The 1920 Monroe (retired)
Chassis number : 1307
Running number : 4
Desperate for an escape from the fussy insanity of vintage car restoration, the eventual builder of the Monroe-Frontenac CK wondered if maybe an old go-kart would be fun to build. During his internet hunt for kart information he stumbled across the old Gittreville site and after a little investigating, and some head scratching, he was shocked to realize the amount of craziness that was happening pretty much right under his nose.
Disbelief turned into fresh optimism, automotive engineering norms were cast aside, adult responsibilities ignored, and the profile of an old race car was drawn with a piece of chalk on a concrete wall. This was as far as he could get from fussy and it was long overdue.
“Eyeball everything” became the mantra and Earl Upgrade was hooked.
It didn’t take long for him to realize that a cyclekart has the potential to deliver on almost every level.
The ensuing build progressed at a rapid pace with the process and methods thoroughly documented on the CK internet forum. Some members were very supportive while a few others doubted the concept from the start. Friendships were formed, sheet metal was formed, and at one point there was even a deep dive into the local racing history of the Monroe. It turned out that Tacoma had a famous board track and the public library archives contained many pictures of the car at recognizable locations throughout the city.
It’s rumored that on the same day that the cyclekart version of the Monroe moved under its own power it was involved in an outlaw run around T-town to some of the spots in those old photographs….among other spots…..
Fortunately for Earl there is no admissible evidence of any of it.
It’s also rumored that the Monroe was once mistakenly identified as the actual 1920 race winning car by the Indy 500 museum after it applied for entry in their annual event….
The invitation is around here somewhere.
Those were crazy times…
The Monroe’s greatest day by a long shot was when it carried its builder to a Molehusband All-Weather Fez worthy race finish at Tieton. The sweet smell of that victory does not easily fade.
The car now resides in the hands of a vintage enthusiast in Los Angeles and appears to still be in its “as raced” condition.
Probably still leaking oil. Probably still terrifying to drive.
Maybe someday it will return to the boards.
by Earl Upgrade