A HISTORY OF "OHIO" GEORGE.
As a young boy, George Montgomery liked mechanical stuff. His father had a 37 Willys coupe as an every day car. His family also had a Ford tractor used for farming. That was the first machine that George worked on. This was a bit after the war and sometimes parts for the tractor were hard to come by. When they couldn't get parts, they either made them or had friends working at Delco, where his dad worked, make them. George also worked as a mechanic at his uncle's Ford tractor dealership in Zenia, Ohio. He also worked at Dayton Lawn Mower Co. mainly repairing and rebuilding lawnmower engines. When George graduated from high school his dad got him a job at Delco.
George's first car was a 1934 five window Ford coupe with a flathead in it. George had a friend who's dad had a Ford dealership and in 1951 they went out and ran Bonneville with that Ford. He swapped bodies of that Ford for a three window Ford. George started helping out a local speed shop in town by installing cams for $20. and a valve job for $5. He was making only $1.05 an hour working his other job and he figured he could make as much doing this as he could working a half a week at Delco. George's greatest asset was the knowledge and ability to make the things he needed.
By 1955 George had a Cadillac motor in the '34 Ford. It had a blown Cadillac, a La Salle Transmission, and an early Ford rear end. It when FAST, he won top eliminator beating all the dragsters with it. During this time George made some trick stuff for it, stuff that wasn't available. He was working at Delco (until 1964) and making the parts. In 1958 a friend of George's told him he had seen an "ugly 'ol Willys", just the car he needed to have. It was a running, driving, all steel 33 Willys at a salvage yard in Hillsboro, Ohio. George bought it for $100.00. Amazingly, George got that car done in time for the Nationals in Detroit in 1959. He didn't use anything off the '34 Ford, it was a fresh motor, blower, and tranny. George went on to score class wins at the NHRA Nationals in 1959, 1960, and 1961. He became one of the first racers to win consecutive Nationals with his back-to-back victories in Little eliminator in 59 and 60.
George won his class again in 1961 after switching to a blown small-block Chevy for the new A/GS Supercharged class and he wone class and Middle eliminator at the 1963 Nationals. In 1966 George made a major move by becoming the first to run Ford's new single-overhead-cam Hemi. He took the '66 & '67 Nationals as well as the 1967 Winternationals.
It was during this time that the late-model Funny Cars began to grab the fans' attention. George put together and began running a new Ford Mustang body on the Willys chasis in mid-1967. He put an Olds rear end with a torque tube he had fabricated and he made his own axles plus other custom designed items. The first time out with the car, it ran in the 9s. The new setup led him Super eliminator titles at the Springnationals and Nationals in 1969 and to Competition eliminator wins at the Gatornationals in 1973 and 74.
George has earned a number of honors for his racing career including being inducted into the Don Garlits' International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. He was named Grand Marshall of the Midwest Hot Rod Reunion in 1998.
I would like to thank George and Gregg Montgomery for contributing this information and supplying the pictures for the Gasser Legend area.
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