Author Topic: Tasca, KR8, Street Bertha, 505 mustang, Tasca birds, Street Boss. Any questions.  (Read 3760 times)

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Online Dggilbert

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Hi guys my name is Dave Gilbert and my dad is Bill Gilbert still current, about to retire,  and longest tenured employee of arguably the most active and highest volume performance Ford dealers in the country. From mid 1963 on he was involved in every project built at Tasca's 777 address.  I stumbled onto the site a couple of months ago and though I don't own a Cobra Jet my dad did build the KR8 and tuned the Tasca CJ 042, by Bill Gilbert on the side of the car, and tuned and raced Street Bertha 019, 042 and 019 were the 2 cars Tasca kept after my dad weighed all 10 cars they got of the first 50. He worked on the 505 mustang, thunderbolt , thunderbirds, and many other projects. He also ran the Tasca tractor trailer and seminars during the "Beat the Boss " program. I could go on but there is no better living source left from the glory days of Tasca . No offense but he's gotten a real kick out of some of the way things went down on some of their cars. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about anything Tasca did from 1963 because he put a wrench to everything and spent literally thousands of hour on the phone with guys like Bill Barr and Jumpy Snider and was personal friends with Caroll Shelby. Fire away boys.

Offline 4284spd

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Really cool! Nice to have you on board!
Bob Smith
1968-1/2 Cobra Jet! Nothing before or after matters!

Offline geraldt52

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That's kind offer by you and your father, Dggilbert.  I'm sure some of the more serious "historians" will weigh in with some questions, but I can think of one that has been debated here and would kick it off.

In a vintage magazine article about the KR8 it was unclear as to whether it debuted with a set of steel tube headers or some unknown set of cast iron manifolds.  I think the article intimated "manifolds", but the only decent manifolds that existed at that time for a shock tower car were the 427 Fairlane/Comet manifolds, and they don't fit a Mustang/Cougar...unless they had been cut and modified to fit.  Headers would explain it, but would also lead one to speculate that it was the headers responsible for the performance.  So, headers or manifolds?  And if manifolds, what sort of manifolds.

Online Dggilbert

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Hi Gerald, thanks for the question. He said because the stock manifolds weren't at all "tuneable", his words, they installed Jardin headers and did get better performance. Also I've seen a fair share of debate over the heads on the KR8. In reality the heads were the driving force for the choice of the 428 PI, as my father tells it after a conversation with Bill Barr  about the performance difference between the 63 and 64 Galaxie with Bill saying the big difference was the heads and they determined after some back and forth the 64 heads would go on the 428 PI stock Ford block and might make cheap option for local hotrodders who at the time were knocking down the doors at the dealership and the 390 wasn't the answer and the 427 too expensive and the broke alot, they  were mainly race engines, which is why they're so valued in the collector market. Anyway its a shame Bob Jr wrapped the KR8 around a telephone pole, imagine driving a 67 Mustang with a 427 tunnel port from Lloyd Ruby's race car at 16? I can't imagine what the KR8 would be worth with that tunnel port in it if it were still together today. I wish I had been older most of my memories at the Tasca was being in the way. Hope that helps thanks, Dave.

Online Dggilbert

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I need to add he said the headers made a .5 sec difference in a qtr mile. Ford told him it was a waste of time putting headers on a closed exhaust system. He said that was typical of Ford back then and they were shocked when he told them the difference it made.

Offline geraldt52

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...He said because the stock manifolds weren't at all "tuneable", his words, they installed Jardin headers and did get better performance...

I tried to find our earlier conversation on the KR8 article, just for your entertainment Dggilbert, but I couldn't find the one I was thinking of.  I think we had concluded that it had to be more likely than not that the KR8 had tubing headers from the get-go, since the parts bins didn't contain anything for a Mustang/Cougar at that time that would support that kind of performance.  The argument against that conclusion was that having tubing headers on the KR8 would have diminished the argument that Tasca was presenting to Ford, that all the parts needed to give Ford a legit, affordable street performance car were laying in the parts bins, if they'd only use them.  Clearly Ford wasn't going to put tubing headers on a production car, least of all a shock tower car.  When Ford finally got around to the 428CJ package, obviously the unique cast iron exhaust manifolds were a significant piece of the puzzle.

