When Zeke and Larry Miller needed someone to keep the four-banger Chevy roadster they had just built from running into the back of their daily driver as they towed it on the end of a chain up to Muroc Dry Lake they nominated their younger kid brother Akton, born in 1920, to take the drivers seat and act as brake man for the 100 mile journey to the frozen lake.
When the three Danish born brothers got their Ak was surprised to be offered the drive and set a 94mph time as a career in speed got kicked started that would see Ak become a founding member of the Road Runners car club in 1937, from which he was later ejected for refusing to bow to the flathead Ford Hot Rodders dogma by building and running a straight eight Buick in his Chevy, President of the Southern California Timing Association, SCTA, and one of the founding officers of the National Hot Rod Association, NHRA, in 1951.
While transforming countless Southern California ragamuffins enthusiasm into a recognized sport of which he became the acceptable face in a blazer and tie, he built and ran a variety of vehicles to compete on the lakes, 1/4 mile, road racing and Pikes Peak.
Today’s featured Caballo de Hiero was built using an Oldsmobile V8 in a Ford frame to compete in the Carrera Panamericana in 1953, Ak drove the car with Doug Harrison in the passenger seat and came home a respectable 14th overall and 8th in class that included sophisticated Ferrari’s and Talbot Lago’s .
The following year the hot rodding duo came in an even better seventh overall and 5th in class, they had hoped to return in 1955 but the race was cancelled in the wake of the disaster at Le Mans.
Ak and Doug had a crack at the Mille Miglia in 1957 with an all new El Caballo II but retired and Ak then moved onto competing at Pikes Peak, with a Chevy powered chassis of his own design with a Devin body, where he won his class on his debut which would be the first of eight class victories over 20 years.
On his 71st birthday Ak joined the 200 mph club at Bonneville, a speed event he helped found in 1949, driving a 225mph Crosley coupé built by his long time business partner Jack Lufkin and Ron Benham that was owned by Earl Wooden.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who kindly asked Karl Krause to take these photo’s at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion held at Laguna Seca a couple of month’s ago.
Thanks for joining me on this “Ak’s Iron Horse” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !