The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.
Jim, I don't let folks like that bother me.
Bob neither do I. I roll my eyes at them and wonder why they waste their time bitching on a thread when they hate them in the first place. I sold my set a few years ago. As a kid I used to sit in Frank Mack's roadster when he was restoring my dad's 36 Cord Sportsman and when I found a pair in my grandfather's stash I had to have them. Whenever guys walked thru my shop they seemed to notice them and offered me like $200 which always made me chuckle. The pair I sold still had the instructions inside one of the lights. They are an acquired taste I suppose but I am surprised at the guys that have to bitch about them. They look at home with all of their aerodynamic flair on the racecar IMO.
I OWNED THAT CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd love to find it and buy it back! It was given to me in 1971 just the chassis cowl and tail, last raced on a dirt track in Newtown, Ct. sort of a stock car quality sports car racing club, it ran in SCCA hill climbs in the early 1950's. I sold it to a fellow in Pennsylvania, bought it back, and a few years later in need of money sold it again. If anyone has a lead on any info on the present location and owner of the car please let me know. Bob
Tony Luther from Westport, Ct bought the car in 1950 and added the fenders and windshield, guess that qualified it as a Sports Car and raced it in SCCA. This shot is at Mt Equinox in Manchester, Vermont. Car had a Winfield head on a Ford B block
Frank Mack's roadster is the first thing I think of whenever I see those lights! Indeed, if one dislikes something....why even waste the energy complaining,whether in person or in an internet post?
Bob, do you have any other history on the car?
I really like that car in spite of the goofy headlights. They fit that car very well actually.
Yes, It is not the first race car I sold before learning its history, the info all comes in years after it was sold. I sold the remains for $250.00, bought them back for $250.00 and sold them the second time for $250.00 Bob
That is just so cool! The nose on the car looks familiar, huh? Chassis looks like a modified Essex 1928/29! Also, it looks like the car has Dayton "dental teeth" hubs. I'm surprised that the hub nut backed off. I guess "back in the day" they didn't use much safety wire.
Some really interesting looking race cars from back in the good old day's of racing.
Vintage Racing is very popular in the USA and over on the other side of the pond.
Every time a photo turns up of that car I kick myself. Yes it did have lock ring Daytons on it, the B block had a Winfield head. Grille shell was in two pieces when I got everything, tail was also cut in half and had a piece of aluminum screwed to it keeping the sides together. I never figured out what the chassis started life as, it has a wide bow in the center, there were two Model A front frame horns welded to the back. It is always sad to trace a race car from its Golden Years, to the "B" series, then knocked about in the minors or want to be leagues. Bob
Just like we were talking about this morning.If we only knew.
I am not a fan of the headlights on most cars, but they do fit that one.
There IS a problem for the "PreWar" groups of Vintage Racing in THIS Country!
We WILL again this year be headed to Monterey for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR). On the way we'll race at VARA's "British Extravaganza" at Buttonwillow Raceway and SVRA's Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sears Point (now called "Sonoma") Raceway. We'd like to run in more events; but, alas, many promoters feel that "PreWar" racecars are NOT an attraction to spectators. This attitude plus lack of participation of some owners of "PreWar" race cars are pushing OUR niche of Vintage Racing into extinction. It wasn't long ago when I used to be able too go to up to seven events a year.
It is following the path of the old car hobby, I remember when I went to my first VSCCA event in 1970, I think the cut off date was 1955 back then. Most of the "Vintage" cars you see racing today hadn't been built yet. Bob
Yeah! You got that right, Bob!
Example: I think the only truly "Original" Millers are the two, originally owned by George Stewart, A.K.A. "Leon Duray" brought over from France in 1958 by Griff Borgeson. Other's are reconstructed out of parts (some original, some reproduction) to meet the fabricators and collectors wishes. In other words most race cars when crashed or became obsolete got "cannibalized" or changed dramatically to something else.
I may be selling all my MILLER paperwork if a two man car turns up for sale. Bob
That's what I have been saying, always. The two "Molsheim Millers" are an anomaly, in that they were far removed from any useful racing purpose over here in Europe, and thus never available to the "butchers" *. Unless a car goes straight to a collection or museum, like the 1911 and 1912 Indy winners, for example, there's close to zero chance that much originality will survive. That's especially true of the board track racers, because once the board tracks disappeared, the cars simply had to "evolve" - they were much too expensive to just put away into storage.
* No disrespect meant, these men did what they had to do!
Don't sell before you have spoken to me!!!
