1946 Ted Horn Enterprises cars
by Michael Ferner
I think I have finally figured out the Horn cars, after going over the available pictures again and again, and evaluating the material that I have. It’s not an easy task, believe me, and there’s still quite some confusion as it appears that he owned up to five different cars at one time, and the whys and whats are not always easy to follow! Remarkably, though, the team cars were involved in very few accidents, so that the continuity is relatively straightforward. Some of this has been hotly discussed in the past, and I will make a few notes as I go along. We’ll start with the car…
#3, driven by Tommy Hinnershitz in 1946
This car was originally built in 1932 by Fred Blauvelt, with Myron Stevens doing the bodywork. It had four longitudinal leaf springs, a Miller 220 engine, and debuted on February 28 at Ascot as the #48 “(Gilmore) Blu-Green” with Wilbur Shaw driving. He won the 2-lap “Helmet Dash”, the very first start for the car, and after experiencing engine trouble in the 62½-mile main event finished second that day, beaten only by Bill Cummings in the 1930 Sparks/Miller. A week later he won a heat and finished 3rd in the 50-mile main at Oakland, following which he took two successive 100-lappers at Ascot – incidentally, it appears that these were the only main event wins the car collected in almost six years!
Three days after its second win, Shaw took the car out to Muroc Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert on March 30 to reportedly take the International Class C Land Speed Record for the flying mile from Kaye Don and Sunbeam, recording 26.229’ (137.252 mph/220.887 kph). Thereafter, it was back to Oakland and Ascot for more Pacific Coast Championship action, and at some point during that summer Sam Palmer took over the driving chores from Shaw, with the car being repainted (black?) and renumbered as the #9 “Gilmore Lion Cub”.
In the fall (October?), Blauvelt sold the car to Earl Haskell, who had a revolving door for drivers – Palmer, Carl Ryder, Stubby Stubblefield, Kelly Petillo, Al Theisen, Bob Carey and Lester Spangler – until he settled on 1929 Pacific Coast Champion Mel Kenealy in May. Initially, the car ran as the #17 “Miller” in 1933, but was #18 when driven by Kenealy, who won a match race against Al Gordon and ‘Poison Lil’ in July, and collected an almost incredible run of main event “podium finishes” – but no wins. At the end of the year, the car was converted to a transverse leaf spring with radius rods in the rear, and ran in 1934 as the #6 “Haskell Miller”, with Shorty Cantlon, Ryder, Kenealy, Rex Mays and Jimmy Miller driving, but like many other owners Haskell semi-retired when Ascot closed temporarily in 1934, and concentrated on his Indy Miller 255 (ex-Hartz) instead.
The car ran only a few times in 1935 as the #48 (possibly also #8) “Haskell Miller” with Floyd Roberts and possibly Louie Tomei driving, but else collected only dust until Ted Horn bought it in 1936, now converted to a two-springer (transverse leaf spring and radius rods now also at the front), but did little else to it except for scratching out the owner’s name (#48 “Miller”), then giving it a new coat of paint the following year, introducing his now famous white-and-maroon colour scheme with gold leaf numerals and signage (#32 “Miller”). Not until 1938 (#2 “Riverside”, and now apparently with an Offenhauser engine) did he actually start to win main events with it, and then only three, but he was definitely becoming a familiar face at tracks around the country, and with his magnificent finishing record managed to carry off the Midwestern AAA Championship that year. He also took the coveted one-mile dirt track qualifying record in March, at 94.389 mph/151.904 kph, beating the old record by a hundredth of a second.
For 1939 he had a new half-mile car built, and used the old Blauvelt only at a couple of National Championship 100-milers, it seems. At this point, opinions of many experts vary, but reports at the time clearly document that he now had two cars at his disposal, and intended to use them that way, and the available pictures confirm it. Quite why he chose this option is a bit more difficult to follow, since the rules at the time made no difference at all between “Championship” and ”Sprint” cars, at least to the best of my knowledge, and many owners used one and the same car for both purposes! My guess would be that the new car had a smaller fuel tank, although pictures don’t bear that out.
