Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vintage Mystery Car

A puzzle this week, in a 45-year-old snapshot:

This Instamatic photo – remember Instamatic cameras? – was taken on a Sunday afternoon in October, 1967, at Pine Brook. The occasion was a racing program for the benefit of Norm Smizer, who had recently lost his eyesight due to complications from cataract surgery.

This photo was intended to be a clear shot of the silver car in front of the Mountain Garage Jeep, but the #0 whizzed into the frame as the shutter was opened. (Hey, what can you expect from a kid with an Instamatic?)

The puzzle concerns the silver car. It was brand-new that day, unpainted, with a masking-tape "X" for a number. But it did not fire and it did not race. Most significantly, and why we are interested all these years later, it was front wheel drive.

We cannot recall anything else about it. Who built it? Who owned it? Who was the driver on this day? What became of it? As far as we can remember, a front wheel drive car never again appeared after this day.

Was it squirreled away somewhere? Was it converted to a conventional rear wheel drive car, painted, and raced?

If you know the answers to any of these questions, or even if you have only a good guess, let us know via this link.

Oh, and if you want to confirm for us who the driver in the #0 was on this day, we’ll happily take that, too!