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Lee Chapel / Tornado Speed Equipment ... definitive post??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Stovebolt, May 5, 2007.

  1. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

    Who out there in HAMB-land has info/pics on this guy, his Speed Shops, and the 3 port head he made for the Chev 4, The Wedge OHV he did for the flathead, and the dress-up stuff he did for the Stovebolt 6?

    He seems to have slipped thru the cracks, and is certainly deserved of some ink.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. This is a Subject that I have a great deal of interest in due to Lee modifying (or casting?) Olds/Chev 3 ports but I have not been able to find much info, Sept '53 HRM has a 4 page article on the Tornado streamliner & the Dec '49 Mechanix Illustrated ran a article as well (though I don't have a copy).

    If anyone has any info please post as I too would appreciate learning more about this forgotten Hot Rod icon, who in my opinion is up there with the likes of Vic Edelbrock, Wally Parks etc.

    I think The Tornado Streamliner is the best streamliner ever built, does anyone know what happened to it?
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2014
  3. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

    Looks like it only us Aussies who are into this stuff!!! ;)
     
  4. banzaitoyota
    Joined: May 2, 2004
    Posts: 546

    banzaitoyota
    Member

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  5. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 6,640

    50Fraud
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There is still a "Famous Lee's Auto Parts" in Alameda, which is next door to Oakland. I have wondered if it is the descendant of the old speed shop.
     
  6. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

  7. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,749

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    We had a Tornado OHV setup at Specialized Auto Parts in Houston during the 60s-70s. Don't recall who bought it.
     
  8. About time this post got a bump.

    I did this a while back
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    & was able to buy a copy of the catalogue
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    I need to scan the other half when I get more time.
     
  9. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

    Thnx Jamie, that was great. I can't wait to get my tornado side plate for the stovebolt 6.
     
  10. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 15,096

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    I've always wondered who owns that brand now... There must be a 20 "Lee's Speed Shops" through out the country, but I've never been able to find out who owns the original.
     
  11. No worries Mark. wait to I post the Stovebolt section!:D :D I need to scan it first though.

    Hey Ryan, maybe the name doesn't have ownership? Lee Chapel's was located in Oakland so possibly the shop 50Fraud mentioned is it's ancestor. Also there is a seller on ebay that sells shirts with the Tornado logo & Lee's Speed Shop logos, so maybe free domain.

    I was outbid on a pith helmet with Lee’s Speed Shop / Tornado Speed equip sign writing that was from B'ville 1953
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  12. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 15,096

    Ryan
    ADMINISTRATOR
    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

    btt... great post...
     
  13. hlfuzzball
    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
    Posts: 212

    hlfuzzball
    Member

    I seem to remember reading somewhere long in the past that the V8 Tornado Head pkg. was designed and developed by someone other than Lee Chappel. (That he bought the rights, or somehow took over the production and distribution.)

    I may be wrong, but I find it hard to believe that Chappel could have carried out this project by himself. No doubt, like all major engineering projects ,there were one or more "Unknown Brains" that actually did the grunt work in the shaddows, and one guy got all the credit.
     
  14. .....& the wait is over, today I had the chance to scan the rest of the catalogue, so here it is.

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  15. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

    Ah Jimmy - you've done it again.:D

    The Tornado side cover that is currently available as a limited production number suits a 235, and is different to the one for the 216/early 235. I wonder if another one was developed???

    Thanks mate.:)
     
  16. No worries Mark!

    The market for a 216/early 235 side plate probably isn't there these days so wasn't worth the development/casting cost.


    Anyone else have any photos or info to add? or has anyone seen a set of Tornado heads on a flathead lately, got any pics?

    Cheers
    Jimmy
     
  17. cuznbrucie
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 2,569

    cuznbrucie
    Member

    Thank you for the spectacular scans of this historic catalog!! Much appreciated......

    Brucie
     
  18. Wasahawaiianrat
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 435

    Wasahawaiianrat
    Member

    available from who?

    and bump
     
  19. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 2,855

    Stovebolt
    Member

    If I told you that - I'd have to kill you :D :D ;)

    I'll save you the trouble as the guy who has the original Tornado pattern doesn't want to do any more for a while.

    If and when he does - I'll post it here.

    sorry to get your hopes up, I posted the info, then found out about his reluctance to feed the market later.
     
  20. What a great thread, i missed this the first time. Thanks Stovebolt and JimmyB, those catalogs are treasures like gold.:eek:
     
  21. THE235KID
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 3,752

    THE235KID
    Member

    Those old catalogs are amazing. Thanks for posting them!
     
  22. Scrumpy
    Joined: May 31, 2006
    Posts: 84

    Scrumpy
    Member
    from NH93 Exit1

    Out of curiosity, is anyone here on the HAMB running any speed parts from Lee’s or more specifically Tornado parts? Seems like some pretty cool parts but this is the first I have seen them.

    Scrumpy
     
  23. I bid on this pith as well. Somebody really wanted it as it went for over $300.00
     
  24. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,622

    Rand Man
    Member

    Man, would I like to have a set of those Tornado heads. I always like to look at old catalogues, with the old type-setting and art paste-up.
     
  25. sixinarowjoe
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 337

    sixinarowjoe
    Member
    from eastcoast

    there is a tornado sidecover for the 216 on ebay ,seller also has an edmunds rockercover,aand intake --- search edmunds
     
  26. Angry Frenchman
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,601

    Angry Frenchman
    Member

    Best catalog I ever seen, And the prices are awsome! lol Thanks for sharing it.
     
  27. brianf
    Joined: Oct 2, 2007
    Posts: 9

    brianf
    Member

    This is the truth. I know the guy that bought the whole contents of Lee's speed shop when he died. Most everything he had has been sold off, but what led me to know this information was a cut in half aluminum flathead intake manifold with the name Tornado on it. When I saw this half intake manifold hanging up in this particularly senior hotrodder's machine shop/2 car garage, I asked him about it. This is the story that I got.
    Lee was the first guy to own a speedshop in Northern California. His first years were successful, and we all know he also made his own speed equipment. Then along came a guy name Vic Hubbard. Vic Hubbard had a habit of buying large quantities and selling at discount and half-price. Lee was not in the habit of doing this as he figured you get what you pay for, and fair is fair. With Vic selling stuff half price down in Hayward, (just south of Oakland where Lee was)Lee ended up getting customers in his shop wanting stuff for half price too. So as soon as Lee saw this half-price trend starting he knew what he needed to do. The next time any customer came in and asked for something at half price Lee would point up at the Tornado manifold that he milled in half and tell the customer that that was the half price section of the shop. That is the manifold that I saw not even a month ago, and that is how I learned who Lee Chapel is.
     
  28. PBRmeASAP
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 5,298

    PBRmeASAP
    Member
    1. Sock Fuckers Car Club
    2. S.F.C.C.


    Yes....l'd like to know....

    oops....just finished reading and realized what has been said about the side covers....
     

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