Over the years, many historians have related as to how the “Haskell Miller” became Horn’s “Baby”, his half-mile car, but those are definitely wrong – there are enough pictures around to prove that. It appears that the error originally stemmed from Russ Catlin’s Ted Horn biography – another possibility would be that Horn initially called the Blauvelt/Haskell “Baby”, before his “definite Baby” was built!? In any case, the car in question was the #4 “Riverside Tires” in 1939, and the #3 “Ted Horn Engineering” the following year. There is good reason to believe that it lay dormant until it was pressed into action again in late 1945.
It is not exactly clear how Horn assigned the cars in the approximately ten races the team competed in that year, and I’m afraid that will perhaps never be totally clear, as photographic documentation is hard to find due to a dire shortage of film, it seems, and official documents of the CSRA do not appear to have survived. As for 1946, however, study of the microfilmed AAA records will eventually give plentiful data to either support or refute the evidence I have so far, and that is that the Blauvelt was driven mostly, if not exclusively by Hinnershitz that year.
There is good reason to believe that the Blauvelt, or at least the majority of its parts, was used as the basis of the 1947 Horn Champ Car, the one in which Ted was fatally injured the year after. Most of its remains were subsequently scrapped, it seems, but Buster Warke is said to have used parts of it to rebuild the 1946 Walsh Champ Car that he had acquired from Mutt Anderson, and ran to the end of 1951. Afterwards, the car (or, what was left of it) returned to its Sprint Car roots, and was used for a couple of years in NASCAR’s Speedway Division, then ended up in California, the land of its birth. I have yet to detect its final incarnation, but it may well have run in CRA events.
Addendum: Racing historian Joe Heisler from Pennsylvania has aided the research immensely with his input over the last six months! He asserts that the remains of the Horn Champ Car (former Blauvelt) were purchased by an unknown party in Connecticut with a view to racing it in NASCAR’s Speedway Division with driver Dick Eagan, but that the rebuild was never completed and all parts except for the tail section were eventually destroyed in the garage/barn fire mentioned in the chapter about car #5! My records show Dick Eagan from Springdale (CT) entered for the May 10, 1952 Darlington (SC) NASCAR race, the inaugural event for the new Speedway Division, but he apparently did not show up.
It should be pointed out that my earlier remarks about “the car (or, what was left of it) [returning] to its Sprint Car roots (…) in NASCAR’s Speedway Division [and ending] up in California” were merely refering to the Walsh/Anderson/Warke car, which was supposed to have incorporated some parts of the Blauvelt/Haskell/Horn car. It now appears that these “parts” were no more than the engine and possibly the drive train (see Gordon E. White, “Indianapolis Racing Cars of Frank Kurtis”, p7), and Heisler thinks that the engine may be with Al Unser sr. today. The aforementioned tail section of the Horn car is now on display at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing (EMMR) in Pennsylvania.
You believe that was complicated? Wait for the next installment of “Horn Racing Car Histories”…
#4, driven by Walt Ader in 1946
It is quite difficult to know where to start here, as will become obvious in the course of this essay! Perhaps we should begin with the car Bill White had built in the summer of 1931, to supplant the two former Indy Cars he had sold earlier that year, namely the Miller ’91’ (which went to Doug Harrison) and the Duesenberg ’122’ (to Clarence Tarbet). The new car was a fairly conventional four-springer, and its frame was virtually identical to a standard Miller ’91’ frame. In fact, there’s reason to believe it was a ’91’ frame, and more specifically the one from the Kreis/Lockhart car, the 1926 Indy winner, but things are slightly more complicated here.
You see, Frank Lockhart only ever owned two Miller Speedway Cars, and by 1931 there were no less than four cars claiming to be ex-Lockhart (i.e. apart from the earlier dirt track car, which had a somewhat more straightforward lineage), and all four of them had (almost) impeccable credentials! The key to the understanding here is that cars, unlike human beings, can be split up and still live on, and that’s exactly what happened here. In the early years of the depression, with many expensive racing cars becoming obsolescent because of the rule changes, it was not an unusual thing at all to happen, and there are many other examples of that, too.
