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Schoof Ford Special – One of a Long Line of Championship Cars

This third post in a series of photographs by Roman Kwasniewski of Milwaukee, Wisconsin features the Schoof Ford Special owned by William “Bill” Schoof of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Schoof’s cars began running in the AAA Championship racing series in the mid-1920s and continued on through to the early-1950s.

What we do know of Schoof’s early racing activities is he may have had his racing cars built at the Fox Point Garage on Port Washington Road on the Northside of Milwaukee. Another possibility is  he owned the Garage or worked there and constructed the cars himself.

The Kwasniewski photographs are courtesy of Milwaukee Polonia which states that Eddie Czapiewski drove the Schoof Special in the “1924 National Dirt Track Championship” races. The mile-long “Milwaukee Mile” State Fair Speedway in Milwaukee was the team’s home track.

The Schoof Special, like many of the higher quality Ford-based racers of the time used only the following Model “T” Ford parts: frame, axles and a shortened drive shaft, modified springs, crankcase, cylinder block, and transmission. The balance of the parts are either shop-made, modified or purchased from one the many Ford racing parts suppliers active at the time. The chassis is a Frontenac design and many of the parts used in it’s construction and the body work appear in the Frontenac Ford Catalog

  • Eddie Czapiewski posing circa-1924 with the car. The front end is a standard Model “T” Ford axle fitted with Hartford friction shocks, and “Fronty”radius rods.

As was commonly done in the period, a second added cross member (visible above) was set back and moved the engine and transmission rearward for better weight distribution. A larger steering box, pitman arm and drag link replaced the Ford units. The wire wheels are pin-drive knock offs with straight side rims and lock rings.

A look at our five-part Model T Ford Speed and Racing Equipment series will give you an interesting overview of some of the manufacturers of speed and racing equipment at the time.

  • The engine fitted with an eight-valve Rajo “BR or BBR” twin-plug cylinder head, single-stage oil pump and a racing oil pan.

25 responses to “Schoof Ford Special – One of a Long Line of Championship Cars

  1. I’m struck by how beautifully finished the car is. He really put a lot of attention into the details.

    I’m also a little amazed that so many of these racers used the Ford transmission. I would think you would want more than two speeds forward in a race.

      • Quite true David, two speeds, in / out boxes, even powerglides, right up till… 70’s, 90’s, now? And then there’s Monaco. (this weekend). And I agree with Dave as well, nicely finish and detailed for the era / use.

        • Guys are still dragging with Powerglides, have been forever.
          “P-R-N-D-L” equals “park, reverse, neutral, drag, lunge”

      • I see two front cross members. The original one has no clip to hold a spring and the 2nd one with a clip has no evidence of spring leaves . A spring would have to be connected to the axle. I don’t see any evidence of a connection. The crank hole has no crank and a separate crank would have to pass through this hole and engage somehow. The engine has no starter. How is it started? Pushed? I would turn the motometer 90 degrees to cut down on wind resistance. WONDERFUL car!

  2. That is far and away one of the nicest and best built amateur T based racing cars I have ever seen! Some of the professionally built racing cars, like the Barber Warnock Frontys which ran in the Indianapolis 500 race two years and turn-key specials built by Frontenac, Laurel, and others, were very nice custom-built cars. However, most of the amateur or home-built cars tended to be a bit crude, off balance, and rough around the edges. This one has a very nice look about it in every way.
    I suspect that most of the car is catalog order. The body may be one of the Faultless models. Most surviving Faultless bodies are wider, built as two-man cars. But they did offer a narrow one-man style that I have not seen much about. The basic tail shape is very much like the typical Faultless.
    It could also be one of the many Race-way styles. They offered and sold so many! I find it surprising that so few Race-way bodies survive today. There are photos of stacks of Race-way bodies to be sold alongside auto supply stores. As I recall, in one photo, I counted fourteen crated bodies by a lone auto supply store. Perhaps the deals were good to the dealers, but not so attractive to buyers?
    I have heard that more than fifty original Mercury (the most popular today) bodies survive today, and myself with my own eyes have seen more than ten of them. In fifty years of playing with these things, I have only heard of about four surviving original Race-way bodies, and not personally seen one. Several people have recreated Race-way bodies, most in fiberglass, some in steel. So those are seen fairly often.
    Several original Faultless cars survive. A long-time good friend had one (his family still has it and it is in good hands for years to come). Several recreated Faultless cars also exist. Most of them are very nicely and correctly done in steel.

