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History Vintage "Cageless" Midget Picture Thread

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by KKx125, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. KKx125
    Joined: Dec 22, 2008
    Posts: 72

    KKx125
    Member

    J Conklin. I restored an edmunds midget in 2006 that Bob Tattersal bought to Australia in 1960 which belonged to Harry Conklin. there are photos on Page One,First Entry. Any relation ?? Keep the Photos coming, Speedy
     
  2. TommyA19
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 240

    TommyA19
    Member

    It was on this date, October 12, 1948, when one of the greats in Midget racing left us – Johnny Ritter. With the assistance of some folks, mainly his daughter, Sharyn, I was able to come out with a five-part photo article on the New England Tractor website.
    Here are the links to all five of them. Enjoy!

    http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/ta/JohnnyRitternewpart1.htm

    http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/ta/JohnnyRitternewpart2.htm

    http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/ta/JohnnyRitternewpart3.htm

    http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/ta/JohnnyRitternewpart4.htm

    http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/ta/JohnnyRitternewpart5.htm
     
  3. Denny Zimmerman
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 504

    Denny Zimmerman
    Member

    Thanks Tommy, Very enjoyable. In a couple of those pictures without a helmet on he slightly resembles John Andretti (Aldos son) Denny Z.
     
  4. DocF
    Joined: Feb 22, 2011
    Posts: 120

    DocF
    Member

    Another veteran driver has died. Jacob (Jack, Jackie) Lindhout died recently according to the Grand Rapids Press website. We had him driving Bud Van Unen's Offy midget quite a bit in the late 70s on tracks, both asphalt and dirt throughout the upper Midwest. He mainly ran super-modifieds, notably for Eddy Anible, the Ambrose Brothers and the Behnke car of Rex Olmstead. He also ran sprint cars and for other midget owners.

    He loved running the midgets, but he was making a living with the supers, so he could not run them as often as he liked. Jack was a very good driver, he did not do stupid things and did not get over his head. Owners liked him because he ran as hard as a car could go without tearing up equipment.

    Jack was always good with fans and with the crew. He really was a people person as evidenced by his "retirement" job in Las Vegas - he was a dealer/pit boss in poker clubs.

    http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/g...px?n=jacob-lindhout&pid=160452635#fbLoggedOut

    Doc
     
  5. memaerobilia
    Joined: Mar 24, 2004
    Posts: 191

    memaerobilia
    Member

    Stan; Could this possibly be the same car before or after an engine and nose change? Or just another one fom that series?

    Dad made a lot of these in a series of three at a time, sometimes six, and in rare cases, even 10-12 (like the TQ roadsters) It Also has one of those thick Gertler grilles that you said you still had a few of? I think I have photo of his four main styles of cast grilles, but he made a lot of one-off tubular steel grilles in a wide variety of shapes & sizes. Anybody got a copy of The Raceway Garage "Raceway Specials" midgets, with the full page of options in buying a car in any stage, from just parts to complete, ready to run. Had a full list of descriptions of all parts & prices, & options. I can't find mine. but know I've seen it here somewhere in one of these 400 storage crates! I DO have most of the photos and negs scanned in at high res. but not all of them.
    I sent you a private message.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  6. TommyA19
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 240

    TommyA19
    Member

    The Lobitz affair
    November 11, 2012:

    The annual Stan Lobitz Movie party, lunch, auction and sit down dinner, with all of the proceeds going to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (EMMR).

    Lobitz Catering Hall – Route 940 Hazelton, Pa. – located directly behind the Fairway Chevrolet dealership on Route 309 North.
    One never knows who might show up – like Eddie Sachs, Jr. or Arlen Kurtis, son of noted race car builder Frank Kurtis – who have been guests in recent years. Chris Economaki was always there. A good time is had by all with lots of bench racing and b*ll busting being done throughout the day. Vendors are also present.
    Things get off to a somewhat slow start at around 9:00 AM, and then it’s an all day thing that ends with the sit down dinner usually a little after 5:00.

    Best part: it’s FREE.
     
  7. lobuktruk
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 75

    lobuktruk
    Member
    from Cayuga In.

