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Chet Herbert Beast IV

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by quidnunc, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. quidnunc
    Joined: Jan 1, 2011
    Posts: 57

    quidnunc
    Member
    from pittsburgh

    It seems after Chet Herbert was done with the Beast IV it passed through a numerous owners who continued to race it. Over the years it went through many modifications from the original. Last year or so it resurfaced, was sold and appeared at the 2012 Classy Chassis Concours D'Elegance in Houston supposedly on the way to a restoration back to its original configuration. I'm looking for photos of the car after it left Chet. Also, does anyone know who is doing the restoration? Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Fogger
    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,515

    Fogger
    Member

    Custom Auto in Colorado did the restoration on the Beast III. An old family friend, Dana Fuller, was one of the owners after Chet sold it. I saw it at the NHRA Museum after the restoration and it's better than ever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  3. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,577

    aircap
    Member

    Love me some old salt racers!
     
  4. rexrogers
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,033

    rexrogers
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    We restored the Beast III at the shop the Beast IV was at the shop at the same time I stripped the paint off the fender pods and we were working on the research of the history of the car, unfortunately we were unable to come to terms with the owner at the time and the project was put on hold and it went to Texas. I would love to see or be able to get the chance to restore the Beast IV the two cars were built very much the same it would be great to see them go the completed.
     

  5. I took this snapshot of the former "Chet Herbert Beast IV" streamliner the last time it was on the salt ... at the 43rd Annual Bonneville Speed Week ... in August of 1991:

    #666 'liner @ '91 Speed Week (by Todd Olson).jpg

    The '91 Speed Week program lists the #666 'liner as pre-entered in the XO/BFS class ... Owner/Driver: Bruce Johnston of Burbank, CA ... Crew: Bruce & Helen Johnston, Dave Logan ... Sponsor: Social Security & Welfare ... Engine: 310cid GMC 6 turbo charged.

    The '90 Speed Week program lists the #6661 'liner as pre-entered in the XO/FS class ... Owned, driven and crewed by Bruce Johnston ... powered by a 1950 GMC 302 with electronic ignition and nitrous.

    I checked my other pre-90 Bonneville programs ('89, '88, '87, '86, '85, '84, '79, & '71) and unfortunately, none of them make mention of a #666 'liner entry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  6. Here's a pic of the #666 'liner (Johnston XO/GS configuration) at El Mirage:

    #666 'liner (former Chet Herbert Beast 4) @ El Mirage.jpg
    ... and a circa August 2010 pic the #666 'liner from the Hemmings For Sale Ad:

    #666 'liner (former Chet Herbert Beast 4) - Hemmings For Sale - August 2010.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  7. For the sake of comparison, here's some vintage photos of Chet Herbert's "BEAST" 4 streamliner culled from the Internet:

    Jim Moore with Chet Herbert's 'Beast 4' - Bonneville '53.jpg
    Chet Herbert 'Beast 4' Bonneville Salt Flat Streamliner.jpg
    Beast 4 Ad.jpg
    Chet Herbert's Beast 4 streamliner.jpg
    Chet Herbert 'Beast 4' streamliner - 1953 photo by Ralph Poole.jpg
    Chet Herbert Beast 4 'liner.jpg
    Chet Herbert's 'Beast 4' streamliner @ Bonneville Salt Flats - 1953 photo by JR Eyerman.jpg
    Chet Herbert (wheelchair) and his 'Beast 4' streamliner - 1953 photo by JR Eyerman .jpg
    Chet Herbert's 'Beast 4' streamliner on the Bonneville Salt Flats - 1953 photo by JR Eyerman.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  8. Good history
     
  9. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    The original "Beast" around 1950 with Al Keys aboard. This bike set top speed of the meet many times in the early days of drag racing when 2 wheelers raced againt 4 wheelers. Chet can be seen behind the bike.

    Doug Herbert owns it now and is nearly finished with the restoration.
     

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  10. Dan Warner
    Joined: Oct 25, 2004
    Posts: 557

    Dan Warner
    Member
    from so cal

    I believe this is the car Bruce was driving when we lost him in a crash at one of the Muroc Reunions. There were 5 reunions held in the mid 90s. Following the 9/11 attack Muroc was closed to racing events. I do not know what happen to the remains of the car.

    DW
     
  11. rexrogers
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,033

    rexrogers
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    a few shots i have of the Beast IV

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The best shot ever.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like most race cars it will take a bit to get the car restored back to the way Chet Herbert first built the fender pods are the same the rest of the sheetmetal has been tweaked to accommodate different drive trains and motor set up over the years, but still a car worth saving.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  12. quidnunc
    Joined: Jan 1, 2011
    Posts: 57

    quidnunc
    Member
    from pittsburgh

    Thanks for the photos and the background info. Hemi32, do you have any other photos of the car from 1991? Is there anyone else that saw the car in 1991? Thanks again.
     
  13. @Dan Warner -

    It wasn't the #666 Streamliner ... Bruce was driving a Lakester @ Muroc when he lost his life :(

    Here's his obit from the Land Speed Racer Memorial website:

    Bruce Johnston

    Born: February 26, 1922

    Died: June 27, 1998

    Age: 76

    Full Name: Bruce B. Johnston

    Location: Rogers (formerly Muroc) Dry Lake, California

    Event: SCTA "Return to Muroc Reunion"

    Accident Date: June 27, 1998

    Vehicle: Lakester

    Biographical: In 1996, the SCTA returned to Rogers Dry Lake for speed trials. Races hadn't taken place there since 1941, at which time it was called Muroc Dry Lake. Johnston was one of the first to run on Saturday morning in his lakester. He was trying to reach a speed of 200 MPH when the car veered to one side and catapulted into the air. The car overturned several times in the air before hitting the ground. He was transported to Edwards Air Force Base hospital where he was pronounced dead of massive head and chest injuries. He was survived by his widow, Sarah Helen Johnston. They lived in Burbank, California. He was a veteran racer on the dry lakes.

    Sources

    "76-year-old race car driver from Burbank killed in crash," Los Angeles Daily News, June 29, 1998

    California Birth Index (Bruce B. Johnston, born Feb. 26, 1922, in LA Co., mother’s maiden name was Sandefer)

    1930 U.S. Census (Bruce B. Johnston, age 8, born in Calif., son of Everett E. and Orma S. Johnston, living in Burbank)

    U.S. World War II Enlistment Records (Bruce B. Johnston, born 1922 in LA Co., Cal., enlisted in LA, Cal. On Oct. 10, 1942, in Army Air Corps, civil occupation was airplane mechanic, single)

    Social Security Death Index (Bruce B. Johnston, born Feb. 26, 1922, died June 27, 1998, SS# issued in Cal. Before 1951, last residence was Burbank, area code 91506)
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. Here's another cool under construction pic of the "BEAST 4":

    George Barris, Chet Herbert, Lynnwood Cop - Beast 4.jpg
    Chet Herbert wrote the following caption on the back of the photo:

    "George Barris of Barris Kustoms making notes on the car as a police officer from Lynnwood, CA. stops by to check on our progress at about 2 in the morning. We worked straight through the night for 3 days to get the car ready to take to Bonneville Speed Week".
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  15. @quidnunc - No ... sorry ... that's the only pic I shot of the #666 'liner @ Speed Week '91.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015

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