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Resurrecting a Vintage Fiat Topolino drag car built in 1964

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by INLAW MODEL A, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    I Saw It And Thought It Was Way Cool. A Friend Of Mine Had It About 2 Miles From Me. It Was Last Raced In Union Grove Wisconsin In 1972 A/A Class. It Was Also Raced In Northern Illinois. It Had A 283 Bored To A 301 With A Three Speed. The Chassis Was Built Joe Schubeck. The Guy That Raced It Was From Berlin, WI. I Am Still Trying To Get Some History And Time Slips Etc. I Would Really Like To Go Do Some Nostalgic Racing With It. It was the Indoor Show Car Association show circuit from 1972-74.

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    I spoke with Mike Gish that raced the car from 1968-1974 and he said the car was built by R&B in Kenosha. It was raced mainly at Great Lakes Raceway aka Union Grove. In 1973 the car was in a indoor show car circuit. It was in New York, Cleveland, Dubuque, and others. The car took third place overall that year for best comp car. I also have a video with over an hour of vintage union grove racing showing this car race along with many others. It is really neat! I will try to post a link to you tube.

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    Here are some progress pictures. I found the ansen bellhousing along with a magneto. The master cylinder is from a Triumph Spitfire I discovered. I am ready to reassemble the rear axle. The framed cleaned up nice with a little soap and water. Once I make some front mounts I can remove the engine, paint it, and put it back in for good.

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    I have been scrounging parts for a while now and I have just tonight dropped an engine into the Fiat. I was pretty stoked and thought I would post some pictures. I called Mike that raced the car in 1972 and I am sending him pictures. It is the first time there has been an engine in the car since 1974. I have located the Hilborn unit from the car. I think the hardest part to find was the 1962 Chevy 3 speed. It is very short and was necessary to use to drive shaft from the car. I plan on installing the body this weekend. I can't wait to fire it up!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  2. Royalshifter
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    Royalshifter Moderator

    I envy you....that is beautiful.
  3. 1939fiat
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    somewhere in Canada,today

    1939fiat Member

    thanks for the update..keep going !!!

    Rick
  4. swade41
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    buffalo,ny

    swade41 Member

    Nice ! Good to see you trying to keep it true to it's origins
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  5. Speedwagen
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    Speedwagen Member

    Good to see the progress,keep up the good work!
    I LOVE FIATS :)
  6. HemiRambler
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    HemiRambler Member

    AWESOME!! I love it!
  7. Falcon Gasser
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    Falcon Gasser Member

    I really like that. i wish i had those wheels for my Bantam Altered. I can not wait to see more.

    Jon

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  8. WhoDoYouFink
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    Catlettsburg, KY

    WhoDoYouFink
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Plllllllllease post body picks when you get them. I loves me some fiat drag cars. The wife says no, but i am keeping the hope alive.
  9. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member


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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  10. Littleman
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    Littleman Alliance Member

    Great video...thanks for posting....now go buy that injection unit!!!...Have fun..Littleman
  11. WhoDoYouFink
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    WhoDoYouFink
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I remember seeing that first thread now. You do have a nice piece of history there. Good luck with it!
  12. BAD ROD
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    BAD ROD Member

    Very nice! That is going to be one crazy ride!

    Mike
  13. SteadyT
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    Kitsap Co, Wa

    SteadyT Member

    Holy Crap that thing is wicked. I will be eyeballing this thread.
  14. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    Ok, here is a better copy of the video. This is original 8mm film of my car racing at Great Lakes Raceway in Union Grove WI from 1968-1972 or so. It was yellow when they bought it.

    <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZZbEqA-N1ag&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZZbEqA-N1ag&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
  15. krooser
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    krooser Member

    Hobo sez that thing was a real monster to drive....he said their regular driver was a little crazy and he's the only one who never noticed...
  16. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    I just got the original injection unit this morning. I will post pictures later today. It is a Hilborn unit with 12" staggered stacks. Very neat looking unit.
  17. Littleman
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    Littleman Alliance Member

