Register now to get rid of these ads!

History Vintage "Cageless" Midget Picture Thread

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

  1. Speedwrench
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,030

    Speedwrench
    Member

    loudbang likes this.
  2. My Other Car is a Hudson
    Joined: Jul 10, 2011
    Posts: 8

    My Other Car is a Hudson
    Member
    from USA

    WALT MORDENTI TURNED 99 IN JULY--I NEED HELP LOCATING HIS PHOTO ALBUMS AND EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF RACING MEMORABILIA

    Dear vintage racers, my father Walt turned 99 in July, and he sends his regards to everyone. His batteries are running low. He has stage 4 prostate cancer, has refused treatment, and is in hospice care. He cannot get out of bed unassisted and is confined to a wheel chair. We took him out for a ride in my ’53 Hudson Hornet last fall (photo), and he enjoyed it a lot. He is not leaving the house now--this makes him very sad, and he doesn’t get out of bed anymore.

    Walt raced up and down the Eastern Seaboard during the 1940s – 1970s. He is best known for his #78 midget--this car set the fastest time on the sands of Daytona in 1956 (photo), and it was the Ford V-60 champion in ARDC in 1958. Walt is also known for his #12 Hudson "The Tank" and #36 AMC-powered super modified, which he built and drove (photos). I am trying to recover his photo albums and extensive collection of racing memorabilia from his racing career. I was told that someone who claimed to have Walt’s #78 midget contacted him for pictures and documents about the history of the #78. Walt said that he sent his albums and racing collection to this person. Walt could not remember to whom he sent the items, so I contacted Dave Shore in Connecticut (vintagemidgetracing.com). Dave has Walt’s #78 midget but claims that he does not have Walt’s albums and memorabilia, just a few photos.

    I am hoping to retrieve our family albums and memorabilia before the items are lost or sold. They will never have as much significance to anyone else as they have to me—racing was a big part of my life growing up. I know that H.A.M.B. members understand why this stuff means so much to me--my mother and brother have both passed away, and my father is dying. These items mean the world to me; it is all that I have left from those days with my father and my family when we were all together, doing the one thing that Walt loved his entire life…racing.

    I am posting this note and hoping that someone can help me recover my family treasures. I offer $2000 for their return.

    If you want to send birthday wishes to Walt, you can reach him at WaltMordenti@aol.com.

    Warm regards,
    Joyce Mordenti
    415-412-0519

    440EE722-B603-4C51-85A0-A0F73EA67683.jpeg 5FC9F270-4F68-4018-B649-33C472E3A865.jpeg DF51F890-5027-4C1D-89E7-FA73C9C9DB4B.jpeg 85CFB1E0-A865-4A41-9B5D-8CDD7BF3C3DB.jpeg D16349B6-126E-43D0-8E79-24D8F5643D86.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  3. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 38,655

    loudbang
    Member

    Happy Birthday message sent to Walt. Hope you find those things. :)
     
    Lil32 likes this.
  4. Zoera
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 200

    Zoera
    Member

    Happy belated birthday to Walt Mordenti. Being from CT., I know the name well but never saw him race (unless he was at West Haven in the 60's). I hope you find the photos & albums. God Bless.
     
    loudbang and Lil32 like this.
  5. Hi there,

    Dear Racer8,
    My family recently found out that Wally Zale is my late grandfather. And my mom (Wally's daughter who sadly never got to meet him) is extremely excited with any other info, pics, or stories outside of whats already on the internet. It's been very fun but very challenging getting any information on him given his short life, but in your post #4479 you mention that you have some other pics of him? Possible stories? Please let me know if so, our family would be so pleased as we're trying to reconnect to this critical family member of our past.
    Feel free to call as well @ 510-849-7221.
    Thanks for your time and all the best to you.

