When the first legal drag race in the Detroit area took place in Livonia in 1953, the Michigan Hot Rod Association began making plans for the construction of a drag strip. MHRA was started as a partnership of local hot rod clubs. As part of their fundraising strategy for the strip, they put on a hot rod show, the Detroit Autorama, in an arena at the University of Detroit.
Dave and Al Tarkanyi belonged to the Downriver Modified Car Club, one of the clubs making up the MHRA. The brothers drove a chopped and channeled 1932 Ford three-window coupe with a hopped-up Flathead engine. The car was at the 1953 Livonia race. Five years later, when the Motor City Dragway in New Baltimore held its first race, the car was there too. It also continued to show up at the annual Detroit Autorama