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1959-1964 Hammes-Brannan
"The visit to your site was a wonderful trip down memory lane. Dick Brannan did some promotional things with me when I had my slot racing center. I also was one of the many who hung out with him. He did some work on a Mustang I bought from you in 1967. I traded my 1955 Thunderbird in on it. Those were the days!!! My dad traded cars every year thanks to the "good deals" he would get thru Hubert Stults. I bought my 1962 390 ci 401 hp 4-speed from Hubert. That car is still in the area. . . It is still original. Thanks again."

John Underhill

The Race

This is a story about the car Dick Brannan raced in 1961 or 1962 and was sponsored by the local Ford dealer, Romy Hammes Ford. Both cars are pictured on the Jerry web site. In fact, Brannan was in South Bend, In. on July 27th, 2003 and he and I were trying to piece this story together. The story is about one of those cars, the man Brannan sold it to and a day at the local drag strip in 1962 or 1963.

Brannan remembers selling one of those cars to a man who raced it at the local dragstrip in Osceola, In. This is the track Brannan started his racing career. I owned a very rare 1962 Ford Galaxie 500 with a 390 401hp engine and a 4 speed and I decided to take it to the track to see what it would do! I became curious what other cars were in my class and learned there was only one other car and it was the car Dick Brannan raced the previous year. I was one of the guys who "hung out" around Brannan and was very much aware of the car and knew my chances of beating it zero at best. But it was fun to know I was going to race against a car with such a successful history. The only thing I had going in my favor was that Brannan was not at the wheel. No one could shift like Brannan.

I decided to go introduce myself to the competition and share some Ford stories. The new owner and his friends were not very interested in talking with me. They were more interested in telling everyone about how fast this "Brannan" Ford was and how it hadn't been beaten all year and today would be no exception.

The next thing I remember is, I am watching the racing and discover I had missed the call for my class. There goes my competition making a "by run" and winning his class once again. You can imagine how I felt. Remember, this is the 60's. The starting tree has been replace by a flagman and we are all here for fun. Certainly there must be a way to give me a chance to be beaten by the "Brannan" Ford.

As I climbed wooden the steps to the 8' x 8' timing tower to plead my case I noticed the celebration over at my competitions pit area. Well, Art Chizum, the track owner, said if the other guy will come to the tower and agree to run again he would rerun the race. I went to the "other guy" and he said he would be happy to run me. Without using any of his language I can only tell you he made it clear he was not afraid of me or my car.

The flag waves and we are off. As we near the end of 2nd gear it is clear my car is no match for the famous Brannan Ford. I hate tail lights. However, it is about time for the difficult shift to 3rd. Remember, Mr. Brannan is NOT at the wheel of the other car and who ever was driving it missed the shift. By the time he got it figured out I had enough of a lead to win. The ET was 13.77 seconds with a speed of 104.65 mph. I still have that trophy.

That 401hp Ford is now owned by Kevin Cartwright and is still original. Same paint, seats, carpet, engine, spare tire, chrome, etc. Kevin and the car live about 30 miles from that Osceola, In. dragstrip.

John Underhill
Original owner of a not so famous Ford

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