Without going into intricate details here, it will suffice for the moment to know that the car in question probably had an original Miller frame plus bits and pieces of running gear, and that it was likely from the 1926 Speedway winner. Fitted with one of the new Miller 200 engines, it debuted at Ascot in September as the (blue?) #4 “Miller”, possibly with Chris Vest driving at first, but then with 1930 Pacific Coast Champion Francis Quinn at the wheel, who took a couple of top six finishes and decided to move on. Bill Cummings was entered as its next driver, but contracted a cold instead and was substituted by Ernie Triplett, who got himself a new job by winning three races in a row.
Triplett and the White/Miller became the standard of performance over the next thirteen months, winning countless races and establishing many track records around the Pacific Coast Circuit. The car was “updated” several times, and apart from a couple of new paint schemes (white, then dark blue, also #1 in 1932) and a new engine (Miller 220), it also got a new frame at one point, presumably in June. There is, of course, a point to be made about the car being actually “new”, and a different entity from the earlier one, but in the light of subsequent events there is compelling evidence to reject such a view.
In any event, White had a superficially very similar new car built for Triplett in November of 1932, and the “old” car was sold to Ascot regular Russ Garnant. Sadly, I have not been able to locate any photographs that show the car over the next couple of years, but by 1935 it still looked exactly the same, except for a cross spring with radius rods in the rear. Most intriguingly, it also still had what to me looks like an original Miller ’91’ front axle! Garnant ran the car as #10 “Miller” in 1933, apparently with Carl Ryder and Herb Balmer driving, but does not appear to have raced the car much, if at all during the following year, which deserves an explanation.
One of the most successful car owners of the early years of the AAA Pacific Coast Championship, Garnant appears to have been reluctant to follow the trend to the difficult-to-maintain Miller engines, as perhaps best illustrated by an episode of early 1932, when he was reported to have bought the Quinn/Miller after the fatal road accident to Francis Quinn. Within a few weeks, and without further explanation, that car was reportedly owned by Leslie Quinn, the brother of the deceased, and Garnant ended up buying his old car (the 1930 Vance/Cragar, of which more anon) back from Elmer Jacobs!
When buying the White/Miller now, he kept the Vance/Cragar to run in the events of the new “Class B” Championship for production-derived engines, and when the AAA introduced the 205 cubic inch capacity limit for “Class A” cars in 1934, he ran the Ford-derived machine as his primary car, and apparently even won that year’s Owners Championship with it (which was less extraordinary than it sounds, as most owners of expensive Miller hardware opted to not run at all under the new formula, and the Drivers Championship was won by Rex Mays, driving another Ford).
By 1935, however, the Vance was sold (to Charles Worley), and Harris Insinger drove the White as the #12 “Garnant”, and very successfully, too, until he was killed in a gruesome crash at Oakland in September. I have seen pictures of the car after the accident, and it was very severely damaged, especially the front of the frame. According to quite a number of sources, the car was scrapped, but here’s where the story becomes interesting again (if you’re still with me, that is!). For one thing, the famous “Miller archaeologist” Mark Dees bought a “spare frame” and a collection of other parts from Garnant in the sixties, all of which apparently came with the purchase of the White/Miller. Together with a number of other Miller paraphernalia, these parts were subsequently used to “recreate” the Miller ’91’ that is still being displayed as the 1928 Indy 500 winner at the IMS museum. Spot the irony!
Where does Ted Horn fit in here, you ask? Very good, you’re paying attention and staying focussed! According to historian Jack Fox, Ted bought a car from Russ Garnant in 1939 which had been “built to run the Ascot ‘B’ races with a stock block engine, [but] found itself the recipient of the Miller engine” from the Insinger wreck. Obviously, he’s refering to the Vance/Cragar here, but is he right? Perhaps this info also comes from the Catlin bio, and it may be “marbled” by defective or selective memory, and some sort of “transfer loss”. Anyway, the Vance had a very distinctive chassis, and didn’t look AT ALL like the car Horn bought from Garnant, even considering the five-year gap in its history. There’s also the fact that classic car collector Bruce Johnston ran a “Garnant-Miller”, billed as the “1934 AAA Champ” a decade or two ago in Vintage events, but apart from it not looking like the real thing, either, historian Gordon White has already called the bluff, and the car “a replica” (http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/Racin…ry/message/3634).
