By David Lingle
Evan was a
born mechanic like his older brother
Melvin, so he had a role model from the
start. Fords were his favorite, starting
with the model T's.
When Evan was 18, he went off to serve in
WWII. When he returned he went to work
for the Montana State Highway. Later, he
went to work for Berg Ford Motor in
Circle, MT. There he had the opportunity
to do what he really enjoyed, working on
sponsored him in the first Montana 500
race in 1961. He took first place. Evan
with the help of his son John, took a
1922 touring, cut the back off, put on
two coats of black paint and called her
good. "Pretty doesn't win
races" Evan was heard to say. He was
a terrific, but fair competitor. Many of
the other drivers teased him (good
naturedly) about the T using more oil
than gas. It used 23 quarts of oil. At
one point in the race, a Montana Highway
Patrol officer clocked him at 72 miles
per hour (this is according to my mother
Ruby Lingle). He was featured on the
cover of Hemmings Motor News shortly
after the race.
He entered several
shorter races around Montana, many of
them sponsored by the VFW of Jordan, MT.
I remember when he borrowed my dad's
(Melvin Lingle) T for the 1972 Montana
500. Over the years he received many
trophies, which his daughter, LaWanna of
Billings MT. still cherishes.
He donated the last T he restored to the
museum in Circle, MT. Evan passed away
November 15, 1993.