New Archive Material — Engineers Handbook

This week a small package arrived unexpectedly in our mailbox. On opening the expertly wrapped parcel we were pleased to find an interesting donation from a new ‘Friend’ of Auto-Archives in Rochester  NY.

The third edition of the ‘Lumen Bearing Company of Buffalo NY, Engineers Handbook was published in 1942. A leather-bound,compact 8×4 inches in size, it’s 158 pages are packed with the most amazing and interesting facts and explanations. Babbititng, Peening,  Treating, understanding and working with metals and alloys used in the production of automotive bearings is a fascinating subject.


FOUND IN THE ARCHIVE – When Mario met Sally

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum kicked off the month of May this week by officially opening the Mario Andretti tribute exhibition. The Museum is honoring the 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his illustrious racing career with the exhibit, “Mario Andretti: ICON” that opened on the 1st of May. Andretti is still the only driver in history to have won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and the Formula 1 World Championship…. at the moment anyway! “Look out Mario, Fernando is right behind you!”

We were putting together a story that involved Mario for a client and came across this great picture of a young looking Mario with a very glamorous looking young British model by the name of Sally Stokes. At the time, Sally was the girlfriend of Formula 1 World Champion Jimmy Clark and would go on to meet and marry Dutch race driver Ed Swart. The photo was taken sometime shortly after June 5th 1965 in Wabash, Indiana, where, in company with Mario Andretti, Indy’s Rookie of the Year, Sally helped Jim and Mario select sharp new outfits from Dick Miller, of “Dick’s Menswear.”

And just a few weeks ago Mario met Sally again at the RRDC dinner in Long Beach. There for the ‘Evening with David Hobbs’ celebration that took place during the Long Beach GP weekend, Sally took the opportunity to tell Mario about the book that is being written about her husband Ed. President of the publishing company Coterie Press who are publishing the book, William Taylor, was there to work on final details of the book with Ed and Sally.

MUSTANG MONTH – The Celebrations continue

Gary Riley of Level One Restorations tells us about this very special ‘Boss 302’

…..and how the stunning, all original, 16,000-mile and highly collectible 1970 Boss 302 we have on display at Hagerty in Golden this month still has the original wheels and tires that it came from the dealer with! A true ‘Timecapsule’.

The car which is maintained by Gary Riley at Level One Restoration in Denver, is kindly on loan from owner and collector Wayne Schmeeckle.

MUSTANG MONTH – Celebrating the Boss 302

Mustang Month starts here!

This week Auto-Archives are celebrating  ‘Mustang Month’ and more… specifically the 50th Anniversary of the Iconic Boss 302.

The Ford Mustang Boss 302 was the high-performance variant of the Ford Mustang announced by Ford 50 years ago in 1969. Designed to rival the Chevrolet Camaro Z28, it was produced alongside its more powerful sibling the Boss 429 in both 1969 and 1970. Like the Z28, the Boss 302 was built as a Trans Am road-racing qualifier, and at its heart was the Ford 302 cubic-inch V8, treated to the high-performance, big-port cylinder heads being readied for the famous Cleveland 351. The solid-lifter small-block V8 in the ‘Boss’ used the biggest carb employed by Ford, a Holley four-barrel, and was officially ‘underrated’ at the same 290bhp as the Z28’s 302 motor. A Hurst-shifted four speed manual transmission was standard; 3.91:1 and Detroit Locker 4.30:1 cogs were optional. Underneath were racing-inspired suspension modifications, including larger sway bars, heavier duty spindles, reinforced shock towers and power front discs.

The Boss 302 Mustang was designed by Larry Shinoda, a former GM employee. The car featured a reflective ‘c-stripe’. The fake air scoops in the rear quarter panel fenders of the regular production 1969 Mustangs were eliminated on the Boss 302 models. A black horizontal rear window shade and a blackout hood were both options. It was one of the first production models with a front spoiler and rear deck wing. The name ‘Boss’ came about when Shinoda was asked what project he was working on, he answered “the boss’s car” because the project was a secret.  Shinoda eventually named the car the “Boss” as an homage to the new President of Ford, Semon ‘Bunkie’ Knudson, who had brought Shinoda over from GM’s Chevrolet Division after Knudson had left.

