The Virginia Muscle Car

Past Recollections

Recollections of 60s/70s

The below paragraphs are recollections of events that relate to cars and the people that own them. We do not have pictures to show you We only have mental ones and will try to describe as best we can. In addition, We do use public domain animated gifs as queues. Please realize I am not perfect here.

Pre Cars

Let me set the stage with a several short memories about Bill, Andy and Annandale High School ; the school we attended between 63 and 67 (the years of original Mid-year Stingrays). This was before we really got into cars. I really do not remember where I met Andy or Bill. I was the one that introduced them to each other. One of my first recollections of Andy was when he was up on stage during an Annandale High School dance in the Gym; he played in a band and I remember the band playing this song, Louie Louie by the Troggs (turn your speakers up). Andy played base guitar most of the time, but could also play lead guitar. He was even good enough to give guitar lessons and did.

(I think the blocker was a very young LT - not from AHS))

As for Bill, I remember he used to be the Annandale ATOMS High School football photographer taking movies during football games that helped the coaches later analyze their games and continue with Annandale's string of State Championships. I can still see Bill up on top of the pressbox alone with his eye glued to the camera's ocular in all kinds of weather, rain, snow, and even a hurricane. During this hurricane, the wind was just wipping his poncho all around - his eye stayed on the ocular the whole time getting all the critial plays on film. Both were cool guys and why they hung around with me I'll never know? Also of note,later Mark Hamill (Starwars' Luke Skywalker) attended Annandale High. My younger sister said that even back then Mark said he was going to be a movie star and he did just that. However, when I was attending Annandale High, it was kind of a clicky place and I really did not fit in (except with a couple of buds). ~Bob

Bill Recollects Early Drag Racing

I remember some of the great people that my Uncle Sherman and I encountered back in the 60t's and 70t's.

Gene Altizer was a long time drag racer and during the late 50t's and through mid to late 60t's, he ran A Gas. He was a local guy out of Arlington Va or somewhere in Northern Va. He and Sherman ran against each other more than once in the competition eliminator run offs at the local tracks. Competition Eliminator was made up of the gasser's and altered class winners that competed each weekend against each other for the top car for Competition Eliminator. In 67 or after, if I remember correctly, Gene moved on to funny cars.

The brothers you are thinking of are the Mori Brothers Chevwagon B Altered. They ran a small block and later on a 396 big block with a VW body. Neat car for sure with a short wheelbase and it was fun to watch them run that VW because it was all over the track, all the time. The Mori Brothers and Sherman ran each other a lot over the years when Sherman was running the D and E altered cars. Sherman and the Mori's were good friends and I remember a visit we made over to their house just after Christmas one year to see what they were up to with the Chevwagon and they also visited Sherman.

Back in the 50t's through the late 70t's, there were thousands of guys building from the ground up and running cars and that really came to an end when the rule makers made it almost impossible to build cars the old way. It turned racing from an everybody sport into one that used lots of money to build cars and the little guys were pushed out of the sport. It finally killed the sport in terms of the "everybody sport" that was more about innovation, hard work, getting your hands dirty, competition, wild cars, friendships and fun. The closest you come to seeing the old days type cars are the Street Outlaw cars that are on TV and even that is about money and is a staged show.....

Those were the days when everything was hand built from top to bottom. Today its all about money, back then it was about innovation, hard work and having some fun.... Different and Better Time in my view... Keep the Faith ~Bill

Early Vettes

Before we could drive, we formulated our liking for Chevys. In particluar we really liked Corvettes. One of the Gym teachers had a Marina Blue 65 hardtop/convertible with side pipes, knockoff hubs, and the new 4 bolt big block (396ci/425hp). The car was awsome and today would probably cost over 100K with many miles on it. I also liked the 65 coupe that Andy has today. Later, when we were seniors a classmate's father gave him a red 63 split window coupe. It also had a four speed with the 327 fuelie engine. I believe this engine was a 340hp. This car was unbelievable too. Another guy (couple of years older than us) live down the street from Andy. This guy had a 62 hardtop with a 327 modified to the "green stripe" 365hp motor having 2 AFBs (This was the same engine Andy put in his 66 SS Chevy II.) One day Andy was outside and noticed the guy working on his vette. The carburators caught fire. He had to put it out quickly so he used what was handy - dirt - directly down the open carburators. It never ran right after that and he sold it later. If I remember right his asking price was all of $1100.00!!!! Today, I think the car would bring $35K - for a well used one ... At the time, I tried to raise the money, but alias - a day late and a dollar short. During this time, I also tried to buy a 60, 59, and a 58, but kept running into the problem of not having just enough money to make a purchase. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to take the 62 all apart and cleaned it up. I can still hear Andy chucking about this car and the fact that the owner had to throw dirt down the carbs to get the flames out. I have always liked the 62 but at today's prices - forget about it! Eventhough I was not lucky enough to get hold of a Vette back then. Bill and Andy each did buy their own 61 vette after High School - just before I went off to study Geology at Utah State University. I have drooled a very long time on the thought of owning a Vette and now I have two ... so far ... After I get these two squared away when I retire, I have a pretty good idea on the next one I am going to build ... :)) - like the good ole days - with Andy's help (and with Bill's help if he is still alive) ... ~Bob

