Stromberg powered Special

Stromberg powered Specials have been around since the 1930’s, and here’s a real cool example. Graeme Raper’s ‘Monoskate’ Ford V8 special was first raced at Bathurst, Australia back in 1939. It’s got Grand Prix history and it’s still breaking records today.

A typical Australian Special built on Ford Model A chassis rails, the car boasts a split front beam axle with a brass Fiat tractor steering box, a 180 horse flathead V8 with Offenhauser heads, twin Stromberg 97 carburetors, Scintilla Vertex magneto, 3-speed close ratio Ford trans, a locked Ford differential, and early Ford juice brake. The aluminum body is hand formed.

Three iterations

In its first Iteration as “The Ben Tarr Rajo Ford Special”, the car was raced at Bathurst, Mt Panorama at the Easter 1939 meeting. The Second Iteration – as the “Alec Mildren Ford V8 Special” – raced at the NSW Grand Prix, at Bathurst 1946, 1947 and more. And then finally, the car became the “George Reed Special”, built in 1948 and raced successfully at Bathurst and Mt Druitt against the imported European cars of the time – Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Alta, Bugatti and Lago Talbot. Discovered by Mal Reid back in 1977, it was restored and raced successfully as a Historic Racer for over 20 years whilst holding many lap records at various circuits around Australia.

Impressive Competition Record

Its winning record goes back a long way. Hawkesbury Hill Climb May 1949…Foley’s Hill, Record June 1949…Won 50 Mile Handicap Mt Panorama October 1950…Australian Grand Prix Narrogin WA 1951 ( Monoskate led into last lap when the Magneto failed and the “Red Car” won the Race, which is a G Reed Ford Special Sister Car)…Won “Redex 100” at Mt Panorama Easter 1951…Australian Record SS kilometer- 27.26 sec, June 1951…

Stromberg powered !

Only this week (end Nov 2017) “Mona” raced at the Rob Roy Hill Climb, where partly thanks to the hot weather, clean track and Graeme’s driving, she won the Fastest Flathead award and set a new class record, 1.75 seconds in front of the nearest competitor.

Incidentally, Graeme now runs 18 new Genuine 97s on his various cars, flying the flag on road and track for Stromberg’s winning reliability!


Baldwin Special – Stromberg equipped !

Scan21Ok, from one to ten, how cool is this picture? The red ‘sports rod’, the chequered flag, the white racing overalls, the haircuts, the big steering wheel, the female interest. Man, it’s got it all. Looks more like a shot from a 1950’s thrills and spills auto movie. But it’s real – entitled, ‘Dad’s win in 1956’.

Huge thanks to Stu Hanssen, of Santa Ynes, Calif for these great pictures of his Baldwin Special, once owned and raced by his Dad, William M Hanssen. Stu managed to locate the car – for sale – in Connecticut via an internet appeal in old race car circles.

Its original builder Willis Baldwin of Santa Barbara, Calif, built four Specials and William’s was the last, built on a ’48 Merc frame with transverse leaf front spring, coils on the ’52 rear end and the big Stromberg equipped Merc flathead with monster Ardun conversion. Raced by William, it participated in at least four races during the 1956 season, entered as a Baldwin Special. It also saw action in the March 12th, 1955 Preliminary Palm Springs Race, where Hanssen shared the track with Carroll Shelby, Ernie McAfee, Ak Miller, and Chuck Daigh. Naturally, Stu is keen to get the car on the track himself, and we certainly can’t wait to see it back where it belongs. There are a lot of great facts about the other Baldwin specials on Tam’s Old Race Car Site and more pics of this cool car on the Connecticut Classix website.