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Coastal 181 releases book on famous Pfrommer Offy Sprint Car...
Newburyport, Mass., September 24, 2023 – Motorsports publisher Coastal 181 is proud to announce the release of “The Prommer Offy: A History of an Iconic Sprint Car,” by Alan F. Gross.
Fifteen years ago, Alan Gross had a hunch that the battle-worn and unidentified Sprint Car he bought at an online auction was something special, and he was right.
The mid-1950s to the dawn of the ’70s will forever be known for the ferociously competitive open-wheel racing on dirt half-mile ovals across the country, featuring beautifully stylized Sprint Cars, the country’s finest wheelmen at the helm. Dressed in t-shirts, with cardboard often taped to their arms and shoulders to ward of flying dirt and rocks, drivers would attempt to outbrave each other in what was likely one of racing’s most dramatic eras—and certainly the most lethal, with steeds built for speed not safety. Was this car one of those?
His purchase brought no known provenance or any records, but the original Hiram Hillegass chassis and body panels were intact. Noting its unusual oval-shaped tubing, Gross wondered if this could possibly be one of four famous Hillegass builds still unaccounted for, and he set out to solve the mystery: determine which car he now owned, restore it to its original condition, and document its history in a book. Through painstaking research, he established that his was the famous Pfrommer Offy, made legendary by Tommy Hinnershitz, who swept the 1959 USAC title with it.
The book details, year by year, the continuous and violent racing the machine endured between 1954 and 1972—it seems miraculous that anything was left of the car. For a series of car owners, fully 30 drivers ran it, 15 of whom were Indy veterans, eight inductees into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Along with Hinnershitz, other notables included Don Branson, Jud Larson, Ron Lux, Mike Nazaruk, Dick Rathmann, and Bob Tattersall.
Finishing up a meticulous restoration this year, Gross returned the car to its original robin’s egg blue and red livery, proudly wearing #1 denoting the 1959 championship.
The book, 150 pages with color and black and white photography throughout, is available for $34.95 plus $7 shipping online at www.coastal181.com or by calling toll free 877-907-8181. The website is updated daily with over 1500 other motorsports books and DVDs, as well as thousands of photos and racing commentary.
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