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A stranger appeared today and asked me......

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by McGurk, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    As my wife and I were leaving to go have lunch at Applebee's today a stranger appeared and ask if I was Ron Becker. With a degree of hesitation I confirmed that I was Ron Becker. The last time that happened it was a process server with divorce papers filed by my first wife.

    He proceeded to tell me that he had been asked by a friend to locate and pass a note to me. The note contained the name and phone number of the person that currently owns my dragster. I have not been able to contact the person so I don't know anything about the current condition of the dragster. I have not seen the dragster since it was sold late in 1978. I seriously doubt that after 35 years the dragster is still intact, but I have hopes.

    The current owner tracked me down by the name of the speed shop that was painted on the front body panels. I ran the engine shop at the speed shop so I had an obligation to promote their business in return for the 'at cost' and vendor sponsored parts. A disagreement with the owner's wife voided the obligation so I discontinued to run the front body panels, but the speed shop name remained of the front body panels.

    I no longer have a land line telephone so there is no number listed in the phone book. I was some what startled and did not catch the whole story of how the stranger fit into the story, but he traveled from Garden Plains, KS to Wichita, KS just for the purpose of contacting me.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,883

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well. I'd say that is worth being found for. Better dig out the old photo album with the digger in it.
     
  3. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    I have never been one to document my accomplishments. The sorry ass picture of a Polaroid picture is the extent of my photo album. The son of the driver posted some B&W action pictures of the dragsters in the following thread:

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=786504

    I'm sure that I'm going to get my bubble popped when I make contact with the current owner.

    McGurk
     
  4. You just never know.....It could be great....anyway it's worth a try.
     
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  5. carryallman
    Joined: Jan 5, 2009
    Posts: 399

    carryallman
    Member

    hi there Mcgurk .whats the story on your anglia ? got one ? that one looks original,ive had several of them even a 1/2 ton panel,one was an e/gas drag car,even a stocker ,that i have taken to some nostalga drags ,run some 16.80s ,won high et at one race !! slow but fun as most other cars had to give me a big spot and i always run on my dial in /they usually red lighted or broke out ! any way tell use about the anglia ! anglia minds want to know ?? thanks mike :cool:
     
  6. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,714

    Offset
    Member
    from Canada

    Kind of a weird story, not disbelieving, just weird.

    Hope you will keep us informed what happens next. You have piqued my curiosity now.

    Do you want the car back? Were you actually looking for it?
     
  7. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,191

    upspirate
    Member

    Usually someones want's to track down their old car.....yours tracked you down!!! Cool!!
     
  8. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,714

    Offset
    Member
    from Canada

    I feel for you McGurk, I have advance Pulmonary Fibrosis with no cure. Makes breathing an adventure.

    Not fun, I wish you all the best.
     
  9. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    Yes to both questions. See thread: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=786504

    I doubt that the post had anything to do with the current owner trying to locate me. He would have made an attempt to contact me through the forum. I have called the phone number that I was provided with and I left a message on the answering machine. I have not heard back from the person. I will follow up with information after I have spoke with the current owner.
     
  10. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    Today I spoke with the current owner of my old dragster. I have encourage him to sign in and tell the story of how he located me. As I suspected the dragster is no more than the Tom Hanna body and the SPE chassis. He was not trying to sell the dragster. Had the dragster have been exactly as it was when I sold it then given my health issue it would have been a hard sell for my wife. At least I now know what became of the dragster.

    McGurk
     
  11. RICKY MCGREGOR
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 148

    RICKY MCGREGOR
    Member
    from wichita ks

    Boy would I love to set back in that dragster just one more time , just to think back 35 years . Hey McGurk I still have the Dr Pepper kid boots you made me. I'll post a photo of them.
     
  12. spe digger
    Joined: Mar 29, 2012
    Posts: 5

    spe digger
    Member
    from texas

    I'm the guy who owns your old dragster. My name is Wayne Christie and I have owned the car off and on for the last 30 years. still in great cond. with the three point cage, full body and Nancy upholstery. Where did those wheelie bars come from? Back with the full story soon.
     
  13. HUH :confused: i don't see any Anglia's in this thread :eek:
     
  14. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    VoodooTwin
    Member
    from Noo Yawk

    Bring it! We don't like to be teased!! :p
     
  15. J scow
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 489

    J scow
    Member
    from Seattle

    This is a Fun one! Subscribed!!
     
  16. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,918

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    this is a interesting story - need more details on the old and recent history.
     
  17. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,398

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You bet, too cool.
    Far out bit of Intrigue playing out in real time . . . god I love the HAMB!
     
  18. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    Well I was in hopes that the current owner would chime in, but in his absence I will tell you how it came down.

