|Email from Ron Cummings
to Dr. Ernie Nagamatsu about Morgensen's
"Morgensen built and raced
a Cadillac powered Glassbar bodied Special first. Dick raced this car against
Balchowsky, driving the Vogel '32 Ford, at Torrey Pines around 1954. This
was in the novice race and the two cars led the race at one point. I think
this car may have used a cut down Ford chassis. I believe this is where
Dick and Max became friends.
Then came the car that later
became Old Yeller, note the original spelling. That car had a truss, almost
space, frame and torsion bar front springs made from Ford leafs that were
heated up and bent into a ninety degree angle. It was originally powered
by a six cylinder Plymouth motor.Boyd Hough did a lot of the work, along
The mystery Bird car must
have come next. It looked just like the second car but the front suspension
apparently did not use the torsion bars and the motor was a Mercedes unit
rather than the Plymouth six cylinder motor. Noted historian Jim Sitz remembers
Bird racing this car at Torrey Pines. The two cars were painted the same
color scheme. Sitz says that the car was slow with it's Benz motor. Jim
asked Tracy Bird about the car, a few years ago. Bird, who had also driven
the car that later became Old Yeller on one occasion, did not remember
where his car had gone.
Then came the Devin
bodied Chevrolet powered car. This car used a simple
latter frame, made of tubing.
It also used the Ford spring leafs bent into
torsion bars on the front
of the car. This car did pretty well in races outside of California. It
was not competitive in the California races. This car was sold to Stanley
Sugarman who had Jim Connor do the driving. I believe Connor won a race
in New Mexico with this car. I think it may have been scrapped but I am
not sure about this.
Then came Morgensen's most
successful car yet, the 250 Testa Rossa.
Between California races the Ferrari was kept at Balchowsky's shop were
Max serviced it. Most folks think Max hated the foreign race cars but he
actually had a great interest in Ferrari. I remember hearing him give the
owner of the
ex-Von Neumann 335MM Ferrari
the complete history of the car's 4.1 motor
block after the engine put
a connecting rod through the block at Riverside."