Woody Lee's 1924 Ford
Belly Pan and Tubular Frame
Woody's roadster was built for the lakes, and it featured a Franklin steering and a Novi front end with split wishbones used in conjunction with a tubular Ford axle. A tubular chassis was made of 2-inch Shelby seamless tubing. The chassis was covered by a full belly pan. Because Woody used a T roadster body, the power-weight ratio was better than if he had used a roadster body of later years. The hood and grille shell were made of aluminum, contributing further to the lightness. The grille is a mystery, and it looks identical to the grille found on the second iteration of the Novi Race Car. The roadster was given a simple and tasteful scallop paint job over the handcrafted nose and the hood. The scallop was outlined with a bold light line, and it is believed to be done by Tommy the Greek. Custom made nerf bars protected the front and rear of the car.
Woody ran the roadster at the 1951 Bonneville Speed Trials. By then he had installed a roll bar on the car. It was featured in several magazines while Woody owned it. According to those stories, the roadster was powered by a 1946 Mercury V-8 that had been bored 3 3/8 inches, stroked 4 1/8 inches, ported and relieved. The compression ratio was 9:1, and the final displacement was 268 cubic inches according to one story. Another story claimed that the total displacement was as much as 296 cubic inches. The engine was mounted well back in the frame, assuring better weight distribution. Special speed equipment included Navarro heads and a triple Navarro intake manifold, a Winfield cam, and a Harmon & Collins magneto. Woody had hit the 124 mph mark with the car when it was first featured in a magazine. Later on, it clocked 133.136 mph at the Bonneville Speed Trials, and 116 mph at the quarter mile drag races at Tracy, California. According to one of the magazine features, Woody had invested at least $3500 in the roadster.
Sold to Chuck Chenowth
By November 25, 1951, the roadster was owned by Chuck Chenowth of San Diego, California. Chuck owned it for a short period of time before he sold it off to an unknown buyer. Chuck drag raced the car at the Paradise Mesa Air Strip while he owned it.
Back to Woody
Ownership of the car if unknown from around 1954 to the mid 1960s. During this time the car wound up in the hands of Jim and Yvonne Ranger who were most notable for owning and racing the unlimited hydroplane “My Gypsy”. Yvonne was the grand-daughter of Horace Dodge and an heiress to the Dodge family estate.
Into the Darkness
In 1969 the car was purchased by a family friend Danny Gilmore of Covina, California as a retirement project. Danny passed away prior to working on the car, and it was handed down to his daughter where it was partially disassembled for storage, pushed in a corner of the garage, covered over with plywood, slot car track, and vanished into darkness for the next 45 years.
The Larry Neves Confusion
In August of 2013 Danny's daughter sold the car to Rob Johnson of Santa Ana, California. Rob waited 3 1/2 years to unearth the car from the garage. In 2014 the roadster was shown at the Grand National Roadster Show. The car was just cleaned up before the show, and shown in the same condition as it was parked. According to the display sign, the car was built by Jack Hagemann for Larry Neves in 1949. It was also wrongfully credited as the runner-up for the America's Most Beautiful Roadster award at the show.
Advertised for Sale by Sakowski Motors
Sold to Ray Evernham
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