More on the Found Jalopy
In response to the questions posed by John Hayward about his 1933 Plymouth coupe (“Bringing Another One Back,” Scrapbook, March 2018), those mystery lights were actually or quite probably brake lights. Daytime racing back then was something of a rarity. Yes, there were races run on Sunday afternoons, but back then racing on a Sunday could be problematic due to local regulations and/or so called “blue laws” that tended to favor Sunday as a day of rest and peace, not a day to raise hell and make noise on a dirt track. To get around the Sunday prohibitions, promotors and track owners would resort to scheduling night races, usually on a Friday or Saturday, and then on a Sunday if they could find a county or municipality that had no legal objections to day meets on Sunday. Night racing came with one big problem. How would a driver know what the car ahead of him was about to do in a corner, particularly on the longer tracks like the
3⁄ and half-miles? They would mount brake lights, or a combination
8 brake and taillight, high on the sail panel or C -pillar to put them in plain sight of the trailing driver and keep them from being smashed if the guy behind you got into you in the corner while trying to push through for a pass.
On the matter of the car’s deceased engine and John’s plan to sub in a GMC powerplant: Most classes of “stock” cars or jalopies typically were built according to a rule book provided by the track owner or promotor. One rule that was pretty much universally enforced was about the engine. Ford in a Ford, Chev in a Chev, Chryco in a Chrysler/ Dodge, and so on. While using the Jimmie motor would get the vehicle moving, it just isn’t stock. Even if he were to stuff a late-model inline six or small polysphere motor into the engine bay, it would still be a Chrysler or Dodge in a Chrysler. Hey, even a ’60s Slant Six would do the trick, or a Euro-chrysler motor from the ’60s!