"The Tinman" Hanna Does It His Way
worth a thousand words so there is little commentary here. Just
enjoy this "work of art". Pay close attention to the
detail. Unfortunately this is one of those things you have to
actually see to fully appreciate and photos don't do it justice.
However, they're the next best thing to being there. This page
is for those who couldn't attend and to remind the rest of us
that we got to see something very special at its debut.
are in no particular order and there are no "bad shots".
Many thanks to the following "shooters" who contributed
pictures for this page: Robert Briggs, Vic Cooke, Jim Phillipson,
Paul Hutchins, "Pete" Garramone, Tom Jobe and Don Ewald.
If I missed anyone, please remind me!
"Tom did this because he CAN, and there is no better reason.
But if you have to describe it's purpose, it is the finest example
of industrial art that you will ever see".
Cochran (Hanna's alternative "driver") tries the cockpit
on for size. Besides Cochran being one of Tom's "heroes"
, he's also one of the few drivers who could get into the car.
Tight fit is an understatement.
and close friend, Bob Creitz was a constant presence all weekend.
He was having as much fun as Hanna.
Hanna's pit area
was like this much of the weekend. Everybody wanted a closer
time allowed, Tom would answer questions or just "bench
brings the car up in preparation for Cacklefest.
button" on my car reads a little different than you related
as it's very hard to read. It was the last of a thousand last
day rushes and we needed something to cover the center of the
wheel. A hand carved Bob Knight deal was out of the question
so Chuck made that piece and allowed as how it was pretty blank.
I said, call the trophy shop and ask if they will stay late and
engrave something on it. I was a mental vacuum by then and couldn't
think of anything more creative than my social security number
to put on it. Someone suggested the "most toys" line
and I said why not. It was Creitz who changed it to "He
who dies with the nicest toys wins". Hanna
The front suspension
as well as the chassis is stuff I built myself. The front damper
is an aftermarket mountain bike air/oil shock that has a high
degree of adjustability and seemed a natural for a dragster application.
The front wheel
hubs on my car have a story behind them. Tom Jobe built those
hubs for the Surfers II around '66 or '67. Turned them on his
father's gunsmithing lathe. He went on to create a complete wheel
and tire package that I thought (then as well as now) were/are
the most beautiful dragster wheels ever done. When I went back
to the Tatum auction 2 or 3 years ago intending to buy the car,
(which turned out to be a bit of a sham as the car really wasn't
for sale) the original Surfers II wheels which Tatum had run
the tires off of, were in a box among some junk.
I bought the
box, kept the hubs and with Jobe's direction, ended up with the
proper wheels. But no tires, as the proper size was long out
of production and nothing else looked right. Jobe again came
to the rescue and with some of his worldwide contacts secured
for me brand spanking new tires. Not old stock, but brand new
tires! On my own, I wouldn't have had a prayer of owing those
tires. Those wheels really do make the car. Hanna
There are nearly
40 years of wonderful history between Tom Hanna and The Surfers.
I would never have mentioned the wheel story because every bit
of what he has done with his new car/art is of his "doing"
alone, but now that Hanna has explained the wheel deal, let me
add on to the story.
After Tom Hanna
bought the Surf II wheels at the auction he had his talented
crew copy the hubs and then sent me a finished/chromed set of
them as "paper weights" (as Hanna described it)...
are we talking very expensive paper weights here?. Then he had
the original hubs re-chromed and sent them off to Buchanan's
Wheel Service in LA to have the rims replaced and the wheels
re-laced. Buchanan's chose to replace the original chromed steel
Triumph spokes with their own new stainless spokes which accounts
for the slight yellow color you can see in the spokes if the
light is just right. The new rims are the same exact English
WM2 40 spoke chromed rims that were on the original Surf II wheels
in 1966, and the tires are the same size too (2.00 X 18). I had
no idea that the proper tires were available anywhere in the
world but Tom Hanna found out that the proper tire existed while
searching around on the Internet and somehow we were able to
get some of them through some motorcycle racing friends.
