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#1 fines

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 14:27

A legendary figure in racing! Griff Borgeson wrote about "the Lockhart legend [having] the heroic quality of ancient myth", and Mark Dees related to "how often (...) have we been handed a rod, a valve, or a piston and been told in reverent tones, 'This belonged to Frank Lockhart!', and then it was returned carefully to the shelf, as if it were the precious icon of a god."

And this all of a guy who barely lived to see his twenty-fifth birthday! Who was this Frank Lockhart?

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#2 Flat Black

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 14:30

The Buddy Holly of open-wheel racing in America.

#3 B Squared

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 14:46

Who was this Frank Lockhart?

Surely Michael, you jest. If there is anyone here that knows the multitude of answers to this question; it is you! I know all the mundane basics, why don't you begin filling in for the rest of us mere mortals. :)

#4 Rosemayer

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 14:46

Heres a little for you Fines .

http://www.mshf.com/...khart_frank.htm

#5 B Squared

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 15:00

I thought he he was born, possibly it was his early childhood, in Dayton, OH. I once read (not at home to review source - apologies, I'll try to discover article tonight) that he lived in the same neighborhood as the Wright brothers, of flying fame, and that they were early mentors before the California move. If so, what inspiration!

Actually, I think it was in an Automobile Quarterly article within the past year, possibly two. Dad has entire set, I'll try to be more specific in my direct later. Thank you.

Brian

#6 fines

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 16:45

Thanks for the accolades, Brian, but perhaps you're looking to the wrong man here. This thread is not merely intended as a prompt for one of my famous :rolleyes: monologues, but as a genuine collector of knowledge and (his)stories about the man. Yes, we all know the name, but what else do we know? I, for instance, cannot even answer your query about his birth place - Dayton or Cleveland, I think I have seen both mentioned - all I 'know' about him is that he was a Californian, born in Ohio. Also, the story about the neighbouring Wrights rings a bell, but is it true? I don't have a clue! [man, I'm a poet! :D]

So far, TNF hasn't had a thread dedicated to Frank Lockhart, and to Lockhart alone - let's see what the collective knowledge of this board will bring to light! :)

#7 f1steveuk

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 17:16

That Lockhart was within sight of the land speed record (then held by a device with over 27 litres) with a 3 litre car speaks volumes for the genius of the BlackHawks design. That he is supposed to have been thron from this car, and land right in front of his wife doesn't bare thinking about.

#8 Russ Snyder

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 18:17

I have film of his sad demise on the sands of Daytona Beach.

He was ejected from the car during violent flips.... the reason he flipped? One of his tires hit a seaschell and it caused that catastrophic reaction.

He was going approx 228 mph when he flipped. The view is from land and the air, presumably a plane/glider/blimp/Zeppelin filming from above.

#9 B Squared

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 18:26

That he survived a similar crash, at an earlier date, in the same car is amazing. That one ended up with him & the car in the surf. I think that it was Frederick Moskovics, of Stutz, that held his head above the water level to keep him from drowning.

Brian

#10 Flat Black

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 18:38

Supposedly Lockhart was reluctant to run the Stutz that fateful day at Daytona because the surface was unusually rough, but a large crowd was on hand and he did not want to disappoint them.

#11 john glenn printz

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 18:39

FRANK S. LOCKHART, BOY WONDER OF THE AMERICAN SPEEDWAYS by John G. Printz and Ken M. McMaken. (Note: This article was published more than 25 years ago, on 19 July 1981, in the inaugural CART Michigan 500 program. It was also reprinted in INDY CAR RACING magazine. I have made some improvements and modifications while typing it online.)

[Preface: Frank Lockhart was not the first "boy wonder" of the U.S. speedways. Earlier both Harry Hartz (1896-1974) and Harlan Fengler (1903-1981) were hailed as such before Lockhart, but Frank's later exploits certainly gives him the best claim to the title. Hartz's first AAA Championship victory was at the San Carlos 150 on April 16, 1922 (Duesenberg) at age 26; while Fengler's first Championship win was at the Kansas City 250 of Nov. 21, 1923 (Miller) at age 21.]

On April 25, 1928 at Daytona Beach, Frank Lockhart died in a land speed record attempt. The death of Lockhart, then just 25, ended the meteoric rise and brillant career of one of the most astonishing drivers ever to arise on this side of the Atlantic Ocean or anywhere else for that matter. Although Lockhart ran less than two full seasons on the AAA National Championship Trail (i.e. part of 1926 and all of 1927), many consider him to be the greatest of all American speedway pilots. For example, Wilbur Shaw and Myron Stevens so regarded him. And there is some real substance to their arguments at that.

Lockhart was born in Dayton, Ohio on March 8, 1903. After the death of his father, Frank's mother moved the family to the state of California in 1909. Lockhart put together a Model T Ford racing car with a SR type Fronty head in early 1923 with the some help from Ray McDowell. Frank's very first race occurred at San Luis Obispo, CA on July 4, 1923 driving the new Fronty Ford now christened the McDowell Special. Frank had to drop out of the race because the exhaust manifold melted. This event also witnessed, by the way, the first start ever for driver Babe Stapp.

It wasn't long however, before Frank and his McDowell Special No. 27, became the scourge and the master of all of California's then existing non-AAA sanctioned or "outlaw" dirt ovals including the famous 5/8's mile Ascot oval which first opened on 20 January 1924. In October 1924 Lockhart married Miss Elia Corsen of Los Angeles, in Santa Ana, CA.

The most important victory of the young Lockhart before 1926 was in the Thanksgiving Day "Gold Cup" road race for supposed "stock chassis" racers held at Ascot on November 27, 1924. This event was run on a special and twisting 3.2 mile road circuit which just briefly incorporated a section of the more normally used 5/8 mile dirt track. Frank won this 50 lap race, of approximately 160 miles, using in fact an old 3-litre straight 8 Duesenberg racing car, palmed off apparently as a Model A Duesenberg passenger car chassis. Anyway Lockhart won with an elapsed time of 3 hours, 21 minutes, and 40 seconds. There had been 43 starters. Supposedly first place was worth $16,000. Frank gave much credit to the coaching of Ralph DePalma and Sig Haugdahl for his driving successes.

The 1924 Thanksgiving Day Ascot contest has a special place in American racing history lore because its promotor, George R. Bentel, a former Los Angeles Mercer dealer, left the grounds halfway through the race to Mexico, absconding with all the gate receipts! The drivers, led by F. G. "Cannonball" Baker and Cliff Bergere, later sued for their prize money but none of the 43 participants ever got a dime. Eventually Bentel was arraigned on March 2, 1925 in Los Angeles Superior Count, but the case was still pending in October 1925, and after that I can find nothing more about it.

Frank's driving mastery in the "Gold Cup" had not gone unnoticed however, and on January 19, 1925 Lockhart was induced to join the AAA ranks and move on to greater goals. Formerly Lockhart had run in mostly IMCA sanctioned contests. Lockhart's first race under AAA auspices was at the 1/2 mile dirt oval at Ventura, CA on February 1, 1925. Here Frank won the 15 lap feature event with a time of 7 minutes and 36.5 seconds. Frank also was now an entrant in the upcoming March 1, 1925 Culver City board track 250, a big AAA National Championship race, in a 122 Miller. This was Lockhart's first attempt at running on a board speedway, rather than a dirt oval, but the board tracks required an entirely different driving technique. In his very first practice try (Feb. 19, 1925) Frank drove around the inside concrete apron of the 1 1/4's mile Culver City track for four slow laps to warm up the engine. On his fifth circuit Frank, moving only about 60 mph, attempted to climb his car up onto the steeply banked boards located on turn one.

