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History Three mystery cars

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by galro, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. galro
    Joined: Mar 15, 2016
    Posts: 12

    galro
    Member

    Hey.

    I saved this set with pictures from a website a while back and I have not been able to identify the cars in the pictures or the bodyshop itself. As I remember the pictures were taken by father of one of the user to the site who had been a photograph living in New York in the ''50s. He would often take daytrips to visit and take pictures of local bodyshops in the area and it was thought that this set was of one such bodyshop.

    So can any identify these seemingly well-built aluminium specials? And what about that MG T-series in the background?

    Car 1.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Car 2.
    [​IMG]

    Car 3.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    The first one looks like the hole in the nose accepts a jag c type or XK-120 grill insert. Re-bodied XK-120 based road race special maybe? But the 4 stud wheels don't fit with that, so....
     
  3. tractorguy
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 660

    tractorguy
    Member

    I love them......can't shed much light on their pedigree or origin.....but in the last picture of vehicle number 1, there is what appears to be a new Kurtis midget body "kit" hanging from the ceiling in the back......and a nice midget #9 sitting underneath it on the floor. It would appear that the cars may have been built in one facility and then sent to this facility for custom aluminum body fabrication.
    It also appears that car #2 has a quickchange center section in a VERY interesting looking rear suspension. Also appears to be some sort of overhead V/8 with an adapter to a Ford ? transmission. Is this posssibly an Allard with a hemi ?
     
  4. DJCruiser
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 316

    DJCruiser
    Member
    from CT

    The first guess that comes to mind is Alfred Momo's shop. There is a lot of experience in fabricating aluminum to that quality.
     

  5. Looks like an MG-TC with an interesting aero headrest, trimmed front fenders and a ptrssure pump on the side of the cowl.

    All very interesting "specials".
     
  6. alphabet soup
    Joined: Jan 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,419

    alphabet soup
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I wondered myself if #2 had a quick change. Or some sort of trans axle. All those gismo's and gadgets look to be some sort of weight jacking device.
     
  7. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I looked at some photos, a 120 insert is taller and narrower, and FWIW, a c-type insert would definitely fit in that hole.
     
  8. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    My impression is Cunningham and if the photos were taken on Long Island it must be Frick Tappet Motors.
     
  9. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,656

    choptop40
    Member

    Wow I grew up in Long Island ....
     
  10. galro
    Joined: Mar 15, 2016
    Posts: 12

    galro
    Member

    The cars are not one of the known Cunningham racers, I can tell you that. While that is said Frick Tappet motors does seem like a likely candidate for the shop in picture. Apparently Phil Walters/Ted Tappers was even into racing MG Midgets which would fit with the two MGs seen in the background of the pictures.

    But all the information I have found of the Frick Tappet works seems to focus on the Vignale specials they engineered and some engine-swap and minor bodywork jobs they did like the "Studillac", "Fordillac" etc. So it is possible to find more information about what other cars they might have built?
     
  11. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,080

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    The rear suspension in Car #2 seems to be complete without all the gubbins riding on top of the axle. There is the underslung axle, semi-elliptic springs, and friction dampers. Whatever the contraption is, it is wholly auxiliary to the suspension as such. Could it be that those are 4x4 front hubs? Could this be an attempt at active camber control or rear-wheel steering? Here's an early Jeep axle:
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. 57tailgater
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 678

    57tailgater
    Member
    from Georgia

    The rear of car #1 resembles a Triumph TR-2 or 3. There is a relationship between them and MG both being part of British Leyland. Also, the 4 lug wheels would fit as the axles started out with those and had adapters to go to the wire wheels.
     
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  13. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I agree the cars are not Cunninghams but do resemble them. Did Vignale build all the Cunningham bodies or only the street versions offered for sale? I think the racers were built in the US especially the earliest ones. Exactly where or by who I don't know but Frick Tappet Motors was involved in Cunningham's racing efforts from the first, before the first Cunningham race car was built.
     
  14. Assuming the pix were taken in the 50s, Standard Triumph and Leyland Motors (British Leyland would come later) were separate entities, entirely.
     
  15. DJCruiser
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 316

    DJCruiser
    Member
    from CT

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
    kidcampbell71 and galro like this.
  16. tractorguy
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 660

    tractorguy
    Member

    Starting to make some sense. Joe Gertler was one SERIOUS dirt track midget builder in his day. Did a lot of stuff his own way.
     
  17. galro
    Joined: Mar 15, 2016
    Posts: 12

    galro
    Member

    Damn, that's impressive. This appears to be car from the first picture:
    [​IMG]
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  18. galro
    Joined: Mar 15, 2016
    Posts: 12

    galro
    Member

    While this appears to be MG Midget seen in the last picture:
    [​IMG]
     
    BAD ROD and kidcampbell71 like this.
  19. The contraption on the rear suspension of car 2 appears to be a device to lean or camber the rear wheels.
     
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  20. kerrystagmer
    Joined: Sep 6, 2008
    Posts: 10

    kerrystagmer
    Member
    from MD, USA

    The C type looking car is indeed the Gertler Lea Francis (ex-James Pauley) and I am the current owner. It is undergoing restoration now. The MG was recently found in a garage in Washington DC and is in fairly good shape. I have never seen the car with the rear off before and will have to do some looking
     
  21. .......................Wow! Great History lesson! And the car is right here local.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  22. International history lesson. :cool:
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  23. patsurf
    Joined: Jan 18, 2018
    Posts: 408

    patsurf

    that was beyond amazing hamb detective-ing!
     
  24. memaerobilia
    Joined: Mar 24, 2004
    Posts: 191

    memaerobilia
    Member

    Kerry!
    You have amazing tenacity, in tracking down the history of these cars. I wish I could have helped more. The photos at top were taken in the "bottom" of my Dad's Raceway Garage at 2630 St. Raymond Ave, in The Bronx, NY.
    the 3 photo set (with curled edges) #1 and #3 it is in front of the shop. showing main car entrance at left. #2 is taken aceoss the street from Dad's shop, where he took a lot of photos of the cars. Three of the four walls of his office were covered from floor to ceiling, with hundreds of photos of many of the cars he built,
    So glad you found the additional history. Thanks. Joe Gertler Jr.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
    302GMC and Papas32 like this.
  25. Retrorod
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,023

    Retrorod
    Member

    Wow!! This is a very cool post with amazing results. Nice to see you here Joe.
     

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