DESCRIPTION1959 Sadler-Meyer Special s/n SC008, Engine No. 3756519 Blue with Red Leather The 1959 Sadler-Meyer Special is a remarkable automobile on many criteria. Its history is traceable to the earliest days of America's road racing history in pre-war ARCA events. It won and set records at one of North America's earliest and most storied competitions, the Giant's Despair Hillclimb. It was engineered and constructed by Bill Sadler, a multiple talent who designed, constructed and drove his road racing specials in competition with legends like Scarab, Lister-Corvette, Maserati, Ferrari and Chaparral, and was reliably fast, if not a reliable finisher. Giant's Despair got its start when the Matheson Motor Car Company relocated to Wilkes-Barre. Matheson's chief engineer Charles Greuter, who later would engineer the famed "Safety" Stutz, tested Matheson's 24 and 40hp fours on the quarter mile long 22 ½ % grade of Laurel Run's Northhampton Street. It was a punishing test of pulling power that far exceeded Pike's Peak maximum grade of 10 ½ % and even the 22% of Mt. Washington's final 50 yards. Other manufacturers realized the value, in both testing and publicity, of Giant's Despair. Their activities brought competition to the hill in 1906 and since then it has tested the skill of drivers like Barney Oldfield, Ralph dePalma, Louis Chevrolet, Phil Walters, Roger Penske and Carroll Shelby among countless others. In 1951 Giant's Despair was revived by the nascent Sports Car Club of America, beginning a renaissance that has continued to the present, with times that dropped to under a minute in 1956 with Carroll Shelby's run in a GP Ferrari. Among the participants in the rebirth of Giant's Despair was John van Meyer. Van Meyer owned a road race special built for the Northeast's prewar ARCA road races and campaigned the cycle-fendered car in early SCCA races and hillclimbs with a variety of increasingly powerful engines. The earliest Ford flathead V-8 was supplanted by a Cadillac and then a Pontiac, always chasing what Brock Yates described in a December 8, 1962 Competition Press feature as: "Cubes. That's what successful hill climb cars need. And that's what John Meyer's Giant's Despair record holder has ..." Meyer and the rail-frame special won the 1957 New York State Hillclimb Championship and placed well on the Northeast's road courses. But it was soon overwhelmed by the "cubes" and talents of Detroit's OEMs and the tuners who unlocked the potential of their big V-8s.
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