~ Ford Easton ~
Ford has been a long time contributor to this site and it's
high time he had his own page. Here it is - I'll be posting
all of Ford's insights and interesting Western NY Racing
trivia on this page. Enjoy!
7/5/12 Good Thur. afternoon to all,
It gives me great pleasure to share with you information that goes back to 1950s stock
car racing in WNY, Ontario and NWPA.  As you will see I was really honored to be one of
the first persons outside of the Hurtubise family and close friends to read the story
Peter Hurtubise has shared with me relating to his 556 stocker and its engine.  Peter
and I have visited a number of times via e-mail and phone over the last several years and
again I really was honored when he said he was going to share his secrets from back in
the 50s.  Although I was one of the first to read this you are also one of the very few to
gain this info.  I did ask Peter for permission to share with the RRs, Planes and Cars
group, that he is also part of, this great story and engineering excellence and
 Peter went on to use his many talents in building Indy cars and being crew chief for
his brother Jim Hurtubise, that probably 99.5% of us recognize the name of, during his
racing days at Indy and around the Country.  I will be sharing some of those days with
you also in future e-mails including pictures.  I think you will enjoy them too.  Right
now though relax and enjoy yourself as if you were back in the 50s enjoying some great
stock car racing.
Peter Hurtubise
Hi Ford,
Going to start with the cylinder heads, (increasing compression)..
Knowing that they could measure how much was shaved off (milled off )
your cylinder heads,(they had a limit),, I did it another way which
much more of an increase in compression,, versus milling..
I started with preheating the heads to keep warping to a minimum,, then
using equal amounts of brazing rods
for each compression chamber,, I filled the chambers to the limit.. I
then had
to fly-cut into the brass for the valves,, then a
channel to the  valves for both intake and exhaust,, finishing all the
brass with a smooth surface..
I then had the heads lightly shaved in case there was any warping..
The intake manifold was what made me He-He-He the most!.. I started
with a OEM 2 throat manifold.. We were allowed to use
a 4 throat carb... There was a plate that could be purchased that
attached to the 2 throat manifold and let you mount a 4throat
carb.,, very ineffective.. Eldelbrock made a 4 throat manifold,, but for
my reasons, I wanted to stay with OEM.. I'll do the best
I can here in explaining what I did.. I first cut off all the rise in
the manifold where the carb, sat.. I then made four walls and brazed
them on the manifold where I had cut.. I then made my 4 throat carb.
plate to be welded to the walls later on..I did leave a one inch
overhang on all sides beyond the 4 walls.. Note here-- before welding
the carb. plate to
the walls,, I had already brazed together the bottom section of two
Stromberg 97 carbs,, bored out the four throats to the limit and then
made new throttle  plates to match.. I then set the carb. base
on the plate and scribed the 4 throats holes on the plate and then
bored the
plate.. I purposely made the walls higher,, so the carb. is going to set
1 to 2 inches higher than original.. I then attached 4 dump tubes to
the bottom of the carb. plate, same ID as holes in plate,, they
extended down to within 1 inch of the floor of the manifold,, each one
tilted slightly towards their two intake ports each..Now,, under the 1
inch overhang
of the carb. plate, I installed 4 extended injector nozzles,,they
into  2 of the 4 walls under the carb. plate and entered a small hole
in each
dump tube.. To feed the injector nozzles, the main feed line which came
a concealed pressurized nitro tank inside the car,, went to a 2 outlet
distribution block,,
and then to two more 2 outlet blocks..From those two,, each of the four
nozzles were fed.. All the feed lines under the 1 inch overhang were
kept equal in
length and all was tucked under the 1 inch overhang.. To further
conceal all this,, I attached
sheet metal curtains on all four sides of the carb. plate and they
extended down to the bottom of
the four walls..As for the main feed line,, where it started to lay on
the intake manifold,, it was covered
with a layer of epoxy,, all the way to where it entered the sheet metal
The manifold was then painted and all was now 99% concealed,,
except for a small portion of the line between the firewall and the
To further conceal the custom carb.,, I attached a sheet metal curtain
onto the bottom tray
that holds the air filter..Back to the carb. for a moment,, the
Stromberg 97 Carb. was a three
piece carb.,, the bottom being cast iron,, the top and middle sections
were shaved so that the two
carbs. would look almost seamless where they came together.. By shaving
those top sections,, I lost
some connection screws that compress the gasket between top and middle
section.. I put the bottom
two cast iron sections at a very slight outward tilt and then brazed
them together.. This tilt worked so that
when all sections were assembled,, the very top of the carbs. were
apart about 1/32 of an inch.. Then with
hose clamp around the two tops,, it pulled the two together,,
compressed the gaskets,,and looked seamless..
The completed carb.just had to be shaved flat on the bottom because of
the needed tilt.. The fact that one of
the float chambers was in the right direction to prevent fuel starving
in the corners was a big plus,, the other
float was modified a bit to also help eliminate that problem..
Can't remember who manufactured the camshaft.. I had the
crankshaft, rods and pistons balanced,, Modified
the distributor and points to eliminate point floating at high RPMs,,
also used special valve springs.. The flywheel
clutch and pressure plate were Speed Shop products.. Had quite a
problem with spark plugs at first,, probably due
to the high compression with nitro,, along with the high RPMs.. The
porcelain part of the spark plug would break loose
from the metal body,, this was corrected by using a different
brand,,also finding the right spark plug heat range took awhile..
The pistons were Speed Shop products and I kept the bore size to a
maximum of 10 over..
The Castrol Castor Oil that I used,, probably the consistency of a
SAE 50 weight oil,, had to be preheated.. I had a 110 volt
heating pad attached to the bottom of the oil pan,, which we plugged in
as soon as we got to the track.. Before starting
the engine, after the oil was warmed up,, we removed spark plugs,, and
with a second booster battery,, we cranked the
engine until we had an oil pressure reading..
Almost forgot to mention,, the quarter turn on/off nitro valve was
within easy reach just under the side of my seat...

