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TV Tommy Ivo’s Barnstormer Top Fuel Dragster

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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!

Barnstormer Chute Sun 1 BB

Marc McCormick in Ron’s recreation making a smokey pass and getting the laundry out at Bakersfield in 2008

 

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TV Tommy with Annette Funicello

 

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Ivo racing Don Prudhomme in the 60′s

 

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The Barnstormer in the 60′s

 

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Ron Johnson and Tom Ivo

 

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Match racing Don Garlits in England.
Smoking the tires, all crossed up and never lifting.

Making flames at the California Hot Rod Reunion Cacklefest

Making flames at the California Hot Rod Reunion Cacklefest

TV Tommy with Martha Hyer and Keenan Wynn

TV Tommy with Martha Hyer and Keenan Wynn

The Barnstormer and its push car:  a matching Buick Riviera

The Barnstormer and its push car: a matching Buick Riviera

 

Ron's recreated Chizler with the Greek in the seat

Ron’s recreated Chizler with the Greek in the seat

The Chizler in the 60'sThe Chizler in the 60′s

CHRR

 

More Cars making Their Debut

at the 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion

In addition to many returning cars, a number of historic race cars will be making their debut at the 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion on May 17 at Southwestern International Raceway.

Schultz & Glenn

Schultz & Glenn Back in the Day!

Schultz & Glenn Back in the Day!

The Schultz & Glenn fuel dragster is the last front motored car to win the NHRA Top Fuel Championship.  In addition to winning the Championship in ’71, Driver Gerry Glenn, Crew Chief, Owner and Designer Bill Schultz, and Builder Don Tuttle (California Chassis Engineering) took the car to victory at the PDA Meet at Orange County Raceway, the Grand Prix at
Irwindale, and defeated Don Garlit’s First Rear Engined Car for the NHRA title.

The dragster was bought in 1972 by Paul Gerber and ran in different classes in various configurations in the years that followed.  In 2012 Paul, Mark Smith and Troy Glenn reassembled the car back into the Schultz & Glenn trim.  During this time Paul was stricken with ALS, but the car was completed before his passing.  Paul’s Son Danny and his wife Crystal now own the car and Troy Glenn displays it at major events.  There is an article on the dragster in the current issue (Spring) of Nitro Madness magazine.

 Schultz & Glenn

 

Schultz & Glenn

Schultz & Glenn

 

Schultz & Glenn

 

Schultz & Glenn

 

The crew

The crew

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse top fuel dragster was from Salt Lake and was owned by Rex Parmain and Dan Richens.  There were a series of their dragsters, with this one being the second one that was built for the 1971 season.  The dragsters were driven by Al Person at first with Dan Richens taking over in 1972.  The Iron Horse dragsters were always hard runners and frequent competitors at major events throughout the West.  The Iron Horse is now owned by Sam Chastain.

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

 

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

 

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

 

The Iron Horse

 

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

 

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

The Newhouse Special

The Newhouse Special in 1963

The Newhouse Special in 1963

In 1963, Gary Cagle, one-time police officer, avid drag racer, and innovator built one of the most prolific Nitro-burning roadsters ever to hit the Southern California drag strips.  With the sponsorship from local speed shop Newhouse Automotive Gary scorched many of the local drag strips by running elapsed times in the mid to upper 8 second category with speeds exceeding 175 MPH.  He successfully defeated many of the top fuel dragsters of that time, set a number of speed records, and won a number of Top Eliminator races.  In 1968, the car was sold and over the course of several years vanished.   This car is a “Tribute/Replica” of the old “Newhouse/Cagle” fuel roadster and was built by Joel and Dee Gruzen.

