California friends Chuck Spurgin and Bob Giovanine were bitten by the need for speed when they were teenagers in the late 1930s. Before World War II, both young men had built dry lakes roadsters using modified mid-1920s four-cylinder Chevy engines. When they returned after four years of service in the US Navy, they collaborated to build this car for the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) competition using Chuck’s purpose-built chassis and Bob’s engine.
After limited success in 1947, they used the off-season to considerably modify the chassis, the body and the engine. They returned in 1948 with the four-cylinder engine now displacing 182 cubic inches producing 150 horsepower and using a 16.25:1 compression ratio. Running in the A Roadster class, they set a new class record of 113.95 mph at the season’s first meet in April. They then set new records in each successive outing: 117.5 mph in June, 118.48 in July and 120+ in September. At the final meet, they set their sixth consecutive class record of the season at 123.65 mph, winning the SCTA Class A Championship.
In the early 1950s, the car was sold to California aerospace engineer Carl Borgh, who further modified the car and continued to race it, turning in a speed of 141.73 at El Mirage in September of 1954. In 1955, the roadster arrived at the hallowed ground of Bonneville. Running with more modifications, it achieved its best official top speed of 149 mph, a triumph for a car that started life in a small garage in Southern California years before.
The last time the car was seen in competition was at Lions Drag Strip in 1957. Subsequently, its whereabouts were not known for more than 40 years until it was discovered behind a garage in Apple Valley, California, in the 1990s. Beginning in 2004, the car was given a meticulous restoration to bring it back to its championship-winning 1948 specification.
Today the car is owned by Pennsylvania vintage-auto collectors, Ross and Beth Myers.
Photography by Michael Furman