The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by tywester1955, Feb 27, 2021.
^^^^^ See post #5 here:
In 1959, the best and fastest of all “Green Monster” race cars presented itself at Lion’s Dragstrip. It was the first time traveling West for the Afrons group and they brought green monster #11 or for the Roman Number fans: XI.
The anticipation for the Westcoast arrival and watching it run was pretty cool. Even our dad wanted to go see the Allison powered race car run in all of its fighter airplane looks and glory. It was noted that of all "Green Monsters" that were built, number 11 was the most consistent and fastest.
The day at Lions and the resulting film satisfied the need to see and hear the ALLISON powered race car. Impressive as it was, there were other drag racers that made their own versions of an Allison powered race car. It will forever be in the history books and archives as anything Allison, means the different Green Monsters throughout the years.
This first West Coast trip to show the “locals” an aircraft powered dragster did wonders for spectator attention. Everyone stopped what they were doing and came to the viewing area to see this “cool” race car run. The first thing everyone noticed was that it did not have a lot of quickness off of the line and took a while to get moving. But, moving it did, sounding like the airplanes that flew over our house from the Long Beach Airport, on the way to Catalina.
1959 Lions Dragstrip
We were impressed with the unusual look of the Allison powered race car. The whole show brought people into the dragstrip that normally would not go. It was a show piece of a different kind. We all saw airplanes with their distinctive sounds, but no one on the West Coast ever saw a race car that had an Allison motor as the power source. This was a first for all that came to see the race car in action.
GREEN MONSTER XI SOUND 1959
Link says that Motor City thread is gonzo
The link was changed in the meantime. Use: www.MacsMotorCityGarage.com/six-fabulous-forgotten-rail-jobs-from-the-golden-age-of-drag-racing/
Pat, yes. They had a match race with Pete Gates that day.
The interesting thing about the Heidelberg roadster was that they bought new 365 HP crate 327s most of the time and poured the juice to them. I bought one from the same source in 1963 for about $400 and ran it for years with Enderles on it (at nowwhere near the success, but it got me to work). It was cheaper than building a "race" engine and the nitro made up for it (for a while).
They^blew the whole bottom of the engine out, ON the rollers at Lions one night...we were racing them, and while both cars were being roller started, it grenaded right next to us. Parts and oil clanking all over the rollers. Those guys were cool, loved to race them.
As posted earlier, the Art Afrons Green Monster was now delegated to exhibition runs. In the back of everyone’s mind a friendly competition between the two drag racer’s times that were similar in E.T. So, there was a race between the quick Tapia Brother’s small SBC injected motor FED in a match race against the Green Monster. The Mailliard/Chrisman Sidewinder or Kenny Lindley/Don Hampton’s “Misfire” would not be a fair race, so the small SBC motor dragster from the E.T. time sheets was selected.
Everyone thought the blasting Green Monster would just stomp the small SBC dragster. But, as some had predicted, the quickness off of the starting line gave the advantage to the Tapia Brothers and Bobby Tapia led from start to finish. Much to the cheering of the local So Cal fans and racers.
In discussing the race between the so called mis-matched race vehicles, Dr. Richard Tapia told me that everyone was nervous and afterwards, excited for the results. Here is a photo he sent me to commemorate the event at Lion’s Dragstrip in 1959.
Tapia Bros Collection
The Tapia Brothers' injected SBC dragster did beat the Art Afron’s Green Monster. It was called: "Bobby Slays the Green Monster." In 1959 in a highly publicized match race, Bobby Tapia in the Tapia Bros SBC race car called “Almost Grown,” beat Art Afrons in the big Green Monster #11.
Always fun to look back to the early days of drag racing.
Not sure, I would want to drive many of these cars again.
Interesting thing about the Heidleberg Speed Shop. There wasn't one! Those guys made it up as a joke.
. . . speaking of Heidelberg -- They made the cover of Drag Racing magazine in an "expose' " that the speed shop was a one-car garage in San Bernardino. The partners were former GIs that had been stationed in Germany. Here's, I believe, their first car -- a Red Ram powered Crosley.
At Alton Drag Strip
^^^^^^^^ That's Dover drag strip ^^^^^^^^^^ Really cool dragster!
When Don Garlits first came out West it was to race in the first Bakersfield Smokers March Meet in 1959. Everyone wanted to see the “top racer” from the east and the publications built up the arrival as the next coming of the automatic winner… Ha! After a few runs and top speed for unblown FED race cars, he blew his motor starting up. His Stromberg powered FED was going to have a tough road with the top Westcoast racers turning some pretty good times and speeds. He was out before the eliminations and vowed to come back.
The Drag News weekly papers had a good time posting information about his swing on the Westcoast. The week following the Bakersfield meet, he met with some top manufacturers, engine builders and racers. They convinced him to put on a 671 supercharger and rebuild his motor with better parts. By the time he raced at Northern California’s Kingdom Dragstrip, he was back in the running, setting some pretty good times and top speeds. The additional 671 plus a blower grade motor did the trick.
The following month’s worth of Drag News talked about the changeover and it was some very good reading. Starting with the March 1959 issue, the Bakersfield championships and the following several issues. It is a good read and get your hands on the paper/digital copies. It is like reading a short story of a racer wanting to be better than his competition.
A sample of Garlits makeover results:
We saw Garlits at the December 1959 drag meet at Riverside Raceway where he looked quite powerful and made some powerful runs. The whole day was one of the best races in the Westcoast drag racing reporting. What a difference between the first time we read about his exploits coming West and the introduction during the December 1959 Riverside Raceway Drag Meet.
Garlits 59-60 So Cal tour.
Then 3 months later at the 1960 Bakersfield Smokers March Meet #2.
Even during this 1959 December drag race at Riverside, A final elimination race had controversy and you can see it for yourself as I was standing at the starting line filming.
Garlits vs Chrisman
Brother, Ed Garlits also came West in 1960 to see what all of the Westcoast commotion was about in drag racing circles.
Ed Garlits at Lions Dragstrip
Separate names with a comma.