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Running moonshine... any good stories?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 4t64rd, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. 4t64rd
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    4t64rd Member

    My buddy told me his story again, and while it it still fresh I thought I'd type it up for posterity.

    My Buddy Don, said he used to run apple jack form Yakima to Seattle in his '56 Crown Victoria, 312, Paxton-McCulloch VR57 supercharger, T-85, homemade headers, one of the first sets of Michelin X radial tires, and a police speedometer. He said he had a tank made that was shaped like the rear seat, even had a little padding, that would hold 150 gallons. The back of the seat even had burlap and fake springs so that when he got pulled over, when they opened the trunk, it would look the part and they could poke at it and it would give. That was just one of the vehicles they used, it was his daily driver and it was about 1960.

    He said he'd get filled up in Yakima and leave about 5 and get to Seattle about 8-8:30. Part of the reason he was able to get it through was that a sheriff of a small town in between was on the payroll, and got them a set of keys to the locks on the logging roads.

    The police cars in 1960 had regular bias ply tires and, they would chase him, but he was able to go faster on wet roads with the radials and the blower than the cop cars. When he got far enough ahead, he would pull off onto a logging road, unlock the gate, drive through, and relock it, and be in thick trees before the cops could catch up to him. He's drop off the liquor in Seattle and they would wash the tank out. Apparently apple jack doesn't have a lot of smell to begin with (I wouldn't know, I've only had the stuff that smells like turpentine).

    He and one of his cohorts also had a pair of dark green '56 Ford pickups, identical except one had a 8 inch thick false bottom in the bed were the tank was, they would drive the non-tanked to a halfway point a day or two before, then the tanked one a day or two later. When they got the the halfway point on a logging road, they would switch trucks and tags. If he was being chased, all the better, he would head back to Yakima in a clean truck, get himself pulled over and let them look over the truck and the search for apple jack was over. They would also switch tags and leave the clean truck around Yakima as the decoy. He never got caught for running the stuff. He got caught doing other things and was given a choice, jail or Army, but that's another story.

    I read a story in a magazine a long while back about how running moonshine is how a lot of the early stock car drivers got started. CA may be the birthplace of hot rodding, but there were others building fast cars for reasons besides racing all over the country. I did a search for "moonshine" and there was a thread about the Moonshine Festival in GA, here's a link Moonshine Festival. I had the cable TV turned off, so I didn't see anything about the Discovery channel show.

    Anybody else have more personal or relayed 'shine RUNNING (not drinking, stay on topic [​IMG]) stories, or details or pictures of the cars?
  2. Junkyard Jan
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    Junkyard Jan Member Emeritus

    Some of my family down in West Virginia made white liquor back in the '30s. But that was WAY before my time so I don't have any personal 'shine hauling stories to tell. But I do know a little about the subject and the cars. Until the mid '50s, the car of choice was the '39-'40 Ford coupe, first powered by souped up flatheads, then by Caddy with either 6 carbs and/or a McCulloch blower and beefed up suspension.A few guys even had Offenhausers under the hood. Without a load, these old Fords could easily run 140 mph. About everybody bought their speed stuff through Honest Charlie's in Chatanooga, Tn. The runners kept 'em looking stock as heck so as to not to attract attention. But after the runner dropped his load, with the extra leaves in the back spring those old Fords had a pretty severe rake. Most of 'em weren't 'tankers' like your buddy's '56, but hauled the 'shine in boxed Mason jars.

    After '57, the Chrysler 300C was the 'shine car to own....plenty of Hemi power stock, a great handler with the torsion bar front end and a biga$$ed trunk. White liquor was still transported by car into the early '70s...Torino Talladegas made great 'shine runners. But then the business got big and it's now hauled in 55 gallon drums in semi-trailers.Most of it is shipped to NYC and points north by the 'Goodfellas'.... [​IMG]

    99% of the first generation NASCAR drivers were 'shine haulers.....Junior Johnson, the Flock Brothers, Lee Petty, Curtis Turner, etc. California might've been the birthplace of the traditional hot rod, but the Southeast guys were every bit the West Coaster's equal in building fast cars.

    The Mountain Moonshine Festival is held in Dawsonville Ga....Bill Elliott's hometown, from Oct. 21st-23rd. I've never gotten to go, but I hear that a few old 'shine cars show up along with their drivers.

    Jan
  3. Deuce Roadster
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    Deuce Roadster Member Emeritus

    [​IMG]



    Lee Petty never ran shine........he even looked down on the others because they did......

    My uncle ran shine......back in the 50's. He had a 40 Ford standard coupe...the preferred car......a standard business coupe. The business coupe has a panel over the area between the front seat and the rear of the car (no back seat)..so you could get the whiskey more towards the front of the car for better handling. He bought a 57 Chevrolet.....283 with 2 fours in 1957. Basic 150 coupe......with a OD.

