HOWARD LABOUNTYS MIDGET

HOWARD PASSED AWAY ON AUGUST 19, 2004....BELOW IS A STORY ABOUT HIS HOME BUILT MIDGET ROADSTER..

HOWARD PUSHING AT Z-HILLS

ORIGINAL DISASSEMBLED 1950'S ERA FORD MIDGET ROADSTER BUILT BY HOWARD LABOUNTY, AND ORIGINALLY DRIVER BY JOHNNY DUDEVIOR. THIS IS BELIEVED TO BE THE FIRST HAND BUILT FORD MIDGET ROADSTER OF ITS TIME IN THE COUNTRY.

THESE ARE PHOTOS FROM EBAY WHERE HOWARDS CAR WAS BEING SOLD...IT HAD BEEN IN STORAGE FOR 25 YEARS BEFORE THE PRESENT OWNER STARTED RESTORING THE CAR.

THIS IS A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT HOWARD'S MIDGET IN APRIL OF 1959.

"PEMBROKE MAN BUILDING FORD MIDGET ROADSTER"

By ART BALLOU\GLOBE NEWSPAPER---PEMBROKE, April 25, 1959

TO THE UNITIATED THE SHELL IN HOWIE LaBOUNTY'S GARAGE LOOKS MORE LIKE A CANOE THAN AN AUTOMOBILE. BUT, SINCE YOU KNOW THAT LaBOUNTY IS A VETERAN RACING CAR OWNER AND A TOP-DRAWER MECHANIC, YOU TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT INDEED IS GOING TO BE AN AUTOMOBILE WHEN HE FINISHES.

AND IT'S NO ORDINARY CAR THAT LaBOUNTY IS BUILDING FROM SCRATCH. IT IS GOING TO BE THE FIRST FORD MIDGET ROADSTER IN THE COUNTRY.

MIDGET ROADSTERS ARE A RARITY. IT IS BELIEVED THERE ARE ONLY FIVE OR SIX IN THE COUNTRY, AND ALL ARE OFFENHAUSERS. THERE WERE SKEPTICS EVEN AMONG THE RACING SAVANTS WHEN LaBOUNTY ANNOUNCED HIS INTENTION OF BUILDING HIS OWN FORD ROADSTER. THEY ARE FEWER IN NUMBER NOW THAT THEY NOTE THE PROGRESS HE HAS MADE, YET SOME STILL DOUBT THE PRACTICALITY OF THE VENTURE.


LaBOUNTY ADMITS THE REVOLUTIONARY UNDERTAKING IS A GAMBLE AND EXPECTS THAT THERE WILL BE "BUGS" AT THE OUTSET, BUT HE'S CONFIDENT THAT HE HAS A GOOD THING.

"IT TOOK A LOT OF DECIDING TO CUT UP OLD NO. 12," LaBOUNTY SAID, REFFERING TO THE OLD RACING CAR TO WHICH HE IS SENTIMENTALLY ATTACHED.

*NOTE: THE CAR RAN UNDER TWO NUMBERS...ONE WAS 12 BUT HE FINALLY SETTLED ON #5 AND HAD IT WELDED INTO THE FRONT BUMPER..THIS HELPED IN IDENTIFYING THE CAR AS HOWARDS CREATION....


LaBOUNTY CUT OLD NO.12 RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE, EXTENDED IT, BUILT A NEW SUPERSTRUCTURE, TAPERED THE AXLES, TURNED DOWN THE WHEEL HUBS, REBUILT THE ENTIRE REAR END.

A LOT OF STEPS LaBOUNTY HAS TAKEN ARE REVOLUTIONARY. WHEN THE CAR IS FINISHED, THE DRIVER WILL SIT OFF TO THE RIGHT HAND SIDE. LaBOUNTY IS BUILDING THE DIFFERENTIAL OFF CENTER SO THE DRIVER WILL BE ABLE TO SIT NEXT TO THE DRIVE SHAFT, NOT OVER IT.

"THIS, I FEEL SURE WILL GIVE THE CAR MORE ROADABILITY," LaBOUNTY SAID, "BECAUSE IT WILL HAVE A LOWER CENTER OF GRAVITY. SUPPOSE YOUR DRIVER WEIGHS 200 POUNDS. ITS GOING TO HELP IMMEASURABLY IF YOU CAN LOWER THAT WEIGHT 6 TO 8 INCHES AS I AM GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO."

BY LOWERING THE COWLING AND TAIL PIECE THE SAME 6 TO 8 INCHES, LaBOUNTY ALSO FIGURES TO CUT WIND RESISTANCE DRASTICALLY.

ANOTHER INNOVATION IS THE FULL-FLOATING REAR END (AXLES NOT ATTACHED TO THE FRAMES).

