Home | About Ugo Fadini | Current models | How to order | Discontinued models | Models to come | Articles & Stories | Links

Shadoff Shadoff

Go to the
Shadoff Spl. model page



The Shadoff Spl. streamliner Shadoff 54


The Shadoff Special at Speed Week 1953 (photo Rasco Calendar)

Owned by Mal Hooper, built by Carl Fleishmann and powered by a Chrysler V8 prepared by Ray Brown, the Hooper-Brown streamliner, known as the Shadoff Special from the name of its main sponsor, a Pomona Chrysler-Plymouth dealer, was the last of three streamliners with a body shape designed by Dean Batchelor, and the most successful. Between 1953, the year of its debut, and 1960, when it ran for the last time, it set 15 FIA International records and 3 SCTA records, driven by three different drivers. That was the most consistent harvest of International records ever made by a car built by american hot-rodders. Perhaps even more significantly, this streamliner set new records in five over six years it actually ran.

Although it appeared on the salt a year later than the Hill-Davis streamliner, the two cars had been designed at around the the same time by Batchelor, later to become the most respected hot-rodding writer and historian, and his partner John Morris, which explains why they shared pretty similar, although not identical lines and even the overall dimensions, since they were designed to compete in the same engine classes. The main, obvious differences between the two were the rear-engined configuration and centered driver's position on the Shadoff, which allowed for a far more balanced aerodynamic behaviour and probably accounts for its longer and more successful career.

Shadoff 53
Light fiberglass body is easy to lift (photo Hot Rod magazine)

Hooper was not able to start building the car until early 1953 and that explains why the two cars appeared at different times. Like with the Hill-Davis streamliner, the body was made of fiberglass over a plaster handmade mold. Hooper himself built it with the help of Herb Francis. Mechanically, the Shadoff did not have any particularly advanced features, and its speed and reliability were mostly due to careful construction and an excellent aerodynamic design. The chassis was a fairly simple tubular frame, the suspension was by torsion bars all round with a tubular beam axle at the front, and a De Dion layout at the rear. Disc brakes were used, at the rear only. Drive was through a two-speed Warren quick-change rear end: after the 1953 runs two gears were deemed insufficient, so Fleishmann added a two-speed transmission mounted between the engine and the differential, thus obtaining a total of three forward speeds. Ray Brown built the engine, a Chrysler hemi sleeved and destroked to 301 cu in to fit in the class and producing about 325 HP.
(For those interested, a very accurate technical description of the Shadoff Streamliner can be found in the December 1953 issue of Hot Rod magazine)

Shadoff 53 SCTA

Debut at SCTA Speed Week 1953: Mal Hooper in car and, left to right, Carl Fleishmann, Bill Shadoff, Ray Brown, Bob Taylor and Herb Fisher
(photo from "The American Hot Rod" by Dean Batchelor)

The Shadoff Special made its debut at Speed Week in 1953. Although the team arrived late in the week, Mal Hooper made a qualifying run at 231.66 mph and although he could not set a record due to teething problems with the engine, the car won the Maremont Trophy for best design and construction. A good farewell and quite an anticipation of what the new car would be capable of achieving in its future career.

Shadoff 53 AAA

Ray Brown, Mal Hooper and Bill Shadoff after the successful
AAA/FIA International Record run
(photo from "Auto Racing Y.book" Fawcett 216)

Shadoff 53 AAA

At the AAA Speed Trials in 1953
(photo from "Bonneville cars" by Radlauer)

And success came quick, just a week later during the AAA International Speed Trials, attended by several of the cars that had just run at the SCTA Speed Week, like Chet Herbert's Beast, Hill and Davis', Fred Carrillo's odd-shaped streamliner and another of Herbert's Beasts, now equipped with a diesel engine by Dana Fuller. Mal Hooper drove the Shadoff Spl. to win all the flying start International records in FIA Class C for distances between 1 km and 10 miles. The kilo and mile records he took from the Hill-Davis Bob Estes sponsored streamliner, which was plagued with engine trouble and could not defend its records.

Shadoff 54

The Shadoff Special at Speed Week 1954 (photo from Sport Illustrated)

For 1954 the car remained virtually unchanged, except for the body color, now red instead of dark blue. Mal Hooper, resting on the laurels of his six International Records, left the wheel to Bob Bowen, who had worked with Ray Brown on the engine, for an attempt at the SCTA Class C record.

Shadoff 54

Speed Week 1954
(photo Hot Rod magazine)
Without much trouble Bowen grabbed the record at 248.26 mph, and even won the Hot Rod award for fastest speed of the meet for his return run at 252.80, which was somewhat odd, considering the car had to slow down when a front tire tread had come off in the measured mile!

