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Tom Senter

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bdamfino, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Bdamfino
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 295

    from Hamlet, NC

    Can anyone provide more info on the late Tom Senter? He wrote for Hot Rod/Car Craft in the seventies, also was editor of Popular Hot Rodding. He also wrote the definitive book on Flatheads, and raced at Bonneville with his Ardun roadster. My favorite quote of his was concerning an engine swapper he met outside of an antique Ford store, changing heads under a near new Plymouth , '57 I think. When asked why the owner had put a Ford in the Plymouth, the man said, "I blew up the Olds". Classic!!!
  2. motroman
    Joined: Feb 10, 2006
    Posts: 1


    I own Tom's "Tirebird"(He called it the "TRANSRAT", after installing an LS6 454) which was the subject of many articles he wrote in Popular Hot Rodding, Car Craft, etc.
  3. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,990

    Member Emeritus

    Tom Senter was the real deal. Among his many accomplisments was the writing of a comprehensive article (s) on the Chrysler Hemi. I believe they were called "The Hemi white papers". died way too soon and we were deprived of his knowledge and skill. He also owned a '32 roadster with an Ardun.

  4. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 1,477


    It was actually a comprehensive article on the Ardun called "The Ardun White Paper"
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  5. Rolleiflex
    Joined: Oct 25, 2007
    Posts: 703


    There's a great article on Arduns in The Rodder's Journal issue #25. It talks about Senter and his "Ardun White Papers". The article also has some great pictures of Tom's blown Ardun and mentions that he even ran it in the '80s at Bonneville in a Camaro.
  6. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,917

    need louvers ?

    I do know that his '32 is the bright orange one that Dennis and Debbie Kyle out of the L.A. area have been running for the last twenty years or so. Always one of my favorite cars. If you have a complete collection of Rodders Journal, Studio shots of his Ardun engine were in #4,5, or 6. As far as I know he didn't edit Popular Hot Rodding, but did edit their entry into the street rod market throughout the seventies 1001 Custom and Rod Ideas. I highly recomend aquiring a collection of that mag if you have a chance. His writing was always very personal and could keep you glued to page for quite awhile. Another one to look out for done by him is in ROD & CUSTOM QUARTERLY, fall 1971. It's a story about riding with Jake from L.A. to Tulsa nationals in the Neikamp car. One of the best hot rod trip stories, ever, in my opinion. I never fail to read that story at least once a year, usually the night before my L.A. Roadster show trip.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  7. hammeredabone
    Joined: Apr 18, 2001
    Posts: 734


    Tom Senter was a great writer, He did an article on repairing some 32 rails. He was standing in a field with high grass, asked the owner where the rails were, got a reply, "You're standing on them"!
    RIP Tom Senter
  8. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,741


    I knew Tom, and he was a bitchin' guy. Something of a Renaissance man, to boot; he built neat hot rods, wrote about them in a very literate and readable style, and judged the Ferrari class at the Pebble Beach concours.

    I went to visit him once with a buddy, to see and hear his blown Ardun run. He said, "anyone who will drive 30 miles to hear an Ardun run is a man after my own heart," and he fired the thing for us. It was in the deuce, but was not yet a driver. Got a ride in the TransRat that day; scary fast.

    Several years later he ran the Ardun in Mark Dees' roadster at Bonneville, and then drove straight through to Carmel with the roadster on a trailer to judge at Pebble Beach. To entertain a group of wackos, he fired the car again on the trailer just to make a bunch of great noise. This was in Carmel in the late evening, and the Ardun woke up everybody for a mile around.

    He hosted an annual party and barbecue at his house in the SF Valley. Guests were invited to bring interesting cars and park them on his lawn, a neighborhood car show. The strangest variety of hot rods, sports cars, and classics would show up -- as I recall, he awarded a price for the weirdest car, but I don't remember any of the winners.

    He left us way too soon.
  9. I am new here and have been doing some thread searches and found my friend Tom.

    He was a great guy. I met him when he was building the 32. Wescott body with the Ardun. His goal was 200 mph on the salt. I was at his house several times cus we did repair plumbing for his landloard.

    He road with me to the 1977 Winfield weekend in Vegas

    Got a some pics on a slide carosel.

  10. ol fueler
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 935

    ol fueler

    I had no idea Tom only made it to 40 years -- he left so much of a footprint that it seemed like he should have been around since Hector was a pup.
    I all but memorized his Ardun White Paper. RIP TOM.
  11. J. Fitzhugh
    Joined: Nov 7, 2004
    Posts: 294

    J. Fitzhugh

    The Ardun white papers written by Tom were and still are the definitive piece on the Ardun. It was published in several segments by Rod & Custom in the late 1960's. One issue had Tom against a red background on the cover with his blown Ardun readying for Bonneville. On one of the Rodder's Journal Issue 25 covers (we always do two), we tracked down Tom's original blown Ardun and photographed it with the same red background, at the same angle. It was our way of paying tribute to Tom. It is the only cover shot of Rodder's Journal to date that I am aware of just a motor. Steve Coonan knew Tom, as he came out to California and joined the publishing world in the late seventies. I was strongly influenced and admire his work, but never met him. I can honestly say that his writing changed my life by instilling passion for old Ford hot rods and flatheads.

    His signature ending to his letters from what I have been told is "Hot Rods Forever".

    I've always liked his style. RIP Tom from an extreme fan.
  12. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,917

    need louvers ?

