The Legendary SURFERS!!!!!!!!!!!

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I recently put out a request for info on the surfers dragster team I was contacted by a member of the straightliners group with some info and and within about an hour I was talking with Tom Jobe one of the the surfers.Needless to say I was completely blown away by his eagerness to tell me about the car. He has been more than generous with pictures and info on the car. I have cleared my bench of all projects and went right to work

First Back story:

As written by Dan Himmel and borrowed from Draglist.com

Any student of fuel drag racing history will tell you that the ‘60s were the pinnacle of the sport. The height of this "frenzy" was the years 1965, 1966, and 1967. Over one hundred fuel dragster teams ran two or three nights a week in southern California alone. One of the best loved, and most successful, was a team called The Surfers.

Bob Skinner and Tom Jobe had been racing together for a period of years prior to being joined by Mike Sorokin. Together the three, students at Santa Monica City College, turned the collective heads of the drag racing community, and changed the course of fuel racing history.

Skinner and Jobe began building their dragster in a garage space at the Red Apple Motel where they collected parts for their car. In Jobe's words, "Every day after work we'd hit all the garages…ask some questions ‘til they'd throw us out and then we'd go down to the next one. We (finally) found out enough stuff because we had to build the whole thing ourselves; we didn't have any money to buy anything." (Coonce, Cole. The Epic Saga of the Surfers. Petersen Publications Fifty Years of Drag Racing, 1999). Upon completion of the car, they began their search for a driver.

Their early efforts were not successful, and the team became the object of scorn by other local racers. After a succession of drivers, Mike Sorokin was tabbed, thus "The Surfers" was born.

Sorokin showed no fear in the cockpit, and soon the team began to enjoy success on the track. Mike had no interest in the mechanical operations, a fact the competition found unnerving, which was heightened by the team's ability to ready the car quickly, then spend their time amusing themselves in the pits riding skateboards. Fans and the media, however, loved their antics, and The Surfers gained a following.

Tom Jobe didn't like that the hydrometers used to measure the specific gravity of the fuel mixture were inaccurate, leading him to discover ways to run a fuel mixture of nearly 100% nitromethane, thus increasing horsepower. "Our mixture of choice ended up being 96% nitro and 4% toluene (with a drop of blue food dye just to mess with the folks)." (Jobe, Tom. "Running that 98% Part 2". 30 Jan.1999. Online posting. Header Flames. 30 Jan. 1999 http://www.nitronic.com/headerflames/). Such high percentages of nitro were generally used only in last-ditch efforts to increase power, often resulting in destroyed parts. For example, prolific match racer "TV" Tommy Ivo normally ran nitro content as low as forty percent. Parts attrition was a problem that rarely plagued The Surfers.

The culmination of their efforts came in March of 1966 in Bakersfield, California, when Sorokin drove through a sixty-four car field, including such notable racers as Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta, and Art Malone. He ran an all time low 7.34 second elapsed time, and defeated James Warren in the final, thus The Surfers became the first independent team to win the prestigious "March Meet".

On Labor Day weekend, 1967, they stunned the drag race world, suddenly selling their entire operation. Skinner and Jobe turned away from the sport and never campaigned a dragster again. Sorokin continued to drive for a variety of owners until, on December 30, 1967, he was killed when his clutch exploded, cutting the car in two, slamming him into the unforgiving track surface.

Briefly, a team of "bucks down" racers was the brightest star in drag racing's sky.

Their technological insight was responsible for a shift in the paradigm. Soon after their discovery, methods of running high "loads" became the norm, and the course of drag racing's history was forever changed.

Dan Himmel is also a member here on this site as well as custodian of the straightliners website.

Dan Please contact me if dont want me to use this story. I dont want to step on any toes. Your story is by far the best one Ive found.

The Surfers Dragster

hrdp_0903_03_z+adam_sorokin+father_mike.jpg

until I get permission from Tom to post the pics he has sent me I can only post pics from the web and of the recreation

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3958103658_edb943045e_o.jpg

Edited by TxRat

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Posted (edited) · Report post

heres what I have so far.

the chassis is 157" which is what Tom has told me the length. Built from evergreen rod and tubing...

DSC_0278.jpg

DSC_0279.jpg

Its a small start but as things go I'll post more...

Edited by TxRat

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Posted · Report post

Chassis looks killer Shane ............ can't wait to see this beast ;)B)B)

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Posted · Report post

This looks to be a most outstanding build Shane.

