Ewell, Stecker & Kamboor


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If you lived in SoCal in the 1960's and drag raced -- you knew Jack Ewell. Among other things he was the parts manager at Mickey Thompon's and on the original board of directors for the UDRA. Although he would go on to field several potent top fuel dragsters, his start came with "Chubasco". Teaming up with Kambor and Stecker and starting in 1962 they fielded one of the most feared cars of its era. The team was never short of talent or parts. It was also the only car the Ewell actually drove. To have drag racer (cars and boats) Dave Sammons find and restore this treasure was a true gift to our sport.


Ewell, Stecker & Kambor
Bakersfield, March, 1963. The late Jack Ewell in the A/FD "Chubasco" of Ewell, Stecker & Kambor. This is the version of the car that Dave Sammons chose to restore.
Photo by Doyle Hatfield


Here are some shots of the car and crew for a Hot Rod Magazine feature in 1963. If you look at the Dave's restoration photos below you will see how perfectly he nailed the real deal. This may also be the earliest photos of the car as its the only one that had the Chrysler FirePower valve covers.








Smokey leave at Lions in 1962.


1963 Fuel & Gas Championships at Bakersfield.



Jack Ewell in "Chubasco" AA/FD at Lions in 1964. The black paint job had been replaced by this copper scheme.

"Chubasco car was Kambor, Ewell and Stecker. Used to have lunch with Kambor everyday, he owned the liquor store down on the corner near my shop near Studio City. It was the last car I did there before moving up to Belmont in '62. Bill Stecker is still active in the LA Roadster Club. Kambor and Ewell died about 10 years ago. All good guys." - Kent Fuller



Jack Ewell in the staging lanes at Riverside in 1965. Note that zoomie headers and a low profile Hilborn injector have been added.


Lions Drag Strip 1965








In 2002 Clyde Dedrick spotted the car in the back of Mike Leach’s shop and knew Dave Sammons was into dragsters (Dave knew Leach as well) and told him to give him a call.

Clyde had bought the engine out of the car a couple years before. So, Sammons went up and looked the thing over. Leach knew the car was called Chubasco, but not much more. Dave did the research and found out that it was a pretty special piece, considering the Fuller chassis, Jimmy Summers body and Tony Nancy interior (Note, Dave was able to get 2 Tony Nancy “Seahorse “ logos from him and had a longtime friend). Denny Nish who worked for Nancy in the early 60’s and could possibly have sewn the seat originally, recreate the interior. Then Sammons considered all the people that were involved in the car back then like Carl Olson and Jack Ewell. So, Dedrick bought the car and commissioned Sammons, along with the help of Dick Waldrip, to restore it.

The Chubasco car made its Cacklefest debut in 2003.


This is how she looked when Sammons brought her home. 5-point rollcage, fire bottle mounts, hacked up cowl and missing side panels. Previous owner Mike Leach was going to go Nostalgia eliminator racing and thankfully never got there.



It was obvious that the cage didn't match that great looking tail. This shot clearly shows how the cowl had been altered.



Rear end, bell housing and block were prefit before the chassis came apart.


Fast forward to repaired and corrected chassis.



The fuel tank was custom built by Moon to match 1962 photos exactly. Ballast box hand built as well.


A rebuilt period correct Enderle fuel shutoff was made to match the original. Were able to determine location by using pictures of the car from a July of 1964 Hot Rod Magazine article.


Carl Olson, who helped Ewell and the gang in the early days and drove for him in the late 60's, described how Jack hand machined the fuel pump drive out of billet aluminum. Sammons built one as well, and mated it up to the Delta front cover.


Another view, they utilized brass fittings and copper tubing for the crossover tube. Olson remembered polishing it between races.


Dave also used spade style hose clamps on the low-pressure lines and swedged clamps on the high- pressure line, just as they did in 1962. No Earls Supply fittings on this ol' girl!


Sammons looked long and hard trying to find the correct blower pulleys and finally found them at the 2002 CHRR swap meet.


The idler pulley bracket is hand made and as close a match as possible using the pictures they had.


They got the correct Barndoor injector and scoop from Dennis Holding. Injector was pretty rough and they had to build new nozzles, hard lines, butterflies and throttle shaft.


The Blower Shop redid the GMC 6:71 unit which was then polished and painted to match the original.


Dave Sammons with his project. Valve covers are FirePower pieces, chromed with Offy breathers. The car sported M/T covers later the first year, but, it started with these. Jack Ewell was the parts manager at Mickey Thompson's.


A hydraulic throttle was found on a old ski boat to match what was used originally.


The vintage S/W gauges were treasures from the Long Beach swap meet. Handmade, engineturned panel is as original


Water fills are as original, they bleed off to the rear header pipe on each side. Moon pedals are also correct.


Choke cable above reared is for fuel shut-off.


Dave opted for Lenco parts for the driveline to make uncoupling easy. Using the "Greek" couple the car will be totally out of gear when doing static fire-ups. For push starts all that has to be done is sliding the female unit onto the male unit on the pinion shaft. This set-up is highly recommended on all cacklecars and many believe they should be mandatory.


Coupler out (above) and in (below).



Somehow, the original butterfly wheel and brake handle stayed with the car all these years. Brake is a push, instead of a pull. Ewell preferred it that way.



Chubasco ready for its first trip in over 30 years! It would go to Mike Leach's shop in Orange for Weedburner headers.


First shots of the car with the new headers and solid black body.







Chubasco made its Cacklefest debut in 2003 with Adam Sorokin in the seat.




Dave Sammons oversees Adam Sorokin in his Ewell-Stecker-Kambor restoration.



Staged shot (literally) by Dana Winters from 2003. Bob Muravez is in the seat. Bob has some great memories of this car and the owners that are pretty entertaining.



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