So it would appear that the car Horn bought was actually the White/Miller, suitably modified to a cross-spring front end to cover up any damage from the Insinger accident? I can’t be 100 % certain, but the evidence stacks up. You don’t expect to find any and all markings on a frame or body after an accident of such magnitude, and an additional layoff of many years, but to me it looks very much like the White, and the shape is much more evocative of it than of the Vance. Plus, the wheelings and dealings in connection with it make it a plausible story. In the absence of further information, I’ll be sticking to this case history.
The first evidence I can find of the car in Horn’s posession is from 1941, when Tommy Hinnershitz ran it as the (maroon?) #5 “Yates Motors, Inc.”, after which it gets murky again until 1946, although it probably ran as #4 in 1942. Walt Ader appears to have been its only driver in ‘46, and it was then bought by Hinnershitz to run as his #5 “Ward’s Riverside Tires” the following year. Its subsequent racing history is unknown, but it was reportedly owned by car collector and former racing driver Lynn Paxton several years ago.
Addendum: The Los Angeles Times reported on January 5 in 1936, in a preview for what would turn out to be the last ever Sprint Car race at the former Legion Ascot Speedway: “(Floyd) Roberts (…) will defy a jinx when he rides today in the cockpit of Russ Garnant’s Glendale creation. The car is the one in which Harris Insinger met death at Oakland.” So, apparently it wasn’t scrapped after all, just like I was speculating! Roberts won that race, by the way, and so it’s not entirely unimaginable that a photo record of that car exists, which would be the icing of the cake! Russell Garnant apparently ran the car in ARA (American Racing Assoc.) events in California after Ascot closed in 1936, up until 1940 inclusive! The Oakland Tribune reported in August of that year that Russ entered driver “Rajo Jack” in his #5 “Garnant Miller Special” for the 500-mile race at Oakland, September 2 in 1940. That means, Horn can’t have bought the car in ‘39 already (as per Fox), which explains why I couldn’t find any trace of it in the Horn stable before ‘41 – and it also already had the #5 in 1940, which would tie in with Horn’s apparent reluctance to invest in a new coat of paint for a newly purchased car (witness the Blauvelt/Haskell car in 1936)!
Addendum 2: Meanwhile, I have found a grainy picture of the start of the 1936 El Centro race, and it shows the Garnant car to have a cross front spring on the repaired (or replaced) frame, confirming my earlier thoughts. Joe Heisler advises that some parts of the car (drive train, steering and front axle) were used to build Tommy Hinnershitz’s 1948 “Bluebird”, and that the rest of the car was purchased by Emmett Shelley of Carlisle (PA), who fitted a “full” Hal engine to run it in National Championship events as #21 (or #26, #2?) “Shelley” for Bill Gouse and Ottis Stine in 1949. The car was #57 the following year, but appeared only once and failed to qualify. Heisler believes that it was then purchased by Joe Gillow of Duryea (PA), who raced with limited success in URC and ESRA events in the late forties. It is unclear whether the car was actually used in competition after this, and Heisler traces it from there to Tiny Gould and eventually to Lynn Paxton in 1983. However, there is a faint possibilty that the car was owned by Leon Trowbridge in the early fifties, and raced with some success in URC events.
#5, driven by Ted Horn in 1946
For 1939, Ted Horn had a completely new car built by metal man Harry Lewis, for exclusive use in sprint events – the car which was to become famous as Horn’s “Baby”. As already mentioned, this car is very often confused with the Blauvelt/Haskell Miller, but they’re really not that difficult to tell apart if compared side by side. The size, shape and location of a number of features is quite different, and while it could just possibly be argued that “Baby” was the former Haskell car rebuilt, that line of thinking comes crashing down in flames once you see a picture of the latter which is unquestionably from after WW2 – see, e.g. Buzz Rose, “The Eastern Bull Rings”, p31 bottom right, where you can see Dutch Culp’s Cragar in the background, a car that didn’t exist in that form in 1938, while the Blauvelt still looks exactly like it did that year!
