Register now to get rid of these ads!

History Mooneyham & Sharp 554 Coupe

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Black and Flamed, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. G'day guys,

    I'm after a book with information and colour photo's of the 554, does anyone know of a good book about it. I've searched the net and havn't come up with much.

    Regards,

    Black'n'Flamed
     
  2. I don't believe there is a book specifically about that car.

    There is a thread about it here though. I'll let you use the search to find it.;)
     
    Black and Flamed likes this.
  3. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,031

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    PM Dean Lowe
     
  4. rfraze
    Joined: May 23, 2012
    Posts: 1,995

    rfraze
    Member

    554 shows up many times in the Drag Cars in Motion thread. Open that thread and prepare for a journey or open the thread and search 554 or Mooneyham and Sharp. That car is revered here.
     
    Black and Flamed likes this.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. The 554 coupe is my all time favorite race car. Check the album on my personal page. I save every photo of the coupe that I can find. There are no books expressly about the coupe. I followed Gene and Larry during the 1963 season. Everywhere they appeared for a title defense race in '63, I was there.
     
  6. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,008

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Dean,
    Maybe you need to write a book on the 554, here is another shot from '63 at Puyallup Wa. It was my favorite as well, I never got over the sound it made at Puyallup and later at Fremont, along with the chance to buy it when it was advertised in National Dragster. A raw-bone race car with style !!!!!!!!!! 554 Coupe - In Pits - 63 - 2.jpg
     
  7. There's a book titled " Vintage & Historic Drag Racers by Robert Genat. It has a brief history and some good photos of the 554 Coupe
     
  8. 270283
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 385

    270283
    Member

    I think that sometime after K&G ran that car, it spent a few years sitting behind the house of a local racer in my hometown. It was just the shell at that point, but it was a yellow 5-window with K&G lettering. Has the original car resurfaced? This would have been late Seventies - early Eighties, if memory serves me.
     
  9. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,124

    296ardun
    Member

    Yes, the car was restored back to the M&S form, and ran at a bunch of nostalgia meets in the '90s...Dean Lowe would know more about where it is now
     
  10. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,008

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Brian Burnett of Los Gatos, Ca, bought it and had it restored. With Gerry Steiner at the wheel, they brought it to the Nostalgia Nationals at Fremont in 1985. Gerry put on one hell of a show for about 3 or 4 seasons, they even brought it to Seattle once. I think Jerry Moreland bought it and Ken Thurm ran it for a while, and it is now at Garlits Museum if memory serves.
     
    kidcampbell71, Ranchero59 and HEMI32 like this.
  11. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 787

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    Marty's correct.
    Man was that thing fun to watch when Steiner drove it at the Nostalgia races at Fremont !!!!
     
  12. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,008

    Marty Strode
    Member

    Pete, We were lucky guys to have been a part of the "Golden Years" of Nostalgia racing, words cannot describe the camaraderie and the fun we had, along with the pure excitement !
     
  13. Gday Dean, wow man I envy you for having experienced THE GREAT ONE in action. Thanks for your information, and to all others that replied, it's very much appreciated. I've just ordered a 5 window coupe to 're-body my roadster, and will basing the theme on the 554. It won't be a flat out full drag car build but, a street driven HOTROD that has some mumbo to go down the quarter :). Oh yeah, sorry guys, it's a 'glass coupe.
     
    catdad49 and Ranchero59 like this.
  14. Pps - My roadster body will find a new life on a new chassis in the future :)
     
  15. Yes, the coupe is in the Garlits museum. It's a damn shame that a genuine California race car is in a museum in Florida. At least it is alive and well, and still around. In '09 it was on loan to the NHRA Museum in Pomona. I took the opportunity to get a picture with it. Sure hated to see it leave.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,614

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    554.jpg Sometime in the mid '70's, this picture surfaced in one of the magazines of the day. IIRC, it was taken at San Gabriel in 1962. Regardless, I have been in love with this car ever since. Dean Lowe, you are a lucky dog!
     
  17. This is a favorite of mine too, so I went a took a peak at Deans album, and what a great collection.

    The yellow version is strangely disturbing, and the early pics were priceless.

    Has TRJ ever done a feature of this car, or clone?
     
