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.
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:
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……”
…..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?)
“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.”
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”
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”. Is this a picture of Steve Hawxhurst driving “SIAM Special” #35?
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. Pictures 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.
This 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:
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.”
Update: “Got to thinking about it afterwards, I had my components reversed, Triumph tranny, Fiat rear end.”
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?
So if you have any more information on this car or corrections please contact me at