18 June 2012

The Great Race: The Crooked Road Racers X-Cup team makes a last-minute switch

The Crooked Road Racers X-Cup Team is set to participate in this year's Great Race in a 1928 Model A highboy, a last-minute switch from their intended Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 1.

The Great Race, which pits two-person teams against the clock and against each other, begins on June 23 in Traverse City, Mich., and heads north around the Great Lakes – through 19 cities, two countries and four states – before finishing July 1 in Dearborn, Mich. The X-Cup Division is designed for high school/college/youth group teams.

Dr. Tom Littrell, Faye Littrell, Matthew Littrell and Austin Funk 


1928 Model A highboy

Team name/sponsor: The Crooked Road Racers, sponsored by Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tenn.

Car’s history: Originally, the team had planned to compete in a 1959 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 1 that had raced in SCCA events in 1967-68. But one too many repair jobs caused owner Tom Littrell to make a switch just days before the Great Race.

The ’28 highboy is no stranger to the event, having competed in 2001-03 as an X-Cup car. In just four months in 2001, Littrell and four Boy Scouts transformed the Model A from a rusty hulk into a Great Race roadster. The car, also known as “Mariah,” had been in hibernation for months when the team threw in the towel on the Healey and turned to her for help. Mariah started right up, and after a tune-up and a transfer of the Timewise speedometer, she’s ready to roll.

Team: Dr. Littrell, a dentist, and his wife, Faye, will serve as co-drivers. Faye was Dr. Littrell’s navigator last year, when they drove a 1952 Hudson Hornet in the Great Race – Tom’s fifth. Faye is a biology teacher at Galax High School and owns a 1957 Thunderbird and 1966 Mustang convertible. This year, two members of Boy Scout Troop 188 – grandson Matthew Littrell and friend Austin Funk – will share duties as navigator.

Matthew Littrell, 16; Amherst, Va.

Education: Recently completed my junior year at Amherst County High School.

How did you become interested in classic cars? My grandfather.

Do you own a classic of your own? I’ll soon own a 1966 Mustang that my grandfather restored for my mom in early 1990s.

Road rally experience: None.

What do you hope to accomplish in this event? Seeing different parts of the country, visiting with people and being with grandparents.

Austin Funk, 14; Galax, Va.

Education/School: Will be a freshman at Galax High School.

How did you become interested in classic cars? Through Boy Scouts.

Do you own a classic of your own? No.

Road rally experience: None.

What do you hope to accomplish in this event? Enjoy an old car, talk to people, have a great experience.

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