    Kool, even if you do not use it.....its with the car!!!.........Littleman
  18. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    Here are some more pictures. I got the injection unit from the guy that "found" the car. He was looking for a hilborn unit and from word of mouth heard about one in a shop about 30 miles away. When they went to check it out, they discovered that the hilborn unit came with a car. He bought it and kept the hilborn and friend bought the car. I had to trade another hilborn set-up to get this one. The stacks are 12" on this one, and he wanted 6" so it worked out good. I still need a shut-off valve and a filter along with a relief for the pump in order to run it.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  19. KING CHASSIS
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    KING CHASSIS Member

    Really cool!!
  20. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    It lives!!!!
    I had problems with the magneto, and trying to find some of the fuel system parts, but today I got to start the car. It has been dormant for 35 years. Now I need to build gas pedal linkage. I can't wait to run it!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  21. BAD ROD
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    BAD ROD Member

    Absolutely great! I want to see that thing do a wheel stand. :D
  22. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    Here are some more pictures from Saturday. I hope to get some more info on the car from Mike that raced it. Here is some of the history I have now.
    The car was previously owned by Jerry Adams from Kenosha. The tunnel for the parachute was made by Roger Jackson who also was from Kenosha. His shop was in the back yard and he was nicknamed the Mole, and the shop was the mole cave. Mike Gish bought the car from Power Automotive in Kenosha in 1968. It was raced in Comp A/Altered class @ Great Lakes Raceway in Union Grove, WI. It was raced the full year in 1972. Dave Straw also drove the car. The car was painted in 1970 or 1971. It was in the ISCA show circuit in 1972 and won 3rd place overall for best comp car. Magnum Racing Engines was speed shop out of Milwaukee,WI owned by Jim Luker. It later became Magnum Diesel Machining. The car ran mid 9 seconds. The engine was a sbc 301 with aluminum rods and domed pistons & camel hump heads. The rear is a 57-63 chevy with 4.56 gears. The trans is a 1960 3 speed. The show motor had chrome headers, and it was a broom stick motor. (no internals, the broomstick kept the balancer from falling off. At the Madison show, people claimed the car did not run and it was started and drove out of the show and blued the chrome headers. It was the only tim the chrome headers were run. The race headers were black.
    The car was disassembled and never put back together until now.


    Mike Gish had the car all this time. It was a roller though. Mike has cancer, and that is why he sold it I think. I have reassembled the car and located many of the original parts like the Hilborn unit. The car was in a garage in Coloma WI. I just got it running today. I have original footage from 1968 on dvd. I want to go back to Union Grove with it on labor day for the Time machine nationals.




    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  23. 30roadster
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    30roadster Member

    That is just Awsome! great thread!
  24. Kiwi Kev
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    Kiwi Kev Member

    Fantastic time machine! It's great that you've kept it as it was. Drag cars from the 60's had so much personality. Thank's for keeping us updated.
  25. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    I just wanted to see if this works. I just uploaded pics to photobucket.

    Attached Files:

  26. INLAW MODEL A
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    INLAW MODEL A Member

    I finally had a chance to build the throttle linkage. It is all 1/4" rods with spherical rod ends. There are 4 bell cranks so there is a lot going on when you press down the gas pedal. I took it out for a short drive tonight. I wish I had a parking lot close by. I don't think the cops would like me on the road. Here is a video of it.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Fy5SRN96JSQ&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Fy5SRN96JSQ&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
  27. hog mtn dave
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    hog mtn dave Member

    I love the car and the commentary on the video. You're gonna have to clean that up. Ha Ha.
  28. decker
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    WaUSAu Wisconsin USA North America Earth

    decker Member

    Your dad was here at the shop this morning... he said that it's
    REALLY LOUD!!!!!

    :D I really have to get over there to see it in person one of these days. Looks good man!
  29. Rich Venza
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    Suwanee, GA...but grew up in North Jersey

    Rich Venza Member

    Just came on the video and finally noticed the doors hinges have been reversed. All Topolinos has suicide doors, but in a drag car that can get exciting and expensive. Is the grill shell steel or fiberglass?
  30. 1939fiat
    Joined:
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    somewhere in Canada,today

    1939fiat Member

    Hi Rich;
    Good to see you again..
    I have a couple Topolino bodies..One on a car ,one "spare"..
    Have bought and sold a few over the years..
    "Fix It Again Tony"..

    Gotta run.
    1939fiat
    (Rick)

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