    I ran the engine shop at Lubbers Speed Shop in Wichita, KS. They provided parts at cost along with arranging for some free parts from the various product lines that they carried. I felt obligated to promote their business so I had their company name painted on the front body panels. I moved back to Wichita to run their engine shop based on the pay agreement that they offered to me. I was making good money for the time and after a couple of years the owners wife wanted to flip the percentage because she claimed that they weren't making enough money from the shop. Truth be known she could not stand to see me making that amount of money because they did not pay their other help that well. Rather than let things get ugly between myself and the Lubbers family I went about my way. Being a machinist made it easy to find employment back then.

    At the end of the 1978 season I sold the dragster to Wayne Gash who lived in Kansas City at the time. He took the dragster to KCIR and made one easy pass that resulted in a 185 MPH pass. Prior to selling the dragster to him and his partner I took them out to the local drag strip on their Turkey Day race. That was the only time the dragster had ran at the local track. My driver, Ricky McGeggor made his typical horizontal butter flies burn out as can be seen in the other thread where I was trying to locate the dragster. Rick ran a 7.04 @198 MPH on a very cold track with no tune up. The new owners saw what the dragster's potential was, but he obviously did not know what his potential was. Wane Gash told me that they pulled the engine and transmission out of the dragster and replaced them with a SBC bracket race engine and a glide.

    Wayne Gash told me that the guy that bought the engine won the summer nationals the following year. The clutch TH400 that I built along with the slipper clutch and the clutch can set in Wayne Gash's garage for several years. Those were the parts that I would have really liked to have been able to recover. My homemade ratchet shifter mounted directly on the transmission selector shaft. It weighed less than a 1/2 pound and when disassembled the parts would fit a Marlboro 100s cigarette box. How did I know that? Because that's how they were carried from Boeing Aircraft to my shop. His partner arranged the sale of the transmission and related parts and now no one remembers the name of the guy that bought it.

    Fast forward to now. The current owner of the dragster is Wayne Cristy from Dumas TX and he has owned the dragster for the last 30 years. He has always wanted to know the history of the dragster but was unable to locate me. I had changed phone numbers two or three times and neither Wayne Gash or Wayne Cristy could call me. The Lubbers name had never been removed from the body panels. I have no idea why it took Wayne Cristy so long to investigate the name on the body panels. When he finally figured it out he started calling people in Wichita with the name Lubbers. He was eventually directed to the Lubbers brothers who own the Chevrolet and Ford dealerships in Cheney, KS. Wayne Cristy called one of the dealerships and spoke with Larry Lubbers. Larry told Wayne Cristy that he had not seen me for several years and that he did not know how to get in touch with me, but that he new a guy that new me. Steve Hendrichs from Garden Plains, KS was the stranger that stopped by to give me the note which had Wayne Cristy's telephone number. Steve Hendrichs knew all of the gang from back then, but I have no recollection him. Must have been a groupy :D

    It's a strange coincidence that this all took place in a relatively close period of time from when I posted in the HAMB in an attempt to locate the dragster. However the HAMB had nothing to do with it.

    I was unable to reach Wayne Cristy on the Saturday that I received the note. I had foolish dreams about the dragster being as it was when it left my shop. Fortunately it was not for sale and it was no more than the SPE chassis and Tom Hanna body. I would not mind having it back, but I would have sold the house (wife included) had it have been complete.

    It would have been a very hard sell for my wife. Had it been complete and for sale then I think in the end I would have shed a tear and passed. I recently sold my Anglia that I was getting ready to build due to serious health problems.

    McGurk
     
  19. KENDEUCE
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 332

    KENDEUCE
    Member

    Best of luck with the health issues, and that was a hell of a story. Isn't life strange some times?
     
  20. spe digger
    Joined: Mar 29, 2012
    Posts: 5

    spe digger
    Member
    from texas

    Hey everybody I'm trying to get some current pics together. Last trip of the summer with the grandkids this weekend. I owe Ron and a bunch of other people for helping me track down history. Found a guy with a 392 so now I wonder if you still have the Hemi motorplate Ron. Check back soon. Front Engine Dragsters Forever!
     
  21. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    SPE Digger,

    The HEMI engine plate was cut up for use on other details such as front engine mounts. That was probably a short sighted decision, but I would have never ran a HEMI.

    Engine plate round #1

    I built the Chevrolet engine plate from scratch using only the top contour of the HEMI plate for a pattern. The SPE plate was rather sloppy by my standards. My engine plate was a perfect fit in the chassis so you have a template for a new engine plate. Start by making a spud that is the same diameter as the upper chassis rail. Clamp my engine plate to a blank 7075 T6 engine plate (Mark Williams) and use the spud to locate the center of the chassis 'hooks' on my engine plate. Drill and bore the holes for the chassis 'hooks' and scribe the sides before separating the engine plate and the engine plate blank. You can align and cut to the scribed lines and be within .005". However I used a dial indicator and dialed along the edges of my template. Take care so that you do not damage your template. Without a template its not easy to build an engine plate that fits the chassis.

