Drag Racing Magazine - November 1990


By: John Brasseaux

Okay, you Ford-ophiles win. We've heard your cries for more Fords in the pages of DRM, and we've felt your anguish (via plenty of letter) at the dearth of Dearborn-born and - bred iron. When we saw the Jordan Bros. TA/FC Ford Thunderbird at the California Nationals, we knew we had to feature it.

No need assuming the engine in this alcohol Funny Car is yet another aftermarket Chrysler. Beneath the Odyssey Engineering T-Bird shell lies an aluminum replica of a Boss 429 motor - Bill amd Kirk Jordan wouldn't have it any other way. Bill, a former drag boat racer of some reknown, utilized Ford power when he competed in a Blown Gas Hydro. When personal safety became a concern several years ago, he switched from water to asphalt and took his FoMoCo power plant with him.

This car is not their asphalt effort. The Jordans, who own a hazardous waste disposal company in Santa Paula, California, had a Probe-bodied race car in 1988 that won the NHRA Winston Finals and Garnered the Best Engineered Award at the 1989 Winternationals. Texan Dennis Piranio was pilot of the car at that time, But now former TA/D ace Gary Scelzi has taken over the driving chores on the Ford stormer.

The Jordans wanted a driver who was closer to where the car was based, so when this new piece was finished, they made an offer to Scelzi. And take our word for it, they made the right choice. Scelzi, a resident of Fresno, won the 1985 and '87 Winston Finals, the '86 Winternationals, and was runner-up at the '86 U.S. Nationals and Fall Nationals. Those national event finishes, combined with two divisional wins that year, allowed him to finish Number 2 in the TA/D points standings in 1986.

Along with a change in drivers came achange in crewchiefs. Clutch wizard Bob DeVour is now spinning the wrenches, and his talent has made the new car nearly as competitive as any Brad Anderson-built Hemi. As Bill said, "Bob learned what the Ford wanted and made the right changes." It's a credit to the team to be competitve with an engine that's had so little time down a race track.

The chassis was formed at the shop of Brad Hadman, a craftsman who has a reputation for constructing fine ones. Pat Austin and Blaine Johnson have Hadman chassis and they enjoy plenty of success in alcohol racing, to say the least. All of the body's tin work was completed at Hadman's before it was sent to The Candy Shop in Seattle, Washington, to have a Kenny Youngblood paint scheme applied.

The unique engine displaces 541 cubic inches and is used because of its broad bottom end torque output, which the Jordan's are still learning to tap in to. The block, heads, and intake manifold are aftermarket castings from Ford racing maven Alan Root. That's right, the heads are cast aluminum instead of billet, de riguer in alcohol racing. Because a Ford is so rare in alcohol racing, billet heads are not easily obtained aftermarket items.

By the time you read this, a pair of billet heads from Indy Cylinder Heads will be on the engine. It's interesting to note that the heads have been modified for a second spark plug.

DeVour is earning his keep, for its first national event outing, the car qualified for the Cal Nats in the Number 9 spot with a 6.12. Scelzi got beat in the first round (on a holeshot), but a very impressive national event debut brought a smile to the faces of the whole crew. As hard as a first round loss can be, it was somewhat easier to take when their Ford was chosen the event's Best Engineered Car winner.

Bill, Kirk, Bob, and Gary are very pleased with the power the mill is making and see a time when the car will run with the best of the Hemi-powered machines. We like looking at the car's immaculately-prepared hardware, a fun team, eye-catching colors, and a unique engine to boot.

We've changed our minds: We'd feature this car even if it wasn't powered by a Ford!

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