About this blog…

What the heck is the purpose of this blog?

Well, a few bits of information first. My father, Wayne Gapp, raced automobiles. That much should be clear.

The time frame for his racing activities, 1964 to 1978, extends across what I believe to be a fascinating era of the sport of Drag Racing.
Wayne Gapp. The 1970's
From Factory involvement in the sport to the refinement of the Eliminator classes in NHRA and the early years of the Pro Stock class he was there.

That said, I actually know very little about my father’s racing career.

I was born in ’68. He stopped racing in 1978.

I do remember bits of pieces.

I sat in and played around the Maverick know as the ‘Tijuana Taxi’ to most fans. I remember running behind a Pinto while at a track and someone starting it at the same time. Scared the hell out of me. Lastly, I remember being taken for a ride down the track…albeit very slowly in the ‘Taxi’. Everyone should experience the hammering of a V8 inside of a race car just once. Not something to forget and the sound does get in your blood.

Lastly, I read. A lot. I compare information. In many cases the information about my father’s career has been lost. I mean we are talking about looking back at a time period that as of the day that I write this was a minimum of 30 YEARS AGO. Some information has not been lost but has been skewed or misrepresented not through intention but through the retelling of the information through time.

Reading the information that is out there today you might get the impression my father was a footnote in other’s careers. Not even close. A good man, wildly competitive, a brilliant and innovative engineer and a fantastic father.

My aim is to present information. Images, articles, rules, stories…for myself, for the reader. I hope you find this blog interesting.

Thanks for reading.

31 thoughts on “About this blog…”

  1. I remember when I was a kid, just started driving, I would take Schoolcraft rd. (Before I-96) down past the little building on my way to Kroger @ Middlebelt. I would always try to get a peek in the door as I went by, hoping to see what those guys were up to. Several times, on my way home late at night, there would be a “SWOOSH”, as someone would blaze past me, and disappear into the G&R Driveway Being a Ford fanatic myself, I would always grin and think to myself “oh Yea!”

  2. Hi Jeff, Fantastic website, what a great tribute to your Dad. I also remember some of your Dad’s street cars; the 460 brown Torino (1972?), the blue pinto (1975?) with the 302 – what a sleeping beast; it beat many a car on the street in its day, run-of-the-mill beige Ford Courier, his turbocharged 4 cylinder Volvo engine in the blue Glastron on the Titabawasee River in Gladwin (at the cottage). First time I was ever on water skis – long story, but after going 60MPH on skis, I didn’t ski again for many years. I was at the Livonia shop many times in the 1977-1979 time frame. Wayne was working on prototype turbo chargers for Ford and if I recall correctly, his work was instrumental ending up in the production Turbo Thunderbird in the 1980’s. I remember your Dad as a very gentle and soft spoken man, he was always accepting and kind to me. The picture of him with the cigar is SPOT ON! I was also at his house that he built down South right towards the end of the construction, I saw you have a picture of it at the bottom of your “About” page. Maybe you figured out who I am by now? I lost track of the Gapps after your mother “D” and “J” sold their house in the neighborhood where you were raised. Please drop me an email off the blog, feel free to delete this response and we can continue the discussion via email.

  3. Hi, Back in the late 90’s I purchased a 427 side oiler that had a 428 crank in it. I was told by the old owner that it was brand new and sold to him by Gapp & Roush in the early/mid 70’s. Question that I have is there anyway that I could verify that this shortblock did indeed come from the G&R shop? Any “signature markings” that could have been left anywhere?

  4. Dragway Park in Cayuga Ontario used to try to have a large match race every year on opening day on Easter weekend.I remember going around 1974-75 the weather was horrible and rained out on Saturday.I came back on Sunday with my friend and one of the big features was Wayne Gapp against Bill Jenkins.The weather was worse,freezing cold but not raining.I’m sure these guys wanted to get paid so they ran the 3 rounds with no more that 50 people in the whole place,not a sole in the stands.Can’t say who won but it was a great experience and I still love those Pro Stock style Pintos!

    1. I often went to Cayuga during this time period …Saw the Pinto race there ..the72/ 73 car & the slant nose Pinto also,,,usually racing The Grump or Larry Lombardo. I was at the 75 US Nationals when Wayne won Pro Stock over Richie Zul. Also saw the blue Shotgun Express race in Canada & the red one at the Super Stock Nationals in 72. However this gets to my question..Was the 4-dr. Maverick ever called the Tijuana Taxi or was it actually the Juana Taxi ? Or was called by 3 names over its career. Taxi/.Juana Taxi/ Tijuana Taxi. …Ps also saw the car in C/A trim at Montreal when sold to Marino & Vitalle.

      1. Hi Terry,

        The ‘Taxi’ was called the ‘Tijuana Taxi’ for a short time after it hit the trackbasically 3 months, then the ‘Juana Taxi’ for a another month or so. By Indy 1974 it was just the ‘Taxi’.

        Thanks for posting on the blog.

        – Jeff Gapp

  5. Mr Gapp,
    Nice blog / tribute to your dad. I grew up a block from the shop on Outer Drive, spent the most of my life there for about three years or so. I remember a lot of good memories from the old shop from staying there into the early morning helping Bill Jamison tub the first Maverick to feeding Bill’s German Shepard when they were off racing>>a good life for a 12 year old.


  6. I have a Gapp and Roush stamped Crankshaft and believe I have the Block and heads as well. I was looking for more info Or someone who might know more.
    Stamped: 13876 BOB.2190 #124 Gapp-Roush 2338

    1. Chris,

      I don’t have any information on these items. You can try and call Roush Performance and see what information they have.

