Thacker and Shine Roadster
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The Thacker and Shine roadster was originally built by “Kiwi Steve” Davies in 1997 to run in the Street Roadster class at Muroc Dry Lake, El Mirage and Bonneville. It was built from an original ’32 Ford frame and Polyform fiberglass ‘29 body. Steve ran the car for a few years with some success and even got his father down the track in it at Bonneville. Time was up for Steve. He decided to move on to a new project and put the car was up for sale. Tony Thacker had always wanted to own a car for competition on the hallowed ground of Bonneville and El Mirage. Tony talked to Jimmy and a team of owner and driver came to be. Tony would be “the wallet” and Jimmy “the shoe”.
Like many rods of the early days, this street-legal roadster was truly a dual-purpose ride. It would routinely be driven to the races at El Mirage and transformed into a competitor; headers un-corked, windshield removed, E.R.C. race fuel installed, a few degrees of timing were put in the engine and then it was off to make a pass. The car easily ran around the 138 MPH range and the guys were hooked. Naturally, if fast is good, faster is better, right? The fuse was lit, so next came a new engine from Bill Mitchell at World Products: a 427 c.i. Motown small block went in to car. Then the guys drove out through the desert heading to Bonneville. After 648 miles from the garage to the pits, within a few passes they qualified at over 175 MPH and got them a golden ticket to head to the long course. Best time that week was 181 MPH on a car driven to the salt. The following year, a blown 355 c.i. small block from Pete Chapouris’s SO-Cal Speed Shop roadster got the car up to an amazing 192 MPH, but Shine spun it at the 4-mile mark. Tony took the car out next. Unfortunately, all the rods were kicked out and put a nice big window in the block.
The duo decided to build another blown motor and run for a class record in 2006. Bill Mitchell built them a 302 c.i. small block Chevy. Then, they put an 8-71 Littlefield blower topped with an Enderle “bug catcher” hat injector. The engine dyno’d at almost 800 HP—which was estimated to reach the 200 MPH range. With Speedweek only days away, the trip through the desert and onto the salt came fast. On the first pass there was a fuel problem and the car went lean and smoked a piston. The team did just what the guys back in the day would do: they rebuilt the engine, put a new piston in it, fired it and were back on the course in two-days time. The record was 203 MPH and Shine qualified at 208 MPH at the 4-mile mark, so it was off to impound and try to back up the run the following day. As the sun rose in the early morning hours, Shine backed up the run with a 204 MPH run and gave them the average of 206.454. Jimmy was now eligible for the Bonneville 200 MPH Club once the record got certified. It passed inspection and Jimmy was inducted into the 200 MPH Club by legendary racer Art Chrisman himself. The car has since been sold to Steve VanBlarcom. He too has earned a couple of 200 MPH records in it.