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  • 1932 Ford Roadster racer to star in Hershey sale
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionbeatcaliforniacarfordhabrahendersonlapeteraceracehorserestoredroadsterrodtook

1932 Ford Roadster racer to star in Hershey sale

A 1932 Ford Roadster that beat a racehorse in a race in 1944 is selling at RM Sotheby’s.

In La Habra, California during the 1940s, one local racehorse owner was making a killing by challenging hot rod enthusiasts to beat his particularly speedy thoroughbred over a short course.

Ford Roadster horse

Pete Henderson's victory kick-started the drag racing craze

The loser would have to pony up the prize money.

Pete Henderson, owner of the present model, was one of those who took up the test.

He was also the only one who ever won.

The race took place at a distance of around 60 feet. To win, you'd need an extraordinarily powerful engine. 

Ford Race Horse

This iconic photo shows Henderson and horse mid-race 

The key was Henderson’s modified 1939 Mercury flathead V-8.

The auction house comments: “There are few cars more significant in the world of American Hot Rods than Pete Henderson’s 1932 Ford Roadster.

“Restored recently to its period appearance in 1944, the car will always be known as, ‘the Hot Rod that beat the racehorse.’

“Its well-documented history began in 1944 with a Saturday morning race on Highway 39 outside La Habra, California – a moment that many consider to be the birth of the quarter-mile drag race.”

During the early 2000s it was restored with input from Henderson himself.

Valued at $160,000-180,000, it’s set to be one of the highlights of the October 5-6 Hershey sale.

Other intriguing lots include a rare Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionbeatcaliforniacarfordhabrahendersonlapeteraceracehorserestoredroadsterrodtook