When Barrie Neff of Victoria, British Columbia, was a young man in the '60s, he was, as he puts it, "building cars like a madman." Many have probably faded from memory, but this is one he remembers with fondness.
"The little roadster (perhaps one of the real, original rat rods) started off as a decrepit '31 Model A, and ended up deeply channeled with a GMC six sporting three Rochesters on a McGurk intake, with McGurk exhaust manifolds to match. I ran a Packard three-speed floor shift, which we all acknowledged as being one of the strongest trannies available back then-but the Jimmy had so much torque I'd twist off the pilot shaft like plasticine with frustrating regularity. It got so I could pull the engine in 20 minutes to replace the damn thing ... but with some shame now when I think of the perhaps six or seven transmissions I butchered to keep it running.
"I don't think I've ever owned a car (including a Mercedes and a Jaguar V-12 E-Type), that I've had so much fun with. The roadster brings back lots of terrific memories-like driving in the pouring rain, keeping to at least 40 mph to stay somewhat dry, and never even considering getting a top!"
Mail your vintage photos of you and your hot rod, along with a brief story to: Tim Bernsau, Rod & Custom, 774 S. Placentia Ave., Placentia, CA 92870, or e-mail them (3x5 inches at 300 dpi) to email@example.com. We are unable to return any submitted material.
A Tri-Five for the TroopsSuper Chevy, one of our many sister publications, is promoting a cool project car that is part buildup, part great cause. The idea behind Project '57 is to build a complete 1957 Chevy from donated or sponsored parts and products, then take the finished car to the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction and sell it. All proceeds will then be donated to the Armed Forces Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial services to U.S. troops and their families. The Super Chevy guys have created a dedicated Web site (www.projectamericanheroes.org) featuring numerous concept drawings of final versions of Project '57, drawn by Eric Brockmeyer. Military personnel were invited to vote for their favorite version of the car. By the time you read this, a winning version will have been selected. Check it out.
NHRA SoldThe National Hot Rod Association, drag racing's preeminent sanctioning body, was acquired in May by HD Partners Acquisition Corporation for approximately $121 million. The organization will continue to function as a nonprofit corporation under the name NHRA Pro Racing, and will retain the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series of 23 national events, as well as all non-professional racing activities.
When Wally Parks and Robert E. Petersen of Hot Rod magazine founded the NHRA in 1951, it turned drag racing from a hobby into an established segment of motorsports by establishing strips all over the country, promoting national events, and creating rules and classes.
Goodguys Hits the stripDuring the recent PPG Nats in Columbus, Goodguys teamed up with Altered Gas Performance Events to host the Flashlight Drags. Many Nats participants drove to nearby National Trail Raceway to run the street-style drag race program, open to hot rods of all kinds and enthusiasts of all experience levels. All races were heads-up, with no brackets or classes, not even Christmas trees or clocks. Just a starting light and a win light. They call it "street racing, without the jail time." We call it "run-what-cha-brung" fun.