Joel and Dee extend a very grateful and special “Thank You” to the following people and companies for their help, support and assistance in making this beautiful recreation of a very special drag race car come back to life:

Jeff Smith – Hesperia, CA

Tracy Terry – Lakewood, CA

Dave Gruzen – Long Beach, CA

Brad Terry – Lakewood, CA

Robert (Stormy) Byrd – Reseda, CA

Dick Moseley – La Habra, CA

Art Carr – California Performance Transmission – Huntington Beach, CA

Joe Hansen – DJ Safety Equipment – Los Angeles, CA

Larry Ofria – Valley Head Service – Northridge, CA

Chico Kodama – Moon Equipment – Norwalk, CA

The Newhouse Special at Lions

The Newhouse Special at Lions

 

The "new" Newhouse Special

The “new” Newhouse Special

 

The Newhouse Special at Colton

The Newhouse Special at Colton

 

The "new" Newhouse Special with Ed Iskenderian in the seat

The “new” Newhouse Special with Ed Iskenderian in the seat

 

The Newhouse Special in 1963

The Newhouse Special in 1963

 

This will not buff out!

This will not buff out!

These historic race cars will all be in Tucson, along with many others, to light up the night at the Tucson Dragway Reunion!

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The Airport Marriott Hotel will again be the host hotel for the 2014 Tucson Dragway Reunion.  Discounted rates  of $64 per night for either a King or a Queen double room are available!   Book soon before they sell out. Rates are good from May 15th through May 18th.

Go to http://www.marriott.com/meeting-event-hotels/group-corporate-travel/groupCorp.mi?resLinkData=Tucson+Dragway+Reunion%5ETUSCA%60TDRTDRA%7CTDRTDRB%6064.00%60USD%60false%605%2F15%2F14%605%2F18%2F14%605%2F14%2F2014&app=resvlink&stop_mobi=yes

The Anaconda and the Olde Timer getting ready for side by side burnouts and putting the chutes out

The Anaconda and the Olde Timer getting ready for side by side burnouts and putting the chutes out

Our thanks to all of you who made this year’s Tucson Dragway Reunion such a huge success. We were blessed with a cool Tucson evening, had a record number of great cars in the pits and going down the track, the grandstands were full all night long, the pit area was always crowded with spectators, the car display area had over 200 hot rods and custom cars, the Nitro Blast at the end of the event had the spectators on their feet clapping and cheering, and most of all, many old friends got to see each other, new friendships were started, and a lot of bench racing took place (some of it even true!).

A very special thank you goes out to the Standard 1320 drag racing group for supporting the event.

A number of photographers attended the event and their images are available through the links posted on the event Facebook page.

We welcome your suggestions to help improve the event and make it even better next year. Please post your suggestions on the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/106292232861298/?notif_t=plan_user_invited or send them to dowens@merlesauto.com.

We are looking forward to making next year’s event even more spectacular.

Krista Baldwin launches under the watchful eye of Rick McDonald. Krista is the granddaughter of Chris Karamesines.

 

Speed Sport with Kenton Greth in the seat

Speed Sport with Kenton Greth in the seat

 

The Holy Toledo Jeep returned to Tucson

The Holy Toledo Jeep returned to Tucson

 

Paula Roth making noise and having fun during the Nitro Blast in the Beaver Hunter

Paula Roth making noise and having fun during the Nitro Blast in the Beaver Hunter

 

Big John’s FC launching hard

The Green Monster with owner Jon Rowley at the wheel

The restored Green Monster with owner Jon Rowley at the wheel

 

Del Wiesner's beautiful Gas Coupe

Del Wiesner’s beautiful Gas Coupe

 

Ray Ferry's Power King driven by Dan Rusk

Ray Ferry’s Power King driven by Dan Rusk

 

Jim Frye launching the Olde Timer TF dragster

Jim Frye launching the Olde Timer TF dragster

 

One of the WFA Fuel Altereds that put on a great show

One of the WFA Fuel Altereds that put on a great show

 

Ron Johnson’s beautiful recreation of TV Tommy Ivo’s Barnstormer with son Kol Johnson mashing the gas.

The Sidewinder TF dragster shoed by Cory Lee and tuned by Johnny West

The Sidewinder TF dragster shoed by Cory Lee and tuned by Johnny West

Another WFA Fuel Altered

Another WFA Fuel Altered