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Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.
1948 SCTA Class A Roadster Champion | Featured on the Cover of Hot Rod MagazineChuck Spurgin and Bob Giovanine, Los Angeles, California (constructed in 1948)Carl Borgh, Los Angeles, California (acquired from Spurgin in 1954)Robert Cano, Lomita, California (acquired from the above in 1956)David Lawrence, Los Angeles, California (acquired in 1999)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2004)
SCTA Class B Roadster Championship, 1947 (15th Place, 24 Points)SCTA Class A Roadster Championship, 1948 (1st Place, 1,800 Points)Various Dry Lakes and Drag Races, 1950–1957
Second Annual SCTA Hot Rod Exposition, Los Angeles, California, 1949Ventura Motorsports Gathering, California, 2009Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2010Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, California, 2011 (Best in Class)Grand National Roadster Show, California, 2012 (Best in Class)Del Mar Concours d’Elegance, California, 2012 (Best in Class)Gold Coast Roadster & Racing Club “Gas Up,” California, 2015
The origins of this remarkable dry lakes roadster can be traced back to the late 1930s, when Chuck Spurgin and Bob Giovanine joined the Albata Club of Southern California and began to compete in the newly established Southern California Timing Association Championship. Although WWII interrupted racing activities, Spurgin and Giovanine returned to the dry lakes in 1947 and created one of the great hot rods of all time.
The iconic car was based on Spurgin’s 1925 Chevrolet Roadster, which was fitted with Giovanine’s hopped-up Chevy four. The highly tuned engine featured a Ford “C” crank, Curtiss OX-5 connecting rods, and an Oldsmobile three-port head milled to give as much as 16.25:1 compression. Other notable speed equipment included a Winfield cam, Mallory distributor, Jewett oil pump, and Duke Hallock-designed carburetors.
The Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster first appeared at the October 1947 SCTA meet, where it ran in the B Roadster class, turning 118.89 mph. That season, the car earned 24 points and finished 15th in the SCTA championship. Prior to the 1948 season, the Roadster was further modified. A ’32 Ford front axle replaced the stock suspension and the channeled roadster body was streamlined with a new aluminum hood, track nose, and full bellypan.
In April 1948, the updated Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster kicked off the SCTA championship series by setting a Class A record with a two-way time of 113.95 mph. At the El Mirage meet two months later, it set another record of 117.515 mph. At the July meet, it attained 118.48 mph, and that September, it finally broke the 120 mph barrier. During the season’s final meet that October, the Roadster set a two-way time of 123.655 mph, breaking its own record yet again. By placing 1st and setting a record at every meet, the Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster attained a perfect 1,800-point score, secured the 1948 SCTA Class A Championship, and set a record that stood for the next two years.
In March 1949, the Roadster graced the cover of Hot Rod and was the magazine’s featured “Hot Rod of the Month.” The car was also included in a special display of record-setting machines in the SCTA’s Hot Rod Exposition, held at the Los Angeles National Guard Armory.
Spurgin and Giovanine continued to race their Roadster into 1949, though they never repeated the success of the glorious championship season. In 1954, Spurgin sold the car to Carl Borgh, an aerospace engineer, who carried out a variety of modifications, including the installation of a GMC engine. Now called the “Mothersill’s Special,” Borgh’s Roadster ran at El Mirage in September 1954 and turned 141.73 mph. The following year, the Roadster was completely re-engineered, ran 149 mph at Bonneville and was profiled by Hot Rod for a feature that appeared in October 1956.
In February 1956, the car was sold to Robert Cano, who modified it further and continued to race it as the “Cano Snoot.” The Roadster’s last known race took place at Lions Drag Strip in 1957, and then it disappeared for more than four decades.
In the late 1990s, collector David Lawrence discovered the derelict car behind a garage in Apple Valley, California. Although it had been continually modified, the Roadster retained its original frame, body, and other identifying features.
The current owner acquired the project in 2004 and embarked on a restoration that returned the Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster to its 1948 appearance and specification. SCTA historian Terry Baldwin oversaw the process, which involved extensive research including tracking down members of the Giovanine, Spurgin, and Borgh families.
Completed in 2009, the Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster has since been displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and captured First in Class awards at the Grand National Roadster Show and Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance. In 2015, it was inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame.
The Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster survives today as one of the most famous, beautiful, and successful dry lakes roadsters built during the dawn of the California hot rod movement. Noted historian Don Montgomery has stated that the Spurgin-Giovanine Roadster’s flawless performance during the 1948 SCTA championship season “was an incredible milestone feat in land speed history.” Its status as a Hot Rod magazine cover car and decade-long racing career further its legendary reputation.
Gooding & Company is proud to present this important dry lakes roadster – a car that is sure to appeal to the collector with a passion for exceptional examples of American ingenuity and craftsmanship.