NO. 31: BAR­NEY NAVARRO’S RE­NAIS­SANCE ROAD­STER, THEN & NOW

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Contents - WORDS: SCOTTY GOS­SON PICS: THE NAVARRO COL­LEC­TION AND SCOTT PERROTT CAR: BAR­NEY NAVARRO AND SCOTT PERROTT RE­SEARCH AS­SIS­TANCE: DONNA NAVARRO, AMER­I­CAN HOT ROD FOUN­DA­TION, PAUL GIL­BERT

A pro­file of the speed parts pioneer and his rolling R&D lab.

LEGACY.

Bar­ney Navarro’s leg­end has been passed around for gen­er­a­tions now. It’s the clas­sic tale of a panoramic vi­sion, bull­dog de­ter­mi­na­tion, and goal-ori­ented dis­ci­pline. His in­ter­ests and ac­com­plish­ments ranged far be­yond the realm of hot rod­ding, yet were largely the re­sult of lessons learned on the sanctified dry lakebeds of south­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Young Navarro was al­ready an es­teemed high-per­for­mance en­gi­neer and ma­chin­ist when he first rolled onto the sa­cred silt. That’s where this chap­ter of his odyssey be­gan, on Novem­ber 16, 1941. Early that morn­ing, Navarro pulled the rowdy flat­head V8 from his daily driven ’39 Ford sedan (equipped with shaved heads and the first ever Weiand dual-carb high-rise in­take man­i­fold) and swapped it into Bud Swan­son’s T road­ster. That af­ter­noon, Navarro turned 107 mph at the last Muroc dry lakes meet be­fore World War II put the ki­bosh on rac­ing ac­tiv­i­ties there. But his the­o­ries and hard parts were now of­fi­cially doc­u­mented en­ti­ties. From that day, the leg­end was val­i­dated.

Dur­ing his stint in the Army Air Corps (1945-1947), Navarro care­fully con­sid­ered all an­gles of man­u­fac­tur­ing an af­ter­mar­ket in­take man­i­fold of his own de­sign for the Ford V8. Upon re­turn­ing to his civil­ian home base of Ea­gle Rock, Cal­i­for­nia, he im­ple­mented those plans, has­ten­ing the birth of Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment. He was in busi­ness, which meant his com­pany would need an ap­pro­pri­ate ve­hi­cle to show­case its prod­ucts. This mo­bile public re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive would also dou­ble as a re­search-and-devel­op­ment tool.

So it came to be that, for a few en­chanted years (ap­prox­i­mately 1947-1953), Navarro’s tool of choice was a hum­ble ’27 Ford Model T road­ster, thrashed to­gether in a four-day frenzy with best friend (and fel­low Glen­dale Stok­ers car club mem­ber) Tom Beatty. The re­sul­tant racer would ul­ti­mately prove it­self to be an in­valu­able uten­sil that ex­pe­dited the evo­lu­tion of post­war high per­for­mance.

In­side No. 31

Navarro and Beatty had been wrench­ing to­gether since be­fore join­ing the Glen­dale Stok­ers in 1940, so when they swag­gered into Navarro’s road­ster pro­ject (all four days of it) in Oc­to­ber of 1947, they did so with con­fi­dent aban­don. They laid the foun­da­tion with a pair of Es­sex fram­erails con­nected via tubu­lar cross­mem­bers. A to­ken roll bar was later added for more chas­sis rigid­ity. Sus­pen­sion con­sisted of ba­si­cally stock Ford com­po­nents: Model 40 front axle with ’46 spin­dles, Houdaille shocks, spring-be­hind-axle split-bone

ar­range­ment, ’34 rearend with 4.11 Hal­i­brand quick-change hung on short­ened ra­dius rods, and so on. A 6-gal­lon war surplus fuel tank fed the mon­ster. The most ex­otic item was a Franklin steer­ing box. The en­gine was lo­cated as far aft as was fea­si­ble, leav­ing scant el­bow room for the lanky Navarro.

