Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tommy Ivo's bucket T, on tv and in the movies... on the strip too, where it was a consistant 11 second 1/4 miler



Above: the same issue had this photo of Norm and his Kookie T, Norm was telling Charles Coburn about the particulars of the T












He even built the early 322-cubic-inch Buick nailhead V-8 engine, thanks to inside tips from the late Max Balchowsky, a man known for building some of the most potent Buick V-8 engines in the world. Among Balchowsky's stable of Buick-powered cars were the infamous Ol' Yaller road racers.
Ivo had heard about Balchowsky and visited his shop in nearby Hollywood seeking advice. Eventually, Balchowsky showed Ivo how to set the bored-and-stroked engine (it eventually stretched its eight holes to 402 cubic inches) to use one of three induction systems: a dual-quad manifold, the quintessential six-pack of Stromberg 97s, and the Hilborn fuel injection that has become the car's trademark over the years.

Ivo's desire to race netted him and his T-bucket several Top Eliminator awards at the San Fernando Drags and later at Lions when it opened in 1960. The car was dependable for 11-second elapsed times and a top speed of 119 mph. Not bad for a street car, but then, when you really get to the bare bones of the matter, a T-bucket is nothing more than an engine stand on wheels anyway. You know, a dragster.

Despite its reputation at the drag strip, in those days Ivo's T-bucket had an equally mean reputation on the street and on the screen. Being a prodigy child actor, Ivo had numerous contacts in the film industry, and when hot rod movies became popular during the 1950s, it was only a matter of time before Ivo's T served as a movie prop. In this case the hot rod served as the hero's car in the 1956 movie, Dragstrip Girl. Ironically, Ivo played one of the heavies in the movie, and the script called for him to steal his own car!

Perhaps the crowning glory for the reconstruction project was its white pinstripes. As he did with the original car back in 1955 for Tommy Ivo, Von Dutch also striped the restored car for Jack Rosen. Regardless of how close the new stripe job is to the first the Dutch laid down, according to Jack, this was Von Dutch's final stripe job. He passed away a short time later.

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