Retro Rockets
Vintage 60's and early 70's supermodifieds

Feature Page - Short History of Rear Engined Cars at Oswego
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From assorted Oswego Classic programs:
Picture File Laird.jpg My only recollection of rear engined supermodifieds is from Oswego. I don't ever remember seeing any at Berlin, the Speedrome (Grand Rapids), Sandusky, or Lorraine County. My literature for Oswego goes back to 1965. There are pictures of two different rear engined cars that year; 1) Joe Magari's rear engined #007, and 2) both Cecil Keister and Jack Laird (Horseheads, NY) are shown driving the white #65x built by Ernie June.
Apparently, the June car was the first rear engined car to ever show up at Oswego. Neither car was very pretty, but they had a rear engines. There is a picture of Magari's car and apperently, it had no sheet metal on it...just a chassis and a motor and it is not on the official entry list for the classic, though Jack Laird is. Laird also shows up in the 1967 classic program with the same #65x rear engined car.
None of these drivers' names appear in archives from the 1964 classic.
Picture File Keister1.jpg Picture File Magari1.jpg
Picture File HowardJ.jpg In the 68 Oswego Classic program, the same #65x car shows up, only with Bob Jaynes (Horseheads, NY) driving. Also, there was a new car driven by Jim Howard, a veteran supermodified driver out of Hamilton, Ontario. The gold #38 was the first rear-engined car to win a race at Oswego, but it still had lots of mechanical difficulties. It was a Dodge powered with independent suspension. For another look try this picture from volume 1 of the RetroRocket archives.
Picture File SwiftRE.jpg Nolan Swift built a rear engined car in 1968. The swing axle, Ford powered machine did not do very well, however and Swift went back to his old car for the classic.
Picture File Spencer1.jpg In 1969, John Spencer shows up driving the beautiful Doug Duncan rear-engined car. If you ask me, this was the first nice looking rear engined supermodified. John had placed second in a feature by the time the 69 classic rolled around, and did eventually win a feature race at Oswego with this car. It was a red #07 and appears in volume 2 of the photo archives. John was from Toronto and a mechanic by trade. He had been wrenching on Doug Duncan machinery for years when Doug decided to sit out a season (1968) and build the rear engined car. John bought Doug's black and gold and raced it at Oswego as #35 (John's first year driving a super). John also was helping Doug to build the new rear engined car, and when it was done, John was suprised when Doug offered him the ride. The car had independent suspension and cost $8000 to build. John qualified 5th, but finished last in the 69 classic.
Jim Howard was also there in 69 with his rebuilt #38.

Rear Engines - Page 2