By Dan Bethune

In the days before the muscle car era, if you wanted to go fast, you had to build yourself a hot car. The factory options were really limited for a young man in the 1950’s.

The Watters Brothers are legendary in Southern Ontario for their Mopar muscle; but in the late 50’s, they were young men interesting in having a hot car. They decided to build themselves a Ford roadster, and go drag racing at Kohler and Detroit Dragway.

Starting with a Model T coupe body and frame; they constructed a blue roadster with HEMI power; and by 1959, they were racing.

They campaigned the car into the 1962 season, but 1962 was the dawn of the muscle car era. All of a sudden, you could buy some very serious factory hot rod offerings whose performance could match or even eclipse the performance of the roadster. They decided to step up and purchased a new factory hot rod from the Chrysler Corporation.

The Ford roadster was retired.

Luckily, the Watters Brothers did not sell their roadster, scrap it, or leave it outside to deteriorate. Instead, they hoisted the car up into the rafters of their barn, and there it stayed.

Fast forward 50 years.

Paul Dunbar was a vintage drag racing enthusiast and historian. On the wall of Paul’s office were vintage black and white photographs of racers from the golden age of drag racing. A photo of the Watters’ roadster was there also.

One day, a nephew of the Watters Brothers was in Paul’s office, and he saw the photo of the T.

“That is my uncle’s car, and they still have it.”

Intrigued by the opportunity see the car; Paul visited the barn, looked up into the rafters, and there sat the roadster: untouched since 1962. There was at least an inch of dust on it, but it was nearly all there.

Paul made a deal and bought the roadster. The process of restoring the roadster began, with the intention of preserving as much of the original car as possible, including the paint.

The restoration was completed by the current owner, with the intention of maintaining as much originality as possible. The little roadster is now a fixture at local hot rod and vintage racing events, including the East London Timing Association Summer Bash.

“You might see it if you get lucky.” – John Milner

Thanks for reading,

-Dan

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