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*Updates I & II* The Kay Fleischmann Special – A Jewel-Like Early Supercharged Racing Car

*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.

11 responses to “*Updates I & II* The Kay Fleischmann Special – A Jewel-Like Early Supercharged Racing Car

  1. David, Thanks for posting this fine photo, guess I need to Xerox all my Pop Green catalogs for you. I wonder when he made his move from Dayton to New Jersey? That blower listed for $400.00, a 16 valve D.O.Fronty head was $600.00 and an SR Fronty was $100.00 in the October 1, 1930 catalog. Rare that he had his catalogs dated, but is shows that T and A Ford speed equipment was sold at the same time. Bob

    • Bob, I too would love to see all that Green had to offer if you get some copies to David; I will always have a soft spot for the T speed equipment and have met some interesting folks that share the same affliction; David being one of them. I would be interested to see what equipment is not covered in the reprinted literature that is commonly available; which I attribute most of my (limited) knowledge. I have been fortunate to have owned a few Green Engineering pieces and a variety of other pieces of speed equipment and literature over the years, and hope to stumble upon more in my travels.

  2. I am looking forward to seeing the Green equipment as I also have a Fronty SR with a Green overhead cam driven by gears like a Galavin rather than a chain. I would like to see the Green literature if possible that Bob Swanson has as I have nothing on Pop Green.

    Tim Moore
    MTFCA Speedster / Racer Hall of Fame.

  3. I’m going through some of my paperwork and found a Pop Green letter, signed Carl R. Green in green ink. When did they start calling him Pop? He was still making 8 and 16 valve heads in 1948. Also found a nice photo of the D.O.Green engine in the Joe Ioreo #4 from the 1950’s.

  4. Carl Ludvigsen would be interested in this supercharger application.

    He is writing a book about racing superchargers and would possibly have more to add to the discussion.

  5. I love this stuff. I’ve been trying to tell people that hot rodding goes back to post WWI and earlier! Everyone thinks it all started after WWII. I read a book back when I was in high school called “American Supercar” by Roger Huntington that talked a little about this and recently I read the excellent book “SO-CAL Speed Shop: The Fast Tale of the California Racers who Made Hot Rod History” by Mark Christensen that talks about this. Although Alex started So-Cal Speed shop after WWII he was interested in the sport before WWII. He had seen the cars as a kid. They talk quite a bit in that book about al the stuff available for the Ford flathead L4-cyl. and flathead V8-cyl. I love this stuff, the real history behind American Hot Rodding long before the SBC.

  6. The photo is not Niles Gary. My husbands Grandfather was Niles Gary. We have a few photos of him and his cars. And many old telegraphs he would send after each race to his wife at home. I would be happy to share the photos and info we have.

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