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Jack Safro’s “8 Ball Special” pays tribute to early modified racing cars. His son John Safro built the car secretly for Jack over a three-year period. John tried hard to keep it a secret. However, Jack saw the car at a place called Tom’s Auto Body and told the owner Tom that it looked like a car he used to race.
After telling Tom some old racing stories, Jack asked if he could buy the car. Tom told him he was sure the owner didn’t want to sell it. Jack inadvertently ran into the car again while it was at a shop getting the Dan Frank interior installed. Once again it was “not for sale.” Finally, in 2008, John presented the car to Jack at Paul Clarkson’s open house at his Horsepower Garage.
The car is based on the 1934 Austin Bantam coupe that Jack used to race five nights a week back in the 1950s. Back then, it was common to flat tow cars like this to the track behind a convertible. Jack usually made more money racing a car in that era then he made at work. “I would always race clean,” he said. “So, that I could race again the next night.”
The 8 Ball is finished off so that it is streetable and Jack can drive it to car shows. The red interior color is taken from Jack’s SC430. He always said that color interior would look great in a hot rod.
In building the car, John used the same type of torquey flathead Ford V8-60 engine that race car builders used back in the ‘50s. For safety’s sake, he went to front disc brakes. The tires resemble those used on Jack’s old racing car in both style and sizes. The hand-painted graphics were taken from photos Jack had of the car dated 1962. The presentation of the car in 2008 was perfect timing, as he enjoyed the thrill of receiving it, although he never actually got to drive it. Now, it stands as a tribute to his early racing career.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Iola Old Car Show is looking for nostalgic racing cars like the 8 Ball Special to feature in its “Race Cars & Pace Cars” theme display the second week of July. If you own any type of vintage racing car and would be interested in exhibiting it at Iola please contact: Iola ’15, PO Box 1, Iola, WI 54945 or visit www.iolaoldcarshow.com.
All of the paint was removed from the body and the parts using a process called soda blasting. Soda blasting is gentle on metal, environmentally friendly and a lot easier and cheaper than other forms of automotive paint removal. S. J. Krueger Vintage Auto did the work on these parts.
ON SATURDAY MARCH 21, Steve Krueger of S. J. Krueger Vintage Auto will be coming to GUNNER’S GREAT GARAGE in Manawa, Wis., to present a seminar about soda blasting. The seminar will start about 9:30 and will go for as long as Steve wants to talk and everyone wants to listen.
As usual, attendance at this seminar will be free of charge and 3G’s will serve refreshments. We’ll also be happy to give tours of the back shop where three restorations are currently in progress.
PLEASE RSVP to let us know you are coming so we can plan for the proper size crowd. Email Gunner at Gunnellj@TDS.net or call his cell at 1-715-281-5925.
This one came in via “TV Tommy” Kujava’s blogsite and we thought we’d pass it on for anyone intewrested in hot rods.
By the way, we saw Tommy at the Milwaukee World of Wheels today. It is always fun talking with him.
Here’s the link to the Hot Rod Shop auction:
We asked Rick Paulick to update us on the NEW MOTORAMA (www.newmotorama.com) indoor car show that he is doing in Green Bay on April 3-5. This show is going to fill Shopko Hall and the Brown County Arena with competition vehicles, hot rods, classics and bikes. One section of the show will spotlight Corvettes, which is cool because this is the 60th Annivrsary of the V-8 Corvette.
If you go to the www.newmotorama.com Website you’ll be able to review all of the features of the show such as dealer displays and vendors.
Here is the latest news from Mr. Paulick:
It has been almost two years since we last did a Saturday morning seminar at Gunner’s Great Garage and people have asked us to get them going again. To meet their wishes we have been talking to people willing to come to the Garage in Manawa and share their knowledge of the collector car hobby.
Ed Sarri, a representative of the “Corvette Adventures” and “Muscle Car Adventures” events based in Wisconsin Dells will be coming to the shop on Saturday morning, April 18, to talk about Corvettes and muscle cars. Some of you who are into hot rods will also be interested to know that Ed is the guy who brought the Good Guys tour to the Dells last year.
