Peek Brothers Racing
Peek Brothers Race Cars
We actually went to Bonneville for the first time in 1964 with Jack Richards and his two roadsters. It was quite an experience and probably amazing that we ever went back, but the seed was planted and there was nothing we could do about it.
I don't know when the plan to build our own car hatched, probably in the spring of 1965. I was still 17 and facing my senior year in high school, Michael was a year out of high school and had a job as a driver for a local auto parts store and Jerry was finishing his junior year in college.
We were able to acquire a 1962 Plymouth 413 Super Stock engine and 3 speed trans simply by taking it out of the slightly raced car and replacing it with a street drivable 361. Other than the cost of the 361 I don't think we spent any money on the engine and transmission. A friend had a '29 Model A coupe body in his parents yard that already had the top chopped. We were planning on bringing the body home when on June 25th along came the flood of the South Platte River which sent a major wall of water, 20 - 25 feet as I recall, cutting through the middle of Denver. Since the body was sitting only about two blocks from the river and on the opposite side from where we lived, we were seriously concerned that it had gone down the river. Fortunately the water only came up about six to eight feet high at their house and moved the body around but did not move more than a few feet. Denver was cut in half with only a handful of bridges to get from one side to the other. After a few days we were finally able to get across the river to collect the body, we started construction, probably by about the middle of July.
The Peek Brothers Bonneville roadster which would just four years later grace the cover of Hot Rod Magazine had very humble beginnings.
The body started as a '29 coupe which had already been chopped and had gone through the flood which divided Denver in June of 1965.
The frame was a boxed Model A, dropped front axle leaned back about 25 or so degrees, early '50's Olds rear end probably with 3:23 gears. The front and rear springs were stock Model A and the split wishbones were also mitered and butt welded together to get them pointed the right direction after the axle was laid back 25 - 30 degrees. To this day I don't know why this car didn't fall apart.
Nothing particularly nice, fancy, well build or safe about this little gem. But what do you expect from a 17 year old kid with a hack saw and a Lincoln arc welder.
Looking back at this photo I think it is a wonder that nothing fell apart, either on the borrowed trailer during the 600 mile trip to or on the Salt!
The engine was a stock 1962 Plymouth 413 wedge Super Stock engine and transmission. The engine was acquired essentially in a labor trade to install a drivable 361 engine in the former super stocker. It had been drag raced a little but the owner was then using it for transportation and needed a car more drivable and economical.
We're getting close now and off to the body shop for paint. I don't remember if any cash changed hands to get a paint job, probably sweeping out the body shop for owenr Ernie Delmont lots of times. Note the really cool aluminum hood side panels, everything else was stock Model A.
Dark green paint with yellowish lettering and we almost have a race car. Note the extra wide Goodyear speedway (NASCAR) tires which represented perhaps half of the cash spent to build the car.
Suddenly we had our name on a race car thanks to local artist Mike Young.
A few more pieces needed back on the engine and we are ready. How about that cool 2 gallon Moon tank!
We made it! Jerry being the oldest was the only one to drive in the early days. In reality Jerry wasn't particularly handy when it came to building things any way and Michael had no interest in driving. I was the weldor.
All in all the car was not terrible looking and probably fairly typical of roadsters for the period. In the background is the Mardon & Ohly (sp) roadster which I think was from San Diego and featured Don Borth aluminum work, a very nice car.
The $362.10 '56 Ford pick up probably consumed more time and money than the roadster that year. It was transformed from an ugly duckling long wheelbase PU to an even uglier duckling short wheelbase with a 354 Chrysler Hemi and cast iron Torquefilte and another Olds rear end.
I guess the car wasn't all that bad for a bunch of young kids. It was built with a fair amount of donated or traded for junk and about $500 out of pocket. It went 154 MPH and no one got hurt.
I sincerely wish that kids today of that age could enjoy the opportunities that I had in 1965 as a 17 year old high school student. I wish that I had worked a bit harder in high school, no complaints however.