Steve Schuler: 1955 Hagemann Chrysler Special

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.