Bonhams | 2018-09-08 | Goodwood Revival | Venue : Chichester, Goodwood
Lot No. : 201
Year : 1963
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : #MKIV.07 (see text)
Estimate : £ 15,000 - 18,000
£ 10,925
Huffaker Genie MkIV/V Sports Prototype Sold
*One of only ten made (see text)
*One of six known survivors
*Imported from the USA in 2013
*Rare American sports prototype
*Offered for restoration

The Huffaker story starts at the legendary Kjell Qvale's British Motor Car Distributors in San Francisco, where renowned race engineer Joe Huffaker was employed in the Competitions Department. It was while working for Qvale in the late 1950s that BMCD responded to the introduction of Formula Junior series with a Huffaker designed and built contemporary front engine FJ for 1959/60 but by1961 it was already clear that the mid-mounted, rear engine revolution from Europe made their cars obsolete and a shift was made to develop a modern sports race car for the highly competitive and popular (1100cc) SCCA G modified class. Rather than following the prevalent practice of simply widening and modifying the FJ chassis Joe Huffaker went his own way, started from scratch and designed a super-light, fully triangulated chrome-moly spaceframe chassis that weighed just 58 Lbs and among many advanced features offered a front suspension system which eliminated wheel judder and rear sub-frame set-up that could easily be adapted to accept larger capacity, more powerful engines to compete in multiple classes of sports racing.
The 'Genie' weighted in at just 726 Lbs dry, had an 11 gallon alloy fuel tank, excellent handling and braking characteristics all clothed in a pretty fibreglass bodywork in two hinging sections. This placed the Genies at the cutting edge of sports prototype design, worthy successors of the Cooper Monaco types that had so successfully pioneered the mid-engine concept.and for a brief period, Genies were the cars to have and Huffaker became at one time the USA's largest specialist manufacturer of racing cars.
Somewhat confusingly, the first Genie sports race car was known as the MK IV. The latter was designed for the G-Modified category, featuring a spaceframe chassis, glassfibre body, coil-sprung independent suspension, and disc brakes. It was powered by a BMC A-Series engine of 1,100cc. The successor MkV was designed to accommodate the larger Coventry-Climax FWA, Ford , Porsche, Alfa Romeo power units and uniquely one MK VI with a Chevrolet Corvair engine and transaxle. Subsequent developments were built to accept large-displacement American V8s.for the CanAm series, These later V8-engined Genies were competitive at first but ultimately had to give best to the Lolas and all-conquering McLarens.
A 1999 letter from Huffaker Racing states that production of the MkIV, MkV, and MkVI amounted to ten, ten, and one respectively, making the car offered here rare indeed. This Genie had been owned in the USA by Paul Merrigan for five years before being purchased in Palm Springs, California in June 2013 and shipped to the UK. Mr Merrigan had purchased the car intending to rebuild it for SCCA racing, but restoration of an important Maserati A6G took precedence. Unfortunately, Huffaker did not number their early chassis, which became a customs issue when the time came to export this example to the UK. The chassis number 'MKIV.07' was arbitrarily chosen to resolve the matter (UK import duty has been paid). Offered for restoration, this rare American sports prototype comes with two Alfa Romeo four-cylinder twin-cam engines (one 1,300cc the other 1,600cc),a Hewland MK 5 gearbox/transaxle.and a comprehensive list of parts and spares in boxes.
Always a family owned business Huffaker Engineering continues today as a successful American race car operation with its base at the Sonoma Racetrack in California. Joe Jnr has succeeded his father and among the many race car projects has enthusiastically embraced the restoration of their historic production Genies, Just six early Genies are known with four being fully or partly restored at the Huffaker facility in recent years.

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