However Lockhart did not have his Miller traveling fast enough to hold it up on the banking and the rear end of the machine broke loose and slid down the embankment. Frank then turned the front wheels a bit too sharply and the car whirled around and then darted into the inner safety wall, smashing a front wheel. The Miller rebounded off the inside barrier and Lockhart, now overly excited, put it back into gear and the machine did another nose dive into the outside wall, burying the spring horns into the top railing. The frame of the Miller was only slightly bent but the AAA officials debarred Frank from the track now, after these stunts, and because of his total lack of experience on the highly banked wooden surfaced ovals. The car was repaired and later reassigned to Frank Elliot. Initially Lockhart had also been entered in the Altoona 250, slated for June 10, but now that had to be cancelled. Lockhart's conquest of the board speedways, if it was to occur, was now put on hold.

However, Harry A. Miller himself, later gave Frank a 183 cubic inch Miller for his use in the major 1925 AAA dirt track races and Lockhart continued to impress everyone in these events. Frank, in 1925, took part in AAA dirt races held at Bakersfield, Dallas, Juarez (Mexico), Phoenix, Stockton, Tanforan, and Ventura. 1925 ended with Frank being considered one of the top dirt track drivers in California although the veteran Ralph DePalma won most of the large scale AAA dirt races for 1925.

Edited by john glenn printz, 14 October 2011 - 14:07.


#12 john glenn printz

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 19:49

FRANK S. LOCKHART (cont.-1) On February 21, 1926 Frank won the 25 mile feature at Bakersfield setting a new AAA record time of 18:33.4. He was followed over the line by Fred Licklider in 2nd and Lou Moore in 3rd. In May 1926, Lockhart travelled to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the very first time, in the entourage of Harry A. Miller, without a ride. Frank was hoping to get some time on the bricks in other's people's cars during practice and perhaps a relief driver role in the "500" itself. That was about all Lockhart could have hoped for, but then the situation took some rather unexpected turns.

Bennett Hill, a top seasoned veteran and a "hard charger", let Frank take his car out for a few test laps around the Speedway and Lockhart, with no apparent effort, soon started lapping the 2 1/2 mile course faster than Hill had gone. Hill quickly hired Frank as his relief pilot if he should need one, during the actual of the 500 mile grind, but meanwhile Frank had set a new one lap Indy record in Hill's Miller during practice. Now Lockhart was beginning to make the Indianapolis newspaper headlines.Then driver Peter Kries developed a case of pneumonia, and was put into a hospital, and had to vacate his rear drive 91 Miller. Lockhart was soon named the replacement for Kries in the car. Myron Stevens, who had been working on Kries' Miller, probably had something to do with Frank being named as Kries' replacement; as Lockhart and Stevens were good friends.

On the first day of qualifications (May 27) Lockhart, on the first of his four lap trial, set a new one lap record of 115.488 mph, breaking Peter DePaolo's 1925 mark of 114.295 mph set in a 122 cubic inch Duesenberg. On the second lap of Frank's run, the right rear tire started coming apart and the qualification attempt had to aborted. Later in the day Frank tried again but had engine problems. Having used up two of his three tries, Lockhart finally qualified at a mere 95.783 mph, and had to start the "500" in the 20th position on the grid.

But Frank had everything ready on race day. At the end of the first lap he was running 10th, after five circuits he was 4th, and by 10 laps he was running 3rd. The 20th lap order had Lockhart in 2nd, Then, on lap 60, the race leader, Dave Lewis pitted, putting Frank into the front spot, to lead laps 60-93 and 99-160. The race was stopped on the 160th lap (i.e. 400 miles) because of rain and Lockhart's Miller at that time had more than a two lap advantage over the second place man, Harry Hartz. (The 1926 "500" had also been halted at 71 laps because of rain and after about an hour and a quarter delay had been restarted.) Frank's average speed for the 400 mile distance was 95.885 mph, faster than he had qualified! Thus a nationally obscure and largely unknown west coast pilot at age 23, won Indy over the more seasoned veterans.

It was a spectacular debut for Frank, not only at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but to actually running on the AAA National Championship circuit as well. After the 1926 "500", Harry Miller offered a car for Frank's use for the rest of the AAA Championship board track season and Lockhart accepted Harry's offer. Frank went on to prove that his unexpected Indy victory had been no fluke as he recorded further AAA Championship victories in the Charlotte 150 (Sept. 23) and the Altoona 250 (Sept. 18). And in the non-Championship AAA dirt 100 milers he won twice at Detroit (June 27) and (Sept. 11). Frank finished behind only the board track ace and veteran, Harry Hartz, in the final AAA Nationakl Championship point standings for 1926, despite his non-participation in the two earliest Championship events of the year, i.e. the Culver City 250 (March 6) the Altantic 200 (May 7). But Lockhart's 1927 AAA season would prove to be still greater than his 1926.

During the 1926 season, Frank started making small detailed unauthorized changes and modifications to Harry Miller's car to perfect the basic design still further and to eliminate all areas of weakness and instabilty. Miller himself resented this. It made seemingly little difference to Harry that the Lockhart modifications almost always inevitably made the car both quicker and more reliable simultaneously. Miller, it must be pointed out, was then the foremost American/U.S. race car builder of his day and he wasn't about to take lessons on race car engineering from a 23 year old, boyish looking kid! It was all to Miller's loss as Lockhart was not only the hottest driver and a perfectionist, but a mechanical genius as well. After many quarrels, the two men parted with Frank buying Miller's rear drive car with his share of the year's prize money.

One of the items that Lockhart was experimenting with in late 1926/early 1927 was a device which was known as an "intercooler". Whether the actual idea was Frank's own or whether it came from among Lockhart's acute associates such as the two Weisel brothers (i.e. John Levi 1904-1994 and Zenas Virgil 1901-1982), who helped Frank develop it, is now impossible to say. It should be mentioned also that by early 1927, master mechanic Ernie Olson had joined Lockhart's team. Olson had previously ridden with Jimmy Murphy in Jimmy's two biggest wins, i.e. (1.) the July 26, 1921 French Grand Prix (Duesenberg), and (2.) the May 30, 1922 Indianapolis 500 (Miller/Duesenberg).

The intercooler was nothing more than an air-cooled manifold or radiator through which hot gasses pass. What the intercooler does, as utilized by Lockhart, is cool or lower the temperature of the air/fuel mixture before it is introduced into the engine's combustion chambers but only AFTER it had been already compressed by the supercharger, which makes the gases hotter. This cooling of the air/fuel mixture by the intercooler increases its density just before it is both sucked and pumped into the engine proper. The horsepower of the motor is thus increased because a greater amount of the air/fuel mixture gets into the engine.

Edited by john glenn printz, 14 October 2011 - 13:17.


