Here is what I know from the pictures: it was green, with a MotoMeter radiator cap, with wings. It had the front license plate: IT63422. It looks like he had the fenders and sides of the car painted a goldish redish color, with the side curving down through the bonnet and side door. But it looks like the whole part is painted, not just a "spear" like I've seen on others. There might have been some pin striping as part of that painting (as dad used to tell a story of some famous guy, whose name I can't remember, doing the job with a shaky hand that turned to rock the second the brush touched the car). I think it might have louvers on the top of the bonnet.
Finally, at some point he put a 6 cylinder Studebaker engine in it.
I don't know exactly but he probably sold it in the mid 50s, when he bought a new XK120, which he went on to race too. I have no details on that car.
I know it's a long shot. But I figured it's worth a shot.
On this picture, it's harder to make out the green that runs the side of the bonnet and curves down. But it does show the louvers, general paint scheme, and license plate. Anyone know a police officer who might just let us know if that plate is connected to a registered car in California? (Or one in Illinois for my dad's 911 that he sold there in 1976 - I have the VIN on that one).
My dad took it to International Motors, in LA on Sunset Boulevard, where Ken Miles was the head of the service department, and Phil Hill was a young mechanic who tuned the car.
The engine was a '41 Studebaker straight 6 and 3 speed OD transmission. A Ford column shift was cut about 4 inches and located horizontally at the rear of the transmission. The firewall was cut back and the battery moved. The exhaust was two 3-to-1 headers going to dual pipes all the way back (like his later XK120) The heads and carbs were Vic Edelbrock's aluminum. And it had a heavy duty radiator.
The louvers were by "an old guy with a set of dies, named Emil Dietz. Emil had hand-built the beautiful aluminum Eddie “Rochester” Anderson's roadster, but was better known as the body maker for the Meyer-Draker/Offenhause/Deitz Indy cars that dominated the circuit. The car's louvres were hand-stripped by an ex-Packard man when von Dutch was still learning a trade."
Yeah, I know that the extent of these engine changes may make it even more unlikely that it is still out there.
Interesting that Ken Miles may have had contact with this car. Ken went on to be the first one to make a prototype Sunbeam Tiger for Rootes (because Shelby was taking too long). And, dad's last car was actually a Sunbeam Tiger (which I now own). Who knows, maybe this car helped Ken in that project!
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I have also been emailing mechanics in the So Cal and No Cal areas to see if they've seen the car. Of course, no luck so far. But one of them said, "well in 35 years, I've never seen that car. But, I happen to have this one for sale ...." And that car is soooo tempting. But no, I'm holding out for this one. Besides, since I already have a couple fun cars, if I show up with another one, without a hook like it was my dad's car, I think my wife will kill me!
FYI, also learned that the manifold was likely an Offy.
Though here is another TD with Studebaker engine that I found. It is not my dad's.
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