Of course, the en­gine was the fo­cal point, and it didn’t dis­ap­point. Af­ter prep­ping the stan­dard-bore 59A block, Navarro turned to Char­lie Braden at Nor­den Ma­chine Works to as­sist with con­struc­tion of a 180-de­gree man­ganese-molyb­de­num crank, ground down from the stock stroke to a svelte 3 inches, net­ting 176 inches of high-wind­ing dis­place­ment (per­fect for the SCTA’S A/mod­i­fied class). The 180-de­gree the­ory was an at­tempt to coun­ter­act the flat­head’s in­her­ent ex­haust flow road­blocks, and hope­fully cool the in­ferno in the siamesed ex­haust ports.

Navarro then ap­proached his best friend and men­tor, Ed Win­field, for a cus­tom-ground steel bil­let cam, fea­tur­ing lobes con­fig­ured to co­in­cide with the 180-de­gree crank’s al­tered fir­ing or­der (1-8-3-6-4-5-2-7). Skep­ti­cal of roller lifters, Navarro opted to ma­chine his own mush­room tap­pets, declar­ing, “A flat or mush­room lifter gives a quicker lift with less spring ten­sion and no side thrust.”

Navarro de­signed and cast an in­take man­i­fold to ac­com­mo­date a GMC 3-71 blower, fed by four Stromberg 48 carbs rid­ing a very trick adapter man­i­fold (fea­tur­ing hid­den in­ter­nal air­ways to cool the fuel charge). Four V-belts spun the blower, while a fifth drove the wa­ter pump. Re­gard­less, belt slip­page still pro­hib­ited the blower from reach­ing its po­ten­tial, so Navarro drilled the faces and V-sec­tions of the alu­minum pul­leys to pro­mote some cool air­flow, which im­proved belt trac­tion some­what. Deck sur­faces were crowned with a pair of Navarro cylin­der heads.

The 176-inch screamer pro­duced 270 hp at 6,500 rpm on the dyno, but in com­pe­ti­tion it rou­tinely sang so­prano at 8,000 revs, gen­er­at­ing even more horse­power and spook­ing a litany of wary drivers (of which Walt James was most suc­cess­ful). At those rpm’s, the pis­tons and rods swing­ing from the 180-de­gree crank es­sen­tially bal­anced them­selves. (A later ver­sion of this en­gine, built with Don Yates, pro­duced 413 hp on ni­tro, thanks to the far su­pe­rior Gilmer belt drive assem­bly).

The 176er was backed with a ’39 Ford trans, di­rect­ing torque to the Hal­i­brand quickie. This as­sem­blage was cov­ered with some ’27 T road­ster body pan­els that Navarro had dis­cov­ered in a gully near his Ea­gle Rock home. Metal shaper ex­traor­di­naire Art In­gles (an em­ployee at Kur­tis Kraft) ironed out the big­gest wrin­kles and fabbed the hood top and side pan­els, nose­piece, bel­ly­pan, and even cast the alu­minum grill. Navarro even­tu­ally coated the car­cass with ’47 Ford ma­roon lac­quer in a dirt floor shed be­hind the shop, and de­clared the pro­ject to be done.

Ver­sa­tile

Orig­i­nally in­tended to run the Cal­i­for­nia Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s dirt ovals (which it did), the road­ster proved ver­sa­tile enough to pound any course it was aimed at. At the 1948 sea­son opener at El Mi­rage, the Navarro road­ster set a 136.77-mph record. By sea­son’s end it was net­ting 146s. At the in­au­gu­ral Bon­neville Na­tional Speed Tri­als in 1949, it went 147. And when a bear­ing seizure pret­zeled a bank of con­nect­ing rods dur­ing an oxy­gen in­jec­tion test at the 1950 Fall Fi­nals meet at Bon­neville, Navarro hack­sawed the twisted rods down to their main caps, re­in­stalled the bat­tered cylin­der head, added some card­board aero via old Sta­bil oil car­tons, and stunned the troops with a 78.76-mph O/stream­liner record blast in his now 88ci flat­head V4 stream­liner. (A spir­ited Wally Parks is ru­mored to be the in­sti­ga­tor of these shenani­gans.)

