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Chapter Two: The Chassis

Photos by Mac Burris

Hereıs the chassis! I was excited to see these pix back in October at Bakersfield. I was looking for something and this fell in my lap but I was second in line to get it. The pix were there to show Pat Foster and Don Trasin (owner of the Jade Grenade restoration PF had just completed) who are in search of a Sarté chassis to go under Tom McEwenıs Coors (silver) Corvette body. PF said it wasnıt right for their project but OKıd it as perfect for mine. I donıt know fersure the heritage. It was owned at that moment by Mac Burris in Troutman, NC. We came to a financial agreement, and he delivered it to my friend Bob Gilbertsonıs shop in Charlotte.
Hereıs the chassis! I was excited to see these pix back in October at Bakersfield. I was looking for something and this fell in my lap but I was second in line to get it. The pix were there to show Pat Foster and Don Trasin (owner of the Jade Grenade restoration PF had just completed) who are in search of a Sarté chassis to go under Tom McEwenıs Coors (silver) Corvette body. PF said it wasnıt right for their project but OKıd it as perfect for mine. I donıt know fersure the heritage. It was owned at that moment by Mac Burris in Troutman, NC. We came to a financial agreement, and he delivered it to my friend Bob Gilbertsonıs shop in Charlotte.

With a body secured, next came the necessity for underpinnings – chassis was needed. I looked in all the usual places. Those classified websites. Drag papers. I asked around. I was looking for a back half of a chassis – hopefully with a rear end – rebuildable to fit exactly what I needed. I tho't I had a line on an old Logghe-style square cage deal but somehow missed it. I almost bought a rear end and ordered a Mark Williams kit, but waited.

Here's the chassis again, adjacent to a Plymouth Satellite/Sebring body that had been sitting on it (not mates). Dale Smith, from Florida, showed me these pictures and eventually bought the Plymouth body for his own FC project.
Here's the chassis again, adjacent to a Plymouth Satellite/Sebring body that had been sitting on it (not mates). Dale Smith, from Florida, showed me these pictures and eventually bought the Plymouth body for his own FC project.

Last October at Bakersfield, Dale Smith from Florida showed me pictures of the Satellite body he was buying the following week. I asked him about the chassis and he said that it had been under the Satellite, but it wasn't the right chassis for it and he was NOT buying it. The pix were there to show Pat Foster and Don Trasin (owner of the Jade Grenade restoration PF had just completed) who are in search of a Sarté chassis to go under Tom McEwen's Coors (silver) Corvette body. PF said it wasn't right for their project either, but OK'd it as perfect for mine. A pretty fair recommendation I'd say.

Here's the driver's compartment, butterfly, and motor plate. There'll be a Crowerglide on this side of the plate, an iron Chevy on the other side. I bought a used clutch can w/starter pocket, and a ‘glide which Crower will freshen.
Here's the driver's compartment, butterfly, and motor plate. There'll be a Crowerglide on this side of the plate, an iron Chevy on the other side. I bought a used clutch can w/starter pocket, and a ‘glide which Crower will freshen.

The Monday following the California Hot Rod Reunion, I called Mac Burris in Troutman, NC, to discuss just what he wanted for the chassis. Though he had no idea its heritage, Mac described it fully as a vintage 1975 or so FC chassis with 118" wb, torsion bar in front, 9" floater in the back, etc., virtually identical to what I pictured under the Nova. After a few more calls, and a few emailed pix, we came to a financial agreement, and he delivered it to my friend Bob Gilbertson's shop in Charlotte.

The chassis has had upgrades since it was built. I'm guessing that it is '76-'78 vintage though it could be as new as '80-'82. The 118" wheelbase tells me the earlier year is closer. It is virtually identical to what I would build. There's the Satellite again. Since Dale Smith bought it and began stripping many layers of paint, he's discovered it to be one of the last Fighting Irish entries. A great find!
The chassis has had upgrades since it was built. I'm guessing that it is '76-'78 vintage though it could be as new as '80-'82. The 118" wheelbase tells me the earlier year is closer. It is virtually identical to what I would build. There's the Satellite again. Since Dale Smith bought it and began stripping many layers of paint, he's discovered it to be one of the last Fighting Irish entries. A great find!

Bob is currently on the NHRA tour with his FC. We go back to about 1970 when we got greasy on Lyle Canham's Barracuda. We both had early Dodge's, his a 65, mine a 63, and we traded/borrowed parts. It was a couple years before he acquired his first FC, an ex-Twig Ziegler Duster that he raced as a BB/FC. He too tho't my chassis was adequate for my project. Our original plan was for his truck to haul the chassis west when he raced at Pomona. That too didn't work out.

According to Burris, it was last a Dodge Omni fuel car running a JP-1 with Lenco 2-speed. He thinks that car was called Rolling Thunder and it was from the Gulf Coast area. Anybody?
According to Burris, it was last a Dodge Omni fuel car running a JP-1 with Lenco 2-speed. He thinks that car was called Rolling Thunder and it was from the Gulf Coast area. Anybody?

Here's the chassis from the front. It features a torsion bar and a straight axle above the frame rails, similar to a Swindahl of that vintage. I worked on several of that brand in the northwest and really like the adjustability. We were able to preload for bad tracks. Also, the T-bar will help a lot on those rough shut-off areas I intend to run.

Burris says the fire-bottle release linkage is really trick. There are some miscellaneous brackets and hardware not seen here
Burris says the fire-bottle release linkage is really trick. There are some miscellaneous brackets and hardware not seen here.

The back of the chassis shows pretty nice fire-bottle bracketry and what looks to be a Mark Williams housing, according to reader Steve Clark. It will take some study to decide who built this chassis. 

 

Explore.

Dream.

Discover.

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