#13 B Squared

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 23:08

The article where I got the Wright brothers in Dayton, OH info came from Automobile Quarterly - Volume 44 - #4 - 2004. Article titled "Genius in the Cockpit" authored by L. Spencer Riggs. Pages 18-29. I must say that I've always thought that his knowledge & reputation were sound. I'm hoping to hear where this erroneous (?) information may have come from. And how did it make it into a book that I've always understood to have a respected status? Thank you in advance.

Brian

#14 fines

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:57

Brian, I believe that info to come from Griff Borgeson's "Golden Age..." book: "(Lockhart) was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1903. It may have been more than significant that the gifted father of Wilbur and Orville Wright lived next door. He liked Frank, let him watch the goings-on in his workshop, and when Frank was 3, built Frank a bicycle." Perhaps Mr. Printz has an opinion of this?

Anyway, I'd like to thank Mr. Printz for his fabulous story here! :up: There's a lot of detail, especially about his ill-fated AAA debut at Culver City, that I hadn't heard of before! :)

#15 B Squared

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 10:29

Michael, I believe that you are right. I pulled out my copy of Borgeson's book last night & read the same thing. What is frustrating for me is that this misinformation has been passed along as fact in newer articles, such as that by Mr. Riggs in AQ. I feel I've been bamboozled by bad info for 45 of my 50 years! Then I pass on the same rot - not a good scenario by any means. I know that when I read a contemporary article and see a blatant error, I dismiss the rest of the article as rubbish. If the author doesn't know the most basic of facts, how is one to believe one word of it? My question is; how does one separate fact from fancy in the thousands of books & magazines that I've acquired over these same 45 years? Should I even comment on any issue that may come up, if I'm relying on a written source in my library? Or should I only comment on events that I was attending, so I know that I'm passing on truths? I certainly do not want to be a party to the passing on of a myth or untruth.

Brian

#16 MPea3

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 14:14

I have a few questions. I've read that Lockhart was the first to use an intercooler with a Miller. Is this true?

If so was he the first to use one on any supercharged race engine? If not, who was?

Was there any application for supercharging on engines before they were used with race engines, and if so, what?

What other modifications did Lockhart make to the Miller engines to make them faster?

I know that later with Offenhauser and Meyer-Drake it was common to use aftermarket camshafts, but did Lockhart with modify the existing Miller cams or have new ones made?

Were the changes that Lockhart made done with the approval or knowledge (not to mention cooperation) of Miller, or did he take off on his own completely? if he did so independently, did Miller copy what he had done and incorporate it into his own later engines?

I've read of Lockhart being referred to as a natural engineer and mechanic, but exactly what was his mechanical background? Did he have any training as a mechanic, engineer or machinist, or was he mostly self taught?

Thank you all. :)

#17 fines

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 14:37

Originally posted by MPea3
I have a few questions.

Rather, a lot of questions! :D

Let me try to give a few quick answers, perhaps I (or someone else, for that matter) can expand on that later.

I've read that Lockhart was the first to use an intercooler with a Miller. Is this true?

Probably yes!

If so was he the first to use one on any supercharged race engine? If not, who was?

It was probably him!

Was there any application for supercharging on engines before they were used with race engines, and if so, what?

Aeroplanes for sure, perhaps Diesel locomotives???

What other modifications did Lockhart make to the Miller engines to make them faster?

Numerous, also to the chassis - this will need some more elaborate posts!

I know that later with Offenhauser and Meyer-Drake it was common to use aftermarket camshafts, but did Lockhart with modify the existing Miller cams or have new ones made?

To my knowledge, and without delving into books, I believe he didn't experiment with valve timing.

Were the changes that Lockhart made done with the approval or knowledge (not to mention cooperation) of Miller, or did he take off on his own completely?

The latter - there are stories of discontent between the two because of that, but it was patched up in due course.

if he did so independently, did Miller copy what he had done and incorporate it into his own later engines?

Yes, to some extent.

I've read of Lockhart being referred to as a natural engineer and mechanic, but exactly what was his mechanical background? Did he have any training as a mechanic, engineer or machinist, or was he mostly self taught?

Apparently the latter. He must have picked up a lot while working with other mechanics and engineers such as Ray McDowell, Ernie Olson or the Weisel brothers, though.

#18 MPea3

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 15:05

Originally posted by fines


I've read that Lockhart was the first to use an intercooler with a Miller. Is this true?

Probably yes!

If so was he the first to use one on any supercharged race engine? If not, who was?

It was probably him!

Was there any application for supercharging on engines before they were used with race engines, and if so, what?

Aeroplanes for sure, perhaps Diesel locomotives???


Which leads me to one more question if I may. Did he make his own intercooler - or have it made for him - or did he use a piece built for something else and adapt it?

Also, I look forward to more lengthy comments concerning his engine and chassis modifications! :love:

#19 McGuire

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 15:16

Originally posted by MPea3


Was there any application for supercharging on engines before they were used with race engines, and if so, what?


Supercharging is as old as the internal combustion engine itself. It's an interesing story... and probably one for another thread. Anyway, the first application of supercharging in an automobile was Chadwick, circa 1908.

EDIT: to that last statement I should add "is commonly held to be." I am a devout coward about making claims of historical firsts.

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#20 McGuire

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 15:19

Originally posted by MPea3


Which leads me to one more question if I may. Did he make his own intercooler - or have it made for him - or did he use a piece built for something else and adapt it?


The man behind Lockhart's intercooler was Zenas Weisel, along with his brother John Weisel. Zenas Weisel was a trained engineer who wrote his master's thesis (Berkley) on aircraft supercharging.

#21 McGuire

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 15:27

Originally posted by B Squared
My question is; how does one separate fact from fancy in the thousands of books & magazines that I've acquired over these same 45 years? Should I even comment on any issue that may come up, if I'm relying on a written source in my library? Or should I only comment on events that I was attending, so I know that I'm passing on truths? I certainly do not want to be a party to the passing on of a myth or untruth.

Brian


There lies the crucial value of primary sources and original research. When one relies on secondary sources, there is always the danger of perpetuating untruths and mistruths.

Another thing to consider: Every time a story is repeated, even by the most conscientious minstrel, it changes at least a tiny bit. The general tendency is that with each retelling, the brush grows a little broader.

#22 ReWind

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 16:36

Originally posted by McGuire
The man behind Lockhart's intercooler was Zenas Weisel, along with his brother John Weisel. Zenas Weisel was a trained engineer who wrote his master's thesis (Berkley) on aircraft supercharging.

Did the Weisel brothers hail from Paulin, Ohio?

If so, it would mean in those days they were YOUNG!
Zenas Virgil Weisel, b. 10 March 1901, d. 07 June 1982
John Levi Weisel, b. 27 August 1904, d. 06 March 1994

Or were they totally different people?

#23 fines

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 17:05

That has to be them! Didn't know however, that they were from Ohio, too! Although I always thought, for no apparent reason, that Zenas was the younger...

Reinhard, you with your genealogy wizardry, could you please take a look at the "Ultimate Toll..." thread, and my question about Vic Spooner? :cat: :cat: :cat:

#24 McGuire

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 19:21

A quick search shows seven patents awarded to Zenas V. Weisel for supercharging, air conditioning, and automatic transmissions.

