Model T Era Legends
Charles E McCormick – Mercury Body Corporation
Speedster Body Designer and Builder
In November of 1920, Charles E. McCormick of Lexington, Kentucky received a patent for a speedster body design.
A prototype based upon the patent aroused considerable interest so the Mercury Body Corporation was organized
by McCormick, and three of his University of Kentucky fraternity brothers. The firm announced that production
would commence on September 1, 1920 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Apparently plans for the Cincinnati plant fell through
and in early 1921 a new factory was located in Louisville, Kentucky at 2821 Garfield Ave.
Rajo Jack –Dewey Gaston
Racecar Owner, Builder, and Driver
Dewey Gaston, better known as Rajo Jack or Jack DeSoto, was one of the first African American race car drivers.
He was born on July 28, 1905 in Tyler, Texas. In about 1919 his family moved to San Francisco, then on to Los Angles.
Joe Gemsa - Speed Equipment Designer and Manufacturer
Joe Gemsa was a champion sprint driver in the 1940s and 1950s, and also built and raced cars in NASCAR. When
racing technology made the Model T, A and B Ford four bangers obsolete Joe never gave up his devotion to them.
Throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Joe designed, built, rebuilt, and restored overhead valve
and overhead cam units for Model T and A-B Fords. In addition, Joe designed and built many other speed parts
such as magneto drives, distributor drives, oil pump drives, and oil sumps for Model T and A-B engines.
Dan Erceg - Speedster Designer and Builder
Dan Erceg began building his first Model T speedster in 1968 at age 15. He finished the car in 1971,
christened it #19, and joined the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club. He attended the very first
endurance run in 1970 riding his old bicycle dressed in period attire. After finishing his 1919 Ford
racecar he began participated in the endurance runs with #19, and became deeply involved in the production
of the runs. His most noteworthy involvement was his “action” artwork used through the years in a lot
of the promotional stuff, programs, dash plaques, and T-shirts. Dan and car #19 raced in the 1972 Napa
County Fairgrounds race, which planted the seed for the Calistoga Dirt Track Classics (1973 – 75) in
which he drove # 19 several times. He also served as the official flagman for the Calistoga Classics.
Dan also provided the artwork for the now infamous Calistoga Classics T shirts, which are still being produced today.
2010 Restoration of the Year
1919 Special Deluxe Laurel Bodied Speedster
Owned and restored by Fred Houston
Winchester Speedway photo taken at the 2008 Centennial celebration, Fred Houston driving and James Roof
as Riding Mechanic. James is the grandson of Robert M Roof.