Report of the capture of a carload of moonshine, Franklin News Post, February 22, 1968.

For their liquor-hauling customers, mechanics enhanced engines for high performance and modified suspensions so that the cars or trucks rode level even under a heavy load.

Racing legend says that moonshiners were the forefathers of stock car racing, but in truth few bootleggers are known to have become oval track drivers. The real connection between the trade in untaxed alcohol and racing was made in the mechanic’s garage. Drivers who hauled illegal liquor wanted their vehicles to look normal to avoid attention, but they also needed powerful engines that could outrun police and revenue officers.

In building “liquor cars,” mechanics altered suspensions so that the automobile would ride level even under a heavy load. The preferred motor for many years was a Cadillac engine. The talents of the “liquor car” builder were much the same as those needed to build an oval track racer, and not surprisingly some of the region’s most successful racing garages had customers in the bootlegging business.

Chapter 6 » L. O. Stanley: Southwest Virginia’s Genius Engine Builder

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