ERMA/SIAM Fibersport History 1954-2016

Having gone through many notes from Harold Pace and Mark Brinker, Steve Hawxhurst and many others I am publishing what I believe is the history of the “ERMA” to “SIAM” as I now know the car.  If you have any comments, corrections please advise as I want to be accurate but not lose any history.

ERMA-SIAM Fibersport

Purdue University students as a class project built “ERMA” in 1954 a H Modified race car. They used a John Mays “Fibersport” fiberglass body.  E-mail Bill Mays to Larry Haynes:

“5/30/2004

The body seems like original. I was in the USMC at the time Dad sent that body out but remember everyone talking about their project (from1956 0n). Do remember them saying it had a trunk opening. The light mounting was optional. We moved them out of the grill opening to reduce chance of over heating. Ours were just openings cut in the body and then lights mounted on attachment to frame……”

“5/31/2004

…..The body is from the original mold made in 1955. Is it right hand drive, if so, think it is the only FiberSport that is (editorial: right hand drive). Sure brings back memories!”

Car had a Crosley engine, “Standard” 4 speed transmission and Fiat 500 rear axle and drum brakes, Crosley front axle and Crosley drum brakes.  Frame is a 3″ tube ladder frame.  (Pictures to be added soon).

Frank Isaacson was a Purdue student and bought the car. At the time ERMA was Orange #33. (Is this “ERMA” in action?)

SIAM #33 Archive-1

“ERMA” first name for the car from Purdue was sold to Frank Isaacson. Did the name “ERMA” come from the “entity” “Experimental Racing Motors” established in 1954 so the Purdue students could buy parts wholesale? Note the checks used to buy parts provided by Chuck Reupert.

Purdue Univ checks etc for SIAM build

Note: Tim Foster has heard rumors there were two cars made at Purdue”

“This is interesting news since I didn’t know there was an earlier iteration!

This came from a guy named Bruce Boschek who had helped Norm Esau wrench on his Crosley Nardi (now owned by Don Baldochhi) back in the early sixties. turned out that he had met the Mays family (Fibersport builders) back in the day and knew of the SIAM- and he says that the students who built the SIAM built at least two diferent versions of the car – they started from scratch after the first chassis turned out to be ‘slow as a turnip.’ This matches pretty well with a statement by the late Bill Mays about the first outing of the SIAM.”

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HMOD/conversations/messages/6464

The web site “Racing Sports Cars”, www.racingsportscars.com,  show result’s for Frank Isaacson from September 6, 1958 to Sept 12, 1959, under the entry name #33 “ERMA”

http://www.racingsportscars.com/driver/results/Frank-Isaacson-USA.html

The race records show that Frank Isaacson raced the car until 1959 when ownership transferred to Warren Meyer.

Approximately Jan 1961, Warren Meyer sold “ERMA” to Steve Hawxhurst, car was renumbered to #35 and painted Blue.   On “Racing Sports Cars” records show one race June 25, 1961 under the name “SIAM Special”. SIAM #35 Archive-2  Is this a picture of Steve Hawxhurst driving “SIAM Special” #35?

http://www.racingsportscars.com/driver/results/Steve-Hawxhurst-USA.html

The name change (“ERMA” to “SIAM” is confirmed by Steve Hawxhurst’s, son by the same name.

Steve Hawxhurst e-mail to Larry Haynes, 12-5-2010

“I’m Steve Hawxhurst’s son by the same name. I will have to do some digging through his notebooks to see if anything comes to light. I can tell you that it was my father and not the original Purdue builders that put on the “SIAM” badge. I have no idea where he got it from but the idea that it came off an old refrigerator or washer seems dimly correct in my memory.”

In 1962 Charles (Chuck) Reupert of Milwaukee, Wisconsin bought the car from Steve Hawxhurst. Who then sold the car to Jim Wisniewski in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1964

The car color was changed to Green and #41 and renamed “ASP” noted in a letter to Charles Reupert in 1964. Siam pictures 1997-1 DSPictures from Don Suiter when he bought the car from Jim Ash.

In fact, Steve Hawxhurst requested the SIAM nameplate returned in 1964, “as the only one I had.” Editorial. Wish I knew where the SIAM nameplate originated.  An internet search over the years hasn’t led to a definitive answer.

SIAM Emblem 2This is a scan of the metal “SIAM” nameplate. Note: During Restoration I was able to confirm the car colors: As found, Green #41, next color was Blue and under that was Orange. No gel coat on the fiberglass, as found.

Sometime in the 1990’s Jim Ash of Ixonia, Wisconsin, bought the car from Jim Wisniewski. A 1991 letter to Steve Hawxhurst’s son talks about the history of the car.

Steve Hawxhurst son letter 1991

In 1997 Don Suiter of Colorado bought the “SIAM” from Jim Ash and transported to Colorado from an e-mail from Ray Jones in Colorado describes this time frame:

“Larry,

I found your message on the net, by pure, happy, mistake. I almost bought the Siam from the broker in Wisconsin (Bill Schley).

