*Update* Racing historian Michael Ferner has reported the following about the likely location and driver of the car: “Niles Gary drove a #100 Green Special in 1926, and he was a regular at Langhorne that year – my guess is that’s him, and the date was probably August 7.” This new information points us towards Gary possibly being the driver seen here in the car at Langhorne Speedway. We will try to research this and report back if we can find any additional information that connects it all of this together.
As to the Fleischmann name, Michael Ferner reports this information: “The Kay-Fleischmann Special: The only info that I have is from October 12, 1931, when veteran George Beck was entered at the Salem-Rockingham Track in New Hampshire in a #100 “Fleishmann Special”. Beck had been a regular around the Chicago scene in the early-to-mid twenties, but this is his only entry in my records after 1925″. This gives us another avenue to investigate as it may be possible that this is the same car.
*Update II* We found that Lindsay Brooke reported the following in his book “Ford Model T: The Car that Put the World on Wheels”: “Niles Gary learned the value of his Galivan-equipped (dohc 8-valve head) T after running the straightaway mile on the Wildwood, New Jersey, beach in 30 seconds flat (120 miles per hour) in August 1926″. This fact may tell us that the Kay-Fleischmann Special had one of the rare Galivan racing heads.
The Original Post: Recently we were fortunate to obtain some ultra-rare Model “T” Ford racing hardware including a racing engine modified by the Green Engineering Company of Dayton, Ohio and a two-port overhead valve Fronty Ford S-R cylinder head, both of which we will share with you in the future. With them came this very interesting photo of the Kay Fleischmann Special parked next to a Duesenberg straight eight apparently just before the start of a race.
It appears that the Fleischmann Special was built by Green Engineering or, at the very least, is equipped with a number of components made by the specialty parts firm. Look for an upcoming post on the company here on The Old Motor. In all likelihood, the car was powered by a Model “T” Ford engine modified for racing and fed by a Roots-type supercharger driven off the front of the crankshaft. It’s clearly visible in front of the attractive grille and is explained in the thumbnail photos below. The chassis also looks quite similar to the Green “Super Ford” (below, right), but with minor differences in the front axle. It’s rear axle is also not underslung like the one in the illustration.
- L to R: A Green Engineering supercharger-equipped racing car – Text explaining the device’s operation from the Ford Dealer (1926) – An advertisement from Green showing the Super-Ford Special Racing car.
This is a beautifully finished racing car and some time devoted to studying its construction will show that it was no mere Saturday Night Special. The Miller-style radiator shell and a number of the chassis and steering components, including the tubular axle with dropped ends, the Hartford friction shocks and the wire wheels appear to be nickel-plated. Just behind the supercharger and under the curved intake manifold, a Miller barrel-valve carburetor can be seen. Obviously, this was well-financed effort.
The Duesenberg Racing car behind it may be one of two factory team cars (one was Pete DePaolo’s Indy winner) that ended up running the eastern racing circuit. It also might have also run with the National Motor Racing Association, the organization that built the famed circular Langhorne Speedway in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania in 1926. If anyone can provide more information about either of the two cars, what race they were at in this photo, or more information about the track, please send us a comment. Photo courtesy of Josh Houghton.