    I'm supposed to go look at this car soon but all I have to go on so far is this picture. The owner is no longer here to answer questions. Would this be a midget or a sprint? And how much of a difference would there be? I'm guessing that some of you guys that know more than me might have an idea of what the engine should be based on the hood sides and scoop on top.
     

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  8. slobitz
    Joined: Feb 1, 2008
    Posts: 245

    slobitz
    Member
    from drums, pa

    Offy mdget.. Unless the car has great history it would not be worth spending what an Offy would be worth
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  9. All that can be said is that it is a rail frame midget. Knowing the manufacturer would be a big plus. If it was a Kurtis, lets say, then certainly worth preserving.However it doesn't appear to be a Kurtis rail frame midget.

    Offenhauser was an engine manufacturer only. No evidence that an Offy engine lurks under the bonnet. In fact looking at the shape of the sump (oil pan) that looks nothing like an Offy.

    Having said all of that , if you are thinking investment opportunity then do your homework carefully . If you are thinking of a enjoyable project then hop straight in and let the journey and fun of the restoration begin.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  10. lobuktruk
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 75

    lobuktruk
    Member
    from Cayuga In.

    More interested in a fun project, I actually would be more hoping something like a V8-60 but the hood sides dont look like a V8. I've seen pictures of cars with two air cleaners coming out the side, what other engine options would that be? Is it old enough to be a Ford 4-banger?
     
  11. DocF
    Joined: Feb 22, 2011
    Posts: 120

    DocF
    Member

    The price of the carcass would be the determining factor to me. Any of a number of engines could be put in this that would be age appropriate. A Ford-Ferguson tractor engine (Triumph TR-3) would work, for example.

    Doc
     
  12. gearguy
    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
    Posts: 286

    gearguy
    Member

    Very few rail frame midgets had Offy motors and even fewer had Ford Fergies. If you are new to vintage midgets your first purchase should be a copy of Jack Fox's Mighty Midgets book. Speedway sells the re-print version.
    In the back of that book is a list of the many types of motors used in midgets over the years.
    Look over the hundreds of photos, particularly the pre-war years. Before WWII there were perhaps 500 midgets total in the country; after the war there might have been 10x that many.
    If you purchase the car take lots of pictures to post here and to show people at vintage racing events in your area. Odds are someone will recognize the car. Once you know what you have you can decide just how authentic a restoration it needs.
    Look over similar cars at vintage events for ideas. A number of people have put more modern 4 cylinder motors in the rail frame cars so they can enjoy running them. A junkyard Ford Focus or Chevy Ecotec or VW Golf motor can be running in a midget with motorcycle carbs & ignition for less than $1500. A 110 Offy motor that runs will be 10x that or more; even a running V8-60 will approach 4 figures.

    Best regards,
    Chuck Schultz
    Winfield Illinois

    Caretaker of two VW powered midgets [the air cooled kind]
     
  13. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    What Stan said is most probably correct. That hood is classic Offy. There is a rail frame Offy running with the CVOR group in Colorado. I have forgotten the owners name. It has been rebodied at some point but may well have been very similar to the car you have pictured.

    Similarly, the pictured car may have been repowered with an Offy at some point.

    As pictured it would definitely not have been a Ford Ferguson as they had intake and exhaust on the right side unless it was a rare "F" head conversion which did have a cross flow head with intake on the left.

    In any event, if you buy it, unless you can positively find history, restore it to please yourself.

    Were it mine, I would use an engine that emulated an Offy. I believe there is an Alfa Romeo and a Fiat engine, both from the '60's, that have the left side intake as well as the DOHC. There are probably several later day engines as well as Chuck has mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  14. lobuktruk
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 75

    lobuktruk
    Member
    from Cayuga In.



    Some good info, but of course some of it conflicting. An actual Offenhauser would be an investment and that's not really what I'm looking for.

    That book sounds great but I couldn't find it at Speedway, Amazon had some and there have been some on ebay but not right now. I had wondered about the modern drivetrain but was afraid it would be frowned upon by the vintage crowd. There was a VW midget at Jungle Park this weekend, was that you? I was there with the 1/4 and 1/2 midget project cars.

    Do you know what time frame the rail midgets were made or were popular?
     

