Register now to get rid of these ads!

History Joe Panek's 34 Coupe Roto-Faze Ignitions and Machining! S.E.M.A. Hall of Fame Renominated

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Dave's32insocal, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    When John comes back he tells me Joe has boxes of them,just starting,we talk about the distributor and the cam in it that they need to have reproduced,I tell him what I need one for a Y block,I've done my research,once I found out about these cool distributors and the company was still around and could make one for my build I was in! I had watched the video on their website just like everyone else and read about them and seen pictures here on the HAMB some I reposted thanks. Next was,do you want to see Joe's car?
     
  2. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    As we start walking to the back it's kind of like a maze through the machines with metal stock,tools stacked on top but on floor a halibrand quickchange, around a corner land speed tires,John says there's one of the hemi manifolds,he showed me some of the distributors that he had in, the really cool ones,dual caps on each side! He says there going to bring them back again, I said where's the line I'm in! Finally outside,work our way to the back I see a car cover,we both work getting it uncovered. Wow, just like the pictures but right there! My first words were "How long has it been here?" John said a long time,it was in the shop for a while but he didn't remember when it went outside. Next question "What's he going to do with it?" He says Joe wants to drive it again!
     
  3. rjones35
    Joined: May 12, 2008
    Posts: 865

    rjones35
    Member

    very cool!
     
    Dave's32insocal likes this.
  4. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Thanks, And then I go he's got to get it running first! Nice size hole with a oily rag in it. John says Joe's got a guy that all he does is weld aluminum blocks says he'll help do it for Joe. Here we go,so I say,does he need any help pulling the engine? John said some of the guys in Joe's club said that they would help.Ok I don't want to get too pushy. He opens the door and gives me a chance to look in, just can't imagine going that fast,you might as well be riding a motorcycle,we talk it might not pass tech today,but he says Joe wants to drive it again. John puts the hood on that he said Joe made out of aluminum,I helped him cover it back up and wondered how much more time will go by? As we start the walk back he shows me where the car was in the shop,it made room for more machines, I guess it is a machine shop? But then he said that he could move some boxes maybe make some room for the car again? Okay so I offered one more time,tell Joe if he would like some help,I'm in,who wouldn't want to help?
     
  5. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Some time had gone by and John and I have talked on the phone about the cam and the dual cap progress and of course the car,yes it's in the same place, no surprise 20 years! I can't stop thinking of this holy grail barn find! I ask around,just because I can't get it off my mind,who's got a 36ish V12 caddie block? Oh no,I get a bite back, one guy says "are they Aluminum? I said yes, I have one just not sure what year. Now I know if you can't fix the engine in the car then I know of another one and if Joe's not going to do anything with it would he sell it? I have a race car that needs a engine and I know where a engine is and in my eyes it has to be the same. A few months pass with that knot in your stomach,it's not going to go away,until you ask, I mean what would it hurt? The next time I talked to John I asked him to run it by Joe, I can't afford it,I'm right in the middle of my engine build,but it has me! It's hard to try to get a project before you finish the one you have now. I'm in deep! I asked John "Their must be alot people offering to buy the car?" No we don't get many visitors. But how do you ask? We all know how much emotion we have in them,it's like asking for a daughters hand in marriage!
     
  6. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    First time I met Joe,I was on a mission,research on the car,pictures,proposal, I said it's his car, will always be his car! But it truly hurt that it was outside,when it would have a spot in my garage and I just want to be the one who would bring it back out, and not just out but to the way it was on the cover,candy apple red! This would my retirement project. Told Joe he would be involved with the car in every way and it would be just a couple cities away, I would do all the work and let him always know where I was going to show it! Told him does it matter who's name is on the pink slip,it would always be your car! He said he watches Barrett Jackson and is amazed at the prices,said he paid $55 for the already chopped body and frame and asked about how the reserve works,wanting to be as honest as I could told about the Jim Khougaz 32 dry lakes roadster,but also the amount of work, time and money it takes to get to to that point. He said he has thought about what would happen to his car eventually,I said we are only the caretakers of these truly incredible pieces of art!
     
