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History A Story of my Hot Rod Family History

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by notebooms, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,075

    Alliance Member

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]For many folks, Hot Rodding comes through influence and/or a genetic bug they've gotten through their family. Coming for my past as a punk, i spent a lot of years engulfed in my own individualism, separated myself from my family and whined about all the things that i didn't get from them as a child. As i've gotten older, i've begun to more appreciate family and the great influences I did get through my blood...[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Hot Rodding is in my blood. Having the Noteboom last name I routinely get questions regarding Jim "Bones" Noteboom, Kutty (while related, ive only met Jim a couple times and Kutty once-- so don't have much to say there aside from i respect their talent) or my dad Ear (another old hot rodder out of Detroit.) While the Noteboom name has a good "traditional hot rodding and custom" story behind it, I want to focus deeper in my roots and on my Mom's side-- the Frayer family.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I've mentioned before that my grandparents on my moms side were into Cadillacs. My grandfather Jim Frayer sold them, and did his dad, Mel. I grew playing up in Cadillacs and love them, but going back another generation, before Cadillac, we come to Lee Frayer-- my great-great grandfather...[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Lee Frayer is passenger front; Eddie Rickenbacker is driving; some famous politician (forget his name) is in back.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Lee Frayer lived from 1874 - 1938, and spent his most significant years out of Columbus, Ohio. While not acknowledged so much in modern documentation, etc, Lee in his time was a leader in automobile innovation, racing history and hot rodding. From pioneer development of the first cars, to driving in early premier races such as the first Indy 500, to innovating many car technologies-- many still used today-- Lee's mark in automobile history, hot rodding and racing still stand today.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Lee Frayer started working here-- Columbus (Iron) Buggy in the late 1800's[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Lee began working on the four wheel buggy in the late 1800's and with his partner, William Miller, led transition of Columbus Buggies from horse to electric/fuel power. Lee innovated their Electric Buggy model and in 1902 Frayer-Miller began designing and building automobiles, with the Oscar Lear Automobile Company and Columbus Buggy Company doing the quantity manufacturing. [/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]By 1905, Frayer-Miller had designed / released the worlds first six cylinder automobile, a 36hp model. One of the things that made the Frayer engine unusual during these times was that Lee built them air cooled-- to avoid freezing radiators and cracked blocks during the cold Ohio winters. That year, Frayer took his 6 cylinder car to race in the worlds first 24 hour road race and was the ony solo driver to successfully compete in and complete that historic race.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]6 cyl / 36hp Frayer-Miller[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Later that year, Frayer was working under the hood of one of his cars, he was approached by a young 15 year old. This kid confidently stated that he was into cars, and would show up for work at Lee's place the next day-- because he wanted to build cars. Lee didnt think much of it and wasnt in the shop the next day, but the kid showed up as promised-- and was Lee's new apprentice. Mr Frayer and his apprentice, Eddie Rickenbacker, would work and race together for years, and Rickenbacker would continue not only as a pilot and an American hero of World War I, but also eventual owner of Eastern Airlines and the Indianapolis Speedway.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]By 1906 Lee had developed a 4 cylinder model engine/car, hot rodded his own, brought along his new apprentice as his onboard mechanic and raced in one of the early, most prestigious auto races to date-- the Venderbit Race in Long Island.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]4 cyl; 25hp[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]In 1907 a partnership was formed with Seagrave, the biggest and best-known fire apparatus manufacturers in the United States, which also happened to be located in Columbus, Ohio. That year using a Frayer-Miller built rig, Seagrave Company became the first manufacturers of horse-drawn fire engines to offer gasoline-powered fire engines. On June 27, 1907, their first Seagrave/Frayer-Miller fire engine, a hose wagon powered by a four-cylinder, 24-horsepower motor, was driven over 50 miles from the Columbus to Chillicothe, Ohio, and back, with fire chiefs from all over the eastern U.S. on board. This historic 105-mile trip took 8 hours and 17 minutes, averaged 13 miles per hour and would take fire fighting capability to the next level.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The Frayer-Miller automobile chassis proved not beefy enough for practical use as a fire engine. So Frayer-Miller engineers created a stronger chassis frame, a larger clutch, and increased air flow for cooling. This redesigned Frayer-Miller not only was used for fire engines but also became the basis for a new line of Frayer-Miller commercial trucks, to fill out the company's traditional automobile line. By year's end 1907, Frayer-Miller was cranking out chassis / drivetrain that was used in motorized hose wagons, chemical cars and commerical trucks being sent all over the U.S. and Canada.