New Entry, Old Car

December 28, 2012

Great Race 2013 1942 Ford

The newest entry into the 2013 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty is Gary Showalter from Vernal, Utah. Gary, a Ford dealer and mayor of Vernal, was in the 2005 Great Race, and now eight years later is going to be participating again. This time, however, it will be in a different car. But the car is no stranger to the Great Race. It is a 1942 Ford Super Deluxe 2 door sedan and it has almost 10 Great Races under its belt. We mentioned the late Bill Monaghan’s 1936 Graham in a previous story as one of the most unique cars ever in the Great Race, well Gary’s 1942 Ford is one of the most famous cars to ever take the green flag in the race.

For many years, the car belonged to Rock Wilson of Great Falls, Montana. The car is lovingly called “Mariah” and is all original. Rock claimed the engine had never even been rebuilt. And it would just go, and go and go with no problems at all. Rock was very competitive in “Mariah,” but one year for some reason he raced a 1950 Allard and had a lot of problems. “I should have brought ‘Mariah’ again,” he could be heard saying over and over.

Gary saw the Great Race in person in 2004 at a pit stop in his hometown, and the next year he was in the race as a contestant in a 1957 Thunderbird. He became friends with Rock during that event and they kept up with each other over the years. Gary didn’t know that Rock was going to sell “Mariah” until Gary saw it at an auction a few years ago. But Gary didn’t buy it, and he always regretted it. Well, when the new owner decided to sell it later on, Gary didn’t pass on it twice. He bought the car and now “Mariah” will be making another start in the Great Race.

10 comments about “New Entry, Old Car”

  • We remember this car well. Esther Wilson drove it in 2000, Boston to Sacramento, our rookie year. She helped us a lot by answering technique questions along the way, and I was able to help her when the carb got too hot during the lunch stop in Wendover, Utah. Some ice water in a towel applied to Mariah’s float bowl got her fired up and to the start on time. Rock and Peter had so much trouble with the Allard that we actually finished with a better score than they did. That taught us that the race doesn’t always go to the swiftest.

    We last saw Mariah at the start of a Cactus Derby. First day, first leg, and the fan bearing gave way, taking out the radiator. We know just how hard that is, since we broke an axle shaft on the first leg of the first day of a Texas regional. Old parts in old cars: anything can happen.

    Great to see Mariah back!

  • Since you mentioned it MotorMouth, I am always looking to find out where former Great Racers are and what they are doing. Just today I talked with April Winn (former Great Race staffer) and I talked to someone else about Jim Neeley, known affectionately as “the Chicken Man” April is still in the Austin, Texas, area and Jim is “still hanging around Graham, Texas” according to his old support crew member. If you know about former Great Racers we haven’t seen in a while, please let me know.

  • I owned Mariah from 1995 through 2005. I raced her in the Great race 1996-2000 & again
    2003-2005. We also ran in many regional races.

    We almost won the whole thing in 2005 but Peter[my navigator]used the wrong factor for rain slippage. We ended up 3rd in our class because of that mistake on July 5
    2005.
    I live in Brazil now & follow the race.

  • Rock: It was good hearing from you. I hope things are well in Brazil. We don’t know yet what number Mariah is going to have. Come see us sometime.

  • Rock takes a lot of flack for switching from “Mariah” to the Allard, but everyone forgets that we took 1st in the 2002 Sugar Valley Rally in the J2 while “Mariah” finished 16th. Gary (if you’re reading these comments), let me know if you want any of the navigator figures for “Mariah” so you don’t have to start from scratch. I’m still in Albuquerque, NM, so we’re practically neighbors.

  • Steve – I recall that day in Wendover! Thanks again! One of my favorite memories of the Great Race was of racers helping each other. After hours, lots of racers would focus on helping a racer whose car was having problems, or a racer who needed guidance about how to race best. I’m glad I was able to help you, as others helped me. I always called Gloria (can’t recall her last name at the moment) the “Queen of Hack”. She taught me the best ways to hack off of another racer and to appreciate whenever I got the blessing of following a top racer for the day out of the starting line-up.

    I had the enjoyment of driving Mariah for a few regional Great Races and for two national Great Races. She was a very dependable car. One of my favorite memories is of 4 days spent driving across Texas/Arizona/New Mexico, where the thermometer on Mariah’s dashboard tapped 125 degrees each day. Without any electric fuel pump, Mariah never vapor locked. I will say that her woolen seat covers were itchy and hot, so I always had to cover them. I’m glad that she now lives with someone who is racing her again, as I’m confident she enjoys that adventure very much.

  • Great to see Mariah running again, I had the great fortune to navigate in Palm Springs, Sugar Valley and in 2000 on the Great Race. A rookie for sure, Esther, Rock and Peter were very kind to help me think on the fly. My biggest regret going off the wrong minute. WOOPS. That hurt. 2000 was awesome from Boston to Sacramento, having the History Channel film us and actually being able to fit in the back seat with cameras running with room to spare. THANK YOU ROCK PETER and ESTHER for life time memories. My infant son who is now 13 got the closing shot on the history channel documentary.

  • Hey was just googling rock and peters name. I am gene meek from shelby montan.a i just purcheased an old car that rock and peter took to the great race and never ran. 37 austin special. Anyone know about this car or know rock or peters contact info / Thanks gene meek mtcarguy@gmail.oom 406-450-0716

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