The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Troublemaker427, Oct 11, 2006.
Sorry no quote, all the modern ones they are describing on the last page.
Emmet “Rattlesnake” Austin was a legendary match racer from Phenix City, Alabama. Austin was a Ford man for sure in his infamous Ford Thunderbolt. Austin began racing the car as an A/FX and kept on updating the car as the years went by. By 1965 Austin was one of the first funny car racers in the South with the black T-Bolt. The Thunderbolt had its battle scars and Austin was proud of them. According to Grady Bryant, Rattlesnake even used the car’s scratches and dents to intimidate the other driver before a match race. Austin ran mid tens in the Thunderbolt and even ran at a NASCAR national event before fading into drag racing obscurity. (Photo by L&M Photos, courtesy of Bob Plumer/Drag Race Memories; info from Draglist files)
Hubert’s first “Georgia Shaker” was this ‘64 Thunderbolt, shown here at the NHRA Nationals. The Thunderbolts were powered by 427 FE engines with dual four-barrel carburetors fed cold air through headlight openings
Butch Leal vs Ed Morris thunderbolts
Not necessarily a Thunderbolt. However this one on display at the Owls Head Transportation Museum gets the blood pumping in the same enhanced manner. TEB
Found this one in Thailand.
The guy says this to me about it.... Translated by google from Thai to English so hard to work out..... Lol...
"I sold most Americans who now sell cars ford thunderbolt 64 years is a very rare car sales in Thailand. The global production of just 200 units, this machine 1 J VVTI registration authentic driving this car is not the lack of good handsomely "
I cant understand this much...
He says it is a Thunderbolt but knows nothing about T-Bolts and it is hard to tell.
Most American and Australian cars are modified to keep on the road with any parts available so all the good stuff is not normally there. Also a shocking right hand drive conversion like many have had done in Thailand. So, is it worth looking at and doing anything with ? The previous owner had another rusty one and looks to have made this one complete with swapped parts to keep this one on the road and turn into a driver .
There are a lot of rare models that seem to be lying about here in Thailand that are ruined like this one. Shelby, RS Camaros and Chryslers. Its amazing what can pop up but so hard to track any history or parts taken off over the years. The locals just look at you in a strange way when you try to ask for old parts, running gear etc. All they want in air con and diesel motor put in big car. Lol.
What can I look for on this to tell after it has been so chopped up ?
First thing that pops up is there are no right hand drive T bolts LOL
It has been converted to right hand drive with Japanese and English car parts. Very common thing done in Thailand. They didn't come with Toyota 6 cylinder either but maybe Mr Chatterpork Pic decided that it would be nicer to drive and more economical than the Antiquated old V8. Lol.
The front fenders are fibreglass though. I cant imagine any Thai person making fibreglass panels as they would normally weld or adapt another panel if there was rust or damage. Also, now he says that he may know where the old engine and hood and lower firewall that has been cut out is in a old yard where they got the car from . Also the other parts car that they used for spare parts but there is not much of the parts car left he says.
Doesn't Have T-Bolt shock towers.
Oh ok. Thank you for that. What is the difference ? I have googled engine bays and they looked the same ?
Some people are strange and get stressed easy don't they. I am new and see you doing a great job with this topic. Cheers
Does anyone have a photo they can share of this Bridenthal Falcon Drag car racing ? There are many photos of their Fairlanes and early Falcons racing but I can only find the photo of this one on the transporter.
Also, did any Thunderbolts race up against other Thunderbolts ?
I cant recall see ing any photos off two of them in battle ?
Dick Brannan couldn't rest. Despite personally winning more than 65 races and setting 22 track records in 1963--including the first for a Ford in the NHRA's Super Stock class--the pressure-cooker of competition squeezed him.
as head of Ford's Drag Team, he had to find new ways to keep Ford products competitive on the drag strip so, ultimately, Ford dealers could remain competitive in the marketplace. "The competition was changing overnight, almost," he said.
Chevrolet had its Z-11 and some new "Mystery Motor" in the works. The Mopar guys had their own lightweights, a Stage III Max Wedge engine and, deep in the bowels of Chrysler, a new Hemi on the way.
And new NHRA rules for 1964 would allow a 427-cu.in. engine with a 3,200-pound minimum weight. The Galaxies that the Drag Team had stuck with since the organization's inception had a 425hp 427-cu.in. V-8 in place for the 1963 cars, but try as they might, they could only come down to 3,425 pounds, or thereabout.
"We just weren't going to be competitive," Brannan said.
Rather than go bigger, though, Brannan went smaller.
He joined Ford's Stock Vehicles Department in 1962, shortly after driving up to Detroit for a day and mopping the field with his Romy Hammes-sponsored 1962 Galaxie. Among that field ran two Ford test drivers, Bill Humphries and Len Richter, who tracked Brannan down to his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, and asked him first to spill his guts and later to coordinate Ford's drag-race activities.
