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History Bootlegger Car Suspension?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by patmanta, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,648

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    I caught an episode of that Americarna show the other day as well as some history of Appalachia program with Billy Ray Cyrus (Hillbilly - The Real Story, I think) that both went into a little detail about bootlegger cars and their suspension. They foucsed on the springs mainly, which was cool but pretty specific to load hauling.

    What got my interest was the discussion of what they were doing with the shocks. They mentioned using the knee action houdaille shocks in conjunction with the then new tube shocks but didn't show an example.

    This leaves me to wonder how they did it and if it could (or should) be applied to a hot rod build. The impression I was left with was that they were adding the tube shock in place of the dog bone.

    Does anybody know anything about this stuff? :confused:
     
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  2. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,520

    327Eric
    Member
    from Diablo Ca.

    There might be some similarity to the set up of early nascar racers too. I saw the same episodes, and thought it was pretty neat to see what they did. The appearance would be my concern on a hot rod build.
    I'd love to see someone build a "tanker" tribute car. I built a 71 Chrysler, but no one in California got it. My Great grandfather ran Moonshine out of San Jose in the 40's and 50's. They used old Caddy sedans though.
     
  3. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,648

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    If I get a hold of some lever shocks I will mock it up, providing nobody convinces me it's a dangerous idea or that's not how it was done.

    I've seen pictures where the gas shock is added as a second shock with tabs welded to the frame and such, which is the obvious way to do it, but I still think they described it as being attached to the lever shock.
     
  4. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,520

    327Eric
    Member
    from Diablo Ca.

    I'd have to watch it again, as I thought the tube shock was mounted as you describe, to the frame and axle, an d then the lever shock was tweaked. Different eyes and ears see different things i guess. Then there was the garage door spring on the rear. The cool thing is, there were no rules, and if it worked, it ran. I'll look in my old magazine stash, and see what, if anything i might be able to find.
     

  5. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    first off.. Houdaile shocks and Knee action front ends are not the same and should not be confused with each other.

    Moonshiners didn't have a "proper way" way to follow to set up their haulers. Just my opinion but I think the newer "airplane" tube shocks were just added on leaving the Houdaile shocks and links still connected as Henry did it.

    It was a common "hotrod" thing in the 60s to add tube shocks to the later 40s GM independent front end.(pre-Mustang II):D A simple mount off the frame and the lower mount on the lower control arm. You had to be careful in locating it so that the tire did not contact the shock during a turn.:) Usually they were in the back where they would clear in a lock to lock situation.
     
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  6. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,087

    olscrounger
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I watched the episodes as well. It was interesting. A few yrs back a friend got a 40 convert that had the coil/garage door type spring like they showed and it had extra leaves a well. Didn't know its history but he probably still has the spring setup.
     
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  7. I saw that garage door spring set-up as well. Never saw that before. Damn, those shine runners were an innovative bunch. Junior Johnson, for all of his "down home" persona, has to be one of the smartest guys to ever turn a wrench. Him and Smoky.
     
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  8. honeyman
    Joined: May 24, 2010
    Posts: 330

    honeyman
    Member
    from Steiner

    Great show with no made up drama...glad it's on.
     
  9. .............Well, so far.:)
     
  10. kbgreen
    Joined: Jan 12, 2014
    Posts: 340

    kbgreen
    Member

    Putting a tube shock in series with a Houdaile is not very efficient and there isn't much room to replace the dogbone. It would make more sense to put both shocks in parallel (not connected together) than series. I understand that one primary goal with a beefed up suspension was to not make the car look overloaded, hence the additional springs. THen with the additional load, drivability would be improved with additional shock absorber capacity.

    On lothiandon's comment that Jr. Johnson was smart and had a down home persona, I'd say too many people are underestimated. The only difference between a smart down home persona guy and a MIT grad is that one of them didn't have the common sense educated out of him.
     
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  11. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,648

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    This is along the lines of what I was thinking. Putting them in series seems it would, at best, result in a dual stage single shock, assuming the lever shock was stiffer.

    I'd still be very interested to see pictures of old bootlegger car suspensions, particularly the rear.
     
  12. alanwoodieman
    Joined: Jun 14, 2011
    Posts: 63

    alanwoodieman
    Member

    I had a former moon tanker a 40 sedan delivery, deluxe it had 14 spring leaves in the front along with the coil spring mounted underneath the spring, the rear axle had 18 springs also with a coil spring helper, it had tube shocks on the front and no shocks on the rear. this was a tanker, which was mounted to the rear floor, had a pull open valve with a cable running to the front to "drop" the load. wish I could find the pictures I took of it. it passed thru another fellow and ended up , after a lot of work, being Benny Bootles, painted garnet and black and sporting the University of South Carolina Engineering Logo on the sides. The man I got it from bought it at a revenue sale in Asheville, NC
     
  13. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    This is a real North Carolina moonhine car built in 1957. It belongs to ex-moonshine runner Dwight Cass (like his friend Junior Johnson he served time for it). I took these photos at the Dawsonville Moonshine festival last fall. I didn't take pics underneath but the information sign tells how it was set up. Please, no wisecracks about the spelling error in Isky cams. I can't spell it either.

