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HEIDI'S PICS: Outkasts Car Club members chip in for build to remember

Published 2:42 pm, Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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  • Members of the Houston Outkasts Car Club rebuilt this 1955 Chevy with “stuff we had lying around.”
    Members of the Houston Outkasts Car Club rebuilt this 1955 Chevy with “stuff we had lying around.”

 

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Working on your ride with fellow members can really bring a club together, but building a club ride from the ground up creates an even stronger bond.

The Outkasts Car Club's vintage gasser is a testament to the group's long-standing teamwork.

Member Ric White said, "In 2003, I had an idea to build a club race car. Thinking we could find a car, everyone could chip in and build something cheap, and fun, from stuff we had lying around. We found a '55 Chevy that belonged to Troy Scalia, a friend of the club. A deal was struck, and we hauled the car home to (my) garage in Trinity."

They started with a frame jib donated by member David Portlock. "We then acquired a 9-inch Ford rear-end, narrowed it to fit just right. Rear wheels were donated by member Eric Johnson. We bought a speedway front axle that has disc brakes and utilizes cross steering via a vega steering box, and installed a 10-point roll cage."

Johnson provided body work and extensive custom metal work before White and member Ocie Rinehart taught themselves how to craft the interior.

White said they, "originally set the car up for a BBC and Powerglide, but then a tip came up about an old Nickens Brothers' small block that was in pieces. Club member Mark Truitt went to check it out, and made a deal."

The deal was better than they realized. A friend of the club, John Koehnle, recognized the motor for what it was and offered to help. As it turned out, the destroked 350 (313 cu. in.) engine had some amazing history of its own.

Purchased from the family of (NHRA Division 4 Hall of Famer ) Crawford Benham, the engine was used in some of the cars the famous drag racer ran, most likely including the Corvette the legendary driver raced in his later days.

White and Koehnle went through it all, piece by piece, cleaning and inspecting every detail, assembling the motor to the original specs. White said that it, "makes for a screaming, high-revving small-block Chevy, unlike any other."

Club member Allen Bartell said, "I remember all getting together and sanding and painting and dreaming. Ten years later we fired her up, and soon she will be screaming down the racetrack. I am honored to be a member of this club and honored to call all these guys my brothers."

To see the '55 gasser and the rest of the Outkasts club and more of their rides, including member Tony Lee's previously featured Front Engine Dragster, come out to the Rollin' On the River car and motorcycle show this Saturday, July 13, at El Roy Ice House in Trinity.

In addition to the car and bike show, with plenty of trophies and awards, the event will host a pinup contest and the band, The Octanes, will be performing.

I also want to give a special happy birthday message to another Houston-area car club member, West Houston Muscle president and founder, Sean Ali Tajipour. A passionate and positive member of the Houston car-culture scene, Tajipour always is doing what he can to keep the spirit alive. Look for Tajipour and his latest super cool vintage ride to appear here soon in an upcoming feature.