Several forces converged in the early post-WWII California car culture to launch it to a new level of competition and development. Founded in 1937, the Southern California Timing Association reconvened after the war and by 1949 had grown to include the Bonneville Salt Flats as an official venue for speed records; car clubs were propagating like never before, affecting intense rivalries and resulting in a new scoring system, and that same year coupes were allowed to compete for the first time in SCTA history against the more “exclusive” open roadsters. At the same time, engine technologies were advancing with the advent of the production overhead valve V-8, several versions of which could be modified with parts from a fledgling yet burgeoning speed-equipment industry.
All the experience the Chrismans gained on both salt and asphalt came together in the 1930 Ford-based Bonneville racer that would set three different SCTA class records and become the template for the classic Competition Coupe that prevails to this day. Radically chopped, with a sharply laid-back windshield, mail slot windows and a slippery nose cone fabricated from two 1940 Ford hoods, the coupe was a beautifully aggressive-looking showcase for the Chrismans’ trademark technical and aesthetic skills, its mere appearance enough to intimidate the competition.
Mecum Auctions has consigned the Chrisman Brothers Bonneville Coupe to the Mecum at Monterey Auction, August 13-14.