The late Indy car builder Lujie Lesovsky said this about A.J.: “The Watson roadster is the Model T of race cars. No trick stuff, no monkey motion; everything so simple it’s hard for anything to go wrong.”
Why do the legends I write about live such long lives? Because they’re still acting like kids working on stuff and building things—they’re active! Hot rodders like A.J. don’t retire; they just wrench away. And while the days of competitive racing have ended for the roadsters, vintage racing has welcomed the front-engined Indy Cars with open racetracks.
If you want to know what it felt like to be a Foyt, Jones, or Ward behind the wheel, A.J. will build you a Watson roadster for vintage racing and since he—A.J. Watson—is the builder, it can’t be considered a reproduction.
A.J. leaves home every day to drive to his 25-acre farm outside of Indianapolis where he has a shop to spend the morning building a replica of the Pots and Pans Speedway Car or a Watson roadster for a customer. He goes home for lunch and back to the shop for a few more hours in the afternoon to maybe tinker with his ’27 roadster or his wild Harley Trike: “Now that I’m retired, I do all the work on the roadsters myself. Nobody works for me.”
A.J., we know a legion of hot rodders who would work for you and wouldn’t take a dime for the experience.
This photo was taken at A.J.’s shop in Glendale where nothing but winning race cars rolled
You can’t take the hot rod out of the hot rodder. A.J. built some of the most-winning Cham
“I built a whole series of cars going into production starting in 1958,” A.J says, examini
A.J. in his first shop holding the famous “shark nose” that made the Watson roadsters so l
The split-second that Foyt crossed the finish line, winning the 1964 Indy 500 into an A.J.
Hopefully you haven’t had a little cooking sherry when you see this in your rearview mirro