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Frank Lockhart

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Dec 23, 2012

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


BOOK REVIEW Frank Lockhart – American Speed King By Sarah Morgan-Wu & James O’Keefe Review by Harold Osmer Racemaker Press, 2012 Frank Lockhart came along in the second generation of American racing drivers. They appeared in the early 1920s, after the old guard had laid the groundwork for professional auto racing. Original race theory held that bigger was better, ala railroad technology. Hence the trend toward 900 cubic inch 4-cylinder engines turning 1500 rpm. Lockhart arrived just as Harry Miller was convincing the world that smaller, more precise engines could generate power via more rpm with the added handling benefit of lower weight. Though not formally trained, Lockhart’s engineering ideas translated into successful technologies used by racers worldwide. Included are drawings for his US Patent on intake intercooler designs, illustrating Lockhart’s inventive nature. His willingness to employ them in his own racecars shows how much he trusted his instincts. Frank Lockhart died at age 25 on the sands of Daytona Beach in 1928 while attempting to establish a new land speed record. Just two years before, he had won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. His early years as a mechanic, dirt track driver, and intuitive engineer are nicely chronicled in Frank Lockhart – American Speed King. Any high profile career cut short by disaster spawns rumors and what-ifs from the gallery. Lockhart’s life is no different. Historians, reporters, and his contemporaries all have added to the Lockhart story. Some are true, some are made up from whole cloth. Authors Sarah Morgan-Wu and James O’Keefe have done a fine job of digging through the official records and period accounts to both prove and dispel many of these. The authors don’t offer much in the way of opinion on their data. As true historians ought, they simply report what they found and let you complete the picture. The book itself is as handsome as can be. Hardcover, 256 pages, large format, with multiple records, charts, and photos. Fans of the era will recognize some of the photos but will also find several rare images of Lockhart’s racers from during his career and afterward. They alone are worth the price of admission. Frank Lockhart – American Speed King is a solid addition to any race fan or historian’s library. - Harold O. $75 Hardcover Publisher: Racemaker Press; 1ST edition (2012) ISBN-10: 193524003X ISBN-13: 978-1935240037 For more information about the book, go to To purchase the book on Amazon, click here

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