Hemi Under Glass Last Ride
After 39 years at the wheel of one of the most famous and unusual cars in
drag racing, the Hemi Under Glass, Bob Riggle decided to hang it up.
We were there to capture the last runs of this iconic car and the driver
who thrilled crowds at drag strips all over the country.
OLDSMOBILE 455 W-43 EXPERIMENTAL HEMI AND OTHER EXOTIC ENGINES - THE JOHN BELTZ YEARS PHOTO TRIBUTE
John Beltz was Oldsmobile's chief engineer in 1964 and one of the prime
movers of the Toronado and 442 project. Beltz was promoted to Oldsmobile
general manager at age 43 in 1969 when Harold N. Metzel retired. Beltz
passed away in May of 1972 from cancer at the age of 46.
John Beltz is leaning on a dual fan 455 Olds and posing with other
experimental Olds engines that never saw production.
Here are descriptions of these engines:
1. The 0W-43 all aluminum 455 with 4 valve per cylinders, four overhead cam
Weber engine. With a redline of just under 8,500rpm it was originally
conceived for CAN AM racing. At 3,000rpm it put out 300hp and at 6,000rpm
registered over 600hp. The top output recorded for this engine in the
Lansing Dyno facility
was 700 real hp at 6,800rpm. Tests were run with both carbueration and fuel
injection. The block was cast from Reynolds 356 alloy and fitted with
pressed-in dry steel cylinder liners for the Forged-True 12.20to 1 pistons.
Billet steel connecting rods by Carillo was used along with a forged steel
crank. The engine weighed in at 50 pounds lighter than the production 455
motor! It was developed at the same time as the ZL-1 Chevy 427 motor.
2. The W-43 4 valve per cylinder 455 developed by JOHN BELTZ , LLOYD GILL ,
JOE JONES AND FRANK BALL. Rated at 500-550hp with a single Rochester
Quadrajet on an aluminum manifold. Constructed with both cast iron heads
and block and with aluminum-alloy block and heads 75 pounds lighter than
the conventional 455 production engine. Engine featured four valves per
cylinder with narrowed angles for a super efficient combustion chamber
design, central spark plugs and could easily be adapted for chain for gear
driven overhead camshafts. 455 engine had 4.625inch cylinder centers, a
4.125 bore and 4.250 stroke. Making use of the 3inch main bearings and 2.50
inch rod journals, the engine was fitted with a specially prepared cast
crank fitted with SAE-1140 forged steel rods, forged 10.20-to-1 pistons
which rode on Morraine 400 bearings. Four bolt main block boasted 2
additional 5/8inch drain holes. Four valve heads featured 1.750inch intake
valves (SAE-8640 steel) with 22 degree stems and 1.375 Exhaust (214-N stainless steel) with 15 degree
stems, special Stellite seats, bronze alloy guides, o ring plug tubes, 14mm
spark plugs, 3/8 inch pushrods and aluminum rocker arms. (Of all the
experimental Olds engines, this one came the closest to production and
there are photos of this engine in street gear. MAY 71 HOT ROD MAGAZINE
features some of these engines and the sadness of the Olds engineers of
that time of how they would never be released.)
3. 455 dual turbocharged CAN AM ROCKET
CHALLENGE. 659hp @ 6250rpm. 554lbs torque @ 6,250 rpm. Alloy block with 4
bolt mains. Forged steel crankshaft. Forged True pistons with 8.5 to 1
compression. 3inch main journals. 2.499inch rod journals. Carillo billet
steel rods. alloy heads. 2inch intake valves. 1.625inch Exhaust valves. Crower roller camshaft with
555inch lift and 320 degrees duration. Dual TRW-375-E-10 turbochargers with Boost Wastegate 10and 1/2psi. Lucas fuel
injection. Olds alloy intake.
Competed with big block Chevy Mclarens and Porsche Panzers in CAN AM racing
This video is merely a couple of old magazine pages strung together with
the exception of that blue 455 hemi which was found on the internet. Thats
BRUCE MCLAREN in that green can am race car which is Olds powered. AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE VIDEO JOHN BELTZ IS POSING WITH SOME ENGINES FEATURED IN
THE JULY 1969 ISSUE OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE AND THE BLUE OLDSMOBILE 455 HEMI
WAS FEATURED IN THE MAY 1971 ISSUE OF HOT ROD MAGAZINE. The incidental
music I overlayed onto this video was muted by youtube.
