View Full Version : "Merchants of Speed"

Dwain G.
04-28-2012, 08:33 PM
Just finished reading this great book, "Merchants of Speed", that tells the history of the speed equipment manufacturers. I never realized there was so much collaboration among the different shops, how many pattern makers and foundrys were in the LA area at the time, and how many of these guys ran a night-time business at home for many years while they worked their day jobs.
Not a lot of Stude mention as to be expected. I did learn that Bill Spalding ground the original cams for the DOHC Stude V8, and they were later replaced by some ground by Ed Winfield.
Ansen Automotive bought a container of 50 new Packard V8s. They were building a dragster, so they outfitted it with one of the Packards enlarged to 435 ci. and it set some records which helped sell the rest of the engines.
Fred Offenhauser liked to own new cars. The photo here shows him taking delivery of a new 1953 Studebaker from Robustelli, Inc. at 8850 E. Las Tunas Dr. in Temple City, CA


04-29-2012, 07:42 AM
I purshased the book and read it about a year ago. A very good book is an under statement, its awesome!

04-29-2012, 10:04 AM
I'm impressed by how wide those whitewalls are!

Dads Baby
04-29-2012, 10:24 AM
When were the Speedster wire caps first available?

Studebaker Wheel
04-29-2012, 12:53 PM
When were the Speedster wire caps first available?

1953, part #AC-2425 list $24.38ea. That is why I have wondered why they would be called "Speedster wire caps?"

04-29-2012, 03:03 PM
You can take a peek inside the book on Amazon.com I see there is mention of Ted Halibrand in the book.


Dwain G.
04-29-2012, 07:46 PM
Those white-walls, yes! I too noticed how they seem exaggerated. And the more I look, the more questions I have. Every one of the family Studebakers came with Firestones as far as I remember. So did Stude also use some Generals? Was that just LA built cars? Did General tires have wider white walls than Firestones? Did all General tires come with those white letters in 1953? Shouldn't the wheels match the lower body color?

04-29-2012, 09:31 PM
This is probably the first Studebaker with the "Offenhauser kit", like the one on my 53. There were other pictures taken this day, that included, Clyde G. Riley, Studebakers southern California-Arizona regional manager. I have one of these kits I am posting here for sale. The tires are General Silent Safety, with puncture sealing safety tubes.