It should be noted that Navarro was an ab­so­lute prag­ma­tist. He put no value on his record runs, other than the data gleaned and free pro­mo­tion of his prod­ucts. He was there to test the­o­ries and solve prob­lems, pe­riod.

As its cre­ator earned his stripes, so did the road­ster ul­ti­mately re­ceive a race en­try num­ber on its doors. In the No. 31 road­ster, su­per­hero Navarro had cus­tom-crafted his own trusty side­kick, in essence a me­chan­i­cally an­i­mated ver­sion of him­self: able and equipped for the task at hand. In­deed, both car and owner earned icon sta­tus through­out the hot rod mi­cro­cosm, as Navarro’s T was sub­jected to more mad-sci­en­tist ex­per­i­men­ta­tion than doc­tors Franken­stein, Moreau, and Jekyll com­bined could have dished out. No. 31 not only sur­vived the tor­ture, but ex­celled. It pitched dirt clods at the in­au­gu­ral CRA race (La­bor Day, 1946) at the Gar­dena Bowl (later re­named Car­rell Speedway), and even es­tab­lished a com­mand­ing pres­ence at the first ever Santa Ana Drags de­spite grenad­ing a rearend. All of that and plenty more, while chug­ging down count­less alky cock­tails and suf­fer­ing bru­tal doses of blower boost.

The early 1950s found Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment jammed in high gear. The road­ster was still run­ning the lakes and salt, but the shop was al­most too busy. Man­i­folds and cylin­der heads were selling well, cus­tom ma­chin­ing or­ders were com­mon, and the sales and ship­ping chores were con­stant. Car mag­a­zines were com­mis­sion­ing Navarro to write monthly tech fea­tures (which he con­sid­ered a prag­matic al­ter­na­tive to buy­ing ad­ver­tis­ing space). He was also in high de­mand as a test driver and parts devel­op­ment con­sul­tant to man­u­fac­tur­ers around the globe. And he was now in­volved in big-league power­boat rac­ing, and even had an Indy car en­deavor on the hori­zon. Heady stuff, but ex­haust­ing.

Some­thing had to give, and the No. 31 road­ster ul­ti­mately drew the short straw. Navarro was al­ready look­ing past hot rod­ding, to the med­i­cal, elec­tronic, and con­struc­tion fields (among oth­ers). At some point in 1953, the road­ster was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously traded to “a guy from Fresno” for a more prac­ti­cal stock sedan. Wife Donna con­firms, “He was done with rod­ding, and he just moved on.” And just like that, the Navarro road­ster evap­o­rated from the high­ve­loc­ity do­main it had cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled.

A Won­drous Per­pet­u­a­tion

In the spring of 1991, con­struc­tion contractor Scott Perrott was in­spired to build a street-legal track road­ster in his Port­land, Ore­gon, garage. While shop­ping for pro­ject parts, Perrott hap­pened across an ad in the April 1992 is­sue of Hem­mings Mo­tor News for a stack of Model T body pan­els styled akin to Bar­ney Navarro’s old No. 31. The pack­age also in­cluded an Es­sex frame. The body

parts were painted blue, but the tell­tale edges of a Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment de­cal un­der the paint was a promis­ing omen. Com­par­isons with vin­tage pho­tos con­firmed a match with No. 31, right down to iden­ti­cal holes in the fram­erails.

The seller had pur­chased the tin at Cal­i­for­nia’s peren­nial Tur­lock Swap Meet and of­fered it to the Navar­ros, who waved it off as old news. So Perrott high­tailed it to Car­son City, Ne­vada, and laid down $1,750 to col­lect the goods. Upon re­turn­ing home with the tin, Perrott sent pho­tos to Navarro, who con­firmed the car’s pedi­gree and agreed to sup­port the pro­ject with feed­back, ad­vice, and a per­sonal chal­lenge to Perrott. Perrott re­counts, “Bar­ney said the car was too com­pli­cated for any­one to com­pre­hend. And I’ll con­fess, there were times dur­ing the restora­tion that I agreed with him.”

