July 22, 2024


Where Innovation Lives

The Roadster | The Jalopy Journal The Jalopy Journal

3 min read


Joe Boyles is a modern day patriarch of a multi-generational racing family. It all started in the 1930’s when great uncle William Hower raced in the Tin Lizzy class. From there, Junior Hower took over and raced Jalopies and Super Modifieds throughout the 1950’s and 60’s.  And, of course, Joe himself couldn’t be left out – he raced both Sprint Cars and Midgets for a number of years. These days, his son owns the seat in both winged and wingless midgets.

Junior Hower showing the field up in 1939.

Other family members are involved as well. Sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, nephews, and… well, just about everyone in Joe’s family is a student of speed in one way or another. But, I’m getting ahead of the story a bit. For now, let’s focus on Ray Boyles Sr. (Joe’s grandfather) and Ray Boyles Jr. (Joe’s father).

In 1958, the father and son duo were in Kansas City at Eakin’s Brothers Garage. Their task for the day was to inspect a 1927 Ford roadster that had been setup for dirt track racing. That inspection ended with Ray Sr. handing over a wad of bills and the Boyles family adding a new whip to the stable.

The Roadster as found in 1958 or so…

Initially the family saw fit to run the car on the drag strip, but once those shenanigans were out of the way, the fellas decided to put the roadster back on the street. Junior built a full-race flathead with Edelbrock heads, three deuce intake, cam, and a stroker crank. It was backed by a 3-speed Saginaw and a Halibrand quick change. From there, Joe’s college fund was spent at the chrome shop – The ’37 Ford axle, springs, wheels, brakes, and anything else they could get their hands on were all electroplated with shiny shit.

Next, the Boyles’ focused on the interior. Ray Farhner was always the innovator and in 1963, he got the idea to host a live interior/upholstery class during one of his shows in Kansas City. The car he chose as the patient was the Boyles’ roadster. As part of the entertainment, the roadster got the full roll and pleat treatment – done with pearl white naugahyde. Add a gold flaked steering wheel, a compliment of Stewart Warner gauges, and some elbow grease and you have an interior that still looks sharp 60-years later.

As for the body, there is more to this car than meets the eye. The stainless firewall was pushed back a full foot from stock and the windshield sanctions were chopped just enough to leave 8-inches of glass. To help with the line, the ’32 grille shell was chopped a bit as well. Welded doors hint at the car’s racing heritage.

But what about the paint? By now, you have surely peaked some of the photos that accompany this feature. Those images were captured by Tom Davison. But, Tom hasn’t always been a photographer. At one point in his life, he kept himself busy in a paint booth. And in 1964, he was busy painting this roadster a candy gold over pearl. All lacquer of course…

“The paint has held up well,” Joe said. “There’s some fading for sure, but the finish is damned near 60-years old.”

Pretty well? I’d say so… The car was featured in Rod & Custom Magazine in 1968. Shortly afterwards, some changes were made. Chrome reverse wheels gave way to the current Halibrands and a trick chrome exhaust was bolted up to the flathead. Other than both those advancements, this car sits exactly how it was originally conceived.

So, this roadster is an honest and single family owned survivor. A unicorn. And the thing is, this is the last thing you would expect from a family that has literally spent generations tearing shit up in search of further speed. For whatever reason, that search spared this little roadster and we all get to benefit from it.

This one is special boys…


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