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Technical Lost In Connecticut

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Ryan
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    Ryan
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  2. revkev6
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    revkev6 Member

    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
  3. True till Death
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    True till Death Member

    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.

    <DL><DT>July 27, 1952 Dayton, Ohio One half mile dirt track 100 mile race

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

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

    <DD>Charles Gattilia Studebaker Finished 13th/24 entries </DD></DL>
    <DL><DT>October 12, 1951 Thompson, Conn Thompson Speedway ½ mile paved track - 100 mile race

    <DD>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

    </DD></DL><DL><DT>October 14, 1951 Shippenville, PA Pine Grove Speedway - ½ mile dirt track - 100 mile race

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

    Don Bailey, 1951 Studebaker #54, Finished 15th/20 entries
    </DD></DL>
  4. Larry Pearsall
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    Larry Pearsall Member

    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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  5. revkev6
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    revkev6 Member

    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.
  6. vintagehotrods
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    vintagehotrods Member

    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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  7. hudsoncustom
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    hudsoncustom Member
    1. Swindlers G.K.Y.

    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
  8. autobilly
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    autobilly Member

    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.
  9. paperdog
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    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?
  10. hugh m
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    hugh m
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    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.
  11. Cam VanDerHorst
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    Cam VanDerHorst Member

    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...
  12. Pete1930
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    Pete1930 Member

    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
  13. revkev6
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    revkev6 Member


    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
  14. 59BuickWagon
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    59BuickWagon Alliance Vendor

    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
  15. 51 MERC-CT
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    51 MERC-CT Member

    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.:):D
  16. 59BuickWagon
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    59BuickWagon Alliance Vendor

    Any idea what's there now? Know anyone who might know what happened to Mr. Miller?

    Dennis
  17. 51 MERC-CT
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    51 MERC-CT Member

    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:):D
  18. True till Death
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    True till Death Member

    Hey 59BuickWagon any updates?

  19. Microcar1
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    Microcar1 Member

    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."

    [​IMG]
  20. [CJ]
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    [CJ] Member

    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.
  21. JAKE'S-Pumpkinella54
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    in a place where everyone knows your name ...

    JAKE'S-Pumpkinella54 Member

  22. seb fontana
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    seb fontana Member

    May be Don Galant [Don's Speed Shop, newington, ct] knew of Jim Miller? Don is around Charlie's age, early 80's..I've been to the last few winter meetings at Steve's but did not catch any mention of J.M or C.G.
  23. Microcar1
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    Microcar1 Member

    This ad was in the program from the 1952 National Auto Racing Exposition. It lists some of the services provided by Miller's, as well as the brands they carried. It also pictures Charlie Gattilia (mentioned in earlier posts). My favorite part of the ad is the description of Jim Miller -- "Bearded & Bonded".

    [​IMG]
  24. What a fascinating thread! Don't know how I missed it the first time around, but thanks for bringing it back up. I always knew how involved the Hudsons were in early stock car racing, but never really was aware of just how heavily involved the Studebakers were.
  25. hugh m
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    hugh m
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    Look at the full floating wide five hubs, on a Studie! This was a real race car. In 1952.

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