Flathead Drag Racing
Everything copyright: James H. Marlett
Here are the pictures, as Jim described them.

This is the motive power in Rick Schnell's "Slider" dragster. This is to
the best of my knowledge the quickest and fastest flathead dragster on
the planet.  Photo from the Kenz and Leslie High Altitude Flathead/Inline Nationals,
July, 1998.

This is Bob "Whitey" McDonald's injected nitro-burning dragster. Whitey
won the Competition Fuel class at the Flathead Nationals for the second
year in a row.

This is Charley Overfeldt's (I need to check that spelling) blown
alcohol altered. Charley won Competition Gas class. This was a bracket
class rather than a heads-up racing. Notice the self-made heads on this
car and on Rick Schnell's car.

This is Joe Abbin's supercharged gasoline-burning Merc powered '34. Joe
won Hot Rod class, which was the bracket class for 14 sec. and slower.
Notice he is running modified stock heads.

"Unsprung" Snyder's car from the '50s is still going strong. This is
probably one of the first cars to dispense with springs in the front. A
real "rail job," its frame is model T rails.

This and this are group shots of all the participants in the 1998 Kenz and Leslie High Altitude Flathead/Inline
Nationals. I may have missed a car or two in the middle even though I moved so I wouldn't.

This first one is John Bradley, "Mr. Flathead." His injected nitro
burner is generally recognized as being the quickest and fastest
naturally aspirated flathead. John had problems in Denver and didn't do
too well. Notice all those exhaust pipes. Custom made heads, too.
This picture is missing.

This is Rick Schnell's "Slider" in full view. That is Rick in the red
fire suit pants, Mrs. Schnell in the middle, and on the right I believe
Stan Lomelino, a long time flathead racer. I've only met Stan once and
it was after this race, so I'm a little shakey on the ID.

This is John Bradley, "Mr. Flathead." I don't know who the other
gentleman is. John is credited with having the quickest and fastest
naturally aspirated flathead. Nitro fueled and hand made heads.

This is the buisiness end of John Bradley's car. Don't you love all
those pipes?

This is the restored Kenz and Leslie dragster.

The restored Kenz and Leslie dragster in the pits. Sorry I don't know
any of the people.

Dragster of Ron Sterbenk.

Sorry I don't know who the owner is.

I'm pretty darned sure this is Bruce Dahl's car. It is the one I
associate him with. Bruce publishes a flathead newsletter and sells
various parts and books.

I think the really interesting thing about this dragster is the cooling
system. You'll see it a little better in the close up to follow.

This is the engine bay of unk4a.jpg. Notice the late model water pump not
connected to the engine, but connected to a couple of aluminum boxes and
from there it connects to the engine through several pipes and hoses.
The aluminum boxes are solidly connected to the frame and the water pump
is driven by an electric motor. I think I have another picture that
shows this better and I will scan it later. Check how the exhaust had to
snake around the frame rails. That is an issue with flathead dragsters
when using frames orignally built for overheads - the exhausts just
don't come out as high as they do on overheads.

Since I got a newsletter from Bruce Dahl, I called him to confirm
that the white dragster was his. It is and he told me that this car was
built long ago by noted car builder Rod Stucky right here in Kansas.

This car was runner up to Whitey McDonald for Competition Fuel class. It
belongs to Earl, Roy, and Mike Floyd. An interesting feature is the 180
degree crankshaft.

This is the engine bay of the Floyd car.

This is Bill Peter's car with the much discussed Olds 303 fuel
injection. There are two spark plugs per cylinder, but only one set is
connected at any given time. Bill said he was trying to figure out which
was the best plug location. They were having trouble, I think with the
magneto, so I don't think he figured much out at this race. Another pair
of custom machined heads.

This is Ron Tluchak's car which he towed all the way from New Jersey to
Denver. He had no pit crew with him, so I was drafted to drive his tow
car (he built it true to the era with no radiator, so he couldn't drive
it back to the pits). That is Ron in the hat behind the car.

