The "Showboat" was like nothing the fans had ever seen before, or since! The ROLLING FOG BANK, they would call it. And when you'd BS them and say you couldn't see till half track... their jaws would hit the ground.



 

From the bottom you can see the cranks were hooked together with a chain coupler, end to end. This made two V16's out of them, with one set facing each way. One set ran the front wheels and one the rear.



 

Bob Sorrell made all of Tommy's aluminum body's, including his first fuel dragster. He was a TRUE artist who made them from flat sheets of aluminum. Done by welding and shaping them by hand, this one had a $500 price tag.



 

Don Prudhomme painted the car and is seen here, putting on the finishing touches. He was Tommy's best friend---AT THE TIME. That was before he started racing his own car - but that's a whole other story!!!



 

Tommy was grounded from driving it because he was doing the Margie TV series then. So, Prudhomme took his place behind the wheel and is seen here testing the car at San Fernando on a weekday.



 

They took pictures for a cover of Hot Rod magazine on the Margie TV set. Tommy wonders if fans don't ask why he has a BOW TIE, a striped coat and the straw hat for the cover. It was his TV show costume...



 

This was the first time out, at San Fernando drag strip. As you can see, Tommy didn't give up driving very easily. He had to run the steering wheel all the time. (except when Prudhmme was actually driving it).



 

How would you like to look out of your cars windshield and see all this in front of you? The dragster was so heavy, with all those steel motors of the day, it was like driving a 200 mph, Sherman Tank.



 

Tommy built it, tuned it and snuck in a ride now and then, when the studio wasn't looking. And, Tommy appeared to be so young, he looked more like the owners son, rather than the owner.



 

A 24 foot chute was used, because that racecar weighed 3500 ponds! The 'chute hit so hard when it opened, you can see it actually picked the rear wheels off the ground. The steering went crazy for a second. YAHOO!



 

Tommy fired Prudhomme (!) and hired Tom McCourry to drive it. Tom eventually bought the car, then ran it for a couple of years as a dragster. Later, he put the body on and made it into the Wagon Master.

 

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