Assassin w/tail

"Another One Saved" -  Jim Crooke's "Assassin"

This page will chronicle the finding and restoration of one of the prettiest fuelers to ever come out of the Northwest - or anywhere for that matter.




Jim Crooke - AA/FD - Pomona, 1968

The Assassin AA/FD


Prologue: The car was ordered in July of 1967. I visited Don Long, Tom Hanna, George Cerney Jr, Ed Pink and George Klass ( P&G Trailers ) and discussed how we were going to build the car/engine/trailer.

Don Long: The original order shows a 180" wb ( I remember as 185" ) - actual is 183". The car is narrower than a standard Chrysler powered car of the era by about 1". The car was ordered with a foot brake to be used in the shut off area as well as turning around on the starting line after push starting as starters were no yet being used - a feature Don had built on the Baney & Prudhomme car. All the aluminum parts were anodized red with the mag parts Dow 7 treated.

Tom Hanna: The body was designed to be used several ways.Tail section ( one of the last to be made by Tom ) with the nose piece. Tom also built a 2nd cowl and side panels behind the rear end to be used with out the tail section - this cowl had the "foot bumps". Tom also made a set of engine side panels to be used if the nose piece was not on the car - the car was never raced in the shot body with not nose piece configuration however.

George Cerney/Tom Kelley: George and Tom had done the paint and lettering on my Woody top gas car - we discussed various colors etc. I shared with them that I was going to name the car The Assassin - in and era of Kings etc. I thought this an appropriate name.

Ed Pink: The engine was ordered as a duplicate to the Baney & Prudhomme car including Mag blower manifold, VanCharger supercharger, Enderle injector etc with a complete selection of spare parts for racing in the northwest.

P&G Trailers: An enclosed tandem axle trailer was ordered. P&G supplied trailers to many of the Top Fuel cars of the era. The trailer had a low front and high back area.

The original estimated completion date was to be in October. Like all projects completions was a little later - the car first ran in December with Bob/Floyd driving. As chronicled on your site the 4th run on the car produced an et of 6.98.

At the Winternationals in the 1st or 2nd round the car spun a tire on the rim ripping a tube causing the car to shake quite badly doing major damage to the body ( the tail was not on the car at the time ) Tom had to do a lot of repair work to the body and the car was repainted with a different scheme - the one seen in most pictures.

I raced the car at all the major winter races and then returned home to Seattle for the northwest season. As the tires and clutches got better and the et quicker the Ford motor began breaking the block on a regular basis. In may I made the decision to convert the car the early hemi power - using stroker 354 - either 3/8 or 5/8 cranks. The car was raced this way for the rest of the time I had the car including sever trips to California for races such as the PDA Race.

In the fall of 1968 I decided to return to school at the University of Washington. I decided to sell the Assassin. The car was sold to Bob Painton and Pete Reimer of Vancouver BC.

Commentary by Jim Crooke





Another One Saved - The Story:
by Jim Crooke

Chapter 1

After my father ( who had always been very supportive of my car racing ) passed away in 1982 I spent the next 15 years being best friends with my mother ( I am an only child ). Off and on through those years I wondered what might of become of my old car as I had never heard of it being run anywhere. My mother passed away in late 1999 at the age of 82. In the spring of 2000 I moved to Boise as I had completed a 3 years project in Portland. I decided that I was going to build a hot rod - something I had always wanted to do. Through the process of the hot rod I spent many hour talking to one of my best friends - Jerry Ruth. Jerry is also building a 32 Ford Highboy and his input was greatly appreciated. One of my salespeople at the dealership who knew that I had been a drag racer at one time found your web site and told me about it. As I began to look at the pictures on the site it brought back many great memories. I began to discover pictures of Jerry's car and then pictures of the Assassin - much to my delight as my scrapbook had be lost during a move in the early 80's.Through the process of building my hot rod - being built by Pete Chapouris and the gang at So-Cal Speed Shop with a S.Co.T. supercharged Ardun built by Don Ferguson - I became reacquainted with many people that I new form the 60's and 70's in the drag racing world including Bob Muravez, Nye Frank and many others. This rediscovery of old friendships and your web site gave me a desire to see If I could locate my old car. The first person that I asked for help was you. I remembered that I had sold the car to 2 guys ( Bob Painton and Pete Reimer ) from Vancouver BC and that they had the car in their basement for several years - never ran the car.

You (Don Ewald) said that you had some connections in Canada and would see what you could find out. I was surprised several weeks later when you forwarded to me an e-mail from Steven Kendall from Pentection BC saying that he thought he had my old car. Steven was racing the car with a Chevy and a powerglide transmission. I called Steven right away.

Steven was great to talk with and we quickly determined that this was indeed my old car. I attempted to purchase the car at that time but Steven was still enjoying racing the car. He did assure me that if he did decide to sell the car he would call me. This was in the spring of 2001.


