Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hot Rods Joe Pirotta & Charlie Caruana "Crimson Pirate" 60s Oz Hot Rod magazine features

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jimmy B, May 24, 2010.

  1. Jimmy B
    Joined: May 4, 2004
    Posts: 5,943

    Jimmy B
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I was looking thru some of my 1960s Aussie Hot Rod mags and thought i would scan a couple of articles on Australia's top show rod of the 60s & 70s.

    Car still exists and is still owned by Joe.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  2. Great stuff Jimmy - thanx for putting this up !!

    Rat
     
  3. zep058
    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 599

    zep058
    Member

    I like the wheel and tyre combo of the top article from '67. Amazing what can happen in a year.

    Thanks for posting
     
  4. elricho
    Joined: Jul 19, 2009
    Posts: 197

    elricho
    Member

    Awesome stuff!!
    I was lucky enough to get a tour of their factory about 7 years ago,and saw some amazing cars-really nice guys to!!!
     

  5. Funny- both magazines share a typo regarding Charlie's surname.
    To correct, the title should be CARUANA.

    Thanks JimmyB- Very Good thread on this great show rod ( the aussie 'Ala Kart'?). I love either wheel/ tyre combo. Look at how drop- dead gorgeous the car looks in the bottom shot. The thing is insanely detailed, way stylish and very traditional.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  6. lowsquire
    Joined: Feb 21, 2002
    Posts: 2,567

    lowsquire
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    very cool. have a distant link to a pirrotta car, My Dad Bought a quad weber SBF setup off joe when I was a teenager, I dont think the T bucket they were on was that one, it was metalflake red, white interior.he dropped around in it..I think the weber setup was on it still..took us for a drive..wow..That T made a big impression on me!! that induction setup was cursed, joe sold it cos he couldnt get it to run right..We put it on a Cobra replica, spent thousands on dyno tuning, then gave up and went to a 4 barrel..
     
  7. Stovebolt
    Joined: May 2, 2001
    Posts: 3,436

    Stovebolt
    Member

    The Pirotta's ran a 272 Y-Block powered FJ holden sedan at the drags. It had a '35-37 Packard Trans behind it.

    My connection to them is that I have owned this gearbox for the last 12 years :)
     
  8. It'd be somethin' to see shots of the old glittery Cusso. These guys have cool nailed.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  9. Nekronomicon
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 814

    Nekronomicon
    Member

    Awesome, good to see some local history on the HAMB. Thanks for posting Jimmy
     
  10. Maybe we can get carps to post up some of the old footage he has... the bucket is just one of the cars from memory.
     
  11. Mark in Japan
    Joined: Jun 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,466

    Mark in Japan
    Member

    there were 4 (or more???) Pirotta Bros churning out cars.

    Influenced by their dad's passion for using his sand/concrete earnings to buy American cars (Brand new Caddy in Springvale in mid to late 50s). When the boys were almost of age, they used to pinch dad's Caddy, pick up their girls, then head across town for a rumble with some "Westys". It is always pointed out that these rumbles always ended with a handshake:eek:!

    They were the first guys to put a V8 into a Holden in Australia (a Y-block).

    They laid the concrete at Australia's first drag strip (Pakenham).

    Joe & Charlie (by now, brother-in-laws) also ran a Ford Cortina with a SOHC motor ("Satisfaction"), among plenty other great cars.

    They even produced their own brand of mag wheels at one stage!

    But more than all of this....

    .......a fantastic bunch of guys who never run out of stories to tell to anyone who will listen.

