Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NZ Weekly News Jan26 1970

My good buddy Stan Scott found an original copy of this magazine in a junk shop, I've seen these pics before but never actually seen the publication in REAL LIFE like. Very cool.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paul Gommi's '32

I met Paul last year in Pasadena and shot some pics of his very cool '32. The pics and an edited version of the interview are in issue 7 of Glory Days magazine but the full details are too good to miss out on - so, here is the full unedited version with all the info straight from the horses mouth. Check it out...

"I was a fine arts painter in Greenwich Village, NY. Decided machines were a media of today and built a top fuel dragster. Won 26 meets out of 32 by 1965. Also assembled  road racing Lotus Ford cars for Mike Goth.  Carroll Shelby called and asked me to come to work for him building engines for the Trans-Am Mustangs and the GT 40 Fords for LeMans.  After winning Lemans, Keith Black hired me to develop the 426 Hemi and I built engines for Miss Chrysler Crew, The Hawaiian, Mr Ed Hydro, Super Chief, etc. etc.
  Next Had Gommi Racing Engines making the first fuel injector for Racing Harley Motorcycles, and built engines for everything from hydros, flat bottoms, Top Fuel, Funny Car, Injected Funny CAr, A Gas supercharged, Gassers, Top Alcohol, Road Racing, etc. Ran and drove my own Top Fuel Dragster which was the first successful Rear Engined Dragster on the West Coast. I Set track records at Lions, Irwindale, Orange County, and Seattle.
   In 1974 was approached by Enderle Fuel injection to do a catalog.  Did it and then followed by Keith Black, Ed Pink, Waterman,
Venolia, Russell, Simpson, Lenco,  P.S.I., Rossi, Kosman, Ken Cox. Then went to U.S.C. at night, got a Masters in Marketing and
did the advertising for  Bill Miller,  Competiton Cams (Comp Cams), Venolia, Racing Head Service, Russell Performance, Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS), T.C.I. (Torque Converters Inc) Danekas Blowers, Mert Littlefield Blowers, etc. etc.  Built the "High Energy Coupe" that was a street driven 1933 Ford full fendered street legal coupe that ran 10.20 x 148 MPH in the 1/4 mile featured in Hot Rod MAgazine
and numerous other magazines.
  At night started building cars.  First one I did won Best 33-34 Ford at the Western Nationals.  Second car I did was a restored
1934 Ford Roadster that won the Dearborn Award (Highest scoring car in the Country) and was put on display at the World's Fair in
Vancouver Canada, (now in the Ron Pratt Collection).  Went on a built 8 Dearborn winning cars which are all in Museums or high end collections.
Built several Hot Rods including a Goodguys "Street Rod of the Year", class winners at the Grand National Roadster Show, numerous Concours
d'Elegance events and various Hot Rod Shows. Last week my 1932 Ford Phaeton won "Best in Show" at the Edelbrock Show over 425 cars.
My 1932 Roadster was assembled by 5 G.I.'s in 1947 right after the War. They all threw what parts they had into the car and
went dry lakes racing.  The car was driven by Jack Ewell who went on to become head of Mickey Thompsons  Speed Shop,
the engine was built by Car lJohnson who went on to become Johnson and Mooneyham
and Carl built the famous 554 Coupe. Lokers, Schmit, and the Steckers
were also involved.  The best we know of the car ran 128 MPH. in 1949
   When they quit racing in 1951, they each took their own parts home.
    I knew of the body being at Bill Kemperman's storage building for
years, but had never seen it. I kept making offers to Bill until one day he finally agreed to sell me the car.
 My vision for the car is the same for every car I ever touch.  I look at every single piece and say to myself:
"Can I make an improvement to that part to make it perform better, or even look better?"
That's pretty presumptuous, so I'm very careful not to touch or alter anything I can't improve.
  So, the way my cars look is strictly a result of the changes I made
to improve the performance, or function, or safety, or drivability of the vehicle.
   My roadster has a Top, working windshield wipers, turn signals,  cowl vent, horn,
parking bake, trunk with spare tire and tools, working gas gauge, truck glove box,
water overflow recapturing system made from a WW 2 Army canteen and WW 2 hoses, A Bugatti interior rear view mirror, and a Chrysler Airstream outside rear view mirror. etc
 I spent a couple of years evolving the car into a street drivable car, but only using parts that were available before 1951. There is not a single aftermarket or reproduction part on the car.  The engine is a 1937 21 stud Ford block, (in 1938, Ford went to the 24 stud blocks up to 1951.)
The heads are original 1934 Ford Aluminum heads (WITH THE WATER PUMPS IN THE HEADS) that I milled and plunged the valve pocked for the higher lift cam.
   I designed the cam and Bill Jenks of Potvin ground it before he died.  I used Lincoln valve springs and Johnson lifters,
and old Chevy valves. I did my own 5 angle valve job and undercut the valves for flow.
  I designed my own full flow oil system that pumps the oil out of the oil pan and into a remote airplane filter
and then into  the engine, so all oil is filtered before it enters the engine.
  I used a SCoT supercharger (Supercharger  Company of Turnin, Italy) that was made in the 1940's.I had to design and make all the mounts and drive and generator mounting, AND MAKE EVERYTHING WORK WITH THE WATER PUMPS
IN THE HEADS) I don't think it's ever been done before. I made wood  patterns of everything to see if the belts would work and clear
and have enough are on the pulleys.  Well, it all works great.
  The fuel pump is a double diaphragm 1932 Blackstone school bus pump. Ignition is an old Mallory dual point I modified and it uses special condensers and coil.
  The car features a very rare Pines Winterfront whose vanes open and close depending on the temperature. (they didn't invent thermostats
till 1934.)
  The headlights are Ultra Rare Electrolines built to replace the old BULB headlights on fire engines in 1939 when sealed beams were invented.
  The brakes are REAL 1939 Lincolns and have a very deep backing plate so the front wheels ware actually in their stock location as they were in 1932.  The reproduction 1939 Lincoln brakes on the market are actually copies of 1940 Lincoln brakes which
are shallower like a 1940 Ford brake. (the manufacturers got it wrong).
    The Wheels on my car are called "High Clearance Wheels" that were offered by all the manufacturers to raise cars up for deeply rutted rural roads.  The Ford wheels, often called "Divco" wheels were never on
Divco Miilk Trucks,  You went down to your Ford dealer and bought them to raise your car up.  The wheels on my roadster  were fromthe Chrysler dealers.  They are 20" on the rear and 18" on the front.
Since my car has an original 1932 rear end, the highest gear ratioyou could get was 3.54. The only way you can go down the highway at a reasonable RPM is with a 7:00x20" tire which is 34" tall and allows me to go 75 MPH at 2,400 RPM.
  The transmission is 1939 Ford and the rear brakes are also 39 lincoln. Tailights are 1935 Chrysler Airstream. The dash board includes a 1932 Chrysler cluster and an old clock I found and a real Jones mechanical tach in the dash that won't work with the double belt blower pulley on the car now, so I have a 1940's Sun Tach and there is still an old hand pressure pump in the dash and a matching fuel pressure gauge that I hooked up and it works great.  I also
have a Boost gauge from a WW 2 Fighter Plane to monitor the blower boost (6 lbs.)
 I chopped the original top Bows and all the fasteners came from the Old Long Beach Ford Plant and the material came from searching old Upholstery supply warehouses. The rerar window is an original 1933 Ford Roadster with
original dated glass.  The seat material came from the same searching on original 32  springs and wood. There you have most of it.   Regards, Paul Gommi"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dirty Love!