With Ted Horn being a wily old racing fox, we can perhaps safely assume that he was taking advantage of the fact that he kept the Blauvelt for the longer distance events, and my earlier suspicion that the new car had a smaller fuel tank is quite likely true, although it’s not easy to spot an immediate advantage from this. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Horn was already thinking about weight distribution, center of gravity and the like, as he is known to have been a pioneer of exotic racing fuels and lightweight construction amongst other things, i.e. he was certainly ahead of his time in many ways!
Be that as it may, the new Horn/Offenhauser was in most other respects fairly conventional, which in the context of the time means cross springing with radius rods front and rear, and ran as #1 “Riverside Tires” in both 1939 and 1940, and then #3 “Riverside” in 1941. It helped set Horn firmly in place as THE superstar of US dirt track racing, a position which was hotly contested by names like Rex Mays, Gus Schrader, Joie Chitwood, Jimmie Wilburn, Emory Collins, Duke Nalon, Bob Sall and Tony Willman before WW2, but ultimately Horn defeated them all (with the possible exception of Schrader, who wisely avoided the confrontation). After the war, Horn was nigh invincible!
The history of this car during the war years, 1942 and ‘45, is not entirely clear, but it seems it ran as #1 both years, and changed from its original white/maroon to a simple maroon coat, and then gradually back to Horn’s house colours during 1946, when it was #5 “Offenhauser”. It was rebodied in 1947 with a more contemporary looking “bull nose”, and was #1 “Horn Offy” (or simply “Offenhauser”) in its final two years under Ted’s heavy right foot. Legendary are its twenty-three wins and one second place finish in 24 overall appearances in 1948, and its twenty-six consecutive main event wins from October 1947 to September 1948. No car and driver EVER dominated top echelon racing in the United States to such an extent before, and even if comparisons like that are difficult, no single driver in any number of cars did since, with the possible exceptions of A. J. Foyt over a much shorter period of time, and Steve Kinser with somewhat less intensity but during a more extensive schedule.
The Horn team mourned the loss of its master for a long time, but eventually returned to racing in the summer of 1949, with “Baby” as a red #18 “Ted Horn Enterprises”, and with Midget star Bill Schindler handling the controls. Tommy Hinnershitz raced it as #1 “T.H.E.” the following year, and into 1951 when it was replaced by a new Hillegass chassis in June. Shortly thereafter, T.H.E. (basically Dick Simonek, Wallace Cornforth and Ted’s widow Gerry) dissolved, and the Hillegass was picked up by Hinnershitz, while the old Horn apparently went to a man named Johnny Bohlander (or Bolander?) – then it gets murky!
Bohlander is said to have put a Cadillac V8 engine into the car, and appears to have raced it in URC events in the Northeast for a few years, but I haven’t been able to find any positive trace of that so far. In fact, there’s evidence that the car ran with a 6-cylinder Ford engine for a number of years before it got the Caddy, some time in the late fifties! By then it was known as the #31 “Ellis-Tompkins”, driven and obviously owned by one Bob Ellis, who unfortunately gets frequently confused with Harry and/or Paul Ellis, two brothers who owned a Dodge Special during the same time (and rather more successfully, it has to be said!). Bob Ellis campaigned “Baby” for a number of years, it seems, always with the Caddy and always without much in the way of success, the only positive sign of his activity in my records being a 14th place in URC points for 1959.
The car was well kept, though, and Ellis rented it out to other drivers such as Mike San Felice or… Mario Andretti, yes! Sometimes racing lore just gets it right, and Mario really had one of his first Sprint Car rides, perhaps the very first, in old “Baby”. That was 1961, and by now the car was the #35 “Fuel Activator”, apparently still owned by Bob Ellis, powered by the same old Cadillac V8 and still running under URC sanction. It was, however, a very unusually looking car by now because it had retained its “flat back” tail section through all those years, yet had been converted to torsion bar rear suspension some time in the fifties. For those interested, its URC “career” can at least partly be followed through photographs, some of them insufficiently captioned, in the book “Tow Money, Vol. I” by Buzz Rose: pp 85 (bottom left), 94 (top left background), 100 (bottom middle), 109 (bottom right), 130 (top left background) and 133 (bottom left).
