One of the great airmen of the 20’s and early 30’s, Jimmie Wedell represents both an amazing rags-to-riches fairytale and a great tragedy at the same time. Wedell’s mother died when he was an infant, leaving his father, a bartender, to raise a family by himself. Young Jimmy showed his remarkable mechanical aptitude from an early age, dropping out of school after 9th grade to work on cars. In his early teens, young Jimmy quit school after the ninth grade and soon transformed four bicycle wheels, a one-cylinder Yale motorcycle engine, and various parts into an automobile. This hobby turned into a means for Jimmie to pursue his true passion, aviation. During the 20’s Wedell began building planes and eventually opened his own air service, opening the door for him to build his own racing planes. In 1933, Wedell broke the world record for land-plane speed in 1933 when he clocked 304.98 m.p.h. in a plane of his own design. He won the Thompson Trophy (an air race) in the same year. Planes built by Wedell's company, the Wedell-Williams Air Service Corporation, won fourteen "distinguished finishes" in the Thompson and Bendix Trophy races before the speed loving pilot and aircraft designer died in an airplane crash in June of 1934.