“Speedy” Bill Smith on the 4x Sedan:
"When we built that car, there was a rule that said there was a minimum wheelbase, but there was no rule about a maximum wheelbase. The engine had to be in the stock position. So we moved the front axle forward, which had the same effect as moving the engine back.
When Lloyd was on that 16-race winning streak, he had to start last in every race. We started 24 cars in the feature and Lloyd started 24th every night. He never crashed the car never had a mechanical problem. Even in the heat race and dash we started last and won those most of the time.
No one had thought about putting the driver in the middle of the car, but we did. Lloyd had a great sense of balance, better than anyone I’ve ever known.
We won every race for a year and a half, won 16 feature in a row…NEVER LOST…started dead last. I wasn’t very well liked. It was kind of like when Jeff Gordon crashed. And they booed him. The same phenomenon was there then. I couldn’t go into a bar. I couldn’t go to a restaurant. Everybody in the world wanted to pick a fight with me just because my car was winning all the races. I switched engines in the car one night (to a smaller cubic inch version) but that didn’t stop the streak. Beckman just kept on winning as though nothing had changed at all. When we finally lost, it was because of a tire or something, I can’t remember for sure. As a young man Lloyd Beckman was a fantastic roller-skater. He used to win skating contests all the time. He had that balance. In his prime was as quick as Muhammad Ali, he could touch his nose and the tip of his toe and you’d never see his hands move. He had cat-like reactions and so he made an excellent racecar driver.
I built the car in a very short amount of time. The rules said you couldn’t set the engine back, but I always liked to figure out what the rules didn’t say rather than what they did say.
Since we couldn’t move the engine back, we moved the front axle forward which had the same effect. Beckman used his foot on the brake to hold it straight rather than slow it down. I worked on the brakes more than I worked on the engine. He drove for six decades and won features in six decades. He drove for me and then we would have a spat, not all brothers kiss and hug every day. We won every race and never broke down in 1960 and 1961, of course in those days that was a tremendous accomplishment. It got to the point where we won so many races; people would come and see because they just knew we were going to get beat that next week. Lloyd was very tenastic and had a tremendous desire to win and achieve; however you have to do it. Lloyd probably had the quickest reactions and the best seat-of-the-pants feel of any driver I’ve had drive my cars. He could actually tag onto a guy so close you couldn’t slip a dollar bill between the two of them. I’ve seen that car spin directly in front of him, and he’d never touch the other car. But he’d be that close. He had cat-like reactions.
The Sedan and Lloyd were a perfect match. He’d watch what the characteristics of the other drivers were, so he knew what moves they would make. He knew if he could fluster them or if he couldn’t. I know that probably I feel in my own mind, and this may be a little selfish, but actually what Lloyd and I did with that sedan in this area, brought racing far above any form of racing that there ever was around the country. At one time this area was known as the finest there was nationwide. I think that’s because of the effort Lloyd put into it and I put into it. When you get outclassed, whether you’re showing horses or playing golf or whatever you’re doing, somebody continually beats you, you usually try to parallel that guy or try to do better. So I think we gave them a very high point to shoot at, both in Lloyd’s ability and the equipment I put under him. There were a few other guys that drove the car, Bob Burdick, Gordon Woolley, John Wilkinson and Keith Hightshoe come to mind. They all said it was the best handling car they’d ever driven. They all copied the car and by 1963 there were several other cars like this running around. But they were still all chasing this one. They never could catch it, that’s in the history books."
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