Art Imitates Life: The Tale of Two Sprint Cars

The H&H Machine Tool Special after restoration

The H&H Machine Tool Special after Randy Derr
decided to miniaturize it.
Look carefully - unless you are standing in front of both,
you will not be able to tell the difference.

 

By Tim Sickle

Life:

This article will be rather unique. As the title states, it is the story of two sprint cars, one full-size, while the other is a scaled-down version, hence, the reference to art (1/12th scale) sprint car imitating life (full-size) sprint car.

The sprint car in question is the H & H Machine Tool Special, out of the Dayton/Kettering, Ohio area, and its owner/crew chief is Clarence E. 'Mutt' Anderson. Mutt started out racing motorcycles, but moved to automobiles when someone suggested he get into something safer (?!). So, he decided to try his hand at sprint cars. He was a crew chief for years until taking on the ownership of a car. He is the third owner (1965-1968, a period of four years) of the restored sprint car you see here.

The car was built in California in 1961 by Jud Phillips. It rode on an 85 1/2" wheelbase, weighed 1,600 pounds, and was 'motorvated' by a 301 cubic inch Chevy V-8. Bruce Homeier was the car's first owner. He sold it to Mickey Rupp, the go-cart king from Mansfield, Ohio, which is where Mutt acquired it. It was eventually owned by a total of 10 different people, many of whom had no idea of the car's history.

The car raced at such well-known venues as Eldora, Terre Haute, Salem, Winchester, Kansas City, Tulsa, Muskogee, Cumberland, Allentown, Oswego, Gardena, Altamont, to name just a few. In its heyday, it included a "Who's Who" of drivers, such as Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Carl Williams, A. J. Foyt, Bruce Walkup, Billy Vukovich, Jr., and Roger McCluskey. It was McCluskey who gave Mutt a championship season for 1966 - in somewhat dominating fashion, I might add . . .

Art:

Enter modeler Randy Derr. Randy is a Dayton, Ohio area modeler who has been building since 1964. His specialty is race car replicas, and his 34-year career as a chassis engineer gives him a unique insight in this area.

In the Summer of 2005, Randy and a few of his Ohio model car club members hosted their club meeting in the race shop of sprint car racing legend Clarence E. 'Mutt' Anderson. Unbeknownst to Randy, his next project would present itself that day. Upon arrival, Randy and crew were confronted with one of Mutt's most successful cars - wait for it - the H & H Machine Tool Special.

 

  Here is a shot of Mutt and the car during the project.

  Here is a shot of Mutt and the car during the project.

  A detail photo of the 301 c.i. small block Chevy. Almost looks like you could fire it up, don’t it?!