Au­to­mo­tive Ar­chae­ol­ogy

Hot Rod - - Contents - hRyan Brutt

Horses usu­ally doesn’t have any­thing to do with hot rods, but at a shop in Chicago, we found a car un­like any­thing we had seen in our trav­els: a start­ing-line car for horse rac­ing. Of the 3,305 Buick Road­mas­ters built in 1954, this one was or­dered specif­i­cally for this pur­pose.

Un­like thor­ough­bred rac­ing, where the horses start from a fixed gate, the gate in har­ness rac­ing is mounted to a ve­hi­cle that starts the race by pulling away from the line of horses. The gates fold for­ward on the ve­hi­cle as it ac­cel­er­ates and then it turns off the track at the end of the straight­away, while the horses con­tinue around the turn.

No­body we spoke with knew the car’s his­tory, but the snow tires it used to claw its way through the mud were old. Sur­pris­ingly, there were other start­ing-line cars at this par­tic­u­lar auc­tion, and by com­par­i­son, this Road­mas­ter looked to have led a pretty easy life.

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