In 2015 you did a story on the Woody Lee Model T roadster that had been discovered in a garage in Los Angeles (“The T Under the Table,” May 2015). In that article you used some of my photos taken in 1951 with Chuck Chenowth (my uncle) and the car, but I was disappointed that the one photo of my father, Terry Chenowth, sitting in the car didn’t make it into the magazine. Is there any way you can sneak the photo into a future issue?
My father built many race cars back in the day. I’ve sent you some photos of an oldie but a goodie, the Jack Mclenachen dragster. Jack is a Bean Bandit, and the car was raced at Paradise Mesa with a straight-six GMC, then a Chevy V8, and finally a supercharged Chevy V8. The car was numbered 502, referring to California’s drunk driving vehicle code.
The race car was traded to Jesse Van Deventer for a Ford threewindow coupe. Jesse ran the car in NHRA Modified Roadster class and won three NHRA championships with it, I think in 1961, 1962, and 1963.
The photos of the car being built were taken in my dad’s garage in Imperial Beach, California. The best story is about its gas pedal. My father hand-built it. Traced his shoe on steel plate, cut it out, and drilled many holes in it to lighten it up. He drilled the letters “CS” into the pedal, which stood for Chenowth-shoemaker, since Ronnie Shoemaker helped build the car. But when people asked what CS stood for, they would say Chicken Sh-t Racing.
PS: Check out my website on San Diego Racing History: sandiegoracingmuseum.weebly.com.
> 1. Terry Chenowth (left) and Jack Mclenachen pose with the car’s unfinished frame. > 3. The ’24 T Modified Roadster that Terry Chenowth and Ronnie Shoemaker built for Jack Mclenachen. 3
> Terry Chenowth in the T modified that Woody Lee sold to his brother, Chuck, in 1951. > 2. Ronnie Shoemaker checks the cockpit’s fit. Behind the car is Raymond Alcaraz’s midget.
> 4. Look close and you can see Terry’s custom-made gas pedal with the “CS” drilled into it. 4
> Mclenachen’s T appeared in the July 1959 HRM when it was powered by a supercharged ’58 Chevy truck engine. Driver Byron Blair “booted the torrid ‘T’ to 131.64 in 10.27 seconds on pump gas; hopes for more,” wrote the magazine.