LaBOUNTY'S PROJECT HAS BEEN A LABOR OF GREAT DEVOTION TO THE SPORT OF RACING. A FULL-TIME MECHANIC AT THE KELLY BROTHERS' GARAGE IN EAST MILTON, LaBOUNTY HUSTLES HOME TO PEMBROKE, A GOOD 30 MILES, EACH NIGHT AND WORKS UNTIL THE WEE HOURS ON HIS "BABY."

HIS BOSSES, RAY AND WEN KELLEY, AND BOB OAKES, MILTON FIRE LIEUTENANT WHO IS ALSO AN EXPERT MACHINIST, HAVE BEEN BIG AIDES, LaBOUNTY SAID. HOWIE FIGURES THE PROJECT WILL COST HIM AROUND $1000, NOT ACCOUNTING HIS OWN MAN HOURS. AN OFFENHAUSER MIDGET ROADSTER COSTS NEARER $10,000.

HOW FAST WILL IT GO ? LaBOUNTY EXPECTS IT WILL DO BETWEEN 130 AND 140 ON STRAIGHTAWAYS. THE MAN WHO WILL FIND OUT IS VETERAN DRIVER JOHNNY DUDEVOIR OF DRACUT.

"A GOOD, STEADY OPERATOR," LAUDED LaBOUNTY. "YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A CAR COMING HOME IN PIECES WHEN HE'S DRIVING."

LaBOUNTY AND DUDEVOIR EXPECT SOME PROBLEMS WHEN THEY START RACING THEIR CAR IN THE NORTHEASTERN MIDGET CIRCUIT AT NORWOOD, NEW LONDON, GROVELAND AND VARIED LOCATIONS, BUT THEY HAVE HIGH HOPES OF DOING MORE THAN EXHIBITING BEFORE THE RACE SEASON ENDS.

MENTIONING EXHIBITING, LaBOUNTY'S WIFE, SHIRLEY, IS READY FOR THE RACING SEASON, TOO. SHE HAS MADE UNIFORMS FOR HOWIE, HERSELF AND STEVIE,4. RACING IS IN ALL THE LaBOUNTYS' BLOOD. IN FACT, HOWIE INHERITED HIS INTEREST. HIS DAD, HOWIE SR. WAS A RACING CAR OWNER AND RACING ENTHUSIAST. HOWIE JR. GREW UP WITH THE GAME.

FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE "THE TRENTONIAN", AUGUST 22, 1959 WRITTEN BY HARRY BLAZE

'OFFIES' HEAD MIDGET DASH

NOT TO MANY YEARS AGO THERE WAS A GREAT VARIETY OF ENGINES IN THE AUTO RACING CIRCUITS, BUT TODAY THE FIELDS WHICH TURN OUT FOR MIDGET SHOWS UNDER THE SANCTION OF THE UNITED STATES AUTO CLUB AND THE AMERICAN RACE DRIVERS CLUB ARE COMPOSED PRIMARILY OF THE MEYER-DRAKE OFFENHAUSER POWERED VARIETY. THERE IS A SPRINKLING OF OTHER MAKES, MOSTLY FORD "60" ENGINES. HOWEVER, THE FAMED "OFFIES" DOMINATE THE RACING SCENE.

TOMORROW'S FIELD FOR THE 250 MILE TRENTON SPEEDWAY MIDGET AUTO DASH WILL BE NO EXCEPTION. IN FACT THE MILE BANKED ASPHALT OVAL, LARGER THAN THE USUAL TRACKS WHERE MIDGET SHOWS ARE HELD, WILL BE EVEN MORE TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE QUICK-ACCELERATING MIDGET OFFFIES, SMALLER VERSIONS OF THE POWER PLANTS USED IN THE INDIANAPOLIS "500" AND THE USAC'S CHAMPION TRAIL. TOMORROW'S RACE BEGINS AT 2 P.M., WITH TIME TRAILS SET FOR THIS AFTERNOON AND TOMORROW MORNING.

OUT OF THE 49 CARS FOR WHICH OFFICIAL ENTRIES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED AT THIS WRITING, 35 WILL BE OPERATING WITH OFFENHAUSERS UNDER THE HOOD. INCLUDED IN THIS LIST ARE THREE ROADSTERS, THOSE LOW-SLUNG SLEEK CARS WHICH, ACCORDING TO MANY DRIVERS, PRACTICALLY "DRIVE THEMSELVES" THROUGH THE TURNS. THE THREE OFFENHAUSER POWERED ROADSTERS ARE THE VATIS-MARVEL MYSTERY OIL OFFY NO.9 TO BE DRIVEN BY TONY BONADIES OF THE BRONX; THE HOMEYER OFFY NO.27 TO BE HANDLED BY EDDIE SACHS OF CENTER VALLEY, PA., AND THE OFFENHAUSER OF FOSTER CAMPBELL OF DENVER, COLO.

WITH 35 OFFIES OUT OF 49 ENTRIES, THAT LEAVES 14 CARS WITH DIFFERENT OR UNKNOWN ENGINES. OF THIS GROUP, FOUR WERE NOT REVEALED IN THE OWNERS' ENTRY BLANKS.