  7. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    But just like you guys that have known Joe longer than I have,and have been to the shop lately,feel that maybe the shop looks a little slow. So maybe an offer and him being involved could work for everyone? I had brought in a industrial parts catalog where I work,their hard to get and wanted to walk in with something,gave it to Joe when I first walked in,it got the conversation started and he knew why I was there. We talked for hours about the car and the shop,some of the parts that he's made over time,he told some jokes,he's good at throwing in a have you heard joke often. He was open to my conversation and at least it wasn't "It's not for sale!" Their was several story's that Joe told that night but two really stuck,one was of being in a meeting and making a suggestion about a tank for the lunar landing module that landed the astronauts on the moon and when they had the next meeting the project manager took the credit, looking at Joe and saying quietly "shhhh." It made me wonder why that story came out after all this time,did he feel that I would take credit for something he did? The next one was when I was talking about how long the car has been down and he still goes to his club meeting Gear Grinders and he said someone had teased him "You don't have a car like that!" We talked about racing,why he designed his manifolds the way he did,every chance he would show me something that he was proud of! At the end after our goodbyes,when I was walking out to my car, Joe runs out with a Drive Magazine,I bought him something and he had to give me something too! When I left I was emotionally exhausted, but I feel like I had made a friend,I had met Joe!
     
  8. Please keep us posted. This is one of the best threads in a long time. Also, would appreciate it if you'd be sure to post the web address when available. Thanks!

    Edit: 'Found the Roto-Faze site. http://roto-faze.com/
    EDIT #2: Just noticed that the web addy was posted way back on page 1. I've got to pay better attention.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    Dave's32insocal and loudbang like this.
  9. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Thanks,And I hope this gives you all a little more understanding of how this got started.
    Well a couple of weeks had gone by and of course it's all I can think of,big plans! To have a race car that no one knows about or having just coming back from SEMA and seeing that Roto-Faze was one of the original booths at the first one and they had a Hall of Fame,but would Joe even want it? I asked John to see if he would be okay with it? After about a week I got a go for a second meeting,he said it would be alright and I was looking forward to see Joe again for a little more detailed interview,and was ready with a couple of jokes "How do you make Holy Water? You boil the Hell out of it! Got him too! I was on a SEMA deadline too, two weeks to talk to Joe to make sure facts are good,also don't want to overstep in anyway,want Joe to be good with anything I do,and submit the form online! The meeting was going to give me another chance to talk to Joe about the car again too!
    The beginning of the following week I was able to get back to the shop,here we go!
    Very prepared pencil and paper,I had a good idea of what they wanted for the submission form,they were very simple about their requirements. Arrived with some daylight and Joe was proud to show me the car again,was able to hear more stories about the car and where he ran it, was the first time Joe showed it to me. I could really see and feel the the connection it just doesn't have Joe's name on it,it is part of Joe! We go back into his office to start to ask my questions and I told him "I know that this will be hard for you,but I want you to brag to me! Tell me all the things that you're proud of!" What I was able to come up with that night is what you see on the SEMA form. After listening to Joe talk about his life,his company and his car and remembering the things that I walked away with after our first meeting. I had a big desicion, and it meant breaking Barn Find rule #1, don't tell anyone! But it just came out so fast " Joe do you want your story out?" Without hesitation he said "Yes" Then it was "Do you want to take your car to a show?" Again no hesitation "Yes".
     
  10. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,694

    Tim
    Member
    from KCMO

  11. FOURTYDLX
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 718

    FOURTYDLX
    Member

    Up for a TEE SHIRT , thanks for helping Joe.////////
     
    Dave's32insocal and loudbang like this.
  12. 345wbama
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 10

    345wbama
    Member

    Thanks for sharing such an incredible story! I can't wait to see where this goes.
     