Perrott had now swerved from hot rod builder to race car restorer. Thanks to some pho­tos in a Don Mont­gomery book, “I knew what it was sup­posed to look like,” he re­calls. And from there, a life-chang­ing two-year restora­tion odyssey un­folded.

The body (mi­nus hood and nose­piece) bolted to the frame with ease, fur­ther con­firm­ing it as Navarro’s. The Art In­gles–crafted belly pan and tur­tle-deck lid also slipped into place or­gan­i­cally. The miss­ing In­gles trade­mark nose­piece (one of 10 that he crafted) was even­tu­ally sniffed out and pur­chased by Perrott.

Once the mo­tor plate lo­ca­tion was ab­so­lutely ver­i­fied, chas­sis con­struc­tion com­menced. The gifted Eric San­ders over­saw most of that ac­tion in his Eu­gene, Ore­gon, shop. The cor­rect 6.00-16 tires on 16x4.5 ’48 Ford wheels were bolted to ’46 Ford juice brakes and spin­dles. Then the dots were con­nected. Even­tu­ally.

Navarro had sold his signature 176-inch en­gine to a Mon­tana gen­tle­man at some point in the 1960s, sans blower (which went to racer and Navarro em­ployee Don Yates). So Perrott and com­pany were re­signed to re-creat­ing the war­rior flat­head from scratch. The new en­gine would be rel­a­tively mild in­ter­nally (to ac­com­mo­date street use), but ab­so­lutely cor­rect vis­ually. De­spite rig­or­ous re­search, some in­sid­i­ous en­gi­neer­ing as­pects of the en­gine build pre­sented co­nun­drums. For ex­am­ple, recre­at­ing Navarro’s unique carb adapter and blower drive be­gan with a “How did he do that?” from Perrott, prompt­ing the draft­ing of ma­chin­ist Bob Coutts into the pro­ject. Once Coutts and Perrott re­verse-imag­i­neered the con­vo­luted in­take sys­tem, the rest of the driv­e­train build seemed rel­a­tively straight­for­ward.

The body, driv­e­train, and chas­sis projects seemed to co­in­cide in sync: Two years af­ter hatching his plan, Perrott was driv­ing No. 31. From the first ner­vous test drive around the block to the flat-out runs on cour­ses around the planet, Bar­ney Navarro’s spirit has rid­den shot­gun with Perrott. Chauf­feur­ing that phan­tom passenger around is a re­spon­si­bil­ity that Scott Perrott con­sid­ers a hum­bling honor. It’s cer­tainly pre­cious cargo. Leg­endary, even.

Epi­logue

Bar­ney Navarro died on his 88th birth­day, in 2007. His great­est nat­u­ral gift may have been that of far­sight­ed­ness. Navarro pos­sessed a wide-an­gle per­spec­tive that al­lowed him to pru­dently as­sess all fac­tors well be­fore ap­proach­ing any chal­lenge. His bot­tom line was sim­plic­ity. He told au­thor Paul D. Smith, “You don’t vi­o­late the laws of na­ture. You can’t; they’re in­vi­o­late. If you un­der­stand the ba­sic physics, you have the prob­lem beat. Now it’s a mat­ter of in­ge­nu­ity and fig­ur­ing out the lim­i­ta­tions of what the rule­books al­low you, work­ing within those pa­ram­e­ters.”

Navarro cred­its his science teacher at Glen­dale High School, Mr. De­bra, for an even more ba­sic tenet that stuck: “There’s noth­ing more fun than learn­ing.”