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The next year, Frayer-Miller- with Rickehbacker at their side, went all in and invested all their efforts and money into their newly improved model:[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Model: 1908 Frayer-Miller Model B Touring[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Manufacturer: The Oscar Lear Automobile Company, Columbus, Ohio[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Original Price: $2,750[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Engine: 4-cylinder, 24-hp, 266.0-cid[/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Bore and Stroke: 4-1/16" x 5-1/8"[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]1908 Frayer-Miller; one of the few remaining; on display today in Reno, NV auto museum[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]1908 Frayer-Miller sales literature presented eight models including a taxi cab and a commercial truck chassis. Engines were air-cooled and were offered with either four or six cylinders. Full equipment for the Model B Touring included gas and oil lamps, horn, tools, battery and coil. The top was optional at a cost of $100.00.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Having not lost the racing bug, Frayer and Rickenbacker took the 1908 Frayer-Miller Touring model and competed in the Long Island Economy Run. Under conditions of the contest, 235 miles had to be covered by the contestants within a time limit of 18 hours-- the winner being the vehicle that used the least amount of fuel. Twenty-three cars started and nineteen finished. Frayer, confidently carrying five friends with him as passengers the entire race, won the contest by using only thirteen gallons of gasoline averaging 18 miles per gallon.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]To date, Frayer-Miller had invented the following automotive innovations-- some big for their time, some used for years to come: dropped center frame to lower the car's center of gravity; semi and full floating rear axle; rear axle stabilizers, a shock absorber mounted on the rear axle tube; dual powered electric, kerosene side and tail lamps; and high quality prestolite, acetylene powered head lamps.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]While Frayer was strong on the engineering, innovation and racing front, his dreams didnt scale as well as his competitors-- such as Henry Ford. By 1909, the Frayer-Miller Company was bankrupt. Seagrave acquired the manufacturing rights to the Frayer-Miller air-cooled engines, as well as the remaining inventory of unsold Frayer-Miller cars-- which were repackaged as fire chief's cars and police squad wagons. The rights to Frayer-Miller's commercial truck designs were sold to the Kelly-Springfield Company of Springfield, Ohio, a well-known tire manufacturer. Frayer-Miller trucks, renamed Kelly-Springfield, continued in production until 1928.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The Frayer / Rickenbacker team moved on and started working with Harvey Firestone (of Firestone Tire fame who also recently acquired Columbus Buggy) at Firestone-Columbus. While disappointed with the failure of not being able to fly on their own, with Firestone's backing, Frayer and Rickenbacker were given the opportunity to fly in another great way-- on the race track:[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]This was supposed to be a cover shot of the first Indy 500 race, but that's been disputed. Lee Frayer appears second from the top, but he started 26th at Indy. It's been suggested that this shot is from an earlier 5 mile race.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]- In 1911, Lee participated in his last notable race-- which was the most notable in history-- the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Lee raced using his Frayer-Miler 432cid 4 cylinder monster in scarlet / grey Firestone-Columbus car to 13th place.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]- As Lee was getting older, and began being plagued by other problems, Rickenbacker began in 1910 of taking the reigns as driver. He set a world land speed record at Daytona Beach of 134mph using a Frayer-Miller motor.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]By 1912, Rickenbacker sprouted his wings on his own. It's been suggested that other problems limited Frayer (hate to speculate, but alcoholism has been a multi-generational problem in my family,) and historically Lee seemed to fade into unknown destiny at the same rate Eddie Rickenbacker shined.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][​IMG][/FONT]
    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Rickenbacker's WWI plane. Eddie went from my G-G-Grandfathers apprentice, to a national hero.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Eddie Rickenbacker became the American Fighter Ace in WWI, and won the Metal of Honor. He raced the Indy 500 in 1912, 1914-16. Eddie worked with many influential civilian and military leaders as a top government consultant / military expert. He became a American pioneer in aviation, automotive and military history. It's Lee Frayer that gave him his first big shot.[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I'm pretty proud of my family heritage when it comes to cars. Even though i wear a size 14, i realize ive got some big shoes through my genes that i'll never fill as a hobbiest hot rodder:)[/FONT]

