Tuesday, May 6, 2014



We have a lot of content to compress into a limited space here. Just like this '55 Chevy, strapped to a pallet and bound for China. So don't expect much chit chat this week.

Thanks for your understanding over the last few weeks, as my day job got in the way of the blog. Deadlines can be such thieving little oppressors. The dust from that annoyance is settling now, and there are untold stories cued-up to be released into the hotrodosphere.


Last week, we gave you a heads-up on Don Garlits' impending attempt at hitting 200 MPH in the quarter mile with electric power. Always the explorer, Garlits is obviously learning about more than just applying electric torque with this project. The radical bodywork is likely hiding some chassis advancements. On May Day, Big Daddy lit the Goodyears and took his shot. Dragzine.com was present at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida to capture the historical event. This image is the first electric burnout to ever grace the SGE page, marking yet another incremental in Garlits history!

After three warm-up runs (which tore up several components), the hammer was dropped on a full charge pass, producing the above ET slip. Short of 200, but a World Record, nonetheless.

Other than an air hose blowing off the pneumatic B&J 2-speed trans, no mechanical issues were suffered. Electrical issues were another matter, as the monster motor melted down more than one of the 800 amp fuses, including this specimen in the Swamp Rat's claws. Live and learn, right?

At day's end, these guys owned a World Record and were confident of 200 MPH with a change of gearing. They expect to prove it within the next two weeks. Back row: The Lawless Industries crew, the HighTech Systems crew, and the Garlits Museum crew. Up front: Garlits and photographer Lisa Crigar.
As the crew packed up the car, Big Daddy mounted his bicycle and pedaled back to Ocala. (Photos courtesy of Dragzine.com)



SGE regulars are familiar with our Southwest correspondent, Lori Bentley Law. But did you know that Lori features an estrogen-powered rodder on each of her excellent Motorpalace.com blog posts? This month's entry is a typical example...
Meet Dana Dencklau. Her automotive journey has just begun, yet is already a certified success...
Dana's dad Ron bought a new Triumph TR3B at Continental Motors in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1963. He immediately installed a rollbar and race harnesses. Good thing, as a week later, it was totaled by an errant VW Beetle. He traded the carcass and insurance check for this identical '63 and never looked back.

Ron enjoyed many years of street and track time in the Triumph, then retired the car upon opening his race tire shop in the Eighties. 

Ron's Florida tire shop. There must be thousands of great stories behind this single photo...

In 2010, Ron busted the TR3B out of storage and hauled it to Dana's current residence in San Felipe, Mexico. She already had a cool Triumph, but the more the merrier, right? Get the whole scoop at http://motorpalacepress.com/featured-motor-doll-dana-dencklau/



Marty made quick work of Lonnie Gilbertson's Hit and Miss Special. The John Deere single cylinder monster now has a tube frame, a rollcage, and steering. This is an early 'cage test fit, shot before adding the second hoop. 

Cage complete.
Steering installed.
Fiberglass whisperer Leighton Mangle did his magic on the top half of the tank, including this snug cutout for Lonnie's beloved single stroker. "Nothing runs like a Deere." The goal is 50 MPH. The Deere makes 1 1/2 HP now, but a planned electric blower could pump that up to nearly five horses.

Lonnie hauled the little tankster away last week, and Marty returned to work on Jim Lindsay's Modified Roadster.

The Jimmy Durante nose is now trimmed to wind cheating proportion, and Marty has begun connecting the dots between schnoz and cowl with aluminum sheet. 

The mocked-up B&B Speed Shop fuel flathead is finally sporting the blower that will vacuum up Bonneville's thin salt air. This B&M 144 should make a sufficient respirator. (Photos courtesy of Marty Strode)

And where was Jim Lindsay himself, while Strode was flinging all of those sparks on his behalf? We found him making tracks in his '34 coupe on this Washington beach. (Photo courtesy of Jim Lindsay)



Danny's quest to snag the record that eluded his dad Mickey is attracting media attention everywhere, including this recent cover piece in OC Weekly. 

M/T and D/T on the salt in '68 with the Challenger. You think this project is personal? Oh yeah...

The new Challenger crew: L-R: Holly Martin, Frank Hanrahan, Tim Gibson, Dave Hadley, Tom and Terry Hegman, and Lou Andersen. That's D/T sitting with the scratch-built transfer case.

These stereo billet Hemis will propel the tin needle through time and space at Bonneville this August at Speed Week, and possibly at the World Finals and Mike Cook's private fall Shootout.

Last week's initial test firing boded well for this summer's runs. No drama.

Thompson has some corporate associate sponsorships, but the majority of support has come from decidedly more grassroots efforts. I've been bulking up my wardrobe accordingly. (Photos courtesy of Holly Martin)



Southern Oregon SGE reporter Ronnie Mankins has been part of Dave Hix' Nitro Altered effort from day one. You may recall these images that Ronnie sent a few weeks back. The car has since been track tested and Ronnie is in the midst of renewing his competition license. I'll be shooting a magazine feature on the car next week, and will post out takes here.

