Over time, the desire for supremacy has robbed the world of some great talents. One is Frank Lockhart, born in the USA in 1903, and, by the age of 23, already a racing idol with various successes under his belt, including Indianapolis. Lockhart is also a perfect example of how it is possible to create an extraordinarily innovative and high-performance car on the basis of experience rather than formal learning.
His Stutz Black Hawk, built for an attempt to break the land speed record on the hard-packed sand of Daytona Beach, was a true masterpiece of its time. Backed by the Stutz motor company, for which he competed, and supported by Duesenberg engineers, Lockhart created a “real missile”. Lightweight, powered by a small supercharged engine — this was actually a combination of two small (1500 cc) Miller inline V8 engines installed at an angle of 30° —, perfectly faired, and developed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, the car had all the credentials to set a new record.
Everyone was anticipating a happy and exciting day: the weather was perfect and the driver was Lockhart himself, race champion and creator of the Black Hawk, which, despite its name (the same as that of the place where the Stutz plant was located), was actually white with silver wheel fairings. It was 25 April, 1928.
This was meant to be the moment: Frank reached 327.40 km/hour, an amazing, unprecedented speed. Everything seemed to be going fantastically. We say “seemed” because, all of a sudden, tragedy struck. Something, probably a shell, burst one of the tires and the car started to roll over and over. Lockhart was flung from the vehicle and left lying, lifeless, on the sand.