1936 Riley Champ Car news, pictures, and information
The 1935 Riley-Ford Champ car # 16 was fabricated during 1934-1935 by Pete Romcevich at this racecar shop near Roby Speedway with help from Don Lockwood, now 95 years old, who provided history and photos to the current owner. The car was restored almost 40 years ago with little change from its 1935 configuration.
The original Ford B-block engine with a George Riley four-part over head valve configuration with dual Winfield carburetors remains as the power plant. The Riley four part engine is relatively rare and is the only known example currently used in vintage road racing on the west coast. Special 17 inch Dayton dental rims, a hand brake to operate the rear brakes, no front brakes and manual pressurization for the gas tank are other key features.
The car was raced in sanctioned events by AAA, MRA, CSRA and IMCA over the mid-west and central states during the 1930s-1950s. The primary race tracks included Jungle Park, Roby Speedway, Finley Park, Hammond Speedway. Ft. Wayne Raceway and Indianapolis, all in Indiana. Others were Perkini Raceway and Winchester Park both in Illinois. The Riley-Ford has been vintage raced since 2002 with HMSA and VARA.
Early History of the 1936 Riley - Ford Special
The 1936 Riley-Ford Sprint car was originally fabricated in Pete Romcevich's race car shop at 106th Street and Indianapolis Blvd near Roby Speedway (Roby, Indiana) in early 1930s. Donald Lockwood (now in his early 90s) started the frame welding work on the car in 1933 and once completed was sold to driver/owner Paul Craver in 1935-1936. The car was originally raced by Paul Craver from 1936 to mid-1940s and sold to
Ed Jensen in1946 and continued racing until the mid 1950s.
The sprint car was raced on many dirt and oval tracks in mid-west and southern states during 1930s-50s by Paul Craver, by Ed Jensen and others. Paul Craver raced with AAA, IMCA and CSRA under several pseudonyms - Wally Petillo was one.
Number 16 was restored in 1972-75 by B. Plez Nance and sons John and Bill of San Diego to the original configuration using photos and descriptions from an earlier owner, Steve Hackle. Steve hackle bought the
partially dismantled car in 1966. Plez Nance sold the car to Carl Burnett in 1996 who maintained the car in a
private museum. It was sold to J. Dale and Karen Barry in 1999 who further restored #16 for vintage racing.
The race car has been kept in the condition and configuration as it was initially raced almost 70 years ago.
Much of the history of the race car was from Donald Lockwood. A photograph of this Riley Ford is shown in the book, 'The Illustrated History of Sprint Car Racing, Volume One' by Jack C Fox.
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