07-17-02  Chapter 2

In October I received a call from Jerry Ruth. Jerry told me he had spoken with Jim Green and that he was interested in contacting me in regards to the Assassin and its possible restoration. ( Jerry Ruth, Jim Green, Gaines Markley and Gary Beck were all Seattle area people that I had known since I was 16 ). Jim Green the owner of Jim Green's High Performance Center in Lynnwood Washington ( near Seattle ) had been a very successful drag racer for and number of years - World Champion in C/GD in 1968 and World Champion with his Green Elephant funny car in 1973 as well as 2 time funny car runner up at Indy. Jim is also an excellent fabricator/builder of Hot Rods and race cars having built his award winning 34 Ford Phaeton as well as a number of other cars. In the 60's Jim became interested in the Ford 427 SOHC motor and began collecting them ( complete as well as aftermarket speed equipment ). Jim began to used these motors in his various hot rod projects including his tilt-up 34 Ford Phaeton and Model A. While Jim and his wife Betty were attending the CHRR in the fall of 2001 Jim decided the he would like to build/restore a "cacklefest" top fuel car with a Ford SOHC engine. While Jim and Betty were driving home they began to make plans about the project. They wanted to do a northwest car ant the only Ford powered car was the Assassin. Betty suggested to Jim that he contact Jerry Ruth as Jerry and I had always been good friends and see if Jerry might know anything.

Much to Jim's surprise Jerry told him that he talked with me quite often and that I had found the car and most amazing was coming to Seattle to visit him the next day! After speaking with both Jerry and Jim we made plans to get together the next day and discuss the possible project. Jerry and I went to Jim's shop that day. As Jim and I began to visit we discovered that Jim even had some of my original Ford parts including the valve covers that had been modified by Ed Pink. This began to seen like a project that was meant to be! Jim and I discussed the project and how he would to do it. Jim decided to proceed with the project with a assistance from me. We now set out to acquire the Assassin from Seven Kendall in Pentiction BC.



"The front and back sections of the chassis have been put back together with the damaged sections replaced (in the motor mount area). Jim was able to find a set of Boranni rims with Don Long style hubs for the front end - a great fin we think. Jim Green and I are taking the chassis to LA next week for Doug Kruse (these photos) to do the body restoration. Once the body is done Mick Jenkins of So-Cal Speed Shop is going to do the paint job. Pat Foster is recreating the original steering wheel, levers and pedals for us."
Jim Crooke



At Doug Kruse's shop - 05-05-02





UPDATE 06-18: "I received a call yesterday for a hot rodder in BC saying that he had found the original tail section of the Assassin! The tail was found in the woods out behind a shop in Prince George BC - reported with some dents and snow damage but repairable. That gives Jim (Green) and I the complete original frame and body! A friend of mine is going to Canada this weekend to pick it up so we can get it to Doug (Kruse) ASAP."
Jim Crooke


Da Tail

UPDATE 06-26: "This is the fellow that found the tail - Pat Wilkinson of Prince George BC Canada Pat will not accept any money for his discovery - a true hot rodder and amazing guy! The tail was picked up late yesterday in Prince George BC and is on the way to Seattle/LA.. The report from my friend is that it is quite good condition - much better than we would be after 25 years outside in the woods!"
Jim Crooke


Full Load

Tail section fills the back of the station wagon bringing it south.



UPDATE 7-17-02


Doug Kruse pours over dozens of photos he's relying on to make sure the Assassin restoration is perfect.


front end

Repaired nose piece in place.


tail on

The original tail piece found in Canada (story above) made it south to Kruse's shop and now sits where it belongs. Obviously it needs some TLC from Doug's crafty hands, but all things considered its in pretty good shape.


inside tail

A look inside


tail in place



UPDATE 07-20-02


With a dead line to meet, Kruse is hard at work.


finish work

You can see in these shots how bad the body really is as Doug runs the file over the aluminum which shows all the high and low parts. He then pounds them out, tweaks the shape and finishes it smooth. The shinny areas are where he has fixed.




Back on

After the repair on its top and chute pack, the tail is back on the car for final detailing.


back view



chassis 1

Chassis ready for skin


chassis 2


cowl 1

New cowl in the raw


cowl 2

Doug does the finish work on the cowl.


cowl 3


cowl 4


cowl 5

A tinman's best friend - the hammer....


cowl 6

New cowl is fitted to car.



New Dzus fastener brackets are welded on the chassis.



Tail - done and ready for installation.


side 1

Doug fits the new side panels.


side 2

New side panels in place


side 3

More finish work. This baby is going to the paint/engine shop very soon and will be more than ready for the NHRA Winternationals in February, 2003.



11-20-02 - At long last the Assassin is finally at So-Cal Speed Shop - arrived 11-13 - and the paint work has begun!

Five photos of finisheody still on the car at So-Cal Speed Sh

body 2


full 1


cowl tail





01-03-03 - Getting ever closer to its debut at the 2003 NHRA Winternationals, the Assassin gets some color.Photo Credits: Ron Read/SO-CAL Speed Shop -- 909/469-6171


paint 1


paint 2


paint 3


paint 4


paint 5


paint 6



01-27-03 - Getting ever closer to its debut at the 2003 NHRA Winternationals, the Assassin paint job is finished.


paint done 1


paint done 2


paint done 3


paint done 4


paint done 5


paint done 6



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