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History Craig Breedlove and the Spirit of America...

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by George Klass, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,108

    pitman

    Mr. Klass, the team's work and Craig's vision...inspired our generation.
    Thanks for what you've given us here! A terrific read.
     
  2. George Klass
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 966

    George Klass
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Craig's parents were divorced and if I recall, Craig's mother married a man who's last name was Bowman. And for whatever reason, Craig assumed his step father's name while he was a teenager, and eventually, reverted back to his dad's name. Norm Breedlove was a talented guy, I think he worked in the movie industry. He helped us build the wooden "buck" for the cars, which is what the "tin benders" at California Metal Shapers used to form the body panels. The panels were typically 4' by 8' rough shaped sheets and then had to be cut and fine-formed by our several body guys (Tom Hanna, Wayne Ewing, Bob Sorrell, Nye Frank, and several more).
     
  3. Bullet Nose
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 2,092

    Bullet Nose
    Member

    George,

    Your recollection is correct. I received this info from the person that sent the photos to me .....

    Craig's stepfather's name was Ken Bowman. Reference was made to his name
    change in the book SPEED DUEL - THE INSIDE STORY OF THE LAND SPEED RECORD
    IN THE SIXTIES, by Samuel Hawley (pages 12 & 13 reference his name being
    Bowman)
     
  4. Bullet Nose
    Joined: Nov 20, 2001
    Posts: 2,092

    Bullet Nose
    Member

    I found this photo of a dragster that Craig built on George's website .....

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere along the line I found and saved these photos of the same car when it was under construction. Maybe George can provide some background on this very swoopy looking car.

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    3.jpg

    I wonder if any of those guys in the photos are George.
     
    LOU WELLS and loudbang like this.
  5. George Klass
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 966

    George Klass
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nope, none of them are me. This car was built shortly after the three-wheeled SOA set the record in Utah at 500 mph (late 1962 if I recall). Craig had driven dragsters before, including the Freight Train and the original Pulsator full body car. Craig's full body car was kind of a "quicky" project, funded by Shell Oil for about $30K. I think the engine was a 354 Chrysler, and not a 392. It was borrowed from Al Sharp and had the early Sharp aluminum heads.

    heqads.jpg

    It also had the first edition (and I mean literally) Goodyear Drag Slicks. I guess they didn't have the compound down yet, it was like driving on grease. The car was also too heavy. It was built to compete in the 1st Hot Rod Magazine drag race at Riverside, which was a 1/2 mile track. Shell got quite a bit of press on the car in the magazines, so I guess they got their moneys worth. It resides in the Don Garlits Museum, or at least it was there the last time I paid a visit.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  6. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,480

    Engine man
    Member
    from Wisconsin

  7. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,680

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    I grew up breathing this stuff through the magazines as in Kansas that was as close as we could get to that world. This is awesome to be getting the real story from one of the actual participants. This is one of the reasons that the internet is so valuable . Thanks George !
     
  8. Mazooma1
    Joined: Jun 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,598

    Mazooma1
    Member

    Great history, George. I saw your name many times while reading the book, "Speed Duel".........thanks for your insight
     
  9. vintageracer37
    Joined: Sep 22, 2008
    Posts: 104

    vintageracer37
    Member

     
  10. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,352

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Hey vintageracer37--
    I couldn't help but laugh at your signature line.
    Back in the early 70's I worked in an automotive machine shop, when someone brought in a junk block or a pair of heads that needed "saving" the the shop foreman would say about the customer "he wants me to make chicken salad out of chicken shit", too funny.
    Doug
     
  11. glmke
    Joined: Jun 1, 2007
    Posts: 789

    glmke
    Member

    great piece of history, thank you for sharing. you should write a book. the history you have needs to be preserved.
     
  12. DoctorPaul
    Joined: Oct 31, 2010
    Posts: 11

    DoctorPaul
    Member
    from tulsa

    Craig Breedlove was one of my heroes as a kid....and I'm 65 now. We got to see some film on television of his runs, and sometimes in movie house preview films. Incredibly brave...and at the time us kids were bulletproof as kids always think they are....and as an adult, one realizes the fragility of the human body and we can appreciate the risks he took. Time after time. You guys are amazing and I cannot communicate my admiration for you both and those that worked so hard to accomplish the feats of speed and engineering that you have.
    GOD SPEED!
     

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