The Chandler Six and Pikes Peak

In 1926 Ralph Mulford, one of the greatest of the early American racing drivers, drove a Chandler Six to an overall win in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Sometimes referred to as “The Race to the Clouds”, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a 12.42 mile track that winds up the side of Pikes Peak, with over 156 turns climbing 4,720 ft to a total elevation of 14,110 ft.

In 1926 it was little more than a dirt and gravel track, and it wasn’t as smoothly graded as the Pikes Peak we think of in the pre-asphalt era of the three to four decades before 2012. The fact that Ralph Mulford donned his goggles and tackled the mountain in a Chandler Six with its solid front and rear axles, skinny bias ply tires, and push-and-pray drum brakes makes his feat all the more impressive.

The Chandler Motor Car Company

The Chandler Motor Car Company had originally been founded in 1913 with talented engineer and natural-born businessman Frederick C. Chandler as President. Chandler had previously been an engineer and designer at the Lozier Motor Company, and several of his former colleagues had been brought over to the new company.

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By 1922 the company was producing ten models, all aimed squarely at the middle of the market. The company did well, they earned a reputation for building solid reliable motor cars, and by 1927 they were selling over 20,000 a year in the United States. Interestingly, they were also one of the first American automakers to offer a constant mesh gearbox, they called it the “Traffic Transmission” as it made life far easier in stop-start traffic. General Motors followed suit a few years later with their “Synchro-Mesh” transmission, likely as a direct result of Chandler.

In 1929 the Chandler Motor Car Company was acquired by the Hupp Motor Car Company, Frederick C. Chandler used his profit from the sale to found Chandler Products – a company that supplied premium-quality fasteners to Cadillac, Hudson, Pontiac, and Hupmobile. Interestingly, Chandler Products still makes precision fasteners in Cleveland to this day, and they display an early Chandler Six in their lobby.

The Chandler Six Racing Car Shown Here

The car you see here is a heavily modified Chandler Six, it was built in either the 1920s or ’30s (as far as anyone can tell) to race in the hugely popular “Junk Formula” series – made up of junkyard specials that typically featured hopped-up road car engines, chopped chassis, custom bodies, and gutsy drivers.

The Chandler Six you see here is fitted with the company’s famous straight-6 engine, with a 288 cubic inch capacity, triple Winfield Updraft carburetors, and an estimated 90 hp. It’s fitted with a largely custom body, and a small two-man seat for a driver and mechanic – although quarters are tight, and you wouldn’t want to be fussy about rubbing shoulders.

In the cockpit there’s a large tape-covered steering wheel and a junkyard special shifter connected to a 3-speed all-syncro gearbox. Drum brakes have been fitted to all four corners, and there are custom made intake and exhaust manifolds, a Franklin steering box, and a fetching yellow color scheme.

Bonhams estimate the value at between $20,000 and $30,000 USD, making it a bit of a steal for a vintage racing car like this, and it’ll be auctioned by them on the 11th of November at the Bothwell Ranch in the USA.

If you’d like to read more about the Chandler Six or register to bid, you can click here to visit the listing.

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Images courtesy of Bonhams