1948 Midget Racer - $14,900
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  • Overview & History
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This cool little car sure looks like a lot of fun!

This awesome vintage Midget racer dates to the late 1940s and features many of the design cues of the famous Kurtis-Kraft Midgets that were dominant during that period. We don’t have much early history on the car, but in the mid-1990s it was acquired in pieces and treated to a full restoration with the intention of going racing, which it did. The original frame was straightened, reinforced, and refinished, the metal bodywork straightened, and it was refinished in the husband-and-wife team’s signature color combination that adorned a number of their vintage racers. It’s neatly finished with a lot of hand-painted pinstripes, number 42, and freshly painted roll bar components. Other details include a vintage gas cap with built-in level indicator, a fresh Plexiglas windshield, and a snap-on tonneau for transportation. Neat little booties for the exhaust pipes allow you to store the car without worrying about critters getting inside.

It’s race car minimalist in the cockpit, of course, and while the term “midget” applies to the car, taller drivers need not apply. It’s actually surprisingly comfortable once you’re wedged in there, and between the custom snap-on seat cover and recent RCI racing harnesses, you really feel secure. A big steering wheel is typical racer fare, as are the minimalist gauges that include a big tach, oil pressure and temperature gauges, and an ammeter. Flip on the ignition, turn on the fuel pump, and hit the starter button and the little V8 barks to life easily (yep, we’ve had it running and it’s AWESOME!). Controls are a little contrarian but common midget racer fare, with an external hand lever for the brakes, the shifter for the stock Ford 3-speed manual transmission between your legs, and a lever for the clutch that appears to be designed to be used with your right knee. Don’t worry, you only need 3rd gear in this car anyway, it doesn’t weigh anything. If you’ve driven one before, it’ll feel familiar and if you’re new to midget racing, it won’t take long to get used to it, we promise.

Power comes from a 1938 Ford V8-60, the 136 cubic inch version of Ford’s venerable flathead and the compact engine fits neatly in the racer’s pointed nose. Fully rebuilt and painted to match, it has been only lightly modified so reliability is still its strong suit. After all, the whole package only weighs a few hundred pounds, so massive horsepower just isn’t needed. You will note that it has been upgraded for racing with a 12-volt electrical system with alternator, upgraded ignition system, and awesome-sounding headers that feed the straight-through exhaust system. Remarkably, the original carburetor and intake manifold are used, proving the soundness of Henry’s original design. Supporting equipment for racing includes hydraulic brakes (rear axle only), a fuel cell, remote-mounted battery, cut-off switches, and an electric fuel pump (the original air pressure system is still mounted on the side of the bodywork for visual effect). A Ford 3-speed manual transmission feeds the rear axle, which is suspended on a transverse leaf spring, as original. Beautifully fabricated brackets support the exhaust, there are torsion-style shocks at all four corners, and a custom fuel cell is perched in the tail. The rear wheels are magnesium, which can probably be polished to a high sine, while the skinny fronts are painted steel with staggered tire sizes to help with oval tracks. The tires are probably beyond their racing days, but since they’re only 12 inches, replacements are extremely affordable.

Extras include a huge cache of spare parts that includes wheels, cylinder heads, exhaust components, intake manifolds, water pumps, engine mounts, generators, shock absorbers, brake drums, and much more. It also comes with an extensive documentation package with photos of the restoration, lots of receipts, and several books on midget racing.

A custom-built trailer with compartments for tools and spares is also available (please inquire).

We will admit that we are not experts on these cars, but we can see the quality and the love that went into building this neat little racer. If you are familiar with these, you surely recognize that this is a very inexpensive way to start having fun at the track, and if you’re just getting started, something like this represents a low-investment way to do it. This cool little car sure looks like a lot of fun!

Sold on bill of sale only.

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1948 Midget Racer
Price: $14,900
Stock Number: 117014
Mileage: N/A
VIN: N/A
Engine: 136 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.78
Wheelbase:
Wheels: 12-inch alloy wheels
Tires: Front: 4.50-12, Rear: 5.50-12
Exterior Color: Tan
Interior Color: Black vinyl
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