    Scott Jensen
     
    loudbang likes this.
  6. Hi, it has been since March when I was seeking info on Dutch Schaefer's Cragar Midget. Well the friend I am trying to help out on this contacted his younger brother in Florida. His brother actually lived with their Uncle Tom Askew and aunt Venita. David Guay is hearing impared and as a young boy he lived with his aunt and uncle. According to David the midget his uncle owned was indeed Dutch Shaefer's midget. David remembers the race car at their house in Latham NY. My understanding Tom Askew and Dutch were friends. Tom bought the midget from Dutch either during or just after WW2. Tom left the midget as Dutch ran it. Yellow in color but changed the number to 36 from 37. Tom drove it from post WW2 until about early 1960's. David has no knowledge of what happened to the midget after he moved away. My friend Norm drove it at the Altamont Fairgrounds somewhere close to 1954-55. The official's found out Norm was underage and he was tossed out! David said he traveled with his uncle Tom to a speedway around Saratoga NY to race the midget but he cannot remember the name of the speedway. My question would be did they race midgets at Wilton Speedway near Saratoga back then or possibly White's Beach in Ballston Lake? I assume Malta speedway was built in the 60's and Fonda Speedway was not near Saratoga. Thanks for any help on this!
     
  7. Here is a photo of Dutch's Cragar that Tom Askew purchased. #37 circa 1940. Disappeared around early 1960's to where?
     
    JOHN EVANS and loudbang like this.
  8. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,409

    The37Kid
    Member

    We all know about the different CRAGAR heads on A & B blocks what was this little one on? Bob
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
    loudbang likes this.
  9. I was told by Norm who drove it , he remembers it being double overhead cam. I just wrote David Guay Norm's brother who lived with Tom and hopefully he can shed some light on it it being single or dual overhead! Norm is 6 years older than his brother. Norm is 80 and David is 74. I wrote the Schaefer family (Dutch's son) and gave info I had but did not receive an answer. Possibly I will contact family after the holiday again to verify things. Been working this mystery for about 6-7 years now. I would think someone in the Guay family would have a surviving photo of the car. I am asking David if he has any also. I just met David last year at the family gathering they had at Christmas. It turns out I worked at the same car dealership as David and his dad Rudy did. After a few minutes talking with David I remembered him and his dad at Helfrich Ford in Schenectady NY in the early 1970's. Rudy was a Technical service advisor there I was a line mechanic and David worked in the body shop. 50 years later we meet up! Now that is a small world indeed!
     
    JOHN EVANS, loudbang and The37Kid like this.
  10. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,849

    Fordors
    Member

    Bob Barker and his Barker engine, only six built, five known to exist. 51DD437D-6910-4940-A4AD-08D7CE9D7CC2.jpeg FC09EB52-753A-41FF-9B82-8BD197D856B8.jpeg D41D7505-4D8D-42AA-A893-6C6797827C05.jpeg 39E3CBFE-CD31-4E64-B8E5-ADDDE5DDE372.jpeg 448FBE0A-BB70-4245-B046-9025497CB67D.jpeg

    Credit to Laurence Deutsch for research into the Barker engine history.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  11. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,409

    The37Kid
    Member

    Thanks Fordors! I never knew that engine existed, Underhead cams like an English Riley. Bob
     
    loudbang likes this.
  12. Lil32
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 2,223

    Lil32
    Member

  13. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,849

    Fordors
    Member

    Scan_0207.jpg

    I thought I had an article on Dale Drake's Harley based midget engine but it is more of a feature of his endeavors with other racing engines too. Here is what was presented about the midget project in the article-
    After the sale of Jadson (Dale's family manufactured engine valves) to Thompson Products (later known as TRW) Dale began work on a two cylinder, opposed engine to compete with the Offenhauser 4 cylinder midget. Sprouts Elders, a motorcycle champion, convinced Dale he should base the design on a Harley-Davidson bottom end. The cylinders, pistons, rods and crank were new and the engine would be water cooled. At 89 cu. in. the Drake engine had more torque and was lighter than the Offy, but it did have less horsepower and 9 less cubic inches. Bill Vukovich won his first midget crown with a Drake powered car.
    With the end of WW II and the completion of their machine work defense contracts Dale's brother Lem decided to retire. Their shop was sold and the patterns for the Drake Midget engine were purchased by Fred Gearhart of Fresno, CA.
     
