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60'-70's Vintage Oval Track Modifieds

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by john56h, Apr 11, 2007.

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  1. john56h
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    john56h Member

    I've been posting up quite a few pictures of Modified cars from the late 60's and early 70's....mostly oval track stuff.

    A few have said "cool cars...let's see more", and encouraged a separate thread.

    All through the 50's, 60's and 70's lots of hot rodding was directed towards the strips and tracks of America. One of the things that I've noticed is that the "evolution" of race cars was much different in certain regions compared to others. Modifieds have been a big part of the scene all over, but they have had a wide variety of appearances.

    So....let's see what the Modifieds that YOU remember looked like!

    I'll start off with a few that I think are definately along the lines of the "traditional hot rods" that we all identify with.


    Northeast US, Long Island, NY and Southern New England asphalt:
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    Chargin' Charlie Jarzombeck's "Bug" early 1960's

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  2. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Around the same era...perhaps few years later...but on the dirt in the Midwest US:

    [​IMG]

    Notice the stronger Sprint and Champ car influence.
  3. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Back to the asphalt..again around the mid 60's. Another look for those Southern US cars, Alabama I believe:

    [​IMG]
  4. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Meanwhile...the Northeast dirt racers from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were still using pretty much full bodied cars...but with the biggest engines they could shoe-horn into them:

    [​IMG]
    Al Tasnady, one of the best!
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  5. Junkyard Jan
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    Junkyard Jan Member Emeritus

    The definition of the term "modified" varies by the part of the country in which you live. A "California modified" is traditionally a dry lakes inspired roadster, whereas the mods from our part of the country have always been dirt and asphalt circle burners.

    Somewhere in this mess on my computer table, I've got a CD with quite a few '60s-early '70s dirt modifieds as run on the PA, NJ and NY dirt circuit. I'll look for it tomorrow and post some pics.

    Coupes and Coaches forever!

    Jan
  6. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Jan,

    I think you are right...what we considered a Modified in the Northeast was often referred to as a "Jalopy" in California, reserving "modified" for the straightline cars.

    Late 50's California Jalopy action:
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  7. Junkyard Jan
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    Junkyard Jan Member Emeritus

    Paul Deasey's Big Donkey, powered by a 430+ cube Lincoln from the mid '60s. Gerald Chamberlain (my friend and hero), Sammy Beavers and others drove various versions of this car and "Gypsy" a Plymouth coupe powered by a 427 Ford SOHC after Tas moved to Dave Piscopo's Chevy coupe. BTW, Paul is alive, well and still running his machine shop.
  8. Junkyard Jan
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    Junkyard Jan Member Emeritus

    Not to be a smartazz and caption all of your posts, John, but PB Crowell was a Nashville area beer distributor. His main claim to fame was bring Darrell Waltrip down from Owensboro, KY to drive his #48 Late Model Sportsman mid '60s Chevelles in the late '60s. DW made his bones driving for PB at Nashville. This is a beautiful coupe!
  9. Kiwi Kev
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    Kiwi Kev Member

    I like this one!!
    [​IMG]
  10. Kiwi Kev
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    Kiwi Kev Member

    Blower, Halibrands, tuck n roll, louvers, chrome....what's not to like?
    [​IMG]
  11. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Jan,

    Jump in with whatever info you have! Mainly I've just collected pictures of the cars I liked, but unfortunately I know little about the drivers/owners other than those who raced local to me, which would be Middletown, NY.

    Drivers like Frankie Schneider
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    Buzzie Reutimann
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    Carl 'Fuzzy' VanHorn
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    Bobby Malzahn
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  12. john56h
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    john56h Member

    KiwiKev,

    Not hard to see why they had to start referring to those as "Super Modifieds" huh?

    Great pictures...thanks for sharing.
  13. john56h
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    john56h Member

    [​IMG]
    Danbury Connecticut asphalt

    Danbury was unique in that the club that presented races would formulate rules by committee. Each year the committee made up of owners and drivers would vote on the rules. The flathead V-8's were required all the way up until 1972. The only other engines allowed until 73, were 6 cylinders. After 1973 the overhead V-8's took over and the flatheads became uncompetitive.

    Here's another Danbury picture from around 1974 or so...overhead V-8.

