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History Sidewinder Dragsters some history

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by loudbang, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
    Member

    @6sally6 asked about a photo in the traditional thread today and got me looking around for info for him about a sidewinder.

    Found this GREAT article in Hot Rod all about them. All photos and words from here: https://www.hotrod.com/articles/crazy-world-sideways-sidewinder-dragsters

    There are some photos of them scattered all over the HAMB in many threads so let's get them a place of their own. :)

    The photos come out HUGE if you click on them great for computer backgrounds.

    The other part, that is interesting, is the other cars and people shown in the background of the photos, induction systems, slicks, and exhausts shown back in the day.

    There are a few more modern ones shown in the article but too new for the HAMB.

    The first of many of them. :)


    001-Sidewinder-dragsters.jpg


    1956: Bert Kessler and Dean Gammill of Mattoon, Ill, used a diminutive Crosley sedan body to house their gear-driven sidewinder. Most sidewinders favored chains to transfer power to the axle, so gear drive was somewhat novel. This was configured by removing the tail-shaft of a Borg-Warner transmission and in its place welding a gear onto the shaft. The shifting was handled by a hydraulic shifting mechanism. Power was from a 6-carb 324ci Olds appearing rather stock except for twin-coils. The Crosley competed at the NHRA Nationals in Kansas City in 1956.

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    Many more to come stay tuned. :rolleyes:
     
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  2. Speed Gems
    Joined: Jul 17, 2012
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  3. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
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    :rolleyes:...that's one way of freeing up some space I suppose...shoehorned indeed...one crazy Crosley...
     
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  4. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
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    I Love that Crowley, Just imagine finding That!
     
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  5. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    Next installment :)

    1957: Paul Nicolini and Harry Duncan out of Orange County, California, originally built this car, set up with a small block Chevy engine. Bent axles and flinging chains became a common occurrence leading them to sell the evil machine to Joe Mailliard.

    The Long Beach machine shop owner teamed with house mover Wayne Reed and graphic artist Chuck Jones, who raced a Fuel coupe before taking the reins of the “Automotive Engineering” dragster.

    This became the first of three sidewinder dragsters the team would campaign. Gone was the Chevy, replaced with a 550hp blown Chrysler Hemi, driving a solid axle by a stout double-row chain. A double-row chain also drove the supercharger. 70-percent of the weight was said to be biased to the rear.

    On gas it ran a best of 9.05 at 151.51 with Jack Chrisman at the wheel. By 1959 it was reworked with a lengthened chassis and new bodywork incorporating a zoomy tail similar to their new “5 Cycle” car. 5 Cycle was a marketing term referring to a particular type of Isky cam.

    Love the people and cars in the background

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    5 Cycle version will be posted another time :)
     
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  6. Great part of drag racing history. What a time to live in!
     
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  7. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 3,240

    41rodderz
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    from Oregon

    Super cool. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  8. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 337

    KevKo
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    from Motown

    Imagine the noise from the gear drive on that Crosley!
     
  9. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
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    Chain/Gear drive while wild was it reliable and efficient...150mph on gas is pretty impressive...

    It's also a very vintage technology and probably predates the conventional drives we usually associate with Hotrod/Race...

    It's interesting that the 20k Weinberg Racer in 47 failed to perform with absence of recorded times with a chain timing drive. It was not chain driven Trans/Axle however...

    Obviously in this case the science of was harnessed and delivered. Is there a relation to the sidewinder bikes that appeared back then...

    I'm gonna read the Hotrod Story...thanks for the link and thread @loudbang...;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  10. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,617

    Mike VV
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    from SoCal

    Interesting stuff.
    Thanks for the thread.

    I know that it's slightly off topic (year wise), but Garlits built one also.

    Mike
     
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  11. [​IMG]

    Here is the Garlits car pic from june
     
  12. another puppy in his museum

    [​IMG]
     
  13. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,100

    nrgwizard
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    from Minn. uSA

    IIRC, Garlits used a full gear-drive. Like 6-7 gears. Apparently, the gears had issues w/the power Don put thru them. The 2nd pic is from a rail that ran the drive shaft thru the lifter valley area. Neat thinking, but IIRC, rail didn't do too well, even though it had a lot of rear-bias-weight (80+%) & a long wb. Too bad, love the sidewinders the most. OT, but Jack Chrisman had a ford cammer sidewinder funny, that never did anything. Was sorry to hear that... ;( .
    Marcus...
     
  14. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

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    Guys those later cars mentioned are in the article in the link but they are too new to be put in here.
     
  15. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    1958 Oscar Taylor’s small block Chevy-powered sideways dragster from Drumright, Oklahoma, seen here at the 1958 NHRA Nationals, ran in the A/Gas dragster class. Weight was stated as 1050-pounds.

