|They built a second "Typhoon" as soon
as Townsend's business would support the project. This was the "Red car"
and Townsend raced it at NHRA and SCCA events, and even street raced it
a few times in Tucson. This car again used a Plymouth chassis, Oldsmobile
power, and Hillman trim. Upgrades were a Corvette windshield and
body modifications for strength. (Below: The first three "Typhoons".)
For their next foray into SCCA racing,
Frank, Butch McDaniel, Jack Voevodsky, Pete Voevodsky and friends created
the third of the "Typhoons" (shown below). It was a class "B" Modified
car called the "Purple People Eater" by the press and competitors.
It had many changes, numbers, drivers,
and upgrades over the next 5 years. The early Olds drive train was
replaced by Pontiac fuel-injected power. Racing this workhorse
provided a lot of fun and developed skills for the Townsend crew
which led to the highly successful cars to follow.
Frank produced two more bodies for sale.
No serial numbers or records were kept and the cars and their owners are
Today many of the people involved with
this hometown Tucson effort have passed away. Much of the early
information had faded to bare glass fibers by the time the original "Townsend
Typhoon" body was found on a ranch in southern Arizona. The surpri- singly
bullet-hole free car rested among the hulks of 1946 through 1958 Oldsmobile
Rockets. A pair of Borgward hubcaps were found in the cockpit area.
Owen "Gene" Gibson of Arivaca, Arizona,
recovered the original "Townsend Typhoon" body and is remaking the front
¾ of the mold. Frank still has the back part. The reworked
mold will provide replacement panels and new bodies for "street rod" Typhoon
Mk Is in the future.
The present plan for the recovered
body is the reincarnation of the 1958 Class "B" Modified "Purple People
Eater". A 1958 Olds V8 with a 6 deuce Offy carb setup will
power the car. 1957 Olds rear and front-ends, Buick Aluminum fin
drums, etc, have been found and the frame is being rebuilt. The "Typhoon"
is being refurbished with the guidance of Frank Townsend, Pete Voevodsky,
and Gene Wright (mechanic on SR’s and Corvettes in the 50’s).
|Frank and Car reunion October 2001.
Don Hulette to drive the restored
at the 2006 Monterey Historics!
Gene Gibson recently sent me more:
on the Townsend cars.
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