Lot 323: Ford "Tudor" Sportsman Stock car Ex-Soapy Castles
American stock car racing as a sport developed out of the need for fast and efficient delivery of illegal alcohol. The pride associated with turning out fast cars needed to outrun the Police developed from rivalry between gangs to organised races in fields or on horse tracks. The early Stock Cars were practically standard road cars, and drivers competed in hard, rough-and-tumble action. During the early years of the sport the professional drivers would tow their 'Sportsman' class cars from town to town, racing up to five times a week. All the rural track surfaces were dirt as mostly these provincial circuits doubled as horse racing venues. Whilst the cars appeared 'stock', outwardly running full bodywork, a black art quickly emerged that produced faster cars from the clever manipulation of standard parts. From these early racers, more sophisticated tuning techniques were developed and after-market tuning parts in the form of twin-carburettor set-ups, aluminium cylinder heads, and quick-change rear axles were to be seen on the more professional 'team' cars. As there was a severe shortage of new cars in post-war America, such race cars were built from pre-war cars. Weapons of choice were coupes and two-door (Tudor) saloons. Carrying less superfluous tinwork than their four-door sedan counterparts, these smaller bodied models were in great demand by racers and the casualty rate for such cars was atrociously high and true survivors are very rare. Many of the great stars of NASCAR started out in these self-built cars: Lee Petty, Curtis 'Crawfish' Crider, Fonty Flock, Wendell Scott as did hard man of NASCAR Neil "Soapy Castles. Neil "Soapy" Castles was born 1st October 1934 in Charlotte, NC. Castles competed in the Grand National and Winston Cup ranks for 19 years before retiring from the sport in l976. He was nicknamed "Soapy" from his boyhood competition in soap-box derbies.
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