    When will Leno finish that steel chopped coupe with the Halibrand rear end???? :D
     
  12. Memories
    I remember seeing this rod in the mid sixties at the Victorian Hot Rod Shows. First with the thin tyres and straight paint job and then with the gold flake and mags with tyres ,ex Bob Jane racing tyres. A story going around at the time was that Joe was offered a brand new Jaguar in exchange for Rod. I think they trailered the Rod to shows behind a metallic red EJ or EH Ute.Then there was the Y block powered FX.This had HOLDEN painted on the rocker covers so Joes wife did"nt know they had modified it. This motor was soon replaced with 289 Mustang motor with Tecalment injection.(Spelling might"nt be spot on, with out lookig it up) The car ran at Calder in the late sixties (SATISFACTION) The motor was then dropped into Mark one Cortina and ran as a Gasser for number of year. Again thanks for the memories
    You"res in Rodding
    Bob the Brickie
     
  13. Jimmy B
    Joined: May 4, 2004
    Posts: 5,943

    Jimmy B
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Great stories. Anyone have a photo of it in the last 10-20 years?

    Anyone want me to scan the 289 powered Humpy article?
     
  14. Scan away!
     
  15. Jimmy B
    Joined: May 4, 2004
    Posts: 5,943

    Jimmy B
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  16. Thanks Jimmy B
    That's a rarer issue of CR so I appreciate it's showing here.
    Candy blue !
     
  17. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,999

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    Thanks Jimmy.

    Anyone know what happened to the Cortina? I remember seeing it for sale at one time.

    An earlier photo of the Humpy with the gang.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. 31fordV860
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 864

    31fordV860
    Member

    The Buick A Dash ...incredible work..!
     
  19. Mark in Japan
    Joined: Jun 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,466

    Mark in Japan
    Member


    Anyone got a date for this pic??

    As for the Cortina......its sitting in the corner of Joe & Charlie's workshop.
     
  20. Smooth Customs
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 241

    Smooth Customs
    Member

    Here are some early pre injection pictures

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Phil Stevens
    Joined: Mar 24, 2002
    Posts: 392

    Phil Stevens
    Member

    back in 1967 I entered my unfinished T bucket in the Victorian Hot Rod Show.
    I was told by other club members I had a chance at winning the " unfinished " award, but the Pirotta's " Crimson Pirate " which was all but finished, stole it!
    And the V8 Holden was bought by a friend of mine ( Mick ), at that stage ( 1969 - 1970 ) it seemed the car wasn't very reliable, he was always fixing broken bits, so I don't recall ever getting a ride, bummer.
     
  22. Sorry these are not the best photographs, but here goes anyhow.

    The Pirotta Customlines were both purchased new in 1956 and mildly customised, with Joe's car laying claim to the first use of metalflake paint on an Aussie car.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Both cars featured unique trim pieces that Joe's brother Charlie created in their home workshop up and had chrome plated.

    Over the years, Charlie's car continued to have trim added until it had become notorious as "The Chromed Cusso". Whilst not to the taste of the average Aussie, every piece on the car was truly a work of art and displayed Charlie's incredible talent and craftsmanship. While most was chromed many of of the trim pieces, which were made from brass stock using a vast range of hand tools, many made by Charlie for the purpose, were gold plated. Others were encrusted with diamonds and others had coloured ceramic finishes applied.

    [​IMG]

    Some years after Charlie's untimely death, the family decided it may be best for the survival of the car to sell it off and it was put up for sale at a local antique and collector car auction and sold to a Canadian collector of '56 Fords. I believe this fellow has finished what Charlie set out to do by completely disassembling the car repainting and reassembling it with a new headlining to cover all the fasteners that were visible on the underside of the roof.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  23. This is The Crimson Pirate some time late '59 or early '60. The Buick Nailhead engine was something not ever seen in an Aussie Hot Rod, since Buicks had not been sold by GM Australia since 1948.

    [​IMG]

    By 1963, it looked like this.

    [​IMG]

    The car was hauled to shows behind Charlie Caruana's new '63 Holden Ute, which was painted the same red metalflake,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The car won just about everything there was to win on the Aussie show circuit at the time and of course others tried to build a better 'mousetrap' so the car was rebuilt in order to remain competitive.

    Race tyres had become the order of the day for show cars and even street driven hot rods, so Joe and Charlie designed their own wheels and had them cast up by a local foundry. The car was pulled to bits, detailed some more and repainted with Gold Metalflake fogging and pin-striping. While they were playing at the foundry, the boys even designed and cast their own finned rocker covers with matching valley cover and spark plug covers for the Buick engine.

