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franklin county times

Love of cars leads Kilgore

By Staff
PROUD OWNER Frank Kilgore's Oliver Jennings 1939 Lucky Strike Special number 34 is one of 17 built between 1939-1940. The car with Model T Ford suspension can reach 90 to 100 mph. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
June 5, 2002
ENTERPRISE A life long love of cars has helped Frank Kilgore maintain a bit of race car history at his Enterprise workshop.
Kilgore owns two antique, open-wheel, race cars from the 1938-39 circa.
His pride and joy is a 1939 Oliver Jennings-made car, a white No. 34, that was a popular midget race car on the Midwest Circuit back in the late 1930's and early 40's. The car is one of only 17 that were built and is now just one of two survivors.
It's a car that Kilgore runs competitively, at least twice a year.
The love for the old midget race cars came early. Kilgore, now 68, remembers seeing one as a teen.
The white Oliver Jennings No. 34 was bought in 1996 in Woodstock, Ga. In December of last year, Kilgore bought a second car, a 1938 Ford, red No. 16, midget racer.
Besides owning a piece of history, Kilgore says there is another attraction to the cars.
Kilgore's love of race cars led to a brief racing career. He raced stock cars until a bad crash in a race in Georgia stopped his career.
Kilgore gave up stock racing but still found a living in the automobile field. He went to work for General Motors. He started at a plant near Atlanta. Then later came to this area to work at the old Delco plant in Meridian.
After 34 years with GM, Kilgore retired. His wife died, along with two of his sons. He decided to rekindle his passion for race cars.
The cars may be old, but they are not slow.
The challenge is controlling them.
A car like his white Oliver Jennings can cost nearly $20,000. Last year, coming back from a race in Phoenix City, he was run off the road with his car hitched on a flat trailer.
So he went out and bought an enclosed racing trailer.
And he's looking forward to racing the red car this year.

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