Apparently, “Baby” was campaigned for seven or eight more years under various owners, and perhaps even in various parts of the USA, until it was purchased in early 1969 by famed racing photographer and Hinnershitz-son-in-law, Bruce Craig. At the time, it was reported that Craig was attempting to restore it, but later on it was claimed that the car had been stored in a barn that had been destroyed by lightning, and that the remains of the car had subsequently been buried in a landfill. This story has been challenged various times, hinting at the possibility that Craig may have confused “Baby” with “Beauty”, the Horn Championship Car and former Blauvelt/Haskell Miller (see above), but that appears rather unlikely given Craig’s expertise and the known fate of that car. Sure enough, a “restored version of Baby” was at some point (in the eighties?) claimed to be part of a well known collection, but today it’s not easy to find confirmation for that, and so everybody believes what he or she wants to believe in this matter…
Addendum: Joe Heisler has helped tremendously with his input to clear the fate of “Baby”, a term he himself believes to have been the invention of Russ Catlin. It now seems clear that Bohlander fitted the six-cylinder Ford engine to the car, to run it as #88 in URC and/or ESRA events during late 1951, driven by Jiggs Peters. Likely, the car was then purchased by Edwin Darnell to compete as #52 in NASCAR’s Speedway Division in 1952, still driven by Peters. Around 1957, it was apparently owned and driven (amongst others) by Bob Ellis, and ran as #31 in URC, still with the Ford engine, which was apparently replaced with the Cadillac V8 in 1959 only. By that time, a man named Tompkins seems to have (co-)owned the car, and in 1961 it may have been owned by Johnny Logan. One Harold Smith from New Jersey (not to be confused with the better known Hal Smith from Ohio!) then apparently owned and drove the car as a metallic blue #62 in 1962, finishing 23rd in URC points that year. Following that, the car was apparently purchased by Craig, and it seems that the restored version of it in the McConnell collection in Ohio today is, in fact, the “real deal”!
not used in 1946 (1)
This car was apparently built by Gus Schrader in 1932, and debuted shortly after his one and only Indy 500 start. It had parallel leaf springs at the front, a cross spring with radius rods in the rear, and a Miller 220 four-cylinder engine. It also had a number of very distinctive bodywork features which make it particularly easy to track through the photographic record of the period before WW2. Well, sort of easy anyway!
Schrader ran it initially in AAA events, winning a 20-miler at Bloomsburg (PA) on July 9, and then qualifying second for a 50-miler at Langhorne in August. He didn’t start the feature, however, due to an injury sustained while running the fast heat, and Mauri Rose took over the car, winning the main event in record time. Later that month, Gus joined the IMCA circuit at the Iowa State Fair, and except for a brief return to AAA in late 1933 (winning a 20-miler at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta) he remained an “outlaw” for the rest of his life.
As an aside, though Schrader’s stature in racing history is perhaps a bit tainted by his running “show biz” events for much of his later career, these and other results in AAA and “open comp” events show that he was a very strong competitor in level playing fields also. It should, however, be remembered that he was pushing almost 40 years by then, and obviously felt that he would not much longer be able to resist the challenge of such formidable (and much younger) opposition such as Bill Cummings, Wilbur Shaw, Bob Carey or Ernie Triplett, for example. In fact, judging by his results in straight competition alone, he can hardly be considered as one of the best US drivers of his time, and it would even be difficult to argue the case for his inclusion in, say, the top ten drivers for any given year! Yet, the IMCA promotional engine was a powerful weapon, and today Gus Schrader is remembered as the racing icon that he was, thanks to the Sloan organisation, showing that he made the right decision in the first place!
Apparently, Gus ran the car as a red #5 “Miller” through 1935, and then as the #5 “Montgomery Ward” in 1936. He was the undefeated IMCA “World’s Dirt Track Auto Race Champion” four years in a row before selling the car at the end of 1936, and continued on for four more titles of the same with the car he built in 1937 at Curly Wetteroth’s shop in California. It has been stated that he won more than a hundred main events with his 1932 car, and that may well be true since the IMCA usually staged between fifty and one hundred events a year, and Schrader had hardly any competition at all in these “shows”, apart from five or six “major events” when the several seperate “circuits” of IMCA promoters met each year. By 1936, however, Schrader’s big rival Emory Collins had a 318 cubic inch Offy, and Gus had to have something beefier to retain his crown.
