Engine: Ford Mercury Flathead (Side Valve) 8 Cylinder (V8)
Displacement: 4185 cc (255 cubic inches)
Horsepower: 198 bhp @5000rpm, torque 300 ft-lb at 1800rpm
Induction: 3x Stromberg 97 downdraft carburettor, Navarro intake manifold
Gearbox: Ford, 3 forward gears and reverse, Lincoln Zephyr gear set
Running gear: 1936 Ford, scrap yard sourced, Manning tubular ladder chassis,
Brakes: Drum brakes from same running gear (Ford Lincoln)
Normal tyres: Dunlop Racing L 16 inch
Based: California, USA
Entrant: John Streets
Designer: Chuck Manning, a stress analyst at Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles who became the first Technical Editor of Road & Track magazine, conceived the type and built the first example, a different car to this one. Rob Manson’s Manning Special was constructed by Wally Chapman, from Manning’s plans, in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother’s farmhouse in Schaghticoke NY in 1952. John Streets helped him finish it, raced it thru 1958, rebuilt it from remains of the wrecked original in 1991 and still looked after the car up to 2017.
No.32 in our series of cars in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion – 1947-1955 Sports Racing & GT Cars group
ST402 was the second of the initial three Siata 300BC production cars-an outgrowth of the Orchidea semi-prototype built for Otto Linton and documented at www.speedcraftspecial.com. A run of fifty was ultimately built for homologation in the sports racing category.
The first three were delivered to the new owners by Linton in April 1952, though the invoices were not produced until June. 402 and 403 were bought by Tom Scatchard and Henry Wessels III respectively, and were even seen together in several races.
The car has arguably the most extensive and best documented period history of the model, in magazines, books, still photos and video clips. It finished first in class in the Convair trophy race at Allentown, Pennsylvania followed by another class win at Thompson, and then finishing the last race completed on the original Watkins Glen street course in September 1952. In 1953 it reached its zenith, finishing 20th overall, third in class, and eighth on index at Sebring in March of 1953. Its final period appearance was at Bridgehampton that same year.
402 then was converted for street use, possibly in Europe, and then changed hands a couple of times before coming into Marty Stein’s possession and being returned to its racing configuration. The car then began a vintage racing career which continues to this day, and is now believed to be the only 300BC being actively raced in America, with the longest continuous competition history of any of its sisters, spanning over 30 years. It has participated in the Monterey Historic Races more than 20 times, with finishes in the top ten. It has also run in races such as the Wine Country Classic, where it has finished as high as seventh overall, the Coronado Speed Festival, Buchanan Field, Lime Rock, and a return to the Glen for the Fall vintage festival. After a refresh in 1991 it was invited to represent the model in a display class of Siatas at Pebble Beach.
Awards for the car include the Group 3A award at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Best in Performance and Presentation for its group at the Wine Country Classic, and the first Spirit Award in memory of Martin Swig.
Frank Kurtis decided to build a sports car based on his 1952 500A Fuel Injection Special Indianapolis car. The 500S series sports cars were built at Kurtis’ shops in Glendale California between 1953 and 1955. Some 30 race cars and kits were sold including 12-15 built by Kurtis.
This car was purchased by a Doctor in Fresno, California whose intention was to race it. The engine chosen was a small block 240c.i. V8 Dodge Hemi which, in race trim, with 3 Stromberg 97 carburetors, developed about 250hp. The Kurtis torsion bar suspension is attached to front and rear live axles. The differential is a Hallibrand quick gear change unit. Brakes are Lincoln drum type. Bodywork is aluminum except for fiberglass nose and tail sections. Wheels were 16″ magnesium.
The car was raced at Bakersfield, Reno, Moffett Field and Pebble Beach in 1954. Subsequently, it was road raced in Colorado and New Mexico. It was turned into a hill climb special in 1964 for the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. The Dodge Hemi motor was replaced by the first of a series of ever-larger Chevrolet V8s as the car moved from the sports car to the unlimited category from 1964 through 1969. It was a strong contender but not a winner.
After nearly 35 years of single family ownership, the 1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge returned to road racing in the late 1980s and has been vintage raced on the East Coast since that time. It is presented as it raced at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races.
Charles “Chuck” Tatum was a decorated Marine Corps veteran of Iwo Jima from Stockton, California. He built the Tatum GMC Special in late 1952-early 1953 on a dare from friends Phil Hill, Sammy Weiss and Doug Trotter. Pre and Post War Ford suspension and drum brakes are mounted on a Tatum, designed and built, tube frame chassis. The engine, originally from a truck, is an inline 6 cylinder GMC. For the 1954 and 1955 seasons, Wayne Engineering of Los Angeles, supplied full race 302c.i. versions with its 12-valve cross flow cylinder head. Jack Hagemann of Hayward, Ca. built the all aluminum body.
The Tatum GMC Special was an active road racing participant and occasional winner, throughout California, from 1953 through 1955. During that period it also won the Best Sports Car Trophy at the 1954 Oakland National Roadster Show and was Hot Rod Magazines’s Cover Car for October 1953. The Tatum turned 157 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and co-starred with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in the Hollywood epic JOHNNY DARK. Chuck Tatum raced his Special in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races. The Tatum GMC Special has been an active vintage racing participant since the mid-1980’s and is entered in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the Monterey Reunion 60th Anniversary Laguna Seca Races.
This the third car built by Willis Baldwin of Santa Barbara. It was raced from 1954 thru 1960 by Wm. Hanssen at tracks such as Palm Springs, Hanson Dam, Santa Barbara, and the famed Pebble Beach circuit. It is based on a shortened 1947 Ford chassis and is powered by a Ford Flathead V8 with an Ardun overhead valve conversion. The suspension and running gear is Ford.
