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History Mooneyham & Sharp 554 Coupe

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

  1. This has been great to read and I would like to see TRJ do a story on it.
    Thanks to everyone that has added to this subject.
     
  2. Didn't TRJ already feature 554 a few years ago? Seems like they did.Of course I MIGHT be crazy, but I swear they did!
     
    verde742 likes this.
  3. KKrod
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 1,454

    KKrod
    Member

  4. I'm gonna check, it rings a bell.
     
  5. drumyn29
    Joined: Feb 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,206

    drumyn29
    Member

    What heads did they run! I can see that they are aluminum.
     
    chryslerfan55 and loudbang like this.
  6. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 5,489

    Fordors
    Member

    One-offs machined by Al Sharp.
     
  7. drumyn29
    Joined: Feb 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,206

    drumyn29
    Member

    THATS the head I want for my car!!

    gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one gotta find one
     
  8. I saw a wicked '34 5w coupe (in a late '70's early '80's drag mag) called 'the Bitch is Back' The story stated it once was the M&S 554 coupe. Anyone follow this up? Here is a pic I found showing the car when it was yellow?? What was the time frame? Is this the earliest version of the car when it still had fenders? Thanks for no 'look it up' answers in advance..... 48387806_425917061277816_7160380651948998656_n.jpg
     
  9. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 5,489

    Fordors
    Member

    The fendered 554 might have been when it was first built, that initial paint job was silver and Gene Mooneyham had the car repainted to blue.
    As far as the heads go, they could be anywhere. When the car was restored back in the 1980’s and run at the nostalgia drags it had iron heads, a Crower 8 port injector on the blower and lots of other later model equipment.
    Are the heads just sitting on a shelf somewhere? Or worse yet were they sold for scrap and melted down?
     
  10. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    56sedandelivery
    Member Emeritus

    Took my nephew, who was about 5 at the time, to a nostalgia event at Seattle. He was excited at the tire smoke the 554 car laid down; I think he thought something was wrong with it. At the same event, was a blown 33 Willys Coupe that ran 90 degrees into the wall, right in front of us; I thought he was going to go into overload he was so excited and concerned for the driver. My sister told me later on, he would't stop talking about it for days. The "son" I never had; but we did have a daughter who was ready to leave after 10 minutes into a Bremerton Raceway event. Can't have everything. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  11. Earliest version, before the chop, flathead powered.

    [​IMG]
     
  12.  
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  13. There was a time, in the early 50's, when fuel coupes, at the drags, were required to run fenders. Owners would remove the fenders on cars that ran at the lakes, and re install them for the drags.
     
    craig b blue likes this.
  14. Here Gene is racing Don Montgomery. Note, the car is now chopped and the fenders are back on for class requirements.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Stan Back
    Joined: Mar 9, 2007
    Posts: 2,292

    Stan Back
    Member
    from California

    Dean –

    I like the picture of you and the coupe – it's just too bad they can't figure a way to make smoke come off the tires at the museum – that's the way it looks best!

    Stan
     
  16. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 9,064

    Marty Strode
    Member

    More 554 !!!!!!!!!!!! The first 3 are from Puyallup,Wa, June 8th & 9th 1963, Jim Cooper photos. 554 Coupe - 63 - 2.jpg 554 Coupe - 63.jpg 554 Coupe - In Pits - 63.jpg Mooneyham 26.jpg
     
  17. Great shot of Al Sharp's billet heads. Remember these were made on a mill by hand. No CNC's in '63!
    Note Gene working dressed in white. At the end of a race there wouldn't be a spot on him. He was like my Dad, dirt and grease wouldn't dare get on him!
     
  18. Thanks for the color photos Marty. 3 more for the collection.
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  19. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 5,489

    Fordors
    Member

    9DD35336-952A-429D-822F-182B9A1EF982.jpeg OK, it only pertains to the topic in a slight way, but I always admired the Delta Machine decals on the 554. Fifty years after I first noticed them on the car Gary Cagle’s son Troy sent these to me.
     