He was offering a 1947 Hillegass midget (this was in about 1994) and the Siam at the same time, and I wanted the Hillegass worse, but the Siam came to Colorado via another RMVR member, Don Suiter, ( I told Don about the car, he immediately went to Wisconsin to pick it up, literally the next day) .Don later sold the Siam to Larry Coldren. Larry brought the Siam to Second Creek to share a pit space with us in 2001 or so, and the car was an outrageous hit. As you know, Larry got involved with restoring the Elva sports racer. Larry (who is a very dear friend) wanted to keep the car “in the family”, and offered it to me. My wife and I race, among other things, the Formula 250 Emeryson, so we understand “different” cars.

From what little we know and recall about your car, it’s a 1950 or so iron block crosley, coupled to, as memory serves, a Triumph (mayflower?) rear end, utilizing, again from memory, a Fiat transmission and Fiat brakes. According to Bill Schley, when he found the car, it was in a barn, serving as a pallet, and had hay bales and feed sacks stacked on it. That would certainly account for the distortion in the body panels. From what we have learned, the Fiat transmission was commonplace, as the Crosley transmission is pure crashbox, and the Triumph rear end was popular, due to the 4.56 or 5.1 gears availble.”

Ray Jones

Update: “Got to thinking about it afterwards, I had my components reversed, Triumph tranny, Fiat rear end.”

Ray Jones

Don Suiter sold “SIAM” to Larry Coldren of Colorado who then sold to Mark Brinker/Harold Pace in Weatherford Texas in the 2003 time frame.

When Mark Brinker and Harold Pace got the car they decided that neither would fit in the small “SIAM” cockpit so sold it to Larry Haynes in Santa Fe, NM in 2004, where is still resides and is undergoing restoration. Note:  Larry Haynes may not fit either!

Couple of pictures with different car #’s.   Anyone know who, when, where?Picture SIAM #71.jpgSIAM #135 Archive-3.jpg

So if you have any more information on this car or corrections please contact me at

lhaynes99@gmail.com

 

 

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Additional info on SIAM History

Well if I read and comprehended half of what I read I would be so much better at this.  The “Class H News” of June 1959 talks about the Wilmont race of May 17th.  Noted is “Frank Isaacson has his car looking better and going well”:

Class H News June 1959

When I did a search of “Frank Isaacson” on:

http://www.RacingSportsCars.com, (permission granted by http://www.RacingSportsCars.com)

Frank Isaacson on Racingsportscars, ERMA on Racingsportscars

I found the correlated information that May 17, 1959 Frank Isaacson was entered as #33 “ERMA Special”.  He finished 5th in the preliminary race and 6th in the race.  Is this a picture of Frank Isaacson?  Right car#.  We also know that when you see the Steve Hawxhurst info below the car was #35!SIAM #33 Archive-1

Frank Isaacson drove the “ERMA Special” from 1958-1959 when he switched to a “Lyne Special”.(per the records on http://www.RacingSportsCars.com)

I think this is solid evidence with other documents and interviews with members past and present that the car built by the Purdue Students was originally “ERMA Special” and rebadged by Steve Hawxhurst to the “SIAM Special” noted by Steve Hawxhurst’s son and also verified by race results:SIAM Emblem 2

S Hawxhurst-SIAM on racingsportscars

This shows that Steve Hawxhurst drove #35 SIAM special on 6-25-1961 at Milwaukee finishing 1st in HM!  Is this a picture of Steve Hawxhurst?  Right car # and now “SIAM Special”! SIAM #35 Archive-2So I think we are starting to understand the history of ERMA and SIAM H-Mod.  Watch for more info to follow.  Larry

SIAM ARCHIVE

Work is progressing on the SIAM.  Goal today is to take SIAM to the Crosley National Meet in Wauson, OH in July 2016.

In the interim I wanted to load the SIAM archive files I have gotten from Don Suiter and others through Chuck Reupart back in 1991.

First are a set of pictures Don Suiter took when he bought the car in Wisconsin in 1997 I believe.

Don then sold the car to Mark Brinker in Texas and he sold it to me via E-Bay 2004.  Later I will try to decipher a chronicle of owners of the car.

Siam E-bay Ad 2004

Chuck Reupert dug thru some of his old files and came up with many pictures of the car in action from late 50’s to early 60’s.  More pictures at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/108136620309046715550/SIAMArchiveRacingPhotos

SIAM #33 Archive-1

Steve Hawxhurst in a letter to Jim Wisniewski back in 1964 details many of the particulars of the SIAM.  (Must reading)

Steve Hawxhurst letter w-details on SIAM 1964

In 1997 Bill Mays, son of John Mays, designers of the Mays Fibersport body used on the SIAM, wrote to Mark Brinker and Harold Pace of some personal info he had on the SIAM.  I have kept in touch with Sandi Fodi, Johns Mays daughter, about the SIAM and my other Fibersport car.

A unique piece of history are copies of checks used by the Purdue students that built the SIAM.

Purdue Univ checks etc for SIAM build

Some letters documenting ownership transfers and other info can be found at:

SIAM communication 1961-1997

Sales Brochure from Chuch Walser back in 1962-63 show he had the SIAM for sale in Chicago, IL.  Look at the other cars he had for sale at the time, Jabro, Stanguellini, Lotus 18 etc.  Kinda neat!

