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Old 05-03-2017, 10:09 AM   #31
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Default Re: Nitro engines back in the day

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George,

Tom also mentioned more then once at the Beach (Lions) the car would not start because of the cool, moisture ladened air that was coming in at night and they had to DNQ and leave! The Nitro load they were running was not happy! Dave
I believe that the Surfers ran a higher percentage than most everyone else in their Chrysler. The thing is that as you went up in the percentage, you had to compensate somewhere else. The cylinder pressure inside the combustion chamber with nitro is tremendous, and the more nitro load (higher percentage), the more cylinder pressure. The norm for most dragsters was about 85%. If you wanted to run 90% or even higher, you had to figure out how to keep the cylinder pressure from destroying the engine. You could change pulleys on a supercharged car and reduce the boost, or you could use a camshaft with more overlap (the longer the duration with both the intake and exhaust valves open, the more cylinder pressure you could bleed off). Or you could pull timing out of the engine. Everything was a trade-off and once you got to a "formula" that worked for your combination, you usually stuck with it.

The "beach" (Lions) was almost always damp in the evenings. We ran on Saturday with qualifying during the day and eliminations beginning around sundown. As the damp air (fog) rolled in, things changed. The gas powered dragsters usually picked up a little. But the damp air caused problems on the track for the fuel cars and it was easier to overpower the track. As the rounds went on (we used to have 32 and 64 car top fuel fields at Lions) and the time got later, we had to pull some power out to keep traction on the top end. The combination you qualified with was not usually the combination your ended the evening with. Lions was a very tricky track to race on...
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:04 PM   #32
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Default Re: Nitro engines back in the day

They did run more load at the end then anyone. Tom stated in the series that when he and Skinner first built the motor they used a known combination of the pistons .250 in the hole and the Engle/Howards cam. Because he was in college he had studied Nitro years before and learned some things that the average hot rodder would not know. Tom and Skinner did not play follow the leader, they made their own way which makes them very interesting to me.

They got their digger working, put some laps on it, and Tom started using his own theories on piston design and he put all the pistons he dreamed up at .400 in the hole and started increasing the load. He would have new pistons made every week at M/T of his own design, he had his 4 holes and he gave Mickey the other 4 holes to design whatever he liked, they would check them every week and take what worked and trash what did not. He eventually got to "running the can" and that is why the Surfers sounded like no other in the pits and on the track. That was another part of their mind game they played every week. No Hydrometers and they put blue food dye in the Nitro to get everyone talking!

After they beat everyone at the March Meet they were finally taken seriously! Dave
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:04 PM   #33
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The staging lanes at Lions on a Saturday. This was one of those 64 car Top Fuel meets. What you see here are at least eight lanes of T/F dragsters, for as far as the eye can see, getting ready for the first qualifying round. 80+ cars would show up to try and make the 64 car field. Today, there are not this many Top Fuel dragsters in the entire world as what are in this photo...
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:17 PM   #34
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The staging lanes at Lions on a Saturday. This was one of those 64 car Top Fuel meets. What you see here are at least eight lanes of T/F dragsters, for as far as the eye can see, getting ready for the first qualifying round. 80+ cars would show up to try and make the 64 car field. Today, there are not this many Top Fuel dragsters in the entire world as what are in this photo...
I see two 1967 or newer Ford pick-ups in the foreground to date that picture so it is at least 1967 or later. I wish I had been on the left coast to have been a part of that. That would have been something to see!

Dave
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:23 PM   #35
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They did run more load at the end then anyone. Tom stated in the series that when he and Skinner first built the motor they used a known combination of the pistons .250 in the hole and the Engle/Howards cam. Because he was in college he had studied Nitro years before and learned some things that the average hot rodder would not know. Tom and Skinner did not play follow the leader, they made their own way which makes them very interesting to me.

They got their digger working, put some laps on it, and Tom started using his own theories on piston design and he put all the pistons he dreamed up at .400 in the hole and started increasing the load. He would have new pistons made every week at M/T of his own design, he had his 4 holes and he gave Mickey the other 4 holes to design whatever he liked, they would check them every week and take what worked and trash what did not. He eventually got to "running the can" and that is why the Surfers sounded like no other in the pits and on the track. That was another part of their mind game they played every week. No Hydrometers and they put blue food dye in the Nitro to get everyone talking!

After they beat everyone at the March Meet they were finally taken seriously! Dave
I can tell you that these guys were fun to be around. Playfull as hell in the pits, riding bicycles and skate boards in the pits. To the extent possible, they did everything on the cheap, including using off the shelf Wix oil filters from Pep Boys. They used shim gaskets between the supercharger and the intake manifold, and a specific Gilmer blower belt, so they did not need to use (or buy) a tensioner pulley. Their push car was a '55 Chevy with a straight-6 engine, and they toured the county carrying everything they needed in the trunk of the car, including the tool box.

