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Gasser Legends Gathering

On Friday, April 15th, 1999 Gasser Legends from the 50's, 60's and 70's gathered together to be honored at the NHRA Motorsport Museum at the Pomona Fairplex.

Those present were - top row left: Bones Balogh, Big John Mazmanian, Skip Hess, Hugh Tucker, Leonard Woods.
Bottom row left: Jr. Thompson, Ohio George Montgomery, Gary Mallicoat, the late Doug Cook and K.S. Pittman.

After much rehashing of old times the guys were treated to a great dinner by NHRA museum coordinators Steve Gibbs, Leonard Harringer and artist James Ibusuki.
Most of the Gasser Guys were able to attend the Gateway Gasser Gathering held in June 1999 in St. Louis, MO.  Hope you didn't miss it, it was GREAT.

Be sure to check out our Gasser Legends area.  Featured there are Big John Mazmanian, Skip Hess, Barbara Hamilton, Bones Balogh, Doug Cook, Jack Coonrod, the Hill Bros., and just added; Ohio George Montgomery.

4 of the Gasser Legends

At the NHRA Motorsport Museum, April 99.
K.S. Pittman, Big John Mazmanian, Ohio George
Montgomery and Junior Thompson.
(From left to right)


Here is the original picture of the win and Jr. receiving the trophy in 1958.


Jr. still has this trophy that was won in 1958.
This win started the legendary gasser wars
between Howard Cams & Isky Cams which lasted through the 70's.
Here he donates the trophy for display at the NHRA Museum.


Copied (with permission) from

Drag Racer Magazine

   These days legendary A/Gas Supercharged racer, Jr. Thompson, concentrates his considerable skill building engines for street machines and modifying Hilborn fuel injectors for use on some of the most outrageous urban assault vehicles.

   The one pictured above, a 1950 Ford Prefect, contains a 470-cubic inch early hemi complete with blower and one of Jr.'s modifed, hand-massaged four-hole injectors.  Its horsepower on gasoline is rumored to be around 900 with torque measured in tons per feet.  The gearboxis a 727 TorqueFlite prepared by another former A.GS racer, Geno Ciambello of C&O Transmissions.  All you really need to know about this combination is that it works.  The car is shown on streets of Norwalk, California, near Jr.'s home, and his son Tom is at the wheel herding this unpredictable beast from stoplight to stoplight.  Ford of England orginally built the Prefect to be used as a taxi in post-war London, and its use in racing was governed by NHRA rules which specified a minimum wheelbase in the class.  The Prefect measured 94 inches and was the only narrow, little English car to run legally in what was the the AB Supercharged class.  This particular Prefect is no Johnny-come-lately replica of some vehicle from a by-gone era, certainly not.  Jr. bought this car from another A/GS racer, Chuck finders, who built it for racing back in 1965.  The Prefect was an active racecar but it came of age back in 1987, when Jr. assembled it to run in the ANRA nostalgia races.

   And run it did!  This little hemi-powered piece turned a best of 7.90 e.t. (the first A/GS cars ran in the sevens) and produced a trap speed of 170 mph.

   Virtually unchanged from racer trim, although detuned just a bit, driver Tom Thompson admits that the machine is a bit of a handful, what with all that horsepower.  "It tends to be a little violent, but the faces on the people as they se me go by make up for all the effort it takes to drive it within the confines of the residential area."

   Indeed, as we watched and photographed this brute in action, we can attest to the fact that it is violent.  Smokin' up the neighborhood is definitely an understatement.

Reproduction of photos and articles excerpts use with permission of Scott Cochran - Drag Racer Magazine©. No part or picture may be reproduced from this site without the express permission of owner and or author of these web pages.

Jet Cars  ~ California

for larger image.
Jet car shows were popular in the late 60's and early 70's.
Here is a picture I took of a pair.  I was told this was not Lion's Drag Strip but at Irwindale.  These were great crowd pleasers.
RestLeSs Designs Photos©

Competitive Challenge

The Gasser Wars were a memorable time.  To keep up the excitement there were "Open Challenges" published in the local drag magazines.  This was a challenge by Jr. Thompson to "Lil" John Lombardo.  The race took place at Irwindale Raceway on Jan. 4, 1970.  Lombardo took the 1st round win going 167.93 mph.  Jr. took the 2nd round win with low E.T. of 8.50 flat.  The score was 1-to-1 going into the third round.  The victory went to Lombardo's topless 'Vette when Thompson's Opel lost traction at mid-course.  It had looked like a sure win for Jr., with a whole shot at the starting line.  You can be sure the fans loved it!

The cartoon of John Lombardo was drawn by Tom Hunnicutt for Drag News.
In 1968 he became the art director for Doris Herberts Drag News, and from there the Editor of Drag Cartoons Magazine.

These graphics are actual scanned clippings saved from the Drag News late 1969 issue from Jr.'s scrapbook.

Steve Korney's Anglia and Jr. Thompson's Austin

The memory we have of Steve Korney's Goldfinger Anglia was that he had an 8 Track Stereo in his car AND a lightbar coming through the cutout hand on the side of the car.  He would play his music while racing and the lightbar kept the beat to the music.  This was in the 70's ~ WHAT AN INNOVATION!  It didn't help him win this race though.
Rhonda - Jr's Other Kid

Jr. Thompson's Austin popping a wheelie

This run really got the fans excited.  The gassers weren't supposed to do wheel-stands but this little Austin didn't want to play by the rules.

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