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History

 

From 1968 to 1971 Gary Ritter and his dragster "Blood-Sweat & Nitro" raced on almost every drag strip on the west coast. The fans just thought the car name was so cool as it fit the times so well. Fremont was the cars home track and he took home his share of trophies.

Later in 1971 the car was sold and ended up with Tom McMinn and Bill Tagert in Stockton, CA. Gary joined the rest of the top fuel teams and went rear engine dragster racing. The car was converted to a comp dragster as many front engine cars were, a big block Chevy replaced the 392 Hemi and a transmission was added The cage was updated, but most of the car remained the same.

While attending the 2005 Hot August Nights with his two restored FED's, the "BankAmericar" and the "Mastercar" John Ewald was approached by a guest who told him about a friend of his who had a old dragster stored in his garage that had been there for around 15 years. He attempted to describe it but then mentioned that the car owner was coming up to the show. Ewald had him call the guy and asked to bring some photos of the car with him. When the photos arrived at the show Ewald knew a side trip to Stockton on the way back to So Ca was worth it. Stuffed in an old wood barn with parts all over the building sat what has turned out to be the JIm Davis chassis, Jack Haggerman full bodied "Blood-Sweat & Nitro" of Gary Ritter and his partners Jack Cary and Doug Kinner. The car was delivered to So CA the following month where the restoration was to take place.

 

One of the first outings for Ritter in the new Jim Davis car (before nose piece was added) was not pretty as he experienced a massive blower explosion at Fremont Raceway.

 

Ritter and crew celebrate their first win in early 1968. Gary Ritter, no ID, Willy and Donna Kinner.

 

1969 March Meet at Bakersfield.

 

 

 

In the staging lanes of Fremont Drag Strip in 1969. Dave Zeuschel (in blue jacket), Jack Cary, Gary Ritter and Willy Kinner.

 

Fremont Dragstrip 1969

 

1969 Bakersfield Fuel and Gas Championships

 

1970 Professional Dragster Assoc. meet at Orange County International Raceway.

 

 

 

In 1971 this is the last known photo of what the car looked like before Ritter sold it. Gary had blow a few engines big time and the resulting fires necessitated a rebuilt cowl and new paint. The canards were his attempt to increase traction as other FED racers tried.

 

Orangeline

 

Restoration

 

Basically another barn find... arguably the most famous Jim Davis car ever built wasn't much to look at when first viewed by Ewald.

 

 

After the car was stripped of all it's paint (lots of fun!) it was delivered to Bruce Dyda's "Dyda Race Engineering" in Gardena. Bruce had done the restorations of the "BankAmericar" and "Mastercar" so Ewald trusted him to do it right and restore it to it's 1970 configuration.

 

 

First order of business was to strip the chassis and send all the applicable pieces out to D&S Custom Plating be re chromed.

 

 

 

Sharing the main room of Dyda Race Eng. the car had some good company as the Tommy Ivo "Showboat" 4 engine dragster recreation was in progress.

 

John Ewald looking more that a little large for the cockpit. However, this is deceiving as he fit fine in the car when it was completed.

 

The 6-point cage was removed and replace it with the correct 3-point hoop (below).

 

Bob Danly and Bruce Dyda discuss the proper placement of the controls.

 

In short order Dyda had the original 3 point cage remounted, all the excessive mounts and brackets removed and setup once again to take a 392 Hemi. The Haggermann body was in very good shape except for a bent nose which Bruce hammered back to perfect shape...no bondo on this beauty.

 

 

With the body off to the paint shop, Dyda fabricated a new, stronger engine plate.

 

With phase 1 complete, the perfectly restored Jim Davis chassis then went to IKON Powder coating in Anaheim CA.and the body went to Paint N' Place for paint and lettering.

 

Stripping the seat which still had the original paint on it revealed the gold paint that the transparent red was laid on top of...Jerry Seivers was able to match it perfect.

 

With the body still in the paint shop, the chassis was returned from being powder coated. With the new chrome also done, Dyda got on the restoration in earnest starting with the cockpit including the steering, brakes, chute levers and driveline cover.

 

 

 

Dyda also fabricated a new, larger fuel tank to accommodate a long cackle.

 

 

 

Barry Barber of Baer's Canvas & Upholstery crafted a perfect replication of the original upholstery.