Donna Navarro’s take on Bar­ney’s ap­proach to prob­lem solv­ing: “Even in high school they called him the Pro­fes­sor. Bar­ney could be im­pa­tient at times. He didn’t suf­fer fools gladly. As soon as he solved one prob­lem, he was on to greater chal­lenges. He was very ad­vanced in his think­ing. His in­tel­lect was just as­ton­ish­ing!”

Navarro as­sessed his own legacy in a 2007 Ken Gross in­ter­view. He said, “I hadn’t planned all these things. There were serendip­i­tous co­in­ci­dences that pro­vided me with op­por­tu­ni­ties, and I availed my­self of them.”

Scott Perrott sum­ma­rizes: “Bar­ney was like a so­phis­ti­cated Don Quixote, tilt­ing at wind­mills. You could talk about any­thing with him, he was so knowl­edge­able.”

> A typ­i­cal early 1950s lakes scene for Bar­ney Navarro and his No. 31 road­ster, ex­cept for the atyp­i­cally static Navarro, side­lined with some torched pis­tons. That’s Tom Beatty and wife Frankie in the back­ground with Beatty’s in­fa­mous “Rust Bucket” T.

> Shop em­ployee Bob Tram­mel’s T road­ster sits obliv­i­ous to an ap­proach­ing tor­nado: This car was the first to test Navarro’s su­per­charger pack­age. Navarro in­stalled his 3-71 GMC blower on Tram­mel’s 268-inch flatty and copped a 143-mph tim­ing tag at El Mi­rage. Then the car was driven to Mon­tana, where you could pretty much name your price for a Cal­i­for­nia road­ster with a 143mph SCTA tim­ing tag at­tached.

> Bar­ney Navarro’s first timed run at the dry lakes was at Muroc in 1941. An enor­mous field of en­trants lim­ited him to this sin­gle pass on that day, but his home­built flat­head V8 pow­ered Bud Swan­son’s T road­ster to a re­spectable 107 mph. In a 2006 in­ter­view with Henry As­tor, Navarro re­called his ex­cite­ment: “When I took off with that thing, I couldn’t hold the clutch down. My leg was jump­ing up and down! The car wasn’t very sta­ble. It didn’t have enough caster in the front, and the back end wanted to come around and meet the front. I couldn’t find enough wedges to wedge the front axle, so I stuck some end wrenches be­tween the spring and axle.”

> Bernard Ju­lian Navarro put the hot rod­ding com­mu­nity on no­tice, circa 1925: He will race smarter than you. Mom Olga cheered him on, as sis­ter Delores pro­vided bal­last.

> Navarro bought this 3-71 GMC unit from Kong Jack­son for $60 and tricked it up be­fore he even had a car to put it on. The hous­ing re­quired only minis­cule in­ter­nal ma­chin­ing to al­low free-spin­ning ro­tors to pro­duce 16 pounds of boost in 1948. Carbs rode sidesad­dle to ac­com­mo­date pack­ag­ing. Navarro told Henry As­tor, “I don’t know where [Jack­son] got it. It was af­ter the war, and I was work­ing at the [He­dre­ich Bros.] die shop. So I took the blower down there and made all the pieces for it there.”

> This art­work for a 1953 Hop Up magazine ad por­trays Navarro’s dis­dain for snake oil sales­man types and their short­sighted “get rich quick” ap­proach to do­ing busi­ness. Navarro Speed Equip­ment even went so far as to ad­ver­tise Moly Caps En­gine Vi­ta­mins as a poke in the eye to such huck­sters. Aimed di­rectly at the Spiegel fam­ily’s Ne­w­house Au­to­mo­tive ads, Navarro’s faux dis­trib­u­tor was dubbed “Old Home Au­to­mo­tive Lab­o­ra­to­ries” (a play on Ne­w­house). Iron­i­cally, the molyb­de­num sul­fide pow­der Moly Caps (oil ad­di­tives, priced at a dol­lar for a box of three cap­sules) sold like hot­cakes world­wide. Go fig­ure.

