Speed King Auto Racer
The Speed King Auto Racer was a midget two-seat
roadsterbuilt by the R. E. Chambers Companyof Beaver Falls, Pennsylvaniafor use at the 1939 New York World's Fairwhere a 60-by-200 foot oval racetrack (the attraction was called the "Midget Auto Racers") saw approximately twenty Speed Kings in constant use whenever the Midway was open. As expected, the Speed King cars were very heavy and sturdily-constructed to hold up under such hard usage.
Earlier and simpler but similar models were built by the Traver Engineering company, Chambers' predecessor, and these older cars are still in regular use at the
Kennywoodamusement park in Pennsylvania.
The Speed King Auto Racer utilized a single-cylinder air-cooled and rear-mounted
Cushmanengine and mechanical rear-wheel drum brakes. Power was transmitted through a centrifugal clutch to a jackshaft and thence by chain drive to both rear wheels. Tires were 4.00x8.Each car was 36 inches wide and 91 inches in length with a wheelbase of 65 and 1/2 inches. Bodies were hand-formed, but the American BantamCar Company of nearby Butler, Pennsylvaniasupplied pre-stamped radiator grilles to Chambers for Speed King cars.
A unique single-pedal control operated both the throttle and brake. When the pedal was depressed, the car was under throttle, and when the pedal was released, the brakes were applied. In addition, a remote braking mechanism was utilized; a forward-facing hook was mounted below each car, and the ride operator had only to raise a cable to stop all the cars. As each car passed over the cable, it snagged the hook, which activated the brakes.
In addition to the still-in-use Kennywood cars, five Speed King Auto Racers are known to survive.
* [http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/SpeedKingAutoRacer Speed King Auto Racer website.]
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