Shadoff 57

Now called the C-T streamliner, at Speed Week 1957
(photo from Popular Mechanics Hot Rod Handbook 1958)

The car did not run for the next two years. When it reappeared in 1957, it was called the "C-T streamliner" (the only year it was not called "Shadoff Spl.") and was entered by Fred Lavell of Birmingham, MI, to whom Hooper had lent it, after installing a new, bigger 467 cu in Chrysler built by C-T Automotive. The original plan was to run for FIA International records once again, taking advantage of USAC timers who were at the Salt Flats for the MG EX-181 attempts, but the bad salt conditions that almost killed the british efforts made it impossible, so the car had to try its luck the next week in the SCTA Speed Trials. By then Lavell had to return to Michigan for his business and Don Clark of C-T Automotive, who was there to take care of the engine, decided to take care of the driving as well. New to driving very fast cars, he was very cautious at first, but then, once made confident by the perfect behaviour of the car, he managed to set a new SCTA Class D record at 248.281 mph.

Shadoff 58

Shadoff Spl. again, at Speed Week 1958
(photo from Hot Rod magazine)

In 1958 the Shadoff Special was back in Hooper's control and back at Speed Week, in the hands of Bob Bowen, still with the large displacement Chrysler installed the year before. It did qualify at 258+ mph, but engine trouble during the actual record attempt slowed it down and that ended up as the only year the car did not set any records at all.

Shadoff 59

Yet another SCTA record at Speed Week 1959
(photo from Road&Track magazine)

For 1959 the car, now six years old, underwent a ground up rebuilt by Bowen, who was now in full charge of maintaining and running it, and a new 259 cu in Plymouth V8 with Dodge hemispherical heads, owned and built by John Wolfe, replaced the Chrysler, bringing the car back into class C. Smaller engine did not mean lower speeds though, and at Speed Week, after qualifying and missing the goal twice, finally Bowen set a new C class record at 251.74 MPH, with the fastest run at 258.24.

Shadoff 60

More International Records in 1960
(photo from Popular Mec.s Hot Rod Annual 1961)

Shadoff 60

Ready for the attempt
(photo from Motor Life magazine)

In 1960 Bowen decided to concentrate on International records rather than Speed Week and in early August he shared salt time and USAC timing with Athol Graham and his ill-fated City of Salt Lake streamliner. On August 2, in just two runs, Bowen easily grabbed all the FIA Class C International flying start records from 1 km to 10 km (salt conditions did not allow for 10 miles attempts that year). The engine was then quickly replaced by a 454 cu in Chrysler with C-T aluminum heads, owned by Jim Kamboor, and the next morning Bowen was ready again for a new attempt to FIA Class B records, most of which still belonged to Mercedes and Auto Union. In spite of cooling problems on the north run, once again Bowen managed to win four out of the five International records from 1 km to 10 km: he missed just the 5 miles by a fraction. The flying kilo record was an astonishing 273.68 mph and 272.11 was the speed on the mile: not bad at all for an eight year old machine, and a most significant achievement on which to close a glorious career.

Ugo Fadini 2005
(Source: contemporary magazines)

All the records set by the Shadoff Spl. streamliner

venueyeardriversanctionclassdistancespeed (mph)
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. km235.87
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. mile236.36
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 5 km230.30
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 5 miles232.58
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 10 km231.95
Bonneville AAA Speed Trials10 Sep 1953Mal HooperFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 10 miles215.97
Bonneville SCTA Speed TrialsAug 1954Bob BowenSCTAC/Sfl. mile248.26
Bonneville SCTA Speed TrialsAug 1957Don ClarkSCTAD/Sfl. mile248.281
Bonneville SCTA Speed TrialsAug 1959Bob BowenSCTAC/Sfl. mile251.740
Bonneville, private time (USAC)2 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. km251.98
Bonneville, private time (USAC)2 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. mile252.22
Bonneville, private time (USAC)2 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 5 km247.95
Bonneville, private time (USAC)2 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 5 miles247.47
Bonneville, private time (USAC)2 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Cfl. 10 km245.72
Bonneville, private time (USAC)3 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Bfl. km272.11
Bonneville, private time (USAC)3 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Bfl. mile273.68
Bonneville, private time (USAC)3 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Bfl. 5 miles244.71
Bonneville, private time (USAC)3 Aug 1960Bob BowenFIAIntl. A, I, Bfl. 10 km233.23
All the FIA International Records listed above also qualified as USAC National Records, in the same classes


Shadoff Shadoff

Go to the
Shadoff Spl. model page


Back to land speed record topics index
Back to current range
Back to home page

Click here to send an e-mail to Ugo Fadini

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Home | About Ugo Fadini | Current models | How to order | Discontinued models | Models to come | Articles & Stories | Links

© Ugo Fadini 2000/2006 - page last updated 10 September 2006