> When his first crank­shaft ex­pired af­ter a sin­gle sea­son of rac­ing, Navarro col­lab­o­rated with Nor­den Ma­chine Works in 1948 to pro­duce this 180-de­gree mas­ter­piece, em­ploy­ing a 3-inch stroke. The sin­gle-plane crank buzzed the flatty to 8,000 rpm ef­fort­lessly, as the rigidly mounted en­gine re­layed bad vibes through the chas­sis and straight up Navarro’s spine, prompt­ing this ob­ser­va­tion of its first lakes run: “I watched the tachome­ter nee­dle break off at the in­di­cat­ing end, and then the tail broke off due to the vi­bra­tion com­ing out of the en­gine.” Re­gard­less, Navarro also quipped, “But you could run it that way all day long.”

> Navarro’s T leads the pack into a turn at Car­rell Speedway. Deuce ra­di­a­tor shell and hood blis­ter delete de­noted No. 31’s dirt track pack­age. The out­board ex­haust was only used on dirt ovals, to avoid creat­ing blind­ing dust storms (pipes ex­ited fram­erails and tucked up un­der the chas­sis at the lakes). Su­per­charg­ing was con­sid­ered quite ex­otic at this time, but was legal if en­gine size was kept un­der 181 ci. Don Blair ran a Mercedes blower, and Navarro promptly fol­lowed with his 3-71 GMC. Navarro’s huffed work­horse dom­i­nated the field. Walt James was Navarro’s des­ig­nated speedway driver, but it’s hard telling who was pi­lot­ing the car in this shot. Per­haps one of our knowl­edge­able read­ers can set us straight.

> This un­cred­ited spy photo de­picts em­blem­atic lakes lore. Some­one must have pro­cured a mil­i­tary surplus gen­er­a­tor some­where along the line to power that welder. Note the oxy­gen in­jec­tion setup hov­er­ing over carbs. Tub­ing from stacks con­nected to in-car oxy­gen tanks.

> World pre­miere of the Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment four-day won­der at El Mi­rage in Oc­to­ber 1948. With Navarro’s back against the tur­tle-deck and steer­ing wheel in his chest, en­try and egress must have been chal­leng­ing, never mind the shift­ing and steer­ing chores. But those in­con­ve­niences were dis­counted in lieu of achiev­ing the best pos­si­ble weight dis­tri­bu­tion. The homely road­ster wouldn’t look like this for long.

> By June 10, 1951, paint was sprayed and dried, and was be­ing weath­ered off at El Mi­rage. This blast earned Third Place hon­ors in the A/mod­i­fied Road­ster class, with a 113.636-mph speed.

> In­side the shop, Bar­ney Navarro rev­els in his el­e­ment. This ex­am­ple from 1948 of­fers a peek at Navarro’s con­crete cut­ting saw un­der devel­op­ment. It opened new pos­si­bil­i­ties in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

> The unas­sum­ing Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment store­front at 5142 San Fer­nando Road in Glen­dale fea­tures a mocked-up flat­head for win­dow bait. Thieves made off with the par­tial en­gine any­way. Kong Jack­son, Ed Win­field, Frank Kur­tis, Doane Spencer, and other lu­mi­nar­ies pop­u­lated the same cozy neigh­bor­hood.

> Key com­po­nents of Navarro’s oxy­gen-in­jec­tion sys­tem. Test­ing showed a 29.9 per­cent in­crease in oxy­gen to be as pow­er­ful as a 90 per­cent ni­tro mix. A 30 per­cent oxy­gen boost proved fa­tal to pis­tons. His stan­dard oxy/alky combo bumped Bar­ney’s speed from 102 to 136 mph at one lakes meet. But Navarro was ac­tu­ally a stal­wart op­po­nent of liq­uid or gaseous power adders, be­cause the fuel and gas cars were all lumped in to­gether at early lakes meets. In­deed, he per­ceived nitro­meth­ane to be “an un­fair ad­van­tage. It wasn’t demon­strat­ing me­chan­i­cal skill, or uti­liz­ing the laws of physics. It was chem­istry.”

