You see, living in Florida put this blip on McLynas' radar because of the state's long and storied history of Land Speed Record attempts and successes, and this car, with it's streamlined canvas-sheathed body, single seater cockpit and a variety of specialized speed-inducing accoutrements, immediately stood out as a possible record car.
Only a day after the car was pulled out of the mud, it was put on display at the St. Petersburg Festival of Speed where it won the American Classic Spirit Award award, still full of trash, leaves and detritus accumulated over decades of outdoor storage. "There was a huge crowd around it all day much to the dismay of many a polished Ferrari owner," mused McLynas. He followed up by posting the story and photos on a couple of internet forums in an effort to find out more about his unusual find. Replies ranged from hearty cheers of encouragement sprinkled with a few sparse clues uncovering bits of the story behind the car, to naysayers and doubters claiming the improbability of the car's lineage, capabilities, and in one case simply, "not worth the hype." Judging by the rabid and continued responses from enthusiastic members of the online car community, and those who witnessed the car in person at the St. Pete show, the hype is apparently justified.
Just some of the clues that point towards big money backers, and adding some authenticity to the suggestion that this is a true record car, include a lack of exterior lighting of any kind, no rear window, no rearview mirrors, and a lowered chassis that sits just 4-inches from the ground, improbably low for a "street" car from a time when rutty roads were common, so low that the transmission touches the ground when the air is out of the tires. The spark plugs were welded in place in what was presumably an effort to ensure they stay in place during the run, possibly due to high compression or to avoid unthreading themselves at the high speeds and associated vibrations of a sprint across the sand.
The highly modified Pierce-Arrow engine is no off-the-shelf unit either with it's four custom intakes matched to four custom carbs, and an special exhaust manifold that, like the intakes, is ceramic coated inside and out. Each carb has it's own mechanically adjustable linkage.
Can you help a brother out?
Join the conversation and if you have anything to add to the story, let us know. With the power of the internet to solve automotive mysteries of all types we're confident this is just the beginning of what will end up as either a significant find in the annals of early American motor history, or at the very least, one hell of a fascinating ride for everyone involved.
We'd love to see it bought and kept exactly as it sits, a perfectly honest visual description of the state of the era in which it was created. Here's a rendering by Marrs for those wondering what it might look like in it's day or fully restored.
|Artist rendition of intact car.|
(All Photos © James McLynas, used with permission. Illustration by Marrs.
The "Pickers" LSR first surfaced on the AACA and H.A.M.B. forums.)