began drag racing his street-driven '32 Ford at Santa Ana in
1951, then drove several stockers, including a Super Stock '57
Chevy that was converted to a C/Gas entry in 1959. Bolthoff later
placed the injected engine into a B/A chassis that won class
honors at the NHRA Nationals in 1960. The same engine was later
used in a dragster chassis to begin Bolthoff's Top Gas career.
In late 1961 Bolthoff wanted to use more of his engineering skills
and campaign a serious dragster. The chassis was completed in
late 1962 by Kent Fuller and the body was made by Doug Kruse.
By June of 1963, with Ronnie Hampshire driving, the car made
its first run at the Fontana, Ca. drag strip. However, Hampshire
was soon drafted into the Army and Bolthoff took over the drivers
seat in late 1963 and never left.
Taken in 1963 at the Lions Drag
Strip in Long Beach, CA, and Ron Hampshire is driving.
This picture was taken at the
1963 NHRA Winter Nationals at Pomona Ca. This was the first national
event for this car. And it qualified in a field that included
some of the fastest in the country: Jack Chrisman, Gordon Collet,
Danny Ongais, and the Peters and Frank twin-engine "Freight
Train". The little Chevrolet was over matched this time,
and the "Freight Train" won this meet at 178.21mph
and 8.82 sec. elapsed time.
The car was a standard Fuller
"light weight" chassis. The wheelbase was 112 inches
and the car weighed 960 lbs. The original engine was a 339 Cubic Inch Displacement
(CID) Chevrolet small block, equipped with a 6-71 supercharger.
The car classed as a A/GD started out running 172 mph with an
elapsed time (ET) of 9.00 seconds. By the end of 1963 the speed
had risen to 181 mph with an ET of 8.40 seconds. The little Chevrolet
ran well, setting records and winning a lot of races; but it
was unreliable. The car lost races when the engine broke.
In 1964 Bolthoff
made the switch to a stroked early model 392 Chrysler hemi that
moved him into the AA/Gas Dragster class. It was with the Chrysler
that Bolthoff got his signature "idle lope" that was
very distinctive from the cars it competed against. Later he
was to admit it was simply a combination of his custom Engle
cam design and the idle circuit on the Enderle injectors.
By 1965 Bolthoff had broken the
national AA/GD speed record three times and consistently ran
in the 190 range. In fact he held track records at Lions Drag
Strip, Inyokern, Fontana and Riverside. On the national level
he held the record at Indianapolis Raceway Park and Milan, Michigan.
This car also
held the B/GD Standard 1320 record and the A/GD record at the
same time. The B/GD record (8.40 @ 180 mph) was with the Chevrolet
engine. Bolthoff then changed to the Chrysler engine and set
the A/GD record. The last Standard 1320 record we can find was
8.34 and 191 mph, in the Oct. 1965 issue of Drag News.
an NHRA national event proved to be an elusive task for George
Bolthoff during his lengthy career, he did manage to win 160
other Top Gas titles in his time, which made him one of the most
respected campaigners of his era. Among Bolthoff's more memorable
accomplishments was his win at the 1965 World Series of Drag
Racing race in Cordova, Ill., a pair of runner-up finishes at
the Bakersfield March Meet, and several AHRA national event wins.
Financial considerations ended
Bolthoff's driving career at the end of 1966, but he went on
to work for Traco Engineering, where his clients included Roger
Penske and Dan Gurney. He joined McLaren in 1967 to work on the
aluminum big block Chevy engines for Can Am competition and Indy
500 Turbo Offys. In 1970, Bolthoff opened his own engine shop
to build engines for NASCAR short-track cars, Formula 5000 vehicles,
and marine applications. Since 1980, he worked at Beckman Instruments
as a computer programmer from where he retired.
Bruce McLaren and Bolthoff
at Indy with Team McLaren in 1970.
George and Herbie Horsepower.
That is the nickname for Herbie Porter. He owned Speedway engines
and was a highly respected Indy engine builder.
itself was finished in the Spring of 2002. The engine soon followed.
chassis in Bolthoff's garage in 2002.
body builder, Doug Kruse with the re-do 40 years after the first.
With the advent
of Cacklefest the bug once again bit a retired George Bolthoff.
He was unable to find his gas car so he, being the original owner/driver
had every right to recreate it. So in early 2002 he set about
to do just that. From the chassis to the engine Bolthoff basically
built the entire car, other than the body, in his garage at home
by himself. The body was done by Doug Kruse who did the original
George" Bolthoff made his popular Cacklefest debut in 2002.
in the Pre-Cacklefest parade and push starting.
start for the 2003 NHRA Winternationals Cacklefest.
in his spot for the 2003 CHRR Cacklefest.
on the CHRR "Memory Lane"
Pushing out for the 2005
to the top end and push start in 2004.
Cacklefest parade in 2005
When its not at the CHRR or doing
a special event Bolthoff's car is on display at the Wally Parks
NHRA Motorsports Museum.