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Jouster.jpg
            THE MOST OUTRAGOUS EMPI MACHINE EVER BUILT...

THE EMPI JOUSTER :
This EMPI JOUSTER section was compiled in memory of my californian friend Ted LARSON who died in an accident on the sad day of 4th September 2003. Ted, we'll miss you... Melba, I think of you. Be strong.

I also added material coming from Glenn MILLER after the publication of his article in VW Trends, but with some colors here!


If you ask me about the rarest of the rare materials dealing with old VW Gassers, I would easily say : The EMPI Jouster... Of course, today, it's more difficult, but even back in the days, this very special car was never documented... You may ask why... After all, this funny car looked the part no? Just look at the OCIR action above...

I guess two main factors explain that :

1- That EMPI car never became a winner...
2- The car was quickly totalled...



























Just when you think you've seen it all dealing with the Jouster comes Glenn with another treasure... This shot show the Jouster body up by only two guys...


























This awesome picture shooted at Roberta Street shows that the Jouster was a very special machine... Impressive or what? Picture by Glenn MILLER.


























A rare front view that appeared on Cal-Look.com welcome page... Picture by Glenn MILLER.

Story behind the Jouster is EMPI aim to build quicker cars for the 1/4 mile. This neverending quest sure explain why the Jouster was a top chopped fiberglass car that was born in summer 1967 under Dean LOWRY auspicies...










































Very rare picture above shows the funny car type chassis of the Jouster in the early days... This picture hit the pages of the very first issue of Hot VWs magazine way back in 1967... Talk about rare... The chassis consisted of a tubular space frame welded up steel tubing begining at the torsion bar cross-piece at the front. Engine shown here was a mild 1600cc surrounded by a very desirable Shorrock supercharger unit using 1:1 ratio. I guess it's the same engine that was used in the early Inch Pincher...

Jouster ran very few on the tracks, and the best time to date was a 11.64 at 118 mph in early 1968. Two drivers shared his wheels : Dean LOWRY of course and Lee LEIGHTON, both working at EMPI at that time.



























Very cool color picture dated April '68 showing a side shot of the Jouster! Picture by Glenn MILLER.
























Jouster action at night with Dean LOWRY at the wheels... Note the tiny headlights units, as well as the unusual shape of the Jouster, as well as the illegal NHRA gas classes windshield angle... .


























Above picture : Lee is holding what remains of the crashed Jouster : the right door... This part is supposed to be owned by an american private collector... Picture by Glenn MILLER circa 1996 at Riverside...

Lee LEIGHTON recalls the Jouster being the most evil handling car of all time... Here are some very interesting facts behind Lee driving most of that car.

At one of that very few passes Dean LOWRY made with the Jouster at Riverside, he shifted from first to second and then from second back to first instead of third. The car had a Porsche transmission in it and it seems it was easy to do that... The car made a very sharp turn at this point and ended up tossing Dean into the weeds (literally). They had a very tight rack and pinion steering onto it, 1:1, and it was squirrely to say the least. Dean gave the car to Lee at that point, saying that he would drive the Inch Pincher instead from now on, and so that Lee could have it...

Below : a very proud Lee LEIGHTON stand in front of the trailered Jouster... Please note the EMPI rims on the trailer...






















Below : another pre-race shot of the trailer. Same day, same location... That's one of the few pictures I have ever seen where you can see the blue plexiglas used on all windows...






















As aforementioned, the Jouster proved to be a very hard to drive... Even with Lee at the wheels... After all Dean wasn't a rookie, right?

In order to improve things a little, Lee changed the steering wheel to a 17 as Dean had a little one on it, and raced it hard. Holding the wheel with one hand locked on the wheel in the six O'clock position while shifting with the other.












































Above pictures by Glenn MILLER shows what remains of the funny car on the usual EMPI trailer...

Someday in 1968 while racing Dick LANDY Dodge something went wrong, not sure what exactly, and Lee rolled it hard. It bent the cromoly roll cage pretty good, and ground a few layers of skin off of his left hand, just below the knuckles. It pretty well, okay it did, wipe out the car. It ripped the top off of the magneto after unceremoniously removing the bodywork surrounding it!

Unusual inside view of the crashed machine... A very bad sight! Hard to believe the driver was safe... And that Lee quickly build another VW Gasser after such a crash... Sure, Lee is a brave guy...























Front view of the crashed Jouster... The rollcage was bend but fortunately is still in place... Note the unusual pad for dash in mid position...























Now, the good thing is I recently heard the Jouster is still in existence today somewhere in the U.S. and not so far from California... Maybe a come back is on the make, but I'm sure the remaining body will need many many hours of work to looks like it did in the late sixties...

Got some rare Jouster material? Feel free to send it...



Copyright 2004 El Dub - All rights reserved.

E-mail : eldub@cal-look.com