Richard Petty Race Car: 1957 Oldsmobile
Richard Petty is known for racing Chrysler Hemi cars. Arguably, his most famous is the 1970 Plymouth Superbird but he drove many different makes. In 1969 he finished second in the NASCAR Championship points driving a Ford Talladega, the only year he drove a Ford. The driver Richard call the best, David Pearson, finished first that year also driving a Ford Talladega. However, Richard also drove GM cars such as Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles.
This Feature Car is a 1957 Oldsmobile. It was built well before the NASCAR honchos decided it was better to use template built generic race cars than those based on the cars we can buy off the show room floor.
Look closely at the roof…notice anything strange? See the cut line and bold? This car has a detachable roof so it could be raced in both the NASCAR convertible class and the regular sedan class. Little less sophisticated than today where teams have multiple cars and at times seems like they have one car for every track.
Again, look through the spokes on the steering wheel and see the little gray square with a handle on it and a cable coming off it? There is a “trap door” on the passenger’s side of the car in the toe board. The driver could open the door to see how the tire was wearing. When he saw the tire’s cords starting to show he knew it was time for tires!
This handle and cable set next to the driver was so he could pull a similar door to view the right rear tire!
This is the rear tie down for the removable roof.
Here you can clearly see where the roof was cut to make removal easier.