#25 B Squared

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 20:58

The Wright brothers were two of seven children born to Milton Wright (1828–1917) and Susan Catherine Koerner (1831–1889). Wilbur Wright was born near Millville, Indiana in 1867; Orville in Dayton, Ohio in 1871.

On the non-mechanical side of things, I have a question; does anyone have an idea how the "Milton Wright as a mentor" notion get started? Surely Mr. Wright had to have been a somewhat celebrated public figure, at least in this region of the Midwest. I'm wondering if these assertions were ever made prior to Frank's death or if it was a media creation of the period to enhance the reputation. Since Frank was indeed getting these nationally recognized accolades, was it a Hearst styled hype? I'd be interested in finding out when this relationship was first advanced in a story.

By the way, love the mechanical info too. Thank you McGuire for your logical suggestions.

Brian

#26 ReWind

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 06:45

Originally posted by fines
Reinhard, you with your genealogy wizardry, could you please take a look at the "Ultimate Toll..." thread, and my question about Vic Spooner? :cat: :cat: :cat:

No wizardry, just searching the Social Security Death Index and googling.
Sorry, I don't have a clue about Vic Spooner. I would suggest to send a PM to the likes of Richie Jenkins and Jim Thurman.

#27 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 17:15

MISC. Dear Mr. Ferner. My statement that Lockhart was born in Cleveland, OH is taken from a 1926-1928 newspaper. I noticed however at the time (i.e. 1981) that it didn't jibe with Borgeson (GOLDEN AGE..., 1966, page 241), who lists Dayton, OH; but his assertion is a secondary source. Between the two, I picked the earlier newspaper reference. I don't really know, if either is correct. Primary sources can be in error too. There are no guarantees. And, of course, everything I have ever said or written about automobile racing before 1953 is also, unfortunately, a secondary source. That's just the nature of the beast.

If Frank was born in Cleveland, he could have had no connection with the Wright brothers. It is worth pointing out too, that Wilbur Wright died in 1912, when Lockhart was only nine. The Wrights were from Dayton, and their bicycle shop still survives and now resides in Greenfield Village (i.e. Dearborn, MI). It was moved there c. 1928/29. It is my understanding that the city of Dayton wanted the Wright's shop returned to Dayton, but the Greenfield Village authorities refused to give it up. So the city of Dayton instead built a replica on its original location!

My source for Frank beginning his racing career at San Luis Obispo in 1923 is Babe Stapp. I asked Stapp when he began racing and he gave me that date saying, "I and Frank Lockhart began racing on exactly the same day, July 4, 1923, at San Luis Obispo."

Myron Stevens, who read the above article, told me that Frank's middle initial wasn't "S". "I never heard of that before", he said. But in at least two autographed photos that Lockhart signed, it looks like an "S" to me. Anyway that's where I obtained it.

Acknowledgment. I have availed myself of "ReWind's" data of Sept. 20, 2008 about the Weisel brothers middle names and their dates, and incorporated it into the older 1981 McMaken/Printz writeup.

Harry Miller didn't manufacture "intercoolers", not at first, anyway. So the various teams had to make their own. The Lockhart/Weisel type intercooler however was considered superior to all the others. The "best in the business" as Louis Meyer told me. Even the two Duesenberg brothers got into "intercooling" act also.

As to Brian's questions of Sept. 20, 2008, they pertain to all historical research. I might later in a "PERSONAL NOTE" address them, so far as my own experiences are concerned.

Sincerely and Thanks, everyone!

#28 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 20:14

FRANK S. LOCKHART (cont.-2) That was the idea and it worked. Throughout 1927, Lockhart's rear drive 91 cubic inch Miller ran with this new and secret contrivance or device. Frank tried to keep the intercooler's use hidden for as long as he could, but in racing, nothing that increases performance can be kept unknown for very long. By the end of 1927, Lockhart's secret was out.

During the time trials at Culver City (March 6, 1927) Frank set a new one lap qualification record of 144.2 mph for all American oval tracks and all cars, regardless of piston displacement. Then later at Atlantic City (May 5, 1927) Lockhart upped this to 147.729 mph! At Indianapolis (May 26, 1927) he set a new one lap record of 120.918 mph and a new four lap mark of 120.100 mph. This was the first occasion when anyone had gotten oven 120 mph at the Speedway.

In the race itself, he led laps 1-61 and 92-119, but retired on the 120th circuit with a broken connecting rod. The Miller front drive models were generally considered faster and superior in design than the more mundane and less expensive Miller rear-drive models such as Lockhart campaigned and continued to use.

But as sensational as all that was, it was perhaps upstaged and eclipsed by Frank's performance in the same car on April 13, 1927 at Muroc Dry Lake (Mojave Desert), California, which is located about 65 miles north of Los Angeles. In a rather confined area Lockhart averaged 164.285 mph in a two way trial, running through a one mile speed trap. Going against the wind he was clocked at 157.549 mph and with the wind at his back, at an astonishing 171.021. (In such records only the average of two times clocked in opposite directions is ever considered an official record.) All with a vehicle powered by a 91 cubic inch engine! It seemed almost a miracle.

This feat put new ideas and thoughts into Lockhart's head. What if one built a small, light, and streamlined vehicle with about double the horsepower? What if one had also the advantage of a larger area for a faster flying start through the speed traps? Wouldn't such a car and circumstances allow speeds up to the 220 to 240 mph range? Why, one could easily become the holder of the World's Land Speed record! Such were Lockhart's conclusions. Frank now decided to construct just such a car and capture the land speed record for the U.S.

Meanwhile Lockhart continued to run in the major 1927 AAA races. The second half of the 1927 schedule witnessed Frank winning Championship events staged at the Altoona 200 (Sept. 5), Charlotte 25 and 50 (Sept. 19), and the Salem 65 and 75 (Oct. 12). Frank ran 2nd to Peter DePaolo in the Championship Salem 200 held on July 4. In the major AAA non-Championship ranked 100 mile dirt track events Lockhart reigned supreme winning at Detroit (June 5), Kalamazoo (Aug. 8), Toledo (Aug. 21), Syracuse (Sept. 3), and Cleveland (Sept. 25).

At the Cleveland North Randall track (Sept. 25), Frank set 101 new AAA records for a flat one mile dirt track in one day! First he set a new one lap time of 38.94 seconds (i.e. 92.45 mph) during the qualifications and then, in the race itself, by leading every lap in record time. The former one lap qualification mark had been held by Ralph DePalma, set at Syracuse on Sept. 4, 1926, at 41.38 seconds or 86.98 mph. The former 100 mile race records were formerly and partly owned by DePalma, from 1 to 25 miles. Thereafter from 50 to 100 miles they were the property of Tommy Milton, set at Syracuse, on Sept. 15, 1923. Milton's 100 mile 1923 clocking had been one hour, 15 minutes, and .33 seconds (80.0 mph). Frank's new 100 mile record posting was one hour, 14 minutes, and 14.5 seconds (80.817 mph).

In the final 1927 AAA National point standings, Frank's ranking was 2nd, although he had gained no Championship points from the high point awarding Indianapolis 500 mile contest.

