HISTORIC WILLIAMS BROTHER’S ROADSTER

When Dale Haberfield toured California-based Tom McIntyre’s amazing car collection, he pegged the unrestored Williams Brother’s Model A roadster as one of the most significant, if not simply his favourite vehicle. We featured Tom’s complete collection in Cruzin #200, where Dale recorded the following on the very special ‘A’:

 

Out of all the cars in Tom’s illustrious collection (including the Penske/Donohue ’68 Camaro Trans Am race car currently exhibited at the Indy Speedway Museum), the Williams Brother’s roadster was the one that I really wanted to meet. I’ve read about it, drooled over the exceptional photos in Rodders Journal and currently own a ’28 roadster project to build my own version of this classic style of hot rod/racer.

Ron, Gerald, Herb and Monte Williams pieced together the unassuming Model A roadster and set the Bonneville record books on fire in 1954 with a top speed of 159 mph. Thanks to Tom it’s now preserved, unrestored, as an existing time capsule of our rodding heritage.

“I don’t feel like I really own this car. It will always be the Williams Brothers car to me. I’m simply the caretaker for now,” clarifies Tom.

The little ’29 Ford is a remarkable time capsule articulating how it really was back in the day, accumulating 50 years of layered dust until Tom discovered it in the Williams Brothers shop. Amazingly, it is 100 percent original as it appeared in the 1954 December issue of Hot Rod magazine after it had obliterated the B/Roadster record at Bonneville with a speed of 159 mph, ironically with that number emblazoned on its side.

After a spell of drag racing and hill climbs, the historic A was stowed in 1956 until Tom’s rescue. Now in his care, the only plans for its future are to preserve it for future gearheads that respect our rodding past. Note that the 159 Roadster sits on jack stands to help retain the 1954 air encapsulated in its Firestone Speedway tires.

After limited success racing the roadster at El Mirage in ’49, the Williams brothers decided to install a Hilborn-injected 241 Dodge Red Ram into their ’29 Ford. Bored out to 250 cubic inches, the Hemi rocketed the maroon roadster into the record books for eternity.
Curled up behind the drivers seat is the taillight harness that was used when the car was being flat-towed. Beside it is a World War II oxygen tank that acts as an alternative fuel cell, hence the manual pressure pump.
Would you replace that cracked instrument glass housed in an original Auburn gauge panel? Nah, didn’t think so and there are no plans to do so while Tom McIntyre is custodian.

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