Changes to the 1969 model were kept at a minimum for the 1970 ‘Boss 302’. The 1970 version came with a scooped fender cap. This was perhaps the most visible change. Ford also added new vertical side markers along with the 1970 grille which replaced the four headlights with two vents in the outside position while retaining dual headlights within the grille opening. The dual exhaust system was redesigned and the standard wheels were upgraded to 500 Chrome Magnum wheels, whilst the Pony emblem was relocated to the center of the grille. The 1970 Boss 302 also had new unique black side stripes which started across the top of the hood. The headlights were moved to conform with the grille, and reduced to two rather than four. Functionally, the dual exhaust system was redesigned as well as the competition suspension and the 1970 model 302 now came with a Hurst shifter. The intake valves were smaller and the chrome was replaced with aluminium.

Although Ford’s ‘Drag Pack’ option with a special oil cooler was never formally offered on the Boss 302, it was often included with the 4.30:1 rear axle ratio option. This coveted option is easily recognizable when the hood is opened to reveal Ford’s vertically mounted oil cooler in front of the radiator. Ford also had an option for Boss 302’s and 429’s for deluxe interior rather than standard interior. The stunning, all original, 16,000-mile and highly collectible ‘Medium Blue’ (There She Blue) Boss 302 we have on display at Hagerty in Golden this month has both the highly desirable ‘Drag Pack’ and rear end options as well as the deluxe interior. The car which is maintained by Gary Riley at Level One Restoration in Denver, is kindly on loan from owner and collector Wayne Schmeeckle.

MODEL OF THE MONTH – 1974 McLaren M16 Indycar

Auto-Archives recently received the first group of models from the Steven Williams collection that will form part of a significant donation to the archive.

Steven Williams has been building and collecting model cars and airplanes for many years now and his collection is one of the most impressive we have come across in quite a while. We are honored that over the next year Steven will be donating most of his collection to Auto-Archives and entrusting us with a group of models that really does tell ‘The History of the Automobile’ in all its forms. There are some truly wonderful models in his collection and, after discussion on just where to begin, Steven made the decision to start with some of his Indy 500 models.

The first batch of 25 models that are now on display at the Hagerty offices in Golden, CO., included this highly distinctive Carousel 1:18 scale model of the Carling Black Label #73 McLaren M16C/D driven by David Hobbs in the 1974 Indy 500. Hobbs started the race in ninth position and although he never led a lap, ran consistently in the top ten and held on to finish fifth, his best result in his four Indy 500 starts.

Steven’s Indy models that include the winner of the very first ‘500’, the Marmon Wasp driven by Ray Harroun in 1911, are on display on the Indy themed 3rd floor offices of Hagerty in Golden.

New Archive Material — Car Advertisement

One of our volunteers Nick Novack was scanning some material at the weekend and came across this 1960 advertisement for the ‘Glide Control’ system, which was I presume the forerunner of what we now ‘Cruise Control’. I guess nothing is really new!!!

I do love the line that says “Install it yourself in minutes. ” I wonder, did it really work?

Found in the Archive — Lola Works Slough

Working on some research for a publisher we came across this really interesting press shot of mechanics working on a Lola T70 Coupe at the Lola works in Slough, England. I say ‘Press Shot’ as I question if there really would have been seven mechanics working on a car at one time! I think this photo was taken around April of 1967 but can’t be sure. If anyone can help with and information on when this might have been taken, the car, or who any of the people in the image are, please do email us. It would be nice to put some names to the faces!

Found in the Archive — Scarab Transporter

We came across this very interesting image hidden in our archives. It shows the Scarab race team transporter parked outside the Lotus factory in Cheshunt Hertfordshire. We think the photo was taken in mid 1960 but can’t be sure exactly when. The 1959 Fiat truck based Bartoletti transporter was commissioned by Lance Reventlow to ferry his Scarab racecars (first American Formula 1 cars built) around Europe during the 1960 and 1961 seasons and was briefly used by Team Lotus before later passing to the Alan Mann Racing team.

