"Strictly Stock"
The Champions of 1955 & 1956

by Dan Elliott

Epilogue: This writer believes that E.C. Kiekhaefer entered into stock car racing in his "mid-life crisis" years as a demonstration project to show companies like Daimler-Benz that he had the expertise and public following to produce a Benz-level high-performance automobile of German roots in and for the U.S. market, perhaps even named "Kiekhaefer" or some-such variation. Tucker had failed, Cunningham had failed, but Kiekhaefer was confident at the onset that he could succeed. It is quite understandable that he was devastated when fans turned against his significant efforts in 1956. Even if the public had been clamoring for his race cars, a mountain of additional effort would have been required to lift up his project to the next rung of this ladder. His statement upon parting ways with stock car racing shows resignation, but also perhaps renewed resolve to face the large marine engine competitors with whom he was familiar: "As always, our No. 1 activity is building Mercury outboard motors."

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