1935 Dreyer Ford Sprint Car

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Lot 1039
1935 Dreyer Ford Sprint Car

US$ 80,000 - 100,000
£ 61,000 - 76,000
Amended
1935 Dreyer Ford Sprint Car
Racing in the Twenties and Thirties depended upon a network of talented mechanics, fabricators and drivers who created high performance racing cars of almost unimaginable diversity and creativity. Among them Floyd H. “Pop” Dreyer stands out.

A champion and record-setting motorcycle racer, Dreyer’s mechanical skills and sympathies were developed early but by 1923 accidents forced his retirement from competition. Fortunately for American racing history he would become even more successful and famous for his design, tuning and fabrication skills than for his fleeting career as a champion motorcyclist.

Following the end of this motorcycle racing career Dreyer moved to Indianapolis where he worked with Herman Rigling at Duesenberg. He later moved to Stutz where he worked with Myron Stevens on Frank Lockhart’s Land Speed Record car. Learning from these and other legendary mechanics and fabricators, Dreyer discovered he had valuable skills as a fabricator and welder which were much in demand among the many Indiana race car shops and independent teams. He developed particular skill as an aluminum fabricator and in the winter of 1928 built his first complete race car body for Jack Gallivan. It was of such quality that others gravitated to Dreyer’s shop – a shed outside his home – and kept him busy for the next several years.

The growth of his business was helped by the advent of the stock engine-based “junk formula” announced by the AAA in mid-1929 for the 1930 season. This opened the door for many drivers to create their own cars, often with manufacturers’ open or tacit support, and Dreyer’s shop was kept busy into the early Thirties building bodies and other components for them. His work was known for the fine quality of metal shaping, particularly the tail sections which employed a novel but very effective technique for shaping and joining the aluminum sections.

In 1930 Dreyer began development of a twin cam head for the 4-cylinder Ford Model A block, a project which he approached with care and attention to detail. He hired Everett DeLong to do the detail engineering and took the time to find the very best foundries and machine shops to produce a high quality engine that would rival in its performance the jewel-like products of Harry Miller and Augie Duesenberg. Design, pattern-making and development were delayed by the shop’s workload, which turned out to be serendipitous as in 1932 Ford introduced a vastly improved 4-cylinder engine, the Model B, and Dreyer quickly adopted its much stronger block as the basis for his four. It was, of course, a dual overhead camshaft design using an adjustable 15-gear train for the cam drives. Using Winfield sidedraft carburetors Dreyer’s 200 cubic inch four proved to be both powerful and durable, and it was built with all the skill, precision, detail and quality finishes which distinguish the best American oval track builders.

The Dreyer-Ford Sprint Car offered here is believed – by the Dreyer family – to be the first of a series that ultimately numbered ten cars built by Pop Dreyer in the Thirties and is the only one which has this car’s distinctive Miller-style nose. It is powered by one of the original Dreyer-Ford Model B-based dual overhead camshaft engines, fitted with a pair of Winfield carburetors, and uses a Ford 3-speed transmission. The chassis is conventional Thirties sprint car construction with transverse leaf springs and live axles and it has rear wheel mechanical brakes. It is believed that this car was campaigned by Pop Dreyer himself with Duke Nalon driving and further that this is the car which Nalon used to set the half-mile dirt record at Springfield in 1938, turning a lap in 24.5 seconds.

Finished in White with Maroon accents, Dark Red wire wheels and a Black interior, it has a beautiful, tape-wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel and chromed outside exhaust. It is a push-start machine, but does have a battery and electric fuel pump.

Its importance in Ford racing’s history is underlined by its participation in Ford’s celebration of the One-Hundredth Anniversary of Ford Racing at Dearborn several years ago.

Since acquisition by the present owner it has been raced at California Speedway, Michigan Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile and has a current CSRG road-racing logbook. It was shown once, at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance, where it took third in its class, an accomplishment of some note for a car that regularly participates in historic races. It has, however never been on dirt since its restoration some years ago and is maintained in very strong cosmetic and mechanical condition.

Footnotes

  • Sprint cars were important to Thirties racers. Not only did they earn starting and prize money on evenings when the big speedway cars didn’t run but they also accumulated valuable season points. The ability to run in different races on as many weekends as possible also is valuable to today’s historic racers, and in addition to its oval track appearances this Dreyer-Ford Sprint Car has been accepted for this weekend’s Monterey Historic Races. It is an important survivor from the rough-and-tumble of Thirties racing, powered by a jewel of an engine, built by one of the best known and most respected constructors and presented in very high quality cosmetic and mechanical condition.

Saleroom notices

  • Lot 1039: Please note that the 1935 Dreyer Ford Sprint Car does not have a battery or electric pump as indicated in the catalogue.
1935 Dreyer Ford Sprint Car
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