1926 Pontiac Boat Tail Speedster
There's a reason the hill climb was one of the earliest forms of
motor vehicle racing: Competition doesn't get much simpler. All you
need is a hill (duh), a handful of competitors with cars and
sympathetic local authorities. Race up to the top one by one, then
see who did it the fastest. That's about all there is to it.
For consignment a piece of Pontiac promotional history with a 1926
Pontiac Boat Tail Speedster. Originally a mild mannered 2-door
sedan that was destroyed in a fire (sections of the floor still
show charring from this unfortunate but momentous occasion). It was
then resurrected for the dealer by Utica, New York coachbuilder,
Willoughby, to be built onto a hill climber, where it would be a
promotional for that local Utica Pontiac dealer of McRorie-Sautter.
Willoughby was famous for high end coachbuilding, however this was
a quick and dirty conversion with simple steel over wood from the
dashboard back. This documented car is Pontiac's earliest known
race car. Our consigner and his wife have gone to great extents to
not only bring the car back to its original racing form, but also
document the history of Pontiac racing. Can you say provenance?
With a curb weight of only 1,750 pounds, down 600 pounds from sedan
weight, it's in true racing form, stripped to the basics. Sporting
a nickel plated radiator surround topped with a beautiful "Chief"
radiator cap, (the likes of which you will not see another, on a
race car!), fronting a cowled hood then to the open simple cockpit
and for the back of the car of this era the boat tail design proved
popular although did not do much for actual aerodynamics which
really were an afterthought, if thought of at all, at this time.
Plenty of racing sponsorship is emblazoned on top of the white
paint (its original racing color livery in the 20's) with signage
hand painted from photos of the period, the name of our dealer/
builder McRorie & Sautter, Pontiac letter badges and the rear
"Pontiac Chief of the Sixes" with the chief head profile. On the
back, the ring for a spare is there, sans a rubber surrounding
tire. Other notable modifications that have taken place of original
equipment of the sedan are an open 3-inch exhaust, 21 inch Buffalo
wire wheels which are included with the purchase. Presently the car
sits on a set of correct 20 inch wood spoke wheels. Noted the body
is sheet metal over a wood subframe and the failed wood underneath
the metal was rebuilt by the consignor, his wife and friends using
period correct fasteners then the original metal was painstakingly
refinished per the 1926 photos.
I think more aptly in lieu of interior it should be referred to as
the cockpit. Simple utilitarian black leather covers the dual
bomber styled bench with rounded low backs. A large wood steering
wheel has an attached water temperature gauge, fronts a simple
black dash which is in near perfect restored condition. Lights,
odometer, voltmeter, speedometer, choke and throttle knobs are on
the center panel cluster. Black smooth flooring with the gearshift
lever reaching for the driver is in the center of the wood planked
floor. One only has to look at the shifter knob sitting atop of the
shift lever and wonder why it was not restored to the same
outstanding quality as the rest of the interior....simply put,
Warren Mandeville held the shift knob while racing this car and not
only winning his class but also taking 3rd place in the Free For
All Class. Talk about euphoria for this writer as I gripped the
A 186.5ci Inline 6-cylinder engine (casting number 525151-4, and
serial number P3687) is factory original to this car. A Stromberg
OE1 1-barrel carburetor is feeding this 6 popper. Larger valves
(1.1/2 inch) replace the original 1-3/16 valves. Intake and exhaust
manifolds have also been upgraded to 1928 versions which have the
ports going from 7/8 inch to 1 inch I.D and having the preheater
between the intake and exhaust blocked off. A 3-speed manual
transmission is on back, and a Chevrolet 3.818 ring and pinion now
resides in the axle in place of the original Pontiac 4.18
All buttoned up undercarriage showing some early technology in the
form 3-inch exhaust and leaf springs. In original race trim the car
would have had Gabriel snubbers in lieu of shock absorbers.
Mechanical drum brakes only on the rear wheels make planning a stop
interesting unless you lean heavily on them.
The car starts right up and is an easy drive. It handles well and
is very sound mechanically being constantly maintained since the
full restoration in 2001. A definite thrill ride open to the road
and track where you interact with it much closer than you may
Bring home this AACA Junior Award winner, AACA Senior Award winner,
AACA Grand National winner, AACA Grand National Senior, and an
Amelia award. Say all that fast 3 times!!! Affectionately known as
the "Hill Climber" originally meant to advertise a local
dealership, winning quite a few times, now a piece of researched
history as to Pontiac's involvement in racing. "Win on Sunday, Sell
On Monday" this is a real piece of racing history, and it all works
so you can drive it to your event!
NO TITLE-SOLD ON A BILL OF SALE ONLY
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special
interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale
with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle
barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown,
Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia
on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is
www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914.
Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the
vehicle in person.