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“The Vignale coupe is a 225/250MM 0266M, the GP is a 166 no. 0392AM, in the middle is the ex- Pabst 500/625 TR.” Said Merritt, “The tall engine is the world’s oldest Harry Miller engine, dating 1917.Then an assortment of HAL DO dirt track engines along with several Mondial, TRC, a Monza 750 and Monza 860. About 10-15 Ferrari engines were in the basement of our tiny house, for lack of room in the garage, which I recall was 24 X 32 ft.By Pete Vack Photos by Chris Cooper It is the juxtaposition of a lower middle class neighborhood and modest house with the millions of dollars of machinery in the driveway that makes the following photos so stunning, unreal and unworldly.In addition, the photos are not Brownie snapshots or early Polaroids but taken with a then-expensive Leica 35mm in the hands of Chris Cooper, a man with a good eye and steady hand.This gives a professional appearance to the treasures, as if someone knew that this was a sight to behold. Back in 1967 or 1968, this Ferrari Mexico 340 Vignale Coupe, s/n 0224AT, was sitting in Cal Gleason’s driveway in Detroit.Cal was not a rich man, merely a man with good taste, recalled Eric Davison, who took this photo.In the front is a Miller 4-cam V-16.” Merritt told us that tall engine is the world’s oldest Harry Miller engine, dating 1917.And that is essentially correct, but over the years more information has been made available about that engine.
Cal Gleason was a close friend who lived in the Detroit area.
We’ll have more on the treasures of the Merritt driveway in a future edition of VT.
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However, when we first met him, he expounded for a few hours on his latest purchase, a Kurtis 500; later we observed his Iso Grifo race car being restored, and on another occasion learned about his Sadler Mk 5.
His additional forays into other historic cars have been relatively neglected.