  14. 63470813463__40E9E055-1FBE-4E88-86FC-36EFAB096EE3.JPG IMG_0951.JPG 63470813463__40E9E055-1FBE-4E88-86FC-36EFAB096EE3.JPG IMG_0951.JPG 63470813463__40E9E055-1FBE-4E88-86FC-36EFAB096EE3.JPG Hi, Searching info on a Midget a friend owns. He purchased it last year and was searching thru photos and the Gasperini Offy #3 driven by Wild Bill Holmes out of New York area is very close to the car we are researching. Gasperini car had an Offy and the one we are searching info on has a Walkashau 4 cylinder in it with a overhead cam. Car is #8 and has Swiss Panel Special on cowl. Car looks to be un molested but you never know. Thought this car was one of Roy Richters creations in the late 1930's. Flathead Tommy posted a photo of the Gasperini car on page152 here. I tried contacting him but no answer! Does anybody have more info on either Wild Bill or the Gasperini Offy? Possibly same person built both cars. Any help would be great. Here is a photo of the Swiss Panel Special. IMG_0951.JPG
     
  15. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,409

    The37Kid
    Member

    Looks nice, overhead cam or overhead valves?

    Bob
     
    loudbang likes this.
  16. Over head valve Cragar. Ambler gearbox. Model A rear end with Model T spring. We verified engine from Wakashau engine Society. Someone thought it might be a George Wight of Bell Auto parts fame house car. Last owner thinks Swede Lindskog, Mel Hansen and Jimmy Wilburn drove the car but checking things out no direct link or photo! Car was purchased from a long storage warehouse on Long Island.
    Last owner purchased car in 1990 from an Estate sale down on the Island. Motor is set up at the moment. Bell Auto parts brakes all around too! Cannot believe no one recognizes this car! That is why I am asking seeing that the Gaspirini Offy body is very close to the Swiss Panel special. Has any one heard from Flathead Tommy here on the HAMB site recently? He might have more info to share. O.K. Any help would be appreciated.
     
    loudbang and The37Kid like this.
  17. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 28,409

    The37Kid
    Member

    Don, I thought the rocker cover looked like a CRAGAR, is this what some people call a JUNIOR CRAGAR? Is it smaller than the Model A &B Ford head? Bob
     
    loudbang likes this.
  18. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 790

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Sorry if I burst a bubble there, but to me the car looks only very superficially like the Gasperini one (which, btw, is supposed to have been built by Frank Curtis on Long Island). The frame, steering gear and bodywork are so different that I doubt it was built by the same person. Many of those cars looked generally 'alike', because then as now, everyone looks around what the other guy is doing, and copies what he likes. To me, it looks very much like a 'generic' late thirties Midget, maybe with an East coast touch, but that is as far as I would go.

