Pete Robinson & the Automatic Cammer
by Jim Hill
Pete Robinson in his Ford powered Woody dragster. Photo by Jim Hill
Pete' Robinsonís 'Cammer escapades led him
to step up to a brand new Woody Gilmore car, the latest "Tinker
Toy." With this, Pete had the latest in state-of-the-art chassis to
drop his 427 Ford SOHC motors into, and with oiling woes finally conquered,
he enjoyed some successful years.
During that time he experimented with many different concepts, not the least
of which was a Ford C-6 automatic trans and torque converter behind the
'Cammer 427! This was the driveline of choice for the wildly popular blown
nitro Funny Cars of the day (Nicholson, Chrisman, Schartman, etc.), and Ford
convinced Pete to try such a set-up in his digger.
Pete tested at the then-unopened Miami-Hollywood Dragway, along with Conrad
Kalitta, test driver for Ford's radical new "Super Mustang," an
unblown SOHC 427 in a shorty Logghe FE dragster chassis, clothed in
streamlined panels. Kalitta's ride was sans the slick body it would display
in its debut at the '66 Winternationals for driver Tom "Mongoose"
McEwen, and he was responsible for shakedown runs before the body was
Pete's C-6 tests were unsuccessful. The upshifts were too violent and
resulted in erratic handling. Pete was also somewhat wary of the violent
trans explosions and scorching oil fires the FC guys were having when they
put too much power to the overtaxed passenger car transmissions. End of
story for Pete and the C-6.
His Woody car was right-on for its day. Note the tape applied in a weave
between the front wheel spokes, to provide a little more "in the
lights" roll-out for the 'Tree.
This shot was taken down by the scales in the shut-off area at Indy, 1966
Nationals. I've still got a brand-new '66 Nationals Crane Cams T-shirt like
Pete's wearing stuck in my dresser at home. Tried to put it on the other
day, but surprise, the damn shirt must have shrunk! Must be Florida's