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    1959 Echidna Chassis #2 “The Grierson Car” Class “CM” Sports Racer

    Consignment #: 2071 Sign In to View Price

    Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale January 14th – 18th, 2015 at Russo and Steele’s 15th Annual Scottsdale Arizona Auction. Please contact us for more information.

    During the 1950s “Golden Age” of sports-car racing in the United States, one of the most competitive and consistent specials was the Echidna, conceived, designed, and built by Ed Grierson, Bill Larson, and John Staver of Hibbing, Minnesota. Named after the reclusive Australian spiny anteaters immortalized in Greek mythology as the mother of all monsters, Echidnas – numbering just three in all – ruled SCCA C- and B-Modified competition.

    The Echidna’s basic concept called for lightness and outstanding performance with built-in durability, endurance, and reliability to match. Accordingly, Echidna chassis and mechanical components were based on relatively humble Chevrolet passenger-car parts, combined and massaged with practical yet sophisticated engineering principles and masterful fabrication clearly in evidence throughout. Beginning with a heavily reworked and shortened 1956-57 Chevy sedan frame mounting the basic Chevrolet ball-joint, double-A-arm suspension layout up front, Echidnas featured race-prepped Chevy small-block power, a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed transmission and initially, upgraded Chevy Corvette cerametallic drum brakes all around. The stout tripod-style roll bar added further chassis stiffness. Sleek Bill Devin bodywork, finished in light blue paint, cloaked the wizardry contained underneath.

    The first Echidna was driven primarily by John Staver and utilized all the basic features listed above, and rear suspension via shortened leaf springs. Axle windup prompted the addition of single radius rods to the subsequent two machines built, which were driven by Grierson and Larson. Staver’s car was in turn updated with a Watts link to locate the rear axle. Furthering the “low-buck” theme, Chevrolet steel wheels were utilized for all three Echidnas at first, with their widths and tire choices fine-tuned for effectiveness.

    On the track, the Echidnas competed against and beat many of the era’s best sports racers, including Jaguar D-types, Lister-Jaguars and Corvettes, Ferrari 750 and 860 Monzas, Mondials and Testa Rossas, and the Maserati 450S. Famous opposing drivers included Augie Pabst in Scarabs and Lloyd Ruby in a Maserati 450S. Fierce acceleration also made it possible for the Echidna to routinely out-accelerate the much more exotic Scarabs on fast straightaways. Staver’s Echidna took the 1959 SCCA B-Modified Championship and overall, Echidnas started 35 races, finished 25, won five, and scored nine podiums. Given their amazing success, the men of the Echidna team received a great deal of press coverage, including a highly detailed two-part article in Sports Cars Illustrated, the forerunner to Car and Driver, entitled “The Three Who Thought Things Through.”

    Built in 1959 and campaigned in SCCA C-Modified, Echidna# 2 – of the three cars built – is powered by a hot small-block Chevy equipped with the legendary Rochester fuel-injection unit and backed by a T-10 four-speed gearbox. Most recently, this historic all-American sports racer ran at the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit. Accompanied by its HMSA logbook, this historic, “giant-killing” Echidna stands ready to continue its winning ways in the heat of competition as originally intended, marking an outstanding vintage racer worthy of the finest collections of legendary American sports racers.





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