The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by colesy, Aug 12, 2007.
Whole bunch of Merowchek
with Shirley 55 chev Note LIGHTWEIGHT custom grille
Gary, that's a classic response to a question that we still tend to hear from time-to-time. With the utmost respect for "The Kentuckian," a frequent contributor to this thread and one of the very few remaining old-school tech guys, it should be mentioned that no one relished the expressions on the faces of the tech crew and the surviving racers when told to "get that piece of junk out of here and open up a space for the class runner-up." "Cheating" is a broad topic, one that ranges from running a 350 and calling it a 327 all the way to throwing a shot bag under the passenger seat just to make legal weight. Did some people cheat and get away with it? I have no doubt that they did but a lot more of the people who ended up on the DQ list got there because of a lack of experience at car prep than they did for honest-to-god cheating. My greatest respect went to the racers who searched for, found, and took advantage of tiny loopholes that existed in "the book." For example, there was, at one time, a phrase in "the book" that allowed for "moderate customizing." When cars started appearing with half of the grille missing or a few extra decorative holes in the dash or fender panels, the "moderate customizing" loophole became a lot more restrictive. When racers took advantage of loopholes to do things such as call a sedan delivery a "truck" in order to be therefore eligible to run a hydro with a 283 or when the assumption was made that a '59 Biscayne with a 283 power plant could be legitimately equipped with a T10 four-speed because that transmission was available in that car behind a 348 motor, there was a palpable reorganization of existing interpretations and the playing field was tightened up. Once a loophole was closed, only a complete fool or a truly irresponsible, no-class "cheater" would have continued to do the same thing. Some "loopholes" lasted a lot longer than others but it was that kind of cerebral game playing that eventually led to what I refer to as "The Great Purge of '72."
Wasn't the justification for grill bar removal for quicker camshaft changes.
Take a look at two of the pictures of the Merochek and Shirley cars that are shown just above your post. The visible hole in the grille of the '57 is all that was required to swap out the camshaft. Compare it to the grille of the '55 just above it. The '55 demonstrates a common interpretation of the "moderate customizing" loophole.
By the way, Bob Shirley of Merochek & Shirley, now lives in Las Vegas and I count him among my assortment of accumulated friends over the years. He and I accompanied another racer on a road trip to Houma, Louisiana a few years ago and I would have to rank that experience near the top of my favorite racing memories. Bob sat in the middle of the back seat of the dualie and recounted non-stop stories about racing Junior Stock in New Jersey during the era. We also noted that he could smoke three to five cigarettes (sometimes two at a time) while we refueled the truck. No smoking was allowed in the truck. We covered over 3600 miles in three days, not bad for a trio of old duffers but Bob never missed a beat with the stories (or the smokes). Good times!
Back in the 60's it always seemed to me that many of these guys hung around Bob Duffy's shop in Red Bank, N.J.
Walking in there and seeing the guys that were there was like a who's who of Junior Stock and Modified Production back in those day's.
I think I was around 15 years old at the time.
Wish you could have recorded those story Chuck.
Don't forget the "loose Carb" fiasco where they would jet 2 barrels extremely rich or just remove the jets and run no gasket between the carb and intake or worse washers under the carb. Ran terrible at low speed but flew at WOT and sounded like a jet plane whistle.
3 for Gary Glover
Yay a FORD Thunderbolt???
Andy Kish Thumper
That's the story of my life. I have few, if any, pictures of what was going on in those days because wrenching, towing, operating a camera, and driving are all activities best accomplished with the use of two hands. I suppose that I needed a third hand to hold the camera/recorder? Some of the guys were successful in finding women who were handy with a camera and hanging out at the track but none of my wives have ever expressed any desire to cross that line. Wonder where that system broke down?
Some of the better stories that we still recall over an adult beverage involved retelling of Bob's exploits at Island Dragway in New Jersey. It included a lengthy explanation of a series of suspension enhancements that someone had made to a race car, not specifically to one of the well-prepped Merochek & Shirley Junior Stockers. On the first test launch of the new set-up, the entire rear housing assembly exited the car to the rear. It's a story best heard as delivered from Bob.
It should be pointed out that all of us have a bag full of similar stories in our memory banks but hearing Bob's detailed description of the event, complete with a fairly distinct New Jersey accent and salted with the X-rated argot that is familiar to drag racers, everywhere, made it particularly unforgettable. Come to think if it, yeah, I should have recorded it but, at the time, who knew?
1968 NHRA world finals program photo.
That's a good example of exactly what I was referencing at the outset. I'm sure that you remember, the "book" typically carried a disclaimer that I have loosely interpreted as, "if the rules don't specifically permit a particular practice or modification, it will not be allowed." (No doubt, "The Kentuckian" would be able to cite the precise wording of the disclaimer.) An example of that rule applied to everyday driving would be, "if the rules of the road don't expressly state that driving on the sidewalk is allowed, you may not drive on the sidewalk." Many racers, over the years have attempted to reverse that equation to read, "if the rules of the road don't specify that driving on the sidewalk is illegal, then, it's perfectly OK to do so if you wish. No harm, no foul!!"
