As I ogled the photos of sleek Giaur racers I suddenly noticed car #14, positioned directly in front of a Giaur in a photo identified as having been taken at Meadowdale Raceway in 1958. That shape is unmistakeable: the car is a second generation Fibersport. A quick look at the program for the event (also posted at the same site - thanks Cliff) confirms that car #14 was indeed a Fibersport, driven by Paul W. Meters of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois.
tiny producer of Crosley-powered specials, based originally in Bloomington, Illinois and later relocated to Florida to be nearer to Sebring. The Fibersport was the brainchild of John Clator Mays who built a special and promptly tore the road tracks of the midwest to pieces with it. Mays turned the family basement into a factory, and he, his sons and one employee, Dutch Burmaster, turned out perhaps as many as five complete cars and another dozen or so fiberglass bodies (in two styles) between 1953 and 1962.
attend my first national Crosley Club Meet back in 2011. It's a nice car - likely one of the few genuine 'factory' Fibersports - and Chuck is the perfect caretaker for it.
Given that there were so few Fibersports built, there should be little question which one is which. Unfortunately, that's not true. The Fibersport factory files appear to have been lost, and there is very little documentation with any of the existing cars. The best-known and most successful Fibersport was # 41 - the first car built and the one that John Mays and both his sons raced at various times. Number 41 dropped out of racing in the early sixties, and was mothballed at Mays' house in Florida for the next four decades, so I knew Koehler's car couldn't be that one. But which other one was it?
Call it a gut feeling, but I think the car leading that Giaur at Meadowdale in 1958 may be the same car in Chuck Koehler's garage today. The biggest part of that intuition is the paint scheme - at some point the car was redone, but look at the paint in this photo of Matheny racing the car in 1988:
Also note the funky square hump in the center of the dash - that hump provides streamlining for a rearview mirror that Mays scavenged off a passenger car. Not all Fibersports had that element (mine doesn't, for example), but both the Meadowdale car and Koehler's car do.
Perhaps Mays allowed Meters to race the car, but made him run under a different number? Would Mays have let someone other than himself or his sons drive the car? I don't know - I've never found any examples of a Fibersport registered as #41 in any race with a driver other than a Mays. I do find it interesting that neither John Mays, nor his son Bill (who was actively racing the car in this period), were registered in a race which was practically in their backyard. Their absence lends credence to the idea that #14 may be #41 with the numbers flipped. But, if it's not #41 in the Meadowdale photo, I'll bet it's the car now in Chuck's care.
We may never know. I did some cursory digging around to see if I could turn up anything about Paul W. Meters, but found nothing. Perhaps with some more research Chuck may be able to find out if Meters was connected to his car - or if he was a friend of the Mays family who lucked into a ride in one of the most successful Hmods in history.
I hope so, and I'll keep you posted.