Wing Racing Car Returns Home
December 2013 Greenfield Massachusetts
This Wing Special midget racing car recently returned home to the factory where it was built in 1922. Between twenty and thirty of these cars were built at the Chauncey Wing Machine Company on Pierce Street, and until this one showed up on Ebay we did not know if any had survived. This particular car—powered by a Henderson 4CXly motorcycle engine and reported to reach 85 MPH—has until recently been in California where it was raced and had connections to the Hollywood movie industry. Although the museum would like to have this car for our collection, the asking price is out of our reach at this time. The person selling that car, who lives in Connecticut, recently offered to bring it home, and a lucky group of enthusiasts were treated to a rare viewing.
Dean Beckman of Connecticut Classix, a broker of rare racing autos who trailered the car here, was equally impressed that the original Wing factory still exists and is still in operation making one of its original products, “The Wing Mailer,” a device to apply mailing labels that was first marketed in the 1890′s. The Wing family pioneered early automobile manufacturing, making parts and patterns for other makes as well as producing a short run of these cars, which are considered one of America’s first sports cars.
Given the historic value of this car and the possibility that resources still exist at the factory to remake parts, and since the asking price has not been met, Beckman told us he would urge the owner not to sell the car. There is a tentative plan to have the car return in the spring for a more thorough examination and a search for any patterns that may still exist, in hopes of manufacturing replacement parts for the car.
Jim Terapane, President
MOIH IS CURRENTLY OPEN BY APPOINTMENT
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Telephone 413- 336-8275
From early mills dotting the rural landscape in the 18th century, to the hydro power dams and factories of the 19th century, to the tap and die industry of the 20th century, Franklin County has played a unique role in regional, national and world history.
Our collection of artifacts, archival material, and historic photos represents nearly all of Franklin County’s 26 towns and the neighboring town of Athol. The Museum of Our Industrial Heritage presents these tangible reminders of the past by focusing on the spirit of innovation that fueled each era—and explores how that same spirit might shape our future.