Our latest photo collection comes from the family of Mart Williams. Mart Williams’ (of Sulphur, Louisiana) early teens years were spent racing anything that had wheels on it, he had a great interest in speed. After a short period of time, he found ways to make machines go faster, without realizing he had now entered the racing world. He ended up being a competition rider of motorcycles, three wheelers, sand drag racing and eventually monster trucks. He won many races and received trophies in all of these divisions.
In 1982 the Williams family business ventured into paint and body shop and used car business. Mart and his brother Glenn were both avid painters, and would create any type of paint on any vehicle. Marts attention then turned around to concentrate on trucks when he was inspired by BIGFOOT and USA1. He told Glenn, “I need to build one of those trucks, but better so I can compete with them”. He never gave up on any idea that he put his mind too. In a short time his dream became a reality, this was the beginning of Southern Sunshine. The early 80’s Chevy would sit high above the 66” tires, and be powered by a 454cid motor, the axles were borrowed from a Pettibone cherry picker, and the truck would weigh in at over 15,000 lbs.
It wasn’t long before the truck and crew ventured into all parts of the nation at stadiums and outside events. Fast forward to 1984, Mart’s next creation would be called the Cajun King, a Monster Cadillac on 66s. Sadly on June 5th 1986, Mart’s life came to end, in a freak accident. After Mart’s death both vehicles were parked and put away for the next 25 years. It wasn’t until long time Southern Sunshine fan Matt Ison tracked down Mart’s family and encouraged them to bring the trucks back out into the public eye. In the spring of 2011 Glenn Williams brought both trucks out of storage, and celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Southern Sunshine Racing, at public car show and local events.
The last remaining Southern Sunshine original merchandise is on display at the Hall of Fame, Auburn, Indiana.
All photos are copyright to their respective contributors and are used with permission by IMTM.