1955 Hellegass Sprint Car news, pictures, and information
Allentown, Pennsylvania native Hiram Hillegass, who manufactured race cars from 1919 until his death in 1960, built this 86-inch wheelbase sprint car in 1954-55 for fellow Allentowner Charley Sacks. The engine is a four-cylinder Ford wîth a HAL dual-overhead-cam head. Hal Hosterman began manufacturing OHV conversions for Model T's in the 1920's; twin-cam heads for Model A's and B's came later. This one sports the first set of Hilborn fuel injectors for a HAL, and produces 240 horsepower from 220 cubic-inches.
It would prove to be one of the last Ford conversions to compete successfully against the more expensive Offenhausers. Driven by Len Duncan, the car was a consistent top-five finisher on the eastern sprint-car circuit and entered Victory Lane often enough to secure its Offy-killer reputation.
Sacks sold the car John Secules in 1958, then bought the body and chassis back in 1961. With a Chevy V8 up front and Cotton Farmer behind the wheel, it won the Ted Horn-Bill Schindler Memorial Race at Williams Grove in 1962; and in 1964 it provided Andretti wîth what was probably his first competitive sprint-car ride. While Mario moved on to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 - and four Grand Prix races in 1977 - the Hillegass was still running at major eastern sprint-car venues through 1972.
Current owner Lynn Paxton has restored it to its 1956 specification, as it appeared on back-to-back covers of Speed Age. It is more often on display at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York Springs, Pennsylvania.Source - AACA Museum
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