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Nice guy eddie
 
speeder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: los angeles, CA.
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Bill Jenkins

Freaking legend. "Grumpy" died a few years ago now but I've been thinking about him since someone on a BAT auction thread mentioned him last week. The auction listing was for a Top-flight NCRS '62 Fuelly 4-speed, (that no-saled @ $93k). Those Corvette threads over there are amazing w the level of expertise and experience, the stories are priceless. A guy was telling about his buddy in the mid-'60s who owned a '62 FI 'vette that was previously owned by Grumpy Jenkins...can you freaking imagine?

I was hooked on Hot Rod magazine as a boy in the 1960s and read the engine building stories by Jenkins and Keith Black like they were contraband. This was a few years before I discovered Porsches and other sports cars. The thread about Ford vs. Ferrari and thinking about Charlie Agapiou made me remember how in awe I am of great mechanics and engineers. Jenkins says in this video that he got more satisfaction out of getting the most out of the cars than winning races. And he won a LOT.

There is an awesome in-car video of him racing @ about 6:00. Little guy but "back when men were men."

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"It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'" -
-- Gabriel byrne
Old 10-08-2019, 05:52 PM
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Actual Porsche owner
 
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I read Hot Rod and Car Craft too. My hero was “Ohio” George Montgomery. I loved the Gassers. By the time I was old enough to drive my tastes had changed and all I wanted was a Porsche.
Fifty years after my high school dreams of building a gasser like George’s I got the meet the man himself and ended up writing a book about him.
Life can be real interesting.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:20 PM
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Sox & Martin rules

I had an autographed print of Gumpy and S&M by James Ibusk that I hung in my office.. It's called Best of the Doors. I gave it to an EE that helped my on a lot of plant projects.

It was bad azz. Shoulda kept it.
Old 10-08-2019, 06:24 PM
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In 1963 and 1964 myself and two brothers raced a D-Gas 1955 Chevy with an engine, 283 that was built by Bill Jenkins. He said to make sure and leave the body all steel since with the engine he had sold us the ETs would be way lower that other cars and this way we would only be "slightly" faster! So we sold the cool one piece fiberglass front end and made the hood and both front fenders removable so the engine could be worked on.

It was the only engine that idled at 2500 RPM, had an experimental Crower roller tappet cam that used triple springs on the valves, springs on the rollers and 14.5 (or about that) compression. We used Sunoco leaded racing gas fed through two Carter AFB carbs he had tricked out. We had to replace main and rod bearings after each race weekend which was a pain as we used a 55# flywheel! We had home made headers that came out the side like a top fueler and they would really shoot fire when leaving the line. Don't know what happened to the car and such as I went into the US Navy in 1965?
Old 10-08-2019, 06:34 PM
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This is the print. Not mine, though

Old 10-08-2019, 06:42 PM
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My mom tells a story about her being pregnant with me and my dad dragging her to the Plymouth dealer to listen to Sox and Martin speak. she got to sit on a wood chair lol.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:31 PM
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Nice guy eddie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rogers View Post
In 1963 and 1964 myself and two brothers raced a D-Gas 1955 Chevy with an engine, 283 that was built by Bill Jenkins. He said to make sure and leave the body all steel since with the engine he had sold us the ETs would be way lower that other cars and this way we would only be "slightly" faster! So we sold the cool one piece fiberglass front end and made the hood and both front fenders removable so the engine could be worked on.

