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Outlawed-number 5 In A Series.


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#1 LUKE'57

LUKE'57

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 08:23 AM

OUTLAWED-Number 5 in a Series.

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ANOTHER FINE GATORBUILT MODEL FROM JACKIE SIMS RACE CAR MODELS

With the advent of Chevy's fuel injected "Black Widow", everyone knew that the Blue Oval boys would have something special up their sleeve when Speedweeks rolled around.

Ralph Moody was still one of the starting drivers for the factory Ford team when the supercharged "New For '57" Fords showed up for the beginning of the season.

As Ford's fastest "executive" in '57 Moody lapped the field, twice, at the season's sixth race at Wilson, NC showing the "real" drivers how it's done. That was something that Ralph could do as long as HM was in operation, letting the air out of several "real race car drivers" sails when they questioned how much a mere mechanic could know about fast driving.

Like the "War of Northern Aggression" it depends on which camp you are in as to who is the bad guy, but as a lifelong Ford fan I still think that GM was behind the pressure that caused the pull out of the factories in mid season. First, Chevy's fuel injection (which was a source of major headaches to the mechanics) and Ford's superchargers were pulled and later the AMA voted to distance itsself from any forms of racing all together.

That left John Holman with the job of overseeing the building of most of the Ford race cars and Ralph Moody handling the fabrication with a mortgage on his airplane. And a racing Dynasty was born. Say What? Yep, Ford offered their entire racing setup, less the cars and trailers given to their drivers, to John Holman for $12,000 but he didn't have the money so Ralph took out a lien on his plane and history was in the making.

It was pretty slow going at first so they knew they had to broaden their customer base somehow. With the success of their cars on the Nascar Circuit it was still "preaching to the choir" when they advertised winning races in the Southern newspapers and the race programs. So these "good ol' boys", one from California and the other from Massachusetts no less, like good Rebels, took the fight to the Yankees.

Ralph took his red and white #22 '57 and turned it loose on USAC. He didn't win the first outing at a 300 mile race at Trenton NJ because problems put him five laps down early on. But to say he got their attention would be an understatement when he made up four of them during the latter part of the event.

Three weeks later he began a run that gave Moody a 1-2 victory with Troy Ruttman in the 150 mile USAC race in Milwaukee, and a win in August in a 200 miler and another win in a 250 miler later in the season, both at Milwaukee. He then came back in October to win the USAC 100 miler in Birmingham. The four victories and a second place finish in USAC's points race cemented Holman Moody's reputation. Adding this to their success on the Southern circuit, the orders came rolling in and "California Speed Equipment" pretty soon came to mean drag racing only.