    Dave's32insocal likes this.
  13. KKrod
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 1,190

    KKrod
    Member

    Joe Panek Coupe - Muroc reunion in the 90's.

    JoePanek2700.jpg JoePanek700.jpg
     
  14. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Thanks for everyone's support for Joe! Several more stories to go still, things we talked about while we walked around,the car and the manifold design for a few. Look at the front axle, Joe's got a good story on how that passed tech! To give you guys more of the time line the roadster show swap meet was the first time I'd seen one of Joe's distributors and I didn't buy it then, but I did get a halibrand 301 aluminum case that I needed from the seller which was taking all of my attention,but I did call Monday morning and asked "What kind of distributor was that?"
     
  15. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 37,135

    loudbang
    Member


    No thank YOU for getting the story out and him into SEMA.
     
    Andamo and Dave's32insocal like this.
  16. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Were just at the start,I feel that if just uncovering the car and bringing it back out is cool but what about the company and the person responsible for them? The SEMA nomination and already having called Rodders Journal about the car coming out are part of "Joe do you want your story out?" The axle story goes that it wasn't going to pass by one of the officials and with a little talking to another one he signed it off,much different then. That was the last run and when they pulled it onto the trailer with only one side attached to the axle it stayed straight with all the officials watching,another thing Joe is proud of is his engineering!
     
  17. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Joe talked about the louvers on the trunk being punched to bring air into the cab because the turbulent air coming in at speed on the side windows,on the last run when the oil hit the headers smoke filled the cab but he talked about how fast it cleared. Joe likes to be right too. But if you ask Joe why their backwards, he'll tell you that when he went to pick it up from the guy that punched them, he was drunk and he didn't have the heart to tell him they were wrong! Just like you guys that have known Joe longer than I have, Joe is truly a fun guy and always has a joke ready for you!
     
  18. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    The manifold design started when Joe was at the drags there was a big problem with blower explosions, he said first they were just putting straps on them to keep them from going into the stands, then more burst panels, he felt that no one was addressing the problem. He would notice when a car would leave hard,the back headers would have a bigger flame coming out of them than the front and felt the fuel through centrifugal force was going more to the back cylinders than the front ones. His design of individual runners with the ports larger at the top than the bottom so it picks up velocity, also individual burst panels with that split in the back was all part of getting fuel delivered evenly with minimum chance of backfire or damage. In the very first post I talked about a message from Joe, it goes like this, someone on the HAMB had posted something about using one of his manifolds and I believe they had taken out the burst panels to put in some injectors but they had said that it wasn't a very good manifold,it has always stuck with Joe and he has always wanted to say that if he would have used it the way it was designed he wouldn't have had any problems with it! Joe is very proud and protective of his reputation too.
     
  19. FOURTYDLX
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 718

    FOURTYDLX
    Member

    The man knows what he is talking about, smarter than most, aircraft engineer,yes
     
  20. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    The last time I had a visit with Joe was right after the SEMA deadline,I wanted to take more pictures of what he had around the shop,some I posted already. John told me Joe had made a three threaded ring that was made to separate a satellite from it's rocket and that led to talking about other rocket parts, Joe is really proud of his involvement with the space program, his help with the design of a fuel tank that is still on the moon today and that it had helped the astronauts land safely there is one of his most proudest stories! Rocket Engineer, yes.
    We also talked about what show to take the car to, I had two on my mind at first and Joe didn't care which one,he just wanted his car back out. Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive do we take the same road as the Khougaz roadster? Pebble Beach? The car has all the requirements,magazine cover, known builder or racing history. Joe's car has all three and I found out it was already invited to go but lost out to someone else because his didn't run. The mission that I was on when I first had met Joe has changed.
     
