1962 Huffaker MK2 Formula Junior
Constructed by Joe Huffaker, Sr, of the Competition Department of British Motor Car Distributors LTD., San Francisco, CA, this Mark 2 began life fitted with a BMC Series A motor of 1098 cc capacity. It had an early Volkswagen 5 speed gearbox and drum brakes all around. The frame was constructed of lightweight round steel tubing in a perimeter space frame, in the style of the times.
The success enjoyed by the precursor to this car, the “BMC” Huffaker MK1, was not to be for this model Junior, however. Lotus developed the Model 18 and Cooper had the Type 56, both cars proving their worth on the track, while relegating the Huffaker to the middle of the pack.
Huffaker went back to his Indy Car roots and the car began to evolve into what you see here today. To reduce lap times, disc brakes were fitted at both front and rear; with the rear brakes mounted inboard on the transmission side plates, to reduce unsprung weight. This required recasting the rear uprights to complete the transition and simplify the design of the bearing carriers. The second major upgrade was to change from the “Sprite” motor to the superior Ford 105E based design used in the Lotus and Coopers, as the winning combination. Horsepower increased from 85+ to about 110, with a dramatic change in performance. These changes, along with other minor improvements, were incorporated on this car by various owners over the years.
Pete Biro, did a track test of the last Huffaker Junior produced, the MK6. Writing for Sports Car Graphic magazine in June 1963, he noted the improved handling of the latest model racer and traced the improvements back to the Genie sports racers and Indy cars previously built by Huffaker. The car was a front-runner in the last two years of the Formula Junior series and, to quote the author, “there were no radical changes, really, but enough minor ones to make one devil of a difference”.
The current owner purchased the car in 2011, got a feel for it, and decided to restore it to a high level of fit and finish. The goal being to have the only set of Huffaker Juniors, both a MK1 and MK2 currently running in vintage racing, and providing him with the opportunity to race the cars and show them at events such as Amelia Island in 2013. Because the cars run in two different classes, rear engine vs. front engine, and drum brakes vs. disc brakes, the conundrum is which car to enter…