    And of course, the last owner thinks it was driven by Lindskog, Hansen, Wilburn or Holmes, but come on! There were literally thousands of Midgets around in those days, and not all can have been driven by superstars. Unless you have really solid information from former owners it's all idle talk, and trying to determine who drove it in period is next to impossible. Going backwards with just a hunch is not how it's done, you need to establish owner lineage and evidence, photographs from the time when it was no longer competing etc. Studying period photos to try and "get lucky" is a fruitless exercise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
    tractorguy likes this.
  19. Hi, I agree. The info supplied to the current owner was sketchy at best. I worked as many angles as best with the info I got and as I said things did not line up. I did discover cowl info Swiss Panel Special refers to a patented wall that as the name implies. There was a company on Long Island that sold these panels at one time and thought the company may have sponsored the car. The current owner was left with the impression it was a West Coast car that migrated East! It took my over 10 years to find the history of my midget #17 v8 60 I purchased in 1985 in West Branch Michigan. By sheer luck I wrote to a newspaper there and it turns out one of the editors brother in law owned the car. I was put in touch with the last owner who described the car to a tee. I was sent a photo of it to verify her history. It was originally owned by Cecil Clees from Detroit and he died behind the wheel of Jake Jacobsen's J3 car in Grand Rapids Michigan speed drome. Well documented. The car was called the Flame Special back then. Even found an article on it in Speedway sports and news by accident. the engine was built by Red Burman of Indy fame. Scars from gernading one night were still evident when I pulled the pan down. I got lucky indeed. The #17 was last seen at Orlops used car lot in the early 1960's then disappeared. The guy I bought it from said it was stored in a barn and a Tornado hit and the car was thrown out and all over. I had to sell it in 1998 under unfortunate circumstances but I had a ball restoring her and displaying and running her for people. I am in this to preserve their history help tell their story what ever it is. She is missing at the moment hidden away somewhere. I have her original seat,seat belts dual magnetos and nose! I enshrine these relics! Yes I am nuts but love my illness! And yes the head is smaller and is considered a Cragar Jr. head on the Swiss Panel special. Any help on the #8 history would be very appreciated to myself and current owner. Thanks again for your expertise and help! Much appreciated.
    '
     
    loudbang likes this.
  20. Here is a couple of shots of the #17 after restoration and after original photo was found of it. 002.jpg 002.jpg
     
    Lil32 and loudbang like this.
  21. This car was missing the nose, hood, cowl and belly pan when I purchased it. Tornado sent them somewhere! This car is missing in action as of now. Cannot find where it went to.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  22. Here is a couple of shots of one of the earliest midgets in New York state. It was built in the Watervliet Arsenal over the winter of 1937. Yes an original one piece at a time car. Was told builder made parts at work and brought them home to build the little racer. It ran Shippy's speedway, Hollywod Speedbowl and Burden Lake Speedway all around the Troy NY area.This car now resides in California in a private collection of Austin America's. 004.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  23. OOPs Try this again. After restoration shot at Altamont Fair with the original driver of this guy.
     

    Attached Files:

    loudbang likes this.
  24. Here is the #17 after restoration. Cannot figure out how to flip the shot in front of house.
     

    Attached Files:

    • 002.jpg
      002.jpg
      File size:
      97.8 KB
      Views:
      52
    loudbang likes this.
  25. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 3,849

    Fordors
    Member

    E8E107E1-74D2-4ED0-89F2-3AE92981BC3F.jpeg

    Good looking car!
     
    tractorguy and loudbang like this.
  26. I just found this thread and it is great. I love the old midgets. I have a Popp SOHC engine that was from a midget and I am trying to find out more about it. Speedway's museum has 2 of them, one of which was previously mine that I have gotten from a family member that raced it on Long Island , I believe int he late 30's and 40's. I recently came across another Popp engine. Is any aware of these and if anyone is running one in a car. When I get a chance I will post some photos.
     
    tractorguy and loudbang like this.
  27. Thanks. She was (is) a beauty! Loved hearing her roar to life at the speedways. It gets into you and never leaves!! Making her handle was another thing. Pappy Hough helped me set her up and throw her into the corners with his advice!
     
    loudbang likes this.
  28. I am chasing a lead for the #8 Yellow midget that believe came from Long Island NY. Being told possibly Milt Marion and or Frank Curtis may be tied to the car. Does anybody have background info on either guy. Milt owned a machine shop on Long Island. Thanks for any help.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  29. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 38,655

    loudbang
    Member

    Hey anybody know Rootie Kazootie he used to contribute a bunch of stuff but he hasn't been on the HAMB since Dec 1 2020 I hope everything is alright with him. Maybe Jim Nice you in contact with him?
     
    Carter and Lil32 like this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.