Book Review – “Frank Lockhart – American Speed King”

Big Bend, WI – (September 6th, 2013) – There are books that you can page through and read during commercial breaks while watching television. Then you have your larger books, some called coffee table books which contain beautiful full page photographs. Because of their size are usually read at a table, these are usually treasured not only for their visual quality, but their ability to take you back to the time of the book.

One book blessed with that ability is the Racemaker Press release: ‘Frank Lockhart – American Speed King’ by Sarah Morgan-Wu and James O’Keefe. This book is the first on Lockhart who famously won the Indianapolis 500 in 1926. Then again, there is so much more to the man. The California driver was not only blessed with the ability to drive a race car faster than most, Lockhart was the mechanical genius who invented the intercooler for the supercharged engine.

Although not a trained engineer, Lockhart had an ability to take a superior product, such as a Harry Miller-built race car and continue to make improvements on it. His instincts usually proved to be correct, as his cars were usually with him in victory lane. One of the many interesting facts you read about Mr. Lockhart is that he didn’t start driving race cars until the age of 20. One other trait you notice, Lockhart was fast, setting many track records at tracks he visited.

His beautiful Stutz Blackhawk land speed racer is still recognized 75-plus years later, however sadly this was also the project that cut Lockhart’s life short at the age of 25. The authors dug deep, researching the two land speed record attempts Lockhart made in the fascinating Stutz Blackhawk at Daytona Beach.

This book illustrates how much Lockhart was able to accomplish in his short life, showing his victories though many full-page photos, multiple records charts, along with many (as far as I know) unpublished photos. An interesting addition at the end of the book is the news clippings along with several letters from the Firestone Tire and Stutz companies. Coupled with many of Lockhart’s personal family documents may prove interesting to many readers.

Although some have criticized the shortness of the text, one have to remember Lockhart’s meteoric career, although successful, only last five-years. O’Keefe and Morgan-Wu did a fine job putting the biography down into perspective. Packed with nearly 200 images, ‘Frank Lockhart – American Speed King’ is one book that needs to be in your motorsports library.

Frank Lockhart, American Speed King

by Sarah Morgan-Wu, James O’Keefe

Racemaker Press, 2012

256 pages, 190 b/w illustrations, hardcover

List Price: $75.00

ISBN 13: 978 1935240 03

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