On July 26, 1927 Frank announced to the world in Indianapolis that he would begin building a land speed record car to break Henry Segrave's world's mark of 203.790 mph set on March 29, 1927 at Daytona Beach, FL. Among the personnel who worked on the design and construction of the car were John and Zenas Weisel, Ernie Olson (was still alive in Dec. 1977 and was then listed at age 86), Jean Marcenac (d. Feb. 14, 1965 at 69), and Myron Stevens (1901-1988). Fred E. Moscovics, then the President of the Stutz Motor Company of America, raised $35,000 of the total cost of about $80,000 and put the facilities of the Stutz factory, located in Indianapolis, at the disposal of Lockhart. For these reasons the new machine, built in the Stutz plant, was named the Stutz Black Hawk though, as some wag pointed out, it was painted completely white.

In the early month of 1928 there was a great deal of activity and interest with regard to the land speed record. In addition to Lockhart, Malcolm Campbell (1885-1948), Ray Keech (1900-1929), and Henry Segrave (1896-1930) all had land speed record machines ready to go. Compared to the vehicles of his three rivals Lockhart's Stutz Black Hawk was a mere toy. Some comparisons;

Campbell's Napier: Piston Displacement-1360 cu. ins.; Wheelbase-145.5 inches; Weight-5600 pounds; Brake Horsepower: 900; Number Of Cylinders-12; Power to Weight Ratio-6.2 lb. per hp;Tire Size-35 x 5.; and Bore And Stroke-5.5 x 5 1/8 inches.

Keech's Triplex: Piston Displacement-4950 cu. ins.; Wheelbase-175.5 inches; Weight-8000 pounds; Brake Horsepower-1200; Number Of Cylinders-36; Power to Weight Ratio-6.66 lb. per hp; Tire Size-36 x 6.5.; Bore And Stroke-5 x 7 inches.

Segrave's Sunbeam: Piston Displacement-2760 cu. ins.; Wheelbase-141 inches; Weight-8000 pounds; Brake Horsepower-1000; Number Of Cylinders-24; Power to Weight Ratio-8 lb. per hp; Tire Size-36 x 6.75.; Bore And Stroke-4 13/16 x 5 5/16 inches.

Lockhart's Stutz: Piston Displacement: 181 cu. ins.; Wheelbase-112 inches; Weight-3000 pounds; Brake Horsepower-385; Number Of Cylinders-16; 7.8 lb per hp; Tire Size-30 x 5; Bore And Stroke-2 3/16 x 3 inches!!!

#29 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 11:58

FRANK S. LOCKHART (cont.-3) Lockhart's tiny Stutz Black Hawk special was an engineering tour de force. Its power source or engine consisted of two Miller 91's motors mounted on a common crankcase with the angle between the two banks being 30 degrees. The horsepower rating was given as about 385 at 7000 rpm. The supercharged engine utilized two external intercoolers which formed part of the top front body shell. The whole car was streamlined, including the axles. All four wheels were enclosed in special streamlined metal spats. The total frontal area for the machine was only 10.26 square feet. The vehicle had no radiator, using instead 75 pounds of crushed ice as the coolant through which the water circulated.

The machine was taken to Daytona Beach, FL for the international speed trials set for February 15 to 23, 1928. Also present were Campbell with his Napier and Keech with the Triplex. Segrave was missing, being in England, making preparations for an attempt on the world's speed record on water. Keech's Triplex was barred on February 15 from any official land speed record attemps by the AAA because the huge car lacked a reverse gear which was explicitly called for by the rule book, but Keech was allowed to make unofficial runs.

On February 19, Campbell completed two successful trials and raised the land speed record to 206.956 mph. Campbell's speed against the wind was 199.667 mph and with it, 214.797 mph. The next day Lockhart tried to better Campbell's new mark and Frank ran one speed trial against the wind at 200.22 mph, but clutch trouble developed on his return trip, with the wind and his attempt here failed. The rules stated that the two trials had to happen within 20 minutes of each other.

Knowing that the AAA would close the trials down after February 23, Lockhart tried to break Campbell's new world record again on February 22, despite adverse weather conditions. The beach was covered with mist that reduced the visibility to less than a quarter of a mile. Frank at first declined to run but then at the instigation and prodding of the crowd changed his mind. As his car approached the five kilometer post of the speed trap on his northern run and when moving at about 225 mph, the machine swerved sharply towards the left where the crowded spectators were located. Then the "Stutz" moved to the right and headed towards the open sea.

The Stutz Black Hawk first hit a four foot wave and then skipped over the water's surface like a stone for 40 feet. The car rolled over before coming to a halt, upright in the breaking surf a hundred yards off shore. Lockhart was pinned inside by his legs in the now almost completely submerged vehicle and just narrowly escaped drowning. Breakers swept over his head while he was in this defenseless position, semi-conscious. Scores from the crowd rushed through the surf to be the very first to reach the trapped pilot, but many were beaten back by the waves. Finally a small mob gathered around the car and pushed it out of the water.

Frank could only be extricated from the wrecked vehicle by the use of chisels, drills, and blow torches as he was held fast by the crushed in frame. A thorough examination of Lockhart disclosed that he was suffering mostly from shock and had not sustained a broken arm as was first thought. Three tendons in his left wrist had been severed but outside of some severe bruises and cuts, Frank was basically okay.

In the hospital Frank said, "I was feeling my way, wide open in the mist and started instinctively pulling the car higher on the beach, away from the ocean. When I struck soft sand, I knew I was too high and pulled her down again- but too quickly. The next thing I knew I was in the water." Frank's business manager, William F. Sturm, said, "Looking at the traces left by the car, it is reasonable to suppose that when he could not see where he was going, he applied the brakes, skidded and turned toward the ocean."

Lockhart immediately expressed the intention to repair the damaged car as quickly as possible for yet another assault on the land speed record. It had in fact, not been as badly damaged as it had looked at first. It was taken back to the Stutz factory in Indianapolis and rebuilt with the help of Jean Marcenac.

#30 B Squared

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 12:03

I personally think that the Stutz Black Hawk, which is described, is one of the most beautiful cars of that era. Maybe any era. I liked it from the first time I discovered a photo of it. Thanks for your story Mr. Printz.

Brian

#31 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 17:35

FRANK S. LOCKHART (cont-4) The speed trials at Daytona Beach resumed in late April 1928, with Lockhart's rebuilt Stutz Black Hawk, Keech's Triplex and Wilbur Shaw's 4 cylinder Whippet. Shaw had tried to set a new world's land speed record for 4 cylinder cars during the earler 1928 Daytona trials held on February 15 to 23 but had been unsuccessful as his engine had caught fire during the run on February 23, 1928. Wilbur had deliberately driven his car into the sea to extinguish the flames but had ruined the motor in the process. The previous mark Shaw was trying to better was still held by Bob Burman at 141.732 mph set on April 23, 1911 in a Blitzen type Benz. When Burman recorded that speed it had been a new land speed record. Shaw failed again in April, in his only completed two way trial, to break Burman old 1911 record. Wilbur's two way average of 134.831 mph here, wasn't even close.

Ray Keech's Triplex, built and designed by J.M. White of Phildelphia, now returned also, with the required reverse gear. Both Keech and Lockhart had retuned hoping to better Malcolm Campbell's land speed record of 206.956 mph set on February 19. Mr. Malcolm Campbell himself had long since returned to England amidst the loud and clamorous applause of his countrymen.