      – Jeff Gapp

  7. I currently race a 4 door Maverick at Summit Motorsports Park at Norwalk, Ohio. I remember the Taxi and during the winter intend to make the car look c lose to the Taxi, not to copy but to pay tribute to a car that I admired during my start into racing.
    God Bless-George

  8. I was at the US Nationals throughout the 60s. I took a photo of the HI-RISERS Thunderbolt on track, thoroughly beating a 64 Plymouth. I didn’t know who drove the Hi-Risers fairlane until I say your website. The photo I have is a little fuzzy, but I have a scan of it and will try to email it to you. Thanks for your website. Robert Ahland

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for posting your comment. I would love to see the photo. The Hi-Risers were a group of Ford Engineers but as my Dad explained the group slowly went away after they picked up the Comet Cyclone.

      Feel free to email me at: jeffgapp@gapponline.net

      Thanks again!

      – Jeff Gapp

  9. Does anyone know the paint/color of the blue that was used on the (Gapp & Roush) Pro Stock Pintos?

    1. Michael,

      See my email for another response. You can hit up the Gapp & Roush Facebook page and ask your question there.

      – Jeff

  10. Hello Jeff : Did Jack Roush ever complete the 4 door Maverick replica ? I saw pictures of it online when it was under construction some years back. Have not seen any updates since. Wondering what happened. Thanks. Terry Gilkes Newmarket Ontario

    1. Hi Terry,

      The Roush Museum does intend to finish the 4-door. However, they completed work on the convertible Mustang and now they are working on the Mustang II.

      – Jeff

  11. Hi Jeff,
    Love your site it brings back memories of that time period. I was wondering if you may have any info and history of the 494 Can-Am short block I have just purchased from Jeff York who in 1989 got it from Jack Roush. The block has stamped on it 454001 Gapp & Roush Performance. I want to take the engine back to how your father raced with it.

    1. Hi Colin,

      I don’t have any records or information about the Can-Am blocks. The person that you may want to chat with is Tyler Wolfe over at the Roush Collection:

      11851 Market Street
      Livonia, MI 48150
      Main Phone: 734-779-7290

      Tyler is the Museum historian and he might have some information.

      Good luck!

      – Jeff Gapp

  12. Hello,

    I found a 1973 Gapp & Roush Pinto for sale and was wondering how I could verify if it was in fact a legit car or just a clone? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time and God Bless!

    1. Hi David,

      There were 2 Pinto’s used in 1973 by the Gapp & Roush team. You can see both of them here labeled “1973 Ford Pinto”. The first one listed there is located in the Hajek Motorsports museum in Ames, OK. The second one, often called the ‘ex-Barrie Poole car’ was destroyed in a on-track accident.

      My guess is that the car you are referring to is a ‘clone’ created by Terry Zimnickas here in the Detroit area. He did a great job on the car but it was a street car. I saw it recently as part of a police auction somewhere in Tennessee.

      Hope this helps and have a great day!

      – Jeff

  13. Jeff
    This is a great site . Few people know how involved your father was at Ford Engineering . In August , I spent three days with one of your fathers coworkers , Bruce Size,ore. What I walked away with was an otherwise impossible to know insight into Ford Engineering. I think there would be extreme interest into some of the projects that your father worked on in the engineering dept . and his interaction with Al and Bill. I know Al was “upstairs” in Advanced Engine and Bill worked somewhere else. IIRC your dad was involved with the “birth” of the 351C ( originally tagged the “351GT” in Ford Engineering. I have also seen his name on blueprints for the original 289 “HD” head ( later known as the C6FE or GT40 head. Wayne may not feel it is something guys want to know but it was stuff that really helped Ford engines. Maybe also some about Al’s involvement in the 351C high port head. I know it was done by Ford before the aluminum port plate deal became “public knowledge. I am friends with other retired Ford engineers like Bob Wendland and they all speak highly of your father and his many accomplishments at Ford.
    Randy Gillis.

    1. Hi Randy,

      Thanks for the note. I’ve passed along your note to my Dad.

      That period of time is pretty cool. I think that Bill worked, at the time, as a ‘Stress Analyst’ for Ford. My Dad rarely talks about the past but has mentioned some of the engineering work. I have a series of blueprints for 427 SOHC modifications. Apparently in the pile are the blueprints he drew for the Cleveland ‘Hi-Port’ head design. His comment to me was that the ‘Hi-Port’ changes were ‘obvious’ when looking at the head. I know that Al Buckmaster was pivotal in flow testing those design changes.

      Thanks again for note and please say hello to Mr. Sizemore.

      – Jeff

  14. My first car was a 1974 Mustang II so I was instantly a huge fan of the pro stock Mustang IIs. When I started hot rodding my car I stuck a Boss 302 in it and your father and Jack set me up with a new valve train and cam from General Kinetics which I believe I still have the tag for. One of the greatest memories for me was back in 1975 while we were working on the car in the driveway, Mom came out and said.” there’s a Jack from Gapp and Roush on the phone for you”..still gives me the willies!! Good job on the site. I’m sure I have some old photos of their cars from the Gatornationals.

  15. Jeff, I have a quick question for you. Does your Dad ever make appearances where I could get his autograph? I have an old Gapp & Roush decal on display in my Ford man cave and would love for him to autograph it for me. Thank you!

    1. Hi Michael, my Dad does not make appearances. If you want to get the sticker signed I can make that happen. I’ll ping you directly via your email address and we will sort it out.

      – Jeff

  16. Did your dad ever live on Dover St in Redford Twp, MI? I used to walk back from school each day and see a race car in the drive way but I wasn’t sure if it was your dad’s car.

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