    I always liked the story he wrote about aquiring his pair of Ardun heads. Something about a friend tipping him off to "some unusual race stuff" on the top shelf of a parts store/ repair shop. He walked in obstensibly to ask about a Chevy water pump and pretended to notice this "old junk on the shelf" and after some history and hemming and hawing, the owner ended up giving the set to him! He went on about backing his El Camino into the shop as quickly as he could and loading up and getting out ofthere even faster... I'll dig it up if I can think to do it in the next day or so.
  13. I can remember a conversation I had with him when we road to Winfield Weekend 1977. He said that he had done an interview with two out of the three best automotive minds. The first beeing Zora Arkus-Duntov and then Leo Goosen (not necessarilly in that order)

    He was really looking forward to an interiew with Ed Winfield. He said it was a high point and now he had done all three.

  14. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,917

    need louvers ?

    I Remember the article "The Winfield Weekend" from 1001 Custom and Rod Ideas. I wish that I could have tagged along on that one...
  15. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 3,560

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    Hey there Jay,
    That red cover issue was their last before they started again in 1974. The Tom Senter issue, June 71 was their swan song....
    I'm glad they came back!!!!!!!!!!!! It was one of their best issues ever!!!!!
    Dennis and Debbie keep driving the wheels off the 32. Very iconic 32.
  16. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 5,347


    I only wish that Tom Senter was still alive. He did so much and I am glad his legacy lives on.
  17. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,320

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    I really enjoyed reading his articles and following along on his builds. He seemed like a super nice guy and down to earth in a Tex Smith kind of way........someone you would love to share a cold one with.

    It was sad news to find out he had passed on so soon in life. :(

  18. Carl La Fong
    Joined: Jan 5, 2009
    Posts: 2,203

    Carl La Fong

  19. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 22,396


    19Fordy, Thank you for posting the cover photos, that is how I file things in my mind, have all three issues up in the attic. Didn't Tom start with '32 chassis and a '27 T body, then swapped it foran A, and finally found the '32 body? Bob
  20. Old Rod
    Joined: Dec 5, 2004
    Posts: 617

    Old Rod

    Always enjoyed Senter articles also Bud Bryan. To give some credit to
    a Midwesterner Cotton Werksman also gave input to some of the Ardun
    articles Tom published.
  21. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 7,583

    Atwater Mike

    Actually, Tom started with the '32 frame, and completed the chassis. ("Building a classic Hot Rod: An alibi" was the title of the first part. (R&C?)

    A friend had a '27 body, Tom tried it on the frame...He said: "Beautiful fit with this body, but alas. It's too small for my own."

    He then tried the Model A body, and was surprised it was hardly any bigger inside that the T.
    That was when he bought the 'glass '32.
  22. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 5,347


    That is so true. Cotten Werksman's contributions to making the ARDUN flatmotor a legend
    shall not be forgotten. I think he still fiddles with them and his son is also a HAMBer. I only know what I have read about these "masters' of the ARDUN".
    Just imagine if all these fellows could write a book. It would be fantastic and a wonderful way to preserve hot rod history as well as their own legacies.
  23. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,059

    from Hampsha

    Cotton's at Tulsa '73

    Attached Files:

  24. b-bob
    Joined: Nov 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,045


    I remember reading this at the time, I thought the T body looked so good on there and I would have been so happy just to have that.
    He was probably much taller than me.
    I really enjoyed his writing, he and Jake were my favorites, I could relate to these guys.
  25. ronnieroadster
    Joined: Sep 9, 2004
    Posts: 662


    Part of my learning curve with building and then tuning my ARDUN was by reading the ARDUN white papers.
  26. jetman
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 28

    from n.c.

    I believe the body of the 32, now owned by the Kyles, was by Steve archer. Not a wescott. Very limited run
  27. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,320

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    For me, those days of Rod and Custom Magazine were the very best. Hot rodding had been somewhat dormant for a while because we could all buy an off the lot muscle car for $ 99 a month that was faster and cleaner than our old dirty hot rods, but a few people kept the flame alive. Tom and Bud were two of those people.

    It was so refreshing to pick up a new copy of R & C and find cars that we could relate to and that excited us to want to get out in the garage and build one of our own again. We all have them to thank for bringing hot rodding back to the forefront once more.

  28. RussTee
    Joined: Mar 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,129


    I think Tom almost single handed kept traditional hotrodding alive at a time when muscle cars where taking over. Hot Rod mag lost the plot and it looked as though the others where about to follow suit, that would have changed the scene for good then Tom started producing articals in a very personal traditional way that made it seem to the average backyarder that traditional rodding was still possible. He lived their lifestyle and made it appear that the average Joe could still achieve and have fun with a hobby and big money and seemingly out of reach goals could still be reached. He was an inspiration and someone his readers idenified with sorry he left us so soon .
  29. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 838

    from Minn. uSA

    Hey, QMDV;

    On the Winfield article: do you know how much, if any, of the interview was edited? Anything you can add? I liked the parts about flathead breathing & the methods to get there. I was surprised not much was mentioned on cams. Also, a quick comment was made on Ed having figured out where Einstein screwed up on his Theory of Relativity - & then that was dropped like a hot potato! WTF? Man I was hoping to find out what Ed had found...

  30. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,177

    Deuce Daddy Don

    I met Tom when he was working for Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo in the late 60's while I was doing welding on space simulator equipt.
    I had just finished my '32 roadster when we met up over car talk. Tom was quite a guy!---Left us way to early in life.

    The story about riding to the Tulsa Nats in '73 was true, as it got passed around quite a bit in car circles back then.

    Cotton Werksman was an Associate member of the LAR club in the pix shown on pg.1.

    Had the pleasure of traveling with Bud Bryan & Tom Medley in Bud's '29 hiboy to the Detroit Nats in 1972 & back to L.A.------Don

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