The man who bought the car was none other than Bob Sall, the 1933 AAA Eastern Circuit Champion, who sought to rejuvenate his career – this was Bob’s first regular ride in a Miller-powered car, and he celebrated the fact by winning no less than eleven races in 1937 alone, finishing second to Frankie Beeder in Eastern Circuit points, and apparently winning the somewhat obscure AAA Southern Circuit Championship for a third time. The car was the #4 “Miller” early in the year, and then later the #4 “Lion Oil”. In 1938, it was the blue #2 “Lion Oil” (sometimes also #12 or #10) and Sall continued winning, until he was injured on July 25 in a Midget race on Long Island. While recuperating, the car was driven by Frankie Bailey, Billy Winn (who crashed fatally with it at Springfield on August 20), Floyd Davis, Jack Moon and, apparently, Tommy Hinnershitz.
In 1939, Sall was back behind the wheel of his #5 “Miller”, and the car was also driven by Walt Brown, Len Duncan and Buster Warke before its owner decided to defect to IMCA competition late in the year, managing to finish fourth in points despite a limited schedule. Before returning to the AAA fold in 1940, he appears to have sold the car to Ted Horn, but I haven’t been able to determine whether the car was used at all during that year, as Sall himself drove a number of different cars for other owners, and I cannot find any evidence of Horn running a multi-car team yet. Be that as it may, by 1941 the car was back in circulation, as the maroon #7 “Ted Horn Racing Team” (nicknamed “Old Scurvy”), sporting a transverse front spring with radius rods and probably an Offenhauser engine, and with Sall back in the driving seat!
For the short 1942 season, Dave Randolph drove the #6 “Horn Racing” (though it only said “Old Scurvy” on the car itself!), and after the war the car apparently sat idle in Horn’s shop until it was bought by George “Dutch” Culp in late 1946. It is quite possible that Tommy Mattson and/or Hank Rodgers drove the car for Culp during the latter part of the 1946 season already, however it can only be stated safely that Mattson drove it as a cream and maroon #3 in 1947, finishing a superb second in AAA Eastern points, ahead of Hinnershitz, Hank Rogers, Mark Light, Joie Chitwood, Bill Holland, Walt Brown, Lee Wallard etc. – not bad for a 15-year-old car, with an unheralded driver!
For 1948, Culp had the car rebuilt with a new streamlined body, completely changing the appearance of the car for the first time in its existence. Mattson drove the car again, as the blue and white #2 “Culp Offy”, until mid-season when his own car was ready for him to use, with Buster Warke taking over the Culp entry, now in yellow and black. Warke continued to drive the car, as #14 and still yellow and black, in 1949, and perhaps into the 1950 season until a new Hillegass was ready. Culp kept the engine for the new car, and sold the rolling chassis to a man named Carl Meyers in Texas, who ran it for about eight years with an Oldsmobile V8 engine, mainly as #98 in IMCA events it seems, drivers including one Jud Larson.
Two more owners ran the car for two years each, Earl Kuba and Tom van Swearinger (or Vanswearinger), both from Colorado, but the glory days were certainly over for the old warhorse. It was reputedly acquired by racing car builder Don Edmunds (Autoresearch), and put into storage at his California facilities for 17 years (!), before Marlin and Sally Heller of Dover (PA) bought it via Jim Etters in 1980 to start restoration with the help of Buster Warke. Thankfully, the car was only restored to its 1948 specification, i.e. with the streamlined body, as anything else would have to be seen as a recreation, rather than restoration, considering the changes made to the car. However, the new owners chose to paint the car in the yellow and black livery it acquired later that year, not its original blue and white, presumably on the basis of it being more attractive that way. It was displayed at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York Springs (PA), for a time at least, until it was bought by Paul Weisel of Weisel Racing Equipment, Inc. in 2008, who is said to display it in the showroom of the Eastern Auto Racing Historical Society in Orefield (PA).