On April 21, Keech failed to match Campbell's mark, as Ray posted a 202.702 mph average for a two way run, while Lockhart and Shaw made preliminary test runs in their vehicles. It was Frank's first ride in the Stutz Black Hawk since his bad mishap of February 22, 1928. Then on April 22, Keech raised the land speed record to 207.552 mph in the huge and monstrous Triplex, powered by three World War I Liberty V12 aircraft engines. Lockhart tried also tried again to record a new record but fell short, turning in a speed of 201.45 mph with the wind and 184.52 mph against it.

On April 25, after taking three preliminary runs timed at 147.23 mph, 193.34 mph, and 203.50 mph respectively, Frank decided the time had come to try for a new record. Lockhart's third trial run of 203.50 mph had been made against the wind and as it was possible to add 15 mph when running with the wind, the situation looked very favorable for Frank to post a new world mark.

Lockhart started the fourth and record trial at about 7:59 a.m. and when he was about 500 yards from the first official timing trap the right rear tire blew. Frank was traveling at an estimated 225 mph at the time and the car went into a 57 foot sideways skid and then took seven bounces ranging in length from 33 to 140 feet. On the last bounce Lockhart was thrown out and he was found 51 feet from the wrecked machine, breathing heavily and bleeding profusely.

Frank had been thrown almost directly in front of his wife, Ella, who was one of the first to reach him. Lockhart was taken to the Halifax Hospital where C. C. Bohannon said he arrived pulseless and pronounced him dead at 8:35 a.m.

Lockhart was a small man with a boyish face weighing about 135 pounds. He didn't enjoy most normal forms of entertainment and he didn't drink, smoke, or swear, for he regarded such things as an idle waste of time. Lockhart was totally dedicated to the speed game and when he wasn't actually racing or tinkering with the cars, he seemed to be thinking about them. "We have seldom an opportunity of observing, either in active or speculative life, what effect may be produced, or what obstacles may be surmounted, by the force of a single object," wrote English historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), in a totally different context. But Lockhart seems to be an example of what Mr. Gibbon was taking about.

At the time of his death, Lockhart's mother was almost totally destitute and Frank couldn't help her much because every dime of his own was tied up in racing equipment and the Stutz Black Hawk. Frank died temporarily penniless and his family didn't have enough money to transport the body back to Caliifornia or to bury him.

Frank's two 91 Miller rear drive racing cars, equipped with the Lockhart/Weisel type intercoolers, passed into the hands of Ray Keech and Louis Meyer for 1928 and 1929, and dominated the AAA National Championship seasons for both those years, or as long as the 91 cubic inch AAA Championship formula lasted.

No one has ever been more highly regarded by his fellow drivers and mechanics as Frank Lockhart. It's hard to believe, even at this late date, that Frank was only 25 years old at his death and ran less than two full seasons (1926 and 1927) on the AAA National Championship circuit; such was his impact on U.S. racing history and legend. If there exists a Christ like figure in all of American/U.S. racing, it has to be Frank S. Lockhart.

That's about all I could find out about Lockhart.

#32 David M. Woodhouse

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 18:02

An interesting note: The "Stutz Black Hawk" engine did not die with Lockhart, but resurfaced in a Speedway car that Gordon Schroeder built and entered at Indianapolis for bandleader Spike Jones. Sam Hanks put it on the outside of the front row for the 1946 500 - pretty good showing for an engine nearly 20 years old. Unfortunately the car went out early and finished 31st. I believe that the car is now in the Speedway Museum.

Gordon always had interesting stuff in his shop, artist Joe Henning lived right upstairs, and cutaway artist Dave Kimble shared a studio with photographer and model maker Neil Nissing just down the block. About 20 years ago, Gordon was showing a few of us some of the parts for his Schroeder midget engine, a lovely Offy-like DOHC device with a four valve top end that Gordon claimed flowed twice the mixture volume of an Offenhauser. During the tour, he reached under the workbench and pulled out a large piece, announcing proudly; "This is the spare crankcase from Frank Lockhart's Beach Car". I was impressed!

Woody

#33 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 19:59

The early history of the Lockhart V16 Indianapolis machine, using the ex-Stutz Black Hawk motor, was related by McMaken and myself, on the thread "1946 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP", on post 108 of 8 Dec. 2006. Gordon Schroeder had the car (Miller/Stevens) only after Alden Sampson II. Alden was its original owner and builder. Schroeder bought the car from Sampson and entered it at Indianapolis in 1946, with Sam Hanks as its pilot.

I knew Gordon Schroeder also. My biggest memory of him occurred in the Indianapolis pits. He walked up to me and said, "Hey, don't you even know the difference between a Championship dirt car and a roadster?" Well of course I did, having lived through most of that entire roadster era, 1952-1964. 1953, at age 12, was my first year at the Speedway. What Gordon was talking about was the fact that INDY CAR RACING magazine for March 1985 ran an article of mine with a photograph on top of page 49 which pictured a USAC Championship type dirt track car. The photo caption however stated that the vehicle was a roadster. But I myself never had seen, either the photo or its caption, until I received a copy of the magazine. This error was not mine at all, but all you can do is cringe about such things. I told Gordon what had happened but I don't think he quite believed me!

Most of the SCCA crowd and many others could never get it straight, that just because an Indy car had its engine in the front doesn't make it a roadster. Frank Kurtis introduced the roadster type vehicle in 1952 with California oil man Howard B. Keck's (1913-1996) "Fuel Injection Special" (Offenhauser/Kurtis), which won Indy in both 1953 and 1954 when piloted by Bill Vukovich. The "roadster" had the unique, new, and novel feature of the drive shaft being placed ALONGSIDE the driver and not, as generally was the case hitherto, THROUGH HIS LEGS. The gain was a lower car and better weight distribution. The roadster concept worked on the paved tracks all right but not on the dirt surface ovals.

When SCCA people started coming to Indianapolis in 1963, to watch Dan Gurney and Jim Clark in their Ford-Lotus cars, all the competing front engine cars in the races, there and then, were roadsters, which greatly helped blur the distinction. The SCCA and others, came only after the Indy "roadster" revolution, which had taken place during the period 1952-1957. So they really didn't know what a roadster was. All they knew, c. 1963, was that every front engined car at Indianapolis was called a roadster! Ergo, they thought, all front engined cars were roadsters.

I was so upset about all the people I met making this same mistake, that in the 1981 McMaken/Printz short history of AAA Championship racing, I specifically mentioned that Kurtis had introduced the roadster type car in 1952. (See the PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES ANNAL, 1981, top of page 134.)

In my Milton article for the March 1986 issue of INDY CAR RACING, the editors or typesetters changed my "Duesenberg 8" into a "Duesenberg V8" and my "Culver City" into "Culver City, WY". Both on page 22. Any knowledgeable U.S. racing expert would have branded me a clown. The Duesenbergs never built a V8 automobile engine; their forte after 1918 was always the "straight 8" motor. And who doesn't know that the Culver City board speedway, was in California?

Actually I learned from this, that the author himself, is not always responsible for the errors appearing in his printed and published texts. I didn't really realize that before, until I became its victim.

