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Fireball Roberts Replica: 1957 Ford Custom

NASCAR was in its development phase back in 1957. That was two years before the Daytona International Speedway even opened. Drivers like “Fireball” Roberts piloted cars like this ’57 Ford Custom on dirt and asphalt tracks all over the Southeast. This automobile has been built as a copy of #22 that Roberts drove to eight wins that year. We’re told that it can be “street driven” to certain car shows and this interesting racing artifact can be found in Dover, Delaware. It’s being offered here on craigslist for $28,500. Kudos to Barn Finder “Roger” for this spectacular tip!

Glenn Roberts didn’t get his interesting nickname in racing, but in baseball where he became known for his fastball. His NASCAR career began in 1950 and he had 206 starts and won 33 races before he met an unfortunate and fiery end after a race in Charlotte in 1964. But in 1957, he drove a Ford Custom like the one you see here, which has been customized with great care to replicate its on-track cousin. To create this clone, Robert’s daughter was consulted along with his teammate Marvin Panch who drove an identical car.

As the story goes, this Ford was built in 2005 or 2006 and has a 300 hp supercharged 312 cubic inch V8 that was used in NASCAR until it got on the naughty list. Since its build, this vehicle has appeared in countless car shows and racing events and is ready to continue doing more in ’24. It was also featured in magazines like Motor Trend and Circle Track and was the inspiration for a Revell model kit. No details have been overlooked, like the tire tread marks on the right side of the car.

All the hardware is said to be correct, and both the engine and supercharger have been professionally rebuilt. The seller is willing to entertain delivery of #22 along the East Coast, within reason. If you hurry, you could take this beauty to the Annual Turkey Run at the Daytona Speedway over Thanksgiving weekend. Whether they’d let you take this car out on the track is another matter.

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Let me the 1st to say( not that I’m into that, just bored at 4 am), Russ outdid himself this time. A special thanks for bringing dusty memories to light again. I’m certain that name won’t ring many bells today, but these guys were our heroes in cars our parents may have driven, or would buy on Monday. As with any racing venue, we gasp at the lack of safety equipment, and ironic Roberts died in a “Fireball”, ask Ned Jarrett about that,,I built plastic models of this very car, while he was already gone by the time I got into stock car racing, he was always this unsung hero, whose career was cut short.
    I read, Roberts raced Fords and Pontiacs, even convertibles, a short half baked attempt at winning, but I think died racing a ’64 Ford. For some that might have been there, I believe it was a turning point in racing safety. I never knew it was supercharged, apparently, Ford had big plans for superchargers, ironically banned in 1957, along with 3-2’s and dual 4’s. I remember a short clip of Joey Logano driving a ’63 Ford stock car, and was horrified at how unsafe it felt. Dick Trickle had a cigarette lighter in his car, and vacuum wipers? When race cars really were “stock cars”. A heartfelt tribute to those wild men that took the exciting route, sadly at times, with tragic results. This car needs to be in a museum, if any are left.

    Like 32
    • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Well said on all points, Howard.
      Too, thank you Russ for your choice here with bringing an unsung hero into the spotlight.

      Like 9
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Howard said it all.

      Like 9
  2. Ford guy 69

    Very nice tribute, with so much homework being done to recreate it.

    I always liked the thought of pulling the cable to open the trap door to check tire wear on the right front, while at speed on the track! If you saw cords/belts, it was time to pit.

    Like 14
  3. Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

    Thank you for sharing this and the great write up!! I loved the leather strap to hold the the trans in second gear, and the trap door to look at the tires going well over 100 mph . They did a magnificent job recreating Fireball Roberts Ford. Very nicely done. This belongs in a special place with special care. I cant imaging how many hours of labor went into this. This truly was a labor of love.

    Like 8
  4. Big C

    I just watched a video about the Wood Bros. NASCAR team. Where they talked about the old days, and showed off some of these old stockers. This car would be unbelievably cool to own. And, the price isn’t stratospheric. I can imagine going through the gears, heading out of town, on a sunny Saturday afternoon. With passing cars wondering what the hell just went by.

    Like 8
  5. Timmy V Member

    My parents were at the 1964 World 600. The wreck was on the backstretch, pretty far from the stands, but Dad said the fire and smoke were incredible.

    Like 5
  6. Cooter Cooter Member

    Great writeup and replies. When I lived in Daytona from 93 until 2002, Nascar was at it’s pinnacle from a fan base standpoint, selling out stadiums across the country. There was a museum a couple blocks from the track called Klassix Auto Museum and was owned by Mark Martin. It had every model year Corvette ever made from 1953 on. It had race cars, stock cars and motorcycles. It just never had enough tourist traffic to keep it open and closed in April 2003. Al the cars were auctioned. There was a particular car that sat outside in the corral, a 59 Impala Nascar that was prepared and looked much like this with Parnelli Jone’s name over the driver door. The car was for sale but you had to inquire inside back then which I never did. How I wish I had bought it and just parked it in a garage. Great memories living there back then.

    Like 11
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    I look at this well done replica and then at my own race cars and the difference in safety equipment for the driver really jumps out. In all my years of racing I only wrecked a car once by sliding on oil on the track and hitting a huge jersey barrier left side first at 70mph. Side head restraints, wrap around seat, 5 point belts, and a HANS device got me only two bruises caused by the belts keeping me in place. Moved the barrier back 4 inches with a 1600 lb car. Dale Earnhart’s 2001 wreck showed that his safety gear wasn’t that much different than this old Ford’s. Come a long way since then. This car needs to be in a museum.

    Like 6
  8. Joe Haska

    Very nicely done ,the detail is amazing ,I especially like the brake pedal!

    Like 3
  9. Sniperfox

    I remember as a kid watching races at Bowman-Gray with my parents. Fireball Roberts was driving his Purple People Eater #22. Good times

    Like 2
  10. Greg Gustafson

    I like the interior photo of the front seat with the baby seat on it. Was that for a Bubba Wallace ride along?

    Like 6
  11. Heartbreaker AL

    Just finding all the decals was worth the asking price.

    Like 2
  12. Yblocker

    Nice tribute, very good detail, a lotta work went into this. These ole Fords dominated the scene in 57, even Junior Johnson drove one. I’m not sure the super charged engine lasted through the season, as they, along with Chevrolets fuel injection, were banned by NASCAR, the following year, the AMA put a ban on factory promoted racing. This probably does belong in a museum

    Like 2
  13. Lavern S Raus

    I heard the actual horsepower was more like 340hp than 300.

    Like 1
  14. John Randolph

    I remember going to the “Riverside 500” in 63 or 64 and seeing him race. I believe he was in 1st place with only a couple laps to go and he lost his brakes and still came in 3rd. Can’t say that this is 100% correct but that’s the way I remember it. If any one knows any different please correct me as it was a long time ago.

    Like 0
  15. Jim Benjaminson

    Probably better remembered by the younger crowd in Smokey Yunick’s black and gold Pontiacs.

    Like 0

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