The roadster legend of California dry lakes, in auction

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JAVIER TORRES / ©RACERZ

 The Spurgin-Giovanine car, which won 1948 Southern Californiaseason with no defeats, will be auctioned for more than 250.000$.In 1948, a motor genius couple won all the dry lake championship races and broke the top-speed record race by race.

They were Chuck Spurginand Bob Giovanine, from the Albata Club. Thanks to their success, Chuck and Bob were inducted into the Southern California Timing Association’s Class A Roadster Hall of Fame. They reached the historical season record with 1.800 points, the maximum that one pilot could aim to. And they did it with a legend hot rod that will be auctioned this January.

Building the top car

After Second World War, Spurgin suggested to Giovanine that they should install Giovanine’s car engine in Spurgin’s roadster to see how fast they could go. Their first time out, running in the B Roadster class in October 1947, they hit 118 mph. Seeing the potential car and engine combo, Spurgin and Giovanine used the offseason to drastically improve the roadster.

In 1949, the roadster was featured on the Hot Rod March cover magazine as Hot Rod of the Month, and was included in a display of record-setting machines in the SCTA Hot Rod Exposition at the Los Angeles National Guard Armory.

After some sells, the car disappeared for more than four decades until being rediscovered in the late 1990s in Apple Valley, California. It had been spent decades off collectors’ radars.

Ernie Nagamatsu undertook complete restoration under the guidance of SCTA historian Terry Baldwin, a process that was completed in 2009. The famed roadster was displayed at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and won first-in-class awards at the Grand Roadster Show and the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.

In 2015, it was inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame. Now, the Spurgin-Giovanine roadster is expected to be sold for a final amount between $250.000 and $350.000 at Gooding’s Scottsdale 2019 sale, which takes place January 18 to 19.