68 GTO Recollection

One of my earliest recollections of a street race was in 1968. That night we were in Andy's Green Nomad and had driven to the Annandale TOPS drive-in. We were watching the cars cruise in and out when a husky woman in her mid-twenties drove up in a new dark green GTO (Andy reminded me the otherday that her car was actually a GTO Judge). Although good looking she did seem as though she could a slam few gears and later she did! Andy said she had made some modifications but nothing that would void the factory warrantee. After she drove up I noticed two guys were giving her grief about something. One of these guys had a 67 Camaro with a 350/350hp. It too was modified. Well I guess she took as much as she could then challenged the loud mouth. They setup a race for a nominal amount - I forget the amount- maybe somewhere between $50 and $200. It certainly wasn't title for title. I never really saw a street race where someone's car was actually forfeited, although I did hear of such stories. Once the wager was established a couple of people shouted "race, race." Everyone piled into their cars and headed out for the agreed upon race site - R66. The first section of the Virginia R66 had just been completed and was an ideal place to race. There was very little traffic and more importantly there was no police. I had hopped into Andy's green wagon and we were off in a caravan with other 55-57 Chevy's, Camaros, Chevelles, Chevy IIs, Vettes, Road Runners (someone we used to know from Annandale High had a Road Runner - can't remember his name), Mustangs, Fairlanes ... other makes and models were present too (like other GTOs). If I had a guess there were 40 or so cars. When we came to the spot, everyone spread out and someone marked off a quarter mile. It was all really very chaotic. But in an instant, the cars were off and I could see the woman was getting her revenge. She just stomped the Camaro. I really thought the lighter and seemingly more powerful Camaro would have won. It was really kind of interesting that she won and she sure pounded some grears!!! Andy and I can still remember, as she passed by where Andy's green Nomad was parked, her hair flopping around when she slammed third gear. She had a good grip on the shifter, because the upper half of her body violently jerked when she pulled the gear. There was no wimpy lag this woman's shift. In retrospect, I would think that if she got married her husband would be a very happy man ... :) I also determined there was no kidding around with this woman (as the Camaro driver found out the hardway) ... After she collected her "purse," we all went back to TOPS to see if someone else was going to race. Andy had been to several TOPS street races so I was asking him all kinds of questions. ~ Bob (and Andy)

66 GTO Recollection (from West Virginia)

That GTO of Andy's is really sweet, (see Andy's GTO section) Reminds me of my very first ride in a muscle car. Missed the school bus one morning when I was in third grade. A neighbor of ours, Danny, I knew worked in the direction of my grade school, which was only a mile down the road, so I went over and asked if I could bum a ride with him when he went in. His mirror-shiny black '66 GTO was warming up in the driveway, and he said he was just about ready to go. I remember climbing in, him putting it in reverse and slowly letting out on the clutch. Then putting it down into first and again slowly releasing the clutch, not at all touching the gas. I remember it seeming like an hour to go the couple of hundred feet to the main road, being so careful not to stir up a speck of dust or loose gravel against the beautiful black paint. Once we reached the main road, he stopped, looked both ways, then slowly released the clutch once more, and walked the car out onto the main road and straightened it up in the lane. I then remember his right foot being planted firmly on the floor, the engine seeming to 'wake up' from its gentle snoring, and the rear tires squalling for at least a quarter mile. (ok, I was only 9 at the time...) I was instantly pressed deep into the bucket seat in which I sat. When we passed the drive-in theatre, only a half mile from home, I remember looking over and saying, "it's just down here", thinking to myself, that if he mashed real hard on the brakes I may be able to jump out as he slid by the school. Once we arrived at school, I thanked him for the lift, got out, and remember all the other little guys' faces when I appeared from behind that car and headed toward them. I think that's probably the day I caught the bug. Danny and his family have been kind of a source of inspiration for the car hobby for me over the years. They're all excellent mechanics and I've learned quite a bit from just hanging around and watching them do their stuff back in my younger years. To date Danny has built numerous cars, many almost from scratch that have won first place trophies by the volumes. His cars have even been in the centerfolds of 'Super Chevy' and other publications. I guess the thing that impresses me most about him is that he has taken his expertise to an artists' level, and used only bare minimum tools to do it. I remember looking around his garage one day, and the 'special' tools for doing various tasks he didn't have. Much of what he has done was done by hand, with ordinary hand tools. No english wheels, no planner hammers, etc. Just raw talent. That's probably the best tool of all. (see Randy's XKE Jag section) ~Randy

