WHERE IT ALL BE­GAN

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Contents -

Hum­ble be­gin­nings for two broth­ers.

Legacy of Jus­tice

Some­times we take the ti­tle of this depart­ment fig­u­ra­tively, but this time it’s lit­eral. The two young men in their small Kansas home­town are Ed and Lawrence “Zeke” Jus­tice, broth­ers whose lu­bri­ca­tion prod­ucts and rac­ing spon­sor­ships would reach the high­est ech­e­lons of mo­tor­sport in Indy Car, NASCAR, NHRA, and IMSA, to name just a few.

Ed is sit­ting in the broth­ers’ very first race car. Zeke, who pre­ferred mo­tor­cy­cles, is astride a well-dressed Har­ley. It was the boys’ mother, Anna, who kin­dled the flame of their me­chan­i­cal pas­sion by en­cour­ag­ing them to fix, rent, and sell bi­cy­cles, just one way the large Jus­tice fam­ily made their way through the Great De­pres­sion.

It wasn’t long be­fore Ed and Zeke ap­plied their new­found tal­ents to re­pair­ing automobile­s in the neigh­bor­hood. Early in their teen years they built this midget. They used plans they saw in a Pop­u­lar Me­chan­ics magazine and pow­ered the car with a four-cylin­der Whip­pet en­gine. Zeke fash­ioned the alu­minum body, and it was Zeke, the more dar­ing of the two, who flipped the car in the cen­ter of town while tak­ing it to show friends.

Ed’s son, Ed Jr., and au­to­mo­tive writer Tom Madi­gan have chron­i­cled the history of the broth­ers and their im­pact on mo­tor­sports in a new cof­fee-ta­ble book, Legacy of Jus­tice/an Amer­i­can Fam­ily Story, pro­duced by the ejje Pub­lish­ing Group. Gran­u­lar in de­tail and full-to-burst­ing with vin­tage pho­tog­ra­phy and first­hand rec­ol­lec­tions (Dan Gur­ney and Par­nelli Jones wrote the fore­word), it’s a telling of mo­tor­sports history as well as the story of the Jus­tice clan. Zeke was the first em­ployee at Frank Kur­tis’s Kur­tis-kraft race shop. The Jus­tice Broth­ers were the first mul­ticar prod­uct spon­sors in NASCAR, even be­fore the sanc­tion­ing body’s for­mal or­ga­ni­za­tion. They par­tic­i­pated in 73 run­nings of the Indy 500 and cel­e­brated a vic­tory in 1950. They were also the first cor­po­rate spon­sor of a young drag racer out of Florida named Gar­l­its.—drew HARDIN

• PIC: COUR­TESY JUS­TICE FAM­ILY COL­LEC­TION/EJJE PUB­LISH­ING

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