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Author Topic: "RUNAMUCKA", A Video Tribute To The Flying Tigers  (Read 7934 times)
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« on: December 24, 2008, 11:36:56 AM »

The Runamucka

As with a lot pf projects this one was born out of a bench racing session. Letís lay a little ground work. Most of you have heard of Lonnie Gilbertson, he has been building and driving street rods, race cars and bikes since he was old enough to squeeze glue from a tube.
About 10 years ago he fulfilled another dream and got his pilots license. Through work and his love of airplanes he became acquainted with Dean Zinter. Dean owns a 172 Cessna that he completely restored when it was time to paint the plane he wanted something better than white with your color stripe here. Dean chose to paint his plane in the Fort Rucker U.S. ARMY Primary Trainer colors. With this paint job he gets invited to military air shows up and down the West Coast. Dean and Lonnie have spent many hours flying to these shows and hanging around with Military Flyboys. Dean also, spent many hours driving Lonnieís Hot Rods and in turn Lonnie spends time flying Deanís airplane.

One day Dean sends Lonnie an e-mail of an e-bay ad. Some guy had a Rat Rod done up with a military theme. It had a chopped pickup cab and on the doors was painted the shark jaws of the Flying Tigers. In a follow up phone call with Lonnie Dean was talking about how cool it would be to have a car like that. Lonnie said that while the guy did a good job, he missed the target. To begin with the motor was wrong, flying tigers (P-40ís) had V-12ís and the shark jaw should be at the front. Dean agreed, however, Allisonís or Merlinís were expensive and hard to come up with. Lonnie countered with the thought of a V-12 Jag, easy to find good used motors and more friendly for a street car.

The vision of this car kept running through Lonnieís mind until he couldnít take it anymore and the hunt began.

A late 80ís V-12 was found it was injected and came from the factory with a 400 Turbo Trans., staying with the older look, carburetors from a 75 v-12 was found and bolted on. A 42 Ford Pickup cab was found with these parts and some borrowed wheels the thing was mocked up on 2X4ís to get a feel of what it would look like. To make everything fit Lonnie decided on a 118Ē wheel base with 2X4 tube he built the frame. A 9Ē Ford rear end was hung on the back using a model A cross member with a custom built spring by Oregon Auto Spring. 36 ford wish bones hold it in place. The front uses a chassis engineering narrow 4Ē dropped I beam axle with 48 Ford spindles and wish bones.

For an aircraft look Lonnie chooses to use 72 fin Buick aluminum brake drums on both ends of the car. He used 48 Ford front and 65 Buick Rivera rear brakes to make it work. With the car on its feet the top was chopped 4Ē by Lonnie with the help of a friend, Gary Scrutton. Next Lonnie mounted a 32 Ford grill shell and chopped it 2Ē. The car was shaping up. However, it needed a prop hub to look like an airplane. A 50 Studebaker billet nose was chosen, this was molded into the duce shell by Paul Gilbert. The aircraft theme was starting to show. Next it needed exhaust. This was formed by Lonnie and John Keller. Lonnie crafted baffles and inserted 3 in each pipe to create baby chambered mufflers. Marty Strode created the hand made hood, it was the longest hood he had ever built, 55Ē long at the shortest point. Ron Wagner built the air scoops to look like the ones on a P-40. Lonnie and Dean installed the scoops with real aircraft rivets for the right look.

With the car nearing completion it needed a gas tank. After a lot of thought, Lonnie built a 20 gallon stainless tank and hid it under 6 jeep cans that were welded together and hollowed out to hide the stainless tank. Inside the car Lonnie mounted a pair of reproduction bomber seats and for upholstery material a pup tent was purchased at a local military surplus store.

Steve Bradley, a musician friend of Lonnieís, did the art work and sized the nose of a P-40 shark jaw into the size needed for the gauges. For instruments Lonnie went online with Auto Loc, where you can design your own gauge faces and Auto Loc will fit them into the gauges.

Class Act Paint & Powder did the Chassis and suspension in G.M. Silver powder coat.  The finish body work and camouflage paint was done by Duane. The art work was done by Mitch Kim, Lonnie credits Mitch Kim with giving the car/plane the great Warbird attitude.

The project started on a whim, it developed into a tribute to the AVG (American Volunteer Group) who were known as THE FLYING TIGERS and all who SERVED and are CURRENTLY SERVING this Country. 

Please go to this YOU TUBE Video link to watch this video and the others I have posted about the RUNAMUCKA. I have posted a total of (5) five Runamucka videos to YOU TUBE, please view them too!

If this link does not work type in RUNAMUCKA in a Google search and this should send you to it.

Thanks, Dean Zinter & Lonnie Gilbertson


The first starting of the engine:

The Second start up of the engine ends in disaster!: 

Out for a night flight:

A short high speed taxi test at the Aurora Airport, Aurora, Oregon:

Formation flight with the RUNAMUCKA returning from a Cruise-in:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 11:33:33 AM by Showboatsix » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 12:48:20 PM »

Thanks for posting the write up on the car as well as the link. Truly an innovative rod as well as a fantastic tribute. I will post the link in my Links section and I will also post it under the AVG section under Groups. Iím finally getting around to working on another update, hopefully it wonít be too long before itís finished. I also posted the link to a large scale model car site and they really liked it, one of them also posted the link to a private military forum and they also enjoyed it. Would love to see and hear a video of it running down the street! Smiley
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