67 GTO Recollection

Randy's 66 GTO recollection reminded me of my first ride in a muscle car too. I was attending Annandale High at the time. A friend, Harry, was given the task of picking up something at a local store for a teacher during school hours. She, thinking Harry was responsible since he was a straight A student, said that he could take her brand new, black, three deuces, 4 speed, GTO to the store. But what the teach did not know was Harry was a street racer. Harry asked me if I would like to go along for a ride in the new GTO - does a bear ... Not only was this teacher cool about it she was drop dead gorgeous. She must have been all of 22 at the time. Anyway, Harry and I went to the store. He got into it once - as he would normally do when driving - we were just kids. The engine roared, the tires lit up, and I was thrown back deep into the seat. My first muscle ride was fantastic. Although, at the time I had wished the teacher had driven instead of just Harry. Now if you want to see a real 67 GTO of today look at Andy's. ~Bob

Harry and the Biscane

Harry live around the corner from me and attended Annandale High too. Harry, not only being a very bright person in school, was a street racer. Harry's father had the first year of the Formula "S" Baracuda and had a slant 6 Lanser. When Harry had his father's Lancer (father did not trust him with the Baracuda) and I had my Dad's 6 cylinder Chevy Biscane, we would end up street racing. Once my father remarked he just could not understand how his fairly new Biscane had burnt valves at 10K .... Years later I fessed up and we both had a chuckle. He sure put up with a lot, but he did tell me that he was the same way too. I have a strong feeling that my son is the same way also - I had to replace his car's motor once already ... hmmmm! My Dad had wanted me to install the L88 in this Biscane and occasionally race it at the track (another Mousey Brown car -> a well known local quarter mile Drag racer during the late 60s). But I didn't and stuck to my guns evidentually installing the L88 in the green Nomad. Before Harry finished High School, he moved to California and he evidentually bought a white 57 2 door hardtop Belair; something that we both had talked about owning. I was actually looking for a 57 Belair 2 dr hardtop when I came across the red and white Nomad. ~Bob


One night before Bob and I started hanging out together, I had been at Annandale TOPS with my green Nomad. There was a group of hotrodders getting setup for several races as they had done for several of the previous weekends. So after the negotiations were completed, everyone piled into their cars and we were off to the Shirley Industrial Park. One thing that was not considered in the selection of this racesite was that it only had two "exit" points. When we got there two guys painted white lines on the straightest part of the main road in the Park, where they had previously been racing. From the starting line to the finish line was quarter mile. I thought these guys were a little too obvious about things. Then the first two cars got setup to race and after they left the starting line two more got staged and as they did something terrible happened. The police came tearing in from both "exit" points of the Park.

The police had trapped everyone, participants and spectators (like me). I had brought a cooler of Dr Pepper and Cokes and was sitting on the back tailgate of my Nomad when the police made their entrance with squealing tires, wailing siren, and flashing red lights. As the police were processing everyone and taking them "downtown," they came to me. At the time I was working at a gas station. The owners of the gas station, Nick and his brother George, were personal friends of the Police Chief and themselves special policemen. I had the opportunity to come to know many of the local Officers on a personal basis. So when they came to me, for some reason, they took their time and questioned me in excruciating detail (the third degree). When they finished with their fun, they told me to get in my car and leave. I quickly closed the Nomad's tailgate and hopped the driver's seat and "beat feet." That was a close one. However, the next day when I went to work, I had to go though the same grilling as the night before with Nick, George, and several other cops who had been at the sceen the night before. - I would have had less grief if I had just been arrested! The consequences of this - Nick, George, and many of the Officers influenced my life profoundly; so much so that later I became a County Police Officer. ~Andy

Another Recollection of Shirley Industrial Park Racing and NVA/MD Racing

I just found your WEBsite and the article about what happened the night the Police raided Shirley Industrial from both ends. I was there that night with a friend of mine. We were in his 65 Mustang GT. The Police took everyone's Lic. number and Tag number, if you had a car there. They didn't give out any tickets because they didn't catch anyone racing. Later that night, we went to the Hot Shop in Springfield. One of the County Police officers came up and told us, "I understand you boys had a little trouble tonight. From now on if you want to go drag racing, let Me know and I'll keep those Dirty Old Fairfax County Police away!" Ah, the good old days.

