But the ultimate resistance Stu met was the hard-packed El Mirage lakebed at the Aug. 10, 1947 SCTA meet. The wire wheel at the left-rear corner of the car collapsed at speed and sent the car into a tumble. The car's lack of rollcage-one of the shortcomings that killed early streamliners-meant Stu's head and shoulders bore the brunt of the car's hurtling weight.
According to Stu, Miller Jr. repaired the car without telling his convalescing pal or taking a cent of compensation, a real accomplishment considering the body's resemblance to a wadded-up paper ball. But repair it he did, and the following year on an unpublicized run Stu proved at least to himself and a few friends that his system did in fact work by using it to urge the car to at least 120 mph. A follow-up run at the July 18 SCTA meet with Howie Wilson at the helm of the car officially vindicated Stu: the car claimed the title as the first to transcend the 150-mph milestone.
Stu's newfound fuel-injection device immediately made him the darling child of Lou Meyer and Dale Drake, then stewards for the Offenhauser dynasty. Their dynamometer tests removed what few doubts remained about Stu's system and within a very short time hardly a race car without one of Stu's injectors remained competitive.
Once again Stu called on the streamliner to advance his career, albeit in a less-auspicious way: after quitting his steady job to start his injection business, he sold the car to Gerry Grant, owner of Grant Piston Rings. According to photos, the car resurfaced as a would-be dragster at an NHRA meet in Edna, Kansas. Though the Miller manifold still exists on Doc Parson's T roadster, many believe that a subsequent owner dismantled if not scrapped Stu's car.
But not all was lost; under the guidance of hot rod pioneer Stu, Hilborn and Miller Jr.'s son, Jim, and Jim Lattin built a faithful recreation of the famed streamliner. We say Lattin built it, but just as it takes a village to raise a child it took a team to build the car. Tom Drissi created full-scale posters of the car from photographs. Lattin didn't go it alone, though-Rick Peterson, Bill Lattin, Richard Lux, and Santos Garcia merged the once anonymous parts into an animated version of hot rod history.
Danny Sakai's Modified
Born in America to Japanese immigrants, Danny Sakai's story is unique to the times. Like other nisei, or second-generation Japanese-Americans such as the Morimoto brothers, Yam Oka, Mino Kamimura, Ernie Murashige, and even the father of the Stingray, Larry Shinoda, he earned the respect of his peers on one of the more level playing fields of his generation: parched lakebeds.
According to Lattin's research, Dustin "Dusty" Campbell built the modified-class racer in 1939. Powered by a succession of engines, first a Model B and later a Flathead V-8, the car consistently crested the century mark at various timing events before Danny bought it.
Danny retained the entire body, including the '39 LaSalle grille and shell, but replaced the Kelsey-Hayes wheels with 17-inch-diameter snap-ring accessory Firestone wheels. Also new to the car was the front belly pan, dark blue paint, and headers that paired the leading and trailing cylinders from each bank into one 2-inch pipe and the center two cylinders into another. Each side of the car boasted the number eight, Danny's place standing in SCTA points for the year.