I am already anticipating great things so no pressure buddy. LOL

The frame looks great already.

Watching closely as usual when you build.

Bob

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My all-time, straight-up favorite drag car, bar none, period....;):wub: Beautiful chassis work, Shane. I'm sure you'll capture the stunning simplicity and elegance of this super-efficient winning-machine.

Edited by gbk1

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Posted · Report post

Excellent topic, Shane.

The Surfers were an awesome team for that period in the early top fuel (AA/FD) days.

They tried new things that worked and that car would fly.

Plus, Mike Sorokin was probably close to the best driver in that era.

That's great that Tom Jobe has been helpful to you as well.

The recreation (by Pat Foster, RIP) is an amazing piece too.

Good luck with this one...... I'll be watching !

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Posted · Report post

Excellent work on the chassis. I can't wait to see where you go with this one.

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Posted · Report post

Beautiful start to this replica Shane. I know you'll do this car justice.

Aaron :D

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Posted · Report post

Look`s like another "Master Piece" in the making........very nice start........that chassis looks great........bet your excited .

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Posted · Report post

Excellent choice of subject TxRat. One of the enablers of the high nitro loads were innovations in high pressure injector pumps and fuel nozzles. A technical detail I hope you include is the absence of a blower belt idler pulley. True to the Surfers' minimalist style, they fit the belt exactly to the crank and blower pulleys and did away with the idler. You can clearly see it in your reference pics. Good luck with your build.

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Posted · Report post

Hey Thanks guys, Really appreciate the comments.

Steve, Yes I have recieved a large amount of info from Tom on there car and plan to build it as they ran it.

These guys were low buck racers but took a scientific approach and were able to run higher % of nitro and yet still conserve parts..

Real pioneers.....

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Posted · Report post

Man! This is going to be awesome!

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Posted · Report post

Nice project and a beautiful dragster.

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Posted · Report post

Super project, great history and brings back a lot of late '60's nitro memories.

Know you'll do a 'religious' job.

Can you tell us what Skinner and Jobe are doing currently? Sure miss 'em-far different than the corporate and foreign clown show in T/F we got now...

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Posted · Report post

Frame made from scratch!!! I think, I'm going to hide my frame forever... Very interesting build, I will be watching this one!

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Posted · Report post

Looks like a fantastic start with the chassis, Shane. Gonna be watchin'.

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Posted · Report post

Might want to talk to Jobe again. The wb was 157" and Foster built the repop to 157". That was the longest the car could be and fit in the Red Apple Hotel garage. The push bar actually stuck out the garage wall.

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Posted · Report post

Its good to see this one being built! I look forward to seeing the progress!

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Might want to talk to Jobe again. The wb was 157" and Foster built the repop to 157". That was the longest the car could be and fit in the Red Apple Hotel garage. The push bar actually stuck out the garage wall.

Actually that was my fault. I got a bit Dyslexic. the chassis is correct. My typing skills are off....

welcome to the board by the way.... :angry:

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Posted · Report post

Still learning how to add pics to my posts. How do I add big pics?

The pics have to be hosted somewhere else (Photobucket, Fotki, etc). Each pic has a code or address where the individual .jpg file is stored. Locate that (again, from Photobucket, Fotki, etc), copy it, then click on the little blue/white square up top here (two to the right from the smiley). Paste in the code/address for the image, and there's your pic. The forum displays it from that other location. If it gets moved or deleted from that other location, the forum can't pull it up, and the pic will disappear here. Hope this helps

Now back to your regularly scheduled Surfers thread...

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Posted · Report post

Roger Lee aka RICEMAN created a few FED's outta Brass ,,, works of art

Contact him > RICEMAN@aol.com

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Roger Lee aka RICEMAN created a few FED's outta Brass ,,, works of art

Contact him > RICEMAN@aol.com

Im talking with one of the surfers, Roger lost his wife a few weeks ago. I wont be bothering him on this build...

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Posted · Report post

OK guys heres a small update on the car.

Built the body, fuel tank and seat pan out sheet styrene added a few more tubes to the chassis and wound up using the cowl from a old cobbled garlits FE rail. Building the frontend and wheels next.

Thanks for looking

DSC_0281.jpg

DSC_0282.jpg

DSC_0283.jpg

DSC_0285.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Looking good buddy!!!!!

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This is gonna be such a supremely elegant build!:D;) But then so was the 1:1! The proportions are so totally right in both. Can't wait to see more, more, more...

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