Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Riddle is Solved (Mostly)

A few weeks ago we posted this photo, identifying it as containing a puzzle.

The puzzle in our original post concerned the silver car. It was brand-new on that October afternoon at Pine Brook in 1967 when the photo was taken, and it was unpainted, with a masking-tape "X" for a number. At best it made only a limited number of laps in warmups and it did not race. Most significantly, and why we were interested all these years later, it was front wheel drive.

We asked, who built it? Who owned it? Who was the driver on this day? What became of it?

Well, Vintage Division member Ben Trimble remembers the car well, and has identified it as having been built by Jon Fick, the car owner for who Trimble drove for many years and for whom Trimble built engines. Trimble remembers that the front wheel drive components were taken from a foreign car of some sort.  Trimble remembers the car making only a few laps, but he does not recall who was driving it on this day – it was not himself.

We have the vaguest recollection that Joe Kidd may have been in it that day.

He remembers the story behind the car having never appeared again. Apparently, the car was somewhat controversial within the ranks of the ATQMRA. Jon Fick had been inspired by the front wheel drive Indy cars and perhaps also by the recent introduction of General Motors’ Oldsmobile Toronado, but the ATQMRA was not prepared to embrace the concept. There was talk of banning the car. Jon Fick, annoyed by this, took the car home, pushed it into the back of the shop, and that was that.

Years later, the car changed hands, but it still never again appeared on-track. It’s final fate, after parts had been harvested from it, was burial!