The Justice Brothers were born in the tiny eastern Kansas town of Paola, into a family of six childr...en. Lawrence Milton, known as “Zeke,” was born on March 12 1920 and youngest brother, Edward Ray, arrived fifteen months later on June 12 1921. Growing up, the boys and their older brother Gus, born in 1916, were obsessed with automobiles and speed. First the brothers stripped down an old Whippet before they built their own midget racer. The brothers terrorized the local residents and probably themselves with their high speed exploits in their home-built machines.
It seemed inevitable that the Justice Brothers would have to head to California to pursue their speed dreams. First Ed drove west on Route 66 in his Ford sedan and soon found work in the flight test department of Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica. Before long, Ed sent word home to Kansas that he had found Zeke a job working in millionaire playboy Joel Thorne’s Burbank race car shop. Unfortunately, Gus had suffered crippling injuries in a 1936 automobile accident and remained in Paola.
When World War Two came, Ed enlisted as an aircraft mechanic with the Eighth Army Air Force stationed in England, while Zeke worked during the war at Thorne Engineering building precision aircraft parts. The foreman of the Thorne Engineering shop was none other than Frank Kurtis, who later hired Zeke as his first employee when he struck out on his own to build race cars. Ed later joined Kurtis-Kraft Inc. and the brothers helped construct many of the nearly 500 midget race cars K-K built during the post-war midget racing boom. Some of which were sold as kits, and Frank Kurtis was too busy to take on repair jobs, so the enterprising pair opened Justice Brothers Race Car Repair and Fabrication in Glendale California to assemble Kurtis-Kraft midget kits and repair damaged Kurtis-Kraft race cars in their off hours.
Once while Frank Kurtis was out of town on business, Ed convinced Zeke to help him incorporate standard aircraft fasteners for the first time on a midget race car being built by Kurtis for NMARHOF member “Bullet” Joe Garson. The pair attached the body panels using Dzus spring-loaded quarter -turn fasteners, and while Frank Kurtis was reportedly unhappy at first, the Justices sold him on their innovation which became the standard in race car fabrication.
The brothers somehow found the time to build their own midget race car, and after just one outing at the famed Gilmore Stadium, sold the car for a $2,500 profit, which they used to invest in a Florida-based oil business. Justice Brothers Inc. went on to sponsor the Kurtis-built 1950 Indianapolis 500 winner driven by Johnnie Parsons, Red Byron, the first NASCAR champion in 1949, and were the first sponsors of drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. Although we lost Gus in 1983, Zeke in 2001 and Ed in 2008, Justice Brothers Inc. automotive chemicals company continues to grow under the leadership of Ed’s son, Ed Justice Junior, who is also a noted motorsports photographer, broadcaster and publisher.