Quint Meland's 1931 Ford
1931 Ford Model A roadster owned and campaigned by Carlsbad Oilers member Quint Meland of Oceanside, California. Quint campaigned the A/SR roadster with Jim Nelson and Dode Martin's Masters Auto Supply and Dragmaster team in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. In 2017 Quint told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama that each car in the team had a special name attached to it; "For example, Jim and Dode's two dragsters were The DragLiner and The DragMaster. Others were The DragStar, The DragCoupe, etc. My roadster was "The RoadStar". I was only 18 years old when asked to join the race team and the Oilers car club. How proud I Was!"
The Build Up
Quint bought the basic car, without an engine in 1956. "It was very rough and I spent countless hours in school auto shop and at my father's Signal gas station in Oceanside, California re-leading the welded-closed doors and repairing rusted-out body sections. The frame was from a 1929 Ford and the body was from a 1931 Ford. The body was channeled about 6" over the frame, and it was dressed up with a 1932 Ford grille shell. " Quint doesn't know the history of the car prior to him buying it, but he knew the owner had a motor in it and must have raced it at some point because it had a water pipe roll bar in it.
Ran Like a Stink
The spider gears in the 4:11 rear were welded for better traction, "Two driving wheels are better than one," Quint stated in 2017. The 1939 Ford transmission was gone through and worked fine. He only used 2nd and 3rd when racing, which seemed best. The first engine Quint installed in the car was a 3/8 x 3/8 Mercury Flathead; "I never raced the roadster with that engine, but it went like a stink! The car was still in patchy primer and looked just awful," Quint remembers.
School Auto Shop
The "new" era of Quint's roadster began when he bought a 1949 Oldsmobile 303 ci V8 engine. "It was in pieces, and I paid $75 for it." Quint bored it out .125 and stroked it by 1/4". "That gave me about 350 ci I think. I reworked the heads and installed a Howard F5 cam, lifters, etc. The induction was a six-carb 97 set up from Weiand DragStar, as memory serves me." A Schiefer clutch, dual Bendix fuel pumps and a hot ignition system completed the powerplant. Quint did all the engine work in school auto shop. "I continued to repair and prep the body and finally had the car running with the hot Olds installed in late 1957. My uncle, Oscar Hatle, was a master mechanic, and he helped me with the tech stuff. Oscar also went to the drags with me on many occasions, so I put his name on the roadster as a courtesy."
Quint's first trip to the strip was at the Paradise Mesa Drag Strip in 1957; "I was running 6.00x16 street tires since that is all I had. On my first pass, I turned 102.97 mph in 13:50 seconds, which set for a new record for A/SR. Then a bad thing happened; I lost my brakes and slid into a barbed wire fence at the end of the track! We got the car turned around, went back to the pit area and tightly wrapped bailing wire around the split hydraulic line, filled the reservoir and went back racing! I won my class, set the new record and came home with two trophies."
Carlsbad Oilers and The Dragmaster Team
After Paradise Mesa, Quint continued to work on the roadster's appearance, and eventually, he got it to a point where he could be proud towing it into the pit area. "My best time was 109.75 and 12:70 ET, which wasn't too bad 60 years ago! I ran in a class called Street Roadster (A/SR), so it needed lights, fenders and more." Quint owned the car from 1956 to 1961, and he only lost two races. He still believes he could have done better with a super pair of slicks and a faster shifting tranny. Quint was a member of the Carlsbad Oilers from 1958 to 1961, and he raced with the Dragmaster team; "Jim Nelson was our leader. I never raced the roadster on the street. The Oilers would have kicked my ass and then dropped me from the club!! I did plenty of street racing with my full race flathead in my 1939 Ford before I was an Oiler, though! The car never was my daily driver. I had a 1954 Buick, lowered and dual pipes. Nice car."
Quint sold the roadster in 1961 to fund his honeymoon with his late wife, Shirley; "I believe I sold the roadster to a guy by the name of Green. The sale price was $ 1,500 which seemed like a lot of cash back then. Wish I still had it!" n 2018 Quint was still an active hot rodder, owning two 1932 Ford roadsters, one which won the National Roadster Show in 1978. He was also a member of the Carlsbad Oilers, and he still raced with the club at events such as The Race of Gentlemen.
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