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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.

Dave
 

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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-the-source-tom-jobe-of-the-surfers-talks-dragsters-can-am-shelby-mickey-thompson-and-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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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!



Dave
 

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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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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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Thanks Dave and George for your contribution...:cool:
 

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Deplorable Basketcase
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just curious but from what I always understood Pat Foster was one helluva craftsman and his attention to detail was second to none..

so whats the issue with the one he built?
 

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Discussion Starter #48
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.
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.
I like to think I do reasonably well for myself, but I can't afford to buy a set of pistons every week.
 

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I like to think I do reasonably well for myself, but I can't afford to buy a set of pistons every week.
I would recommend that you watch all of the Bill Pitts series about the Surfers, they had NO money, they did not originally use M/T pistons, Mickey chased the boys around and finally got his pistons in their deal but it had conditions, I am sure they got the pistons for free and Mickey got a lot of development and R&D done at hardly no cost. Eventually Jobe and Skinner gave Mickey a bank to do what he wanted and the boys had the bank with the other 4, this really accelerated development time and eventually Mickey got a really stout piece that he could market to the other fuel teams! Smart of both of their parts!

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Someday I will watch the whole series - maybe this winter when the weather is too crappy to work on projects. The two I've watched so far have been very interesting, particularly Tom explaining about how the heads and intake distort when torqued, and how they had their intakes surfaced on their assembled engines in a huge blanchard grinder.
 

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I found the Bob Higginson narrated video of the second Surfers recreation that is under construction, this is the one that Tom Jobe is behind and they are trying to use 100% period correct parts, they even had a knock-off scoop cast for the 4 port with Baily's name on it, should be amazing when done and Tom Jobe has already laced up a set of front wheels for it just like he did back in the day!


Dave
 

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Surfers #32!!!


Dave
 

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El-conquistador, sir
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At the track, Pull plugs, check valve lash, change the oil, check trans fluid, look for leaks, and after getting home, pull the pan usually change all rod and main bearings as the nitro blow by embedded every spec of dirt into the bearings. Pull pistons and check Teflon buttons and change rings on pistons, look for cracks on heads. The 392 heads were famous for cracks between valves. If the cracks were hairline they ran them again. I have the original 392 heads from the flying Dutchman charger and there are a couple hairline cracks at the valves, good to go again. The heads have amazingly smaller valves then I would have imagined. Back then if it wasn't broke they didn't fix it. They really ran into part failure when they went dual mags and pumps.
 

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Glad I checked this again. Thanks, George, Dave, and everyone else!
 

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And the cranks? Grab them by the snout and smack them with a hammer. If it rang like a bell, run it. If it was a dull thud it was junk.
 

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Thanks for the fun read!
I was fortunate enuf to have lived the dream, in the late 50's- 60's.
I was in the Midwest. Fuel racing was at it's best, at tracks like Cordova, the Grove, US30, Alton...With personalities such as The Greek, Sid Seeley, Connie K., the Schlitzers from Chitown.
Our car was the usual low buck, weekend deal.
The World Series was always the highlight of our season.
 

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NITROUS OUTLET FTW
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"The Surfers" Should be a thread all its own. Maybe a sticky even. it started out slow but it is just chocked full of fascinating stories. This is what made drag racing a big deal to everybody. Anybody could jump in and do it. Hey LAD would there be an issue if a thread was started?
 

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Great idea Bam, Frank and LAD could easily make a Surfers thread/sticky happen!

Dave
 
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