the car junkie daily magazine.


Best Of BS 2015: Kenny Reece’s “3-to-1” 427-powered Supermodified

Best Of BS 2015: Kenny Reece’s “3-to-1” 427-powered Supermodified

In the quest for racing supremacy, creative engineering becomes the tool of the imaginative and certain cars push (and sometimes, exceed) the boundaries of the established rules. You know several race cars from different sanctioning bodies over the years that are infamous because they were engineered to win: the Tyrrell P34, the Chaparral 2J “Fan Car”, or Smokey Yunick’s NASCAR Chevelles, for example. But without any question, the strangest vehicle I’ve ever seen designed from the floor up to bend the rules has to be Kenny Reece’s “3-to-1” super modified. One look will tell you just how strange it is, but the stranger thing is that not only did it work, but it worked pretty damn well.


The reasoning behind the design was simple: Reece wanted to be able to run the second racing line better than most drivers wanted to run the first. By loading up the contact patches of the tires on one side and balancing the frame with a fourth wheel in the center of the car on the left, Reece could lean more of the vehicle’s weight onto the right side with less of a chance of traction loss. A center-mounted drive axle hooked to a quick-change rearend drove the vehicle, with the front and rear-right wheels mounted to A-arm suspension systems. Steering was controlled via the front and rear right-side tires, and power was contributed via a .030 ZL-1 427 Chevrolet engine from a Can-Am racer.

The car was tested at Honda’s TRC facility in Ohio in April, 1979. Reece convinced friend and future racer Tim Richmond to strap into the car and give it a shot. After some impressive short-track blasts, which created enough g-forces to undo Richmond’s helmet, the car was re-geared for a run on the 7.5-mile track. The resulting 200 MPH run proved that the car was stable, with Richmond only complaining about the unnerving feeling of not seeing another front wheel in his line of sight. Reece was lining up to bring the car out to race when Oswego Speedway caught wind of the freakshow and changed some rules. Once Reece learned that Oswego had specified exactly where the four wheels of the car had to be, he realized the game was up. He salvaged the good parts of the car out of the frame and sent the rest through a crusher.


  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

10 thoughts on “Best Of BS 2015: Kenny Reece’s “3-to-1” 427-powered Supermodified

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    This wasn’t published on the 1st of April was it?

    The complete lack of symmetry actually makes me feel nauseous – I’m going to lie down now and forget all about it…

  2. john

    When the kids on the “short” bus design a race car. “A then we’re going to the zoo and a baseball game”.

  3. Jeff

    AMAZING!!!! Serious thinking outside the norm. Would have loved to see this thing run for sure. Besides that……. if Tim Richmond complimented the car, it deserves MASS PRAISE>

  4. oldguy

    OK I’ll be the first
    Not buyin’ it —
    left front suspension is still there …no longer needed
    IF the right side bias for traction was the goal …offset would be to the right
    not the left as on a normal ( for supers ) set up .
    and – when it was howling down the straght and the driver
    burped the throttle it would drill the LF into the track like a tent stake

    1. jerry z

      I guess you do not know much about Super Modified racing. When a car works this good, it scares people.

  5. 1502flash

    I’d also love to see that bad boy run !
    This thing was legal until the man heard about it. Freakn Genius ! The only thing I’d be worried about is the roll bar.
    See Ya at the Track, Flash

  6. Mike Mazoway

    The car existed. While I did not personally see it, I live only 20 miles from Oswego Speedway and many friends did see the car and it was the talk of the town for several weeks afterwards.

  7. Jim Persinger

    I saw this car several times, as I live in the same town as Kenny. I never saw it run as not many people did. I do know that once he found no one would let him race it he cut the frame up. Kenny is one dude that thinks outside the box!!

Comments are closed.