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History Is the Joe Gemsa T roadster still around?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by alchemy, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. bowie
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,051

    bowie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What a great find! That car definatly needs to make a comeback. Seems like you have your work cut out for you. Alot of very rare bits and pieces to round up ; but a very worthwhile project. Best of luck with her!
     
    kidcampbell71 and falcongeorge like this.
  2. Congrats on your purchase.

    1965
    jpb-joe-gemsa-small.jpg
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  3. I'm so thankful for the pictures I needed them for the data so I can collect the proper pieces
     
  4. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267

    rodknocker

    I know this is an older thread but I figured I'd tell you I was standing in front of the original Gemsa engine that came out of Joe's T. You can read more about it in this months Rodder's Journal, written by the same fellow that wrote the original article back in 64. I'm hoping sometime soon the original engine and body can be mated back up again.
     
  5. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,007

    The37Kid
    Member

    THANK YOU! That was a great T, I remember it on the cover of Rod & Custom like it was yesterday. Didn't Paul Dunigan up in Mass originally buy it from Joe? Sad when cars get parted out, hope it all comes together again. Bob
     
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  6. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267

    rodknocker

    From what my friend remembered, it went to Mass to a collection for a while, then to New Hampshire for a bit, then back to California.
     
    Stogy likes this.
  7. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 13,614

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Does @Johnyeyeball know of the engine existing and is it even available if he still had the Hotrod and was interested.
     
  8. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 15,224

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member




    looks like he has not logged in here since January
     
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  9. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 13,614

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes I saw that and there is no mention of the T in the info. That is an interesting Hotrod...I thought it was an overhead cam 6 in it from a Tempest...but apparently not.
     
  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,007

    The37Kid
    Member

    I think Joe had the patterns for a Rutherford and modified them for the heads he produced. Bob
     
    Stogy likes this.
  11. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,214

    Fordors
    Member

    I always thought he modified Gallivan patterns.
     
  12. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267

    rodknocker

    Not sure, but my friend said he knows the Gesmo T is up for sale, but he feels they're asking too much for it right now, and at his age he's not sure he wants to buy it due to the doors being welded shut.
     
  13. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,100

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    FWIW; even though the headlight were claimed to be ~'17 Stude, they are not. I had figured out what they were, but have forgotten, & sorta misplaced the notes on the car, which appeared to be very well done, & I like the proportions.

    Not long before he passed on, I talked to him, wanting a dohc af-16 Fronty head n parts, since he either owned or had access to the patterns. He said he'd do them in ~ 6 mo, at a very decent price. He passed just before the time I was to call him up & remind him. Think I missed him by less than a week, ;( . The various patterns got sold, along w/the rest of the stuff, & were scattered to the winds. SpeedyBill ended up w/some of it, so that stuff will never see the light of day to be used as it was intended. <shrug>. I was told that Joe had a habit of getting things done, castings, machining, etc, as favors from various friends, & notes on the "shop" walls showed who he owed the favors to. Apparently it was a rather lengthy list... :D . Not putting the badmouth on Joe, just what I was told - & that was w/o malice, too.
    He did know the banger stuff.
    Marcus...
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
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  14. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 13,614

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I see so it sounds as if there is some negotiation underway...and as eluded that T would be best brought back to its former livery as it looked so right. Fingers crossed.
     
  15. Joe used Gallivan patterns for his DO head. Joe had acquired patterns for several different head, and added his name to them. His rocker arm head was originally designed and patterned by John Gerber. What people need to know about Joe is that he was a master self promoter. He was a genius at selling parts as his own creations, when they only had his name on them. He never actually built a race car himself. But he bought and sold many of them. He was extremely well connected to many of the originators of 4 banger hop up parts, and wound up with their tooling and inventories after their passing. Dad knew Joe beginning in 1937. Dad had gone to work in a machine shop in Alhambra, Ca. and Joe had a little shop close by. Later Joe moved into his place in South El Monte, literally right around the corner from our shop. Dad and I watched Joe, on more than one occasion modifying a pattern to say Gemsa on the finished part. Joe would tell you he never had a job in his life. He was the original "wheeler dealer". And thank god he was, or a certain little '29 RPU would never have been sitting in his drive way with a for sale sign on it. Dad gave Joe $175 for it, and we drove the little stock banger home.

    And Wizard is right on the money. Joe was good at operating on other people's money. Joe used the same metal polisher in El Monte that we used. George Hendeson was a very nice fellow that was very fair on his prices. Joe used to tell George, "I'm a little short right now, write it on the wall and I'll catch you later". I went in one day and George and Joe were having a conversation. After Joe left, George said " that cheap SOB told me to write it on the wall again". "Look at my damn wall, it's full, I need some money"! George passed a couple years before Joe, and the tab was still on the wall.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  16. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,719

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    I recall hearing he was the wrench for Rajo Jack, in Jack's later years, and probably a whole lot of other West Coast racers.
     
  17. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,007

    The37Kid
    Member

    Thanks for the Gallivan DO info Dean, this is a copy of an original brochure. It really is important to get this old info out there for people that are new to the hobby. Back in the early 1970's I stopped in Bunny Phillips shop and Joe Gemsa's in the same day, slight contrast. Every once in a while a letter will turn up that Joe would send with info on building my Riley 4Port. I used his bronze main caps and a few tips he freely passed along. Bob DSCF0144.JPG DSCF0145.JPG
     
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  18. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,100

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Hey, Dean & 37Kid;
    Any more info on the various patterns originations, & subsequent alterations? I did know of some, the old names are familiar to me, through research n reading/etc, but I never got to meet any of these folks. Just admired them & their work. So always interested in new info. I've got a nice stack of info somewhere I haven't read for maybe 25 years, but of course, there usually isn't the "who has it now & what was done to it by whom, since" info. I'm guessing most is now locked in SpeedyBills' museum/vault.
    TIA.
    Marcus...
     
  19. 4-port Riley
    Joined: Oct 20, 2005
    Posts: 303

    4-port Riley
    Member

    That's the first I've heard about Joe using patterns by John Gerber, but it wouldn't surprise me. Joe did use the Morales, Rutherford and Gallivan patterns. Several guys machined the "Gemsa" name off the Morales so when he did the Rutherford he sunk the letters JOE GEMSA into the cover to prevent this. Joe was a talented guy but you had to be careful or he would screw you. Joe's dad taught at Cal Tech, and Joe claimed his patterns were Morales but he had modified them and they were air flow tested at Cal Tech to "improve" them. Joe's dad was an intelligent man and a real nice person. BTW, the blond in his 'T' on the cover was his daughter.
     
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  20. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,167

    2935ford
    Member

    "That's the way you do it. Money for nothing and your parts for free!"..........
     
    Dean Lowe likes this.
  21. Yep, a lot of people thought Joe was God. Some didn't. The man was "colorful".
     
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  22. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 799

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Yep !
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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