Just got issue 4 of Dirty Love Magazine in the post - looking good Chops!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Family Three On The Tree - the missing '55

I've been in other lands on adventures, polishing dentures, securing debentures and cultivating dementia - hence no posts recently. It was great while I was away to get this email from Adam who's father and I both owned the same '55 Chevy. I've been trying to track it down, with little success, (seems the plate no longer exists so the person who bought it off me either has the car in a thousand pieces and it's not on the road OR it's been re-registered) but Adams dad just filled in a bunch of the cars history for me. Every car has it's own story - I'm stoked Adam's dad took the time to give me this info. Also, a few pics from when I owned it.

Hey Aaron,

Managed to finally get my old man to write down what he knew about the black '55 you both owned, here's what he said:

"Hi Adam. Ah yes, that fabulous black '55. The Chevy was N.Z. assembled in Trentram and shipped to the G.M. dealer in Invercargill. If I remember correctly it was registered in September '55. The proud first owner was Cyril Thomas More of Riverton. He owned a sawmill and timber yard. The Chevy was in his care for 20 years until 1975 at which time it had covered only 54,000 miles. That year Thomas and his wife embarked on a North Island holiday in the Chevy. On reaching Hamilton the radiator core failed and Thomas drove into Ebbett Motors to remedy a repair. While the car was being repaired the salesman, surname Boag, traded the Chevy for $500 on a new HQ Holden Belmont 202 coloured mustard yellow. The salesman retained the Chevy for his own use until 1981 at which time it had clocked 76,000 miles. Incidently it resided in Auckland. I presume during his ownership it had one repaint in the original black. The car was advertised for sale in the N.Z. Herald mid '81 for $2500. I phoned the owner and he informed me that he had probably sold the car as it was out on a test drive. A female doctor from Greenlane Hospital had bought the car, Helen Elizabeth Scott. In February 1982 the car was advertised for sale again at $3600. I phoned Ms. Scott and made arrangements to fly to Auckland from Hawkes Bay to view with the intention to purchase. Helen and her partner lived in Ara St. Remuera. Her partner owned a very clean '57 Ford Custom 500. On driving the '55 I was quite excited as I had never driven one that was so tight, quiet and rattle free! It was reading 82,000 miles on the odo. We did the deal at $3000 and Judy and I headed for home on the southern motorway. I was delighted as it sat at 70mph solid and quiet, with just that shimmy of the black bonnet at speed looking out over the hood bird. At Huntly the right rear tyre demolished itself so we put a new 670 x 15 on at the local garage for $50!
Once home in Napier I cleaned, groomed, tidied, serviced the Chevy over a period of time whilst enjoying her. I owned another '55 at the same time, a scruffy but original light blue and white 235ci stick which I had uncovered as a garage find on Bluff Hill Napier. The black '55 was registered AB 469. In 1983 I procured a '56 265, bored it to 283 std, Corvette heads, finned valve covers, 4bbl Rochester and installed it with a detailed engine bay, new ball joints, shocks, bushes, cadmium plated parts etc, to simulate a Power Pack 265. I widened the steel wheels and added moon caps. It looked real good and had some boogie! It was mated up to the original 3 speed on the tree. I used the car sparingly as it was some Sundays only and owned it up until 1990. I sold the car less V8, but still had the 235 which went with the deal. Also she went back on standard wheels and caps. I sold the Chevy in a weak moment to a guy named Lenny someone from Hastings. I kind of regretted modifying the car from total stock, orig. and I guess I wished I had kept it untouched.  The interior was all original and had grey and maroon leather in tidy condition with the rubber floor mat. I hope that this long chapter fills in some detail and that Aaron enjoys the read! Cheers Dad."


Monday, May 19, 2014

Over She Goes!