    4a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  16. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

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    1959 The second sidewinder product of Jones, Reed and Mailliard was the 100-inch “5 Cycle Special”, a more refined and sexier progression of the first sidewinder.

    Again powered by a blown Chrysler Hemi, this time with a Gilmer belt spinning the 6-71 blower, the short dragster was still chain-driven. This was a consistent 9-second car running over 160mph.

    With Jack Chrisman at the wheel both team’s sidewinders competed at the 1959 NHRA Nationals at Detroit Dragway, with this car going all of the way before losing in the final round.

    5a.jpg

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    5c.jpg
     
  17. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    1959 Though not technically a sidewinder, we couldn’t help including Fontana, California’s Ed Rannberg with his lightweight “No-Cam Special”. Powered by four-cylinder, opposed two-stroke, 100ci McCulloch drone engine, the gearbox was from an Ariel motorcycle. Running in the X class, it was driven by GR Hardin at the 1959 NHRA Nationals.

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  18. rgdavid
    Joined: Feb 3, 2014
    Posts: 346

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    Is that a ww2 drone radio plane engine ?
     
  19. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
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    loudbang
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    Yes it was.
     
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  20. rgdavid
    Joined: Feb 3, 2014
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    Thanks loudbang, a freind of mine has one hanging from ceiling at his army surplus store here in sth france, im very much a 2 stroke fan so i find this interesting,
    I wonder how much that little car weighed ?
     
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  21. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    1960 Still chasing the perfect sidewinder, Chuck Jones ventured out to create the “Magwinder” with this Kent Fuller 113-inch magnesium chassis featuring a Wayne Ewing magnesium body. Total weight was 1443-pounds. Supposedly NHRA VP Jack Hart signed off on the lack of a steel rollcage.

    One side note about this car is a pit mishap landed Chrisman in the hospital when the push bar broke, causing the push car’s bumper to catch the rear tires and catapult over the dragster landing on top of it. In the ensuing action the underside of the push car also caught the back of Jack’s head, scalping him from the rear forward.

    Finished in late-1960, the Magwinder competed in both 1961 and 1962. It is speculated that the extreme light weight combined with the rigidity of the mag chassis created launch and handling problems. Jones later owned a series of Formula 5000 racecars, and eventually raced in Formula 1. The Magwinder was later sold to Bill Mann who campaigned it with Iskenderian livery and without the rear cover.

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  22. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    1962 Lee Titus, proprietor of Lee’s Speed Shop in Santa Monica, California, would have had the most exotic sidewinder ever had he completed it. The chassis was set up for TWO gear-driven sidewinders, one in front and one in the rear.

    Two gears were attached to machined axles with special bearings. The back of each small block Chevy engine had a gear and idler assembly tied to the main axle gears, driven by two B&M Torque Master converters. Ron Hier was slated to shoe the twin, when Titus unexpectedly pulled the plug. It hung in the rafters of his shop for years before slipping into the ether.

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  23. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 23,660

    loudbang
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    1962 The Sidewinder Plus 1 from the team of Hammel, Cullinan and Mulvey from Lancaster, California, ran between 1962 and 1964 off and on, seen here at the 1964 March Meet at Bakersfield. Best times were 8s at 170mph.

    9a.jpg 9b.jpg
     
  24. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 417

    oldtom69
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    from grandin nd

    great stuff!!
     
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  25. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
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    I saw those being used as air targets in the early 60s still. So it;s also a Viet Nam drone. It's odd because it fires two cylinders at the same time. The two front ones move out together and fore t once. Then the rear. Or at least that is how Jack Costella explained it to me. He has one.
     
  26. rgdavid
    Joined: Feb 3, 2014
    Posts: 346

    rgdavid
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    Thats some vibration if the front two fire then the back two.
    In the 1980's 4 cyl motorcycle racing 2 strokes,,that was called the "big bang" crank timing secuence. Very torque but put a lot of stress on the back tyre.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
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  27. The Magwinder was a beautiful car! Any idea what brand those rear wheels were? I don't recall ever seeing a pair of mag wheels exactly like that. @loudbang
    7b.jpg
     
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  28. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 337

    KevKo
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    from Motown

    Assuming that wheel is 16", they might be Indy Roadster front wheels. Indy Roadsters at that time ran 16" front and 18" rears. So possibly Halibrand. Just my guess.
     
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  29. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
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    In that car it would be the left two and then the right two. Don't forget, That motor was made to be shot at. Didn't need to last to long. And it is much simpler to seal the crankcase with both pistons go up together. And come back to push the next charge in.
     
  30. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 852

    Hombre
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    Great stuff keep em coming!
     
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