Rod's Automobile Pages...

About Rod's automotive background...

Maintenance Tips Pg. 1
Maintenance Tips Pg. 2
Maintenance Tips Pg. 3
Maintenance Tips Pg. 4
More Maintenance Tips (rear bushing replacement, the EZcarlift in action, etc.)
Modifications and Resources Pg. 1
Modifications and Resources Pg. 2
Modifications and Resources Pg. 3
Modifications and Resources Pg. 4
Modifications and Resources Pg. 5
Paint Protection
Electrical Problems
Lighting Voltage Drop Tests - Headlight lens polishing
BMW E28 Steering Wheels
Eric's Autos
Shelley's Autos
Other E28 BMW's
Rod's Honda Fit page
About Rod and links to his other web pages.
My background with automobiles started in the mid 1950's, with four years of Auto Mechanics, Machine shop, gas and arc Welding, Radio & TV and Electricity shop courses at Tucson Senior Vocational Highschool and working on friends auto's prior to obtaining my first drivers license and automobile. I entered amateur and novice racing events and eventually qualified as a professional licensed race driver, racing in the NHRA, AHRA and SCCA organization events until the mid 1960's. I participated in factory training from Chrysler Corp. involving the Max-Wedge and Hemi engines, and was certified by NIASE as Automotive Technician and Specialist in several areas in the late 1960's.
I quit pro racing in 1966, as it was no longer a 'week end warrior' event, with its growing number of factory sponsored vehicles in the events. I then spent a number of years with motorcycles on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles and in desert motocross competition events in southern California and in enduro events when I moved from California to northern Virginia in 1973. I retired from motorcycle racing in 1975, but have remained active maintaining and modifying my vehicles including my 1983 BMW (purchased new in 1983) and working with others on their E28s and other early model vehicles and modified street rods.

Here are some pictures from my past and present that show what I've been involved with...

In my heated/air cond. garage... wishing it was bigger!

My first competitive event in 1955. My young sister next to me. Click to expand

Tucson Timing Association sign at Davis-Monthan
The once-a-month race day announcement sign

This is where my drag racing days began.
Davis-Monthan AFB where drags ran run once a month.

Where drag racing moved to after being at Davis-Monthan.

(Internet Pic) 1948 Ford 2-dr sedan. My first car, but had to take it back as I was only 17, not 18.

1949 Olds 88 Fastback
Picture from Larry Stephens, highschool classmate.

Tucson guys cars at popular hangout... the Drive In!

1957 Chevy 210 Delray 3-speed. Stock and quick.

1934 Ford 5-window, Keith Black built Olds with B&M Hydro. Next owner lost control, totaled it!

Photos by late friend, Roger Torpin, Venice, CA
1958 Corvette 4-speed 283/290 FI the afternoon I brought it home. $4827.65 out-the-door!

The wonderful 290HP 283 cu. in. "Fuelie".


Our blown 392 Chrysler AA/ F dragster. Best run 8.77 and 171.35 at Bakersfield. Gas only at LIONS.

An excellent reference work is "LIONS The Greatest Drag Strip" Part One/1955-1962, the DVD by Don Gillespie, who also produced two other DVD's covering LIONS... Part two/1962-1966 and Part three/1967-1972. I spent a lot of time at LIONS, from 1958 to 1966, as a 'weekend warrior' in the vehicles I raced. I was certainly very fortunate to be a part of where many of us feel organized drag racing started.

Updated and still running in the '60's under new owners.

1959 TR3 with 48-spoke Austin Healy wheels.
Tried my hand at SCCA road racing at Riverside Raceway. Affordable in this car.

Very strong BHP engine in the TR3.

Here are some links to Info about the old Riverside International Raceway...

1963 Riviera with a 7L 340 hp engine.


1968 Volvo 123GT (gray market, Halifax, Canada)

Blue printed Volvo B18B engine in 123 GT.

1961 Pontiac Super Duty 389 (368HP)

It's important to remember, that these engines consumed huge quantities of gas (7-9 mpg on the street) but that the cost of oil which was below $3.00 a barrel and $0.35 per gallon for high test gas ($2.65/gal. in 2012 money), was of little concern to us in those days.

