1954 Hillegass Sprint Chassis# JE-54-19
Hiram Hillegass began building race cars in 1919 while working at Mack in Allentown, Pennsylvania. By the time he died in 1960 at the age of 65, he was recognized as one of the foremost builders of single-seat race cars in the Únited States, a stature that was endorsed when he was elected to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1997.
#19 was built in 1954 for Dixon Sawin and raced successfully in the URC until 1972. Purchased from the Sawin estate in 1992, it was restored in 1994, It may be the most original, unmolested, early tube frame-torsion bar suspended Hillegass in existence. GM V8 powered with Hilborn Fuel injection, a vertex Magneto, and a CAE in/out Box. Very historically significant, #19 still retains its original speed equipment including its Halibrand Quick Change Differential, Halibrand Disc Brakes with outboard brake lever, Halibrand Magnesium Knock Off Rims with period Firestone racing tires, Hillegass torsion bar suspension and tube axle. The Leather upholstery and grille cover are all original, as is over 80% of the stunningly hand crafted aluminum body panels.
The fact that #19 survives in such an original unmolested condition is remarkable. Dan Owens, in his noted book “Vintage and Historic Indianapolis race cars” described the sprints of the 50’s and 60’s as the “meanest, most difficult to drive, most overpowered and exciting cars in oval track history.” There are very few original examples remaining.
Has not been started in a number of years so it will need some attention to be fired once again.