 

 

Orangeline

 

While Dyda was doing his magic, Bob Danly, starting with a perfect hot tanked and X-rayed 392 A-1 block, worked on the engine.

 

Engine block filler was added to beef up the 50 year old block.

 

Danly double cleaned and checked the block specs before painting the base coat, then it was off to the machine shop to be made assembly ready.

 

 

The master himself, Henry Velasco did the crankshaft.

 

The rebuilding of the 3-disc Schaefer clutch was done by Mike Kuhl.

 

 

With the block deemed race ready, the cam bearings were the first step in the assembly.

 

With the new Velasco crank laid, 4-bold Milodon main caps were installed.

 

 

A new set of Arias pistons lay in wait, soon to be attached to Brooks Rods

 

The piston/rod assembly went in without a hitch.

 

A new Milodon oil pump wraps up the bottom end.

 

New head studs were installed to accommodate the Valley Head Service prepared hemi cylinder heads

 

 

New Crower roller rockers were chosen to ride on the Chet Herbert cam.

 

Starting to look like a fuel engine.

 

 

Complete...with Enderle Fuel injectors sitting on a new Mert Littlefield 671 blower, a Cirello mag, a Crower can covering the 3 disk Schiefer clutch. An Enderle 110 fuel pump attached to a Donovan drive completes the other end.

 

 

The complete engine was taken to Dyda's for final fitting.

 

 

 

Orangeline

 

The car arrives at Paint N Place.

 

The chassis looks like new after coming out of the oven at IKON Powder Coatings....next stop is back to Paint N Place to remount body to mask off paint scheme.

 

Paint N Place top gun Jon Fink was assigned the task of duplicating the 1970 BSN paint scheme. He started with primer and prep for the colors.

 

 

 

Jerry Sievers applied the gold base color.

 

Fink applied the clear then color sanded it.

 

 

 

Jon and Jerry poured over photos of the car in the day to make sure every move they make is perfect.

 

Fink tapes off the nose for the burgundy paint.

 

 

Fast forward to lettering master Bob Thompson who nailed the original art work.

 

 

With the final coat of clear applied the paint comes alive with class.

 

 

Doug Bush of D&S plating handled all the chrome work, here is holding a can he just finished for the Frank & Funk car that Mike Kuhl is building the engines for.

 

Orangeline

 

With the car basically done, the body was taken to Dyda's for final fitting.

 

 

 

All the controls are are they were in 1970 - simple.

 

Just two days before its scheduled debut at the 50th March Meet the car rolled out of DRE looking like a million bucks.

 

All loaded up for the trip back to Brea.

 

That night the car was taken to John Ewald's shop and Mike Kuhl stopped by to go over everything with Bob and Mario for a test fire up. Always a good idea to have a trusted second set of eyes go over your efforts.

 

Included in this package is a rare and original Jim Davis starter.

 

With Mario Garcia in the seat, Bob Danly and Mike Kuhl do some fine tuning. The car was ready for Bakersfield.

 

 

Orangeline

 

The car made its debut at the 2008 March Meet in Bakersfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proud owner John Ewald is towed out for the cacklefest. The car received a big thumbs up from fans and racers as it is a real beauty.

 

Bob Danly fired the engine with Leeah Capps in the seat (John Buttera's daughter) who had never been in a dragster before.

 

 

 

 

The cackle was very emotional for Leeah Capps as she had just lost her dad, John Buttera, a couple of weeks earlier. With Leeha is John Ewald and her husband, Ronnie Capps who was a very able Top Fuel crew chief/tuner in the 70s.

 

 

After the March Meet the car was totally gone through and all parts inspected. It sits perfect to this day.

 

 

Orangeline

 

 

 

 

 

Blood, Sweat & Nitro Top Fuel Dragster NHRA Motorsports Museum Centerpiece November, 2008. Such a popular exhibit, it has remained there to this day. The cars name alone is considered by many to be the best and most recognizable fuel dragster name EVER.

 

 

Orangeline

 

As a featured NHRA Museum "Cacklefest Car", the BSN drew a lot of attention at the 2008 NHRA Finals at Pomona. Here, from L to R, some real legends; John Collins, Richard Tharp, Gary Ritter, Tom Ivo, Gas Ronda and Steve Gibbs.

 

James Warren, Ritter and Ivo.

 

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