  18. Great pic Dean. I've saved it on my computer as Dean and the 554, hope you don't mind :)
     
  19. Ok, I'm gonna throw it out there. Any TRJ magazine people on here reading, or anyone know one. I'll start the petition for a full feature on the 554, with Dean telling his part of the story too. It's awesome to read the real deal from the people around iconic Hotrods that we owe so much to, and to hear a side of the story from great fans like Dean who was on the sidelines would be priceless. Come on TRJ, it's time to profile this great car and sell the most copies you guys ever had.
     
    catdad49 likes this.
  20. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,853

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    The M/S Coupe has always been my all time favorite 34 5 window. I modeled the chop on my 34 5/w after it, though mine is a street car and full fendered. Dean; that's a fantastic album of the M/S car. As long as the car ran, there has to be a ton of good old (undiscovered) shots of the car in it's early days. I read it ran at Paradise Mesa strip in San Diego early on but shots of action there seem to be scarce...Gene apparently wrecked/flipped the car there. I believe this is when he quit driving and the rebuild of the car at that point resulted in a chopped top.
     
  21. I'll vote for that. The 554 was the inspiration for my 550. It was just the baddest drag car ever!
     
  22. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,124

    296ardun
    Member

    Here is the story, from Brian Lohnes, on BangShift:

    "Like most hot rods of the day, the 554 started out life on the dry lakes as a full-fendered, flathead-powered coupe. When the strip at Santa Ana opened, Mooneyham would swap the rear gears from the 3.27s he ran on the lakes for a set of 4.10 cogs that worked better on the quarter mile. The car supposedly ran as fast as 120 mph on the strip, which is hauling the mail for anything flathead powered. It wasn’t long before the flathead grew tiresome and a carb’d Hemi was swung into action.

    The car was an ever stronger runner after the heart transplant and all was well until Mooneyham wrecked the car at the now defunct Paradise Mesa strip outside of San Diego. With a taco’d frame and body that had seen better days the fate of the coupe was hanging in the balance. Cooler heads prevailed with the idea to repair the car, but take it to the next plateau of performance.

    The frame was straightened using jacks, chains, and trees. The top was chopped a shade more than 3 inches and all the rest of the sheetmetal was straightened and smoothed. Car sponsor Al Sharp was impressed with the repaired piece and had it painted silver. In typical temperamental drag racer fashion, Mooneyham didn’t like the silver, so he had the car painted blue, the color it would remain through most of its career and the one color that everyone who knows the car thinks about when it is mentioned.

    During the repair process, the lead body man was Larry Faust. He was a drag racer himself and went by the nickname “Jungle.” The guy was reputed to be able to drive anything and he said he could back that claim up. Mooneyham liked what he saw in Faust and asked him to drive the car, although with the new blower atop the Hemi, Mooneyham was worried that Faust would be unable to tame the beast."

    I have an old picture of the 554 with full fenders when it was a lakes car...just can't find it now...as most of you know, Dean Lowe followed these guys and knows more than about anyone about it...I endorse the idea of him contributing to a story in TRJ....sign me up as enthusiastic!
     
  23. I have told the story before about asking Gene how he got the car from 10.20's to 9.80's in what seemed like a weeks time. I had watched the car at LIONS and San Gabe run low tens. Then one Sunday at San Gabe, off the trailer the car dipped into the 9's. By the last run it was in the 9.80's. When Gene did some blower work for me in '96, I asked what he did to lower the ET's so suddenly. He just leaned back in his chair and said " found a driver that wasn't scared of that bitch"!.
     
  24. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,599

    frank spittle
    Member

    Jerry Steiner could drive the hell out of it too. It was awesome to see him smoke it all the way down the track at Tulsa in 1985 after it was restored the first time while Brian Burnett owned it. It was such a historic car it was also nerve wracking.
     
    dan griffin and kidcampbell71 like this.
  25. " found a driver that wasn't scared of that bitch"!......
    - good to hear that tell again....and Larry was a really good shoe at racing......
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. Great reading from all you guys, keep it going. Ok Dean, do you know what the original blue paint colour is/ or came from ? Keep the pedal to the metal, Blacknflamed.
     
  27. Lytles Garage
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 613

    Lytles Garage
    Member

    Saw it run 175 MPH at SIR in the 80s with Steiner at the wheel, never forgot that pass!!! Chris
     
    curbspeed likes this.
  28. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,031

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    Not taking anything away from the previous shoes but.....
    Just think what Wild Willie Borsch could have got out of her.
     
  29. I never heard the color called by name. Gene loved blue. His later cars were "Mooneyham Blue", even the blown hemi early Dodge pick up, and Model A Tudor he built in the 90's were blue. Dorothy told me "Gene is a freak for blue". :)
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 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.