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September 2012 Vintage Vault

Posted in Features on September 1, 2012
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Contributors: Thomas Voehringer

That’s Not a Jeep!
While perusing the archives of our sister publication, Motor Trend, we often see images of early drag race competitions. Usually we buzz through them as quickly as any life-long gear-head can when looking at vintage drag race “porn.” We definitely slowed way down when we saw the iconic Jeep grill of a drag car support FC in the background. Then we noticed a “J” “E” “E” and what must be a “P” written across the front of this odd looking little drag car in the foreground of this photo from 1958. Then we noticed the Mobil Pegasus, and x 268, and Wornom ‘Jeep’ Co., Chickasha, Oklahoma. This stopped us dead in our tracks! Wait, is that an F-head in the drag car in this photo taken by Bob D’Olivo?

Is That…an F-head?
With a little help from our archivist, Thomas Voehringer, we learned that these photos are from the 4th Annual NHRA National Championship Drag Races held in Oklahoma, Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, 1958. And that’s right, the little car is powered by an F-head. It turns out the car was driven by Jerry Elston. The little car is powered by a ’49 Jeep engine and competed in the four-cylinder X class. Killer! Man, that thing is so small that even that little “Hurricane” must have made it pretty fast. Just imagine all of that, what, 68 to 75 horsepower. Photo by Bob D’Olivo.

Chevy V-8 in a Jeep?
So you think your uncle Mel was the first guy to swap a Chevy V-8 into a Jeep back in ’84? You’re wrong. Check out this other Jeep that was entered in the B/Street Roadster class, again photographed by Bob D’Olivo at the 4th Annual NHRA National Championship Drag Races in 1958. The driver and perhaps owner of the Jeep is Robbie Robinson, from Houston, Texas. He is piloting a ’49 Jeepster powered by a ’57 Chevy V-8. Check out that hoodscoop and louvers. Also dig the smoothie front hubcaps and whitewall drag-slick rear tires! Groovy, baby.

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