Charles Mayenschein of Fairborn, Ohio was a talented car builder and designer. In 1955 Charles, also known as Charley, won his first award at a car show with a 1930 Ford Model A roadster that he had hot rodded at home. He was sure he was going to win the show, but came second. Not satisfied with the second place, he told everyone there that he would be back in two years with a car no one would beat. In 1958 he hit the show circuit with the Fabulous Phaeton, an award winning 1930 Ford Model A Phaeton. The Fabulous Phaeton won trophies everywhere it went. In 1958 iIt won the "People's Choice" award in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1959 it won the "Best of Show" award at the National Champion Custom Car Show in Detroit. In 1960 Charley returned to Detroit and took home the "Best Hot Rod" award. 1960 was the first year they started giving out the "Best Hot Rod" award in Detroit.
In 1959 Charley bought a 1931 Ford Model A Roadster that he started to hot rod. The plan was to use the roadster to haul the phaeton around to shows in an enclosed trailer. During the build, he told his son Tom that when the roadster was done it would be even better then the Phaeton. Charley was a good friend of Art Arfons, the legendary land speed racer. In 1961 Charley went to Bonneville with Art to try for a record with Art's Green Monster. They soon realized that the car couldn't hold enough gas to get the speeds they wanted. A new car was needed. Art ended up buying a J79 jet engine that Charley designed a car around. Charley worked as a jet/bomber mechanic at Wright Patterson AFB, and he made a wooden model for Art that they tested in the wind tunnel at Wright Patterson. Charley got so tied up with the Green Monster and chasing salt flat records, that he put the roadster project on hold for a while. In 1964, during the first speed run the Green Monster made on Bonneville, Charles sneaked into the spare seat of the Green Monster to go for a ride. Art wasn't aware of it. During that run Art was trying for 500 mph. Three quarters thru the mile the car went a little out of control, and Art had to let up on the throttle. Because of that ride, Charles became the World's Fastest Hitch Hiker at 396 mph. Later on, without Charley in the spare seat, the Green Monster went 536.76 mph at Bonneville for a world land speed record.
September 7, 1966 tragedy struck, as Charley was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was traveling southwest on Dayton dr. in Fairborn when a car coming in the opposite direction turned into his path. Charley's widow sold the Phaeton and roadster project in 1970.
Charles Mayenschein's Cars
Charles Mayenschein's 1930 Ford Model A Phaeton
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep Kustomrama and history alive. For as little as 1 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional information or photos to share about Charles Mayenschein.
This article was made possible by:
SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!
Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.