    I went with him a few times (without my Mom knowing) when I was young.....he was the 'black sheep' of my mothers family. He smoked, drank, shot pool,chased women all night and hauled moonshine.....so he was my hero [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    His was like this but had black rims....so as to not attract attention.
  4. low springs
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    low springs Member

    my dad is 95. he'll be 96 in a few weeks. he was born in 1909 in Albuquerque NM and yes hes my dad not my grand father. he had me when he was 65 and i'm 30 yrs old now. crazy old man still had it. [​IMG] he was real fond of Chrysler's he even retired from Chrysler in 1972. he sees some of the cars me and my buddys drive and tells us stories of when he owned a car like that. he gets a kick out of it when we take him to the market in them.

    anyways he used to tell me all sorts of stories. places hes been, people hes met, hearts hes broken and jails hes frequented. he would also tell moonshine running stories. just at the moment i can't remember them. i happen to be going to his house tonight. i'll get another story out of him and update this this post.
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  5. Capt. Zorro
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    Capt. Zorro Member

    First "Tank Car" I saw was a '53 or '54 Ford with a 352 or 390 motor in it. It belonged to a buddy of mine's Uncle. This was around 1959 or '60 I guess. It was the first time I'd heard a motor with a "cam" in it. We were playing in the yard and heard it coming up the old dirt road. It pulled up in a cloud of dust, an old black sedan jacked up in the back that was idling so rough it sounded like it was going to quit. Guess it made a lasting impression on me...
    Last I heard the guy that was driving it was still in prison. He got caught so many times for moonshinin' that he was declared a "habitual criminal". I still miss my old buddy, he got killed in a wreck back around '73, "there but for the grace of God go I"
  6. Fat Hack
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    Fat Hack Member

    My Mom played softball at a park down the road from our house when I was a kid, and she'd send me home on my bike to get a six pack of beer outta the fridge after the game and bring it back to the park.

    I'd pretend that the beer in the bag was moonshine and that my BMX bike was the General Lee...pissed Mom off when she'd crack open a beer and have it fizz all over...

    "But, Mom...Rosco was hot on my tail and I had to jump some huge parking blocks to get away!"

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  7. Roothawg
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    Roothawg Member

    So there I was surrounded by Apaches in a box canyon........sorry wrong story. [​IMG]
  8. Baumi
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    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    My Mom played softball at a park down the road from our house when I was a kid, and she'd send me home on my bike to get a six pack of beer outta the fridge after the game and bring it back to the park.
    I'd pretend that the beer in the bag was moonshine and that my BMX bike was the General Lee...pissed Mom off when she'd crack open a beer and have it fizz all over...
    "But, Mom...Rosco was hot on my tail and I had to jump some huge parking blocks to get away!"


    [/ QUOTE ]

    That has got to be the wimpiest "MOONSHINE story" in the world. [​IMG]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I was doing the same, pretending I was Colt Seavers with that pretty blonde Judy by my side.... Must have been in ´82 or ´83 [​IMG]
  9. Fat Hack
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    Fat Hack Member

    Her name was JODY...Played by Heather Thomas!

    (Still got the famous 'towel' poster...never had the Farah one!)

  10. Baumi
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    Baumi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oh, I´m sorry, how could I ever forget her name....shame on me.
    That must have been the time when the pic of her walkin´ through the swing doors in that blue bikini has burned into my brain. I must have been 7 or so...
  11. Fat Hack
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    Fat Hack Member

    Mmmm..."Jody like a Melody..."!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  12. choprods
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    choprods Alliance Vendor

    A good monshine runnin story can be heard just by listening to the song: "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earl.......damned cool!
    As a kid I can remember hearing about that stuff but I personally dont know anyone involved [​IMG].....
    I did however have a wild assed cousin from Kansas City that was always in trouble with the law.
    He used to come up by our place when I was a youngster and stop by...Once he pulled up in a real slick 2 tone green 54 Ford hardtop with the Green glass top.
    It was kinda odd, now that I think back as we knew he didnt work and the trip to our place was a 200 mile trip.
    Plus the fact that he didnt even shut off the motor,,,,just sat and talked a while and then moved on!