1962 Ply. Fury 413 Max Wedge from Milne Bros.
118.11 mph - 11.54 ET in the quarter mile.


Car last known to be in Earlville, IA, where it ran 125.47 in 10.723 in Sept. 2000.

Upgraded to 426 in 1963.
419 HP at the rear wheels after blue printing.

Thought about buying one, but didn't... stupid!

A little history about this engine.

Engine swap with a REAL 426 Hemi installed.
Engler Bros. in Santa Monica made the difference and they're still doing it!
Two of the best machinists I ever had the good fortune to work with, were Frank and Arnold Engler, who owned an auto parts and machine shop in Santa Monica on Pico Blvd., called Engler Bros. Unfortunately, they are no longer with us, but I've been told by old friends that the present crew at Engler Bros is carrying on the business just as I knew it in the early 1960's. Great skills and very high quality work, still coming out of that shop. Great to hear this, as really high quality machine shops are getting harder to find, I am very sorry to say.

Built Street Hemi in my 1966 Plymouth.
573 HP at the flywheel after Engler Bros. work, with Sunoco Purple fuel.

Me and an old friend, Spring 2005 at Maryland Annual Mopar meet.

A link from Big Jim's Mopar web site
Lastly, for the younger visitors to this web site, who have never had an opportunity to experience the early Mopars in action, here are a few links to some good movies I think you'll find interesting, along with some links to additional information about these engines.

Mopar 413 Max Wedge engine on test stand

426 Hemi - a documetary history and explanation

Chuck Emery's 1963 Plymouth Max-Wedge

Greg Lane's Max Wedge and Race Hemi Pages

1966 Triumph Bonnieville 650.
Switched from street to dirt setup and raced in the 1967 Mojave Hare & Hound.

I found out from an old friend early this year (2008) that a film had been made of this event, by Bruce Brown and had been released on DVD. Had no idea one was ever made, but bought it and looked for friends. I may be in it, but certainly not apparent, although my old light blue Chevy truck is sure there, which we hauled my Triumph and my friend's bike to the 1967 Mojave desert event. And what an event it was, with both of us actually finishing!

Bought Husky after Hare & Hound. Motocrossing Husky at Indian Dunes, late '60's.

1968 Husky 360cc Viking

1955 Chevy Nomad
In front of my great four-car garage on Ashland Ave., Santa Monica

Thunderbird bucket seats in the Nomad, matching custom interior by Tony Nancy.

Built Cad engine coupled to 4-speed B&M Hydro and 4.56 rear.

1973 Mustang 4-spd. Cobra Jet. A real sleeper!
Brought in moving van to Virginia.

The Calif version produced 275 HP.

1973 Blazer for exploring Virginia.
Note the big CB whip antenna in rear. Marchal and Cibie 100w lamps + wiring, light off road travel.

1974 Yamaha 250 with mods. Doing Enduros in VA and PA 1974-75.

1979 Fiat Strada, way ahead of its time!
Poor dealer service killed this great vehicle and Fiat's ability to remain in America.

1981 Renault 18i. A really great machine.
AMC killed Renault sales, preferring to sell Gremlins and other junk.

Fitted with HD suspension, front and rear spoilers and engine mods.

The Renault "Hemi-Head" four. Strong and efficient.

Currently missing from view...
(in the order that they were owned)

1939 chrome yellow Chevy 4-door sedan GMC 301 6 3-speed '37 floor shift
1960 black Chevy 2-door post Biscayne 348 Tri-Power V-8 4-speed
1961 metalic seafoam green Pontiac 2-door Bonnieville Super Duty 389 V-8, Hurst 4-speed
1964 red Plymouth 2-door Savoy 426 Max Wedge V-8 auto
1972 green Chevy 1/2 ton pickup 6 cyl. 3-speed
Purchased March 8, 2008...
This 5-speed Honda Fit Sport replaces my 1988 Chevy 4x4 pickup truck daily driver and its 13-16 mpg fuel consumption. And what a great vehicle the Fit is! Lifetime fuel mileage after 30,000+ miles is 39.4 mpg and a blast to drive. I've created a Honda Fit webpage containing current performance figures, modifications and related resources. Check it out.
With Yoko AVID ENVigor 195/55-15 for winter.
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