HELP - History/photos of former Fireball Roberts short track / Modified Sportsman 57 Ford

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I need some help tracking down the complete history and period photos of a car I just purchased.

Its Fireball Roberts old 1957 Ford which he raced in Modified Sportsman and the NASCAR Short Track Division from about 1958 - 1962.

History as I know it:
1) (Building) The car was bought from a local Ford dealership in about 1958 or 1959 (according to Doris Roberts circa 1992) by Fireball. It was taken home and built into a race car by Felix McConnell, Ralph Eury and Ralph Earnhardt. Ray Fox may have also had something to do with its construction.

2) (Racing) Fireball raced this car in short track and modified sportsman events up until about 1962. Apparently Ralph Eury and Ralph Earnhardt also drove the car in events.

3) (Retirement to Today) It was parted out and parked in the woods behind Doris and Fireballs house in Kannapolis, NC on or around 1962. It was purchased by Curtis Ballard (gentlemen who I bought it from) in 1992 directly from Doris Roberts and hauled out from the woods of Fireballs property (took 8 hrs apparently to get it out). I bought it from Curtis this week.

Any help tracking down its history is much appreciated. I really want to do the restoration right.

you can see my other restoration I recently finished of Roy Maynes 1965 Impala here:

Photos below of this 1957 Ford.

Thank you!


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Thanks Wayne, wish you'd 'told me so' before I bought it ;) but I didn't know you before then, alas.... sigh..


I'd love to sue the %(@(#* but it was going to cost twice as much as I paid for the car to even get it to court. ah well.



Just WANT to clear up something. I DROVE 12 hrs., TWICE... to look at this POS..  for the family in question...and the SECOND trip CREATED the curious..and GREEDY, of the seller..Shaun PAID that greedy price.

Wayne, As you know, something of a cottage industry "creating" significant old stock cars has sprung up in the Carolinas. In response to those "dream works" assembly lines, it seems that California vintage racers are just as good a cash crop as cotton and twice as easy to pick on occassion. I am sorry that Shaun got "picked". He should have gone just a bit more slowly into his deal. And learned a bit more about my childhood hero, Fireball Roberts before laying down the long green, too. 

BTW, Are you aware that the '60 Starliner you found turned out to be Junie's Speedy Thompson car? Now that's way cool. Bet you wish you still had it now, eh? JAC

Creating "history" seems to be common in this area.  Witness the comments from Mr. Ball on the 37"flatback" he purchased.  BTW!  Thanks to Billy Biscoe for the history lesson on my brothers old GN Monte Carlo and for keeping the "history" alive in his cars.

Have you talked to the neighbors? Maybe there is some old dude that hung around them back in the day and still lives near by.  Back when I was a police detective that's

 where I started my investigations.  Just saying! W

Thanks guys, at this point I would just like to know what it is. The consensus seems to be that:


1) fireball did not drive it.  The 'story' places fireball,  little bud moore, raph eury, and ralph earnhardt  as the "builders" of the car.

It having been purchased as a 1 year used car from a local kannapolis ford dealership does at least seem to check out since it has that dealerships nameplate still on the car from that time.


A local car, probably never left Kannapolis?

2) the car coming from doris's back yard, which it very well may have but that doesn't mean it was driven by fireball.

PattyKay's explanation seems to be the more likely scenario. As I understand it now, doris moved after fireballs death somewhere around '64-'65 to the house where this car was discovered. Would she have moved an old race car to a new house after fireballs death? Seems unlikely.

3) It does seem to be a race car, and probably from the early 60s era. At some point it appears to have been towed to events due to a spot for an old taillight (making it also unlikely Fireballs car since he would have trailered a car in those days?) and a tow bar up front.

4) It has a beefed up suspension and a large tractor like tire on the passenger front (dirt trick from those days?. The cage looks to have been really poorly constructed and likely was updated over time with the additional door bars (or could have had 3 bars because of it being a short track car?). 


Again I'd just like to know what it is. I'd hate to junk the car not knowing at least what she is.


thanks everyone





Some more photos below that I have of the car.



Nice,real nice!Good Luck on the resto;peace,out.


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