    Engine plate round #2

    I made three bushings, 1 for the front bearing bore in a blank 8 3/4" pig, 1 for the rear bearing in the TH400 case and a large one for the TH400 pump receiver bore.

    With the new engine plate bolted in the chassis I set the TH400 case with line up shaft in the chassis, slid the line up shaft in to the bushing in the pig, using two C clamps I leveled and clamped the bell on the TH400 case to the engine plate. Once the TH400 bell was flat against the engine plate and level with the chassis I used a transfer punch to center punch the GM bolt pattern. I used drill bushings in the TH400 bell dowel locations so that I would have an absolute dowel location when I was finished.

    That facilitated mounting a Chevrolet engine in the chassis. I used a jack under the front of the engine block and adjusted it until the engine block was flat against the engine plate. At that point I fabricated the front engine mounts.

    Engine plate round #3

    I removed the engine block and engine plate from the chassis. With the engine block setting so that the bell housing bolt pattern was up and I mounted the engine plate to the engine block. The clutch can had it's own fasteners so I had to align the clutch can and transfer the bolt holes to the engine plate. I used the C clamps to secure the clutch can, but allowed for enough slippage to allow me to move the can so that I could use a dial indicator to center it with the engine crankshaft. I had to level the can as well as center it. The clutch can fasteners were 100º counter sunk aircraft fasteners. I was lucky because Boeing Aircraft supplied all of the special fasteners.

    When finished the engine and transmission must set in the chassis without error. If you miss on the alignment then you will tweak the chassis if you force an error.

    Here's an interesting read: http://www.nostalgiadragworld.com/dearmore-article-page.php

    McGurk
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  22. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    SPE Digger,

    I built the wheelie bars. I was wondering if they were still on the dragster.

    McGurk
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  23. spe digger
    Joined: Mar 29, 2012
    Posts: 5

    spe digger
    Member
    from texas

    Thanks for the info and the wheelie bars still live. My daughter called me tonight and said she found some dragster pics in her stuff. I know they are the ones that I took at Tulsa when I went to look at the car in '83. She's sending them to me. I talked to Roy Fjastad yesterday and he remembers Gingrass having a car after he left Dearmore. John Wiebe said the same thing. I will get some pics up after we get back from vacation with the grandkids. Take care Ron.
     
  24. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    SPE Digger,

    I sent you an e-mail this morning. I spoke with Norman Gingrass this morning and I included his phone number in the e-mail along with some other information.

    McGurk
     
  25. spe digger
    Joined: Mar 29, 2012
    Posts: 5

    spe digger
    Member
    from texas

    Hey Ron I spoke with Norm yesterday, nice guy, he said he would help me with car history. One thing I mentioned to him was some faded purple on the underside of the body and he said that the inside of the body was purple. He also said the frame was purple. That paint job was by Cerny. I have lots of questions, did the car have a Lenco when you got it and do you know what the half moon shaped bracket above the go pedal was, looks like a mount for a fire bottle. Thanks for all your help and Norm's number was great.
     
  26. McGurk
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 85

    McGurk
    Member
    from Mid West

    BINGO!

    It's time for you to start your own thread. I have achieved the objective of this thread. I would like to see the dragster one more time before you start the restoration. Please include a handful of napkins to wipe my tears.

    I knew it was Norm's dragster based on the original paint job. With the exception of the chrome axle housing there was no drive train with the chassis when I purchased it. I used a two speed Lenco in my first build. Just as I was nearing completion both sanctioning bodies added the mandatory reverse rule. The chassis would not accommodate a two speed with a reverser so I built the clutch TH400 transmission. I added the half moon shaped bracket above the go pedal and yes it was for a fire bottle. I did not see the need for a remote valve when I could mount the bottle w/valve so that the valve was 'right there'. You can probably see where there was an upright tube with a sleeve on the end in which the neck of the bottle went through.

    If you bought the trailer that I sold to Wayne Gash then here's some history for the trailer. It hauled the dragster below which was owned by R.C. Williams and driven by Ray Motes. Just inside the man door there used to be graffiti on the self that stated: H2O or for the driver water.

    The Motes & Williams Top Gas dragster Read on below picture.
    [​IMG]

    Below is a URL for a drawing that illustrates how I constructed the engine plate template. Hang and clamp the side pieces in the chassis and then clamp the center section in so that you can drill the holes for bolting the template together. Drill the holes over size so that a crooked hole does not make the template pieces shift when you tighten the bolts. I pre-drilled the side pieces when I made them.

    http://i843.photobucket.com/albums/zz354/CNC4Cheap/untitled_zps72051ab9.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013

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