Rust Heinz, the ketchup king, designed not only the 1938 Phantom Corsair (a weird car in its own right) but this delivery truck, called the Comet. As Daniel Strohl has pointed out, the 1938 Comet was built on an Autocar chassis, and if Rust Heinz hadn’t died in a car crash in 1939 at age 25, the company would probably have commissioned a fleet of these vehicles.
Another well-documented car, Gordon Buehrig’s Tasco sportster was slated for limited production. Derham built this single prototype on a 1948 Mercury chassis. The Tasco’s failure was probably due – at least partly – to its styling, which was radical by the kindest of appraisals. Buehrig had succeeded with his radical design of the Cord 810/812, but not this time. This photo was taken in Indiana, possibly parked at a race, and the passenger might have been Mrs. Buehrig.
Built in the early 1930s by Minnesota teenager Bob Shotwell, this rear-engined three wheeler was powered by a 1931 Indian in-line four-cylinder engine. Shotwell hammered the body from sheet steel at his dad’s radiator shop. He and his brother, Edward, made local headlines with a 6,000-mile grand tour of the United States. The car eventually racked up some 150,000 miles before its retirement. Fearing the engine might be plundered by a motorcycle restorer, Shotwell offered the car to Jay Leno, whose craftsmen restored it to a semblance of its former glory.
The man who drove the Texaco Doodlebug on a promotional tour in 1934 snapped this picture at a stop in New Orleans. The Doodlebug, designed by Norman Bel Geddes and built by the Heil Co. in Alabama, was decades ahead of its time stylistically – “streamlined” in the best sense of that era’s definition.
Honest Charley Hisself, aka Charles Edward Card Jr., owned a mail-order speed shop in Chattanooga and sold parts through Hot Rod and other magazines. Charley also owned a restaurant, so he customized various cars and parked them around town to draw attention to both ventures. This seems to have been a 1939 Ford in a previous life.
In 1987, Manny Powell of Columbus, Ohio, traded a wooden end table for a 1969 Camaro that had been mired in mud for years. He cut the body into 29 pieces and slowly reassembled it in miniature, the idea being to show off his killer Chevrolet 454-cu.in. V-8 with a Weiand blower. He figured the smaller the car, the bigger the engine would look. Manny’s mini won more shows than races, but it did all right on the drag strip, too.