Back in the day, I use to live in Springfield and for the last 42 years I have been in LaPlata, Md. During my Springfield days, I had a 1963 Ford Galaxie with a 1966 Fairlane GT 390 engine that had some engine work done to it. We use to race on Eisenhower Ave. in Alexandria. Sometimes at Newington, under the railroad trestle and sometimes On Shirley Highway or on the Beltway. Once I was racing a 67 Mustang on the Beltway and we ran through radar side by side at 110 MPH. We both got away. Whew! Later on in life I started racing Stock Cars on dirt tracks such as Potomac Speedway, Hagerstown Speedway, Eastside Speedway,and Virginia Motor Speedway. I guess I got it out of my system. Only by the Grace Of God am I still alive with some of the Dumb Stuff I've done. ~Butch

Butch Hunt
Hunt Ford Inc.

Annandale/Fairfax Network

I bought my second 55 Nomad from a guy named Billy, Head of Body Shop at McKay Chevrolet in Fairfax; Les worked for him at the time and then opened his own shop just up the Street from McKays. Les painted Bill's 57 Nomad a striking green. After I bought this orange Nomad from Billy, he built a 1957 Vette with a 327 having 2 four Carter AFB's and painted it the same color orange. He still has the Vette today. I usually run into him once a year or so. Billy is the nephew of Nick and George. Nick and George were the brothers that owned the Mobil Gas Station where I worked during High School. They were Special Police and buddies with the Fairfax County Police Chief so there were a lot of police around when I worked at their gas station. ~Andy

Wagon Fever

In addition to hopped up Nomads, wagons of all kinds were pervasive throughout our lives. For example, in the 1970s, early in Andy's Police career, I used to ride along with him and now I think I understand why Andy liked driving the Patty "Wagon." Early one weekday morning (grave yard shift) an "Officer Down" call was made. And I was riding along with Andy in his Patty Wagon. It was about 2:00 or 3:00 in the moning and we beat feet (Andyism) through Tysons Corner on Route 7 at what seemed at the time to be well over a 120 mph *things were a blur- and still cruisers passed us at even a higher rate of speed; all with their sirens wailing and lights flashing - what a rush!!! When we arrived at the scene, the perpetrator had already been cuffed and Andy promptly threw him in the back of the Patty Wagon. I agree with Andy, wagons are great - besides going fast they can haul all kinds of crap! I have a lot of other stories about police. For example. Andy's Sarg. once said to me that I knew too much and that I "was" going to become one of them (as he leaned on me). I said I had one more semester of college left and then we would see. I could tell he did not like my answer, but it was all said in fun - I think ... Never made the reconnect - another regret of mine. Anyway, I would have had to wrestle the jailhouse wagon away from Andy if we happened to be on the same shift. ~Bob

55 Chevy

TOPS was a good place to jump from car to car; you were asked to leave the premises if you just stood around. This gave us an opportunity to talk to other muscle car owners about the problems they encountered and what their solutions were. I remember talking to a guy named Ben about some of the things he did to his 55 Chevy 2D.

Ben had attended a NVA High School (not Annandale). The first time Andy and I hopped into Ben's car, he took us for a ride around the block. He was happy to show us how his car performed and answer all the questions I had. Ben's car was not the fastest but was typical for the time. He had a nice shinny silver paint job. I think he had a 4 speed and I remember the loud dual exhaust. The engine was a 283 bored out to a 301. Later, I observed many similar modified 283 engines at the quarter mile drag strip. Ben kept the stock interior. He had small tires in the front and tall fat tires in the back that gave the appearance that car was lowered in the front. Both back and front tires had raised white lettering. He had moons and rings for hubcaps. Moons and rings had been around since the fifties and maybe earlier and were cheaper than the Mag wheel that was a new fad back then. For the budget he had, Ben did a good job at having a balance between good looks and drive train power. He did not stress one factor over another like I did later with my L88 Nomad. All I was really concerned about was acceleration rather than striking a balance. Ben married a girl from Annandale High who was from our graduating class. Later, I had heard that she died in a car crash. I have not heard anything about Ben since those early days. Wonder what he has today ... Occasionally on a Summer Saturday evening I go to the Burger King near the Manassas Airport where there are, at times, over 100 hotrod, muscle, and modified cars. I also have seen about five AC 427 Cobras lined up with a couple of Vipers at the end of the line. And just a handful of Vettes which seems strange to me; I would think there would be more. It is not uncommon for a full drag race car to be unloaded from a trailer and rumble over to a Burger King parking space. Heck, I have even seen the military reenactment crowd from the airport pull up in a very large Vietnam era M100 personnel carrier or a WWII Nazi German motorcycle and side car. Sometimes my wife or one of the kids will go with me. There is no street racing like there used to be at the Annandale TOPS of the late 60s and early 70s which is probably a good thing. Occasionally, there is a squirrel squealing his tires and lot of engines with wild cams rumbling about. In a way, it brings back a lot of pleasant memories. Sometimes I ask people if they knew Sherman since he used to race at the local drag strip - many of the ole guys do remember him. Maybe next time I'll ask if they have heard of Ben. ~ Bob

