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History Looking for info on Jim Davis race car builder & the 1969 NHRA Championship Driver

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Green Voodoo, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Green Voodoo
    Joined: May 22, 2007
    Posts: 75

    Green Voodoo
    from Melbourne

    The late Jim Davis race car builder and 1969 NHRA Championship Driver - built some extraordinary dragsters, Hot Rods and Custom Bikes.

    Last year I acquired a unique Hot Rod built by the late Jim Davis and I am looking for more information on the man himself and the unique T Model C Cab he built with Porsche 914 Power.

    The C Cab was the last car that his widow held onto and reluctantly sold it last year as she is now in retirement.

    The C cab was built by Davis following the uprise of the Volks Rod phenomenon during the late 1960s. Prominent builders joined in the party and the major Hot Rod magazines devoted a fair amount of ink on the subject.

    Whilst this segment of the hobby seems long forgotten, like it or not, it was and forms part of the evolution of Hot Rodding in southern California.

    ...Not to be out done by his rivals, which included the legendary Kent Fuller and Andy Brizio ( the primary constructers of T Model Volksrods during the late 1960s ) Jim Davis decided he would build his own version. The result was this extraordinary C Cab T - incorporating a Porsche 914 drivetrain for power - setting a new standard in "Volks-Rod" construction.

    The drivetrain which incorporates the original Porsche sub frame & suspension is cleverly concealed underneath the rear floor.

    Jim also built frames for Choppers and according to his widow built some of the early frames for the "King" of Kustom Motorcycles - none other than the legendary Arlen Ness when he first set up shop building KUSTOM CYCLES.

    I would like to discover more about Jim Davis and would love to see pictures of the cars and bikes he built.

    Please post any information and pictures you have - Jim Davis must not be forgotten!

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  2. Mad Mouse
    Joined: Apr 1, 2007
    Posts: 93

    Mad Mouse

    Great digger builder, in Walnut Creek, Cal.
    Contact Don Clar at Don's Work Shop in Pleasant Hill, CA. (Google him)
    He worked for Jim for years before going out on his own.
    He could give the background you are looking for. He also is a great builder, racer and fabricator.
  3. All I can tell you is that Jim had a repair shop in Dallas before he moved to Walnut Creek,Calif back in the late 50s-early 60s..He did dragster work in Dallas,,was down off Corinth and Industrial Blvd.
  4. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 2,005


    Did not realize he was in Texas, Bobby. You may be able to get some info from Goodguys. Try Marc or Gary. In the early days of nostalgia drags, they dedicated a Sears Point event to Jim. His son, Brent? was there to accept the honors.

  5. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,402


    I never knew Jim Davis, but all of us who raced in the '60s knew who he was. Innovation and a drive to be different and safe seemed to motive him, I think he was one of the first to make a four-point rollbar (two tubes in back instead of the usual one, and a single-spring leaf front end with the spring parallel to the frame, mounted on top. He was a racer, watched him run Fremont, Bakersfield, Half Moon Bay, unfortunately he went over backwards (Bakersfield, I think) and got hurt -- car destroyed. He built dragster frames for a bunch of NorCal guys and probably beyond. When the nostalgia dragster thing first hit, he was there with a FED, drove it once to a win even with flames pouring out from below the motor, got burned but kept on into the lights...

    I believe he died in a motorcycle accident, then shortly after his son, driving a nostalgia dragster, was paralyzed in an accident (maybe at Fremont or Sears Point?). I am drawing on memory, so anyone please correct me if this is off.

    He was a hard charger, a builder, a driver, and someone who should not be forgotten, so thanks for this thread!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  6. Yeah Rob..He bought some stuff from us on many occasion..Everyone in Dallas hated to see him make the move to Calif
  7. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,784


    I believe his son was hurt in the Last Drag race at Baylands
  8. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 6,018

    Marty Strode

    I met Jim at Baylands Raceway in Fremont back in '86. We were two of the four participants racing in the new T/F Eliminator that debuted at the spring race that year. We were paired up in the first round. Well, Jim was the old pro and I was the rookie, and he beat me. He was driving the car that 296 referred to, the chassis belonged to his partner Don Tourte. It had been hanging in the rafters since Jim flipped over backwards at Bakersfield in '66, I believe. It was also the same car that his son Brent crashed and got badly hurt at Baylands in the fall of '88. Tom Prufer sent me the video of Jim racing Sammy Hale in the Champion Speed Shop car, and it was the run when Jim kicked a rod out, not far off the line and made a full run. With flames under the rear of the car, reaching 10 feet or so behind, Jim was bound and determined to win the $1000.00 prize, which he did. Sammy called me and gave me the perspective of being in the other lane. Sammy was the first to get to Jim's car in the shutoff area, and help get him out of the car. Jim was wearing fancy "silver tipped" cowboy boots, in place of fire boots, and the safety crew had to cut Jim's charred boots off. He was wearing an old Deist firesuit and received some minor burns under his armpits. Jim also modified and sold aircraft starters for dragster use and was quite the fabricator. If anyone had "Balls Of Steel", it was him.
    The last time I saw Jim, was Labor Day Weekend at Seattle in '88. We had around a dozen cars in the class, and a friend of mine took this shot of Jim and I in the staging lanes, our Don Long car is in the foreground. He would be gone in a few short months.

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    Last edited: May 5, 2014
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  9. james tourte
    Joined: Aug 17, 2014
    Posts: 1

    james tourte

    I'm glad I stumbled on this post and that there are still some people out there interested in Jim's life and memory. He was a long time friend and business partner of my fathers specifically in the 80's with the nostalgia drags. I'm working on putting together a memorial page together so if anyone has any pictures or stories they would like to share I would be grateful!

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