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Old 11-17-2007, 11:26 PM   #1
KING CHASSIS
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Default HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

[ Part two here,http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...highlight=masa
Part three here, http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...highlight=masa



As some of you know when I built my dragster, I got alot of the parts from a local racer named Tom Masa. Who had them stowed away in his garage for fourty years. story here http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...t=zorbas+ghost Tom has raced them all or wrenched on them all. Following are some photos he was kind enuff to scan and share with us all. Left in his own words as sent to me.

This was my first car. I bought off a car lot on Kingshighway. It was super clean. I made a two carb intake manifold (brazed it together) did not have an arc welder. Split the exhaust manifold with two glass packs. It was so loud I was always getting tickets. I pissed off a motorcycle cop. He waited for me to get off of work and gave five tickets in five days. I got the message and off came the glass packs. I had planned on putting a 292" GMC engine in it but I got drafted to go to Korea. I sold the car

This 47 Chevrolet Fleetline replaced the 37 cpe. I had to sell because of getting drafted. I immediately proceeded to prepare to build the GMC engine I wanted to put in the 37. It was a 292" six cylinder, three carbs, headers, Howard cam, 1950 large port head, and a dual ignition I made using a Nash dist. cap and rotor. The Nash had two points, condensers, and coils. I modified the point breaker plate to relocate the points. The thing looked awesome. I had a lot of fun with that car. ONe cold winter night, I was racing a new Cadillac from the JB bridge to Rt.3 in Illinois. I beat him but the engine developed a knock. Turned out it spun a rear main. I pulled the engine out , put the stock Chevrolet back in. From that dayon, I have never hopped up and raced my only transportation. That's when I built the first dragster.
Here is a picture of the GMC car. As you can see it was a pretty basic chassis. Rail frame, Ford transmission, rear end. 4.11 gears I think. Some one made a bell housing to mate a Chev. or gmc to a Ford transmission. Not much else to tell. 110mph in that car seemed pretty fast to me.


This is my first dragster. a old rail frame sprint car chassis, a 292" GMC engine on alky. Three old 97s. Ran 107 at the first organized drag event in 1954 at Laweranceville IL. It got me on the way .Here is the second dragster I built with a high school buddy. It was a tube chassis. Note roll bar, we did not have a tube bender. we did not have any money for an engine, so we teamed up with this guy who had a 283 with a 471 blower and a home made chain drive( no guard) Car went 134 mph in Sept 1958.This was a supercharged Triumph motorcycle built by a buddy of mine. we were taking it to Dodge City Ks to a all bike drag meet. While loading it on the trailer, the tailgate on the trailer dropped on my right foot. It cut it pretty bad. Had to go to hospital and be stitched up. I told the guys to take my car and go themselves. They came back runner up for top eliminator. I could ride better than the who built it . They told me we would have been top eliminator. Oh wellThis was my 1951 Triumph thunderbird. It had 12to one pistons, Isky custom ground cams. two carbs, a water-alky injection I made. I always wound up running the track manager at Alton dragway for comp eliminator. I beat him every Sunday. He was hot because it was always real close. He had a 32 ford cpe. with a big Olds engine in it. He would come blowing by me in the lights but he ran out of real estate as they always say. Lots of fun. The bike was fast.Here is a better picture of my bike taken at Parks air college. That bike pulled so hard in low gear, that you had a hard time getting your foot up on the shift lever. Those were fond memories
Damn Tom shure did it back then. And still does it now. Look for part 2 soon. As tom gets into sports car racing and back into dragsters. KING
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Last edited by KING CHASSIS; 06-07-2009 at 06:19 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Great story, thanks for taking the time to post it.
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Old 11-18-2007, 01:21 AM   #3
Mark in Japan
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Legend + Documentation = CULTURE
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

I have met tom and seen his photo's this guy is a real racer.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Great story thanks for posting!
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

way cool
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:14 AM   #7
Sam F.
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

that is awesome, i read the story in Garage and even cooler to now read this.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

thanks for posting!
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:27 PM   #9
monsterflake
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

nice! how many pictures do you have?
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Very cool......part two please!!
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Good job Brian!
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Guys like Tom are my heroes!! Thanks for taking the time to show the pic's.
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Old 11-18-2007, 01:43 PM   #13
Nick32vic
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

thank you so much for posting this brian. Cant wait for part 2.

I wonder if Tom has any pictures from alton dragway and that 32? Those would be neat to see too.

I guess ill see you at bills christmas party.
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Great post!!!! It's awesome to share the history and photos on this site of the passion that existed and brought us to where we are today. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this.
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Old 11-18-2007, 03:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to post the photos and captions.
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:02 PM   #16
Rusty
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Too COOL!!!!!! That is some awesome stuff
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Thank you!!!! The pre unit is to die for...
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:20 PM   #18
pasadenahotrod
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Nice job of writing and illustrations.
Most folks don't know the bikes were often the kings of any given drag strip for many years. The days of running against whatever came up next in the lane made things exciting for many and horrifying for others.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

Nice examples of early rails. Dang, another Jimmy-powered HA/GR.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:05 PM   #20
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Default Re: HISTORY OF A HOT RODDER- Tom Masa Part 1

thanks for sharing a great story
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