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Folks Of Interest Zen & The Surfers

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Jan 18, 2023.

  1. Tom Jobe mastered the art of atomizing the fuel, they often tipped the can at near 100% nitro.
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 5,148


    After viewing one of the YouTube episodes I watched all 51 episodes. Truly inspirational to this dude.
    Tom Jobes observation about all that's left made me recall legendary comedian George Carlin's remarks about pro football, "The players change, the coaches change, the cities even change. At the end of the day what are you really cheering for? Shirts."
  3. 54BOMB
    Joined: Oct 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,113


    This is the vibe I’m trying to catch every time I drive my hotrod. 60’s drag racing is the coolest ever. I love the technology the surfers used . The extra injectors and high fuel pressure, fuel load and the cam specs . It’s all freakin awesome.
    mad mikey likes this.
  4. 1320 Fan
    Joined: Jan 6, 2009
    Posts: 197

    1320 Fan

    I was fortunate enough to grow up in the LA area within driving distance of five dragstrips that ran regular shows year-round. When Irwindale opened in late 1965, I had been racing about a year and a half at the local tracks. I had a class car but normally bracket raced every weekend. At Irwindale the hot cars pitted at the top end and pushed down a fire up road past the stock pits. When Sorokin lit that car, you knew who it was before you saw the 55 Chevy. I was mostly a carburetors and gas door slammer kind of guy but the people that knew just put down what they were doing and went to the fence. You knew it would most likely be low ET or top speed and worth watching.
    If you haven't seen the you-tube vids described above, take the time to watch them. Tom Jobe was a remarkable mind and talent. That 55 Chevy tow car/support vehicle took them on an eastern tour pulling a homemade trailer hauling tools and a few parts plus fuel and crew. When the fun stopped and the budget didn't balance anymore, they just moved on. I am so glad I was able to see it for myself.
  5. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 14,157

    jimmy six

    I was lucky enough to talk to Tom after he did all the interviews that were posted here at the “Dry lakes hall of Fame” prior to him passing away. I was fascinated by his use of too big of a fuel pump and what thought of as too small of a nozzle causing atomization and we talked about it.
    We also talked about his not using an idler pulley on the blower belt. He said one more thing to not go wrong. It was a pleasure to talk to him after all these years.
  6. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 8,871


    “We all kinda’ dabbled with C/Gas Willys and Mike drove a (C/Altered) roadster coupe with George Bacilek,” he remembers. “Anyway, all of us had messed with different classes and we finally said: ‘Classes? That sucks! Let’s build a dragster,’ but we didn’t know how to build one, you know.”


    Last month in December 2022, I had finished drawing my version of an unusual Competition Coupe. It was one of the first uses of a Willys Coupe as a Modified Altered Coupe, but for some reason it was shown with a B/C label sign.

    This event shown was 1961 and was one of the early race cars that mike Sorokin drove at Pomona in the pre-Surfers days.


    1961 Winternationals at Pomona was one of the biggest events in So Cal during those early days…

    NOTE FROM DECEMBER 2022 Friday Art:

    At the first Winternationals in 1961, my brother wanted to go see what the big time event was going be. Despite his injuries still on the mend, he wanted to venture out in the Impala to go to this historic event. He said we don’t have to walk around and talk to folks we knew, but we had our food supplies and drinks, so we were set. Plus, he was still a little shy about the bandages and scars from the incident. So, we were mostly incognito.

    Now, we found a cool place down the dragstrip up against a horizontal telephone pole to keep everyone back from the track that was right in front of us. Soon, a lot of other cars could not find any parking in the designated area and continued down to where we were parked. Front row center, so to speak, but we could see who was coming, but they flew by like blurred images.

    Much later, we found out several folks we knew about, won various classes and one that bit the dust during the eliminations, much to our delight.

