Buck Stieber's 1925 Ford

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Ed and Armie's roadster as it appeared when it was featured in Car Craft March 1959. Photo by Bud Lang
Photo by Bud Lang
Photo by Bud Lang
Photo by Bud Lang
Photo by Bud Lang
The roadster as it appeared after Dick Kalivoda bought it and rebuilt it. This photo is taken at the 1960 Detroit NHRA Nationals. Photo from The Marty McDonough Photo Collection.
The old roadster as it sat in 2009. Photo courtesy of Street Rodder Magazine.

1925 Ford Model T Roadster originally owned and campaigned by Buck Stieber of Olympia, Washington in the early 1950s. According to later owner Dick Kalivoda, it is believed that Buck was assisted by the two popular racing brothers, George and Clarence Duffy. Around 1956 Buck sold the roadster to Seattle Clutchers members Ed Norton and Armie Maron of Seattle, Washington. Car Craft March 1959 ran a featured story on Ed and Armie's roadster. According to that story, the car was converted from a track rod to a dragster by the Washington team. Later owner, Dick Kalivoda, claims that this was not the case. When the car was featured in Car Craft March 1959 it was powered by a 290 cubic inch DeSoto Hemi engine. It had been fit with Hilborn fuel injection, a Potvin Eliminator cam, Harman & Collins magneto and Forged True pistons. The powerful Hemi was connected to a 1939 Ford transmission running with high gears. The body was installed on a rigid frame made from 2 1/2 inch chrome moly tubing. Dirt track wheels were used up front while asphalt slicks on magnesium wheels secured traction in the rear. The cockpit featured Evans center steering and a manual pump for fuel pressure. The ex-rod turned 134 mph on the quarter-mile.[1] While Ed and Armie owned the car it was also featured in Hot Rod Magazine November 1958 as the "Top Time T". That version featured a handcrafted track nose and blistered hood by Leroy Sellers. Later on Ed Norton decided that he was going to use the DeSoto engine in the car for a dragster, so he sold the rest of the car to custom painter Dick Kalivoda of Seattle, Washington. Dick wanted to race the car on the strip. Dick convinced Ed Norton about building him a gas-burning DeSoto Hemi engine. Dick and Ed got the car running again, and Dick ran the heck out of the car. While the car was coming together again, Dick ran short of cash. John Hamlin that worked with Dick at the Seattle Times came to the rescue. Dick needed a Vertex mag and a new clutch, and they's cost about $175. John told him the Halibrand was probably worth that much, and that he would buy it for $175. He told Dick to leave the Halibrand in the car, making him a partner. During the build, Dick ran out of money again. He was a member of the Di-Gammas of Seattle car club. The club asked what he needed. Dick told the club he needed the fuel injectors, so they hit the club treasury and gave him $125. The trade-off was that Dick and John had to put the club name on the side of the car. It was painted 1957 Pontiac Lime Fire Green, a club the color voted on as well. Later on Dick paid the club for the club. After that he could paint the car in any color he wanted.[2]


Not long afterward, in 1960, Dick won $500 and a Bulova watch with an award from the King County Youth Auto Council for the most outstanding performance, setting a new national record at the opening meet. That was a lot of money back then. Dick and Ed ran pretty well at local strips, and with the award money he was able to take the car to the Detroit NHRA Nationals in 1960. In Detroit they were beaten in the final round. Dick was hooked, and he wanted to go faster.[2]


Dick and John ran their last race with the car in October of 1961 at the Pacific Raceway. With a 5:08 they ran 11.03 on gas, almost as quick as the car had been on fuel when ut ran in the high 10s. Dick stored the car in his ex-father-in-law's chicken barn in Falls City from 1962 to 1987. In 1987 Dick took it out of the barn in order to once compete with it at an ADRA event. The car hadn't run in 25 years, so he had Harold Gunderson rebuild the engine. Dick Jacowicz did the tranny and rearend, while Dick's son and a half dozen other friends did what they could. Dick and his crew made it in time, and they didn't fire the car until the Saturday before the races. At the race he did an exhibition run against Ed Cortopassi's Glass Slipper. After the race, Dick entered the car in an ISCA show where it won a trophy for Best Competition Car. He ran it at a couple of more nostalgia events, and it competed for the last time at the Seattle International Raceway in 1989.[2]


In 2009 the car was at display at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, California.[2]


Magazine Features

Hot Rod Magazine November 1958
Car Craft March 1959
Street Rodder September 2009


References



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