63 427 Chevy II

Around the same time we knew Ben, we made a trip from the Annandale TOPS to the Bailey's Cross Roads TOPS in Andy's Nomad. I believe this time Andy had a set of new Keystone Mags so the car really looked sharp. After we had been there for a while I saw this gorilla drive up in a loud 63 2D post Chevy II. I heard someone say that it was one of the fastest if not the fastest street machine in Northern Virginia. It had a modified 427. The impression this motor made on me stuck for many years and was one of the reasons I considered the 427, besides Andy and Bill's influence. The driver of the 63 Chevy II stayed a while and seeing no action rumbled off. We did the same shortly after, but not quiet as loud. The Nomad at the time had the original stock 265 2 bbl with a Powerglide automatic. This was the automatic that Andy gave me when I blew the trans in my first Nomad. ~ Bob

66 427/425 Chevelle

The three of us, Andy, Bill and Bob all had jobs at gas stations during High School. Bill helped me get a job at the Annandale gas station where he worked, while Andy worked at Nick and George's Mobil Gas Staton also in Annandale. A mechanic named Don also worked at Nick and George's and was about five years older than us. In 1965 Don went to one of the local Chevy dealers to order a 1966 Chevelle. He sat down with the salesman to order a 396/375hp big block car and noticed on one of the spec sheets a 427/425hp option. Don asked if he could order that option. The salesman had to ask management and came back and said, "sure." So Don ordered a Silver 427/425 hp 66 SS Chevelle with a M21 Muncie 4 speed. I believe it had a 411 rear. It also had a black interior. After it was delivered, Don took Andy for a ride. Andy was quite impressed. GM only made 50 of these 427/425 hp cars. According to the 1960s and early 1970s NASCAR rules 50 cars had to be made in order for them to be called true production cars. Only true production cars with "real" bodies were allowed to compete in NASCAR races. This is much different than the tubular constructed bodies of today's NASCAR cars. The change to tubular constructed bodies was probably brought about because of a change in the way cars were manufactured. In the early 1960s, auto manufactures introduced unibody construction; Unibody cars are not as strong as cars with box frames; thus NASCAR racers needed to start reinforcing with a tubular frames which evidentially evolved to all tubular constructed cars with just a sheet metal skin. This change by the auto manufacturers from box frame to unibody was a cost saving issue. Anyway, about two years after Don bought the car; some knucklehead stole it and wrapped it around a telephone pole. The car was totaled. Don was just sick and never forgot that his car had been taken. Later Don became a guard at Lorton Prison; his riot gun saw a lot of action during one of the prison riots of the late 1960s and he had to leave the Prison Guard Service. He had ZERO tolerance for thieves and bad guys ...... Actually, I would not want to piss off any one cop; there is a brotherhood among police officers of all types. Besides they know too many good lawyers, such as Andy's Pop... ~ Bob (and Andy)

Bill's Family

Bill worked at his Mom's moving company sometime in the later 60's and/or early 70's. Bill's Mom was from down South, Lynchburg. My wife's family is also from down South, but closer to the Tenn border. I know Andy thought a very lot of Bill's mother as I did. She was also a very savy business person. Bill's Mom had a brother (Uncle Sherman) who was also from the Lynchburg area and was probably a genius in his own right. He sure knew how to build cars above and beyond many others. Bill also had a brother. Bill and his brother built a wicked street Chevelle in the ealy 70's with some of the parts I gave Bill for helping me all those years. Don't know what happend to Bill's brother. Heard he had a bad car accident in the mid to late 70s - not sure. All Bill's family had my wife's Southern Virginia accent. I think one of the reasons Andy moved down South near Roanoke was because he wanted to be near people like Bill's family and my wife's family. Andy and his wife just plain like "real people" as I do and one of the places real people reside is in the South ~Bob

Bill's Uncle Sherman

I guess it was about 1968, a year after we graduated from Annandale High, that Bill introduced Andy and me to his Uncle Sherman. Sherman was a very focused person but always amiable with an occasional out break of intensity. He was usually cool as a cucumber with a underlying "driven to win" attitude. He had that Southern twang in his voice when he spoke - as does my wife and Andy now. I feel he was a very positive influence on Bill's life. Bill in his own quiet and modest way would subtly bragged about his Uncle. The three of us kind of looked up to him. Sherman understood how we felt about cars and certainly understood what we each were trying to build. Sherman and Bill ran an E Altered (Drag Racing Class back in the 60/70s - before bracket racing) and had the National record for this Class. Andy and I went with them to the 69 Drag Nationals in Indianapolis Indiana where Sherman had to spot (give a head start to) the above two "supposidly" faster classes because he had buried his own class record so low (that was how good they were). These faster classes usually had more power and had a higher cubic inch to weight ratio. Sherman took his class that year but blew a clutch in the eliminations. It was a great trip.

