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September 2013 Vintage Vault - Classic Jeep Sand Drags

Supercharged Chevy 327 In 1953 M38a1
Verne Simons
| Senior Editor, Jp
Posted August 9, 2013
Contributors: Thomas Voehringer
Photographers: Source Interlink Media Archives

Supercharged Jeeps & Sand

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  • Sand in My Turkey
    Ah, sand! No one can deny the timeless draw of driving Jeeps in sand. Whether you are into the sand drags or shooting-the-berm, there is no such thing as too much power. While perusing Source Interlink Media’s vast archives, we came across some pictures shot for Hot Rod magazine by Eric Rickman from the Hemet Jeep Club’s Thanksgiving Day Sand Drags from 1966. Shown here is a Jeep with plenty of power in the form of a blown Chevy 327ci V-8. The GM mill, here getting a little tuning, rests between the frame rails of a ’53 Jeep owned by Ralph Thuesen of Newport Beach, CA.

  • A Beer Keg and a Blower
    Here is another shot of that blown 327ci from Thuesen’s Jeep. Check out the size of that supercharger topped with a Hillborn four-port mechanical fuel injection! That’s dead sexy. Also, if this Jeep is a ’53, that means it must be a M38A1. But those chrome headlight rings look awfully civilian, yet peeking out from below the front of the framerails is a M38A1 spring hanger. The shackle-reversal means the frame at least is ex-military; oh, and the hinges on the front of the grille are all military. Also notice the open M38A1 battery box in the background? That’s a ringer for a military Jeep tub. See that beer keg on the front bumper of the Jeep? Sadly, apparently that was no longer used to hold beer. This photo is also by Eric Rickman.

  • Roost!
    Our records show that the modified Jeep classes are the most popular. Races are run over a 100-yard course, and speeds of 85-90 mph are not uncommon. That’s pretty fast on sand! Here are a couple of CJ-5s just after the flag dropped in another photo shot by Eric Rickman for Hot Rod magazine. Check out how the Jeep in the foreground dropped all the excess weight like the tailgate and windshield.

  • Aaand Go!
    Often times old drag slicks were heavily grooved to make wide paddle-like tires. These tires allowed the Jeeps to “Hall and Oats” down the strip, but are also wide enough for flotation on the sand. Like the menacing looking dark flattie in the background and the civilian CJ-5 in the foreground of this picture, some Jeepers ran dual rear tires for extra traction and flotation much like the Hicky Jeep (Vintage Vault, July ’13). Here is another shot of Jeeps at the starting line in a photo by Eric Rickman for your viewing pleasure. In the foreground, we see a clean CJ-5 with a nice rollbar and a filled-in tailgate opening. That flattie might be a WWII-era MB or GPW, as it looks like it lacks a tailgate opening.