Wisconsin back roads are perfect for driving collector cars like Corvettes and GTOs. Ed’s guided “Adventure” tours are designed to give car enthusiasts some of the best of Wisconsin’s back roads. “Corvette Adventures” and “Muscle Car Adventures” start in the Dells and run over three days with the cars taking different tours that vary in time and distance. All the driving adventures include winding curvy roads traveling through Wisconsin’s ever changing scenery. All road tours offer fun stops along the way in many inviting Wisconsin towns and places.
Ed will be at Gunner’s Great Garage on Saturday April 18 to talk about his tours and about Corvettes and muscle cars in general. The Garage will supply free admission and free refreshments and free “bench racing” time, so mark your calendar and come on by on April 18.
We are also talking to another hobby expert about doing a seminar on soda blasting to remove paint from a car body. So, who knows? We could have another seminar going before April, but for now circle April 18 and come see us in Manawa.
Gunner’s Great Garage LLC
E6110 Fuhs Rd.
Manawa, WI 54949
So far we are having a mostly mild winter in the upper Midwest this year and this has been bringing lots of visitors to Gunner’s Great Garage. One person who stopped by recently was Rick Paulick, who is trying to fill the vacuum that was created when the “World of Wheels” left Green Bay, Wis., several years ago.
Paulick is a salesman for a small Chevrolet dealership that sold 140 Corvettes last year. That’s the most Corvette sales of any dealer in the state, so Paulick knows what he’s doing. His New Motorama event will take place April 2-4, 2015. It will feature competition vehicles, hot rods, Classic cars and motorcycles in the Shopko Hall and Corvettes in the Brown County Arena.
Paulick said that trophies will be awarded and added that there will be a special award for the best car club. Courtney Hansen from the “Power Nation” TV show will be on hand all three days and at the trophy presentations.
Paulick said that information about the show is available online at www.newmotorama.com. You can also call (920) 660-2674 or email Paulick at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll be happy to tell you all about his new show–or sell you a new ‘Vette.
We have been working on my son Jesse’s 1949 Studebaker Commander Starlight coupe and after we took the engine up to Antigo Auto Parts to have it rebuilt, engine guy Bob Andes called us up. “This timing cover has a bad dent in it,” he said. “And there is a spacer piece behind the water pump that the mounting holes are cracked on. Can you get these pieces for me?”
At first we thought Bob’s request was a pretty tall order. You can’t just buy Studebaker parts from a catalog. Then, Jesse hopped on eBay to see what he could find. Within a few minutes he came up with a timing cover for me to bid on. And it didn’t take much longer to find the water pump spacer.
When the parts arrived, we noticed that they both came from the same place–RPM Motorsports in Albert Lea, Minn. So we decided to see if this parts supplier had a Website. They sure did. It’s www.rpmclassicparts.com. We linked over to it and started reading. Here’s what it says:
“Think back to a time when Friday night meant cruising Main Street, racing for pink slips and showing off your wheels at the parking lot. The memories are timeless, as are the cars we have grown to love.
Your classic old car makes a statement. It may evoke a memory of another time, another place, or ownership may be the fulfillment of a dream. Looking at your investment portfolio is not nearly as much fun as driving your classic car. And chances are the car will be an investment, too.”
When the parts we ordered for the Studebaker arrived, they were neatly packed and the shipment included an invoice and business cards for RPM Motorsports. And best of all, both parts were in really great shape.
So, if you are trying to find unique, limited-edition or hard-to-find parts for your American-built Classic car, RPM Classic Parts specializes in that niche. RPM says it has 14 employees and gets in more 1927–1972 classic cars and trucks everyday. Hopefully, they can get you the parts you need. If they can’t, they will search them out for you. They did a great job with the parts we needed for the Studebaker engine.
U.S. Toll Free: 1-877-489-9163
Tell them that “Gunner” sent you!
By John Gunnell
It seems like everyone has been talking about Green Bay lately. There is a football team there called the Packers that’s doing well this year.
We don’t follow football, but right down the street from the Packar’s historic Lambeau Field is the Brown County Arena. It used to host the Green Bay “World of Wheels” that was promoted by Bob Ashton, who manages the Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals these days. Now a fellow named Rick Paulick has announced that he’s reviving car shows at Brown County Arena and starting with an All-Corvette Show in April 2015.
“The Green Bay, Wis. area hasn’t had an indoor car show for a few years since the World of Wheels ended in our area,” says Paulick. “So. I have rented both the Brown County Arena and Shopko Hall to try a Motorsports Show in one building and an All-Corvette Show in the other. I’m looking for 70-90 Corvettes of all generations and vendors. My website is www.newmotorama.comt.”
