430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

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430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Grist Bros II » Sat 5. Mar 2011, 11:22

My grandfather and great uncle, Floyd and Ralph Grist, formed the Grist Bros and raced in the A/Gas Unblown class of the early 60's at dragstrips across SoCal. They set several ET and MPH records at nearly every track.

They used a 430 MEL that had been bored .060" and stroked using a C.S.C. half inch stroke crank making it around 500 ci. It used Dempsey Wilson Racing Cams camshaft, and Mickey Thompson pistons. The machine work was done by Reath Automotive. The induction used Hilborn injection and the magneto was by Hunt.
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Last edited by Grist Bros II on Sun 6. Mar 2011, 16:54, edited 1 time in total.
Jeremy Grist
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by vanscooter » Sat 5. Mar 2011, 16:01

I think I just pooped myself from the excitement. This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this. This is the coolest MEL racing stuff I have seen so far. Theres not much out there.

I am half temped to drink my whiskey and yank the motor out of my 1958 Lincoln and donate it to you for a Tribute car !

I know a guy who has about 15 willys, including his friend who owns the original stone/cook/woods willys. More history.

Thanks again and welcome. Post more if you got it.

Vanscooter

Theo, kultulz, did you see this yet ?

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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Grist Bros II » Sat 5. Mar 2011, 16:25

Thanks for your interest!

The Willys was sold in late '64 to '65 and was never heard from again until about a year ago. The guy had bought a Willys that had been last raced in the 80's, from what I can remember. No one knew the origins of the car except that it had a chopped top. The new owner consulted in some Willys experts to figure out that there were only a handful of known chopped top Willys gassers. They happened to look through a Gasser book to see a picture of the Grist Bros Willys and figured it would be the one. They called my great uncle Ralph on the phone and went over specific features of the car. The only original parts that were intact were the main shell and doors. The car sat on a different frame and had additional modifications over the years. The current owner is now restoring the Willys into his own creation, but he may put a little hint of Grist Bros into the car. We'll just have to wait and see.

I would, however, like to build a similar engine and put it into something else... perhaps my '72 Maverick?? Anyway, I would just enjoy building one of these engines, regardless.

I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. If you have any questions, I can try to ask my great uncle if he can help.
Last edited by Grist Bros II on Thu 17. Mar 2011, 18:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Grist Bros II » Sat 5. Mar 2011, 16:32

This is how the car sits as of today.
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Chris Craft crazy » Sat 5. Mar 2011, 17:14

Jeremy, that's totally cool man!!!! Thanks for posting this!!!
MEL Marine division... and if you thought MEL car parts were scarce....

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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Theo » Sun 6. Mar 2011, 12:28

vanscooter wrote:I am half temped to drink my whiskey and yank the motor out of my 1958 Lincoln and donate it to you for a Tribute car !
That's a very noble move. Thumb up for "Like it"

vanscooter wrote:Theo, kultulz, did you see this yet ?
No Sir, this is awesome indeed.

@Jeremy. Man, thanks so much for sharing this exceptional interesting story and photos. Hang out with us and keep us updated w. your project once you get started with it. I'd love to see a MEL powered racer back on the strip. I think I'll have to design a ford-mel-engine.com sticker that might find a spot on your race car ;)
Ride on
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Theo » Sun 6. Mar 2011, 12:30

Grist Bros II wrote:..............
I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. If you have any questions, I can try to ask my great uncle if he can help.
Man, how cool is this? Please ask him to join the forum. Would be great to have him among us.
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Grist Bros II » Sun 6. Mar 2011, 16:42

Thank you to everyone! My Dad has been working on a website with more in-depth history and photos about the Grist Bros , but it is taking a while considering all of the info gathering and learning html code, etc. I have some of his transcript of "interviews" with my Great Uncle Ralph (my Dad's Uncle). I will see if I can take some excerpts from it and post them up for MEL use. My G.U. Ralph may or may not chime in, but if you have any specific questions, I'll be sure to ask him and report back. I do remember one story that he told me about the MEL engine. He said that from time to time they would switch valve covers from Merc to Edsel and to Lincoln (or variations of styles) just to make everyone scratch their heads, ha! They were mischevious like that.

I'll post some info soon.
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by Grist Bros II » Sun 6. Mar 2011, 16:52

Here is some of the story of the 430 MEL from my Dad's point of view.

"They purchased a 430 cubic inch Lincoln engine and started building on it. They bored and stroked it to 501 cubic inches. They ran a stock “nodular” crankshaft. In the early days Joe Mailliard helped with the machine work. After Joe Mailliard passed away, Joe Reath started helping with machine work and parts … like a set of Hilborn mechanical fuel injectors. Dempsey Wilson ground all of the camshafts with his "special" grind and Mickey Thompson helped with some aluminum pistons and rods (the compression ratio was around 13 or 14 to 1). A Joe Hunt magneto provided the spark. A guy named Dale Klienhand arranged to have some Headman Headers custom built. The local Autolite and Valvoline distributorships supplied weekly doses of plugs, oil and filters delivered straight to the house.

It wasn’t known exactly how many horses were under the hood, but it more than a handful and the track records were dropping most every week. And, Dad and Ralph were right in the middle of it. I’ve still got some of the NHRA certificates of some of their record-breaking runs.

At first they had a lot of trouble with spinning bearings. Dad and Ralph learned from Ted Cyr and Leland Colb about drilling the main oil galleys and drilled them out with a special long drill."
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Re: 430 MEL in Grist Bros '41 Willys Coupe

Post by EdGrist » Sun 6. Mar 2011, 17:01

I noticed the Hilborn injector pics posted by Chris Craft Crazy on the aftermarket induction thread are the same as were used on the Grist Bros MEL (pic above). I imagine a set of those would be a rare find indeed. I'm new to the forum/thread and am enjoying the posts.

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