Gene Jaffe's car. I don't know much about it. Did you notice that roll
cage? Has to be a story in that.

Gene Jaffe's dragster.

Gene Jaffe's car again.

This is a side view of a car I have already sent you a photo of. I was
labled unk2a.jpg. I still don't know who it belongs to.

This view is from the staging lanes, as have several others have been.
Unfortunatly, I don't know the names of any of these folks. The lady in
the red-primered T was the only woman in competition that I was aware
of. I'll try to get some names.

This is the Perry and Lloyd car. I first saw it in a video about the
sound tests done at Half Moon Bay a few years ago.

This roadster was actually built for the salt flats. It is owned and
driven by Dave Thomssen. In the photos I saw from last year it was
running Ardun heads. This year they were flat heads.

Mike Thomessen's engine. This car runs with a hood, by the way. I just
caught it with the hood removed. I have a photo with the hood on, but
I'll have to find it.

This is the motor of a track T street rod built by Ray Seidel of Vintage
Motor Works. He is into coatings and has a number of new notions about
how to make a flathead run. Some things of note: aluminum frame,
seriously reworked heads (note the spark plug relocation), cross ram
single 4 bbl intake manifold, coolant flowing through the frame rails
into the sides of the block, etc. I was a really pretty car, but since
the car wasn't in competition, he wasn't able to demonstrate if the
power mods really worked or not.

This is yet another view of the unidentified car in unk2a.jpg. I can't
tell you why I scanned so many different view of this car. Take your

Another mystery car. Although I don't know who owns it, I was told it is
used regularly as a bracket racer.

This is another car actually built for the salt flats, but it's as clean
as any street rod I've ever seen. (I couldn't get the scan to show the
beautiful metalic brown color - it seems too red on my computers. I
guess this is where we seperate the amateur scanners from the pros.) It
was built by Wayne Lictenwalter and Jack Bellamy.

I just learned that the red dragster with the upright radiator belongs
to Marvin Brown. It is in scans unk4a.jpg and unk5a.jpg.

Ah! I knew I had it. This is Dave Thomssen's car with the hood on. The
small print on the hood says "322 in. Flathead."

This dragster didn't make a pass, but when they get the bugs worked out,
I think it's going to be a strong one. Nitro fuel, 180 degree crank, two
port Hilborns on top of that blower. Made some serious noise in the

Can you make out the centrifugal supercharger on Ed Piz's '34 coupe? It
lays in there horizontally and is fed by a pair of Strombergs.

If there had been a coolest car in competition contest, this '34 would
have been a contender. I think it is owned by a Mr. Brown, but I haven't
chased that one down yet.

'34 Ford Tudor of Joe Abbin. Gasoline fuel, 276ci '49 Mercury engine,
Wieand 142 supercharger. Winner of Hot Rod bracket class.

The motor of John Bradley's Dragster.  Notice the fabricated heads, "extra"
exhaust pipes, and the mag drive.

The dragster of Earl Floyd and his sons Ron and Mike. Nitromethane fuel,
180 degree crank. Runner-up in Competition Fuel class.

The engine of Earl Floyd's dragster.

About half of the competitors at the 1998 Kenz & Leslie High Altitude
Flathead/Inline Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado.

The other half of the competitors.

Restored Kenz & Leslie dragster in the staging lanes.

Restored Kenz & Leslie dragster in the pits.

The engine of the Kenz & Leslie dragster. The fuel injection is an adapted
Hilborn unit for a 303 Oldsmobile.

Perry and Lloyd dragster.

Dragster of Bob "Whitey" McDonald. Nitromethane fuel. Winner in the
Competition Fuel class.

Altered of Charlie Overfeldt. Alcohol fuel. Note fabricated heads. Winner
of Competition Gas bracket class.

Altered of Bill Peters. Note fabricated heads with two spark plugs per
cylinder. This was to test plug location and only one was used at a time.
This motor also uses a Hilborn 303 Oldsmobile fuel injection unit modified
to fit a flathead.

