1959 Huffaker BMC MK1 Formula Junior, Chassis #2
Constructed by Joe Huffaker, Sr, of the Competition Department of British Motor Car Distributors LTD., San Francisco, CA. Kjell Qvale, President of BMCD, was convinced Joe could apply his hot rod experience to building a purpose built, open wheel racecar to compete in the then new Formula Junior class. Approximately twenty-five cars were built during 1959-60, with this car being chassis number 2. Documentation suggests this car was known as the “mule”, or prototype, where new ideas were tested and then incorporated into the current construction specifications. The car was first tested at the old Vacaville racetrack, by Joe Huffaker and Jack Dalton, who was a local hot shoe on the West Coast. The car first raced with SCCA Formula C, in April of 1959 and was victorious on its debut.
The car was innovative in Formula Juniors of the time: Short wheelbase; minimum weight to the rules limit; many off-the-shelf parts; low center of gravity by offsetting the engine at an angle of 35 degrees. to allow the drive shaft to go down the side of the car opposite the driver (à la Indy Car Roadsters); fully independent suspension with coil overs at all 4 corners; with drum brakes, as required by rule. Joe substituted aluminum for the cast iron drums as permitted. The car was ordered ready to race from BMCD for $3,995.00.
Jerry Titus did a track test of the then obsolete car you see for sale here today. Writing for Sports Car Graphic magazine in 1961, he went on to say that the stellar race results from 1960, spoke for themselves: 14 races entered; 9 first places; 2 second places; and 3 DNF’s, all caused by minor part failures. Not a single engine failure, a reflection of the care given this project by Mr. Huffaker. Unfortunately, the success was short lived, as the movement in formula racing was to rear-engined cars, and the Mark 1 could then no longer compete with the next generation of Juniors from Lotus, Cooper, and Lola.
This car has had seven owners from new, and it underwent a frame up restoration in 2009. The engine was built by Barry Sale of PHP Race Engines, along with invaluable guidance in the fabrication of all the bits and pieces necessary to bring the car back to its current state. Paul Dietzen, of Bodyshop of Barrington, is responsible for the beautiful finish on the fiberglass bodywork.