Thacker & Shine Roadster

The Thacker and Shine roadster was originally built by “Kiwi Steve” Davies in 1997 to run in the Street Roadster class at Muroc Dry Lake, El Mirage and Bonneville. It was built from an original ’32 Ford frame and Polyform fiberglass ‘29 body. Steve ran the car for a few years with some success and even got his father down the track in it at Bonneville. Time was up for Steve. He decided to move on to a new project and put the car was up for sale. Tony Thacker had always wanted to own a car for competition on the hallowed ground of Bonneville and El Mirage. Tony talked to Jimmy and a team of owner and driver came to be. Tony would be “the wallet” and Jimmy “the shoe”.

Like many rods of the early days, this street-legal roadster was truly a dual-purpose ride. It would routinely be driven to the races at El Mirage and transformed into a competitor; headers un-corked, windshield removed, E.R.C. race fuel installed, a few degrees of timing were put in the engine and then it was off to make a pass. The car easily ran around the 138 MPH range and the guys were hooked. Naturally, if fast is good, faster is better, right? The fuse was lit, so next came a new engine from Bill Mitchell at World Products: a 427 c.i. Motown small block went in to car. Then the guys drove out through the desert heading to Bonneville. After 648 miles from the garage to the pits, within a few passes they qualified at over 175 MPH and got them a golden ticket to head to the long course. Best time that week was 181 MPH on a car driven to the salt. The following year, a blown 355 c.i. small block from Pete Chapouris’s SO-Cal Speed Shop roadster got the car up to an amazing 192 MPH, but Shine spun it at the 4-mile mark. Tony took the car out next. Unfortunately, all the rods were kicked out and put a nice big window in the block.

The duo decided to build another blown motor and run for a class record in 2006. Bill Mitchell built them a 302 c.i. small block Chevy. Then, they put an 8-71 Littlefield blower topped with an Enderle “bug catcher” hat injector. The engine dyno’d at almost 800 HP—which was estimated to reach the 200 MPH range. With Speedweek only days away, the trip through the desert and onto the salt came fast. On the first pass there was a fuel problem and the car went lean and smoked a piston. The team did just what the guys back in the day would do: they rebuilt the engine, put a new piston in it, fired it and were back on the course in two-days time. The record was 203 MPH and Shine qualified at 208 MPH at the 4-mile mark, so it was off to impound and try to back up the run the following day. As the sun rose in the early morning hours, Shine backed up the run with a 204 MPH run and gave them the average of 206.454. Jimmy was now eligible for the Bonneville 200 MPH Club once the record got certified. It passed inspection and Jimmy was inducted into the 200 MPH Club by legendary racer Art Chrisman himself. The car has since been sold to Steve VanBlarcom. He too has earned a couple of 200 MPH records in it.

Todd Haas and his father Bob had started the gasser project some years ago. Unfortunately, Bob passed away before the project was in full force. Bob’s death was a surprise and Todd wanted to finish his father’s dream.

The ‘57 in its black stage was actually used as the push and tow vehicle for Todd’s ‘34 Ford G/blown fuel roadster at Bonneville in 2004. Immediately after the races, the ‘57 headed to SO-Cal Speed Shop for the final gasser transformation. The chassis was clipped at the firewall and Jimmy fabricated a 2” x 4” square-tube front frame. The front suspension utilized a stock, un-dropped ‘32 Ford front axle with a ‘28-‘34 transverse leaf spring package. SO-Cal hairpins and Wilwood brakes, E.T. 12-spoke wheels and Mickey Thompson treads. The rearend is a 9” Ford packing 4:30:1 gears with the parallel leaf springs moved to the inside of the frame for tire clearance. Shine fabricated triangulated traction bars to control “wheel hop”. Rear rims are American Racing Standards and are quite rare. Abe Rodriguez sprayed the “Mooneyham & Sharp” blue paint. Ron Mangus stitched the white vinyl interior.

Shine built the chrome rollcage and mounted twin Moon gas tanks in the trunk. The front of the car features a deleted front bumper and a Moon tank plumbed into the fuel lines. This tank has a ball valve so it can be switched to race gas easily at the track. The engine was built by John Beck of Pro Machine in Chico, California. It’s a 327 c.i. Chevy bored .030 over with a rare Edelbrock X-1 manifold topped by six Holley 94’s. The car made 422 horses on the dyno. Shine built the Muncie M-21 4-speed as well as the custom headers and exhaust system.

In 2007, the gasser was completed during the filming of the ‘HARDSHINE’ TV show by the guys on the crew. For the episode finale the car was taken to Irwindale Drag Strip and run against Robin Silk driving the SO-Cal roadster. The race was close but the little ‘57 that could. . . . . did!

Indy Speedster

The “Indy Speedster” was a project started 20+ years before its completion by famed fabricator and sprint car driver Jackie Howerton. Obviously, there is a heavy influence from the Indianapolis racecars of the ‘50s and this car was to be a hot rod version of those Jackie loved. As things happen, time, money and other priorities get in the way and it’s time to move on, unfortunately.

In steps, Bill Lindig from Houston, Texas, opted to purchase and finish the car. Pete Chapouris and the crew at SO-Cal Speed Shop were just the guys to complete Jackie’s vision along with the details Bill had in mind. The body is all hand-hammered aluminum on a tubular chromoly chassis with some ‘27 Ford chassis parts included. An Art Chrisman-built small block Ford powers through a T-5 transmission and a Halibrand quick change, which makes the original magnesium Indy wheels go around. The partially-painted body by Mick Jenkins, the sparse interior by Gabe Lopez and all the incredible detail work by “Moose” Hutchinson, Ryan Reed, Evin Veazie, Justin Veazie, Robin Silk and countless other craftsmen, in addition to Shine, made the idea come to life.

In 2012, the car won the coveted title of “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” at the Grand National Roadster Show.

Vernola’s ’64 AFX Fairlane

This A/FX clone was built back East. Anthony brought it to SO-Cal Speed Shop to tailor it to his specifications. The 4-speed was replaced with a C-6 automatic transmission, custom rear rims by “Wheelsmith”, NHRA-legal roll bar and restraints were installed, a new drive-shaft by J.E. Reel. Finally, the back seat was removed and a simple carpet treatment was applied. It was ready for some bracket racing!

Ernie Nagamatsu 

max Balchowsky

old yeller mkii

In the fall of 1959, Max started the design and build of iconic Old Yeller II. More of that story can be found at www.oldyeller2.com ... the rest of the story with Shine speed shop to be added shortly