Tim Timmerman was one of the first employees to work at Blair’s Speed Shop in Pasadena at Don’s location on Arroyo Parkway before Blair moved to Foothill Boulevard and Daisy. Tim later became one of the premier racing engine builders in Southern California for over 60 years. Tim raced his hot rod wheel to wheel with some of the biggest names in auto racing in the ’40s.

My father never owned or even drove a car, Darrell Tim Timmerman of Santa Ana, California, begins. He was a butcher by trade and wasn’t interested in cars; he took the trolley to work. My dad was in his fifties when I was born in 1921. I was the last of nine children, growing up in Canton, Oregon, near Portland.

Even if Mr. Timmerman had an interest in an automobile, with the average wage of 22 cents an hour in the United States, the price tag for a new Ford in the first full year of production in 1909 was out of his reach at a hefty $825. It would be a while before there would be a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.

Tim purchased his first car, a Model T, during the depression. It was a running roadster that he bought for $7.50. He was too young to have a driver’s license: I got it home and one of my buddies wanted to drive it. I let him take it and he came walking back. You know, they had three pedals; he hit the center pedal, which is reverse, going fast and screwed up the trans. And not knowing anything about cars, I finally took it to a blacksmith a block away from my folk’s house. We took the engine out and I sold it to him for 50 cents.

I got my ’29 Ford roadster when I was in high school. Jim Travers was from California and he drove up to Canton in his ’29 Ford roadster and we became acquainted. Jim’s dad had a foundry in town. I knew there was a lot of hot rodding going on in California; I knew it was the center of all the action. (Travers, along with Frank Coon, later formed Traco Engineering (TRAvers & COon), which became a major engine supplier to the Can-Am road racing series.)

Travers had a four-banger too, but it was warmed over with a Winfield head and cam. Mine was bone stock. He was going on about how exciting it was that he made it from L.A. in his four-cylinder. I asked him when he went back to L.A., if I’d send him money would he get me a cam and head for my Model A engine? He said, Don’t do that, the guys down there are starting to put Ford V-8s in Model A’s. That’s the way to go.’ He talked me into it.

I went and got a V-8 in a wrecking yard. I found a ’35 Ford Flathead and put it in my roadster. It just bolted right up to the trans. I was young and didn’t really know what I was doing. There weren’t any speed shops in Oregon before the war, but I did it. I really and truly believe I was the first one in Oregon to put a V-8 in a Model A.

I was in high school at the time and taking wood shop. I asked the instructor to help my buddy and me make a mold for an intake manifold for the V-8. He said he would because he liked the idea that we were trying something challenging like that. We took it and had it cast. It had two carburetors and it worked, Tim laughs.

After Tim built his A-V8, one of his buddies built one too. They heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor was attacked. Tim continues, He said let’s go out and volunteer. None of us wanted to go into the Army; we’re going to go into the Navy. On Monday we went and volunteered. They took those two guys but when they found out I had asthma they wouldn’t take me.