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Folks Of Interest Art Chrisman Has Passed

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotroddon, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. [​IMG]
    Art Chrisman, one of the founding fathers of NHRA Drag Racing and a member of one of the sport’s legendary families, died July 12. He was 86.

    Chrisman, in his famed #25 dragster, was the first drag racer to exceed 140 and 180 mph and the first winner at the Bakersfield U.S. Fuel & Gas Championships in 1959.

    The familiar #25 cemented its place in the history books as the first car to make a pass at the 1955 Nationals in Great Bend, Kan., NHRA's first national event. Chrisman took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, then made the opening lap of the race.

    Chrisman was partners with Leroy Neumeyer on the #25 car. When Neumeyer was drafted to fight in the Korean War, Chrisman began to race the machine, which would become one of the most celebrated cars in drag racing history.

    Racing was clearly in the family's blood. Chrisman's uncle, the late Jack Chrisman, won Top Eliminator titles at the first Winternationals and at the 1962 U.S. Nationals. In 1964, Jack was the first driver to wheel a blown and injected nitro-burning Funny Car. Jack's son, Steve, was a competitive alcohol and nitro Funny Car racer in the 1980s.

    Chrisman also was one of five charter members of the Bonneville 200-mph Club after driving Chet Herbert's Beast streamliner past the double-century mark (and eventually up to 235 mph) in 1952. The next year, the Chrismans' homebuilt coupe reached near-200-mph speeds.

    [​IMG](Above) Art Chrisman's #25 dragster is one of the most famous in the sport's history and made the first pass at the 1955 Nationals in Great Bend, Kan. (Below) The follow-up, the Hustler I, also was a spectacular machine.
    In 1958, as #25 was beginning to show its age and a new breed of dragster, the slingshot, was beginning to make its mark, the Chrismans, along with Frank Cannon, built their famed Hustler I dragster, which immediately won the Best Engineered Car award at the 1958 Nationals. The car, powered by a blown 392-cid Chrysler engine stroked out to 454 inches, appeared on the cover of the January 1959 issue of Hot Rod magazine and a month later recorded the sport's first 180-mph run with a 181.81 blast on the back straight of Riverside Raceway and used those runs as a catalyst to win the Smokers Meet in Bakersfield.

    Chrisman ran that car through the end of the 1962 season, scoring Top Fuel runner-ups at the 1960 and 1961 Bakersfield races, then went to work for Ford Motor Co.'s Autolite Spark Plug Division, which put an end to his racing career.

    Chrisman, who with his son, Mike, founded Chrisman Auto Rod Specialties to build and restore hot rods, restored Hustler I to 1962 vintage in the mid-1980s and made full quarter-mile smoking runs for the fans.
  2. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,065


    I don't recall ever meeting him, but that doesn't change history does it.

    We lost a good one. We have not lost as much as those who were close to him did. If his loss to our community is greater it is an even greater loss to family and friends. Condolences.
    Speedys Garage likes this.
  3. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,546


    Sad to see that, He was one of the earliest drag racing names I remember from when I started reading the rod magazines.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,302

    Jalopy Joker

    Sincere sympathy goes out to his Family & friends - he certainly will be missed in the racing world

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  5. Deuced Up!
    Joined: Feb 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,517

    Deuced Up!

  6. Tbomb428
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 506

    from SoCal

    Condolences to his friends and family.
  7. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 1,041

    Roger O'Dell

    R.I.P. Great guy I really got to know him while Gene Adams was working out of his shop. Going to miss seeing him around, Another legend gone
  8. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,048

    Marty Strode

    Art had always been one of my heroes, not only for his perfection in building cars, but tuning and driving them as well. I also found out how much class he had 30 years ago, at Baylands Raceway, Fremont,Ca. I was having problems with a blown/early Chrysler in a slingshot dragster, and Art, along with Gene Adams came to our rescue. The duo solved the problem, with their vast knowledge, and made it look easy. I am still amazed that they would take the time, and we are forever in their debt. Art is on my right, in the blue jacket. The late/great Tom Topping is in the black jacket. What memories, RIP Art Chrisman. 2012-08-31 122816.jpg
  9. Gene Boul
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 807

    Gene Boul

  10. D.N.D.
    Joined: Aug 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,385


    I saw Art run at Riverside & win Bakersfield in 59' and became a fan of his, then in 68' he let me run the first Crackerbox engine I built for Tom Pattersons ' Sparkler ' on his Autolite dyno in Long Beach and after I would get to talk to him at the circle boat races as he was the Autolite racing rep

    Art was one very nice guy and a true gentleman R.I.P. Art

    Gotgas likes this.
  11. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 1,995


    A true gentleman of motorsports that will be deeply missed. RIP
    falcongeorge likes this.
  12. 150J/F
    Joined: Jan 2, 2010
    Posts: 225


    Really sad to hear that Art is gone. We raced with Art & Mike alot in the
    1990s during the early years of nostalgia Jr./Fuel in California. Best and
    most helpful folks you could ever meet. RIP Art.
    Mike Brown
  13. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,764


  14. He was a Class Act..........enjoyed a Wed Evening 6 yrs or so ago at his shop and Art came back after dinner at home, had toothpick in corner of mouth and BS'd for several hours with assembled several great pics of that evening..........he helped fire up the Green Monster that nite, for the 1st time in 50 yrs ..........
  15. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 5,925

    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    What a loss. I had the honor of meeting him and touring his shop maybe 10 years ago. He showed me the many Ardun and regular flathead motors he was building. He used several on my 409 to FH waterpump kits on his Ardun motors. He was an amazing man and will be missed.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  16. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,734

    from DFW USA

    Legendary! RIP
  17. 42merc
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 600


    My friend & I visited Arts shop on our trip to the LARS this year. Art was in a wheelchair at the time, looked frail but in good spirits.
    He will be missed.
  18. cool37
    Joined: Jan 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,861

    from SoCal

    Truly a class act and great guy! RIP Mr. Chrisman.
  19. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,037


    Another legend gone...condolences to the family. Whenever I've read of his involvement in a project , I always knew it was first rate.
  20. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


  21. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,454

    Bandit Billy

    A slight adaptation from a eulogy I heard once;
    As one group of friends tearfully wave goodbye at one end of the track, another group eagerly and happily await him at the finish line.
    Have a good run. RIP
  22. Lil32
    Joined: Apr 4, 2012
    Posts: 1,144


    R.I.P. great man, Prayers to family

  23. Art with #25 dragster (by Shannon Olson).jpg Art with Hustler I dragster (by Shannon Olson).jpg
    Art Chrisman drove Chet Herbert\'s Beast III to 239.991 mph in 1952.jpg
    Art with the Chrisman Coupe (by Norwell).jpg
    Art Chrisman
    October 14, 1929 - July 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  24. 24 Dodge
    Joined: May 2, 2010
    Posts: 641

    24 Dodge

    That Sucks!!!!!!! RIP Art
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 1,860


    RIP and condolences to the family. We have lost another great one
  26. Sad news, R.I.P. Art.
  27. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,925


    Never got to meet him, but read all about him growing up, got to see both cars in the NHRA museum, they are perfect restorations. Prayers going out to his family and friends. Bob
  28. There is a nice interview & article published by Hot Rod Magazine in December 2012. HRP

    Art Chrisman
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  29. chase knight
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 115

    chase knight

    Totally true legend, and a class act. Glad I was able to spend a little time with him over the years. R.I.P.

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