It was the only engine that idled at 2500 RPM, had an experimental Crower roller tappet cam that used triple springs on the valves, springs on the rollers and 14.5 (or about that) compression. We used Sunoco leaded racing gas fed through two Carter AFB carbs he had tricked out. We had to replace main and rod bearings after each race weekend which was a pain as we used a 55# flywheel! We had home made headers that came out the side like a top fueler and they would really shoot fire when leaving the line. Don't know what happened to the car and such as I went into the US Navy in 1965?
That is an awesome story, John!! That's what I'm talking about...stories like yours pop-up on BAT sometimes. Jenkins built a lot of engines for other winning cars, like yours.
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"It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'" -
-- Gabriel byrne
Old 10-08-2019, 07:47 PM
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Bill Jenkins also had a transmission guy working there who was a wizard with the Chevy Powerglide transmissions. He had figured out what the Ramchargers had done with their Torqueflite transmissions and would modify the lockup RPM to something like 2500 RPM and they would shift so hard that the rear tires would actually smoke on the first to second shift! He moved to Ohio and for several years in the 60s all stock auto class cars were seemed to be based in Ohio!
Old 10-09-2019, 11:33 AM
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Also the first guy to use a modern tube chassis with front struts / narrowed rear. Plus winning with small block against hemi's and BBC's
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:46 AM
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I grew up in Tampa and Don Garlits had a speed shop that my brother would take me to in the early 70's. Walk in the door and there was Don talking to a guy at the parts counter. Pretty cool to see when you're 11 years old. He actually built his race cars at a shop next to his house.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:41 PM
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Here's another drag racing story.....We went to see Don Gartlis match race the Green Monster with Art Arfons in '63 or '64 at Atco NJ drag strip. The strip was tight against the entry road so the pits ran parallel to the actual drag strip. You would exit the pits and make a U-turn into the burnout box which used bleach back then. Of course the Green Monster Jet Car did not need a burn out like Big Daddy did and Art pulled to the line and wound up that jet engine to full song and lit the after burner....Atco had a huge wooden sign where you made the turn onto the strip listing all the national record holders and also to prevent people from stopping on the shoulder to watch (free!). Well the jet caught that big wooden sign on fire and it went up like a bomb had hit it!! Caused a slight delay in the racing for sure. I think Art won 2 out of 3 but that was a loooong time ago.
Old 10-09-2019, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rogers View Post
In 1963 and 1964 myself and two brothers raced a D-Gas 1955 Chevy with an engine, 283 that was built by Bill Jenkins. He said to make sure and leave the body all steel since with the engine he had sold us the ETs would be way lower that other cars and this way we would only be "slightly" faster! So we sold the cool one piece fiberglass front end and made the hood and both front fenders removable so the engine could be worked on.

It was the only engine that idled at 2500 RPM, had an experimental Crower roller tappet cam that used triple springs on the valves, springs on the rollers and 14.5 (or about that) compression. We used Sunoco leaded racing gas fed through two Carter AFB carbs he had tricked out. We had to replace main and rod bearings after each race weekend which was a pain as we used a 55# flywheel! We had home made headers that came out the side like a top fueler and they would really shoot fire when leaving the line. Don't know what happened to the car and such as I went into the US Navy in 1965?
Cool story, John! Wasn't that about the time the Christmas Tree first came into use? Those were the golden days of drag racing.

Like Denis, I grew up reading and re-reading Hot Rod Magazine cover to cover, and followed Grumpy and all the other drag racers. Used to actually check it out from the library before I could afford a subscription. I am still a subscriber today.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:19 PM
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I've been doing some work over the last couple of years for Gary Gabelich's widow. I knew Gary when I was 14-15 but we moved an I didn't get around to where he was at the time. I lost track and he was real busy having achieved the overall land speed record in 1970 that lasted for 13 years. The new record by Richard Noble was less than 11 MPH faster and lasted another 14 years! (Gabelich actually held the kilometer record for 27 years.)

Gary died in '84 on a Harley on the street, of all things.

Anyway, and at the time, Long Beach had a host of major hot rod figures: drivers like McEwen, engine shops, parts manufacturers, race teams (Holman, Moody & Strop + Mickey Thompson) and the famous Lions Drag Strip. All around SoCal there were all kinds of racing interests like Moon Equipment and probably 3 major cam companies accompanied by a few header outfits.

You could take off in any direction and find shops (if you knew where to look). And the Porsche history is rich, that we all know.

I know there was a huge contingent of racers on the East Coast from Jenkin's Pennsylvania to Garlits' Florida. Up in Indy too. Those magazines brought the whole scene together with a hell of a lot of 'how to' articles.

Me, I was fascinated with the first karts shown in Rod and Custom when it was printed the size of an old TV Guide or a paperback book in the mid '50's. I vowed to get one and I did. I think I missed out a little not reading hard enough about Von Dutch, Barris, Jefferies and the entire racing coverage. My dad wasn't the least interested in cars, just golf (and I didn't care for golf at all). I was on my own at 18 surrounded by cars and more cars (and a couple of girls, but cars were king).
Old 10-09-2019, 03:51 PM
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Nice guy eddie
 
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Cars and girls...maybe a little baseball thrown in...what more could a young guy need.
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Denis
"It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'" -
-- Gabriel byrne
Old 10-09-2019, 04:06 PM
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Its impressive what the Grump did. He even did it all without the internet.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:44 PM
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