#34 B Squared

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 16:19

"In my Milton article for the March 1986 issue of INDY CAR RACING, the editors changed my "Duesenberg 8" into a "Duesenberg V8" and my "Culver City" into "Culver City, WY". Both on page 22. Any knowledgeable U.S. racing expert would have branded me a clown. The Duesenbergs never built a V8 automobile engine; their forte after 1918 was always the "straight 8" motor. And who doesn't know that Culver City board speedway, was in California?

Actually I learned from this, that the author himself, is not always responsible for the errors appearing in his printed and published texts. I didn't really realized that before, until I became its victim."

Mr. Printz, It would be absolutely maddening to do all the legwork to get the facts of a story correct, and then have editors think they know better & change your words. I'll try to be more forgiving to the authors as I read mistakes at times.

In a similar vein, I know that when I went to Akron, Oh to compete in the Chevrolet Soap Box Derby national championship in 1972, I was interviewed & written up in the local paper at home. When I got home about 8-9 days later & read the articles; I swear I would have slapped the s--- out of myself, if I'd actually said some of the smart ass answers that this writer attributed to me! I must have been far too dull & tried to demonstrate sportsmanship - many liberties were taken that made me look like a jerk. A valuable lesson learned.

Thanks, Brian

#35 john glenn printz

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 16:17

QUICK NOTE: With regard to my post above, No. 27, I now know were I got obtained my information about Frank being born in Cleveland, OH. My source here is the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER newspaper of June 2, 1926, page 20. It states that Lockhart was born in Cleveland on March 8, 1903.

#36 john glenn printz

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 19:01

LOCKHART'S BIRTH PLACE AND BIRTH DATE. A BIG, BIG ERROR ON MY PART AND A MAJOR CORRECTION!

I, more than 30 years ago, in an annotation I made in a copy of Borgeson's "GOLDEN AGE" wrote that Lockhart was born in Cleveland, OH on March 8, 1903: my source being the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER for June 2, 1926, on page 20. I recently came across this notation while looking for something else and posted it directly above.

I however soon noticed that some authorities list Frank's birth as occurring on April 8, 1903, so I wondered if I had set down the wrong month. I decided to see if I could find my original copy of the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER article. It took me only ten minutes, last night, to find it. As it turns out the birth date given is indeed March 8, 1908. But...the notice here affirms that Frank was born in Dayton, OH, not Cleveland OH! So somehow I put a false notation in my Borgeson book. I probably used it when I wrote my Lockhart article posted above.

In any case here is the entire June 2, 1926 piece or paragraph, exactly as it appears in the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER on page 20, (quote);

"LOCKHART DAYTON BOY

Victor in Indianapolis Race Was Born in Ohio.

DAYTON, O., June 1.-(AP)- Franklyn Lockhardt, winner of the automobile races at Indianapolis yesterday, was here born in Dayton March 8, 1903. He resided here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chester Lockhardt, until their removal to California, when Franklyn was seven years old."

NOTE: On June 15, 2010 I corrected my above text, where I had wrongly stated that Frank was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Edited by john glenn printz, 16 June 2010 - 20:43.


#37 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 19:43

Lockhart deserves a memorial page but for the life of me I've been unable to trace his funeral details on the Net. Can anyone help?

#38 B Squared

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 00:42

It would be very interesting to somehow find out about the possibility of the alleged association between young Lockhart and the father of the Wright brothers. Thank you for the info Mr. Printz.

Brian

#39 aldo

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 22:37

I came through this thread only recently.
I researched Frank Lockhart quite extensively in Daytona and Indianapolis finding many articles on him which clean most of the tales about his beach runs, his death and the aftermath of the final run. I also found the original negatives of many photos on him and had prints done.
I've to check what I have, yet by sure Frank's widow wasn't left penniless. The Indy racers and the whole Frank's estate were worth $ 10,000, according to Indianapolis dailies. Everything was sold.
Frank was escorted back to Indianapolis by the Stutz top management, the widow and Bill Sturm, who acted as his manager. He got a hero funeral in Indy.
After the first crash, Frank had a severed tendon in one of the wrists, which made him rather unable to steering correctly the beach car: he was declared unfit to drive again in his final run, yet he insisted for it as he perfectly knew that his car was no longer a match for Campbell and the coming Golden Arrow.
The Black Hawk, though being a marvel of engineering and construction, was inherently wrong in aerodynamics and in vehicle dynamics. It could have worked in a windless environment and on a different surface, yet definitely not on a beach with constant sidewinds. Its theoretical performances were wrongly computed in the wind tunnel tests because the model of the Miller racing car used for comparison was apparently asymmetrical and larger than it should have been.
Nothing of the above even scratches the value and image of one of the greatest persons in the whole history of automobile racing.

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#40 fines

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 23:02

If his racing cars sold for $10,000 then his widow was being had!

#41 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 05:15

Quote from above:
"If his racing cars sold for $10,000 then his widow was being had!"

Sometimes we need a generous dose of reality check medicine. Particularly for those too young to recall the value of a dollar.

According to US Taxation Department data, in 1928 only some 375 thousand Americans had incomes in excess of $10,000. 521 thousand made between $5K and $10K. 3.1 million made between $3k and $5K. All others made less than $3K.

$10,000 was quite a sum of money for the day and would have sustained his widow for quite some time, measuring into years depending on circumstances.

Regards

#42 fines

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:57

:D You want a reality check? If 375,000 thousand Americans had incomes of $10,000 plus, I'd guess Lockhart was amongst them, having won roughly $100,000 in purses for 1926/27 alone, no?

A standard Miller 91 could be had for $10,000 in 1928, Lockhart had two of those, highly (and expensively!) modified! Plus a LSR car, with two Miller engines, easily in excess of $20,000 and more.

I am well versed in nineteentwenties currency values, probably better than in today's :drunk:

Sure, a widow could easily live out the rest of her days with $10,000, that's probably why she was had by those brokering the deal, figuring "Ah, that's quite enough for her, and it leaves a few crumbs fer'us..."

#43 aldo

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 23:18

Adding something about Franck Lockhart.
I have a 1996 original copy of the death certificate filed on Apr 27, 1928 by Ms. Ruth Crosby at the Bureau of Vital Statistics under no. 6728. Handwriting is not 100% clear, unfortunately.
It it clear that Frank was born in Dayton, Ohio on March 8, 1908. Father's name is written "Caspar". Mother's name appears like "Carrie Busganny", born in Alabama.
Once again, there is no mention of the maiden name of his wife Ella.
Place of Burial is clearly Los Angeles on April 28, 1928. There is also the name of the Daytona undertaker, quite difficult to understand: "Bingham Inalay(?) Mosit(?) Co.".
The place of death is written as "Racing Beach" in the city of Daytona Beach. It seems to mean that he came already dead at the hospital.
Sorry for dealing with some macabre facts, yet this is history, now.

#44 Jim Dillon

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:34

Although Frank put most of his earnings into his racecars and left his widow with little money, I tend to agree with Michael that if he only got $10,000 that such a sum may have been a bit short. There is something about the car that captivates me. Although the behemoths were ready to pounce on the records, it nevertheless was an amazing record car in my estimation.

