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Hot Rods Question for the race guys

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by A_Burly_Wind, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. When did traction bars come on the scene? like the bolt to the leaf perch kind?
  2. If you're referring to 'slapper bars' that replaced the lower spring plate/shock mounts, those were late '60s bits. Not traditional here...
    A_Burly_Wind likes this.
  3. Thank you sir, that was what I was referring to, we call em slapper bars here in NC too but wasn't sure if that was just country slang we came up with haha
  4. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,811


    I bought my first '57 Chevy in 1966. I bought a set of homemade slapper bars from my buddy's brother. He had been making them for several years, he ran them on his '55 modified production. We ran at Balboa.
    jimgoetz, 19Eddy30 and A_Burly_Wind like this.

  5. That answers a question I was about to ask, getting insight into M/P! Thank you sir!
  6. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 35,756


    The other type that bolted on one end to the spring perch and was just one bar going forward to a welded on bracket that were "Traction Bars" were out just before slapper bars came on the scene. Traction bars started in the early 60's
  7. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,553

    from Nicasio Ca

    Fred Slapper invented those. Traction Master says they've been around since the '50s.
  8. Very cool. Thanks guys its helping my thoughts and ideas roll forward
  9. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,860

    from oregon

  10. I really like the looks of the traction bar better than the slappers. Im working out how to set up a 55 ford for the street/ strip style cars of HAMB correctness.
    loudbang likes this.
  11. Are you going for 'appearance' correct, or 'technical' correct? Or both?

    The original 'Traction Masters' were popular for a while, but these were basically traction-assist version 1.0. While they worked on some cars, they could leave something to be desired on others. If you want something more effective but that won't look much different (except for the weird front spring mount), look at CalTracs.
    loudbang likes this.
  12. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 35,756


    If you go to Real Traction Masters make sure to use a double shear bracket on the front part. I literally pulled apart the original single shear bracket with a slightly OT 67 Mustang 390 4 speed with real M&H slicks. It looked like the bracket was cut with shears in the middle of the bracket. It didin't break at the weld or eye bolt it just stretched it until failure.

    fauj and 47ragtop like this.
  13. Both. I look into the caltracs. I intend on running steel wheels with cheater slicks (mags eventually). Hopped up Y block and the factory 3spd.
    loudbang likes this.
  14. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Ya'll remember Jim Green, of Green Elephant Funny Car fame? His shop used to make Cricket Bars; his "borrowed
    trademark" was Jiminie Cricket; Engines by Cricket, etc. Cricket bars were made using a stock shock mount plate, a flame cut 3/8" thick metal "bar", and was clamped to the spring at the front, at the front spring mount. They were made from at least the mid 60's. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
    loudbang likes this.
  15. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,060

    from California

    my buddy had traction bars on his OT car back in the day and speared a cat with them. most of the cat was still there when he got home... not a pretty sight.
    A_Burly_Wind and loudbang like this.
  16. jimgoetz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 412


    Very common at least in Cleveland Ohio area by 1960.
    loudbang likes this.
  17. I did the same in a very very low pickup I had years ago. Caught a racoon with the leaf perch. Local automated car wash was not happy with me after the under car sprayers hit all that....
    Robert J. Palmer and loudbang like this.
  18. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,816


    Traction-Masters™ bars have been around since the late 1950s. They were very popular with the drag racers in most classes that had leaf springs in the rear axle set up. They were so popular that many hot rodders with their Chevy sedans that we knew, had the Traction-Masters™ set up for normal cruising and the occasional street challenges.

    I helped install a set on my friend’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop after he purchased it in 1961. It made a difference when he took off anytime, especially at the Cherry Ave. Drags in Bixby Knolls. His installation was a pure bolt on application. The only problem was when we were experimenting with some car lowering designs. The Traction-Masters™ bars were the first thing to hit the ground when lowering the rear of the car. so, it had to be a modified California rake, with the front lower than the rear. The 57 bel air had the “LOOK” for everyday street cruising and racing.


    On the other hand, we had experience installing a similar Traction-Masters™ unit on our 1940 Willys Coupe as we were preparing it for our run in the B/Gas class at Lions Dragstrip. Our installation was a little different. We were told that drilling the front mounts were ok, but for supreme reliability and a no fail installation, the plate was bolted and welded to the frame. (When we took apart the Willys for disposal in 1960, we had to cut off part of the frame to keep the Traction-Masters™ front brackets as per a set)
    They stuck out slightly below the Willys Coupe.

    1940 Willys Coupe at Lions dragsgtrip in 1960.

    There were similar installations, but to be true to the original design, most stuck to the original Traction-Master™ bar set up. In the later 1960s, as all designs will have modifications and new angles of ideas, the term “traction bars” got mixed up. As usual and the slang term for a different idea popped up and started a new saying. It had nothing to do with the original design concept of the Traction-Master™ design and function.

    “Since the 1950s, our famous Traction-Master™ Bars have been crafted at our original Los Angeles location. This design is still the best add-on traction enhancer even after 50 years of production. These bars direct the power from the wheels to the ground efficiently. Traction-Master™ Bars are technically superior and historically correct for all performance cars built in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s.”

    “It is a strong performer that is historically correct for the period”…of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

    “As the rear end rotates, a forward motion is developed which pushes forward on the pivot and forward on the body, not up as is the case with slapper bars. In the end, pinion angle is maintained and the car hooks. What you get is a car with less body separation than a slapper bar, but more weight transfer.”
    From @DDDenny

    47ragtop, A_Burly_Wind and jimgoetz like this.
  19. So much good info guys! Thank yall so much!
    loudbang likes this.
  20. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020


    Several of us were making our own "Traction Masters" in metal shop class in 59/60.
    jimgoetz, A_Burly_Wind and jnaki like this.
  21. jimgoetz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2013
    Posts: 412


    Yes, we just called the home made ones "Traction Bars".
    loudbang likes this.
  22. quicksilverart46
    Joined: Dec 7, 2016
    Posts: 460


    I think your talking about Traction Master bars. These were conceived in the fifties and sold as kits. A simple tubular bar with bushed pivot ends that use a thru bolt and brackets at the spring perch and front spring eye. They eliminate all wheel hop caused by the springs winding up and unloading up and down

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    47ragtop, jnaki and loudbang like this.

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