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A little bit of hot rodding history

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A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Carps on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:55 pm

I figured since this is a museum tour rather than an actual event, I should post this stuff here, rather than the events page.

Being a bit of a historian, I try and visit whatever museums I can when travelling in far away places. Always when in Los Angeles, I make sure to hit the Wally Parks National Hot Rod Association Museum at the Pomona Fairplex and the Petersen Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

So, let's start the ball rolling at Pomona.

The primary display in the Museum building this time around, was a tribute to my recently departed friend Norm Grabowski and Tommy Ivo (who isn't departed), as the joint fathers of the T Bucket!

The two cars are so similar but so different yet they changed the way hot rodders see the Model T Ford. Both cars even lead similar but different lives, Norms becoming a star in the TV series 77 Sunset Strip and Tommy's by starring in many movies such as Drag Strip Girl.

With it's injected Buick Nailhead, Ivo's T also ruled the dragstrips of Southern California, often beating the dragsters and taking home many top eliminator trophies.

Cadillac powered, Norm's T didn't becomee the famous Cookie's Car in the '50s & '60s TV series, 77 Sunset Strip until a rebuild that saw it changed from a straight black painted car to what you see here.

Even under the shortened beds, both cars had similarities that were different, Tom's built for outright performance......

.....Norm's built for show and go.

Even inside they were the same but different.

However, both are built from original steel model T Fords, long before they were duplicated in the new fangles high tech material fibreglass.

I first met Norm in the late eighties and always managed to catch up with him whenever we travelled through the midwest. His sense of humour was waaaaay out there and there was never a dull moment when he was around. The hot rodding world will miss him, but I have a mountain of memorabilia he gave me over the years that'll ensure I'll never forget him even after my memory goes. I met Tommy more recently and he is one of the most charming people you'd ever meet, the smile is painted permanently on his face and two years after my first meeting, I walked into this Museum during a midweek cruise, where he looked up from signing autographs, said hi Pete and invited me over to chat.


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Re: A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Carps on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:59 pm

In the back room of the museum was the Rich Gausco's '61/2 AMBR winning A Roadster.
In the background is John Peter's famous Freight Train twin engined dragster, from the 1960s.

Just like this years winner the early sixties trophy taker was neat and spartan.

Last time I saw this truck it was red and parked up in Jerry Phitzsinger's garage in St Louis.
I understand Jerry sold it and eventually it was picked up by a member of Chuck Porter's family, who has restored it to it's original Chuck Porter shop truck condition.

The Porter truck is a chopped sectioned and channelled '48 Ford F1, it often appeared at shows in the '50s with Porter's matching coloured race car on a trailer behind it.

It's one cool old truck, although I recall the cabin being very cramped.

I never tire of seeing this pair, the Christman familyy jewels.

Both cars are legends and beautifully presented machines, maybe even works of art.

Phil Remmington's dry lakes racing modified, was stolen in 1949.
Dan Webb, the guy in this picture, liked the car so much that with Remington's help, a bunch of old photos, years of searching for parts and fabrication of other bits, he's built an exact replica.

And it is drop dead gorgeous.


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Re: A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Carps on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:03 pm

The other big display this time around, was in memory of Dean Moon's legacy and the first time I've ever seen so many of Moon's cars in the one place.

The famous Potvin front blown dragster.

Dean's personal 34 Roadster, the car he'd owned for most of his life.

Long time moon employee Fred Larson's, Larson & Cummins streamliner, with Chiko Kodama's deuce behind it. Im pretty sure I'm correct in saying the Larsen & Cummins liner set at least one new record every year it was raced at Bonneville.

The famous Moonbeam roadster that toured the world and the Moon/Jocko Johnston streamliner.

The lady on the museum desk told me that during the week there'd been three SW&C cars in the building at the same time. This one is the Swindler B Match race car and it's showing signs of a hard life on the track.

Hurst Hemi under glass is a recent restoration.

The glass Slipper has been in the museum for many years, but it's one of those special cars that's a joy to see again.

As is the first ever NHRA 'National Top Eliminator' from the 1955 NHRA Drag Racin Nationals.

This car is new to the museum, having only recently been restored.

So too this lightweight little dragster, which must have been the scariest ride on earth. Shocked

The Dragmasters collection also seems to be multiplying as more old cars are discovered and restored.

The journeyman single engined model.

View from driver's seat.

