Jack


The Bear The Bear



INTERVIEW WITH JACK COONROD

Q: Jack, what sparked your interest in drag racing?
A: I was about 16 and my brother who was 7 years older had a few A/V8's which was a Model A Ford with a V8 engine.

Q: How old where you when you got started in racing?
A: I didn't get into racing until I was about 19 years old.

Q: What was your first car?

A: It was a 27 Model T with a 296 Flat Head. This was my first race car.  A 28 Model A Roadster was my first car when I was 14.

Model T ~ CLICK TO SEE LARGER VERSION
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Q: Where did "The Bear" from Jack "The Bear" Coonrod come from?
A: There was a saying around here that was something like 'Faster than "Jack the Bear"' and one of my helpers on the car tagged that on me in about 1965.  It seemed to work well.  I was going to get a bear suit and all that but never did.
A/FD ~ CLICK TO SEE LARGER VERSION
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Q: I see you had an A/FD at the 2001 California Hot Rod Reunion.  What's the story on it?
A: I had the original Northwind A/FD back in 1962.  The driver was my friend, Earl Floyd.  I went broke after one year so I went back to gassers where I belonged.
It ran 189.00 with an E.T. of 8.50 which we were happy with back in '62.

Q: I noticed in your interview in the Gasser Magazine that you mentioned restoring your car in the 80's.
A: In 1984 a friend of mine saw my original 33 (actually a 34), in Canada at a car show.  I bought it back from the guy, brought it home and restored it in '85.

Gasser Magazine ~ CLICK TO SEE LARGER VERSION
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Q: What did you do next?
A: I picked up a couple of Chrysler motors.  A friend had a Willys pickup, we put one of my motors in it and went match racing.  In 2000 there were about 18.  Now we have several gassers in this area, about 10 in Washington and Oregon.

Q: I hear you are good friends with Ed McCulloch.
A: Ed McCulloch has been my best friend since 1963.  I met him when he was a distributor up here for Mickey Thompson.  Part of my museum is dedicated to him.  He gave me all the stuff on him for the museum.
Steve's Willys ~ CLICK TO SEE LARGER VERSION
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Q: In the pictures here there is one of another 33 Willys that says Steve "The Cub" Coonrod.  Tell me about that car.
A: That Willys belongs to my son Steve.  They called him "The Cub" when he was 8-9 years old.  I took him with me back east one summer after school was out.  He had a shirt that said "The Cub" on it.  He was really proud of that.  Steve is about 42 years old now.

Q: There are lots of motorcycles in your museum.  Is this a hobby?
A: I have always loved motorcycles since I was about 5 or 6.  They were always parked in the small town I live in while the men were working in the paper mill.
All the motorcycles in my museum run but they are drained of fluids in case of fire.

Coonrod's Museum Motorcycles Coonrod's Museum Motorcycles Coonrod's Museum Motorcycles
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Q: How do you feel about being called a Gasser Legend?
A: If you read the article on me in the Gasser Magazine you will see I try to tell stories of other people at the races.  I don't like to beat on my chest, it gets old trying to impress people with records.

33 Willys Willys Willys

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NHRA Winternationals Official Record  ~ Coonrod's Museum

In Florida 1968 Jack Coonrod & Tom Thompson Gasser Legends

JACK COONROD RESTORES ED MCCULLOCH'S NORTHWIND DRAGSTER

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Do you have any pictures of any of Jack's cars?  Send them to and we will post them here.






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