Hot Rod|October 2020
Stu Hilborn (1917-2013) was one of the pioneers of hot rodding and the performance parts industry.
Tim Bernsau & Chris Shelton
He is best known for developing mechanical fuel-injection systems for race cars. Before he was famous, however, he was just a young hot rodder trying to go as fast as he could on the dry lakes of Southern California.

Several kinds of hot rods were racing on the lakes in the 1940s. Open-wheel cars with purpose-built custom streamlined bodies were classified as “streamliners” by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA). Today, they are referred to as “lakesters”. Stu Hilborn’s streamliner was one of the best known, best looking, and most successful on the lakes—and served as Hilborn’s mule car for testing his fuel-injection technology. It was the first streamliner to run 150 mph—and it almost killed him.

Hilborn’s original car is long gone, but when Jim Lattin built this re-creation a few years ago, Chris Shelton and photographer Tim Sutton followed the story.

Stu Hilborn’s Streamliner

As is the case with most noteworthy historical race cars, Stu Hilborn’s famous race car didn’t start life as Stu’s. Until Stu bought it on Dec. 7, 1941, it belonged to Bill Warth—in fact, it was Warth’s second car.

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