The famous twin blown small block, 'Two Thing'.

And another driver's eye view.

The new addition since my last visit, the fully enclosed and streamlined, Dragliner.

To close out, here's Barney Navarro's dry lakes racer.....

.... and the famous Ed Iskendarian (of Isky Cams fame) T roadster.


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Re: A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Carps on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:27 pm

That little dragster with the Hemi does look like a scary ride, but how big do you reckon Dick Kraft's cajones were when he took this thing over 110mph? Shocked

The car was recreated by Kraft using some of the parts from the original….

….but no matter which way you look at the car credited as the worlds first 'slingshot dragster' it's pretty crude and scary looking.

If like me, you're interested in the history of all things Hot Rod and Kustom, there's no better place to learn it than Bonneville, every August/September. Here they race for nothing more than self satisfaction and the biggest prize is one of these red caps. Out on the big white dyno, one of these caps gets you instant respect, thats because they can't be bought, there's only one way to get one. All you gotta do is set a record above 200mph and it's yours.

I know only one Aussie who has one (Leigh Fielder) and was there to see him earn it in 201.

On the other hand you'll see even less blue hats out there on the lake, which is why they command even more respect, coz to get one of these you gotta set your record above 300mph.

And if you see a guy out there wearing a black hat, well he's got almost God like status!
If you get the job done to win one of these, they'll even stitch your name and the speed of you record on it. Only ever seen one bloke wearing one out on the lake, a fella named Al Teague, but I'm sure there's a few more.

They may just be caps to most folks, but they are very special caps and they all come with more than a few stories.

Here's something for you guys who are fans of the independent car makers.

Betcha didn't know that hot rodder, lakes racer, author and parts maker, Barney Navarro, took a Rambler 6 to Indy.

It's a pretty cool looking engine with that big turbo attached.


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Re: A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Carps on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:28 pm

Lest you think all I do is search out and look at car stuff, Ron and I dragged out his vintage Schwinn Cruisers and headed off on a long distance ride along the Southern California coastline.

When the sun showed lunchtime, we stopped at this neat Mexican Cantina to refuel before heading back.

On the way home we stopped off for a little parts shopping…..

Came across this neat Rambler wagon parked outside the Early Ford V8 Store.

One of these would be a pretty cool daily driver, not too big, not too small.

This one was a nice original car with mint interior, perfect for the growing family.

This street rod rocked up just as the Rambler was leaving, if 'your old dad' had a coupe, it'd probably look like this one..

Thought this would look great on my grey motor, shame it's way too big.

For the price of these, I could buy a new Commodore and have change.

This lot would look great attached to any old Ford V8.

These too, oh they are attached to one already!

So how about a pair of these?

Or maybe these?

This pair seemed pretty ordinary, but carried a high price tag.

If the blower is not for your flatty, maybe this will work?

Unfortunately this old gasser isn't for sale.

However, if you know anybody seeking a four door '36 Ford Touring Sedan, low mileage and in pretty good original condition, give me a call.

Wandered across this old family truckster still doing surf duty near Huntington beach.

Loved this license plate frame, but I dunno if I'd put my name on the plate like the owner has done.

Meanwhile, here's a few things that might interest anybody who's doing a '40s or 50s era home resto, a shop that restores and deals in cool era white-goods.

Found this in an antiques market along with a bunch of old hot rod and custom car magazines.

Another L.A. buddy, Dave has just finished this one, low budget home built car using original body and chassis, reconditioned junkyard engine and trans, plus a few store bought parts and a whole bunch of elbow grease.

It's well detailed top to bottom.

And neatly engineered.

Works great in hot weather, coz it's got full Vintage Air climate control.

Engine is better viewed from the driver's side.

Soft leather interior looks great and is supremely comfortable, roomy too.

Driving position almost perfect for a bloke my size.

But it's not for sale, so I didn't buy it. Laughing Laughing Laughing

Also stopped in on a few non car guy buddies to check out a some more non automotive antiquities.

And of course no US trip can be concluded without a little train spotting!
Coz the 'Murrican have great trains.


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Re: A little bit of hot rodding history

Post  Giobus on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:34 pm

Wow Pete,

That's some history Very Happy in some ways the cars really haven't changed so much in relation to the 'Rail Dragsters'.

But seeing some MOON cars and the Ed Isky car is amazing !

Thanks for sharing !!



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