> Cool­ing af­ter a 106-mph run. Note the road­ster fi­nally has num­ber, roll bar, and hood bub­ble. The ’32 ra­di­a­tor shell was re­placed with this Art In­gles nose­piece in 1949. The road­ster’s race num­ber de­notes a 31st place in SCTA’S sea­son points tally (Navarro strongly pre­ferred his pre­vi­ous No. 9 sig­nage). Dry lakes pit parking was ca­sual: wher­ever you coasted to a stop.

> Bar­ney and wife Donna pro­cessed or­ders via tele­phone from rodders around the world. Donna also ran the mills and lathes when needed. That’s Navarro’s six-cylin­der Ram­bler Indy en­gine pro­vid­ing of­fice dé­cor at his last shop (on Chevy Chase Drive) in 1993. This property was sold in 2008.

> Bar­ney Navarro was reunited with No. 31 at Muroc dry lake in 1996, thanks to Scott Perrott and friends. As Perrott rolled the road­ster onto the lakebed, he heard Navarro’s dis­tinc­tive bari­tone pro­claim, “Hey, that’s my car!” Mis­sion ac­com­plished.

> Back at The Panel Beater’s tin spa, the body is re­cov­er­ing nicely. This an­gle of­fers a rare peek at the alu­minum Art In­gles belly pan.

> Time and na­ture had taken a toll. The Panel Beater (in Eu­gene, Ore­gon) was the tin masseuse. Among other chores, he re-cre­ated the lower 4 inches of dis­solved mat­ter and man­aged an even bet­ter fit to the Es­sex fram­erails. Dale Withers in Port­land later squirted the ’46 Ford ma­roon enamel. And Port­land hot rod hero Roger Si­monatti wired and de­tailed the car.

> The prin­ci­ples (left to right): Bar­ney Navarro, Scott Perrott, and Donna Navarro at the Navarro Rac­ing Equip­ment shop on Chevy Chase Drive in 1996, fol­low­ing test runs at the Muroc Re­union. The car was brought in­side so Navarro could fine-tune the carbs.

PIC: KLEET NOR­RIS

> An iconic race car restora­tion is cel­e­brated with a cushy parking spot at a mu­seum, right? Wrong. Race cars are meant to be raced. While it has done some brief mu­seum time, No. 31 prefers to kick up its heels. Perrott ran the course at the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed in 2000 (where it was reunited with Tom Beatty’s belly tank), tossed sand at the Race of Gen­tle­men at Pismo Beach in 2016, and closed 2018 burn­ing rub­ber at the Santa Mar­garita Ranch’s RPM Na­tion­als drags.

> The end. For now.

> Perrott’s 286ci trib­ute to Navarro’s mighty 176er, mocked up in his garage and al­most ready for fi­nal assem­bly. The 3-71 su­per­charger (built by Port­land blower guru Gale Plum­mer) rides a Navarro man­i­fold, of course. Bob Coutts built the blower’s snout, drive, and carb man­i­fold to Navarro’s specs. Heads are Navarro Hi Dome. Mag is Har­man-collins. Per­rot has Navarro’s orig­i­nal head­ers and heav­ily milled heads, slated for a fu­ture re-cre­ation of the fa­bled 176er. Join­ing them will be Jahns pis­tons on Cun­ning­ham rods and a bil­let-steel clone of the Win­field SU1A cam. Navarro’s signature Nor­den 180-de­gree 3-inch-stroke man­ganese-molyb­de­num crank­shaft has been ap­prox­i­mated with a bil­let-steel unit from Moldex. And yes, this build is Navarro Ap­proved.

> On July 14, 2005, many tan­gi­bles of the Navarro legacy were scat­tered to the winds. The auc­tion was a sad but nec­es­sary purge. Mike Her­man at H&H Flat­heads bought the Navarro brand and most of the parts in­ven­tory, but Scott Perrott got the Ram­bler Indy en­gine, and the gen­eral public paid fair prices for his­tor­i­cal tools and ma­chin­ery.

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