Bill Dailey Rohrer
1917 – 1978
Bill Rohrer had the Tenth Street Body Shop at the corner of Tenth and Manning Streets in Winfield, Kansas when he first got involved in the sport of auto racing in the late 1940s by building a track roadster #2 for driver Dudley Boots to race at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas.
Later in the 1940s, Rohrer traveled to Chicago to purchase a midget from Grancor Automotive Specialists, a race shop owned by the well known Granatelli brothers. Rohrer stood in their shop for quite some time without anyone seeming to notice him or inquiring as to what he wanted or why he was there so he finally just walked out. His wife left too, not far behind her husband but remarked to a Grancor employee on her way out that they had just lost the sale of a midget. It was not long before people from Grancor were running down the street trying to catch up to Rohrer. (Some say including Andy Granatelli himself.) When they did find Rohrer, they literally had to beg him to return to the shop so they could show him the midget. He eventually did return with them and wound up purchasing the midget that became the “Rohrer Ford” and two blueprinted Ford V8-60 engines from Grancor.
The car had some unusual features, such as a right side mounted steering arm and a unique shaker screen to help the engine run cooler by keeping the radiator free of mud.
With chief mechanic Garold Cheek and driver Guy “Mac” McHenry, the “Rohrer Ford” started competing at Wichita’s Cejay Stadium. Before long however, Bill Rohrer had assumed the driving duties himself.
Rohrer is shown here before a test session on the half-mile dirt oval at the Cowley County Fairgrounds in Winfield, Kansas. He was head of the Masonic Lodge in Winfield at the time and, therefore, well enough acquainted with the “City Fathers” to be granted permission to test his midget on the city-owned racetrack although no actual midget races were ever held there.
Bill Rohrer is buried in Memorial Lawn Cemetery north of Arkansas City, Kansas – Vickey Cummings collection