Originally, Wally Parks and his crew set up the technical services department to enforce the original intent of the rule. Farmer Dismuke and his "aides" rigorously enforced the original intent of the meaning of "stock" and ANY deviation from the published specs was grounds for immediate disqualification. If you have access to a stack of Hot Rod Magazine issues from those days, you will see reports of Divisional and National events that included the designation of Class Winners listed with the statement, "Winner and Runner-up Disqualified." Justice was swift. There was no trial, no testimony, and no appeal.
Over time, racers relentlessly pursued the strategy of shifting the intent of the original rule to a permissive format and one such example was the two-barrel game that many of us recall. I have no idea who first thought of it or when it was first done but it became an audible problem shortly after "The Purge of '72" when racers were trying to find a Super Stock class in which they could compete with their converted Stockers. Some of the participants in that experiment were associated with 1960 and 1961 full-sized Chevrolet cars that were equipped with 283 engines and a two-barrel Rochester. A sizable number of them were entered in the class SS/X. The problem was "audible" because, as you mentioned, spectators could hear the "whistle" of the vacuum leaks over a substantial distance. The enforcement of the original rule was accomplished relatively quickly at the Divisional and National level. After one or two events at which violators of the rule were identified and disciplined it didn't take long until the problem wasn't so pervasive. It may have persisted in local regions but it was pretty much eliminated on the national stage within a few months. In a reactive effort, NHRA added a sentence to the "book" requiring all carburetors to be tightened against the intake manifold.
Over the ensuing years, there were some instances in which the intent of the original NHRA rule prevailed. In other cases, the persistent efforts of those intent on gaining an advantage outside the framework of rules, the complexities of enforcement, and the lack of qualified inspectors who were willing to work for peanuts and "the love of the game" prevailed. I would be able to cite specific instances of that "evolution" of the rules but it would be outside the time span framework of the Jalopy Journal "book." After all, I, like Gary Glover and many others really preferred Stock Eliminator when the rules were specific and were vigorously enforced.
Not Stock or Super Stock related but this comment did drum up a bad experience I had.
Around ?1974 I put together my first drag car, a 65 Malibu for bracket racing (I know).
Never got much info on it, but assumed it had track time, it was purchased minus engine/trans but it had an Olds/Pontiac rear with 5.38's and Dodge Coronet leaf springs replacing the original Malibu rear setup.
Put a 355/Super T-10 in it and in my zeal to get it on the strip I failed to check out that rear setup closely, on my very first test burnout in the driveway I came real close to spitting the rear end out of the car.
The previous owner had failed to put locator pins in that anchor the leaf springs to the housing perches, the u-bolts were tight but the housing was still able to rotate spitting the driveshaft in the driveway. Glad I didn't have this happen at the track.
Mid-nite Oil which I seem to remember being from Canada
Miline Bros Pair
Monster Mash vs Chevairs Racing Team
Motor City Dragway a pair of 65 Royal Pontiac GTOs testing
I'm pretty sure that the last one I posted of it some time ago that difference in side trim was the topic of conversation but forget the outcome.
The Chevy Buster III
Tim Bishop running M/P
Gentleman Jim Jim Smith
Gentleman (popular name)
George Vestal Poppy Cock
Magic Bus Gault Chevrolet
Night Train Jimmy Baldwin
Tokyo Rose Winner again because the FORD went too FAST LOL
Wayne Jesel & Tony Massari before Yoo Hoo Too name
Bernie Pyles Orangecrate
Tim Bishop Trick Trip
View attachment 3792519
Wow, never saw a picture of Claude's wagon before.
From Bangkok Dean
Wood & Guidi
Another Gary Glover
Neja & Dissette
Bobby Buckle's Mountain Dew
I ran stock at Oklahoma City in the early sixties and Jr Stock came about there in '61 the way I remember it. In '60 the lowest class was "F", a 38 Buick with two carbs won this class every week. In '61 NHRA added a lot classes and I think the lowest class then was "L". I ran "E" in '60 and moved to "J" in '61 with the same car. In '60 all off the stockers who won class ran for the overall eliminator using the car length system for spotting the lower cars. In '61 they had two overall eliminators in stock. "A" thru "E" for top and "F" down for Jr Stock. Of course with the one car length for class system the "F" car would most always win Jr. Stock. I still run NHRA stock eliminator so I guess this will be my 58th year in the class. I won my first trophy at the '61 Okla City NHRA regional, still have the trophy and the clipping from the local paper listing all class winners.
If you could I would like to see a scan of that news paper article.
Several of the guys in my dad's old club were there I'm sure.
Jimmy Parker, it's good to see your name on the list! By the time you look at all the pictures on all 452 pages, you'll have a lot more memories to share. So far, Ed Wright hasn't appeared here but it's only a matter of time.
Strip Teaser Casler Tires
Tom Strayer Protruding air filters?
Trenton Speed Shop
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