From aerospace to road racing

Undiscovered Classics, via VM

From aerospace to road racing

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

From aerospace to road racing


Meet Joel Driskill, dedicated to recreating a one-off sports car built nearly 70 years ago by Chuck Manning — whose career as a stress analyst for Douglas Aircraft interested him in mathematical analysis of sports car cornering characteristics and led him to build a car to test his theories. Manning not only wrote about his build experience in a September 1951 article for Road & Track magazine, he went on to race the car at West Coast events — including Palm Springs, Torrey Pines, Carrell Speedway and Madera — starting with a ninth-place finish at Palm Springs in October 1951.

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Manning came back for the March 1952 Palm Springs Road Races, sponsored by the California Sports Car Club, to finish first in his Manning Mercury Special against some of the top drivers of the day, including a 25-year-old Phil Hill.

After we discovered Joel’s meticulous attention to learning about the car in order to faithfully recreate it, we just had to learn more about his story — which also includes collecting, digitizing and editing 1950s movie film of road races, mostly in Southern California, but also at Elkhart Lake (including the final road race in 1952), Watkins Glen and other tracks.