1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car

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Lot 541
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car

Sold for US$ 17,550 inc. premium
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
This midget class racing car, the "KB Special," # 23, was built in 1946 by Max and Elmer Reichenbach at their shop at 13th and South Komensky Avenue in Chicago. The Reichenbach brothers were noted builders of midgets, hot rods and big cars from about 1938 through the late 1950s, finally ending up as employees of the Reliable Welding & Speed Shop. Their cars were competitive in the rough and tumble world of Chicago midget racing for two decades and are prized today as examples of a long- lost era of the sport.

The KB Special is equipped with a 1937 Ford V8-60 engine, hopped-up for racing. It ran in the Midwest through the early 1960s with the United Auto Racing Association, a midget group organized in Chicago in 1947.

The midgets became popular in the early 1930s as inexpensive but highly competitive racing cars that attracted huge crowds to the Chicago Amphitheatre, Soldier Field and the Chicago Armory. After WW II the resumption of racing led to a "golden era" of the midgets that lasted a brief few years but produced a generation of Indianapolis competitors including Emil Andres, Tony Bettenhausen, Duke Nalon and the like.

Little is known of this car's racing history, but the roll bar tells the historian that it was active after 1959 when such safety items became common. In that period it would have run against such drivers as Bob Tattersall, Danny Kladis and Jigger Sirois. The "C" in the front bumper is probably the initial of the first owner.

The small Ford V-8 was the most popular of the postwar midget engines, being much less expensive than the specially-built Offenhauser. The Fords often ran in their own class, rather than against the faster, more powerful Offy. This example is equipped with special finned cylinder heads, a high- performance magneto, special water pumps and a dual-carburetor intake manifold on which are mounted a pair of Stromberg "81" carburetors, typical of the better-equipped V8-60 competitor.

It is said to have a quick-change gear box while the steering is by Frankland. The front shock absorbers are Hartford-type friction models with Houdaille lever-style hydraulic shocks at the rear. The wheelbase is 72 inches and the wheels are typical midget 12 inch magnesium with 4.50 and 5.00 tires. Like all midgets this one carries no starter and must be pushed to start.

The car appears quite complete, needing only a cosmetic restoration to be able to run with one of the many vintage midget clubs that cover the U.S. today. Compared to the more crude early rail frame midgets and the ubiquitous postwar Kurtis-Krafts, a Reichenbach will always be a conversation piece, a relic of the hard-riding Chicago circuit that produced so many tough competitors, a half-century ago.
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
1946 Reichenbach Brothers 'KB Special' Midget Race Car
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