Though as few as three of the original examples may have been cast, the boat-type windshield frame that Duke Hallock created for the early Model A roadster endures as probably one of the most recognizable shapes in early hot rod history. Only not that many people know the story behind it. Editor Fortier asked if I could change that.
In one sense I stumbled into an easy gig: Pat Ganahl already researched the history and wrote his account in the November 1990 issue of . But what makes the job easy also makes it really challenging: Ganahl made it pretty hard to come up with new information.
But the leads started bearing fruit. The late Dick Courtney took it upon himself to document Hallock’s windshields. In fact Ganahl referenced a great deal of his information, specifically his correspondence with Duke’s younger brother, Jud. Then we got a real gem: Courtney’s list of people who owned the windshields that Duke Hallock produced.
We can’t vouch for its total accuracy but this list sure sets the records straighter. Considering this downsized format we can’t tell the full account here, however, we will in an upcoming issue of the full-sized publication. For now, though, we’ll explain how dozens of frames exist from the three originally cast.
Casting a Star
From what we know Duke cast one frame for himself in 1931 and two more in 1936. We know where at least one of the 1936 batch is. And here’s the especially juicy part: as far as we know all copies can trace their origins to that particular frame.
Only which frame of the two is the question. Both Courtney and Ganahl noted they were made for Johnny Collins and Dick Stuelke. Earlier our pal Bernie Couch speculated that the frame on his pal Johnny Bean’s car came from that 1936 batch, not from a batch Ed Adams cast later as Ganahl had it. Courtney’s list removed all doubt: according to it, Bean bought his car from Stuelke.
We were willing to believe that Bean’s windshield started as one of the two cast in 1936 but we’re just not sure it started as Stuelke’s. On the 11th hour-literally the day before publishing-we found his son, Rich. He confirmed that his dad raced a roadster that bore a unique windshield. He also mentioned that his dad graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1941. Here’s the thing: Santa Barbaran Bob Joehnck told me that he built a car before the war with parts from a car that belonged to a college student. If that student was Stuelke-and odds are it was-his frame couldn’t have belonged to Bean. We know where that car was during that time frame.
Instead Bean’s car-at least its windshield-likely belonged to John Collins. Whatever the case, 1939 plates on Bean’s car prove that his windshield existed before the war, and given the times it’s unlikely anyone but Hallock made it.
From there the history of Bean’s car is smooth sailing. In fact it still exists, although you couldn’t tell by looking at it. In a story he wrote about the car in the Oct. ’99 STREET RODDER, present editor Rob Fortier (who at the time had his ’29 A-V8 with a repop Hallock, courtesy of Rob Miller), noted that Bean left the car with his brother, Bud, when his draft papers came in. The accounts from there vary a bit; according to the car’s current owner, Richard Campos, Bud sold the car to Jack Tobin in 1942.