    [​IMG]

    As has always been the case in hot rodding, rumours and inuendo abounded, the biggest story being that the Crimson Pirate was just a big model car as it had had no internals in the engine or tran's and was therefore not drivable.

    Unfortunately for the jealous that was not true, the car was regularly driven around the streets of Springvale and the local coppers used to tell Joe's dad to send them down with the car and they'd register it, so it could be driven legally. That I think was Joe's one regret, that they never did that and now the car would not go anywhere near being legal without major work that would ruin it's character.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the recent shot below, the car remains in pristine condition and maybe one day it will again be displayed at a Melbourne Hot Rod Show.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  24. The story of 'Satisfaction' starts at the Riverside Drags where Joe and Charlie raced their Y Block powered '48 Holden with a good deal of success.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That was, until this guy, Ken Spence turned up with a dual quad, toploader equipped genuine Cobra small block Ford under the hood of his English Ford Zephyr. Spence's sleeper truly was 'the fastest car in the valley'!

    [​IMG]

    So, not to be out done, Joe and Charlie found themselves a race prepped Mustang 289 and swapped it into their V8 Humpy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course drag racing was evolving rapidly and soon the Humpy was again uncompetetive. So the solution was to find a lighter body for their injected small block Ford, which came by way of the Ford Cortina a four cylinder Ford product that was smaller and lighter than the Falcon.

    [​IMG]

    The Cortina was an instant winner and soon developed a strong folowing. But again, in time it became uncompetitive. Again the solution was simple, add more horsepower! So the small block was swapped for a 427 and with updated drive-train and bigger slicks the car continued to wow fans across the country. Later a blower was added to increase power and keep the car in the winner's circle.

    [​IMG]

    Of course in time, even the blown 427 became uncompetitive. So the guys set about a weight reduction program, which started by replacing the heavy engine with a lightweight but more powerful blown and injected Holman & Moody SOHC 427 powerplant. A little more was sliced from the top to reduce frontal area and even bigger slicks added to make it hook-up. In this guise, the car was simply awesome sounding even better than today's top alcohol cars and I'd even go so far as to say it set the benchmark for the outlaw door-slammers that would arrive many years later.

    [​IMG]

    The Cortina was eventually retired from top class racing but continued to run with new owners in various guises (Joe kept the H&M engine). Last I heard is that it has now found it's way home and is being restored to it's final H&M 427 guise to be run in Nostalgia events.

    Also heard that Leno's 'customised '39 Sloper is being restored to it's original guise.

    Joe strill drives his Gurney Eagle powered '57 Thunderbird and as has been said there's always something interesting to see in the shop.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  25. I'm thinking about '65.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  26. Hey El-Richo, I love your avatar.

    Would you like a high res copy of that pic so you can do a large print for the shed wall? ;)
     
  27. Did you notice that those chromed early Ford wheels are also louvred?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  28. The Pirotta Caruana car is not a T it's a model A, only T part is the grille shell.

    The only other red 'flaked SBF powered T bucket would have been Mick Patty's, but I don't recall that car having weber carbs. It was built after the 'Crimson Pirate and is still around in its original condition, owned by Lenny Johnston and running three twos.

    The car you describe sound's like a T built much later by a guy named Stan Kominski, out Werribee way, although I think it was Candy Apple not 'flake. It had a turtle deck and also took quite a few trophys in it's day, the webers on it's SBF were replaced with a blower.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  29. here's a few pics posted on ozrodders today.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  30. Jimmy B
    Joined: May 4, 2004
    Posts: 5,943

    Jimmy B
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    FAARRK!!!!

    Barnsey, Thanks for posting I rarely get on Ozrodders these days I would have missed these.

    Fucking Awesome! It truly looks like it was finished only yesterday, Hard to believe it has been maintain that well for 40 years, brilliant!
     

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.