I could talk
for days about my hero Tom Hanna but let me stop for now and
attach a picture of one of my beautiful "Hanna paper weights"
not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments
that take our breath away" - George Carlin
Some of Hanna's
Thoughts and Comments:
Turns out the
wheel base is approx 179", the rear track is 35" and
the front track is 43 1/2". The wheelbase is no more scientific
an equation than it happened to be as long as the length of the
two steel channels we had in house to use as a temporary chassis
allowed as how this was an expensive car, or the most expensive
dragster or some such. I possess no authority to really know
but, speculate it may be the third most expensive. the other
two being green. And, those cars by anybody's measure are treasures
well worth the tariff.
This is likely
so only because my labor was free. The most expensive component
in it was the bellhousing, and even then I was able to buy it
bare and we did all the machining here in house. I built the
chassis, body, and all the detail fabrication myself with the
able aid of Chuck Luney. Corey Conyers painted it in his one-car
garage after hours for just the cost of the materials, Creitz
built the engine as a gift. wouldn't take a dime. Dwayne Corn
at H&L metals bent the tubing just before he retired. He
had bent all the Woody, Don Long, and Roy cars back in the '60s
and it seemed he still charged '60s prices. Very reasonable.
Mooneyham did the blowers at his usual very reasonable fee (and
isn't it nice to have Gene's touch as a part of your car?), Tom
Cerillo did the mag that I had brought home from the Tatum auction
which is likely the mag The Surfers bought for the engine they
put in Surfers II for the Bandel bros. Don Long supplied some
bits and pieces. Fuller kept me true to his art.
If you ever want
to do a thing along these lines, There are five other companies
that were also a joy to work with: Brendan Murray, Mark Williams,
Murf Mc Kinney, Chris at XRP, Phil Lofton at Early Hemi Parts
and Dwayne at Saum Engineering.
This was a labor
of love. I enjoyed every minute building it and the trip down
memory lane it required. Hanna
At this point
I don't know what we will do with the car. It was a rushed finish
and there are many of the details that have to be redone. Of
note, when we put the body on the car at the CHRR, that was the
first time the body had been on the complete car. We had put
it on the bare frame for the sign work, but never on the finished
Two days before
we left for Bakersfield, we started the car for the first time
and next morning took it out to the local drag track sans body.
I hadn't been in one of these things in 38 years, so we did a
couple of practice push starts and one short smokey squirt from
the starting line then loaded up and left the next day.
As for what we
will do with the car next, we need to change the engine to Creitz's
specs. The cam that was in it was one Paul Sutherland gave me.
It had a ton of overlap and Paul thought that would really make
for a "ratty" idle. Creitz wasn't too hip on the idea
but we tried it anyway, and as he predicted, it made the thing
run like it was retarded and as was evident in the Cacklefest,
wanted to melt the headers off the car.
We'll fix that,
and make a few other changes then find a time to practice getting
the maximum tire smoke out of the thing. My intent was never
to race the car. I thought the best we could do was work on the
"smoke and noise show" side of the thing. I figured
the more current safety stuff we could include in the car without
compromising the 1968 look, the more likely Gibbs would be willing
to let us smoke the tires out there a little further. Today's
tracks are 10 times more sticky than in the old days and any
car will want to eventually hook up rather than smoke the tires.
Art Chrisman figured the thing out several years ago with the
Hustler II. If you saw him at the earlier reunions, he could
make that old beauty smoke the tires about anywhere down the
track without ever letting the thing hook up.
A good smoke
and noise show without risking the car or the jockey is what
I would really like to accomplish and we'll work toward that
end to whatever extent Steve and the powers that be would be
comfortable. The last thing they want is to kill a bunch of us
old geezers. They need to save us from ourselves so cancer can
do the job in it's usual slow and painful fashion. Hanna