eBay Racer

by Dave Alvar

A few years back, I was browsing through the eBay auctions, looking for a rod project, when I came across a 1928 Ford that really caught my attention. It was an old, single-seat race car, with a narrowed frame and a hand-formed aluminum body and belly pan. The polished radiator shell was from a tractor and bore a plaque that read “Earthmaster Farm Equipment”. Behind that grill were louvers in the upper and lower areas of the cutout aluminum hood.

16” wire wheels with knock-off centers married it to the ground and it had a great stance. It even had a clear Washington State title.

We were talking love at first sight and there was a “Buy It Now” price of $3,500, so I jumped in and bought it on the spot.

I talked my brother-in-law into helping me haul the car home from Tacoma on his old trailer. It was so cool that once I got it home I spent hours just looking at it.

The engine was an original Model A four-banger with an Alcoa aluminum head and aluminum side cover with a Thomas aluminum intake manifold that sported twin carbs with aluminum scoops. The vintage Mallory distributor got its spark from a coil that looked like a cross between a canteen and a hand grenade and the exhaust header ran down the right side of the car. It looked just right!

Behind the engine were a three-speed transmission, a shortened drive-shaft and a rear end with a quick-change cover. I never did find out if it was a real quick-change, or just for looks. Either way, it was very cool!

Inside was a bomber seat and a beautiful old steering wheel that operated the steering box, which poked out on the left side by the firewall. On the dash were a vintage Stewart-Warner speedometer and a weathered “Rusetta” timing plaque which proclaimed that one Adan England had driven the car to 101.12 MPH at Mirage on 10/19/58.

Aft of the abbreviated body, there was a funny-looking gas tank and a single tail light with the word “Stop” displayed on it. Attached to the license plate was an original Gilmore lion frame.

At that point, I had to ponder... What am I going to actually do with this masterpiece? Well, it collected dust in my garage for a year and a half before I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to do anything with it. It needed to go. I listed it on eBay and quickly scored a $2,000 profit.

The fellow who purchased the car claimed that he knew the history behind it. He stated that it was the “father” to a car called the “Cat Pizz Special”, built by Neil Brislawn. I can’t vouch for his story, but I know that he wrote it up nicely, took some great photographs, and made another $2,000 profit when he turned around and re-sold the car... on eBay, of course.