THE EVIL TWIN

TWO TIMES THE TER­ROR

Drag Racer - - Over Center - Kleet Norris

Two Times the Ter­ror

RText and Photos by OCKY PHILLIPS’ DRAG RACING ROOTS BE­GAN AT THE RAISIN CITY DRAGSTRIP JUST WEST OF FRESNO, CAL­I­FOR­NIA, IN THE LATE-’70S. IN 1977, HE PUR­CHASED RANCE MCDANIEL’S OLD JR. FUEL DRAG­STER AND CAM­PAIGNED IT FOR A FEW YEARS. LATER, HE MOVED ON TO RACING DOORSLAMMERS, BUT HIS LOVE FOR FRONT-EN­GINE DRAG­STERS NEVER WANED.

For many years Rocky dreamt of cre­at­ing a twin-en­gine drag­ster. In the late-’80s, while at a Su­per Shop’s grand open­ing, Rocky had the op­por­tu­nity to talk with Ed­die Hill re­gard­ing the old twin-en­gine drag­ster he raced in the ’60s. It was the first step in the cre­ation of Rocky’s Evil Twin drag­ster.

Fast for­ward to 2009 and the Ea­gle Field Drags. This tra­di­tional-style, flag-start, eighth-mile drag race takes place on an old World War II air base near the town of Fire­baugh, Cal­i­for­nia. The drag races are the brain­child of Rocky and a group of his friends. The races al­low his­toric drag cars and hot rods to burn rub­ber down the dragstrip, in­stead of sit­ting in a mu­seum or car show. With the cre­ation of the Ea­gle Field Drags, Rocky’s de­sire to build a twinengine drag­ster was rekin­dled.

In Novem­ber of 2010, Rocky sensed the time was right to start build­ing his twin. “With the suc­cess of the Ea­gle Field Drags, I now had a place to run this type of drag­ster,” he said. He be­gan de­vel­op­ing a plan to build the drag­ster, but his main con­cerns were how to mate the two en­gines and how to get the power to the rear wheels. To de­velop ideas, he fol­lowed the restora­tion build of the Twin Bear drag­ster on the Jalopy Jour­nal online fo­rum. He also pored over old photos of var­i­ous twin-en­gine drag­sters to draw in­spi­ra­tion for the build.

Ul­ti­mately, Rocky mated the two fly­wheels to­gether by hav­ing the en­gine on the left run in re­verse ro­ta­tion, sim­i­lar to Tommy Ivo’s twinBuick-en­gine drag­ster. For the Evil Twin, Rocky used a pair of small-block Chevy en­gines. To get the left en­gine to run in re­verse

ro­ta­tion, a spe­cial cam was ground by Clay Smith Cams. For the in­takes on the two en­gines, a pair of hand­fab­ri­cated, log-style 3x2 in­takes was made, each run­ning three Stromberg 97 car­bu­re­tors. The en­gines were the first piece of the project to be com­pleted be­fore any other part of the drag­ster was built.

The chas­sis came next, with help from his son, Lee, Rocky made a tub­ing ben­der to bend the rails for the drag­ster. They started with the main rails and then moved on to the driver area. The en­gines served as part of the frame­work, with the top rails of the drag­ster bolted to the front of each en­gine. Many of Rocky’s friends and sup­port­ers of Ea­gle Field do­nated var­i­ous parts to­ward the build. Rocky and Lee also made the drag­ster’s front axle and the sus­pen­sion pieces. “I like the way they came out. The driver area sort of re­sem­bles a Drag­mas­ter-style chas­sis,” Rocky said. The car was ini­tially fin­ished in a rough stage, with only tin sheet metal en­clos­ing the driver area. The Evil Twin made its first pass in 2011 at the Ea­gle Field Drags.

Af­ter a cou­ple of years run­ning the drag­ster around the U.S. at var­i­ous spe­cial drag races and events,

Rocky de­cided to fin­ish the drag­ster completely. He added a Model T body and made ev­ery­thing shiny. Rocky heav­ily mod­i­fied the fiber­glass T-body to fit on

//With the drag­ster now completely fin­ished, Rocky plans to keep racing and tour­ing with it around the coun­try to any drag strip that will al­low him to run.//

the drag­ster’s chas­sis. Once the body was fit­ted to the drag­ster, Rocky handed it over to Jeff Gang­wish at Shin­bone Al­ley in Fresno to fin­ish the body­work and ap­ply the candy red paint, flames and pin­strip­ing. While the body was be­ing painted, Rocky and Lee painted the chas­sis gloss black and had all of the sus­pen­sion parts chromed. Then he sent the two en­gines to Tim McMaster at Han­ford Auto Sup­ply for fresh­en­ing be­fore go­ing back into the chas­sis. The drag­ster was re­assem­bled just in time for the May 2015 Ea­gle Field race, where it made a full eighth­mile smoky pass to the de­light of the fans.

With the drag­ster now completely fin­ished, Rocky plans to keep racing and tour­ing with it around the coun­try to any drag strip that will al­low him to run. The drag­ster is also an ex­cel­lent pro­mo­tional tool for the Ea­gle Field Drags. It al­ways draws a crowd, with every­one try­ing to fig­ure out how it works. When he at­tends car shows with the Evil Twin, Rocky’s of­ten asked, “Does it run?” He hap­pily replies “yes” and pulls out a pic­ture of it smok­ing the tires.

/ Those re­spon­si­ble for this evil deed are three gen­er­a­tions of rac­ers (L to R): Rocky, his son, Lee, and Lee’s son, Ri­ley, who races sprint cars. The di­lap­i­dated re­mains of the Raisin City dragstrip tim­ing tower can be seen in the back­ground. / Two motors + skinny slicks = plenty of smoke. The Evil Twin never ceases to en­ter­tain.

/ Ini­tially primered and look­ing sim­i­lar to a Drag­mas­ter drag­ster in the driver area, the Evil Twin now wears a T-road­ster body and beau­ti­ful candy red paint.

/ Here’s Rocky at the old Raisin City dragstrip. The flag starter is Earl Boy­a­jian, who worked at the track in its hey­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.