As far as we know all Hallock windshield frame copies trace their DNA to the one on Johnny
Though as few as three of the original examples may have been cast, the boat-type windshield frame that Duke Hallock created for the early Model A roadster endures as probably one of the most recognizable shapes in early hot rod history. Only not that many people know the story behind it. Editor Fortier asked if I could change that.
In one sense I stumbled into an easy gig: Pat Ganahl already researched the history and wrote his account in the November 1990 issue of Rod & Custom. But what makes the job easy also makes it really challenging: Ganahl made it pretty hard to come up with new information.
But the leads started bearing fruit. The late Dick Courtney took it upon himself to document Hallock's windshields. In fact Ganahl referenced a great deal of his information, specifically his correspondence with Duke's younger brother, Jud. Then we got a real gem: Courtney's list of people who owned the windshields that Duke Hallock produced.
We can't vouch for its total accuracy but this list sure sets the records straighter. Considering this downsized format we can't tell the full account here, however, we will in an upcoming issue of the full-sized publication. For now, though, we'll explain how dozens of frames exist from the three originally cast.
Though Bean's engine sported a plank head it still had two Winfield SR carburetors on a ho
Casting a Star
From what we know Duke cast one frame for himself in 1931 and two more in 1936. We know where at least one of the 1936 batch is. And here's the especially juicy part: as far as we know all copies can trace their origins to that particular frame.
Only which frame of the two is the question. Both Courtney and Ganahl noted they were made for Johnny Collins and Dick Stuelke. Earlier our pal Bernie Couch speculated that the frame on his pal Johnny Bean's car came from that 1936 batch, not from a batch Ed Adams cast later as Ganahl had it. Courtney's list removed all doubt: according to it, Bean bought his car from Stuelke.
We were willing to believe that Bean's windshield started as one of the two cast in 1936 but we're just not sure it started as Stuelke's. On the 11th hour-literally the day before publishing-we found his son, Rich. He confirmed that his dad raced a roadster that bore a unique windshield. He also mentioned that his dad graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1941. Here's the thing: Santa Barbaran Bob Joehnck told me that he built a car before the war with parts from a car that belonged to a college student. If that student was Stuelke-and odds are it was-his frame couldn't have belonged to Bean. We know where that car was during that time frame.
The '33 Olds dash, steering wheel, and pedal pads in Bean's car were particularly distinct
According to Bernie Couch, the kid sitting on the wheel is John Bean. Couch says Bean was
The two exhaust pipes merge into a muffler at the back of the car. It's a '39 license plat
Instead Bean's car-at least its windshield-likely belonged to John Collins. Whatever the case, 1939 plates on Bean's car prove that his windshield existed before the war, and given the times it's unlikely anyone but Hallock made it.
This photo is a gem. It was taken May 7, 1933, on the hallowed Muroc dry lake. From what w
From there the history of Bean's car is smooth sailing. In fact it still exists, although you couldn't tell by looking at it. In a story he wrote about the car in the Oct. '99 STREET RODDER, present R&C editor Rob Fortier (who at the time had his '29 A-V8 with a repop Hallock, courtesy of Rob Miller), noted that Bean left the car with his brother, Bud, when his draft papers came in. The accounts from there vary a bit; according to the car's current owner, Richard Campos, Bud sold the car to Jack Tobin in 1942.
It was during Tobin's ownership that the legend that Duke Hallock cast the windshields at Fullerton Union High School took flight. The story is partly true. Courtney, who corresponded with Jud and compiled the lists, cast his own frame at Fullerton High using Tobin's as a pattern. His classmate Frank Currie-as in Currie Enterprises-helped. "We made that windshield in 1946," Currie remembers. "We broke up Liberty engines and took the brass out of the bearings. They're probably worth a fortune now," he laments.
This photo of Dick Courtney's car was taken in front of Kenny Vorce's Buena Park house on
Sometime in the late '40s Tobin updated the Bean car's engine with a two-port Riley head and rebuilt the car on a '32 chassis. He took up with Richard Campos soon after. "We took the Flathead engine that I had in a '35 Ford and put it in the roadster and went racing," Campos recalls. Tobin's health declined and he passed the car to Campos in 1959. Lots more on this later.
Remember the car that Dick Courtney built with the windshield he and Currie patterned off the Tobin/Bean car in 1946? Well almost as if on a parallel track with Tobin, Courtney updated his car to a Deuce frame and V-8 power. Even more eerily, Courtney sold his car about the same time Tobin did.
Dick Roseberry ended up with the car in 1959. In 1962 he traded the roadster for a '55 Nomad. Reportedly, the following owner destroyed the car in a crash. "I went out looking for it but nobody knows what happened to it," he says. Thus ends the story of the first windshield cast from the Bean/Tobin frame-at least for now.
Richard Campos kept the Bean/Tobin roadster but it all but disappeared for the decades it spent in storage and at shops. One of those shops belonged to Dave Williams, of Williams Lowbuck Tools. "That must've been around 1975, 1976, or 1977," he reckons.
We'd love to know if Lee Grey cast his windshields from an existing Hallock frame or from
As Williams set about returning the roadster his pal Butch Carlton suggested that they use the windshield as a pattern to make a few more. He estimated that they made about half a dozen, all in aluminum. "I used one and I think ... Ed Newett in Costa Mesa got one," he adds. "(Jack) Underwood probably got one; he and Newett are buddies." (Underwood also speculated that his came from that batch).
Campos sold the frame to Dennis Webb who let Rob Miller use it as a pattern to cast more frames in the '90s. In fact, the majority of reproduction frames owe their existence to Miller's production runs: he recalled reproducing about 15 frames in total, all from aluminum. Larry Gheno said he produced three more bronze frames from the Bean windshield during the same time.
In the meantime Courtney built two more roadsters in the likeness of the one he built in the '40s, the last one with a Miller reproduction frame. Joe Scanlin bought that car and sold it to Kirk F. White who in turn sold it to Ross Myers.
Richard Campos finally finished the Stuelke/Bean/Tobin car, only its body and presumably the '32 frame it picked up in Tobin's care remain. He painted the new version red, powered it with a blown Chevy, and bolted wide billet wheels to it. It now wears a Fiat windshield.
Here's the car again, this time when it set a record at 118.42 mph on May 16, 1937. We're
Sometime in the '90s Dennis Webb sold the original Stuelke/Bean/Tobin frame to Dick Roseberry. Roseberry built a new car based loosely on Courtney's first car, the one he bought in 1959. He still has the new car and it proudly bears that windshield.
By our very unofficial tally, at least one of Duke Hallock's original windshields and 25 of its copies exist: one 1946, half a dozen more in the late '70s, and another 18 in the '90s. That doesn't include the unknown number cast in the late '40s by Lee Grey or the others cast recently by Steve Sellers, but that's a significant number nonetheless.
We love to think there's more information waiting to be unearthed. Going by what we've learned, we'll likely dig it up. This particular chapter may be done but this story is far from over.
To the best of our knowledge the windshield on Jack Underwood's roadster is one of the exa
Rob Fortier built a car in the late '90s to go under one of the 15 frames Rob Miller cast
Steve Sellers casts Hallock windshields not from existing frames but from patterns just as
It no longer looks it but the red car in the background is the actual Bean/Tobin car. Curr