Time trials from the west bleachers. The altered is Mike Strusinski
"Flathead's Revenge" and the Dragster Rick Schnell's "Slider." Both are
members of the Old Farts Timing Association, a group of nostalgia racers
which had its origins in the upper Midwest.

The engine of Rick Schnell's "Slider." Nitromethane fuel. The heads are
fabricated from two pieces of aluminum. The lower plate didn't cool well
enough so an upper finned plate was added. Note the exhaust pipe between
the blower and the head. The center ports are completely divided with one
going up and the other going down. The block is aluminum filled.
Transmission is a Ford C4. Rick's final run was the quickest and fastest
turned by a flathead at the time - 8.24 sec. at 167.75 mph and this was at
an altitude of over a mile and in 90+ degree F. temperatures. Winner of
Unlimited Flathead class.

Rick Schnell's "Slider." Winner of Unlimited Flathead class.

Dragster of Elmer "Unsprung" Snyder. It was built in 1953. The frame rails
are from a model T making it a "rail job" in the original sense of the

The dragster of Ron Sterbenk.

The altered of Ron Tluchak. Ron towed all the way from New Jersey by
himself to participate.

Owner unknown to me. (same car as unk11a.jpg and unk13a.jpg)

Dragster of Bruce Dahl. This dragster was built in the '50s(?) by noted car
builder Rod Stucky. The rear of the body is the nose piece of a
circle-track car.

Dragster of Marv Brown. Runner-up in Competition Gas bracket class. (same
car as unk5a.jpg)

Engine in dragster of Marv Brown. Of special interest is the rather complex
cooling system. A late model (everything is relative) water pump is mounted
to the frame and driven by an external electric motor. From there the water
goes into two small boxes, then through pipes to the block. Runner-up in
Competition Gas bracket class. (same car as unk4a.jpg)

Engine in Dave Thomssen's roadster. (same car as unk7a.jpg and unk14a.jpg)

Dave Thomssen's roadster with hood removed. (same car as unk6a.jpg and

Dragster of Gene Jaffe. (same car as unk9a.jpg and unk10a.jpg)

Dragster of Gene Jaffe. (same car as unk8a.jpg and unk10a.jpg) Note the
Flat-O-Matic adapter for a Ford C4 transmission.

Dragster of Gene Jaffe. (same car as unk9a.jpg and unk8a.jpg)

Owner unknown to me. (same car as unk2a.jpg and unk13a.jpg)

Owners unknown to me. From staging lanes. The car in the foreground uses
and alcohol 2 bbl Holley carburetor on a 4 bbl manifold (Holley alcohol 4
bbls are too large for flatheads).

Foreground unknown to me (same car as unk2a.jpg and unk11a.jpg). Background is
'34 Ford of Ed Piz (same car as unk19a.jpg).

Supercharged roadster of Dave Thomssen. This car was built for salt
flat/dry lake use, but is drag raced as well. (same car as unk6a.jpg and

This is a street rod built by Ray Seidel. It has an amazing amount of high
tech stuff in it. Virtually everything in or on the engine is coated with
something appropriate for its use, the ports and heads are machined for an
unconventional flow path, the car's frame is aluminum tubing which also
carries water between the radiator and the engine, the intake manifold is a
highly modified Chevy cross ram, and I could go on for some time.

Owner unknown to me. I understand that this car regularly participates in
bracket racing.

'39 Ford built by Wayne Lichtenwalter and Jack Bellamy for eventual use on
the salt flats.

Dragster of Mike DiVriendt. Nitromethane fuel. 180 degree crankshaft. Car
had some bugs this weekend and I don't believe it made a pass.

'34 Ford of Ed Piz. Note the horizontal centrifugal McCulloch(?)

'34 Ford coupe of Bob Brown. Runner-up in Hot Rod bracket class.

Engine of  Mike Strusinski "Flathead's Revenge" altered. The entire car is
seen in run1.jpg

Back to Visitors' Rides page.