Willis Baldwin's first racing special, the Payne Special, had been a competitive racer and a successful vehicle. So Baldwin decided to design and create a second car, which was dubbed the Baldwin Mercury Special. The car was built using a 1946 Ford chassis that had been shortened by over 13 inches, to 100-inches. The engine bay was modified to accept the engine nearly 23-inches farther back in the bay over the traditional setup. This helped distribute the vehicles weight more evenly. The suspension was the stock Ford setup, with leaf springs in the front and rear.
A Mercury 284 cubic-inch V8 engine was mounted in the vehicles engine bay and mated to a three-speed Ford gearbox with a 3.78:1 rear axle. The engine was given an aluminum cylinder head, aluminum intake manifold, modified camshafts, exhaust headers, and enlarged bore and strokes.
Another Baldwin Special was raced during the mid-1950s. It was called a 'Baldwin' but it had several differences that the prior three Baldwin specials. It did not share the same cycle fenders of body style as its siblings. Instead, it had similar dimensions and designs to the Daigh car, the Troutman-Barnes Special. It was built by Willis Baldwin in Santa Barbara and wore the Baldwin name on the front of the car, just above the grille.
The car wore an all-alloy body and is believed to have been powered by a 'Nailhead' Buick V8 mated to a 3-speed transmission.
The original owner and driver of the car was William H. Hanssen of Santa Barbara, California. It raced at the 1955 Preliminary Palm Springs Race and during the 1956 season, it participated in at least four races.
The history of the car is not known from the early 1960s through the early 1980s. Mr. Hanssen sold the car to Jack McAfee around 1960.
In 2014, the car was brought to the Monterey Historic Races where it was driven by Stu Hanssen, son of the car's original owner.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2015