In his 23 Model-T Ford fiberglass-bodied Altered, Sherman used a 300 CI Ford truck engine (steel crank) with 327 Chevy pistons and a unique head and transmission. The car's head was actually a couple of BOSS 302 V8 Ford heads cut up into eight separate sections. He used six of these sections which were welded together to make a new six cylinder head. This welding took place in a very hot foundry furnace. After the head cooled, it was then drilled and milled for the 300 CI block. Sherman also used a transmission called a Clutchflight which was a Chrysler Torqueflight with the torque converter cut out and a clutch unit installed. With the Clutchflight you could get the high rpms off the line due to the clutch and quick shifting due to the automatic. This is why Sherman had the nickname of "slick." He used to spin those fat sticky "slicks" with that 6 cylinder too. I remember hopping out of the tow car just before his got staged and quickly wiping of these fat soft compound tires and trying to get out of the way before he did his burn out. What a great time.

Through Sherman I met many "real" drag racing characters and none of these guys raced on the street. They considered that kids play - well hell I "was" a kid. Sherman introduced me to Eddie with his 56/57 Vette called Jelly Bean. Eddie setup my 488 Pontiac differential and sold to me a set of 12.5 GM forged pistons for my L88. I also met Gene who ran a blown 427 Chevy in a Voltswagon beetle (motor was in the front). I also met Calhoon from Calhoon's Speed Shop in Alexandria (this was before Calhoon moved to Manassas and whom I recently struck up a conversation about the good ole days.) Sherman also asked Bill to introduce me to Pete Hall of Automotive Engineering Inc. (Sox and Martin's mechanic that setup my L88). Sherman took the time to explain things to the three of us. If I had the opportunity to thank him I would.

Bill's Uncle was also the Service Manager at the Chrystler Dealership accross the street from where Andy and I worked. There were a bunch of drag racers that worked there also. The dealer supported Sherman racing through funds and time off to get parts and the like. Eddie also worked there.

Over the years I have heard about Sherman and some of his family's activities. Couple of years ago Bill told me the Sherman had retired but had to take over the Maryland Transmission Shop that he sold to someone else. Appearently the guy managing it ran it into the ground so Sherman was in the process of building it back up. Don't know all the details. Sherman also had a couple of sons. A local Northern Virginia Transmission Shops told me that one of his sons, Shan, sometimes rebuilds transmissions for them. Also My sister-in-law, who lives in Southern Virginia, once gave me a newpaper article about a custom hotrod builder in the Roanoke/Lynchburg area. The custom hotrod builder turned out to be Sherman. Sometimes it is a very small world.

Today, Sherman runs in the 8s with a four cylinder and is 72 years old! When I asked him if he thought about not racing anymore, he said only after he drops. I used to have a picture of Sherman's 1960s race car but the picture was destroyed in one of my house floods. However, before the picture was destroyed I had made a digital scanned image and "esent" it to Bill. I have since lost this image file and can't get hold of Bill. Where is Waldo (Bill)? ~Bob


I remember Bill tell me a story about when he and his Uncle Sherman were traveling to a race track. Bill's Uncle was driving and towing their race car on a trailor. Bill had fallen asleep in the front passenger seat. They were traveling down an narrow country lane and came up on a honey wagon. Appearently, the wagon had been left out in the sun for a while so there was a stong smell. Well, Bill's uncle got right behind the wagon as they were traveling down the road so their car would fill up with the country air. Then Bill woke up fairly quickly wondering what all the sink was about and why his Uncle was laughing so hard. After they both had a good laugh they were again off to the races. ~Bob.

Acquiring Bill's Econovan - in Draft - Andy anything to add ...

