Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:24 pm
Hi folks -
I'm brand new to the forum, not at all familiar with Williams Grove Speedway, and I already have a favor to ask of you all.
Several months ago, my father and I bought and began restoration on a 1969 Mustang with the 428 Super Cobra Jet engine (a Drag Pak car.) We are now attempting to track the car's history back to its original owner.
Under the rear seat of the car we found a rain-check ticket for Williams Grove. Of course, living in MI and IN, Dad and I were not familiar with this race track. So, I did a little searching and located the Williams Grove website and your forum. My hope was to share the story of our car (as we know it to-date) in the hopes that it may jog the memory of someone on this forum, someone who may possibly give us a clue to our car's history.
I've written a short article, and attached a few pictures. I am hoping to have this story published in a PA local mustang club newsletter, but also thought I should share it with you folks.
Could you read it over please? What do you think? I know this is one heck of a long shot, but just maybe someone might remember the car. At least you might get a little bit of low-grade entertainment from the read... MSI – Mustang Scene Investigation
I like watching those detective shows on TV. You know the ones; the detective finds some tiny, insignificant “clue” at the scene of the crime that leads to another, and another etc… These clues build on each other and tell the story of the crime scene. Our hero has all kinds of cool, high-tech tools at his disposal and between him and the “boys in the lab” they never fail to put the story together and the bad guy in jail. For our TV star hero, all the puzzle pieces come together and they wrap it all up in less than an hour (not counting commercials.)
Well, I want to do that with a mustang. I want to put together the biography of our car. I want to know its’ life story. But it’s going to be tough; I’ve got no high-tech tools, no lab and no boys in the lab. What I do have is the first chapter of the biography, and latest chapter of the biography and a few clues in between. On the up side, I don’t need to wrap this up in less than an hour (not counting commercials.)
Chapter 1: Thanks to Kevin Marti, I know little bit about our car, where and when it began its existence. Car number 9T02R198001 was built at Metuchen NJ on schedule on May 6, 1969 and it was originally sold at Reynolds Motors in Syracuse NY.
It is an interesting build, all business and no frills. I’d consider this car to be “purpose-built.” This sportsroof mustang came equipped with a 428 Super Cobra Jet ram air engine, a 4.30 traction-lok rear axle (drag pak), a C-6 Cruise-O-Matic transmission, and no other options. That’s right, it came with no radio, no power steering and drum brakes. It’s a standard black vinyl interior car with a big power plant covered in a Acapulco Blue wrapper.
We hoped to get a lead from the dealership in NY, but alas that particular dealership was a victim of the economic downturn and went out of business a few years back. Consequently, the long-shot lead of the dealership having some information still on file about the car was crushed.
Chapter 2 - ? (the “leads”): Ok, so here’s where we need some more clues to write these chapters. We were fortunate, however, to discover a few leads to help us get started. Some of those leads are actually pretty interesting in their own right.
The love letter: When we purchased the car, the previous owner gave us this letter he found under the seat when he bought the car. The letter is written to Robert from Ellen. In the letter, Ellen is “begging” for Robert’s forgiveness for something she did that was “terribly wrong.” Ellen does not go into detail about what she did wrong, but she is without a doubt sorry about it, and wants a second chance. The letter is undated, has no address, and Ellen never uses her last name or Robert’s.
Not much of a clue right? Worth a shot though; I’ve seen weaker clues break the case on TV. So, does anyone know Ellen? How about Robert? Did Robert ever own this SCJ? Did Ellen? And, what the heck was she apologizing for?
Race track rain check ticket: Now we’re talking! when we found this rain-check under the back seat of the car we got our hopes up that we may yet learn the history of this car. After all, this car sure seemed like it was built to drag race. When we found the ticket, we thought it must be a part of this car’s racing history. Surely, someone would remember this car, we thought. Someone who spent some time at the drag strip in the early 70’s would have seen this car make a pass or two. In its day, this would have been a pretty quick car, someone would remember it. We were sure of it…
So, we did a quick search on the web. “Williams Grove Speedway, sprint car racing since 1939, on a 1/2 mile banked clay oval track.” Well, that aint it! Our old sportsroof might have been race car fast, in a straight line, but it sure the heck wasn’t too good at turning. We can pretty well bet it wasn’t racing here. Our former owner must been a fan of all racing. Dirt track or drag race, evidently he or she liked them all. Anybody know a race fan that used to drive a stripped down, blue ’69 SCJ? We’re looking for him or her.