    That car turned out to be a stolen car and he got caught .
    HE SPENT A LOT OF HIS LIFE IN THE PENETENTIARY-
    On one of the rare occaisions he was out of jail he was eventually killed in a shoot out at his own front door in KC ,when he refused to put down his weapon.......sad but true..... [​IMG]
  13. k9racer
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    k9racer Member

    We called them trip cars. Their were several ways to set them up. We learned about polar moment before we knew what the word was. The best set up man was Mr. Parks {Parks novilty and game} from atlanta ga.He used 2 sets of rear springs on his fords he would add a cross member and spring in front of the rear end.He is still alive 95 and we talked in Dawsonville at the moonshine festival. Red Voight built his engines. If you ran a ford newer than 40 you used 39 drums and wheels so you would not pull the lugs through the center on the wheel and loose it. around 1951 everybody started to use oldsmobile and cadalic engines. Then what was fast from the factory.It was quite a gentlemans game between the federal boys and the runners.a nasty device was used that would clamp down on the back bumper of the hauler and not let it go. then every one just attached the pumpers with wire coat hangers. Then came the nail strips to flatten tires. so when firestone came out with a tubeless self sealing tire that changed that way of stoping. Everyone had switches to cut off tail and brake lights ond just drive with one or 2 headlights.the other problem was snitchs and hijackers so you always had a side arm and a sawed off shotgun to take care of this problem..lots more stories but no more time now..
  14. Tony Bones
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    Tony Bones Member

    Incredibly simple to make it...incredibly difficult to make it good. I'm willing to PM w/ anyone who is interested in info., as I have a great deal of interest in preserving this nearly lost art.
  15. TagMan
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    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Every time I hear something about moonshine, I recall the movie "Thunder Road" with Robert Michum. I think it came out around 1958 or so. It was my all-time favorite movie as a kid.
    It was on TV late one night when I was on my honeymoon in 1966 and I stayed up to watch it. Pissed the new bride right off, but since we're still together going on 39 years, she musta forgiven me !!

    "Let me tell the story,
    I can tell it all,
    about a mountain boy
    who ran illegal alcohal.
    His daddy made the whiskey,
    the son he drove the load,
    and when his engine roared,
    they called the highway Thunder Road......."

  16. Junkyard Jan
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    Niles, Ohio

    Junkyard Jan Member Emeritus

    [ QUOTE ]
    Every time I hear something about moonshine, I recall the movie "Thunder Road" with Robert Michum. I think it came out around 1958 or so. It was my all-time favorite movie as a kid.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Thunder Road is still my all time favorite car movie. I keep a DVD copy close at hand on the chance I need a quick fix... [​IMG]

    K9racer, that was some damn interesting info about Mr. Raymond Parks using the double springs and the '39 wheels and drums. I knew Red Voight built his engines but had never heard about the rest. Hope you can post more about the tripper cars and those times whenever you have a chance. I'm an old time stock car and 'shine hauling story junkie and love hearing about this stuff!

    Thanks everybody,

    Jan
  17. goolagong
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    goolagong BANNED

    I heard that Nascar was started from moonshiners.

    Paul
  18. zman
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    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    They still make shine here in NC.. story

    and right now they say there is more shine being made in Johnston County than ever before... had a really big bust a few years back... story

    There are lots of old guys that have stories to tell of the good ol' days....

    story #2
  19. krooser
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    krooser Member

    I had an Uncle Johhny who died before I was born..I visited his grave a few times with my Mom when I was young...I never knew, or cared, how he died...then, about a year ago, I received an email from a fella in the area who was doing a family history..turned out I was a distant relative..I asked him to send me info on what he had found about my mom's family...Uncle Johhny was killed running moonshine in northern Wisconsin and died in a car wreck while the "revenuers" were chasin' him...!
  20. Redneck Smooth
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    Redneck Smooth Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    I had an Uncle Johhny who died before I was born..I visited his grave a few times with my Mom when I was young...I never knew, or cared, how he died...then, about a year ago, I received an email from a fella in the area who was doing a family history..turned out I was a distant relative..I asked him to send me info on what he had found about my mom's family...Uncle Johhny was killed running moonshine in northern Wisconsin and died in a car wreck while the "revenuers" were chasin' him...!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    My great-grandpa was a shine runner in Wisconsin, though I dont know many details. He was arrested for it and my great-grandma divorced him because of it and these were the days when you did not remarry, so she spent the rest of her life single over great-grandpappy's shine running. My grandma tells stories about her dad roilling her and her sisters nickels through the bars of the jail. I didn't realize that the moonshine business made it that far up north, I always assumed great-grandpa headed south or something. Weird...
  21. sickboy13
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    sickboy13 Member

    My grandpa use to tell me stories about his dad running a moonshine business back in the day. the house i live in now has been in the family for years and has an old basement that you get to by opening a door on the floor, 99% of the people that come over don't even know it's there. Pretty good place to keep the moonshine. So the story goes back in the day my great grandpa would sell the moonshine to any one with money and then he would have his men go steal it back shortly after they left. So he would get there money and resale the shine, just to turn around and do it again!
  22. 4t64rd
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    4t64rd Member

    Moonshine was made everywhere, there was a guy named Totch Brown who made it down in the everglades, on one of the ten thousand islands (I don't know if he made salad dressing too, but I bet it would 10 times better than Thousand Island dressing [​IMG]) during the depression.

    It just got the local residents in practice for the smuggling they would be doing in the 70's and 80's when the entire town of Chokoloskee, FL was arrested for drug smuggling or the accessory to.

