David Freiburger Reveals a New Project Car and More while Working From Home
David Freiburger has been a busy bee (rumble) while working from home, and has discovered even more auto treasures. The long-time hot rodder and all-terrain vehicle have amassed a collection of cars, parts, tools and cars so impressive that it was too much to show you in one payment! Dive for another trip with Freiburger through the mini-Mecca which is its garage!
Vintage stickers and decals on David Freiburger’s toolbox
Most of us have collected many stickers and decals during our travels, and Freiburger is no different. They come with speed coins, they are distributed at events, sometimes we even pay for them because they are just too cool to spend, but the collection on the side of the Freiburger toolbox is more than a random hodgepodge of adhesive backed paper. The Los Angeles County Raceway (LACR) sticker is special because (before closing), it was the local track of the LA hot rodder and was the epicenter of all tests for the LA based automotive magazine Crusher Camaro and Cheap Thrills Dart both made their first passes there, along with many of the other project cars you’ve seen in HOT ROD, Automotive crafts, and more.
The Direct Connected decal is a step back in the history of Chrysler. Before Chrysler’s performance and speed parts division became known as Mopar Performance, it was called Direct Connection and was Mopar’s number one lover’s source for speed parts and tuning tips. . As a Mopar guy, David Freiburger can’t help but be intrigued by the brand’s history. The toolbox stickers have more stories to tell and, with enough time, one could learn the whole history of hot running and drag racing simply by asking Freiburger about his collection of stickers.
Freiburger’s newest project vehicle
If you follow Freiburger’s Instagram carefully, this new vehicle is no surprise to you. If you are hoping for another classic muscle car, sorry to disappoint. But before joining HOT ROD staff in 1991, he was editor-in-chief at Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road. Freiburger loves trucks and jeeps as much as muscle cars, and this 1951 Jeep M38 is a cool, nostalgic combination of the two.
The M38, the military equivalent of the civilian Jeep CJ-3A, was built alongside the “funny wing” Jeep M38A1 for a year, stopping production in 1952. Freiburger and many other Jeep enthusiasts believe that the M38 is the last of the good military jeeps. This one is even cooler because it was run in and set up for Baja racing, a former owner even claims that he raced in the Baja 1000. Freiburger demystified this pretty quickly, and pretty much all bombers in the southwest desert claim that their rigging ran the 1000 at some point.
For the uninitiated, this M38 doesn’t look like much, but there are great clues to its racing pedigree. The windshield is the shortest frame of the CJ-3B, dropping the 3-inch “roof” line and the roll cage has been shortened to match. The seats are two light fiberglass buckets with racing harnesses, the driver’s seat being mounted directly on the ground and pushed back as far as possible. Even the steering column was lowered with the wheel pulled closer to the driver. The original metal cover has been replaced with a removable fiberglass cover, and the firewall and battery cover have been replaced with aluminum stampings. All of this tells Freiburger that whoever built this Jeep was trying to reduce the weight and lower the center of gravity as much as possible.
Under this fiberglass hood, Freiburger shows us the lost Ark of the Alliance – Jeep Style – the Willci Go Devil four-cylinder in-line 134ci engine. In stock, it may have only made 60 hp, but parts at the correct speed also abound under the hood. Immediately, we see the intake manifold with two pots with two carburetors, which is not normal for an engine that dates back to the early 1920s. The exhaust manifold is of tubular design, but the part the cooler is the Chuchua cast aluminum cylinder head. Bob Chuchua owned a Jeep dealership in southern California and manufactured speed parts for off-road racing and even sponsored a funny car based on the Jeep Jeepster. Freiburger hopes for a warmer cam and high compression, but only the speed parts and modifications make this Jeep M38 very special for him. Look for it in a future episode of Garage Roadkill, perhaps even Dirt every day or Roadkill.
Rare coins and the history of the NHRA
It wouldn’t be a trip to Freiburger’s garage without looking at some of the rare and unique pieces he has around. It is well established that David has an intake manifold problem, and the two he shows here materialized in his garage the week of filming. What are they and why are they cool? These are small block Chevy cross cylinder entries and they are cool because these are tunnel cylinder entries that will fit under the original hood of a street car. These vintage units from Edelbrock and Mickey Thompson might have design flaws, but it’s Freiburger’s goal to bolt one to the top of a small block Chevy 331, set it up for a solid runner and to put it in his 1956 Chevy 210.
