It might be said that Lowell Sherer has a love of things with wheels and racing in his blood. But his life didn’t start out that way and his parents were not excited about this passion. Lowell was born in 1928 in Monticello, Ohio, in Van Wert County. In 1931, at the age of three, he moved to Marion and by 4th grade, he had his first jobs. Those jobs included his first set of wheels, a cart to help him sell newspapers and ice cream, including the Marion Star and Columbus Dispatch, and Bowes Ice Cream. That cart was a necessity as he walked all over town, picking up the supplies, like dry ice, ice cream, and newspapers and then peddled them to places like the Power Shovel. All this work was done while also attending school.
Through the years Lowell would work for various companies around town, like Standard Oil, City Ice and Fuel, Motor Products (which is now Whirlpool) and others as well as having his own business -Sherer’s Excavating Contracting at one time.
In 1962 he worked for Marion Power Shovel in the saw room. He is proud to say he helped to build the wheels for the Crawlers/Transporters, still used at NASA. Lowell worked at the Power Shovel for fifteen years. In 1974, he bought a building on David Street and started an auto repair company and then auto parts store. Eventually, he bought other properties and built mini storage buildings.
But all of this helped Lowell be able to do what he was passionate about- racing. He didn’t start racing until 1959 at the age of 30. This was because his parents were excited about him doing it. He started out in midget car racing and moved into large sprint cars. But it all started with buying his first car that year. It was a 1947 black and white midget, the last car built by Ray Leo of Columbus. Leo cars were and still are highly prized. Lowell bought it for $8-9,000 and owns it to this day. He is not sure if there are any other of these highly coveted Leos left other than his.
Racing was in his blood and he was an excellent driver. On his first actual day of races, in May of 1959, Lowell asked the organizer if he could be placed at the back of the pack as a starting position. He figured he could watch what was happening and get a feel for the track from that vantage point. He did this for all that day’s races, including the feature race. Lowell placed 3rd in that feature race, despite starting at the back, showing his skill for race car driving from the start.
Lowell can tell you stories about the local race car scene, like at the Marion Speedway, which was once north of town about 7 or 8 miles, just off State Route 423. But he didn’t race just around Marion. Lowell raced in fourteen different states, from Michigan to Florida. He not only raced his own cars but was also hired by others to drive their cars.
There were reasons why his parents didn’t want Lowell to race, especially midget cars. There are no roll bars, making accidents very dangerous. Lowell will tell you he didn’t have many injuries but the seriousness of them makes you understand how his parents felt. Lost teeth and both legs run over are a few of his injuries.
There have also been many high points in Lowell’s love affair with cars and racing. Sherer was well respected in the midget and sprite car racing world. In 2003, he won the Antique Automobiles of America’s Past President’s Racing Cup award for his cherished 1947 Leo. And in his first everyday car he bought in 1948- a Mercury, he got to take it out and drive once around the famous Indy track with three other friends and their cars from Marion for an antique auto event.
But today at 91 years old, Lowell Sherer will tell you he would love to crawl back into his beloved Leo midget car and take it full out on a track, especially for 100 laps. As he says, “When I’m in a race car it feels like home.”