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Folks Of Interest REED Cams Decatur Avondale Georgia

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dynaflash, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. dynaflash
    Joined: Apr 1, 2008
    Posts: 506

    from South

    Just thinking if there is anyone here that has had REED Cams experiences they would like to share. I will start with the short version and if there is interest I will share more. I lived in the same neighborhood as John Reeds sister and was able to get a job there. This was 1974 or maybe 1975. I ground cams and did shipping at first and eventually worked in the machine shop. I remember working late one night running the dyno with a Bobby Allison engine on it when we heard a very loud bang on the door. Opened it up and found a man in his bathrobe and slippers that was mad because he could not sleep. Eventually the Police were called but the man was informed that we were in an industrial building and that the law stated we could continue. By the way John Reed was friends with all the Police and this guy was a race fan.
    I worked with some great people there and still think of all the great experiences
  2. Phil1934
    Joined: Jun 24, 2001
    Posts: 2,717


    I had a Mercruiser 470 cam reground when they were still by P'tree DeKalb airport.
  3. TR Waters
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,439

    TR Waters
    from Vermont
    1. Early Hemi Tech

    Excellent camshafts. Excellent tech. Excellent service.
  4. randydupree
    Joined: May 19, 2005
    Posts: 661

    from archer fl

    Do you guys remember Jimmy Wilson?
    he worked there too,way back .
    Nascar and indy car guy.

  5. DAVEG2
    Joined: Feb 27, 2010
    Posts: 332


    I have one in my 355 ci stock car engine that I built 20 years ago. I still run it once in awhile. It's a damn good cam.
  6. dynaflash
    Joined: Apr 1, 2008
    Posts: 506

    from South

    I do not remember him. When did he work there? My time was on New Street before the Peachtree Dekalb airport days
  7. dynaflash
    Joined: Apr 1, 2008
    Posts: 506

    from South

    John died when his WWII trainer plane hit the ground. He was an avid airplane builder and pilot. When I was working there he bought a NOS radial engine that I had the pleasure of removing from the olive drab crate. It was something to see. I believe this was the engine in the plane he crashed but not sure.
  8. JC Sparks
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 728

    JC Sparks
    from Ohio

    We ran Reed Cams in Pro Com in the 70's. JC
  9. Thumper
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,610


    I remember that New St. in front of his shop looked like the starting line at the strip with all the tire marks...LOL
  10. I sold cam cores to John back in the early 80's and had occasion to go to the SEMA show banquet with John, his wife Linda, and Charlie his sales guy. We had a great time and Willie Nelson was the entertainment after the awards presentation.

    I still have bunch of BBC roller stuff he did for me. John was a great guy.

  11. I literally called all over the world trying to find a company that could grind a 4/4 firing order roller for my BBC supermod engine. Tried Reed, a shot in the dark as they didnt sell "cams", they sold lobes on a stick...

    They were the greatest people to deal with. I remember a nice older woman that handled the phone, and she handed me off directly to a fine southern gentleman who was the head of engineering. He know exactly what I was talking about! I got exactly what I needed, exactly when it was promised. Cam wasn't cheap, but I wasn't expecting it to be.

    I'm guessing they are now out of business?
  12. eppster
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 223


    I ran a Reed cam in my first dirt stock car, handed in down to a friend when I moved up to late model. It was a hell of good solid lifter cam.
  13. gibraltar72
    Joined: Jan 21, 2011
    Posts: 260

    from Osseo Mi.

    Charlie Chops Guessin if you were from Muskegon back then you also did biz with Wolverine Gear I worked for them in 60s and made quite a few trips to pick up lifters. Don't remember where our cam blanks came from but know most were ground at Camshaft Machine in Jackson,
  14. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,819


    Years ago Waddel Wilson wrote an excellent book on building race engines and John Reed wrote the section on cam selection and in talked in depth about ramp speeds, center lines, and a number of other very interesting things about cams.

    I still have the book to this day.

    Excellent reading for anyone interested in cam design and looking for a better understanding of cams.

  15. deeddude
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 127


    I bought 4 camshafts a few years ago when I was racing, still have 3 in running engines. Best camshaft purchase(s) ever. The last one that they made for me the guy on the phone called me back and told me he wanted to do something different than what he previously told me he designed. I was pleased with the results. IIRC; his name was Dennis. Great service. What ever happened to the company? <O:p</O:p
  16. Country Gent
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 562

    Country Gent

    Ran a couple in my VW offroad racer back in the 70-80s. Great performance.
  17. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091


    If you had a circle track car in the Alabama / Tennessee/ Georgia area you had a reed cam. Birmingham international/ Huntsville and Nashville Tenn on Asphalt. He used several dirt teams from atlanta and the macon Ga area for dirt devolment. These were all his test beds.
  18. OoltewahSpeedShop
    Joined: Oct 18, 2007
    Posts: 3,103


    My Dad used Reed cams exclusively. We had a shelf full of them at one time. After John died we had Comp copy a few of them that we still use in our dirt racers to this day.