Bill's Mom negotiated a deal where Bill was given an Econoline van, provided Bill removed it from the owner's property. Bill's Mom ran a Washington DC moving Van depot. Most of the moving vans delivering people’s furniture in the DC area stopped off the this depot. So it was a very busy place. Bill's Mom was a very suave business person and was able to do a favor for one of the people that worked for her. He in returned gave Bill his van. It was one of the first of this kind of van - can't remember the year of it's production. But it made a very satisfactory commuter vehicle and good truck to haul around car parts like engines to and from the machine shop. So Andy and I went off with Bill to collect the van. It was stored in the back of a row house just off 14th street in DC. I drove the 61 Chevy that Bill had given me. When we arrived at the owner's house we realized we were the only white people in the neighborhood and this was just after Martin Luther King had been murdered - OH BOY! The owner said for us to just go out back and take it. I believe he also signed the title over to Bill. Bill asked if it would be OK for us to be back there - being white and all. This big black muscle bound mover said no one would dare harm a hair on our heads without answering to him. So I drove the 61 down one of the side alleys and met Andy and Bill at the Van. Did receive a few strange looks from several of the locals though ... Upon closer inspection we saw that the Van was full of kitchen trash. Andy and I were not too keen on dealing with this but Bill was determined. So we started to empty some of the trash in the cab area. Once we got all the trash out of the cab area and about 25 percent of the back we felt we had better leave soon because it was starting to get dark. Besides three black guys were looking at us off their back porch and making some kind of noises. I could not understand the local dialect ... We could have easily been out numbered very quickly - regardless of what the Van's (previous) owner said. We thought we had better speed up the process. Bill hopped in and tried to start the van. It would not even crank over. So then we tried jumping it and the engine still would not turn over. Next Bill said let's push it by hand to get it started. Everytime he let the clutch out the thing came to a screaching halt. So then Bill wanted me to push it with the the 61. He also went on to say that if we had to, the 61 would push it all the way home, including across the 14th street bridge. (- OH BOY - a distance of 25 miles.) We were in for some real fun! But before we started on our odyssey, I pushed the van with the 61 around the block about three times trying desperately to "un-seize" the engine and get the van to run on its own. Every time Bill let out clutch the Van would come to a screeching halt. The third time around the block was the charm; we freed the van's motor and Bill was able to keep it running. As Bill keep reving the vans engine, Andy ran back to the 61 and said he would ride along with Bill and for the me to say "close" behind ready to start pushing should the van's motor quit. I did stay very close to the van as we caravanned in heavy 14th Street traffic, I even went through several red lights trying to keep up. Couple of times I thought the van's engine quit running and gently nudged the van's rear bumper. However, I received two very strong glares and four hands waving me off - oops guess the van's engine was still running ... ;) Well the van ran all the way to Bill's house without conking out. When Bill got it home he emptied all remaining the trash and scrubbed it with straight bleach and other cleaners to get the stink out. His red hair may have turned blonder for some unknown reason ... :) He evidentially got it to not smell like a trash truck and the engine lasted a while - Bill did get his used out of it. Bill had the determination of his uncle Sherman. But Andy and I still chuckle about the experience of acquiring Bill's van. ~Bob/Andy

Andy's 54 Chevy

Andy's father gave Andy his first car, a 1954 four door sedan. Andy's father, a lawyer, used the 54 to commuter to DC. It needed a paint job so Andy and I prepped the body and took off all the chrome. We did this in my parents garage during the winter when it was cold. My mom still remembers us working on this car in the cold. Bill and Sherman worked out a great deal with the dealership's paintshop to paint the 54 a metallic green. Sherman was the Service Manager there. Andy used to go riding just about anywhere. It was a stick on the column and he kept the stock interior. After it was painted it looked so good that where ever Andy drove it people would ask if he restored it and then they wanted to buy it. Although I do remember Andy had put some small Chevy II hubcaps on the 54, which he later gave me to put on the green Nomad until I could buy Mags. One time we took a ride in the 54 out past Manassas, where I live today, to a gun shop and browsed the wares. I believe Andy finally gave the 54 to his younger brother. ~Bob

Wild Cam or Blower???

Once when Bill and his Uncle Sherman were racing, Andy and I tagged along. This trip took our minds off the Draft; it was about 1969, the height of the Vietnam war. Andy ended up being classified 4F and Bill had a high Draft number. After my first disastrous year at college, I tried to enlist and was ultimately given a 4F too because of my third degree flat feet. I tried to enlist as a Helicopter Warren Officer and evern after I passed everthing else, but they were afraid that with my flat feet if I was shot down I could not march out of the jungle. I even asked for a waver, but the Doc was addiment. At the time, my Dad thought the Army could take the edge off of me. In looking back, he was probably right ... Anyway, I think we were either at the Capital or Aquasco Speedway. It may have been the first or second time of many times we had been invited. These were great times for the three of us. Anyway, we always had pit passes and were always walking among the cars, drivers, pit crews, and mechanics. We were walking where the cars would drive up to get to the staging lanes. I noticed a 39 or 40 Willis couple come rumbling up. It had a big block "something" in it - maybe Chrysler Hemi. As it was approaching the staging lane, I noticed the car was jerking in a way I had never seen before. The engine had a hard sound like "rumpettee - rumpettee - rumpettee - rumpettee ..." With each "rumpettee" sound the car would lurch forward then dive to a complete stop before the next "rumpettee" would start the process over again. The car would also twist in the direction of the crankshaft rotation. I was so enamored with the whole visual effect, that I blurted out, "what kind of cam do I have to get to make the Nomad do that?" Andy and Bill looked at each other for a couple of seconds then started to laugh. After they had their laugh Bill said it wasn't the cam that made the car idle like that, it was the blower. I quietly said "Oh." Andy then said, "Why don't you put a blower on the Nomad." Bill then chimed in heckling me too. Finally, I said to myself, "OK, my turn." I then said something like, "You know - that's not a bad idea." I sat back and waited to see their reactions. They both again turned and looked at each other in what I thought was disbelief. I waited through about 5 more seconds of silence, then let them off the hook by saying, "Nah."