If the car still existed this is what it would look like at Road America. I just happened to pick the appropriate sweatshirt that day.

I also have a few pics of it in my shop, the reproduced blueprint signed by incomparable Myron Stevens. What a great car-Jim
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#45 Joe Bosworth

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 17:27

I refer those who are interested to a web site;

http://www.nationalv.../Miller1927.pdf

that has a copy of a Miller Booklet of Information for 1927. It is filled with interesting bits and photos of Miller race cars and engines, prices and a lot of performance data including HP data and race results.

The booklet pricing info shows new car and engine prices somewhatr reduced from those quoted elsewhere in this thread. It also appears that the cars sold at the time of Frank's death were likely a couple of years old.

My experience from having bought couple year old race cars of established high pedigree is that you pay in the range of 1/3 to 1/2 of new car price including spares. (These include an ex- LeMans Lotus team car that was exceptionally tricked out by ACBC personally, A Lister Chev and a near team owned Brabham BT15. Not Indy cars but near enough the pedigrees to establish a pattern).

Based on my experience and the Miller booklet information and if the information is reliable it bears out that the price received by his widow was not too far out of line.

It is aslo inconceivable to me that Frank's widow would not have been surrounded by good advisors/friends that would have provided advice that would have kept the sharks at bay. If nothing else, if $10K really was a gross rip-off, a fellow competitor would have offered more; (at least in my own personal experiences of knowing widowed wives of race drivers).

Regards

#46 fines

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 20:04

:clap: Classy find! :clap:

Although, w/o wishing to start a "fight", I cannot find your reference to the reduced prices, i.e. on p17 it clearly says "$10,000 plus tax" for the complete Miller 91. Perhaps you are being confused by the price quoted for the Miller 91 Marine engine ($6,000), but that is only the engine, and it is slightly different from the racing car engine (e.g. it's 50 pounds heavier).

Yes, Lockhart's cars were both "a couple of years old", i.e. built in 1926, but as I said, Frank had them heavily modified, and they were the fastest cars in the world. Trust me, any potential buyer worth his salt would have prefered them over a brand spanking new car, and as it was they were picked up rather fast by Messrs Yagle and Sampson for drivers Ray Keech and Lou Meyer to virtually annihilate all competition over the next two years!

So, even if we use your formula for depreciation to the fullest (i.e. 50 %), and take the (presumably) reduced price for the Marine engine into account, and ignore any spares or usable leftovers from the LSR car, that still makes two cars for $5,000 each, plus two engines (we know they have survived, they reappeared in racing some years later) at $3,000 each, I make that $16,000 still...;)

As for fellow competitors offering more, that is perhaps ignoring the financial realities a bit, since no other customer would ever again step up to buy a new Miller 91 before the advent of the "Junk Formula" - the demand was simply satisfied, the market "dried up"!

#47 circa1939

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 04:20

Anyone have any further photos of Frank Lockhart's early dirt track car??

I'm looking for more photos and info on this car,...
http://www.jalopyjou...42&d=1194840287


Thanks in advance!! :up:

#48 fines

fines
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Posted 15 February 2009 - 16:41

That's the McDowell/Frontenac, built by Ray McDowell and Lockhart in about 1923. Engine was a Fronty SR head on a Model T Ford, 2896cc, 4 cylinders, two spark plugs per cylinder, two inlet ports and two carburettors. It's a bit difficult to see, but there appears to be no exhaust - actually, it looks like an intake manifold, but the carbs were on the other side! :confused:

I have seen a few other pics of the car, mainly in the "Legion Ascot" book by John Lucero. The chassis is very simple, but I cannot determine its origin. Front axle is Model T, radiator probably too, and there are no rear brakes. Simple, cheap and effective - quite typical for its time.

#49 Jim Thurman

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 18:42

For those that asked, Frank Lockhart is interred in a mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. I'm told the area is private and cordoned off.

Exactly how he wound up there, or when, I'm not certain. His widow visited Los Angeles in June, which was noted in the Los Angeles Times: 'Mrs. Lockhart also expressed regret over the current rumor of difficulty in settling Lockhart's estate and added that she expects it will be closed within a week or two. The estate will net about $20,000, she said." - Los Angeles Times, June 30, 1928.

#50 Ivan Saxton

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:06

Obviously he had talent as an engineer, even though Harry Miller may not have appreciated that Frank made his own conrods for his Miller engines which were reliable.
Probably Lockhart's involvement with Stutz had benefit to them other than a promotional one. Mark Howell is no longer about to ask what were his sources, but he credited Lockhart with involvement with developement of the production Stutz Black Hawk 2 seat speedster body. These were very different to the previous LeBaron speedsters, as related and pictured in Hugo Pfau's book "The Custom Body Era". ( I believe that one of those still exists, out of about a dozen made).
There are two matters relating to the mechanical design of the overhead camshaft straight 8 Stutz engines which may reflect his involvement shortly before he died.
The engine numbers of my two BB series engines are 91845, and 92335. The respective casting dates on the cylinder blocks are early March, 1928, and about mid April 1928. The significant difference between these two engines is that the earlier one has a centre main bearing cap with a single reinforceing rib. The later engine has a stronger centre main cap, with two ribs. Both these are considerably stronger than the three intermediate caps on either side, before and aft.
Now, Geoff Ringrose in Sydney has been running a BB Stutz in club events for very many years. The engine number is very close to my # 91845. One day on a club run his engine developed a knock; so he shut it straight down and trailered it home. The centre main bearing cap was broken.
My third 1928 engine is not a BB series, but it is a BB pattern casting, 1/8"larger bore like the M series, and the word "SPECIAL" cast upside down on the left side. Engine number is DV30004, and the cylinder head is DV32. John Bentley, in his 1957 book "Great American Automobiles",(page 261), quotes Stutz in a statement relating to the public release of the DV32 that there had been two years of extensive testing on the Speedway and over desert and mountain roads of southwest USA. All the main bearing caps of this engine are massively strong with much longer bolts. I apologise that my opinion is not that of an engineer, but of an agricultural scientist, but those caps are probably three times as strong as the standard ones. If you think of the lead time in planning, design, and building of that prototype DV32, it is highly likely that Frank Lockhart was involved before he was still there. Clearly Stutz became aware that they had a problem with that centre main bearing cap, but the overkill on the main bearings of the DV32 prototype looks like Frank Lockhart's influence.
This matter of the main bearings may be very relevant to the failure of the Stutz Black Hawk in the match race against the Hispano at Indianapolis. If the centre main bearing cap broke and they decided to keep going to save face, it would likely be only a matter of time before low oil pressure cause conrod and other failures. I understand that Fred Moscovics was always very reluctant the rest of his life to talk about anything like this.
( Incidentally, I became fairly familiar with Hispano Suizas over many years. When I came home from university in Melbourne from the early 1960s on Friday nights, I would regularly go round to Stuart Middlehurst's place to help him work on his Hispanos. They are beautifully built, but I liked the Alfonso much better than the 6 1/2 litre OHC, and it was much more fun to ride in. Stuart asked me to take care of his 37.2 while he went for an extended trip to Europe; and he told me to drive it as if it was my own. I probably drove it about 5 miles, because, brakes aside, I did not like it as much as my L-head Mercer.)