    The cam designs for oval track stuff is legendary.... I have one of his short track (Martinsville) roller cams in my 358 Hot Rod engine right now.

    Glad to see this thread dedicated to a really smart guy.
  19. RGG
    Joined: Sep 4, 2010
    Posts: 166


    Back in the eighties I had a friend who decided to take his 67 Camaro back to completely stock. He had tricked out his 327 with a custom grind cam setup from Reed. He sold it to me for next to nothing. I loved that cam as it had the bet sound and performance of any other cam I have had before or since.

  20. sprint3
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 50


    I had Dennis work up a profile for me several years ago for a super light long rod combo for a limited sprint car engine. A kick ass camshaft..sure miss those guys at reed...was a quality deal from the get-go...
  21. captmullette
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,929


    i've got a friend, john lee that worked there also, i had a 65 chevell in the 80's that me and a friend raced at the athens ga, speedway , john reed cut us a cam just for our motor and the 3/8 mile dirt track. 355 iron double hump heads 2 bolt main . ran it for 3 years. my partner kept the car after we quit racing, about 3 years ago i decided to buy a 31 sedan and build a street/drag car, called my friend and to bs some and he said i still got our old motor, it's in my car now and still sounds great, we lost the cam card so i dont know the specs but im going to drag race it some this year......

    Attached Files:

  22. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 398


    Had Reed do a solid lifter "blower grind" cam a few years ago for the 261 motor in my avatar. I think it was Dennis I talked with...great guy and I got a great cam. Was very pleased with the way it ran.

    Is Reed no longer in business? I was going to hit them up on my next motor, a 389 Pontiac blower cam.
  23. chopnchaneled
    Joined: Oct 21, 2004
    Posts: 1,419

    from Buford Ga.

    was bill hughes aka "swing belly" there when you were?
    got to know him when he was doing heads for petty and such later on. he used to talk about when he was at reeds also ron thaker aka "krome cranks" we were all neighbors.
  24. when i was involved in racing in the 70s- 80s several of the motors had Reed cams in them. i believe one those cams was handed down to me and ended up in a 301 chevy
  25. Phil1934
    Joined: Jun 24, 2001
    Posts: 2,717


    John Reed moved to Mallard Landing in Locust grove, a fly in neighborhood. Plane crash on 7/2/97. After takeoff, a witness observed a puff of black smoke coming from the engine. Shortly thereafter, the airplane nosed down and descended rapidly. During the on-site examination of the engine, it was observed that the #6 cylinder head was separated from the engine. Metallurgical testing on the cylinder head revealed that the fracture was indicative of high temperature separation or overstress.
  26. captmullette
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,929


    always wondered wht happened
  27. dynaflash
    Joined: Apr 1, 2008
    Posts: 506

    from South

    Yes I Bill was there then. He could fall asleep at a red light but wake back up and drive off. I did not know where he went to later on though .
  28. dynaflash
    Joined: Apr 1, 2008
    Posts: 506

    from South

    I had not heard that part of the story. Thanks for the info
  29. flatmotor40
    Joined: Apr 14, 2010
    Posts: 566

    from georgia

    I ran Reed Cams in the 70's in my big block and I sold my FED to a guy that worked at Reed in the 70's Don't remember his name.But a couple years ago had Reed grind me a cam for my flathead since they are in Henry Co.Would like to know what happen to the dragster
  30. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,912

    dirty old man

    Back in the 60's and 70's I ran dirt ovals around the GA/AL area on a limited basis, and mostly in limited late model sportsman. Started out with a cheap Chet Herbert grind cam and later used the Z28 'optional' 140 cam.
    Roscoe Smith, a local racer who also had a speed shop business finally talked me into installing a cam from John Reed. Did it during the week in mid season.
    First time out with Reed cam was 3/8 mile banked track @ Douglasville GA. The limiteds and top class late models warmed up and hot lapped at the same time after the track was ironed out by everybody in all classes. We always cruised around till everyone was out on the track and had a couple laps warm up, then the green flag flew. The hot dogs in top class wouldn't hesitate to playfully tap, or push you if you got in their way during these hot laps, just reminding you to let them by. Didn't happen too often to the fastest of us in limited though, cause our tires were better suited to the still wet track.
    That night I was on the backstretch when the green came out and I dove into 3rd turn and worked the throttle till I got around to come off 4th turn and punched it like always.
    The car hooked up on the track and pushed me back in the seat so hard that I thought one of the hot dogs wanted by and was giving me a push! A look in the mirror revealed no one close behind! The engine was just that much stronger! And all I had done was change the cam.
    Another friend of mine has always said his cams were rough on valve train parts, but I never had any trouble with that setup. Ran it for the rest of the time I raced till other factors forced me to quit racing.

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