Vintage Quarter Midgets

by Doug Schiller of Port Lavaca, TX

For me, what began as an exotic motorized toy built by my father in 1947 had years later, evolved into what was known as a quarter midget. Beginning about 1954 families across the nation were involved in building scaled down gasoline engine powered race cars for their sons or daughters. I was included among those first youngsters.

Many early quarter midgets were hand-fabricated from scrounged parts. Simple frames consisting of tubing or angle iron were mated with a single cylinder gasoline engine and four wheels borrowed from a wheelbarrow. This simple chassis was sometimes covered with a hand formed body of aluminum or steel.QM-079

By 1955, in an effort to meet the demand, manufacturers of quarter midgets sprang up across the country – numbering at least 36 by the late 1950’s. Fiberglass became the body material of choice and the cars became more sophisticated and competition more intense. Tracks, numbering nearly 100, hosted these tiny racers.QM-018

My family was among those early manufacturers and for seven years produced scaled down race cars under the name “Offyette.” I worked at the company. After nearly four decades, I was reintroduced to vintage quarter midgets and for the past 15+ years I have taken my earlier experience and knowledge and used it to restore a variety of cars, as well as assisting others in their efforts. It is my intent to share some of that experience and knowledge with you at Racers Reunion 2012!QM-013