............

Dennis
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

I found a photo of the car (it looks like a heavily retouched mock-up of the car) in the program for the 1952 National Auto Racing Exposition, held at the Connecticut State Armory in Hartford.

According to the caption, "This is the NATIONAL AUTO RACING EXPOSITION SPECIAL Class 'C' streamliner built especially for this show. All new and original -- construction commenced Dec. 10, 1951 -- over 1,600 man hours of labor -- estimated top speed 210 mph, valuation $12,000. For complete specifications and data see car in Miller's Speed Parts display."

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Old 11-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #20
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Default Re: Lost In Connecticut

Quote:
Originally Posted by 59BuickWagon View Post
Any idea what's there now? Know anyone who might know what happened to Mr. Miller?

Dennis
Theres a shop called Miller Race Cars in Wallingford. I dont know if it has any ties to Jim Miller though. It could be a completely different buisness for all I know.
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