He had no special tricks, though--he simply applied what he knew about a car's mechanicals to the entire car, completely stripping it down before preparing it, leaving it within the rules, but giving it every possible advantage. Weight remained one of the most important of those advantages, and Brannan shaved it at every legal opportunity.
He applied that method to the Ford factory lightweight Galaxies of 1962 and 1963. He ordered them without sound deadener and seam sealer. He had thinner side glass, aluminum front bumpers and inner fenders, fiberglass front fenders and trunk lids installed. He swapped lightweight bucket seats for the stock bench and a rubber mat for the carpeting. From the 3,615-pound shipping weight of a stock 1963 Galaxie 500 fastback, he had Les Ritchey's down to 3,510 pounds and Gas Ronda's to the aforementioned 3,425 pounds.
He assembled a team of factory-backed racers, the Ford Drag Team, which included Ritchey, Ronda, Bob Tasca and his driver Bill Lawton, Phil Bonner, Ed Martin and Mickey Thompson--none of whom were slouches behind the wheel.
He gave those racers the latest Ford high-performance engine, the 12.0:1 compression low-riser 425hp 427-cu.in. FE-series V-8, equipped with dual Holley four-barrel carburetors, in 1963. Combined with all the above, the lightweights earned time slips in the 12.40s, then in the 12.10s and as low as 12.03 seconds at York U.S. 30 in July.
The competition kept up, though. The Melrose Missle III, a lightweight 1963 Plymouth with a 425hp 426 Max Wedge engine, took the 1963 NHRA Winternationals with a 12.37-second run and later that year set the NHRA Super Stock record with a run of 12 seconds flat. The 1963 Z-11 Chevrolets, which ran a 427-cu.in. W-engine and lightweight components similar to the Fords and Mopars, ran in the low 11-second range, with Malcolm Durham's Strip Blazer running 12.01 seconds its first time out.
Tasca, of the famed Rhode Island dealership, though, earlier that year started to toy with a low-riser 427-cu.in. V-8 in a blue 1963 Fairlane 500 two-door hardtop. Word of the car got to Ford marketing manager Frank Zimmerman, who liked the concept.
"Thanks to Bob Tasca, it was his car that gave reason to consider the Fairlane for the 1964 season," according to the Dick Brannan CD, Ford Drag Team: The Birth of Ford Factory Drag Team. "However, a company effort to produce enough units to satisfy the NHRA could be costly since the engine compartment barely allowed for the 289-cu.in. engine that came as standard."
The Fairlane 500 made an excellent choice for 1964 as its shipping weight came in at 2,992 pounds for the hardtop and 2,913 pounds for the two-door post. Add in fluids and a driver and they'd weigh in right around the 3,200-pound minimum.
"I actually ordered 10 two-door hardtops," Brannan said. "I knew the roofline on the hardtop was an inch and a half lower than the sedan and the windshield laid back further, like the convertible. It did weigh more, but not by much, and I felt the lower roofline would provide a faster top speed.
"But people at the Ford division at the time didn't even realize the difference. So, when Vern Tinsler (who assisted Brannan on the project) put in the order, he figured the sedans were lighter, so he ordered them as such."The 10 Fairlanes, all sans radios, heaters, seam sealer and painted maroon, arrived at Dearborn Steel Tubing, the same company that converted the Galaxies to lightweight racers in 1962 and 1963."When I went down there, they just told me to grab one and get started," Brannan said.He decided to start with one car to develop and test the drag transformation before applying those changes to the other nine. Though he left the rear seat in place, he added bucket seats from an Econoline van in place of the front bench; removed the rear side windows, backlight and rear crank mechanisms in favor of fixed Plexiglas rear side windows and backlight and replaced the door panels with ones without holes for the rear window crank and front armrest. He even removed the passenger side windshield wiper and sunvisor.He replaced the steel front fenders and hood with fiberglass versions, which concealed the high-riser 427--a new engine for 1964 that came with the same 425hp rating as the low-riser. To make room for the big FE engine, which "almost fit as it was," Brannan said, he first relocated the battery to the trunk, then had to cut the spring towers back to make room for the rocker arm covers."The next task was to figure out how to put headers on it," Brannan said. "That was the biggest nightmare. We couldn't get them out (of the engine bay) in one piece, so we routed them through everything in the world, including the front suspension."Interestingly enough, the later production Thunderbolts shipped with headers that fed into a single exhaust, blowing through "a little bitty muffler that everybody took off," Brannan said.Because the cars all originally came with the 271hp 289, they had the Ford 9-inch rear axle and larger 10.5-inch front disc brakes. NHRA rules limited the cars to a 7-inch-wide rear tire."A guy named James 'Hammer' Mason at Dearborn, he finished the first car," Brannan said. "Vern and I went out on our first run, and it sucked