    [​IMG]
    Dick Barlow's 1937 Chevy
  14. john56h
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    john56h Member

    Here's New York asphalt racing great Richie Evans around 1970 or so:

    [​IMG]
    1936 Chevy with big-block Chevy power
  15. john56h
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    A later version of Chargin' Charlie's #1, probably around 1972. Notice how the asphalt cars are getting lower and wider. The independant front suspension was popular by the early 70's on asphalt.

    [​IMG]

    And here's a mid 70's Valiant bodied Modified that Geoff Bodine piloted:

    [​IMG]
  16. Asphalt Outlaw Hero
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    Asphalt Outlaw Hero Member

    This would be the Nashville Speedway at the fairgrounds.
  17. john56h
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    Meanwhile the dirt cars from the Northeast were evolving differntly. They were higher...for more roll and sidebite. The drivers were shifted to the center of the car like a Sprinter and the frontend of choice was the solid axle:

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    Will Cagle 1936 Chevy

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    [​IMG]
  18. john56h
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    By the mid 1970's the rules began allowing for totally fabricated frames, usually of 2x4 rectangular tubing. Many of the older cars became obsolete and when new ones were built either the coupe body from the old car would be utilized (as by now an old coupe was getting hard to find in a junkyard) or a newer body.

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    1937 Ford Coupe on tube frame

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    60's Ford Falcon body

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    Ford Mustang body

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    AMC Pacer and Gremlin bodies
  19. john56h
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    Asphalt Modifieds continued to develop specifically for a low center of gravity since sidebite was not an issue. Notice the asphalt cars have the driver on the left...as well as as much other weight to improve cornering on an oval with only left turns.

    [​IMG]
    Bugs Stevens' "Woodchopper Special"

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    The infamous "Hemi Cuda"


    Asphalt Modified racing experienced their "Pinto revolution" during the 70's
    [​IMG]
  20. john56h
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    And dirt Modifieds achieved a high level of performance...almost matching that of Sprint and Champ cars. Many of the top Modified teams of the late 70's were commissioning famous Champ/Sprint builders to create their newest cars. Those Sprint builders realized that a Gremlin roof could be utilized somewhat like a Sprint car wing and a Gremlin could have tin added inside the body to create downforce too.

    Grant-King built a few top notch cars
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    Billy Osmun/Gary Balough Gremlin

    As well as Kenny Weld
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    Kenny Brightbill Gremlin
  21. john56h
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    By 1980, the era of "stock bodied" Modifieds was coming to an end...replaced by hand formed sheetmetal versions. The season ending big race in Syracuse New York showcased what could be done without the constraints of a stock body, when Gary Balough dominated with this Keny Weld built creation:

    [​IMG]
    Weld had decided to take advantage of the aerodynamics and built the car with an inverted airfoil for a roof, low pressure side duct work and other innovations. Modified racing...at least on dirt, in the Northeast..... would never be like it was. The 1980 Syracuse race ushered in the era of manufactured chassis and big-budget racing.


    The faster it went...the harder it hugged the ground!
    [​IMG]
  22. LowFat48
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    LowFat48 Member

    Bobby Allison....

    Attached Files:

  23. john56h
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    john56h Member

    But at least we still have the memories!!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  24. LowFat48
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    LowFat48 Member

    some of my local heros , richie evans, jerry cook, reggie ruggiero, lou lazzaro

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  25. Henry Floored
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    Henry Floored Member

    I grew up watching these. I lived in western N.Y. and usually went to Spencer Speedway. That was Troyer country. Occasionally the great Richie Evans would join the fray there. Gawd I miss those days!
  26. Henry Floored
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    One of the Ford guys....Jim Shampine. This car and driver was the `67 Oswego track champion.

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  27. petritl
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  28. KS Fats
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    John, the man on the right is Laverne Nance and the driver is Roy Bryant.....this car caused quite a stir when it was built....ushered in the switch to the 100" wheelbase "supers". Nance was well known for his Chassis here in the midwest.
  29. john56h
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    Here's Bud Olsen, who went on to build many winning cars for other drivers:

    [​IMG]


    And how about that leopard skin top on Bobby Pickel's coach?
    [​IMG]
  30. Broken Crank
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    Broken Crank Member

    Heres a pic from 1963 of Northern Iowa's hottest "Modified" driver at the time.

    Attached Files:

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