CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.  

Who likes mystery cars? Trick question, because everybody, everywhere, forever does. And we have one here today! A reader named Lucas found an old picture of a distant relative who seems to have had some sort of racing career. He at least had a racing car, and Lucas wants to know exactly what it was. Let’s see if we can help.

Here’s a closer look at the car in question, in a picture from the Wisconsin Historical Society:

That’s a racing car, all right, and I think it’s likely from the mid 1920s or so. As far as what it is, I think I have an idea, but I’d really like more input to either confirm what I’m thinking, or to let me know how wrong and stupid I am.

Here’s what I think: I think this is some sort of Ford Model T-based race car. These were not uncommon in the era, and I think it’s the case because of a few key parts:

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There’s that front axle that seems to have a transverse leaf spring, there’s those bits underneath, which look like a T-style deep oil sump and behind it the planetary transmission housing of the Model T. That rear suspension arm I think is something T’s had, and the intake manifold would be where this one is.

Let’s look at a T chassis, to compare:

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I think that looks about right? Close, at least.

Bodywork-wise, I think the car could be home-built, or possibly fitted with some sort of aftermarket Model T racing body, which I know was a thing way back in the day. The picture above is one, and you can also see the big sump and transmission lump down there, too.

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I’m not really sure how to tell if it’s a one-off, or from some well-known kit; perhaps one of you clever geeks will know.

That’s my basic guess, though: some sort of Model T-based racer.

Am I right? Wrong? Anyone know any more details? Anyone from Wisconsin know something about racing there in the ‘20s?

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Have at it.