As we dig deeper into the garage, he releases some legitimate Moon discs. These are turned aluminum hubcaps developed by Dean Moon, founder of Mooneyes, for land speed races that have helped increase aerodynamic efficiency. Freiburger tried a set on his land speed racer Camaro in the wind tunnel, but they made a marginal difference. Fun fact, the Mooneyes logo is a game on the two O’s in the name of Dean Moon. Mooneyes is also famous for its foot-shaped accelerator pedals and the magnificent turned aluminum fuel tanks used by drag racers in the 1950s and 1960s. And let’s not forget the Mooneyes bicontinental motor show. which takes place every year (almost) in southern California and in Japan around Christmas.
David is also looking forward to showing you his recently expanded collection of HOT ROD Deluxe. Freiburger re-founded the brand in 2008 and it was one of his crowned achievements as a magazine publisher, transforming what used to be a hipster rat rod cloth into a modern expression of hot rodding magazines worldwide. ‘Ancient. But this is only a sequence, his real reason for digging into the problems of HOT ROD Deluxe is to show the work of the famous photographer, Eric Rickman. Rickman was literally everywhere: the first Baja 1000, the first national championships of Bonneville, the first show of Oakland Roadster (aka Grand National Roadster Show), he joined the staff of HOT ROD in 1950 and was omnipresent in almost all automotive events and shows in the county until he retired in 1992. Freiburger considers himself very fortunate to have had the good fortune of working with Rickman when he first joined HOT ROD in 1991.
Eric Rickman was also part of the original crew of four that HOT ROD and NHRA founder Wally Parks sent to the Drag Safari. Wally created the NHRA in the offices of HOT ROD in 1951 and, in 1954, sent Rickman, Buds Coons and Evans and Chic Cannon on a cross-country trip to the hometown of each hot rod club wishing to start racing , legally. The Drag Safari team taught local clubs how to manage registration, configure the schedule and organize drag races. The team, in its Plymouth station wagon pulling a trailer, spread the gospel to all those who wanted to listen and are largely responsible for the existence of this quintessential American motorsport.
There are so many more treasures to explore in David Freiburger’s garage. The man has amassed a collection like no other and we could spend weeks excavating it, learning the history of American car culture and discovering lost and forgotten gems. Stay tuned to the MotorTrend app to find out what else Freiburger is discovering and what it will do with all the big trash it finds.
Premium! David Freiburger’s top 10 favorite tools – and a few others
- Flex-Hone Cylinder Ball-Hone – AKA the dingle ball, Roadkill and Garage Roadkill viewers are very familiar with this, and the abrasive balls give an excellent finish to the inside of your cylinder bore.
- Comp Cams valve spring pressure tester: If you build many engines, you absolutely need them.
- Ratchet Torqometer – Freiburger does not like ratchet torque wrenches, they are too imprecise and have no sensation. This vintage torque wrench with its round gauge and old-fashioned beam torque wrench are Freiburger’s essential choices for precise tightening of fasteners.
- Snap-In Spring Key – This vintage snap-in piece has two rotation handles, one at the end like all other speed wrenches and one on the crank, making it superior to other speed wrenches with a single rotation handle.
- Lockable Pivoting Head Ratchet Handle Matco – Freiburger hates pivoting head ratchet handles, they flop and are difficult to handle. This Matco unit has a pivot lock that prevents the flop and sets it apart from all the others.
- Vintage P&C and Lead Ratchet Handles – These U.S. made ratchet handles may have very sure and simple ratchets, but nothing is more reliable and reliable for your socket wrench needs.
- Powerhouse Products crank sockets – so much easier than threading a bolt at the end of your crank and they even have a flange for mounting a stepped wheel.
- Jesel Timing Gear Hammer Die – it may be just a simple piece of aluminum, but it is essential for attaching a synchronization gear to your cam without a specialized press.
- Crescent USA Crescent Wrenches – can’t beat the quality and reliability of vintage tools made in the United States.
- Aluminum adjustable wrench with AN fitting from Earl’s – a great pit tool when you can’t find these stamped wrenches with AN fitting.
- Combined wrench with 8 Craftsmen sockets – Freiburger admits that he has never used this tool once but thinks it’s great because it’s a tool with eight sockets to choose from.
- Roberts USA Upholstery Scissors and Shears – you’d be surprised how often you need scissors in the auto store, get a sturdy pair like these.
- Handmade hammer at the pawn shop – found during the ripping out of an episode of Roadkill, Freiburger likes the solid head, the hollow handle and the weld beads added for the “grip”.
- Brass mallet – the best tool for the job when using this Jesel Timing Gear tool, and whenever you need a good solid hammer and a rubber mallet will not be enough, but a steel mallet is all just too much.
- Chicago brand caliper – really, any set of good calipers will do, but the focus is on good. Don’t pay dearly on any of these tools.
- Torsion bar extractor Mancini Racing Mopar – nothing makes it easier to pull a torsion bar than this tool and this is another application for this brass mallet.