  21. FOURTYDLX
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 718

    FOURTYDLX
    Member

    I believe I met Joe at the Antique Nats. in Fontana, A few Years back, Small booth, I bought some small thing from him, What a nice MAN.
     
    loudbang and Dave's32insocal like this.
  22. Question: So are you guys going to get the coupe running again? I hope so - because it makes such a statement to see a car like this actually running and driving. What is needed to get that done?
     
    loudbang likes this.
  23. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    So the decision to go to the LA Roadster Show is for Joe. He went last year and it's really who he is! His friends,the cars he likes, his club,other El Mirage racers and finally his car! When the car gets back to the shop,I've asked John if he can make some room inside,told him all I need is a little corner? Joe has a spare block already! The SEMA nomination is for his history, Joe has made it clear what he wants to do with the car! He wants to drive it! My new mission.
     
  24. Very cool. I a huge fan of this car. It's right up my dark alley. I talked to him on the phone once when I had a dual cap Roto-Faze Dizzy. Which I have sold. It was a very cool creation. Wish I still had it now.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  25. marman1950
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 171

    marman1950
    Member

    Joe is building me a dizzy for my flathead right now. I just spoke to him 4 days ago. Man what a nice guy. If you guys ever get a chance to talk to him he will crack you up. And man is he knowledgeable!!! Makes me proud to use his distributor on my flatly.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    kidcampbell71 and loudbang like this.
  26. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Very nice! I must have talked to John right after,I could tell he was happy about your order! He also said that he had a call from England about a Dual coil unit that was a treasured piece that a guy had got from his dad and is working with him to see what it was for. It will be worth the trip to Torrance to get it! John and his girlfriend are good Christian people and I see how much they care about Joe! They truly deserve to have good things come their way! John has been the person that I talked to first and with whom I usually deal with, he's the one that needs to continue with tradition of Roto-Faze!
     
  27. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    Maybe saying that I have a new mission isn't really right,just a different path to get to the same end. In my conversation with Joe with his car I had said "What's the first thing you would do? I know what I would do first! We both said "Get it running!" The car was outside and would be better in my garage and I had some momentum, he felt my passion, for a split second Joe wanted better for the car. When you really care about something you want better for it! It's Joe's car it will always be Joe's car! He wants to hear it again and he's made it clear he wants to drive it again! In the beginning I said that I wanted to be the one to bring it out, and does it matter who's name is on the pink slip? Isn't that happening,I'm helping bring it to the show and I don't need to have the pink slip in my name either! Joe's more than willing to share his car! Yes the SEMA nomination is good but that's about his history, I feel that to see a smile when he sees his car out in a show after 20 years and when he hears it fires up again and then to see the same smile when he takes off his helmet after a run at El Mirage that's a fun journey!
     
  28. Roto-Faze has one great logo. It would be great to have a traditional old style shirt with it on the back. Ask him if he has any plans for that.
     
    kidcampbell71 and loudbang like this.
  29. plan9
    Joined: Jun 3, 2003
    Posts: 4,058

    plan9
    Member

    id never be afraid to ask...be prepared to pay fair market value. $$$$$$$

    when it hits the show the fat cats panties will drop and they will be putting offers in.

    just stating the obvious that after 20 yrs off track it will require quite a few expensive mods to be SCTA legal. its only time and money haha
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
    loudbang likes this.
  30. Dave's32insocal
    Joined: Mar 4, 2017
    Posts: 57

    Dave's32insocal
    Member

    In the very beginning when I met Joe for the first time I was going in with an offer, way before this tread. I know big offers will come Joe's way at the show and that's ok,it's Joe's car and I would be happy for him! I have my faithful companion that I wake up in the morning and drive over to go get a doughnut,to have Joe's car is more like having a Lion, sleeping in a compound only moved in a enclosed cage trailer,driven to a place where it can play with other Lions! Maybe Lions Drag Strip?, then back into the cage trailer to be taken back to the compound where it's given it's special diet! Do I need a Lion at my house? Tell the kids don't run or play in the street? The Lion needs to stretch it's legs? Joe's not done taking care of his Lion yet.
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.