b12.17.05_16J_HIL_REA_0060_1.jpg (122082 bytes)

Photo ID # b12.17.05_16J_HIL_REA_0060_1
Car #: #16J
Driver (s) : Elton Hildreth
Location: Nazareth (Thanks Ken)
Date: 1960's
Photographer: Carol Stratton
Photo provided by: Craig
Comments: Comment from Craig: Photo taken early to mid 60's at the Reading Fairgrounds taken by Carol Stratton of Shillington, Pa
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12/26/05 Ken Wismer That was Nazareth 1/2 mile, taken from the grandstand.
01/02/06 Joeytrouble I don't care which track it was taken at, I wish they were both still with us.
01/29/06 Jimmy Plummer This was the final development of the 16-J. It had the classic roof plate and American flag on the front bumper. This was the first - or certainly one of the first - Modifieds in the Northeast to to have the drivetrain set over about 8 inches to the left. According to my dad, Warren Plummer, he saw this design on Sprint cars and persuaded Elton to try it on his Modified.

Elton won 14 features at Vineland Speedway with this car against drivers like Wally Dallenbach, Joe Kelly, Jackie McLaughlin, Tommie Elliott, Jim Hoffman and many others. I believe he also won a track championship at Old Bridge and did well on dirt with the car at Nazareth. It was truly a unique Modified for its time.

I believe Elton retired sometime around 1965. His fans were sad to see him go. According to my dad, when Elton drove at the newly opened Bridgeport Speedway, he was beaten so badly by Kenny Brightbill that he realized the torch needed to be passed.
01/30/06 Jimmy Plummer Sometime around 1962,  Elton totalled the original Reginak 16-J   (I believe he went through the third-turn fence at Vineland Speedway). He cut a deal with Holman-Moody Ford to build a blue and white 16-J  (I can't remember whether it was built during the season or between seasons). I believe it was a 39 Ford body with a 354 CI Ford engine with dual quads. The car was beautiful and built to a fault, probably heavier than the XL-1.

It did not do well on the short tracks. I think it was sold before the end of the season. After that, the final version of the 16-J was built. Incidentally, the 14 features that Elton won at Vineland were during a single season. I don't think that record was ever broken, although Dallenbach, McLaughlin, Jim Hoffman and Tommy Elliott were close.
03/13/06 #16j barry pursell is that harold copes #1 next to the wildmans #16J?
03/19/06 Bill Ore I was at Vineland with my dad the night Elton totalled the first 16-J. Scary sight indeed.Shot like a rocket through the fence between turns 3 and 4. But if my memory serves me correctly, he borrowed somebody's car and ran the rest of the races that same night. Like falling off a horse, I guess, the best thing is to get right back on.
05/15/06 Chuck Hand The blue and White #16-J was sponsored by Colonial Ford in Vineland, and had a 427 FE in it. It was the last car I saw Elton drive before I entered the Air Force. I spent many a wonderful night at Vineland Speedway, watching Elton and my favorite driver, Tommie Elloitt battle it out. Thanks for the GREAT SITE, and wonderful memories. Chuck Hand, formerly of Cape May, NJ
08/24/06 Steve Kresge The retirement that J.Plummer is mentioning couldn't have been very long because I remember seeing Elton run at Nazareth after 1965.   I would have been 3 yrs. in 1965 so I don't think I would've remember seeing him then.  I think it might have been a few years later.
Thanks. Steve Kresge, Nazareth, PA.

p.s. i miss them old real racing days.
08/25/06 Don Bergstresser Yes I also remember Elton running the orange and black number 16-J at Nazareth at least through the 1967 season. I was drafted before the 1968 season started and lost contact with local racing for a few years.

Don Bergstresser long time race fan.
09.25.09 Jimmy Plummer Thanks to Don and Steve for correcting me regarding Elton's retirement. I was confusing his retirement with the closing of Vineland Speedway. Elton did continue to race regularly through 1967 and did well at Nazareth with this car. In fact, he also ran at Bridgeport when it opened in October of 1972, which year would better mark the end of his racing career. If my math is correct, this would make him about 53-years old at his retirement.

I don't think Elton's concern for competition from the younger drivers was as much an influence on his retirement as was economics. Racing was getting expensive and, as an owner-driver, his tire and auto repair business (his auto dealership had long since closed) was likely not enough to cover the racing bills. He had moved the business from its original Pearl Street location in Bridgeton across the street to a smaller facility.

Also, I think Elton preferred the half-mile asphalt tracks to dirt, especially since his driving style lent itself more to asphalt than dirt. With Vineland closing in 1965 and Old Bridge in 1968, no half-mile asphalt tracks were left in Jersey.