Hay Hauler Resurrection

Discussion in 'Shop - Show & Tell' started by deleted, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. deleted

    deleted ----

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2001
    Mark Cowan is restoring the Benny Abatti, former Robby Gordon Hay Hauler. Mark has starting cleaning this truck up and putting it back together. Yesterday I spent some time in Mark’s shop looking at this masterpiece. This truck was before my time, I have never really got a chance to take a look at it. The truck is truly amazing. There was a lot of time spent on the fine details of the truck. I find it amazing that every structural piece of this trucks bolts onto the frame. The truck has 4 shocks per corner. With modern shock technology, it is amazing to see what we can do with 1 shock what used to be done with 4 shocks.

    If it is ok with Mark and Benny, I am going to post some pictures of the restoration process.
  2. partybarge_pilot

    partybarge_pilot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Location:
    Leucadia, CA.
    Please post pics!!!!

    A lot of the older trucks had the cages bolted to the frame to keep the heat treat from getting screwed up by welding on them. The old Walker Dodge pre-runner that WOB has is the same way and has many,many miles on it and still no frame cracks.
  3. johnnyweb

    johnnyweb Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    Gilroy-Shop
    Some pictures of the old school truck would be cool to see.
  4. DSRacing

    DSRacing Mini Metal MOD

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    San Diego
    Glad to hear someone taking the time to keep a piece of off road history alive. Please post up photos of the restoration. Does anyone know how many times the Hayhauler raced in Class 2 and was the wheelbase extended before or after it started racing in the unlimited class?

    As far as pics,

    Couple from RG's website

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A few I took

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a couple links with more pics,

    http://pix.race-dezert.com/thumbnails.php?album=2&page=26

    http://www.robbygordon.com/cgi-bin/...direct=03_OFF-ROAD/04_THE_DESERT_-Old_School-
  5. Vtr_Racing

    Vtr_Racing Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2001
    Location:
    Austin,Texas
    Yes, I remember that bumper vividly. Our 5/1600 car was taken out by that. Nice pics and its very cool somebody is restoring that truck.
  6. _deleted_

    _deleted_ doesnt not

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    i have a video of robby, when he broke a pittman arm during a gold coast race or maybe a mint/nissan 400. he was pissed. he was talking about how he has to drive that old truck insted of his new truck cuz it wasnt ready. he was racing class 8?? i dunno i gotta get the video out and watch it. ESPN was interviewing him
  7. fashionbiff

    fashionbiff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Ramona, Chula Vista, TJ
    PICS PICS PICS would love to see it with the body parts off and getting all pimped up again. Did I mention PICS come on, we wont tell anyone :)
  8. Mark Newhan

    Mark Newhan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Lakeside, ca.
    I saw the cab and doors at the painter today. I remember the truck vividly. Jon Nelson built it and it changed everything about racing. The Vessels Chevy was the first really "trick" truck, but the hay hauler is what changed the face of off road racing.

    Ben Abatti is a very good guy. I enjoyed racing against him in 1993 down at the FUD races. I hope he and his son have a good time. Before I built my current prerunner I went to look at the Hay Hauler to turn it into a prerunner. I did not buy it because I did not want to change it (and I would have). It is a piece of off road motorsports history.
  9. DSRacing

    DSRacing Mini Metal MOD

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    San Diego
    I don't recall exactly which race it was, but sometime in 88' we were out taking pics and had moved to different areas of the course and lost track of the vehicle positions. I distinctly re-call seeing RG come by in the Hayhauler and thinking he had fallen behind because he wasn't anywhere near the other Class 8's.

    He was mixing it up with some of the limited class vehicles so we figured he was close to an hour behind the leaders. Ends up he was so fast he over an hour ahead.
  10. steveG

    steveG Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Location:
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    I'm dying to see pics! I've been waiting patiently for it to be restored since Mark first posted about looking at as a potential prerunner.
  11. FlyHiFlyLo

    FlyHiFlyLo Ace Mechanic

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    North Mexico
    Yes, this needs to be sitting between Ivan's Toyota and The land Shark in my garage. You know...Just infront of Roger Mears Nissan Hardbody and Big Oly parked in front of Rod Hall's 1985 D-100 and behind Robby's Tecate Ranger just to the left of The Gordon Feed class 2.
    1 person likes this.
  12. JEFFRPM

    JEFFRPM Non Sugar Coated

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Under the Tetons
    I remember in 86/87 the score rule book was being followed to the letter at tech.
    john nelson was reading the book from a entirely diffrent angle. the rules stated that the leaf springs could not be longer than 66" so he invented the 1/4 eliptic's with national spring. the springs worked like they were 132" = more travel. The front shocks had to be mounted in their "stock location" but it did not say anything about spring location he moves the spring back closer to the pivot 1 foot making room for the rancho 7200 shocks.
    The rule that kills me was the "truck must use stock door hinges" so john removes them from the doors and mounts them to the floor under the seats they weighed 5 pound a piece. the engine mounting had to stay in factory location BUT it did not say what motor location he selected the 302 mount location because it was 4" farther back. the man was a god.
    1 person likes this.
  13. Jkrell

    Jkrell Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2001
    Location:
    so cal
    That is some really impressive ingenuity! I would also like to see some detailed pics.

    Mark how else did the hay hauler change the sport? What else was innovative on it? Give us relative youngsters a history lesson.

    How do we get jon nelson back in the sport?
  14. Rory

    Rory Crayola Killer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2001
    Location:
    Arizona
    I think it was the fact Robby was driving the truck and NO ONE was driving class 8's at those speeds. That truck kicked up the game in class 8 that year.
  15. JEFFRPM

    JEFFRPM Non Sugar Coated

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Under the Tetons
    Yea that was the reason.
  16. NicksTrix

    NicksTrix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Location:
    lake norman NC
    i was out there the day jon tested the truck for the first time with stan gilbert (who drove it the first few races). it was so much faster than the class 8 we where out there testing it was amazing. i've got some old pics from parker when it debuted.

    quarter elipics have been around for a long long time, just not used in off road.
    jon & pop nelson stepped the game up big time. his trucks where winners for sure with the right guy behind the wheel.

    good trivia question- who drove the truck after stan got out? hint:
    was a one race deal...
  17. possemotorsport

    possemotorsport Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Riverside.Cal
    Does anyone remember who drove the truck before RG?
  18. racinteach

    racinteach Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    North hollywood CA
    frank vessels I think
  19. TEAM D&D

    TEAM D&D Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    Huntington Beach CA
    I remember seeing a truck that was only a solid tan color racing the parker 400 in about 1987. Is this that truck? What I remember is it was hooked to the ground and haul in ass. If anyone knows please post. I thought Robby was driving it. At that race some guy pulled in our pit with a flat,( class one car v8) lucky for him we had a rim that fit. The funny thing about it, He was European and and could not speak English and needed a pair of goggles. (no goggles just sunglasses) wanted water and was pouring it his eye's. I will never forget that one. Are team won 1st in 1600 Billy Reams. Good Times:D
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  20. NicksTrix

    NicksTrix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Location:
    lake norman NC
    nope, frank was driving his black ppi chevy back then still.

    another hint. he had some deep pockets

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