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
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
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
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
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
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."
At Doug Kruse's shop
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
Tail section fills the
back of the station wagon bringing it south.
"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!"
nose piece in place.
Doug Kruse pours
over dozens of photos he's relying on to make sure the Assassin
restoration is perfect.
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
a dead line to meet, Kruse is hard at 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.
After the repair
on its top and chute pack, the tail is back on the car for final
ready for skin
in the raw
does the finish work on the cowl.
best friend - the hammer....
is fitted to car.
fastener brackets are welded on the chassis.
- done and ready for installation.
fits the new side panels.
panels in place
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,
photos of finisheody still on the car at So-Cal Speed Sh
11-20-02 - At
long last the Assassin is finally at So-Cal Speed Shop - arrived
11-13 - and the paint work has begun!
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
01-27-03 - Getting
ever closer to its debut at the 2003 NHRA Winternationals, the
Assassin paint job is finished.
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