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Chrisman Model A Sedan: Profile of a Hot Rod


Built from a 1929, the Chrisman Model A Sedan was a competitive racer in the early years of drag racing. See more hot rod pictures.

Jack Chrisman's stylish Chrisman Model A Sedan was a formidable competitor in the early days of drag racing. At one of its best performances of 1954, the car left the starting line at the Santa Ana dragstrip with tires smoking.

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The famous Von Dutch-striped radiator-shell insert and five-inch chop made this car easy to spot. The power was routed from the Chrysler 354-cid Hemi engine to the 1940 Ford rear end with 4:11 gears.

Prior to receiving the Hemi, Jack's 1929 saw daily service with a stout Ford flathead V-8. On weekends, he removed the jets from the four Stromberg 97 carburetors (thus increasing flow), filled the fuel tank with a mixture of nitromethane and alcohol, and ran as fast as 117 mph in the quarter mile.

A Chrysler Hemi engine and LaSalle transmission powered the Chrisman Model A Sedan to 129 mph.
A Chrysler Hemi engine and LaSalle transmission powered the Chrisman Model A Sedan to 129 mph.

After Jack installed the Chrysler engine and a LaSalle transmission, the miles per hour jumped to 129. The stronger engine and gearbox led to a consistency that allowed driver Art Chris­man, Jack's nephew, to dust all comers in the A/Fuel Coupe and Sedan class in 1954.

Nearly 50 years later, the Chrisman Model A Sedan has been beautifully restored.
Nearly 50 years later, the Chrisman Model A Sedan has been beautifully restored.

Early drag cars became obsolete all too soon. When smaller coupes with similar powerplants came along, their perfor­mance spelled the end of drag racing success for the Chrisman sedan.

Jack sold the car in 1958 to move up to dragsters, where the team would find more success. The Chrisman team won the NHRA World Championship in 1961.

Almost 50 years later, the Chrisman sedan returned to the Chrisman family. Jack's son Steve bought it and had Jim Travis restore it.

Art Chrisman again built the powertrain, now with a Turbo 400 transmission, and a 392-cid Hemi with 354 heads and dual quads.

Artist Dennis Jones reproduced the Von Dutch grille-shell insert working from photos. Beautifully restored, the 1929 Model A has come full circle.

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