NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Buck Baker’s Championship 1956 Mercury Outboard Chrysler 300-B

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Carl Kiekhaefer was a young engineer who briefly worked for Evinrude, though he got fired for “insubordination” regarding the company’s designs and product development. He went on to get over 200 patents and in 1939 he bought a failing outboard engine company in Wisconsin, hoping to make agricultural machinery to sell to dairy farmers. The company had a few hundred defective outboards and Kiekhaefer arranged to sell the rebuilt motors to the Montgomery Ward company, which established Kiekhaefer Corporation and its Mercury Outboard brand of boat engines. During WWII, the company made two-cycle engines for target drones but returned to the recreational marine business after hostilities ended and Kiekhaefer made a fortune. Ahead of his time, Kiekhaefer saw NASCAR as an opportunity to promote his business and with his deep pockets he bought the best equipment and hired the best drivers. In 1956, Buck Baker won Kiekhaefer’s second championship at the wheel of this Chrysler 300-B. Baker had 35 top-ten finishes, 12 poles and 14 wins in 44 starts. The car is in the Racing In America display at the Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit.

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