    By the way, Don said he had his '56 Crown vic up to 140 m.p.h. unloaded. Tony, are you old enough to be around Seattle in 1960? Don is from Fife.
  23. Smokin Joe
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    Smokin Joe Member

    When I lived in Goose Creek SC back in 62 or so we hade a fire that went thru the woods and high grass fields around where we lived. Goose Creek was really small then and they got 1 fire truck with a few volunteers to come over, I think, from Monks Corner. They sprayed down the lawns and yards to keep the houses from going up but couldn't do much about the tall grass fields and woods. Every so often the fire would find another still buried underground in the fields or hidden in the woods and go off like a bomb.

    Dad's old Ford truck had a fake bed floor and boxes built into the frame underneath. Also had a 312 engine with Thunderbird valve covers as I remember. The guy next door had boxed frame rails forming tanks that were filled from under the seat of his Chevy truck. Also had the bottom 1/2 of the gas tank sealed off from the top 1/2 for another 10 gallons or so. [​IMG]
  24. RileyRacing
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    RileyRacing Member

    Allegedly, my Grandpa would go to pick it up for his Uncle(who was only a couple years older than him anyway) when they were younger. Drove across the Detroit River when it froze, to Canada. His Stepdad worked for Mr. Ford, and they had a brand spanking new V8 truck in 32. He said it was fast, but they went through alot of those "early" V8's because of oiling and other problems.
    He is an Oldsmobile guy though. Had a bad 37 for awhile. [​IMG]

    Wonder if he'll tell any more stories... [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, if you've been reading Garage magazine lately, they've been doing a series on it. "Thunder Road" is the code name anytime there is a moonshine pursuit in progress, not an actual road.

    Jay
  25. hog mtn dave
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    hog mtn dave Member

    My ex-wife's father (RIP) was a motorhead. He was on oiler on a steam shovel in North Augusta, SC at the Savannah River nuclear plant when it was being built. His girlfriend, my former mother in law, was still living in Arlington, VA. He was courting her pretty hard and would make regular trips back to Virginia. According to him there was a car wash in N Augusta, they would load cases of shine into the trunk when they washed the car and send him on his way. No false bottoms or anything, but Augusta to DC for a weekend trip had to be quite a haul before the interstates were built. For many years his wife thought he made that long drive just to see her. In fact he was making more money on those weekend runs than he made during the week.

    He's also the only guy I ever met with a steam shovel tatoo.
  26. FiddyFour
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    FiddyFour Member

    I was born in the U.P. of michigan, and my family that still lives up there come from an area locally known as "shine valley" or "moonshine valley"

    . . .so the story goes, my great-grandfather and two of my great-uncles were shiners, and the other brother was a town constable. they would still thier brew, and run it down state to detroit, lansing, and grand rapids in his freekin cop car!
    now how cool is that, to run illicit popskull in a copcar, with a cop at the whell! LOL

    Traves
  27. flatshoebox
    Joined:
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    Ventura County, CA

    flatshoebox Member

    One of my customers, after seeing my 49 ford.. said he always ran mercs in the late 40's early 50's cause the cops had fords and they couldn't keep up with the mercs. He said they would line there doors and panels with lead to add weight for cornering so they could out run the cops when running the shine down from the hills... I later told him I had a merc flathead in it and he smiled!
  28. k9racer
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    k9racer Member

    OK JJ I will add a little more.Some folks could get radios and install crystals for the police frequencys.later C.B radios were good if you had decoy cars. Everybody used glass jars because if you had a tank I would need to be stainless It would weigh to much and kill your load cap and very few people around here could work with stainless. If you used steel It would rust or hurt the quality of your product.Every one had pride in their product and sold quality.next It was ready to sell if in mason jars and you could see it was clean. Also nothing would be left to get you busted. Small quanitys are being cooked off with pressure cookers in home kitchens today.Back in the old days you worried more about hijackers than feds{very seldom would the feds kill anyone}.The best hauler I ever saw was a 66 chevy impala lots of room fast engine and good brakes plus it blended in real good.It was used to haul bonded taxed whiskey and beer into dry countys.Damn I am old that was a long time ago.. Sorry about being so long winded.. Bobby..
  29. chromedRAT
    Joined:
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    zanesville, OH

    chromedRAT Member

    bitchin, i seem to remember there being a half of a mason jar of a clear liquid in the trunk of my 65 impala coming back from an unnamed car show... [​IMG]
  30. FeO2
    Joined:
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    Mt.Airy Maryland

    FeO2 Member

    The last time I hauled moonshine (applejack actually)was on the way to the '03 HAMB Drags.12-1gal. jugs in the bed of my truck. Too conspicous to look like anything but jugs of water. Oh, I did haul 1/2gal to the 04 Drags. [​IMG]

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