Unwrapped, for your eyes only. Testing revealed need for clutch changes and different tires. Otherwise, all is untouched. Hix thanks Bill Comstock Race Cars, Simpson Race Products, Colvin Oil, and VP Fuels, along with Kirk and the crew at Champion Raceway in Medford, Oregon.

The End??? Not even. The nitro tipping has just begun... (Photos courtesy of Ronnie Mankins)



Dan Nikodyn's Nova has been paired up with Dan Holshier's Impala more times than either racer (or anyone else) can remember. The endless grudge match is set for another season, with several promising events scheduled for 2014 at Medford, Oregon's Champion Raceway. Life is good, thanks to track managers Kirk and Michelle Hobson.

Some random shots of Champion's 2014 opener, including the show stealer: The Photo Drone. I so wanted to be the first to do this locally, but got too busy for my own good and missed out. This little guy spits out some cool video, too. Go to championraceway.com. (Photos courtesy of Dennis Vollmar)



My Sunday commute to Dr. Lockjaw's Custom Metal shop takes me right past Ray's Supermarket in tiny Jacksonville, Oregon, where the locals meet for Sunday coffee. I finally stopped in and said HI last week.

The latest from Chili Pepper George Carlson is this tasty Early-A hair messerupper. He's been driving the wheels off of it, yet his hair is perfect. Nobody knows how he does that.

John Ott's nailhead-powered '32 is the subject of a future Scotty project. Stand by for more on this legit early Sixties rod.

Stance much? Allan Stewart's '40 PU carries a commanding presence to any parking space he desires. Allan's just happy to be anywhere, after winning a close call with cancer. Glad to see you back on the streets, man!

Finally at Doc's. Remember the rear wishbones that I got from Sherm Parker? We heated and bent the first one to hit its target, cut it to length, and TIG'd in the early Ford tie-rod end.

The round tie-rod bung and oval wishbone never match up well, so we were forced to make adjustments on the lathe to realize a flowing design. 

We joined the pieces and decided we didn't like the result. Then I had to run. I was gone for three weeks of deadline thrashing. It was during that time that I realized I had grabbed two driver's side rear 'bones, instead of a left and a right. Doh!

I made up for the wishbone gaffe (kind of) by scoring this open drive '48 Ford truck rearend, complete with E-brake assembly. Doc is happy that we're no longer using his pristine quickchange rear for messy mock-up work, and I'm stoked to tear into my first banjo solo. 

After three weeks of tickling the keys, it sure felt good to get back to Doc's. Shop sweet shop!

This week's goal was to get the front suspension mocked up. Nothing innovative here - just basic hot rodding. The starting point was this '36 axle. We had previously split the wishbone and found the new 'bones to be far from where we wanted them to locate. We called an audible and sprang into action...

We sliced each 'bone just behind the factory weld...

...pried the cuts open (using the traditional method), and angled the 'bones to our liking...

... angle ground the cuts...

... filled the gaps with glorious gobs of MIG weld... 

... tacked on the bungs (we'll clean up these welding jobs later and make them pretty)... 

... and mocked-up the front end one more time. The original intent was to mount the 'bones through the framerails, but to keep geometry within reason (with the rake and ride height I wanted), it was decided to mount them atop the rails. Unusual, yes - but this is no strictly-traditional build, by any stretch. With sheetmetal (hood sides, in particular) mounted, the look should be clean, and caster will fall within our six to seven degree target zone. Next up is a custom front spring, and a switch to '40 - '48 spindles, allowing for properly mounted hydraulic brakes, and dropped steering arms, to dodge the obstacles in the way of the current '36 components. 


America's fastest sweetheart, Shirley Muldowney, accepting kudos from Wally Parks for winning her first NHRA national event in 1976 - the first ever for a female driver. 38 years later, speculation runs rampant concerning who will be NHRA's 100th female winner. Progress? Yes - slow, but steady.

Angie Smith has a shot at estrogen win #100 in Pro Stock Motorcycle...

... as does PSM competitor Katie Sullivan.

Brittany Force could do the deed in Top Fuel...

... as could sister Courtney Force, in Funny Car.

And Alexis Dejoria has been on quite the F/C hot streak, herself.

But Pro Stock shoe Erica Enders-Stevens is the SGE Hot 100 pick, as we'd love to see the milestone "W" go to a driver using a real clutch and shifter to whip an actual car to the stripe at 200+ MPH. Ultimately, you know we'll be cheering whoever takes the 100th, as we are huge fans of all women in motorsports. This will be a big win for all female competitors, and we join them in saying, "Thanks Shirley!"


 East coast SGE spy Motormouth Ray spotted this week's squirrel at a Long Island tire shop. Do the right thing. Check your shocks today.

Landspeed crazy and Hot Rod Magazine behind-the-scenester Keith Turk leans on this Snap-On box to get him out of jams in the garage and on the road. The bottom three drawers are reportedly packed solid with salt. The mysterious piece hanging off the side is remarkably similar to a Hilborn scoop hold-down that I made for my smallblock's dual quad tunnel ram. I haven't seen it in quite some time though...



In honor of National Star Wars Day, May 4th: May the fourth be with you!