For the '64 season, Tasca Ford was given (or sold, however you want to look at it) a Thunderbolt from the first group of 11 cars. This was one of the vintage burgundy sedans that went to the Ford drag teams.
Driven by Bill Lawton and tuned by John Healey, this car was a menace to the drag community wherever it showed up. Perhaps it's beautiful paint job was cause for it's legend, or maybe it was the Mickey Thompson "Raider" wheels. No matter which it was, this is one of the cars that comes to mind when someone says THUNDERBOLT.
Tasca Ford in action, circa 1964. Photo by Bob Plumer.
Taken at Vineland Speedway in Vineland, NJ - 1964. Photographer is unknown.
The late, great Bill Lawton.
In 1965, this car was purchased by "Cork" Marshalko who had raced the "Mr. Automatic" Thunderbolt in 1964. The car was run with an altered suspension for an unknown period of time, but he owned the car for a very long time afterward.
"Suspension modifications" included a complete removal of the bottom and front of the car! The only thing left was the body of the car, ending at the front of the windshield. There was no floor or any of the stock suspension. The front clip was sold to someone in Canada, and contained the "leap frog" suspension components. This section of the original car has never been found and would be part of the real Tasca Ford Thunderbolt if located today.
Note in this photo the 'amputated' front end and the body shell laying on the ground behind it.
The remaining body section was given an altered wheelbase treatment and repainted white. It was built into a "funny" car using the lightweight components and a tubular chassis. After the special lightweight 4 speed transmission exploded, the "Mr. Automatic" trans replaced it.
This remarkable photo shows the fate of the body shell and front end.
Probably circa 1966, this photo shows the 'chassis'd' body shell.
Note in this photo the car has the original hood and a carbureted engine.
Note in this photo the car has either no hood or a flat, cut hood and is injected. I think later on the car was given a different paint job (white with red and blue?) but changed little after that.
The altered wheelbase version of the Tasca Ford car was purchased around 1989 by Randy Delisio and restored to it's 1964 configuration.
As of '99 or 2000, the car was sold to Ames Performance Engineering of NH.
Background image - John Durand Photography. Photo is copyrighted.
Tasca pit shot + second photo - RACE CAR ART (Joel F. Naprstek)
Last 2 Black + white '64 shots (NJ) - Courtesy of Tom Molyneaux. First shot - photog unknown, second shot by Bill Curley.
Tasca's T-Bolt racing the Comet- courtesy of Bob Plumer.
Altered wheelbase Tasca Ford stuff courtesy of Dennis Kolodziej. Thanks Dennis!