Filed under: Folks
Bruce Meyer sent me an e-mail last week about the passing of hot rod pioneer Tommy Sparks. If you’ve even seen the Tony Nancy Roadster, or Sparks & Bonney racing team, you know who he was. A legend. A meticulous West Hollywood engine expert and tuner, who trained with Eddie Meyer Engineering and first made hot rod history in 1954, when his bold stripe, four-car, Sparks & Bonney racing team was featured on the November cover of Rod & Custom. Tom knew how to absolute magic out of a flathead motor with requiring huge displacement. Instead, he knew how to get Ford’s understressed, long-stroke design to rev way beyond what anyone thought was possible or reliable. Sparks was a pioneer in de-stroking and supercharging, along with using the perfect carburetion and ignition for maximum horsepower. Take a look in your Dean Batchelor books and old Hot Rod magazines- There he is. To top all this off, he was a family man, and the most kind, down to earth person you could hope to meet.
Bruce wrote, “Tom was born in Iowa and came to California and was an early midget racer, hot rodder, car builder, Pebble Beach winning restorer, but will be most remembered for being a world class great friend. He and Laura (wife of 62 years) opened their home and wonderful car collection for just about every car club in the country. They were THE most wonderful couple and always welcomed car friends. Everyone who knew Tommy loved him and he will be soooooo missed. ”
Another great article on Tom is here.