There was a time when all you needed in order to own and race a T/F dragster was being smart. Being super rich did not come into play until later in the game. Today, it's not always possible to even get a 16-car field at NHRA National Events, and only 4 or 5 car owners own all the teams.
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:32 PM   #36
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That was another way they dated the pictures of the Surfmobile, did it have weedburners or zoomies and did it have the idler pulley or not. They only ran the idler at first as part of their "known" combination and then Jobe and Skinner went off on their own tangent and did what they wanted to do after they had a baseline on the car. Dave
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:03 PM   #37
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That was another way they dated the pictures of the Surfmobile, did it have weedburners or zoomies and did it have the idler pulley or not. They only ran the idler at first as part of their "known" combination and then Jobe and Skinner went off on their own tangent and did what they wanted to do after they had a baseline on the car. Dave

18-wheelers are for hauling freight. The Surfers hauled ass. There is nothing on this car that did not have to be there, and most of it was home made. The wing over the front end was carved out of wood...
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:15 PM   #38
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Tom Jobe talking to the editor of Hot Rod Magazine at the Surfers World Headquarters, a 1-car garage at the Red Apple Motel in Santa Monica, CA.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:16 PM   #39
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18-wheelers are for hauling freight. The Surfers hauled ass. There is nothing on this car that did not have to be there, and most of it was home made. The wing over the front end was carved out of wood...
Because of the Douglas plant that was in Santa Monica at the time there was a design school there that a guy named Jerry Bailey went to that supported the aircraft industry and he on his own made the scoop for the Hilborn and cast it in aluminum and gave it to the team. They only had a yellow rattle can of spray paint at the Red Apple Hotel where they kept the car and Skinners Mom managed and that is why it is yellow!

Bailey actually made several for the car because every time they broke an exhaust rocker arm they launched the blower and ruined the scoop. Tom still has the last scoop that was on the car and he kept it when the car was sold. Dave
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:38 PM   #40
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Watch the 29 part video that Bill Pitts did on the Surfers, EXCELLENT!

It will take awhile but it is riveting! Especially if you are old school like me and used to read about these happenings in the magazines.

What you can take away from this is unless they broke an exhaust rocker, hydrauliced the motor, and put the blower in orbit they did hardly nothing between rounds! Then they would leave that race win, lose, or draw and sometimes drive to another one that night or the very next day and this was before there were the network of freeways that there are on in Cali!

One of the episodes tells of them kicking a rod out and windowing a block, they were still in the show, it was at night, and whole teams came to their pit (including Jim Brisitte and Ed Donovan) put the car on it's side and did some trickery to get to the next round!!

Bill did an excellent job of putting this together and it is a "must see"!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5tx-ntJEXw

Dave
I'm on #22, great stuff. Thanks for the post!
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:24 PM   #41
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Tom was a full time college student and Skinner worked at Shelby's when he worked, he was in and out a lot. One of Tom's part-time jobs was at a Honda motorcycle dealer and he got really good at making spoked wheels from scratch. That is one reason the front wheels on the Surfmobile are so nice. He was in demand for this kind of work and did a lot of the front wheels for other teams.

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Old 05-17-2017, 02:35 PM   #42
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I found this interview from Hot Rod magazine about the Surfers, in particular it is Tom Jobe talking about what they did at the track on their car, here is an excerpt:

http://www.hotrod.com/articles/from-...nd-how-to-win/

"We didn’t work on the car much at the track, we’d get it ready beforehand. The not working on it made everyone else crazy. Nobody had that kind of reliability. They didn’t think it was possible. We had our deal figured out where you couldn’t kill it. Everybody else had too much compression ratio, they’d have to back up on everything else, back up on the nitro, back up on the ignition advance, back up on the other settings, so if you could get them to panic, to change something, you could get them to blow their own stuff up.
We got all the way to 100% (nitro) but mostly we ran 98%, 97%. People were running 70% at the most. Most people would run 50 or 60. We got to 100 when most people were running 70 or 80 and not reliably. It’s all about detonation vs. burning, cross that line and it’s over, parts are on the ground. We had our set-up so you couldn’t get across that line. We’d analyze every failure and try and figure out what really happened, and at the dragstrip, we’d try to have as much time as possible to analyze everyone else’s failures. You’d learn as much as you could from their failure without having to buy the parts to replace it. The parts are screaming at you, if you’ll listen hard enough, they’ll tell you what they want, but you gotta listen too when they whimper a little bit and you can catch them before there’s a problem. That only works if you don’t detonate it. It you detonate it, you’re going to push everything out on the ground."

Dave
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:58 AM   #43
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Bill Pitts has released "The Surfers" episode #30 and #31 and I have them attached for all of us "Fuel" addicts! I hope he has more in the pipeline while Tom Jobe is still here to tell us how it really was back in the day on the Surfers team! Good stuff!



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Old 09-26-2017, 12:11 PM   #44
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This was the first "recreation" of the Surfers dragster and it was completed in 2008 but I don't think Tom Jobe is behind it any longer, there is another one being built that is being done by friends of Tom and he is behind that build, video exists of it's pre-construction and I have seen it, I will try to find it again and post.


It is too bad that no one knows where the original car is, hopefully someone that does not want any attention has it in the rafters somewhere and it will surface one day, that car would be worth a mint on the cackle circuit!

Dave
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Old 09-26-2017, 12:30 PM   #45
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Salute to Tom Jobe on his 70th birthday by Bill Pitts! Look for the yellow scoop of the Surfmobile in the videos!


Dave
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