Bill "Grunpy" Jenkins, famed drag race mechanic and driver/car owner has passed away at 81 yrs. of age. Will never forget those Ammon R. Smith "old Reliable" Chevys driven by The late Dave Strckler and wrenched by Jenkins.
Yea, he lived very close to where I am. He built motors up to the day he died.
I remember going to Ollie's Berwyn Sunoco for gas with my Dad. It was probably '68-'70 time frame. There was this guy working on a hot rod in the garage - little did I know. Think it was a Chevy II but not positive.
I worked at K&G Speed Shop for about 7 years. My paycheck pretty much consisted of parts for my 68 Camaro. I met Grump and some of the other guys around the shop. About the time I was finishing up college. Joe LaPone was driving the Jenkin’s Pro Stocker. I knew Joe from around K&G and actually bought a few parts from him that he ran on his C/SM Camaro.
One day I come home and my Mom says some man named Bill Jenkins had called the house wanting to talk with me. I'm like - WHATTTT?! I got a hold of him and went to his shop one evening. Joe or Chris Gans (owner of K&G Speed) must have given him my name as a possible person to help him out in the shop. I had some machining experience from my stent at Philly Gear and a couple of other shops.
I guess it was sort of an interview. Joe handed me a box of large coffee can sized pistons and said "Bill wants you to add some piston ring grooves on these". So on this old beater lathe I chucked them up and proceeded to add the grooves. Afterwards we had some discussion about helping out there. Well since I was finishing college I had aspirations of Corporate America. Pretty much said I wanted to help out but not in a full time manner - I think I had just gotten an offer to work for Bethlehem Steel's Home Research Labs. That was it - -just felt like sharing my moment. RIP - Bill
Lived a good life...
Malibu 12.5 Pro-Explorer
In my younger days before my kids came along, I had a '70 Chevy Nova, full frame & roll cage, LT1 350, 370HP in it, 411 gears, M22 trans. I probably read everything that Bill Jenkins wrote, or was written about him. I thought he was the coolest guy in the world back in those days. Darn, I just realized how old this makes me feel!