Period Road Racing History. California Title and Registration. Event Eligible.
1937 Ingalls Special
Red with Black
Road Racing’s revival in America, after World War II, sparked a spirit of patriotism among many American racing enthusiasts who had little desire to own or race one of the many foreign cars. Though eager to win races, these men wanted to do it in American automobiles. American Special racecars were a common sight at race meetings all over the US where they competed head to head with considerable success against the very best that the European manufactures could offer. Often hybrids by design, these American Specials were built from combinations of the preferred equipment available to the motoring public from their era, and are generally one-of-a-kind with colorful history.
Ed Ingalls of Lafayette, California, was one of the men who wanted to win using an American Special. While in 1948 Ed’s original plan was to race the salt flats of Bonneville, he soon became interested in road racing. He wanted to race an American car, but this was 1948 and there were no American sport cars, so he designed and built his own. Ed acquired his “rod” in the classic fashion of the day, from Sam, the junkman. Ed wanted to use the knowledge he had gained building hot rods to build a car to compete with the European sports cars. The Ingalls Special may be the first and oldest existing true hot rod that was built exclusively for road racing.
The body is from a 1931 Ford roadster, channeled on a DeSoto Airflow frame with 1932 ford cross members. The front suspension is early Model A, rear 1939 Ford. The brakes are 1930-40 Ford with Buick drums. The motor is Flathead 289ci 8ba block with a 1939 Ford transmission. The windshield and molding were home made. The dashboard fascia is from a 1933 Auburn Type 12 Speedster. The front fenders are Ford spare-tire covers. The radiator cover is a 1938 LaSalle. Rear fenders were added to the car in 1953. They were fashioned in aluminum by renowned body-man Gordon Vann from Ed’s original design for the car. The new fenders hide the fact that the 1929 rear-end did not line up with the original wheel openings.
The Ingalls Special raced during the 1950’s with some success, mostly finishing in the top 5. It competed at many of the famous Northern California tracks of the day including Pebble Beach, Stockton and Madera field. More recently, after its restoration, the Ingalls again saw competition on the Monterey Peninsula, this time at the 2003 running of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca.
The Ingalls Special was restored in 2003 to the way it was raced in 1953. Over the years the Ingalls Special was powered by a variety of motors. Chrysler, GMC, Ford and small block Chevy were all part of its history. There have been 5 owners of the car and about 8 different drivers in period.
Included with the car is a hearty historical file with many period photos, letters from previous owners, and news paper and magazine articles such as Hot Rod (February, 1987), and the April 1953 issue of Hop Up, which features an expansive article on the Ingalls. The most recent of the newspaper clippings included depicts the Ingalls sliding through turn 11 while competing in the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in 2003. Also present are photographs of the car on display in the American Specials class at the Pebble Beach Concours.
In September of 2014, the Ingalls Special received a fresh set of tires, shift linkage work and an engine service.
Eligible for an expansive array of events ranging from road rally to vintage racing, this historically significant American Special will be a welcome participant any many of the key North American collector automobile gatherings including the Monterey Historic Reunion and the California Mille.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608