1966 Olds 442 W30 MuscleCar Nationals Race & Show Fun
Great memories racing and showing my 1966 Olds 442 Tri-Carb W30 with
friends at the MuscleCar Nationals in Sacramento. I restored it to showroom
condition in the 1980's, including balancing and blueprinting the original
Olds 400 engine and drivetrain to factory specs as documented in the 2-part
article I wrote for Musclecar Review magazine. It's all 442 including the
original Olds 400 "E" block, heads, carbs, intake/carbs, etc, and raced on
DOT legal street tires through mufflers and full Exhaust per Musclecar Nationals factory stock
rules. I raced my first 442 in stock eliminator during the 1960's, and had
a ball with my friends showing and racing this one at various events around
the country. I hope you enjoyed sharing this trip down musclecar memory
lane with me.
If you need quality restoration parts or would like a professional video or
slideshow of your car, visit our SuperCar Specialty website at
This video is dedicated to my good friend John Seguin, who died shortly
after he videotaped some of the racing scenes in this video for me. Here's
to John and our other friends who share our passion for cars: cars and
shows may come and go, including the MuscleCar Nationals, but our memories
make sure that "Good Friends are Forever".
Jungle Jim and Jungle Pam - Drag Racing Legends
Years before John Force arrived on the scene, drag racing's original
flamboyant showman was "Jungle Jim" Liberman; a larger-than-life individual
whose flaming burnouts, glib personality, and boundless energy helped
endear him to fans in a manner that eluded other drivers with better
Liberman was much more than a touring professional; with his wild
wheelstands, 100-mph backups from burnouts, stubborn refusal to lift on
even the most out-of-shape runs, and his curvaceous companion, "Jungle Pam"
Hardy, Liberman provided all the entertainment of a traveling circus.
Liberman's life, like the lives of many fast-living icons of youth such as
James Dean, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, was as short as it was
fast-paced. He died at the age of 32 after suffering fatal injuries in a
head-on collision with a bus on Sept. 9, 1977. His premature passing left a
void in the sport that wasn't replaced until Force's explosive personality
emerged in the late 1980s.
Today, the legend of "Jungle Jim" lives on with "Jungle Pam," his constant
companion in his heyday who titillated race fans with her skimpy outfits
and provocative on-track actions.
"At every race track that I go to," said Hardy, "everyone comes up and asks
for my autograph. They ask what he was like and if he was as crazy as
they've heard. The fans really miss him, and they miss the fun part of drag
racing. The sport has become so professional now that there's no room for
any of that anymore."
"I was just 18 when I met him. I was still attending high school in West
Chester, Pa., and had never been further away from home than the next town
over. I was walking down the street one day, and here comes this yellow
Corvette speeding down the street. This guy walks out, comes up to me, and
says, "Hi, I'm Jim."
I had never been to a drag race before, but the next thing I knew, we
we're heading for his match race in Xenia, Ohio. He showed me how to back
him up after the burnouts, and from then on, my life was just a whirlwind
tour all over the country."
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song "American Girl" was released in 1977,
the same year Jungle Jim passed away.
Well she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinkin that there
Was a little more to life
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
Yeah, and if she had to die
Tryin' she had one little promise
She was gonna keep
Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl
It was kind of cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony
She could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441
Like waves crashin' in the beach
And for one desperate moment there
He crept back in her memory
God it's so painful
Something that's so close
And still so far out of reach
Oh yeah, all right
Take it easy baby
Make it last all night
She was an American girl
This video was created from clips from the Diamond P video "Fabulous
Floppers" and photos that I took of some of Jungle Jim's cars at 131
Dragway back in the '60s. The photos of Jungle Jim and Pam at 1:48, 1:53
and 1:59 are courtesy of Tom McCrea tmccrea. Photo at 2:36 is by Steve
Scott. Other pictures are from unknown photographers.
WRECKS MAYHEM CRASHES! Involving all OLDSMOBILES CARS!!
Ready to watch a depressing video Oldsmobile fans? Here is most of the
picture I have collected over the years of wrecked Oldsmbile
cars..........Be warned it is depressing that most of these cars are now
hemi under glass
hemi under glass barracuda at south mountain dragway in july of 1996