The Scarabs didn’t have a particularly good season in 1960, and when the engine formula rules changed to 1.5-litres in 1961 they had nowhere to race. The best result for the Scarab F1 team in 1961 was at the International Trophy race held at Silverstone in May. Usually run for Formula 1 cars, in 1961 the race was open to cars running in the newly devised, but short-lived Inter-Continental series. The #17 Scarab was driven by Chuck Daigh to seventh place. (image copyright Peter Darley).


CAR OF THE MONTH – 1957 Byers SR100

With a little of Italian design houses Bertone, Farina, Vignale, and even Touring in this car, it may come as a surprise to learn that the design and execution of the Byers SR-100 is all-American, and in fiberglass. By late 1955 Jim Byers of El Segundo, California had considerable experience in working with the new “wonder-material,” fiberglass, and accordingly, when he decided to go into limited production of a sports car body, he felt that only this material could offer the selling price which most of his po- tential market could afford. Many consider that his Italian-inspired Byers SR-100 that actually looks like it was influenced by the BMW 507 represents one of the finest designed American sports car bodies of the 1950s.

The Byers SR-100 body was designed to fit a wheelbase of 100 inches and a track width of 56 inches and was intended primarily for the special builder who wanted to use easily affordable American passenger car components. Obviously, the answer to building an inexpensive sports car was to use a domestic engine and chassis, but other benefits of this route besides low cost were easily accessible parts, near overwhelming performance, and handling characteristics that could match or exceed those of most European sports cars.

The often difficult problem of finding a windshield for a ‘Special’ build was solved by designing the body cowl to receive a 1955 Corvette windshield assembly. This gave a high-quality finished touch which many “specials” of the day often lacked, and was surprisingly inexpensive.

Geordie Prodis has owned the Byers SR-100 on display at Hagerty in Golden this month for over 20 years. This very original car retains its historic 365 cubic-inch Cadillac V8 (now fitted with a single 4-barrel Edelbrock carb), 1954 GM Chevy 4-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission and all the running gear that it was originally built with back in ‘57. The car was built in 1957 using a modified 1940 pre-war Ford chassis. This extremely ridged tubular frame may not have been the most sophisticated platform but it fitted the SR-100 body dimensions perfectly. Unusally this car was fitted from new with a Ford Tunderbird windshield. The front end sports a solid beam axle and leaf spring which can be seen through the wide grill opening at the front of the car.

The front end has been rebuilt, as well as the trans- mission, steering box and column, and the original exhaust has been replaced with tuned headers run- ning out through side pipes just behind the doors, which have been bolted shut. The rear end of this particular SR-100 was built around a 1950 3/4-ton Pontiac truck, but cars built by other customers had a wide range of differing rear end specifications.

When it was restored in 2007 the Prodis Byers received some mild upgrades to improve driver feedback and safety. The fiberglass body which some people think looks similar to the British designed AC Ace and its cousin the Shelby Cobra, appears to even share some curves with the Italian built Siata 208. The surface finish and integral strength of a body coming out of the Byers shop back in the mid-50s was outstanding by any stan- dards and has stood the test of time well. The body required very little major preparation prior to paint- ing for it’s 21st century restoration. The white paint with blue racing stripes chosen by Prodis gives a nod to Cunningham, and a small air dam up front is the only modification to the stock body shape.

Back in 1957 all this added up to a very smart yet practical sports car body, which started as low as $395 according to the ultra rare 8×6-inch, 4-page two-colour Fiber-Craft brochure that was produced for 1957. The brochure and envelope, showed the name of the company as “Fiber-Craft” and the pro- prietor as as J. E. Byers of 118 Sheldon Street, El Segundo California. This is the first address Jim Byers worked and lived at. Within a year, he would expand to a second location about a block away at 607 E. El Segundo Blvd, El Segundo, California.