    Mike Sorokin was a young drag racer and was getting his feet wet with his partnership in an Altered fenderless 33 Willys Competition Coupe. We could not remember the color of the car, but modern times allows us to play with a colorization photo program to see how close to reality it can conjure. The resulting color photo from the only B/W photo of these early days of drag racing provided a color that looked real. Everything in the photo is a “normal” color. Black tires, blue jacket, green trees and even rust here and there.
    Although, the program got a little carried away with the blue on the front tire. But, it is a close enough guess of the real color. There is no one around to tell us the right color and show any verification.
    Since this is the last of the December Red month of Art Cars, here is a Red version of the same Competition Coupe from the Mike Sorokin/George Bacilek team from 1961…

    We are all informed about Mike Sorokin’s drag racing history and the results speak for themselves…

    “Mike won the 1966 United States Fuel and Gas Championship in Bakersfield, California and the 1967 National Open Championships in Las Vegas. Sorokin had gained fame driving the “Surfers” Race Team entry and piloting Roland Leong’s “Hawaiian.”
  7. Agreed. Reading about the Surfers team in Car Craft and other mags of that time, their "mystique" was pretty well cultivated but the results spoke for themselves. I never quite got it then, but as years passed after seeing articles on their history (like the one @Ryan referenced) and the YouTube video series, the picture is a lot clearer.
    And, even more amazing.

    One highlight I have to share: At Goodguys Indy, 2006. In the staging lanes at the strip, the top fuel cars were lining up. What I saw sent a chill up my spine and a 100-percent shot of reverence through my brain.
    I had to pull my camera up to capture the moment:


    One of the weekend's highlights!
  8. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 4,299


    Just suppose that many, or all of us, who came from that time, were to have used the Surfers philosophies in our personal lives. What a great world this would be. Thank you, @Ryan, for giving me the opportunity to really see what they did.
    427 sleeper, mad mikey and Just Gary like this.
  9. Phillips
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,466


    Nitronic Research. It was great stuff.
    aircap and Just Gary like this.
  10. voxnut
    Joined: Oct 30, 2008
    Posts: 248

    from sacramento

    While the goal can't be the same as the Surfer's, I read Cole's article in Hot Rod when it was first published and it inspired me to build my dragster as a school to learn what I could learn and treat it as a journey.
    alanp561, 427 sleeper and mad mikey like this.
  11. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,733


    THAT'S IT! Thanks, man - I just couldn't get the old noodle to kick into reverse for that.
    Phillips and mad mikey like this.
  12. One of the things that Tom Jobe stated that I liked was, during the week the engine was torn down to bare block. Every part was cleaned, scrubbed and inspected. If something was worn or going toward a state of failure they figured out why and strived to improve it, even on their limited budget. They constantly analyzed everything.
  13. Jnaki ,

    I have always enjoyed your posts,,,,,,but that colorized pic of Sorokin is not correct .
    With all due respect,,,,,the paint on the car looks pretty slick to me .
    The paint on the hood is reflecting the windshield frame,,,,,,so it must be a clean paint job .
    The colorized version makes the car seem crappy and not a quality build .
    The regular car beside it has normal crappy paint,,,,but not the race car .
    I have no idea what the true color was,,,,,,but I’m confident it was a very nice paint job .
    Even the exhaust tube coming through the body was done clean .
    And the rear wheel is polished like a mirror .

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
    mad mikey likes this.
  14. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 8,871



    Thanks for your support on my stories. The history of various old race cars is thin and there are fewer folks to contact for the absolute accurate depiction of old builds and color. Mainly color as the proliferation of good color photos of those early race cars is few and far between. There have been many post in old brown/white hot rods and some even look like black and white photos.

    If one sees a good photograph, but has no idea what color it was or the memory banks can't quite get to that specific car, then help is needed. My brother and I were at the Winternationals when the Sorokin/Balcilek Willys Coupe was there, but it is a fleeting memory. The rehab/recovery of the burn accident was front in center. My memory is of our enjoyment of being at the drags and the time we had together was the highlight.

    So, when I saw this good black/white photo, I was curious as to the original color. The colorization programs are what the creator put in for his parameters on color in various places, trees, sky, clothes, etc. So, it does not always get it 100 %. The sky is blue, the trees are green and the blue color is probably the correct color. The old Desoto sedan in the next lane, is probably also the correct color as a faded out push or tow car.


    Thanks for taking the time to scrutinize the colorization photo. At least you are reading the info and story that I could remember as well as I could from 60 years ago. Also, we all wore our favorite Levi jean pants and those came out perfectly in the colorized photo. The old joke was that the oil stains, dirt were a symbol of being a hot rod guy and all just to make them stand up by themselves, as cool Levis. YRMV

    aircap and Desoto291Hemi like this.

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