Gee - and then there was Bill in his 57 Nomad ... :)

Anyway how could I drive back and forth to college classes with a blower sticking out of the hood - I guess very fast! Also would have had to change things like lowering the compression ratio. ~ Bob

61 Smoker

Before Bill and I rebuilt the motor of the 61 all-door Chevy, it smoked a little and then it smoked a lot. I depended on it for transportation and used it to get back and forth to work and college. In having this car, it gave me time to build the Green Nomad right before I got it on the street. It used so many quarts of oil that I did not have to do any oil changes. The old oil just burnt off. Evidentially, I tried to use 90W-gear lube, which did burn a little slower. Then, one day Andy came up with the great idea of using the 61 as a tow vehicle, but not in the traditional sense. This idea involved a couple of towropes and a couple of skateboards. I started out being the driver with Andy and Bill on the skateboards behind the 61 each holding onto a tow rope that was tied to rear bumper of the 61. I towed then all around the neighborhood; however, every time I accelerated a little then let off, a big cloud of burnt oil would smother them. Andy accused me of deliberately doing this. I could not help laughing as I denied it intensely. Then Andy insisted on driving and I know he deliberately produced clouds. One time as we made a turn to go down the next street he accelerated and I went flying off at the curb. I could not make the turn at that speed; don't know that anyone could. We had a great time that day cutting up and laughing our guts out - never forget it. Couple of days later, an Officer Race gave me a warning ticket for “excessive-smoke.” At the time, don't know if there was an actual law on excessive-smoke, since it was before the whole pollution thing really got started. During the latter 60s, Northern Virginia residents were becoming aware of the consequences of air pollution. A band on burning Fall leaves had also evolved during that time. Years later I found a couple of abandon cars out in the field. I was mapping soils as a soil scientist at the time. I called the police and told them what I found. These were fairly new muscle cars that looked to be in pretty good shape. You'll never know who was sent out - Officer Race. Upon getting the formalities out of the way, we commiserated about my excessive-smoke ticket. Later Andy told me that Race was the head of some kind of County Police special investigative force looking into stolen cars and was tied to the FBI. Anyway, I can still remember Andy and Bill letting go of the tow rope coughing because of the "excessive smoke” and just cussing up a storm ... and I am still laughing but no longer denying ... :) I know … what is a good friend for … :) ~Bob (and Andy)

Big Block Purchase

The guy who sold me the big block that I used in the Nomad was an interesting character. When I called him about looking at the engine, we set up a time to meet at a Mount Vernon shopping mall. A friend of mine who just got back from the Vietnam War said he would like to tag along. So instead, we took his Harley XLCH that had a large motor (950ci) on a frame smaller than a hog. When we met at the shopping mall, the guy selling the engine seemed like a good ole boy - at the time. We followed him to his garage not far away. He had been planning to put this engine in a 39 Chevy coupe and swap out a small block. The 39 was a real sharp looking car. He wanted to sell it to me also. He needed the money. He had gotten in trouble with the law. At the shopping mall he got squirrelly with the 39 and he ran over a kid. The child died. I could tell he was having trouble telling me this story, so I got things back on track by asking about the engine's selling price. I bought the engine for about $450. In 1969, engines were generally priced at a dollar for each cubic inch. He and a buddy then delivered the engine to my house. When I said, "We will put the engine in the back of the Nomad until I can get orgranized,"the two of them were horrified. The Nomad was parked right out front in the driveway. The guy selling the engine said, "Don't you worry about thieves?" I said something like, "Only those that are too 'STUPID' to realize they are risking their own lives." (see Nomad section). Several years later during the 1970s Funk period, I saw him at a gas station with his Vette. He was all decked out in the latest Super Fly garb (broad rim white hat, huge pink bell bottoms, and a pink and white cape). I stopped to talk to him but couldn't relate to that period's pseudo behaviors and slang/jargon.

I was in jeans, sneakers, and a hooded sweatshirt at the time and I still am (as in the above picture with the 85). Anyway, kind of interesting in how he and others got caught up in the latest tends of the day. ~ Bob

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