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  15. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Rail frame midgets were made from the beginning in the 30's and in decreasing numbers after WWII with the popularity of the Kurtis type tube frame movement. Solar began quantity production after the war utilizing a (stainless steel) rail frame

    Kurtis did not start the tube frames however as they were being built in the mid to late 30's by Reichenbach, Marchese, Pete Nielsen and others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  16. gearguy
    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
    Posts: 286

    gearguy
    Member

    I haven't taken my cars to vintage meets for a few years, too busy racing our sportsman midget.

    Some clubs are more strict than others so check with the group you want to run with before you start to restore anything. For example, one club which I won't name allows modern drive trains but wouldn't let a potential purchaser of my 1979 vintage car to join because the car had a wedge shape hood. Even a 1979 photo of cars racing with that hood wouldn't change their minds.

    The great thing about modern motors is that they are cheap, reliable, and available. The Ecotec even looks vaguely Offy-like. Once sorted out you can go to a meet and run laps rather than worry about breaking hard to find parts.

    We could get hundreds of posts arguing about restorations vs. replicas. When even the Miller Meet accepts replicas [and some pretty inaccurate replicas at that] I think that ship has already saled.

    Chuck Schultz
    Winfield, Illinois

    PS: Just to stir the pot a little bit, though, keep in mind that midgets have now had cages longer than they didn't [1933-41 plus 1946-69 cageless [32 years] vs 1970-2012 [42 years]. They have had those ugly downtubes longer than they had regular cages [1970-89 (19 years) vs 1989-2012 (23 years)].
     
  17. jimg12
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 307

    jimg12
    Member

    Did not know the figures on cageless,cages and downtubes. Glad I got to race without cages[raced with cages also].
     
  18. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Just a late afterthought...and only my opinion...if you do acquire this car and restore it, certainly get rid of the that air scoop on the top of the hood, it's got the uglies.
     
  19. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Here is a real unique one.

    Those are Lenkert side drafts.

    Emil Andres drove this car/engine several times pre WWII but preferred Frank's Fergie powered car as the camless engine was never fully developed.

    The same valve operating idea was used in the original Franklin engine that was under development for the Tucker Torpedo.

    From Wikepedia...

    Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. An oil pressure distributor was mounted inline with the ignition distributor and delivered appropriately timed direct oil pressure to open each valve at the proper interval. This unique engine was designed to idle at 100 rpm and cruise at 250-1200 rpm through the use of direct drive torque converters on each driving wheel instead of a transmission. These features would have been auto industry firsts in 1948, but as engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The 589 engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  20. Surfref32
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 61

    Surfref32
    Member

    Jim, I'm glad you survived racing without a roll cage! Did guys drive a bit more cautiously before the cages? Some of the things I see experienced midget drivers do today amaze me. They don't seem to mind getting upside down. I'm thinking if guys drove the cageless midgets like that, even less would have died in bed.

    Thanks,
    Andy
     
  21. Denny Zimmerman
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 504

    Denny Zimmerman
    Member

    Andy, When cages came into use everyone got braver and....there were more accidents. Make no mistake though even though todays cars are safer, you can still hurt yourself. Denny Z.
     
  22. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,987

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    I see your point 28, but I think if it is original to the car maybe it should stay. Sometimes its the warts that tell the story of the beauty of a restoration.

    Take the Plymouth Superbird stock cars for example. I think the long aero overhang on the front of them is stone-ugly - they're the Jimmy Durante of stock cars. But I wouldn't restore one without that beak.
     
  23. lobuktruk
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 75

    lobuktruk
    Member
    from Cayuga In.

    I kinda liked the hood scoop, it was the hood sides that I didn't like as much. If you change the drivetrain you would most likely have to change the hood sides.
     
  24. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    It's the intake side that makes it for me because it's classic Offy. That's why I suggested using an engine that had intakes on that side that could possibly match to what you have.

    I don't know what the other side looks like but presume it was for an Offy as well.

    That hood scoop may have been to bring air to the carbs on a V8-60, but it's still butt ugly in my opinion. Attached are photos of one with and one without, carbs/air cleaners through the hood. The one without I made a housing to fit under the hood that utilized a Datsun carbureted 240Z filter element which is very flat and oval and long enough to cover the carb set up.
     