The All-Corvette Show at Paulick’s inaugural Motorama & Motorsports Expo is scheduled for April 3-5, 2015. Shopko Hall will feature vendors. The Brown County Arena will feature the car show. The car show theme will change.annually. This year’s kick-off event will feature the All-Corvette Show. Paulick says the theme “Honors the release of the Gen 7 Corvette, which may be the most successful new-car debut in history.”
My friend Ralph Kramer, who was Chevrolet’s Director of Public Reklations for many, many years, grew up as an Indiana farm boy. In 1955, when he was about 12 years old, he and his friends decided to spend the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianaolis 500 Mile Race.
They traveled to the “Brickyard” — the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — and found a spot around the track where they coud stand and watch the race. (I guess the track was a little less built up back then).
Prior to the start of the race, the Official Pace Cars circled the track. The pace car for 1955 was a red and white Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. The man driving the actual pace car was wearing a white blazer and red tie. Sitting on the rear deck was entertainer Dinah Shore dressed in a white skirt and red top. She was holding a bouquet of flowers and waving to the crowd.”There we were,” said Ralph. “A pack of impressionable young hids standing there in our jeans and T-shirts and we just knew that Dinah Shore was waving right at us!”
Bring your vintage racing car to Iola!
My reason for telling this story is to announce that the theme for next year’s 2015 Iola Old Car Show will be “Race Cars & Pace Cars.” The car show committee is getting together this week to lock in this exciting concept and to start looking for vintage Race Cars and Pace Cars to put in the spotlight at Iola. If you know of someone who has such a car and would like to exhibit it at the Midwest’s largest old car show, please tell them to get in touch with the Iola Car Show office. Here’s the info:
Four Days of Exciting Family Fun – IOLA ’15
Featuring Pace and Race Cars!
Email your “PACE” cars to
Email your “RACE” cars to
Include your car info and
contact information for
consideration for IOLA ’15.
From July 9-12, Iola becomes home to the Midwest’s Greatest Old Car Show and Swap Meet!
Call now: 715.445.4000
Last winter the red Fox Valley Technical College Firebird became the “Silver Streak” with a new paint job.
The Firebird you see in these pictures has flown to a speed of 193 mph over the salt flats at Bonneville, Utah. That was back in 2011, when the car was painted red and we took it to Bonneville Speedway with a student team from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.
Things have changed a bit since that time. Driver Dave Sarna traded another car the Fox Valley Tech and took possession of this one. Most or all of the young guys have bowed out of the project. Bonneville was a bit grueling for many of them. They’d rather drag race on Friday nights at Wisconsin International Speedway with their friends watching. As a result, the Bonneville team dwindled down to the veterans who were advisors in 2011.
Despite some intensive work sessions in Tom Ale’s garage, the car wasn’t ready in time for the September event at Bonneville.
Plans to return to Bonneville in 2012 failed to gel. In fact, very little got done to the car that year. This turned out to be a good thing, since the weather at Bonneville that fall was bad and the “World of Speed” event that we ran in was affected. Chance are the long haul to Utah would have been a wasted effort.
In 2014, a lot of work was done to the car—including the new “Silver Streak” paint job—but as fall approached we began to realize that we were not going to join the Utah Salt Flats Racing Assoc. (www.saltflats.com) at the “World of Speed” for the second year in a row. Despite all the efforts put into the car and the engine, our low-budget project did not come together on time.
Too bad! From what we hear, the 2014 “World of Speed” was an outstanding event. Motorcycle racer and team owner, Valerie Thompson, set her 7th land speed record on her CTEK sponsored BMW S 1000 RR. Thompson made her first pass at 209.85 mph and the return run was 207.71 mph for an average speed of 208.81 mph, high enough to take the record in the MPS-6-1000 class and put her in the 200 mph class. Another record was set by a race team closer to home, on Sept. 7, when Milwaukee Midget Racing’s MG Midget established a new course record of 122.539 mph for the I/GT class. This was the oldest standing record in the GT category. It stood unbeaten for over 22 years.
Work on the “Silver Streak” Firebird is continuing, with hopes of taking the car back to the “World of Speed” in 2015.