Unlike Baldwin’s other Specials, this car has an all aluminum, full fender, envelope style body.
Frank Kurtis, the highly successful Indianapolis car constructor, built four Kurtis 500SX sports racing cars at his Kurtis Kraft facilities in Glendale, California. Each car was unique.
This is chassis number 3 (8 55 SX3) commissioned by Culver City Buick dealer Bill Murphy. Murphy had owned and raced two earlier Kurtis 500S sports cars, but this car was to give him the most success. In two years of competition, the Murphy Kurtis 500SX achieved an astonishing 18 Class victories and 9 Overall wins, in 31 starts against America’s and Europe’s best professional drivers. It competed in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races. Indy winner Sam Hanks provided race support for the big Kurtis until Murphy retired in 1957. Subsequently, the car was raced by several guest drivers including Bill Pollack and Chuck Daigh.
The Murphy Kurtis 500SX retains its original Holborn-Injected Buick Nailhead engine, Jaguar 4-speed transmission and Halibrand differential. The truss-type frame uses solid axles, front and rear, that are sprung by a transverse torsion bar system developed by Kurtis for his Indy car chassis. The full fendered alloy body is substantially original. A true “time capsule” race car, demonstrating the rapid professional evolution of locally-built Specials, during the first five years of sports car racing in California.
The car sat at Murphy’s dealership for 20 years until it was purchased by Rich Siefried. Siefried restored it. In 1980 it won its Class and the Sears Craftsman Trophy at the Monterey Historics and the Pebble Beach Cup at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Hagemann Chrysler Special was built for amateur racer John Barneson by Jack Hagemann of San Leandro, California. Hydroplane and race engine builder George Nauro was chosen to build the powerful Chrysler 300 Hemi motor.
Hagemann developed his metal shaping skills during WWII at the Alameda Naval Air Station. He had already designed and built a number of early 1950s northern California Specials with strikingly beautiful alloy bodies. He used that experience to shape the several easily removable panels that comprise this full fendered, all aluminum body.
The chassis was also designed and built from scratch, using the most advanced speed equipment and components available. Hagemann built a ladder-type frame of steel tubing. Front and rear solid axles are suspended by torsion bars and radius rods and the differential is a Halibrand quick change unit. The car was the first to use disc brakes at the Pebble Beach Road Races.
At the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races, Barneson finished 2nd in Class and 12th Overall, in the Del Monte Trophy race. He then won the next three races and had podium finishes throughout 1956 and 1957. Subsequent owners raced the car continuously into the mid-1960s. In 1965, it won the SCCA Pacific Coast Championship. It’s current owner has been racing the Hagemann Chrysler Special in vintage events, in it’s original 1955 configuration, since 1980. It is participating in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group at the 2017 Monterey Reunion Laguna Seca Raceway 60th Anniversary Races.
The Huffaker-Marston Healey Special was built in Marin County, California, for sports car salesman and enthusiast Mick Marston, by famed race car constructor, Joe Huffaker. It is the first Huffaker built sports racing car.
Marston acquired a wrecked Austin Healey 100 sports car which became the donor of most of the Special’s components. Huffaker designed a tubular chassis, and a de Dion-type rear suspension with inboard rear brakes and torsion bar springing. The original engine was race tuned and for a short period was equipped with a rare, but unreliable, Hunter Twin Cam cylinder head. The body is a light and functional all aluminum design built by Huffaker.
Mick Marston raced his Healey Special from 1954 through 1958 at tracks throughout central and northern California. It was a strong and consistent finisher against the 3 liter Ferraris and Maseratis in the D Modified race group. It competed in the Del Monte Trophy race at the 1956 Pebble Beach Road Races.
The current owner has vintage raced it since 1978 including 17 appearances at the Monterey Historics/Reunion. Huffaker Engineering continues to maintain the car in race condition. The Huffaker-Marston Healey Special continues to be a treasured member of the Pavesi, Marston and Huffaker families.
Ted Cannon, built the Cannon Mk.1 and two other sports racing Specials at his machine shop in North Hollywood, California. It was mostly built from parts accumulated from other projects. The chassis, from his father’s 1934 Dodge, was shortened and the frame rails were boxed for rigidity. The coil spring front suspension and drum brakes came from the same pre-war Dodge. The rear axle, transverse leaf springs and drum brakes are from an early Ford. Cannon used two master cylinders and invented a driver-controlled balance bar to synchronize the front and rear brakes. The engine was a hot-rodded Ford/Mercury Flathead V8. In order to obtain the desirable close ratio gear cluster for the Ford 3-speed transmission, Cannon had to buy a wrecked Lincoln Zephyr sedan ($25). That purchase, however, provided the sheet metal for the Mk.1’s cowl and engine cover as well as it’s trunk lid and rear body work.
The Cannon Mk.1 was finished just in time for the inaugural 1950 Pebble Beach Road Races. In the main Pebble Beach Cup race, Los Angeles fireman Jim Seeley drove it to 3rd place behind Phil Hill’s and Don Parkinson’s lightweight Jaguar XK-120s. Seeley raced the car with considerable success through 1952 at Carrel Speedway, Del Mar/Torrey Pines, the Sandberg Hillclimb and twice more at the Pebble Beach Road Races (1951 and 1952).
After 67 years, the Cannon Mk.1 Special remains with the current generations of the Cannon family and is a marvelous example of the ingenuity and mechanical skills of California sports car racing enthusiasts in the early 1950s.