James Frankland Jr. dedicated nearly his entire life to the racing industry, as a driver, an owner, a mechanic, and an innovator. Jim, who was born in 1913 in Scotland, traced his interest in racing back to Detroit in 1926. As he told it, he heard the roar of the cars at the Detroit Fairgrounds and he knew that he wanted to be involved in racing.
Jim started racing in 1931 and built his first racecar in 1932. He owned and operated a shop in Detroit for many years. Jim built cars for several top racers at that time, including Mike Salay, Herb Manges, and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee Travis “Spider” Webb.
In 1946, Jim relocated his operation to Tampa, where there were bigger purses and a better climate for racing year-round. In 1947, he founded Frankland Racing Supply as a racecar parts and repair company. It was during this time that Jim’s customers asked him to find a better solution to difficult to change, frequently breaking rear ends. After years of experimentation and trial-and-error, Jim invented the now famous quick-change rear end that revolutionized racing and set the standard for short track stock cars for decades.
In the wake of this invention, Frankland Racing Supply grew into the largest quick-change manufacturer in the world at the time. In 1954, Jim retired from driving to focus on his business full time.
After 37 years in business, Jim sold Frankland Racing Supply in 1985. Jim’s contributions to the racing industry led to his 1995 induction to the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Jim passed away in 2001 at the age of 88, and he’s survived by his son, Jamie Frankland, who drives classic racecars and uses Frankland Racing Supply rear ends to this day.