I DO remember a blue single seat 30's race car in Art Sparks' personal garage/shop. It was in a crate so it was impossible to see it in it's entirety. I was probably only about ten years old (circa 1949/50), I wouldn't know just what I was seeing anyway. We (Art's son and I were the same age) were able to get down through the slats and sit in it. It seemed to me to be in good condition. It also seemed to be intact with no damage. There was no way to know whether or not it had an engine. Mr. Sparks knew we'd go into it. It may well have been owned by Paul Weirick. When Sparks and Weirick separated, Paul got the "Dirt Track" cars. I'm speculating that it was eventually may have been one of the Sparks cars that Joe Gemsa got hold of. If it was, it was completely redone by Gemsa, who raced in in pro events as well as vintage. Art's son (also Arthur) won't talk to me. And Jack Sparks was just a toddler at that time, so there is no info there. I conclude that this car was an anomaly because, even though the Sparks-Weirick cars were generally successful and Sparks was always short of money; this car survived for longer than it should have.
Has anyone taken the time to list all the cars and engines that went through the Joe Gemsa garage? Back in the early 1970's we used to send letters back & forth, my info requests and Joe supplying the answers, still have one in the bottom draw of my tool box. It was really neat to meet him in person around 1974. All that time I thought he had a state of the art machine shop, turned out the condition of the building had nothing to do with the quality of his work. The V16 MILLER may have been his last great rebuild/save. Bob
Yeah! Back in those days in Southern California at least, there were a whole lot of specialty foundry's and forges. And an equal bunch of tool and die makers with excellent machinists. I guess it was as if Harry Miller was still alive. You had an idea and there was somebody around to make it come to fruition. My uncle, for example, had a small tool and die manufacturing shop in East L.A. from just before WWII to when he died in the 70's. He, as a sideline, made and sold speed equipment for Studebaker V8's. There was a foundry next door to cast his blanks. Gemsa didn't need a complete machine shop. Al HE had to do is get a good idea. Draw it up. Maybe make a pattern; and go get it done. I've been told the story that "Jiggler Joe" (as he was called) got the job to put that Miller V16 back together; because he was the one that someone told to cut it in half to make two V8's!
Chuck Davis told me several high end shops felt a bit put down when he gave Joe the pile of parts to rebuild the V16. This is a good tie in with the above MILLER stories. Chuck bought the chassis and front axle for that car for around $1,500.00 I think, it had reached the very bottom of its race car career. Chuck was the guy to research and restore that car, he started calling every former owner of the car, and piece by piece bought all the bits that had been taken off the car when it was "upgraded". I had the honor of judging the car at Hershey when it had a fresh restoration, it was flawless, still is with a new caretaker. Bob
Yup! That's the story! Maybe it was YOU that told it to me.
Bob good to see you posting the story. A number of years ago they had a V16 class at Meadowbrook and I was there with my friend's Marmon V16 Convertible Sedan (like 2008 or 2010-memory sucks). We were right next to the Miller you reference above. Years ago (maybe the 80s or early 90s-I do not remember that either) that car came up, kind of in passing, when I spoke to Chuck. I remember bits and pieces of the conversation and seemed to remember a story similar to yours-that it was reassembled at best. Still a fabulous piece of history without question.
As you know these concours events can drag on and we had our chairs right next to the caretaker of that Miller. It was really great looking at the car. I heard bits and pieces of his discussion with passers by and I raised some questions and mentioned that there were only two Millers that were without question the real deal, as to no questions to provenance and that did not go over well. I tried to state my case but that turned out to be a waste of time.
These cars that are making appearances at shows today are great. The only thing that could make them better is if we heard the real story. Fat chance of that happening. I still enjoy the cars nevertheless. Great to see them in all their splendor.
Thanks Jim, here is another Gemsa, Davis, MILLER story. I bought four 122 MILLER connecting rods from Joe Gemsa in the 1970's, he said they would be great in a hopped up Model A block. mains looked ok, but the wrist pin was too small IMO. They sat on the shelf for many years. Chuck Davis called everyone he knew and asked if they had any MILLER parts, and made a list of what everyone had, this had to be the early 1980's. He also asked if the parts could be bought if he found some more bits. A year of so later he called, he had found two original camshafts and a crankshaft that were uncut. He had two cut crankcases that had been turned into four cylinder Midget engines. With my four connecting rods and parts from all over the country he restored his first MILLER. He fabricated a new frame using the twisted remains of one he found. Sadly he scrapped the beat up frame and that car could never be certified in AACA, since possession of the original frame was required to claim a race car is real. You can't say whos MILLER it was, but there is enough real MILLER in my mind to say it is. Bet it sounds great too. Bob
I fully agree..It is unfortunate that those folks that own these recently put together cars don't like to think that their beauty that they bought for "Big Bucks" for static display are not the EXACT car that ran in the 20's and 30's. I feel that early collectors/fabricators like Davis, Uihlein, Bouderman, Truchan and others (incl. currently Zkiras Garage) carried no illusions about the race cars they reconstructed.
I like many appreciate the accuracy and workmanship of the late creations. I only wish more of the owner/collectors/investment speculators would bring them to the race track so that we could hear them in"Full Song"!
Sheepshead Bay, N.Y.?
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