out the rear window, which went 50 feet into the air."Brannan clocked 12.26 seconds at 122 mph on that run, though.That evening and nearly every evening for the next three weeks, Brannan and Tinsler dropped the car off at Dearborn Steel with a note for Mason, letting him know what they broke, what to upgrade and what to alter. "He'd have it ready for us the next morning," Brannan said.Danny Jones also helped Brannan develop the car during that time and designed the crossbar in the rear suspension that kept both rear wheels planted.Many alterations that Brannan made to that first car made it to the other nine, but some didn't. For example, he cut out a portion of the firewall of the first car, figuring the large FE engine would require extra room both to fit and to provide access to work on the car. Yet he found cutting the firewall unnecessary afterward, so the rest of the cars did without it.Brannan also developed the first line-lock at about that time, using a modified Studebaker Hill Holder unit that he often saw in use during his younger days in South Bend. On that first car, he adapted one by cutting a hole in the firewall under the master cylinder.Once Dearborn Steel finished the other nine cars, Brannan, Tinsler and Jones introduced them to the Drag Team members on October 22, 1963, at the Ford test track across from the Stock Vehicle office in Dearborn. They told the Drag Team that even with the monster engines, the cars weighed in just a little less than 3,200 pounds, allowing for additional fuel, an NHRA-legal ballast. While the first two remained in the hands of the Stock Vehicle Department, Ford delivered the remaining eight to the Drag Team members a couple weeks later, then an eleventh car, with an automatic transmission, in December.At the time, though, none of the cars went by the name Thunderbolt. In fact, the car that Brannan would race, that first car that he used to develop the others, had "Lively One" lettered under the rear side glass. At some point over the next couple of months, the Drag Team and Ford settled on the Thunderbolt name and had graphics printed up for the cars.The cars also went through a few other changes during the last few months of 1963. Photos of the October introduction showed Brannan's car and a few others with cloverleaf hoods, but they would later appear with teardrop hoods. The first three or four, including Brannan's, also started life with fiberglass bumpers, Brannan said, but the NHRA told Ford no fiberglass bumpers in Super Stock, so Ford switched them over to aluminum. "When they all changed to aluminum, I changed mine too," Brannan said.Ford officials at first believed the NHRA would accept the 10 Thunderbolts as an acceptable homologation figure (despite the 50 scheduled lightweight Galaxies Ford built in 1963), but the NHRA demanded that Ford build at least 100 Thunderbolts--50 with manual transmissions, 50 automatics. And this before the 1964 NHRA Winternationals in February, when Brannan and Ford planned to introduce the Thunderbolts."That's why everybody now says there were just 100 Thunderbolts," Brannan said. "But Hammer, Tinsler and I agree it was 127, all of them built at Dearborn Steel." Aside from the first 10, all came in white.At the Winternationals, the Thunderbolts made an awesome sound. Brannan beat Dave Strickler, driving the Dodge Boys Polara, with an 11.80-second run at 122.28 mph over Strickler's 12.03-second run at the same speed. He later recorded a 128 mph top speed, the highest speed in the Super Stock class, but lost in the semi-finals due to a clutch failure. However, Butch Leal, driving Mickey Thompson's first Thunderbolt, won the Super Stock class for the event.Over one weekend in June, Brannan took his car first to a Super Stock Bonanza at U.S. 30 Dragway in Gary, Indiana, to beat Arnie Beswick's Tempest with an 11.08-second run at 128 mph on Friday night. Saturday night, he traveled north to U.S. 131 in Martin, Michigan, to beat two Hemi-engined Dodges. Then on Sunday, he went back to Gary, where he ran an 11.30 in practice and an 11.29 in competition, but placed second to Tom Sturm in a Comet because he slid off the dragstrip.Brannan continued to race his Thunderbolt throughout the season, calling himself the world's fastest Ford, but realized part way through the summer that the Thunderbolts could not continue for the 1965 season. Both the hardtop and the post Fairlanes would increase in weight--by 77 and 84 pounds respectively--but more importantly, altered-wheelbase "funny cars" and the compacts that General Motors and Chrysler introduced earlier in the decade started to come on strong by 1964, prompting Brannan to turn his attention to the newly introduced Mustang, and the Falcon that Ford based it on, as a competitive platform."After the season, Ford gave me the car for a dollar," Brannan said. "I had this car for a little while and maintained the Romy Hammes sponsorship."Brannan said he then sold the Thunderbolt in 1965 to Vaughn Kubert, a Michigan collector who also bought the Falcon that replaced Brannan's Thunderbolt and Brannan's 1963 lightweight Galaxie, then kept them for at least 10 years before selling the cars off.Another decade or so later, Mark Kuykendall