The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.
Here's another water color - "Offy".
Very nice! The details are fantastic....
WOW! those are beautiful, you've got some real skills!
ps Sorry to everybody else for derailing the thread for a couple of pages.
I don't believe I, or anyone else on this thread, feel you "derailed" the thread. This is interesting discussion and the fact that you may have a "diamond in the rough" is a feel good story.
I found it as much fun tracing the history on my vintage midget project as actually doing the restoration.
Life is tough pilgrim, and it's even tougher if you're stupid, John Wayne
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And they wouldn't have a "kick up" in the frame because Watson didn't use them. The kick up is there to make it possible to more easily remove the rear end. I've heard modern Watson owners gripe about what a pain it is to remove the QC rear end from one of his cars because it basically has to be disassembled.
If Rootie is correct and this is the 1961 Barney Christiansen "Watson copy" that Ruby drove in 1962 then the kick up is something that he put on his cars. And the two holes in the gusset do look correct in the photos. But the car has been changed quite a bit if it is the same car.
Obviously the motor plate is different as there is nothing "Offy" about it. And the footbox likely wouldn't have been on the original car either as Barney's drivers sat pretty upright just like Watson's. The footbox might have been added when the lower hoops were removed to make the car sit lower in its supermodified career. That would have made the driver sit closer to the floor with his legs sticking out straight and into the footbox. Many supermodifieds had and (I think) still do have a footbox. On the plus side the brake master cylinder that shows in the photo is the correct part that was used by all of the roadster builders.
And Barney's steering gear would have been mounted so that it came out of the side of the car between the right side frame rail tubes so there should be some evidence of old mounting brackets for it somewhere on the frame. And the square tubes must have been added later because I don't think any of the roadster builders ever used anything but round tube.
It's hard to tell from the photos but it appears that there is a front four link suspension setup on the car in addition to the torsion bars. A Christiansen car would have had a single radius rod on each side and used the front torsion arms as the other part of the geometry that located the front axle. Off the top of my head I can't think of any Kurtis roadsters that used a four link front end either although I could be wrong. And another clue would be to check the bolts that mount the radius rods to the frame. Watson and other roadster builders all seemed to use a threaded tube through the frame uprights that allowed the radius rods to be mounted with just a single bolt. This was in contrast to others that might have just used a plain tube that used a longer bolt that was just pushed through the hole and that used a nut on the inside of the frame to hold everything together.
Having said all of that does nothing to diminish the importance of the gusset/kick up photos that Rootie provided. Both look the same in both the old and new photos. Hopefully, the discussion here will continue and more eagle eyed posters will find even more clues in the photos provided.
It is interesting that you brought up the front radius rods I have scoured the Littleton book for a car that had(2 on each side) front radius rods mounted at the midupright because this chassis has had that at one point in it's life. I couldn't find a one. But if you look closely at the Ruby 1962 photo that Rootie provided, it looks like 2 bars on each side mounted about the midpoint upright. Also helps to swallow the other stuff about the kick ups, the gusset and the headrest forming hoop. None of the photos show those mounting points well but they are there.
it has a lot of supermodified finger prints too.
Another point about Watson chassis not having this kick up is Watsons top and bottom tube were all bent the same and one was turned up and the other turned down to come together at the rear, according to Watson's buddy Eddie Bauie and Steve Trucheon
Another view of Rubys 1962 ride.
Jim Nise: I heard the Ruby 1962 car was the car Troy Ruttman drove at Indy in 1957.
the Watson Years book has Jud in the 1956 winner for 1957.
Turns out, the error in the ID of the 1962 Thompson Industries is tied to historian Bob Laycock. It wasn't a Watson car, but was miss identified as such throughout its existence. As the Hook Lobster, New England Speed Equipment and California Speed and Sport shop.
Denny Moore, Zink's chief mechanic says the car was not present at the speedway in 1962.
Jim Not Jud, but Troy Ruttman-he drove a Watson in 1957.
Who built the Ruby 1962 car if it wasn`t a Watson, I wonder?
I got my eye on a quarter- midget racecar from the 50s.all that there is the body and frame.
This is the car I was told is the Ruby car from 62,but I guess whoever told me was wrong then.
Troy Ruttman-1957 Indy 500.
It is worth mentioning that it looks like Zink had a new Watson chassis in 1956 another new Watson in 57 and at least another new Watson in 1958. The new 58 was the Jimmy Reece car that was not present in 62 and Ruby's for 63. All according to the Littleton roadster book
Reece was in the 1958 Watson for Zink, Elisian in the 1957. Yes ruttman in the 1957 in 1957.
The 1962 car Ruby drove is of unknown origin.
The 1956 winner was run on dirt by Bettenhausen @ Springfield in 1959. It was then converted to a super modified driven by Buddy Cagle. It was re converted to 1956 configuration in 1999 by Moore and Jackie Howerton.
I'm glad you found this thread Dan and I hope some of the pictures here inspire you to paint some of these. Your art just blows me away. I bought a painting of my 32 5W coupe that you did up in St Ignace a few years ago. The car is long gone but your art reminds me of it every day. Thank you for that.
May I ask the source of the "the 1962 car Ruby drove is of unknown origin" statement. I only have the Greg Littleton roadster book which is a more contemporary recap and it has that car attributed to Barney Christianson. and to go farther entered in the 63 and 64 500 by Edgar H Stone ( Belmont Mass.)
Champcarstats calls Rubes 1962 car a Watson. If Christianson modified a Watson,it may have came to be called by his name.
It sure as Heck looks like a Watson to me.
There are two radius rods on the 1962 Christiansen Watson "copy" in the photo. I wasn't aware of that but it does make sense. Maybe if someone altered the frame later they kept the four link layout and just changed the spacing?
BTW, the first Watson copy that Barney Christiansen built (the Hurtubise Travelon Trailer car) appears to have the more conventional single front radius rod layout. This second car apparently had more of Barney's own ideas incorporated into the layout including the rear frame kickups in Rooties 1962 photo. Barney had been around for years by that time and knew what he wanted.
And your description of Watson's upper and lower frame tubes is exactly correct. Watson's cars were always examples of simple but very practical engineering.
Also, is there any evidence on the left side of the frame in the cockpit area where the external oil tank may have been mounted at one time? You can see the spacing on the Ruby photo and those three mounting bolts were typically screwed into 3/4" diameter tube spuds welded onto the frame.
Thanks for the compliments, guys. Here are some more.
Fuel pump, was that the blue coupe w/ the cream scallops, or?
Yes that was the one Dan. That car went from Michigan to Indiana to Wisconsin and is now in Mass.
That was a great looking car!
Dan,I love the art.
Here are a couple of photos That area has some modification and I couldn't find tank mounts but if the paint was gone that might help.
It is interesting that the diagonal behind the midpoint upright has been changed according to the magazine photo Rootie found of the chassis.
Then this supermodified photo might be of interest?
As far as the unknown frame is, I know nothing more! Ask Racer 5c to ask AJ Watson himself who copied his car!
Super Duke Cook drove a chopped up Watson Roadster as a sprinter for a few years, maybe he knows.
I'm done on this topic.
I provided my attributions already.
If you go to Spring Carlisle, I'll be there (in the old grandstand bldg).
What a great talent.
About the only big car show I get to anymore is the Hershey Fall meet.
I suspect that once you get that paint stipped off you'll uncover a multitude of sins and from what I can see, that crate is certainly "not without sin"
Looks to me like the mounting points of the front radius rods are different from side to side, wonder what's up with that? Maybe they were trying to build in some kind of roll steer or something on the front axle... weird.
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