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History Jim Lytle... A Little Snapshot History

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by BLAKE, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,770

    BLAKE
    Member

    I figure most here probably know a least a little about Jim Lytle, the crazy genius who engineered the 'Big Al' and 'Quad Al' dragsters... Allison-powered brutes which terrorized drag strips in 60's. Well, turns out a good buddy here in Austin has Jim's cousin for a father-in-law, and that cousin has lots of great old snapshots from back in the day... and most of those have notes on the back in Jim's own handwriting (!).

    Me and that good buddy got together a while back, and after a few beers he was kind enough to let me scan a few of these nuggets for sharing. Sure, we got pics of Big Al and Quad Al... but how about the Allison-powered 'Alsetta' and the 'Psycho Cycle' trike...?!?!? There's also some nice cars Jim built for a few customers... hopefully the notes are self-explanatory.

    Hope you fellas enjoy!!

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  2. oldandkrusty
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,102

    oldandkrusty
    Member

    Thank you, thank you THANK YOU! I love anything that Jim Lytle had anything to do with. And to see these treasured old photos is soooooooooo sweet! Thank you again.
     
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  3. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,614

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Hamb member @guffey happens to own the quad Al and big Al 3 allison powered white cab over
     
  4. town sedan
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,290

    town sedan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Too cool! Thanks to you and your buddy sharing! More please!
    -Dave
     
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  5. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,674

    frank spittle
    Member

    I have not seen most of those photos. He made his mark in hot rodding not once but many times. I was thrilled when I heard Mike Guffey had purchased Quad Al. I don't know how he finds all these historic vehicles.
     
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  6. guffey
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 833

    guffey

    allisettaemailcopy6ba.jpg
    I wonder where this is now? I would like to have it Thanks for posting those photos
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  7. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,829

    Fordors
    Member

    @guffey may have purchased the frame for Quad Al from Cy Kubista, a long time Minnesota hot rodder and a member of the I.M.C.A. Old Timers.
    I talked to Cy at the Jefferson, WI. swap many years ago when he had the frame there for sale.
    Mike Guffey may have had to duplicate the front and rear axles, complete the driveline and steering, etc. as I don’t think Cy had those components, but I don’t know that as fact.
     
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  8. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,640

    V8 Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jim's Chrysler-powered full fendered '32 coupe is also a favorite of mine.
     
  9. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,614

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Mike bought it from Wally Miller. it was more complete than you remember. It was rolling on its original wheels and tires. All that was missing was the engines and the body
     
  10. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,614

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    here is a pic of it when Cy had it at Carlisle 1990


    quad2.jpg
     
  11. guffey
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 833

    guffey

    it is interesting that the Alsetta was a Chicken Delight delivery car before Lytle added the Allison

    quad al alsetta (2).jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  12. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,015

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Weren't the headlights tucked underneath the fenders ? I seem to remember a tow bar as well.
     
  13. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,305

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    I know he has passed on but I remember a short article on him years ago and if I remember right he was retired and putting an Allison in VW micro bus. I remember reading about him as a kid in the 60's and remembering how wild his stuff was. Larry
     
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  14. Wow...a guy who knew how to invest in an engines and have fun at the same time ! Thanks for sharing.........
     
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  15. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 5,015

    Marty Strode
    Member

  16. guffey
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 833

    guffey

    DSC03031 (2).JPG

    this is what it looked like. I think I got it from Wally Miller in 1995 or so
     
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  17. V8 Bob
    Joined: Feb 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,640

    V8 Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    You got it. I tried to post the same picture without success. Yes, the headlights are under the fenders.
     
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  18. Great stuff, Blake. Thanks for taking the time to post your discovery. Very cool. 20191228_081810.jpg
     
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  19. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,770

    BLAKE
    Member

    Unless I'm mistaken, the channeled '32 in that snapshot I posted is the same '32... or at least it has the same rear end treatment!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,080

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing.
    So, every time a Big Al conversation comes up, I ask if anyone knows what became of the original chopped STEEL Tudor body? Was it sent down the road to become someone's Hot Rod (and still around ????
    Reading between the lines of this paragraph from a write up on Big Al, makes me wonder if the steel body was unceremoniously sacrificed (with a net, 12" chop) to be used as a mold buck for the fiberglass flopper body? :

    ultimately rewarded its builder with a 10.56-second, 147-mph Lions Drag Strip timeslip in September 1963. Later that same day, a chance encounter with a pit vendor convinced him to park the world 's fastest sedan.

    "At those speeds, the volume of air compressed inside the body was tearing it up," Jim recalled in a 2006 interview. "I lost the hood once, and the right door came open twice, at about 145. I got tired of fixing it. I 've always hated doing bodywork. I felt that the car had just about reached its potential, anyway."
    Noticing a display of Fibercraft fenders in the pits, Jim asked owner Fred Karow whether it was possible to create an entire '34 sedan out of fiberglass. Fred assured him that it was, offering to sell the cocky kid materials at cost and answer any questions. "I retired the steel car that same night so I could make a mold out of it," Jim said. "I really had no choice; a draftsman making 120 bucks a week couldn 't afford to buy another '34, even at 1963 prices. Besides, the top was already chopped [6 inches]. I decided later to cut the other 6 inches so I could lower wind resistance and pop my head out the roof, where I could see."

    This photo shows a mismatched. primed, passenger door, which I assume is repairs from the aforementioned door coming open at speed a couple of times (which must have been chilling).

    upload_2019-12-28_7-8-6.jpeg
     
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  21. guffey
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 833

    guffey

    back to the top with big al 3 DSCN6018 (2).JPG
     
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  22. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,737

    Stogy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks @BLAKE for sharing this iconic History...I'm hoping you are able to make some more picture runs...

    Those are priceless...that flamed Coupe sure inspired and like most of Al's Creations Outside the Box was his middle name...

    Extended thanks to those sharing additional history of this Showman and Hotrodder...
     
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  23. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,614

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    cool stuff man......
     
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  24. LOU WELLS
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,627

    LOU WELLS
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from IDAHO

    Excellent Photos And Thanks For Sharing...Champ...
     
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  25. Bdamfino
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 334

    Bdamfino
    Member
    from Hamlet, NC

    It's remarkable just seeing his 389 Pontiac engined Crosley wagon in color!! I'm enamored by how it never made a feature!
     
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  26. alfin32
    Joined: Jun 20, 2006
    Posts: 1,391

    alfin32
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Essex, Ma.

    I LOVE this car!!! Hemi engine set back with a removable cowl to service it.
     
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  27. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,184

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Wasn't Jim the main guy who built the chassis for the 1st stp turbine car "Silent Sam"?
    Marcus...
     
  28. Great history guys, thanks for posting. BigO
     
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  29. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 2,829

    Fordors
    Member

    Well he was for a while anyway. Lytle was fabricating the monocoque tub for the STP car, at least until he told the guy in charge of the project that he was doing it all wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020

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