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  25. jimg12
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 307

    jimg12
    Member

    Surfref32,
    That is a hard question to answer. Before cages I think drivers had more respect for each other and tore up less stuff, because they knew if they got into each other and flipped the outcome would probably be bad. They were plenty brave drivers and some were against cages [Grim, Tat and a few others] because cages would make less talented drivers a LOT more brave and cause more wrecks, which it did. Cages saved a lot of lives but did not make better drivers or the good drivers braver, just my opion.
     
  26. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,987

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    Questions on my mind lately:

    How much HP did a typical Offy midget develop? How about the V8 60s?

    Was there much of a weight / handling difference between the two? How much do those cars typically weigh? What about f/r weight distribution?

    How do those figures compare to big / champ cars?

    I never had the experience of jumping into one of those cars (YET!) so I don't know much about the basic physics of them. Thanks.

    6re6
     
  27. TommyA19
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 240

    TommyA19
    Member

    Good questions, and if I might add these:

    How much bigger are today's Midgets compared to the Kurtis chassis?

    How much HP do some of the current Midget engines have?

    How much bigger are today's Midget tires & wheels, compared to back in the day - the 40's & 50's?

    When was the last 100 mile Midget race? Why no more, today?
     
  28. gearguy
    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
    Posts: 286

    gearguy
    Member

    A good 100" Offy probably made 175 to 185 horsepower; a good 136" V8-60 perhaps 150. Top line current midget motors [164 to 174"] are reported to approach 385 horsepower. I have sportsman midgets where the target is 215 horsepower; a sealed 122 inch Ford Focus makes 185 horsepower.

    Wheelbase rules are unchanged but the big difference is width. Cars can now be as much as 65 inches wide.

    That extra width comes from tires. Right rear tires are 12"wide on a 10" wide wheel. Left rears are 10" wide on an 8" wide wheel. Even the front wheels are 7 or 8" wide. Tires barely last a night.

    I doubt today's midgets could go 100 miles without a rebuild half way through. Teams keep track of laps run so they don't go over the safe life of valve springs. Motors get rebuilt frequently during the season.

    Our sportsman motors can go 50 or more races without being opened up. We run DOT legal tires on 8" wide wheels that easily last a SEASON. The same tires are used on pavement & dirt. This is the only way I can afford to race.

    Chuck Schultz
    Winfield, Illinois
     
  29. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,128

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    A few additions to Chuck's reply...

    My 1940 Hillegass with Studebaker 6 cylinder engine weighs approx. 200 pounds on each front corner and 250 pounds on each rear for a total of 912 pounds with water and oil, no fuel. I suspect a modern car is not too different from this.

    Midgets have always been nominally 72 inch wheel base. Big cars (later called sprint cars) were from about 82 to 90 and the Champ Cars (made primarily to run 1 mile tracks) nominally 100".

    The early midghet tires were typically 4" to 4 1/2" wide fronts, 4 1/2' to 5" rears all mounted on 12" diameter wheels of 4 to 5 1/2" width. Todays wheels are all 13" diameter.

    Handling and horsepower make today's midget car a world apart from the old cross spring cars with the advent of first parallel (to the frame) torsion bars, then cross torsion bars, and coil springs coupled with hi-tech and high priced shock absorbers.

    Why no more 100 mile midget races? If you had a $100,000 purse spread through the contestants, the winner might be the only one to make any money beyond expenses (with $40,000 engines) plus it would be boring.

    NASCAR rules are orchestrated to provide nearly half the 43 starters being on the same lap as the leader after 500 miles. Read in the news paper the $ payoff for the last place cars and again they all have significant corporate sponsorship as well because they have TV exposure and can keep some people who are waiting to see the next crash, entertained for 3 or 4 hours. Then the winner is rarely the fastest car and driver, it's a matter of strategy, luck, fuel mileage, etc.

    Sprint cars (and midgets) were made to run sprint races. Short tracks, balls to the wall for 20 miles or less on 1/2 mile and shorter tracks. If you can find anything more exciting on four wheels, tell me about it.
     
  30. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,987

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    Thanks for the education gearguy and 28dreyer.

    I'll bet a hunderd miles on a quarter- or half-mile dirt track would wear out a driver too.
     

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