OF THE 10 OTHERS EIGHT ARE FORD 60 ENGINED CARS, THOSE BELONGING TO ED MARINO OF THE BRONIX (2-A), TRENTON'S CARL MILLER (NO.5), THE MARVEL MYSTERY OIL FORD OF DOC MARVEL, THE TWO KELLY BROTHERS FORDS, CROCKY WRIGHT OF LINDEN WITH THE HIGGENS FORD, LENNIE THRALL'S MORDENTI FORD AND LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, THE LaBOUNTY JR. FORD WHICH HAS BEEN PUT INTO A HOME-MADE ROADSTER.

THE LaBOUNTY CAR IS AN INTERESTING NUMBER, BEING THE ONLY ROADSTER IN THE COUNTRY WHICH HAS ONE OF THE "OLD FORDS" UNDER THE HOOD. OWNER HOWARD LaBOUNTY JR. OF PEMBROKE, MASS. AND HIS DRIVER, JOHNNY DUDEVOIR OF DRACUT, MASS. HOPE TO REALLY GO PLACES WITH THE CAR. NATURALLY, THE OFFIES HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE BIG EDGE IN THIS 250-MILE DASH FOR CASH DIRECTED BY PROMOTER SAM NUNIS, HOWEVER IT MAY BE A NEW LEASE ON LIFE FOR THE FORDS IF THE LaBOUNTY EXPERIMENT IS SUCCESSFUL. THE CAR IS WELL WORTH WATCHING.

THAT LEAVES ONLY TWO CARS REGISTERED FOR THE RACE WITH STILL DIFFERENT ENGINES. THE FIRST OF THE TWO IS STEVE YANIGAN'S TRIUMPH-POWERED JOB WHICH WILL BE MAKING ITS "BIG TIME" DEBUT THIS SUNDAY. THE CAR HAS NEVER BEFORE BEEN SEEN IN THIS AREA, AND REPORTEDLY HAS NEVER BEEN RACED BEFORE. THE TRIUMPH ENGINE, AS SPORTS CAR ENTHUSIASTS WILL RECALL, PACKS ABOUT AS MUCH POWER AS THE FORDS 60s, ONLY IN A FOUR-CYLINDER IN-LINE ARRANGEMENT, RATHER THAN THE FORD'S V-8 SETUP.

THE LAST ENGINE ON THE LIST IS THE R.C. MILLER FUEL-INJECTED WILLYS, CERTAINLY AN ODDITY IN THE MIDGET RACING RANKS. THE WILLYS ENGINE, HOWEVER, HAS SEEN MILD SUCCESS IN SPRINT CAR COMPUTION ON OCCASION. DRIVING THE CAR WILL BE OWNER DICK MILLER OF READING, PA.

TOUCHING LIGHTLY UPON SOME OF THE OFFENHAUSER CARS: THE KEN BRENN OFFENHAUSER MIDGET WHICH SCORED SUCH A STUNNING VICTORY IN THE RECENT FORMULA-LIBRE EXPERIMENTAL RACE AT LIME ROCK SPORTS CAR COURSE WILL BE BACK IN ITS OWN ELEMENT AT THE TRENTON EVENT. THE CAR, DRIVEN BY INDIANAPOLIS WINNER ROGER WARD AT LIME ROCK, WILL BE CHAUFFEURED BY CHUCK ARNOLD, STAMFORD, CONN., THIS TIME. ARNOLD, IT WILL BE RECALLED, MISSED OUT ON THE INDIANAPOLIS ROOKIE-OF-THE YEAR VOTING BY A SINGLE VOTE. BRENN INCIDENTALLY IS FROM SUMMIT, N.J.

OTHER TOP CARS AND DRIVERS INCLUDE THE HESPELL OFFENHAUSER'S, A FOUR CAR TEAM WITH AN ALL-PENNSYLVANIA CREW OF DRIVERS IN LEN DUNCAN OF PHILADELPHIA, AL HERMAN OF ALLENTOWN, BOB MARSHMAN OF POTTSTOWN AND DON ALLISON OF CONSHOHOCKEN. ALSO, TWO HOMEYER CARS DRIVEN BY ERNIE McCOY OF READING, PA., AND TONY ROMIT OF THE BRONX; FORMER URC SPRINT CHAMP BERT BROOKS, IN THE DARELL-VILLA OFFY WHICH SET THE TIME-TRIALS RECORD TWO YEARS AGO AT TRENTON WITH A DIFFERENT DRIVER; BOB HARKEY, A FORMER NATIONAL MIDGET CHAMP AND BIG. STEPHENS, WHO WON THE 25-LAP RACE AT THE TRENTON SPEEDWAY LAST MONTH IN THE SAME CAR THAT HE'LL BE DRIVING TOMORROW, THE DUINO OFFY OF NEW BRUNSWICK.

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