The Hunt-Jenkins Special goes back to INDY.
If you haven’t checked out part one, jump down and catch the history of this Studebaker at Pikes Peak and the Indy 500 in 1931.
After the success in 1931 .Studebaker had Herman Rigling build four additional cars to run in the 1932 Indy 500. The cars were identical to the prototype, “Hunt-Jenkins” car.
Rigling built the frames, the aluminum bodies and provided the knock off wheels, while Studebaker provided the power-train and most of the additional hard parts.
The “Hunt-Jenkins’ Pikes Peak winning Studebaker car number #37 would be driven by Zeke Meyer and Chas Cariens as riding mechanic in the 1932 Indy 500. Results would be better then the turn four wall incident of 1931. The sixth place finish would be the best finish for all three years it ran at Indy (31-32-33)
1933 would see a dark spot for the Studebaker Motor Company. By years end they were in deep financial trouble leading into bankruptcy.. The good news was the Indy 500 was early in the year and the racing program was already prepaid. New bodies were built for the four factory cars to make them more aerodynamic.(2-3 mph faster) The “Hunt-Jenkins” car being a privately owned car, the only body change was to the grill shell area.
The car number and driver were changed as well . This time running #47 with L.L. Corum at the wheel and Jimmie Lowden at his side, they crossed the finish line on race day in 12th place.
What happens after racing ?
The question can go many ways. How does a race car survive after so many years ? Once technology passes a race car, typically two things happen. Either the car gets upgraded or it gets scrapped. Notoriety sometimes helps a car live on. This Studebaker had several things going for it that helped it survive. Name recognition with Ab Jenkins , George Hunt and the Studebaker factory racing team. Any car that races multiply Indy 500 races has a better then average chance of surviving, compared to most other race cars. One also just has to look at the car… it’s beautifully stunning. Great lines, good color with lots of chrome. An outstanding statement for the period it was racing.
After the 1933 race, Ab took the car to his Utah home where his son made it road worthy and used it as a sports car. In 1939 the car was sold too W.J. Patterson of Salt Lake City. Some say it only had two owners after that and those two owners would do wonders.
Stan and Robert continue the legend
Not being an ardent Studebaker fan, the ” Hunt-Jenkins” car wasn’t on my radar until it was shown after its restoration by Stan Smith in 1981 . The car was in his possession for many years and those in the Studebaker community continued to convince him to sell it. That wasn’t going to happen Stan’s plans were to do a frame off top notch restoration. The first showing for the newly rebuilt car was at the Atlantic Zone Studebaker show in Boalsburg Pennsylvania. Not only did it make news in the Studebaker circles, but it also was a stunning success in the vintage racing world. Well done Stan !
Robert “Bob” Valpey the cars current owner since 1988 first saw the car in the 1960s. It only took him over twenty years to convince it’s owner to part ways with it. That is what you call determination. A slight name change of was done to the car, the “Hunt-Rigling Special” was a node to the famous builder of all of the “Indianapolis Studebaker Specials”. The car has been shown at the Indy 500 and Studebaker museums, Pebble Beach Concours and many other shows allowing thousands to have their chance at getting close .
One of the great things to see with the car present owner is shown above. The car gets driven ! The Mt. Washington Hill Climb in 2011 and many other rallys and vintage races. There is a big difference between owning a historic race car and driving/ racing one.
86 years and still going strong, was the car been blessed at one time ?
Ab Jenkins, George Hunt, Herman Rigling, Chuck Myers, Zeke Meyers, L.L. Corum, Stan Smith and Robert Valpey, how do all of those folks line up on one race car ?
I think time will show that it was those folks that were blessed by the car and anyone lucky enough to own it in the future will be too.