Offline sportyworty

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Online Dggilbert

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Gerald, he said the headers came later as an experiment,  they weren't on the original build and he's not sure if the were on when they went to the Dearborn test track. It's listed in Bill Barr's comparison chart as having headers so maybe it did. My dad seems to think their improvement may be why the exhaust manifold was redesigned east -west instead of north -south and was unique to the CJ at the time so there was increased flow. Bear with me it's been 50 years and with the exception of some articles and books over the years these events don't get much rehashing. I honestly learned what a big deal some of the cars my dad built talking with an acquaintance at an Outback bar for a couple of beers, he had a picture of Tasca's Super Stock CJ that bears my dad's name on his phone and told me what a big deal Tasca  was in mustang history. I just wish I'd been older when it was all happening.

Offline 161854

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   Did the tunnel port out of the KR8 go into one of the 135 cars? I seem to remember period photos showing that.
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Online Dggilbert

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If I remember right they put the TP engine in one of the 2 cars they kept out of the 10 1st 50 cars that Tasca received. My father was told by Bob Sr to weigh them and keep the 2 lightest cars, 1 my father drove to Holman & Moody NC on the way to the Gator nationals and one became they've unbeatable Street Berths which Bill Lawton and my dad raced on local streets.  As my father tells it they were challenged by Conn dragway owner Frank Maratta who was about to receive a COPO Camaro and said " bring your best car and I don't care if Mario Andretti drives it. Wasn't he happy the Bopper  had the kinda sway with Ford to have him land on the dragway and beat him 3 straight runs 11.4-11.5 and had never run a drag car. They put the TP engine in Street Berths and then it was switched back to its original CJ engine. My father says the TP engine ended up in Carl Tasca's 69 mmachoand eventually was sold to a guy in MA that owned some Cumberland Farms convenience stores. It broke their hearts to go see it some to me later with water coming out of places it shouldn't have and was unsalvagable. That was Lloyd Ruby's GT40 Le  Mans engine. Can't imagine the value of that had it survived. Btw, in the Nov 67 Hot Rod there's a pic of the KR8 after it came back from MI showing the TP engine.

Offline geraldt52

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This it ?

 https://www.428cobrajet.org/forum/index.php?topic=19077.0

Yes, that's the one, sportyworty!  You should let your dad read through that thread, dggilbert...he'd probably get a kick out of our speculations.  Heck, I enjoyed reading back through it myself!

...Gerald, he said the headers came later as an experiment,  they weren't on the original build and he's not sure if the were on when they went to the Dearborn test track...

We'll probably never know for sure what the exact sequence of events was, but it seems likely that generic log manifolds were changed out for headers at some point and journalistic sloppiness never recorded the quarter mile times "before and after".  What we do know is that those manifolds plugged up the GT-E, and no doubt plugged up the KR8.

Online Dggilbert

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Yes Gerald as my father said they had it choked in the front and choked in the back. He says they put the Jardine headers on Street Bertha  as well because they got them for nothing if Jardine could use Tasca in his ads.

Offline sportyworty

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Along with assumptions C4AE Head mentioned as likely on Page 2 and the driver side Fairlane Manifold wont fit were both in there. Those were easy because of castings facts. I am zero surprised on these 2 revelations.

The first CJ dedicated heads look to be J heads with first week Aug 67 dates. Anything before that for testing/mule were likely these C4AE. They could drill them for diagonal pattern cast manifolds. Maybe some were done so they knew how choked it was from and rear. The 390 GT manifolds were on hand to test.

Could you please ask your Dad if the early Jardine Headers required the rear fender apron to be blown out? I understood the headers did not fit either until later in 68

thanks and welcome

Kerry
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Online Dggilbert

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Sorry Kerry though Bill Barr's comparisons chart lists the KR8 as having headers and my dad thinks they may have put them on but he's not 100%. He definetly put them on 019 CJ Street Bertha the car they raced on local streets and the car Mario Andretti raced at Conn dragway but at that point the KR8 had been totaled and the Lloyd Ruby's GT40 Le Mans tunnel port engine was put in the Street Bertha for that race against the track owner Frank Maratta's new COPO Camaro. Andretti never having drag raced won 3 straight at 11.4-11.5. Street Bertha was then returned to its prior form with the 428CJ and Jardine headers. He's 78 and they built a bunch of hotrods so I'll do the best I can. Thanks, Dave.

Offline 161854

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  Kerry ,
      That would be Ben Cole's car ( with the tunnel port) right?
68 1/2 CJ FB San Jose white/blue "C" stripe Foulger Ford
 66 GT350 Hertz SFM 6S 477 white/ blue side stripes 1  of 18
3 magazine covers- Car Craft July '77,  Modified Mustangs Feb '11 , and June '14 Mustang Monthly
'78 F350 Oleynik racecar hauler