page chronicles the restoration of a Jim Davis built 1968 Top
Fuel dragster. Like its stable mate, The BankAmericar, it is
currently one of the staples at "Cacklefest" and other
Car was built
in 1968 as a top fuel car for Texas standout, Don Mad Dog
Cook to replace the Jim Davis car that he crashed. Cook never
took delivery so the car was sold to Don Webster in 1969 and
he raced the car in Top Gas and Top Fuel until 1971. After throwing
a rod out of the Hemi at a race in Redding, California on Labor
Day in 1971 Don sold the car to Jerry and Tom Brazil at the track.
The Brazil brothers raced the car with a 426 Hemi on gas until
it was parked in 1981.
It was then sold
to by the Brazil's to Bill Norman who wanted to also race it.
Fortunately he got hooked up with John Ewald before the car was
"updated" and traded it to him for a no pedigree Woody
car that Ewald had purchased. Ewald got the completely original
car (less engine) in 2004 and restored it to a 1969 Top Fuel
configuration. Keeping with the credit card theme
(as in Ewald's BankAmericar) the car was named the Ewald-Mikkelsen-Rapp
Master Car. The car made its first appearance
in 22 years at the 2004 California Hot Rod Reunion.
owner of American Roadster and legendary drag racer Ronnie Rapp
were involved with the car as restorers and engine builders and
being good friends of Ewald's were made part of the team. It
was just like the old days when buddies pooled their resources
and went racing, back then racing was done for fun and the cars
were not corporate billboards.
The car was originally
built by NoCal chassis builder/racer Jim Davis in 1968 for Don
"Mad Dog" Cook to replace another Davis car he had
crashed in Texas.
Bill Webster bought the car from
Davis when Cook couldn't take delivery due to finances. He told
Jim to sell the car and he got a job driving for someone else.
Bill ran the car from 1968 to 1971 in Top Gas and Top Fuel.
body was hand made by Webster until he could afford a Bob Haggerman
body which he got just before he sold the car along with the
new long fuel tank (below).
Review - 2005
What the car
looked like when it ran as a A/GD with a late model. Jerry and
Tom Brazil had bought it from Webster at a race in Redding in
1971 after Webster threw a rod out of his engine. That rod failure
broke Webster and he went back to college. The Brazil's then
ran the car until 1981 when they finally parked and sold it.
Ron Lewis photo
Paint: Paint N Place
Tires: Firestone Drag 500 mounted
on American Racing Wheels
Arias Pistons - Brooks
Rods - Heads by Valley Head Service - Littlefield Blower - Velasco
Crankshaft - Chet Herbert Cam - K&N Filters - Kendall Oil
- LaPole Headers - Cirello Magneto - Donovan Gear Drive - Three
disk Hays clutch by McLeod (Master Car) - Enderle Injection &
In Bill Norman's
driveway in 2004.
delivered the car to Ewald in July of 2004.
The car was first taken to American
Roadster for evaluation. Although it was all there, and all original,
years of neglect had taken its toll.
a bay at American Roadster prior to a complete disassembly.
Davis front suspension is obvious here.
rust and more rust.
Roadster's Alex Mikkelsen looks over the project ahead.
Once apart at
American Roadster the engine placement is set for the new engine
mounts and motor plate for the early hemi. Running a 426 at the
end there hadn't been a 392 hemi between its frame rails in 35
years. For those of you who don't recognize it, this is the 392
block from the ill-fated first fire-up of the BankAmericar in
Bruce Dyda checks
out his enlarged version of the Jim Davis fuel tank. Experience
has taught the owners of Cacklecars that the original 3-4 gallon
fuel tanks are too small to let the engines run for over four
body after being stripped and repaired by American Roadster..
As is the case
with most restorations, the car had been through more than one
paint job. To do the restoration(s) right, the "tin"
needs to be stripped bare.
everything on the chassis had been repaired and lined up it was
off to sandblasting.
Mikkelsen then installed the heads and checked push rod lengths.
Engineering had repaired or re-manufactured all the controls
Once back from
sandblast and powdercoat, the chassis goes back to Dyda's for
assembly. It should be noted that this was now September of 2004
and Ewald had a target date for the cars debut at the California
Hot Rod Reunion in early October.
While the car
was being tweaked, the engine was being assembled at American
Roadster. Talk about heavy hitters, here Donny Johansen degrees
in the trick Herbert cam with the help of Ronnie Rapp.
The body then
went to Jerry Seivers at Paint-N-Place, here Jerry lays on one
of the color layers. Paint-N-Place is famous for painting many
new and restored race cars and hot rods.
Kenny Youngblood, whom also did the graphics on Ewald's BankAmericar
did his magic on the Master Car as well.
the odds of getting it done in time, Ewald's "Mastercar"
made its debut at the 2004 CHRR.
John Ewald in the pre
October 2005 Hot Rod Magazine
Over the last 5 years Cacklefest
has spawned many "spin-off" events and no one has taken
them to more levels than two car owner, John Ewald. With the
help of Bridgestone/Firestone Auto Service Centers, Ewald has
appeared at countless events throughout 2004-2005 and plans to
expand the exposure in 2006. His enthusiasm and commitment to
the cacklecar phenomenon has introduced myriad new fans to drag
racing and its genesis. Its not that Ewald's cars are pivotal
to the history of drag racing but the fact is he promotes them
more and better than anyone else.
Big Rail Review
in Escondido, CA August, 2005
was a huge hit at the 2005 Hot August Nights in Reno, NV.
At the 2005 NHRA
Worldfinals at Pomona John Ewald wowed the 30,000+ fans with
daylight header flames!
was featured on the cover of the November 2005 Bridgestone/Firestone
corporate magazine with "Donna Reed Show" star Paul
Peterson in the seat.
the dragsters were shown and or run at.
Vehicles: 1968 Front engine top fuel dragster "BankAmericar"
with Nitro burning 392 Hemi
1968 Front engine top fuel dragster "MasterCar" with
Nitro burning 392 Hemi
San Francisco Roadster Show
NHRA Winternationals, Pomona
Grand National Roadster Show - Pomona
Make A Wish Foundation Car Show
Long Beach Grand Prix
Muckenthaler Museum show - Fullerton
Hot August Nights - Reno
Night of Thunder - Escondito
Route 66 Rendezvous - San Bernardino
Cousin' For A Cure - Costa Mesa
California Hot Rod Reunion - Bakersfield
John Force Christmas Show
Mira Mar Naval Air Station military show
Highway 99 Cruise 'N' Show - Bakersfield
Bluesapalooza Thunderfest - Covina
NHRA World Finals - Pomona
TV - NBC NEWS, Hot Rod TV, Overhaulin, ESPN2 & ABC NEWS.
Print - Hot Rod Magazine, National Dragster, Drive magazine,
Full Throttle News, Bridgestone-Firestone Corporation magazine
& various newspapers in cities performed in.