    [FONT=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]-scott noteboom[/FONT]
  2. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,247

    from Missouri

    Awesome. That's a good pedigree you have there. Thanks for sharing the story and photos.
  3. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    ...damn good should be proud...
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  4. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,075

    Alliance Member

    by the way--- if anyone can help fill in gaps in the history book here, i'd appreciate it. my uncle knows most about this topic in my family. unfortunately, he's not into cars so much, and we dont really talk.

    if any of you hambers have info, pictures, or whatever--- i'd really love it, so please share.


    -scott noteboom
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  5. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,760


    Great story and a great family history. Thanks for sharing it with us.
  6. Amazing history, thank you for sharing.
  7. Stickanddice
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 34

    from Boston, MA

  8. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 12,919

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    Thats awesome Scott!
  9. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,075

    Alliance Member

  10. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,075

    Alliance Member

    Couple more pics from Lee's big day (1911 Indy 500)....

    The REAL starting Line. Lee was back starting in 26th, with the number 30 car:


    Pit stop:


    Lee got 13th place. Here's a pic of the winner, the Marmon Wasp...


    -scott noteboom
  11. Cool story, I always assumed you are Bones' kid.... thanks for clearing that up.
  12. awesome family history,thanks for sharing
  13. great story you have an awsome family history...
  14. myke
    Joined: Dec 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,134

    from SoCal

    Great story, Thanks for sharing!
  15. yorgatron
    Joined: Jan 25, 2002
    Posts: 4,228

    Member Emeritus

    Medal of Honor,with a D.
    howdy neighbor! :D
  16. Damn great history,thanks for proudly sharing,it's incredible the people we have here on the HAMB.
  17. mortecai
    Joined: Mar 10, 2001
    Posts: 263


    WOW!! What a great heritage and awsome pictures.
  18. notebooms
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,075

    Alliance Member

    i may be good looking, but that doesnt mean i graduated from high school... quick harassing me and get your ass in the garage and get that Caddy running :D

    -scott noteboom

  19. Awesome story!
  20. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,707


    Fascinating stuff - thanks Scott.
  21. seldom scene
    Joined: Oct 9, 2002
    Posts: 867

    seldom scene

    Great story, thanks. My Grandfather built a hot model T with a rajo head and an underslung front end for my Dad to drive. They didn't take pictures in those days so I don't have much to go on as Dad wasn't much of a car guy. Talent skips a generation sometimes. Talk to your uncle while you still can, don't let history die.
  22. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,161


    You come from 'good Bloodliner' family!
  23. yorgatron
    Joined: Jan 25, 2002
    Posts: 4,228

    Member Emeritus

    i didn't graduate either,but i did used to date an English major ;)
    i got insurance for the Cadillac,and they inform me that it has fallen off the computer (YAY!:D) at the DMV.
    which means i'm gonna need to borrow your lift so i can get this thing to the car corrall at Pleasanton in 2 weeks :cool:
  24. Interesting thread. My grandmothers family was friends with the Rickenbackers. She told me Eddie gave her her first plane ride when she was a child. She passed many years ago. I bet she had a lot more cool stories to tell...I should have listened more.
  25. G V Gordon
    Joined: Oct 29, 2002
    Posts: 5,681

    G V Gordon
    from Enid OK

    Great story, and just like has been mentioned I wish I had listened more to my grandad and folks stories. My grandad use to tell stories of the Younger Brothers, fairly notorious outlaws, stopping to water thier horses at our place. I encourage the older generation on this board to write stuff down. In the age of e-mail and IMs we loose a lot of the written word to the delete button. I feel sorry for future generations who won't have all the letters, photos, cards and newsclippings from the past to cherish.

    Wow $2700+ in 1907 was a fairly heady sum for an automobile. Glad some of them survived.

    Again, thanks for sharing.

  26. blacufo
    Joined: Sep 13, 2006
    Posts: 400


    gread read, anyone in your family still have any of his automobiles?
  27. oldandkrusty
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,098


    Scott, thanks for taking the time to sit down and record this great bit of history. If you didn't do it, no doubt your story and the accomplishments of your kin would fade into oblivion. While it may not matter to some, it's my belief that our history as Americans is what makes this country of ours the greatest place to live. If we let our history slip away from us, we are losing something that is irreplaceable.

    Thanks again Scott, I loved your little bit of history.
  28. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094


    That's a great story Notebooms. Even if your G.G.Grandfather's history was never realy acknowledged, or widely known, it is now. Very kool!
  29. Tampa 3-W Duce Coupe
    Joined: Aug 24, 2007
    Posts: 13

    Tampa 3-W Duce Coupe
    from tampa

    Thanks for sharing Scott...Enjoyed it a lot....
  30. Chuckles Garage
    Joined: Jun 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,366

    Chuckles Garage
    Alliance Vendor


    Excellent thread!! Wow man, you got some cool history was a good read for sure.

    we need to hang out again soon!

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