of Ashville, North Carolina, set out to collect all of Brannan's early cars. According to Brannan, he found the 1962 lightweight Galaxie still on the road in Pennsylvania with a moonroof cut in it, the Falcon in Memphis, Tennessee, the 1963 lightweight elsewhere and the Thunderbolt in New York state."He called me up one day and told me he had them," Brannan said. "It wasn't until then that I realized they had more potential than just the old race cars I thought of them as."Brannan authenticated the group at Kuykendall's request. He said he knew the Thunderbolt was genuine the moment he lifted the hood and saw the fan guard--when he owned it, he had the black fan guard chromed and stuck a gold-painted 427 bird emblem on it rather than the bird decal that the other Thunderbolts got. He also spotted the cutout in the cowl and the hole for the Hill Holder, both clear giveaways, and the Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed transmission, only installed on the first several Thunderbolts before Ford switched to the Toploader four-speed.Kuykendall had Donald Allen, a well-known lightweight restorer in Georgia, restore the Thunderbolt and the other three cars, then sold all four to Don Snyder, Jr., in Ohio, where they remain today.After a few more years developing Ford's drag racing efforts, Brannan did indeed rest. Funny cars had supplanted super stockers, the 427 SOHC engine came and went and Brannan became more interested in flying and selling planes. But he's since found his way back into cars, attending several shows a year and organizing his own annual All Ford South Classic near Atlanta."But for a while, all I thought was that these were just old race cars, not worth much," he said.
Pretty rare phot to have two Thunderbolts up against each other back then ?
No not really they were all running mostly the same class and going to the same national events because they were factory cars so they ended up against each other pretty frequently.
The 1st one is stock. The next two are T-Bolt style.
Ok. I was meaning to say that I have not seen many pictures of two T-Bolts up against each other.
Thunderbolt on TV last night, at the latest Mecum Auction.
Howdy everyone. Just found your site about a week ago. Guess that means I'm the new kid on the block. Hopefully I can be of some help to this GREAT site. After reading all the posts twice so far i figured I need to be here. I have a 64 Fairlane post car that I've had since 1980. Was my old drag car for a number of years. Ran her with a 70 4bbl Cleveland & a C6. I'm in the Tampa Fl area. Ran mostly Sunshine Speedway and every now and then Desoto Speedway. Never did it for the glory just did it for the fun. Had a few different cars through the years. And yes some were thoughs other brands. But I'm a Ford man. My dad worked for Fuller Ford in Cincinnati for many years in the hay days of drag racing. Im trying to round up some old pics that we have, somewhere, to post here for ya'll. The ones ill try to post today are from just a month ago, 4-24-16. A day I've been waiting for, for 25 years. After getting a big kick in the _ss two months ago with the purchase of a 427 Tunnel Port from an old and now Dear friend. It was time for this 55 year old dude to bring my old ride out of her coma after being stuffed in side an old shed for the last 25 years. A car my kids had only seen inside that shed. Had a bunch of friends come over on maybe our last cool Saturday before the heat sets in till November and we got her out. Always wanted to do her up as a T-bolt clone. So it is now started. Plans are to at least have the drive line all done by this years end. Now back to the pics. Of the friends I had come over to help, there are 3 guys some of you might know. The one friend brought his 2nd T-bolt clone over. The day turned into a mini car show. Also had a 67 GT 350 there also. With the Pretty T-bolt clone there we named the event The Joining of the
Twin Sisters. in the last pic are the twins. The one on the left is the Ugly Sister. The one one the right is the Pretty Sister. If you can check out the nice old guy standing at the front of the Pretty Sister. Anyone know this Kind Gentleman? Sorry for the long post, but I'm pretty excited and hopefully this will excite this thread again.
Do you have any photos from when you last raced the car in its complete condition ?
This is what the original Walker Ford Thunderbolt looked like in its early days.
Hey guys, brand new here and love the thread. I have some pictures of my Grandfather's Thunderbolt, The Tennessee Twister. I will try and post them as soon as possible. Keep it up guys...
Welcome all, post some of those photos, we'll look..........Al
Add a few to bring this back to life LOL.
Bridenthal Ford T bolt
This is the infamous Strip Teaser owned by Thomas Esso Oil Company and driven by Howard Neal.
Not sure on this one anybody know if it's a clone?
"Wrecking Crew " T Bolt
Can somebody please contact me concerning the validation of a Thunderbolt I'm looking at?
Contact me @ Moosetracks@comcast.net
Back to the top LOL
Gas Rhonda T Bolt vs Miline bros Plymoth out by a nose
Gas Rhonda T Bolt out on Bob Ford T Bolt
Great shot of Gas T Bolt
Separate names with a comma.