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Young Speed Demons with Their Bub Speedsters

We are back in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area once again today with a set of racing-related images taken by photographer Roman B.J. Kwasniewski in 1920 next to a park. The Model “T” Ford-based specials apparently were constructed by the young men sitting in them and are fitted with attractive speedster bodies and accessories built by the Bub Body Corporation of Milwaukee.

This light-colored machine is equipped with all of the Bub accessories including a set of cycle fenders, and wind deflectors on the top of the cowl. The original non-detachable rim Ford wood spoke wheels are covered with Bub two-piece sheet metal wheel covers attached the wooden spokes and wheel fellows with screws. The polished aluminum hood and the nickel-plated steel or alloy radiator shell, and the wind deflectors give this Bub speedster a British or European look.

The front axle of this car is moved out in front of the frame and the chassis is lowered about four-inches by the use of a heavy bent and twisted steel strap that the transverse spring is attached to.

  • Bub Body Corporation advertising post card, note the running lamp on the rear fender. 

This second speedster appears to be older (and dirtier) and apparently was equipped with an aftermarket steering column or one from another make of car. The steering wheel is larger in diameter, lower and located closer to the edge of the cowl than the other car. The frame side covers are also slightly different than the those on the other car and are one-piece. Another photo of the light-colored car shows a vertical seam and a row of fasteners in the frame cover below the front of the trim molding on the bottom of the body.

Learn more about the Model “T” Ford racing car in our Five-Part “Model T Ford Speed and Racing Equipment” series.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photographs courtesy of Milwaukee Polonia.


12 responses to “Young Speed Demons with Their Bub Speedsters

  1. Some of the first Hot Rods ever built! And as Robert above mentioned, they would be a great find 100 years later!

  2. Great photos, so clear. Would love to have one of those radiator shells today. First thought was of the popular Whippet, but also reminds me of Chrysler shells.

  3. These are not Whippet shells, and were most likely purpose-built for the model T speedsters by Bub. Bub is one of the many lesser known companies that built bodies, kits, and even complete “turn-key” speedsters based on the T model chassis. While the Mercury, Faultless, Ames, and several other well know companies are restored, seen, and enjoyed often today, Bub built very high quality cars and kits, with few survivors to be seen today.
    These pictures are wonderful! Thank you so much David G for sharing them here!

    One other thing about the radiator shells. To me, they appear to have been modeled after a Marmon of the late ’10s/’20s.

    • The Model 34 was the first Marmon to sport an identical radiator shell that Bub probably copied. They first appeared
      in 1916. The radiator style was continued until their demise in 1933. The Model 34 had an all aluminum engine, body,
      and radiator shell. The running boards were part of the frame to give rigidity. The $2950 car had a 136″ wheelbase
      and was designed to retain a 50/50 weight balance regardless of whether the gas tank was empty or full. They were
      owned by many notable people and race car drivers. In the early twenties, when they were among the fastest stock
      cars, Barney Oldfield drove one as an Indy Pace Car. When he got home, he ordered four for his tire company.

  4. Bub also built a more formal body for the Model T call the Bub Sport Cab. The body and other components cost $457 installed. You can see a photo of one on The Old Motor at:

    And yes, one still exists. See the following link below, but you’ll have to replace the two instances of the word “dot” in the link with a period.

    www dot mtfca dot com/discus/messages/599638/610301.html?1454451553

    The Washington Times of October 14, 1922 stated, “One of the exclusive features of the ‘Bub Sport Cab’ is the novel arrangement of the upholstered cushions. The seat cushion can be shifted forward to the foot pedals and the back cushions removed just like the cushion in a Pullman coach and laid on the floor of the body extending partly into the luggage compartment and can be used as a comfortable sleeping coach.” The June 1922 issue of Vanity Fair showed a picture of one with the cushions arranged like this.

    I could not find a U.S. Design Patent for the Bub Sport Cab, but the speedster body shown here received U.S. Design Patent 58, 912 on September 6, 1921. You can see two more of the Speedsters in the July 1921 issue of “Motor,” page 44, which can be found online.

  5. Interesting how the Speedster style had evolved from the open chassis rail designs of the Bearcat era. These appear quite racy and aerodynamic compared to a later hot rod.

  6. There was a BUB Coupe that a local Vintage Car Dealer sold within the last 10 years. I’m sure it will turn up on a Google search. Bob

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