  3. Very nice looking car, Fronty did offer center steering, and many 1920’s Franklin steering boxes were modified for center steering. The steering on this car, looks to be set on an angle, and the driver sits a bit to the left of center. That may be a teens era Buick steering box. Bob

    • The steering box is JACOX [Saginaw Steering Gear in later years] I think it is smaller than Buick used – maybe Olds or Oakland.

  4. I saw that exact same grin on a human cannonball right before he climbed down into the gun barrel to do his act.

  5. Not a lot of extras in these racers. No brakes other than the internal transmission brake band provided by Ford. I don’t see any brake rods to operate the rear wheel brake shoes. Nice clear photos to enjoy. It looks like the nut on the lower right radius rod is loose / not seated against the radius rod? Picture shows a car that is still waiting for its initial prep and check out most likely. For these drivers to survive is a miracle with little in the way of safety gear. Anyone know what came of the guys shown with this car?

    Great photos, interesting story. Thanks as always.s

  6. Wayne, are you able to post those photos of the crated speedster bodies or post a link? I would love to see that!

    • I don’t believe I personally have a copy of that photo. However, I will be looking through many of the pictures I have over the next few weeks and I will keep an eye out for it just in case I may have copied it a few years ago.
      I can’t post a link here, and even if I could, I lost my thousand or so bookmarks on a computer partial meltdown about two years ago. It was posted on the mtfca forum a few years ago, and discussed there. My computer skills are limited, much better putting model Ts together. I had copied many photos that were shared on that forum by a good friend of mine, however, I just went through nearly all of those, and did not see that one. I have a few hundred more photos on my computer that I haven’t looked through recently, but will be looking at many of those soon.
      Someone with good search skills could probably find it on the mtfca forum archive which is open to the public.

  7. Would this car be classified as the 1930s “Junk Formula” that entered the Indy 500?

    The 500 was part of the AAA schedule.

    • No, This car was likely run in regional AAA championship races, although a “Fronty” Ford did run at Indy in the 1920s and managed to finish about fifth if I remember correctly.

      • What kind of performance could be expected from a car like this? I know that suspension, tires, and gearing are big factors, but what kind of power would a well modified Ford engine produce.? Thanks.

      • A number of Fronty Fords ran Indy from 1922-26.

        A pair with type R cylinder heads ran in 1922, finishing 14th and 18th. The 5th place finish was 1923, with the new type S-R cylinder head (which had two intake ports instead of the one of the type R). The rest of the top seven that year were all Miller 122 race cars. A trio of Fronty Fords ran in 1924, but finished 14th, 16th, and 17th. A lone Fronty ran in each of 1925 and 1926, but both finished in the 20s.

  8. William “Bill” Schoof did own the Fox Point Garage. Articles I found from both 1928 and 1948 confirm this.

    Schoof also owned a car that later ran in the Indianapolis 500. This later race car, which he did not build, was raced between 1935 and 1949. The car, which he obviously modified over the years, was known as the Schoof Special, Wetteroth Schoof Offy Special, and the Fox Point Garage Special. The car still exists today, and is owned by Wayne Carini. Images of that car and its history are easily found online, but there is a lot of disagreement among the sites as to its history. One thing seems certain though: this later car finished 10th in the 1947 Indy 500, but it was 33 laps down.

  9. A Google search for Eddie Czapiewski linked to an ancestry site which had the 1905 Wisconsin state census. It lists an Eddie Czapiewski born in Milwaukee about 1903. That would put his age at 21 in 1924, which seems to be a plausible match with the Eddie Czapiewski in the photos. I didn’t find any other information on him unfortunately.

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