Well there you have it,, kind of a long story,, but have enjoyed
sharing it with you.. Very few,(if any) knew of the inner workings
of this engine and car..    Peter

Note, There seemed to be a little confusion on the "Nitro" system so Peter elaborated to me
in a second e-mail a better explanation.  Here you go, Ford:

Hi Ford,,   I can see where there could be some confusion and questions on the "nitro
pressurized tank" that I mentioned in
my "Engine Spec" letter to you.. After re-reading the letter,, I see where I did not go into
any detail on the tank system in the
letter, ( I noted that what was mentioned was at the end of the letter,, can only say that I
must have been running out of steam? )...
After previous attempts for a nitro injection system that did not work to well because of a
lack of air volume and decreased
pressure,, I went to a two tank system.. The nitro tank I had made to my specs by a friend
that had a welding shop and was made of
stainless steel,, just a bit over one gallon capacity.. That tank was hidden partly under the
dash and the panel in front of the
passenger door.. The air tank was hidden under the seat with sheet metal curtains,, and
the on/off valve was well hidden also but
in easy reach.. I now had more than enough air volume and pressure.. I tested that by
disconnecting the main outlet line,, and with
a full tank, (one gallon), turned on the air tank valve, ( I had previously called that valve
the "on/off nitro valve"),, the nitro tank
emptied with no visible loss of flow...  There was a on/off valve in the main nitro tank line,
also in easy reach under the dash,, that
I would shut off just prior to shutting off the engine after a race,, this prevented any fuel
to flow if there was still air pressure in the
nitro tank,, and also kept that valve shut while on the road...   Hope this helps with the
questions...    Peter
Peter on right.
Peter's 556 Racer
11/22/12 Update
Thursday, May 25, 1950 Dansville Breeze, Dansville NY
Stock Car Racing Opens at Naples
Forty drivers will roar around the Naples Speedway Sunday when the stock car
racing season opens there.
Many of the top-notch drivers of Western New York will line up for the thrill-filled
Don Cleveland, promoter, calls the Naples track one of the fastest in Western New
The track has 60-foot straight-aways, and 90-foot banked corners with 6-foot

Here are some pictures I have to go with the story, Ford:
12/24/12 Update
12/14/12 Good Friday evening to all around our nation and Canada,  Peter
Hurtubise and I communicate quite often via phone and e-mail.  Recently Peter
sent me copies of many of the family photos of the Indy car racing days that
involved both Peter and his more famous brother Jim.  I am sure 99% of you
recognize the name Jim Hurtubise.  These photos I will be sharing with you
show the car building for the Indy ventures that Peter and Jim campaigned in
the 60's.  I will be sharing these with you in chapters from time to time.  The first
chapter overviews the venture that put Jim in the middle of the front row at Indy
in 1963 with the roadster car and Novi engine.  The second chapter will feature
photos on getting to that point in a venue in Niagara County WNY.
The third photo show Andy Granatelli(Mr. STP) doing dyno. test runs on
the Novi engine.  The 56 # was synonymous with Jim's racing cars be it at
Cuba Lake Raceway in a 37 Ford flatback or at Indy.
12/15/12 Hi to all again on this Sat. morning, Many of you have e-mailed
me back requesting "more" and "now" on the Hurtubise story.  I am sure
most of you are expecting an ultra modern multi million dollar shop where
the Hurtubise Indy car was built at.  Well the pictures below show what the
shop was in reality.  The pony in the photo is Karen's, Jim's daughter.  You
can see Jim laughing in first photo as the pony had decided to spread some
fodder.  Location of their shop was in a barn in Niagara County New York.  
By the way Karen went on to become a champion horse rider in Indiana in
later years.
  Point being it didn't take a multi million dollar shop to generate a top
competitive car to be on the front row at Indy.  I took people like Jim and
Peter with the innovation and insight to make it happen.  Next to last photo
is a good one of Peter on left and Jim on the right.
Peter checking out an item on the drive train in this last photo