The restoration of the Arizona Hard Chrome midget
By Ron Trainor Phoenix Arizona
A period photo of the Arizona Hard Chrome Special
A funny thing very few people know is that my dad (Bud Trainor) bought Joe Pittman’s old Ferguson powered midget that became the “Arizona Hard Chrome half Chevy”. Joe and Myron Stevens originally built the car in the 1940’s as a Kurtis copy.
Dan Ricehouse found the car several years ago back east – I do not know where for sure. A lady had it after her husband had passed away. She had a list of four or five former owners and the last name on the list was Bud Trainor. They did not realize the first on the list should have been Joe Pittman. When Dan bought the car, he thought it was an original Kurtis, so he took the frame to Harlan Kurtis in Bakersfield California to have the frame repaired.
The Arizona Hard Chrome Special during the mock-up phase
photos by Dan Ricehouse
The main tubes were so badly rusted out on the bottom side they needed to be replaced. However, it would not fit the frame jig; the main tubes were too large in diameter, measuring 2 3/16”. We all know the Kurtis main tubes measure 2”, so very special tubing had to be ordered.
That development started everyone wondering, where in the late 40’s did Joe and Myron come up with such a strange size of tubing? A year or two later I mentioned the fact to an old racer friend who knew my dad and Joe, and he said, “I know exactly how they came up with that size, it’s old drive-shaft material, we all used drive shafts to build our frames with in those days, it was good stuff”.
It was only when Harlan Kurtis replaced the main tubes that we found a splice in the frame where in the 40’s or 50’s Joe had shortened the frame by four inches. That splice helped us to confirm that this is the ‘Arizona Hard Chrome Special.’ While my dad had the car in the 60’s the frame developed a crack at the splice on the right side so we put a sleeve in it and welded it back up, and that’s when I was able to set my mind at ease and positively identify the car, the sleeve was still there.
More progress photos and details
Photos by Dan Ricehouse
Dan stays busy with his business and has had other cars he has restored so the ‘Arizona Hard Chrome Special’ has been on the back burner for several years. I have helped a little and a few others have also, currently the car is in final assembly at Tommy Brawner’s shop (the nephew of Clint Brawner)
A period photograph of the "half Chevy"
I have the engine here at Arizona Hard Chrome. My shop foreman Donnie Stubblefield (great grandson of Stubby Stubblefield) and I, in our spare time have the engine at about 75% complete.
Editor's note: Thanks for sharing Dan Ricehouse and Ron Trainor! Please keep us posted on the progress on returning this unique of racing history back to life.