Clarke Walser Sales sheets-1

On a side note, H-Mod racing in the Mid-West in the 50’s and 60’s was very vibrant.  I have added a copy of the Class H News, June 1959 for your reading pleasure.

Class H News June 1959

Allot of info now saved for all to share.  Enjoy and look for more updates on the SIAM restoration progress in 2016.

Larry

1973 Elden PRH-14 Super Vee

Joe Morrison in Colorado has this Super Vee for sale.  It is a 1973 Elden PRH-14 with an air-cooled 1700 VW engine.  From the Elden Racing Cars website, there were only 8  of the PRH-14 made and only 4 imported into the US at the time,

http://eldenracingcars.moonfruit.com/#/cars/4525782368

I understand from Joe and Bill S, previous owner, there is complete documentation of the car, log books etc since new.

Great Vintage racer for someone!

1973 Elden PHR-14 Formula Super Vee.  Fresh cosmetic restoration.  New pro build legal air cooled VW Type 4, 1,700 cc engine, break in time only.  Several new suspension parts, new Simpson safety harness.

Two sets of wheels for running Vintage FSV-2, and SCCA Formula Continental.  Nearly new Koni adjustable shocks.   Good Hoosier tires. 

Several extras: center body mold, sports car nose mold, rear wing, high downforce nose, two spare rear wheels, SCCA and SWMS log books dating from brand new.  Ready for on track adjusting and racing.

Run with the big boys.  Safe and fast car for Formula Ford price.  Only $14,000 OBO.  Joe Morrison 303-838-3518, e-mail 4joemor@gmail.com

Continue reading

Elden Register by Me!

I wanted to start a register of cars I know of now 12/2015  Please help me keep track of the cars in the US and others with the intent of supporting the preservation of the Elden Marque,  (Data gleaned from personal contacts or by contact in: http://www.Apexspeed.com, http://www.RMVR.com)

Elden FF’s and Super Vee’s in the USA, Canada and UK

Elden Register by Me1

I would like for this to be a living document so any updates or additions will be appreciated.

Note:  This is not an Official Elden Register by the Hampsheir’s, but my own contacts.

Historical Elden FF Documents

When I got the first two Elden FF’s from South Carolina, the following documents were part of the files that came with the car.  They maybe of interest to others as it was to me.

First are two ads published in the SCCA “SportsCar” magazine, of July 1989.  On the top was an ad for Elden Racing Cars for their new PH 27 Formula Ford.  Also in the same edition of “SportsCar”was an ad for the Elden Register, USA;  a publication put together by Paul Pfanner and Steve Nickless. Combined elden Ads

Secondly, is Issue 1 March 1989 of  “the elden register, u.s.a” published by Paul Pfanner and Steve Nickless for “American Elden Owners and others interested in the marque.”

Elden Register USA letter to owner

Elden Register Issue 1 March 1989

  • On page 2, is a list as of 6-19-88 Elden owners names and Chassis types.  At this time there were 19 names in the “the elden register, u.s.a.”
  • On page 4 is a letter to Steve Nickless from Brian Hampsheir on February 15, 1977 and another to Paul Pfanner from Peter Hampsheir, May 24, 1988
  • Included on page 9 is an article “from hard times to success” where “Mark Kettlewell traces the Elden story”, reprinted from “Autosport, March 1, 1973 edition, Courtesy Haymarket Publishing”

Inside this issue of the “elden register, u.s.a.” was an reprint of a “Sales Brochure from the EldenPH-8, Published by Tom Pumpelly’s NTW Racers Store in 1972”.  This contains allot of information on the original specifications of the PH-8 as it was imported to the USA.

Elden 1972 FF PH-8 ad

Also included in “elden register, u.s.a” Issue 1 was an advertisement for the new Elden PRH27 F.F.1600;

Elden PRH27 ad

This is very good reading and is located here ensure Elden history is maintained.  If someone has other docs we want to maintain, please send them to me and I will add them.

Alert!! SIAM is back in the shop

Picture as found in Dallas, TX

Picture as found in Dallas, TX

I have been longing to resume my restoration of the 1954 SIAM Crosley H-Mod.  So I recovered it from its dry storage location and switched it with one of the Eldens.

First thing to do was redo the steering wheel assembly.  As found, the steering box is the Crosley box with a long single rod from the box through the firewall to the steering wheel.  The upper support of that rod was a 1 1/4″ tube with some wood bushes for the rod to ride in and the steering wheel was bolted on with a key and nut.  That steering rod had been lengthened when built and was not straight.  So as you turned the steering wheel the rod turned in an arc, binding on the wood bushes.

The fix was to cut out the bad section and ordered a modern steering coupling with a 36 spline rod, new rod and a quick disconnect for the steering wheel.  The H-Mods are a small cockpit and fairly large steering wheel so I wanted a removable steering wheel to aid egress for my large butt.  I retained the original steering wheel with adapters to the quick disconnect.

This makes me feel much more comfortable.  Next is back to the engine in the engine stand and fire it back up and resuming all the other body work etc.