track ticket(rain check.jpg
Drive-In tickets: We also found some drive-in tickets under the back seat. Looks like our car spent at least one evening at the movies. Evidently our car went to the movies sometime shortly after ticket prices at the Cumberland Drive-In Theatre doubled! Ticket prices must have just gone up to $2 when our car was there because they were hand-writing in the “$2” over the printed “$1” on the ticket. Back we go to search the good ole’ interweb. Our search on the Cumberland Drive-In Theatre was successful. Unlike a lot of drive-ins, the Cumberland is still in business. Admission prices have gone up a little, but they are still not too bad… adult tickets are only $7 each for a double feature. So, back when tickets were only $2 did anybody ever see a blue SCJ with a shaker hood at the Cumberland Drive-In? Do you know who owned it? We’d like to talk to them. I wonder of Robert and Ellen took the SCJ to the Cumberland?
drive in tickets.jpg
Inspection sticker: Located on the windshield of the car was an inspection sticker from the state of Pennsylvania. This annual windshield sticker showed the car as valid until January 31, 1984. The sticker provides two clues:
1. The sticker proves the car was likely still being regularly driven in the early eighties.
2. This sticker reaffirms a Pennsylvania chapter(s) in the SCJ’s history.
Now if we could only find out who owned this car when it got inspected. I wonder if the inspection included an emissions check? If so, was the smog equipment on it back then? ‘cause it’s long gone now.
The Latest Chapters (what we know): So, we’ve got pretty good evidence that the car lived in Pennsylvania for some time. Well, that is not where we found the car. We found this project car in an abandoned winery in Cleveland. I know, Cleveland is not traditionally known as a wine producing region, but that’s where our car was being stored. The former owner of the SCJ was a co-owner of the old winery building and used it as a storage area. When we bought the car, the former owner gave us the nickel tour of the winery. It was cool! The building still housed the giant vats that were used in wine production. The vats were simply too big to be removed through the doors when the production was shut down.
The SCJ’s former owner, Dave, was a pretty nice guy and relayed the story of his time as caretaker of the car.
Dave bought the car in the early ’80. He drove the car for a couple years and put a couple thousand miles on it. After a couple years of driving it, Dave decided to do a restoration on the car. The car was carefully disassembled in preparation for a restoration that never really happened. A growing family meant that Dave’s project got put on hold. We bought the car in the same disassembled state that it had been in since approximately 1986.
Dave added a good piece of history to our car, but we are still a long ways from the Syracuse NY dealership it where it was originally sold. Dave gave us a clue though, he had the name of the person he bought the car from. In fact, it was on the title. The owner previous to Dave also lived in the Cleveland area. Back to the computer… a quick search of the yellow pages found the telephone number of previous owner. Within a few minutes we had him on the phone. He remembered the car and was able to confirm a connection back to PA.
The former owner, Leo, bought the car in the early ‘80s at Carlisle. Leo said he bought the car then because it appeared to be in such good shape, but sold it to Dave shortly after bringing the car home to Cleveland.
Well, there it was, we tracked it back to PA, but we’re still many miles from Syracuse NY. Here’s where the case goes cold for us. It’s where trail ends. Leo could not remember who it was that sold him this car back in the early eighties.
So we’re stuck now, looking for the next lead that will help us piece together the life history of our SCJ. We could sure use your help. I feel like we are doing the equivalent of a plea on the back of a milk carton… “Have you seen this car?” Well, have you? What do you know about that inspection sticker? How about the Williams Grove Speedway, have you ever seen a blue ’69 sportsroof there? Maybe you remember seeing the car at the Cumberland Dive-In? How about Robert, do you know him? Ellen? Again, what the heck did she do so wrong?
Well, if this was TV, we’d be wrapping up the case by now, just in time for a couple more commercials. At least we’ve got more than 60 minutes to solve this case.
We would appreciate any information you might have about our car. Please contact us with whatever you may know.
Nate Levitte – 812-396-9565 or Quentin Levitte – 989-553-5766.
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