    This is a real piece of history.
     
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  14. klawockvet
    Joined: May 1, 2012
    Posts: 423

    klawockvet
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    90 in low gear? Seems a little high geared to be pulling weight LOL
     
  15. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,130

    Relic Stew
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    If the springs are made stiffer, the shocks need increased damping rate to match. Probably not a lot of options in high performance shocks then, so multiples were used.
     
  16. ......So true, so true.
     
  17. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,706

    the-rodster
    Member

    I recall seeing a similiar 40 Ford in the Dennis Carpenter museum.

    Cool stuff.

    Rich
     
  18. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    Columbia 2 spd rear

    What a cool car. I've always wanted a 39 coupe.

    I don't think it's possible to hook the two different types in series. Parallel is the only option.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  19. Modified class, maybe...Grand National, no way. I have the rules for the first 3-4 years of GN (1949-1952) and they were pretty rigid. Suspensions were pretty much stock - every part must have been cataloged for that specific car/year model. Shocks could be re-valved, but additional shocks would not have been allowed. IIRC, the winner of the first-ever GN race (Glenn Dunnaway) was DQ'ed for running illegal wedges in his rear springs.
     
  20. GZ
    Joined: Jan 2, 2007
    Posts: 1,066

    GZ
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Detroit

    Just ask some the the car owner's that are in the "basement" of Autorama.
    Rumor has it there a fair amount of bootlegging still takes place there....
    hehehehe.
     
  21. I have a '39 Chevy coupe that was built as a circle track stock car in the 50s and it has multiple shocks and both knee-action and tube shocks on it. They also changed the steering to something else and it has a big can under the dash for who knows what, unless it's the reservoir for the stock vacuum shifter deal they just never took out. Looks like it ran a 55-57 Chevy engine, trans is still there.

    It's an early enough build to have a windshield in it and opening doors.
     
  22. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,905

    Pete1
    Member
    from Wa.

    In the 40's when I was in high school, I had an aunt who was the office manager in a branch BATF office.
    One of the agents in the office was a part time stock car racer. Knowing I was just getting started in circle track racing, she introduced me to him. After a time when we got know each other, one day he asked me if I would like to see a highly modified shine tanker they had confiscated. I had heard of these cars many times so he arranged to show it to me. In the years following I got to see several other similar cars. Most had been crashed but were all there. Basically a large tank, usually made from a 55 gallon barrel mounted in the back as far forward as possible. All had some sort of beefed up springs. The 39 and 40 Fords used what appeared to be pickup springs with at least 12 leaves, 3 of which were full length main leaves. Almost all had 2 shocks per wheel. The cars I saw had all stock type shocks. One of the things that fascinated me on 2 of the Fords was they had long pitman arms on the steering.
    Usually these cars got completely cut up for scrap.
    One, a 40 Ford panel became rather famous for a few years as a polished up semi show car for the state police at the state fair each year. It had a 100 gallon tank in the back. The engine had Eddie Meyer heads and 2 carb slingshot manifold. It supposedly had a Winfield cam inside.
     
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  23. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,648

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    THAT is one of the coolest cars I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing the shot of the recipe!
     
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  24. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    volvobrynk
    Member
    from Denmark

    [ QUOTE="klawockvet, post: 9509841, member: 184807"]90 in low gear? Seems a little high geared to be pulling weight LOL[/QUOTE]

    It might be the rear in low and gearbox in direct. I hope. Lol

    There is some nice cars, but I do doubt that they all was that nice then. I thought they was more gutted out race cars with a stock looking exterior.

    This thread needs a damn lot of pics!
    And a bump.
     
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  25. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,648

    patmanta
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Woburn, MA
    1. MASSACHUSETTS HAMB

    YES IT DOES!

    Well, you gotta figure, these were just used cars back then, not 75 year old aging hulks. My neighbor just bought a pre-owned car, a 2010, it looks brand new. A 40 Ford would have probably still looked nice in the late 40's as it would have been taken care of through the war; it's not like you could buy a new one or put a lot of miles on it due to war rationing/production.
     
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  26. We set up a hauler in the '70s in the Missouri Ozarks for a fella named Luther (RIP). He said it was for hauling firewood and yes they still run shine here. I think it is more of a tradition than a business.

    It was your basic coil sprung chevy truck ( '69 or so) and we added cross members before and after the rear end with a pair of leaf springs that landed in saddles on the rear end so that when it squatted a certain amount it would have an extra pair of springs to keep it from "hunkerin' down on the sprangs"

    Lots of cars in the Ozarks ran extra shocks back then so they would "corner better." Now I am older and know that the extra shocks probably didn't make much difference but it was common in the later '60s and '70s in the Ozarks to look under a car and see 4 shocks on the rear.
     
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  27. 37gas
    Joined: May 25, 2013
    Posts: 65

    37gas
    Member

    I have one of those cars with two shocks on each wheel. On the rear the original lever shock is mounted stock and original to the car. T tube shock is mounted with what looks like a 55 chevy lower spring plate and top is mounted with shock stud same in front of car stock leaver shocks and add on shocks like 55 chevy truck. Car is 1938 chevy coupe
     
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