Bob Morton got his first taste of hot rodding when neighbor Jim Tucker and Arnold Birner involved him in the building of a roadster with a 4-port Riley. It wasn’t long before Bob had saved up enough to buy a roadster with friend Dale Riley.
While still at school, Bob got a part-time job at Ansen Automotive (run by Jack Andrews and Lou Senter). He was soon building engines for the company, working on their midgets as well as customers’ hot rods.
In 1948 Bob made his first trip to Rosemond where he survived an end over end flip due to a rear wheel separating. He returned the following week to set a Rusetta record with the Tattersfield-Baron belly tank.
At the early age of 18, Bob was getting a reputation as a competitive and highly skilled engine builder. He ran his engines in George Rubio’s ’29 Roadster setting top speeds at Mojave and SCTA meets. In 1949 at the first SCTA sanctioned Bonneville meet, Bob came 3rd in the C class with a top speed of 135 mph.
For Bob every weekend was spent at the dry lakes running Ansen cars or customers’ cars with his own engines. from 1948 to 1950 he successfully raised the stock bodied roadster record to 144 mph to 148 mph, eventually becoming the first to do 150 mph in May of 1950.
In the same period he also ran his engines in seven different cars including Ak Miller’s T Roadster, running 150 mph at the SCTA-AMA shootout.
So good were his engines that the top cam grinders used them as testbeds. Isky, Howard Johanson and Clay Smith all used them as did Charley Nordens for his carbs and 180 degree cranks; Ted Halibrand for his Q.C. Center section; Howard Johanson for his first fuel injector and Tattersfield-Baron for their heads and 4-carb manifold. Most of Ansen’s speed equipment was also tested on Bob Morton’s engines.