TV Tommy Ivo’s Barnstormer Top Fuel Dragster
Veteran drag racer Ron Johnson has recreated three of the most famous top fuel dragsters of the 60′s. In 2003 the bug bit Ron hard and he created a replica of Zane Shubert’s Schubert & Herbert dragster. That was followed by Chris Karamesines’ Chizler and then Tommy Ivo’s Barnstormer. The Barnstormer will be one of the stars at the Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion on May 17th.
“TV Tommy” began in Hollywood as a child actor in 1948 and in a 19 year career appeared in more than 100 movies and 200 TV shows. His credits include Sunset Boulevard, The Babe Ruth Story, My Three Sons, Mike Hammer, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Lassie, a host of westerns, and starring roles in hit TV shows like the Donna Reed Show and Margie.
Much to the dismay of his studio bosses, Ivo was also a true car guy who started in hot rodding in the 50’s and was quickly drawn to drag racing where he became a respected driver and car builder. When his hit show Margie ended its successful run, Ivo became a full time professional drag racer who notched up a host of wins and set records around the country.
In 1962 he built the Barnstormer that became one of the best known and longest running competitive cars in the history of drag racing. The Barnstormer was the first car to run the quarter mile in 7 seconds, toured the country in a series of match races, was a star in the movie Bikini Beach starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, and toured England in the first NHRA world drag racing tour.
Ivo built and raced more than 30 cars in a distinguished racing career. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, is ranked #25 among the NHRA Top 50 Drivers of all time, and was the 2012 Grand Marshall of the California Hot Rod Reunion.
In 2006 long time drag racer Ron Johnson decided to recreate the legendary Barnstormer with the help and approval of Ivo. After painstaking research and with the able help of some of the best craftsmen in auto racing, Johnson debuted the “new” Barnstormer at the 2007 NHRA U.S. Nationals. Since then the beautiful car has been the star of a number of nostalgia drag racing events and car shows.
Rumor has it that the Chizler may make a surprise visit to Tucson this May as well!
For more information on Ivo and the Barnstormer – old and new – go to http://cacklefest.com/Barnstormer.shtml Go to http://cacklefest.com/cacklecars.shtml for more on the Chizler and on Schubert & Herbert.
Come on out and see some of drag racing’s most famous cars light up the night at the Tucson Dragway Hot Rod Reunion!