The USAC National Sprint Series allowed roadsters in the 1970’s. They were fast on the pavement tracks, where they held an advantage over the upright cars, but on the dirt, that advantage was negated. Eventually, with changes to USAC’s rulebook, the roadsters disappeared.

Mike Stewart
Mike Stewart piloting the No. 79 at Spartan Speedway in 1977.

While fewer in number, there were also some roadster-style midgets. Reportedly, a small number were provided by Kurtis in kit form. However, there were also a few homebuilt examples.

This is one.

The skilled builder of this example was one Ed Stewart of Lincoln Park, Michigan. Stewart started from scratch, laying the one-inch tubes on the floor, measuring and cutting them, and then welding them together. He fabricated the body from pieces of scrap aluminum where he worked. It is not known if he asked permission.

His son, Mike, shared that his father was hands-on concerning every aspect of the car, including being the designer, mechanic, crew chief, money man, and setup man.

67 Roadster
RICK SHERER PHOTO

The only aspect that didn’t interest him was actually driving his car.

There were two different engines that were mounted in the car during different points of its career. For the first couple years, there was a 110cc Offy, which Stewart rented. Then, for the rest of its time on the track, it carried a Chevy II four-cylinder, which was rated at 300 horses. When Mike restored his father’s racer, he opted to go with the Chevy II powerplant.

It was an era in which building cars required ingenuity. Unique problems required unique solutions. For example, when there was insufficient room under the hood for the fuel pump, Ed mounted it outside where it was driven by a belt.

RICK SHERER PHOTO

The car carries a period CAE in-out box and a Halibrand rear end. It rolled on early 13-inch Firestone tires, with wider versions on the rear.

The rack-and-pinion steering was acquired from an early MG.

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