Hot Rod Meets Sports Car: Bill Hebal’s Handcrafted 1946 Reichenbach Special

Hi Gang…

Let’s work backwards in time.

Today, good friend Bill Hebal and his wife Kate own a cool special from the 1940s.  That’s right….from 1946 to be exact.  Wouldn’t you want to know more….and I did 🙂   In response, Bill provided the following detail:


Attached are pictures of the 1946 Reichenbach roadster. It was built by the Reichenbach Brothers and was commissioned to be a race car that could be driven on the street.

The fella I got it from (Carl Hawks) bought in 1949 from a Tucker dealer in Chicago (I have the original bill of sale). It was featured in Hot Rod November 1960. It has an all-aluminum body, steel tube frame and Ford flathead for power.

It’s a really fun car to drive and sure turns a lot of heads. It was at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2005.

Cheers, Bill

Let’s have a look at some of the photos Bill sent for review:









Wow!  Lots of new information here, so the first task in order was to find the article from Hot Rod Magazine in 1960.  Let’s see what it had to say about this very special car.

Hot Rod Meets Sports Car
Hot Rod Magazine: November, 1960

The story is told through photos and captions.  Click on each of the photos below to enlarge them on your screen and make it easier to review the caption.  Also of note….the article/captions state that in 1960 the original builder remained unknown.   This, of course, has changed over the years, and it’s now known that it was a dual-purpose race car / sport car – and an early one at that having been built in 1946.

Let’s have a look at the five captioned photos that appeared in Hot Rod Magazine back in 1960.







So Bill Hebal is owner #3 of this car and what a great history it has.  It represents a time so early in postwar America – 1946.  A time when the shape, style, power, and design was all being determined and the Reichenbach brothers were dead center in the middle interpreting what was happening and showing what was possible at the highest level of “build” for their day.

We hope that we can convince Bill to feature the Reichenbach Special at the upcoming “Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’elegance” this August, 2013.  It would be the perfect addition to our class of early postwar Handcrafted Specials.

Perhaps Bill and Kate will let us know their intentions in the “comments area” below in our story.  I know we would be thrilled to see this car on the field  at Milwaukee (click here to review more information about the Milwaukee Masterpiece this August, 2013).

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…



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Currrent Story Categories: Sport Customs


Hot Rod Meets Sports Car: Bill Hebal’s Handcrafted 1946 Reichenbach Special — 4 Comments

  1. Glen, The Reichenbach’s did build the body. If you looked at the Midgets they built you would see design features That are the same or close. I did not know Elmer but Max and I became good friends. We lived less Than a mile from each other in Villa Park Ill. Max could build anything and was a great panel beater. He had a shop right behind his house. I would go over there and it would not be unusual to see him making a fender for a Ferrari or other body parts. Max’s was a one in million do anything for anybody and a real talent. I use to have him acetylene weld aluminum for me. I went to him to have a aluminum dry sump tank I was making, he said not going weld it for you, I will show how. In a little while I got good. Back then we traded our skills. Anybody know where Bill Kruger is? (Max’s son-in-law) use to drive Max’s midget.

  2. This is a beautiful car and must be a hoot to drive. The English would call this a “special,” since they routinely cut down small cars and made them into class race cars – think Austin 7. Add cycle fenders and this could be an early sports car or an early hot rod. The postwar “sports car” is not really an American invention, but the hot rod sure is. As one well schooled in paleontology, this is THE fossil from right where the two lines diverge. Great!

  3. Google tells us that Max and Elmer Reichenbach also built the KB Special, a midget race car, at their shop on South Komensky Ave. in Chicago, IL. I’m wondering if they did the body work on these cars or had someone outside do that work. Neat car!

  4. Beautifully done and glad to see that it’s survived all these years. The Reichenbach roadster reminds me of an idea I had about making a fiberglass roadster body to fit on a model A or B frame. Using hot rod methods and parts to build a hot rod-sports car similar to this would be a gas!

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