  20. Yes, Gene ran Delta's blower drive before he started Mooneyham Blowers, and made his own drives.

    Also, I just took another look at Marty's photos and realized that's Al Sharp standing at the right front of the coupe. Dorothy had the snappy shirts made for the boys to wear on tour.
     
  21. Pretty nice stuff right there.....thanks for posting !
     
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  22. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 9,064

    Marty Strode
    Member

    I was fortunate to have met Al Sharp, a real Gentleman ! He told me he liked my roadster, "but it could sure use a set of heads", I assured him that it would get a set of Sharp Heads, and it did ! Al is on the left, next to my old friend Joe Graffio. Photo taken October '98 @ CHHR. 2013-04-04 161553.jpg
     
  23. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    Nice Pontiac Safari. Didn't see them much back then.........or today.
     
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  24. $um Fun
    Joined: Dec 13, 2008
    Posts: 661

    $um Fun
    Member
    from Nor Cal

    Brian Burnett owned Ferrari of Los Gatos and had some pretty impressive cars go though his hands. I sold him my Ferrari 250 that I bought from Harry Hibler (it was used as a test car to put a SBC in when he was the editor of Hot Rod Magazine). For those that don't know Brian's dad is Rex Burnett, yes the same Rex that did those wonderful cutaways in Hot Rod Magazine.
     
  25. Screenshot_20181225-222209_Google.jpg
     
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  26. Fordors
    Joined: Sep 22, 2016
    Posts: 5,489

    Fordors
    Member

    If there was an early yellow car then maybe Dean Lowe knows about it, but info I’ve seen online says the blue car was painted silver at first and Mooneyham hated the color.
    The yellow car shown was when K&G Speed Associates had bought it from M&S and campaigned it, circa 1965.
     
  27. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 4,350

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    There is a video of the K&G team with the 554 on youtube. I thought it was from 1967, but my memory could be wrong.
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. What about the pic above with the fenders & front wheel discs - I realize different classes required fenders & different wheel/tire combos but that pic looks earlier then the others & looks yellow, lite blue or some solid color not silver - thanks!
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  29. Rockerhead
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 321

    Rockerhead
    Member Emeritus

    Gene ran his '34 SEDAN at the Russetta Lakes meets in 1952. He was a member of the Rod Riders. We both competed in the B Sedan class at that time (I was running my Cord sedan then). But when he went to Bonneville, his car was a '34 coupe. I am not sure but I assumed that he had just switched the bodies. The 554 car number was his Bonneville entry number. Later, we both switched to the drags . The photo was taken at the NHRA Southern California Regional. Championships at the Colton Drag strip. Gene was running a Ford flathead engine in the 554 car and I was running a 6 cylinder GMC engine in my no. 11 coupe. The 554 coupe was brown and my coupe was blue then. We raced against each other several more times after we had both switched to Chrysler engines. The A/Fuel rules required stock bodies with full fenders at the time (chopped tops were allowed). When the fuel ban was initiated, I sold my coupe but Gene just parked his for a short time. Then he tossed the fenders away and ran the coupe at the few fuel meets that were available. The 554 coupe became perhaps the most exciting car to watch at that time. In the end I think that the 554 coupe's popularity had an effect on the elimination of the fuel ban. Gene was a great competitor and the 554 coupe earned a spot in Drag Racing history.
    Don
     
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  30. Rockerhead
    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
    Posts: 321

    Rockerhead
    Member Emeritus

    Gene Mooneyham ran his '34 SEDAN at the Russetta Lakes meets in 1951, 1952 and 1953. His entries typically were listed with a partner - Mooneyham-Reed or Mooneyham-Black. Later, when the coupe was Chrysler powered, it was entered as Mooneyham-Johnson in the 1956-1957 period. I believe that Carl Johnson funded the Chrysler engine that they ran then. Carl had a body shop and I understand did some of the metal work on the coupe. Perhaps Dean Lowe would know if Gene just changed the body from the sedan to a coupe body or was it a different car.
    As a side note, the number 11 on my '32 coupe was my Russetta number for the 1954 season.
    The early days of drag racing was fun.
    Don
     

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