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Driver Profile: Hal Wilson

by Tom Carnegie

Hal Wilson passed away recently. I knew him from when I ran in the Montana 500 the seventies. I will describe my first impression of him. I don't recall what year it was, but on this particular run his car was disqualified in the pre-race inspection because he had relocated his fuel tank underneath the dash instead of underneath the seat. At that time it was common to switch body parts around from year to year. His car had very early flat style fenders and a 1925 or so body. His thought was that since 1926-7 cars had their tank in the cowl, why not an earlier car? At some point in the pre-race meeting the drivers voted to overturn the inspectors' and directors' decision and allow Hal to run his car that year. I understand that Hal was a full-bird Colonel in the air-force and generally had the stoic demeaner fitting to the rank, but I could tell that he was affected by the show of support from the drivers.

The next year another car was disqualified at the start and Hal stood up at the prerace drivers' meeting and made a motion to allow this fellow to run. The motion passed. Hal and several other fellows from Colorado were quite involved in T road racing and formed their own race called the Colorado 500 that ran for several years in Colorado. Hal was known to drive his model T (usually a brass roadster) great distances. He liked to drive from Colorado all the way into Canada and into the Arctic circle, often on primitive roads. He had articles published in both the Vintage Ford and the Model T Times.

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