Addendum: Joe Heisler advises that the car was converted to a cross spring at the front after the fatal Billy Winn accident. He also has info that shows that Hank Rogers and Bill Holland competed in the car during the 1947 season.
not used in 1946 (2)
Sadly, the history of this car is far from clear to me. It was apparently built in 1934 by Ralph Morgan and metal man Floyd Dreyer in Indianapolis (IN), and ran as a golden #34 “Tydol” initially with a Frontenac engine, driven mostly by Harry McQuinn, and apparently in Midwestern AAA events. For the following year, Morgan acquired a Miller Marine engine with a Brisko block, similar to the engine that won the 1934 Indy 500, and named the car the #34 “Morgan-Miller”, with Red Campbell driving most of the time in “outlaw” events in the Midwest.
Campbell and the golden Morgan/Miller were very successful at that, and when the Central States Racing Association was formed in the fall of 1935 with a view to provide a new “home” for the independent racers of the area, they were considered favourites in the one-off race to decide the first CSRA Championship at Dayton Speedway in Ohio. Campbell duly took the track record in qualifying, becoming the first driver to lap the five-eights-of-a-mile track in under 30 seconds, but could only finish third in the final. At the same track in early 1936, and still driving the golden #34 “Morgan-Miller”, Campbell crashed spectacularly during the closing stages of the main event, but that would prove to be only a hiccough in a successful run to capture the CSRA title, posting at least eight feature wins.
The team did also take in a few IMCA events that year, and in October tried to file an entry for the final AAA Midwestern Circuit race at Roby Speedway in Hammond (IN). They duly applied for a AAA member card and posted a $300 “bond” to cover the obligatory fine for running “outlaw”, but according to newspaper reports, they were denied registration by a protest of fellow drivers, who felt that Campbell and Morgan only wanted to have a bite at the extra juicy purse for that one race, without committing to a full schedule. In the end, the race was cancelled because of rain, and whatever their true intentions, Campbell and Morgan returned to CSRA action in 1937.
Now sporting a big red (?) #1 on the still golden car, Campbell and the Morgan/Miller dominated the early season races, finishing 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 1st again before arriving at Winchester Speedway in Indiana for the fifth CSRA round of the year. There, Campbell failed to heed the red flag when the start of a heat race was aborted, ran over the wheel of a fellow competitor and flipped, suffering fatal injuries. Serving as a mechanic on the car that day, young Joie Chitwood was promoted to its driver, and recorded two wins en route to runner-up position in the CSRA Championship!
Chitwood and Morgan didn’t gel, however, and a very young Iggy Katona is said to have replaced him in early 1938, but before long Jimmie Wilburn was drafted into the seat of the Morgan/Miller, beginning a long and fruitful association with the owner by taking the 1938 CSRA Championship, the second for the car in three years. For the following year, Morgan had a new car built for Wilburn, and sold the 1934 one – and from now on it gets really murky!
At some point, Joie Chitwood purchased the car, and appears to have run it with a Hal engine in 1940, still painted in its traditional gold and called the “Golden Hal DO”. Chitwood also drove a number of other cars during that year, but in September he won the Syracuse sprint event reportedly in the former “Campbell Miller”, but now with a Miller 255 engine. In early 1941, he and Rex Records drove the car, apparently still carrying #34, before selling it to Ted Horn in May. Horn appears to have run it with Records still driving during the rest of the year, and the early part of 1942, then the track runs finally cold. Any and all information about the subsequent history of this particular car would be greatly appreciated by this poster!
Addendum: Again, Joe Heisler came to the rescue on this one, stating that it was purchased by Tony Deubel in the late forties. It still ran as a golden #34 in 1949, drivers including Mike Magill and Mike San Felice. Intriguingly, the car was apparently raffled off later that year to raise money for injured drivers, and Heisler believes it to have gone to “a couple from Massachusetts”, thence to Billy Earl in the mid fifties. This is an interesting lead, and I will try to follow up on this later.
Last updated by Michael Ferner on 22 Jul 2010.
All text is copyright Michael Ferner 2010 - 2019.