1951 Henry J: A 700HP Blown Hemi Drag Car with Wheelie Bars

In the world of high-performance drag racing, there are few things that can match the adrenaline-pumping excitement of a 700-horsepower blown Hemi engine propelling a classic car down the track. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in the 1951 Henry J featured on YouTube’s Autotopia LA channel. This captivating drag car, complete with wheelie bars, combines raw power, stunning design, and meticulous craftsmanship. Let’s dive into the details and learn more about this extraordinary machine.

What is a Henry J?

The Henry J is a car model produced by Henry J. Kaiser in the 1940s. It was an attempt to establish Kaiser’s name in the automotive industry. The car’s design was a collaborative effort between Kaiser and a man named Frazier. However, despite their best efforts, the Henry J didn’t achieve significant sales success.

The 1951 Henry J featured in the YouTube video started its life as a project to build a gasser. The owner, known as Goose, acquired the car with roll bars already installed. But he had bigger plans in mind—to create something truly unique and different. With a vision in mind, he embarked on a journey to transform the Henry J into a remarkable drag car.

Body Modifications: Creating Something Unique

To make the 1951 Henry J truly unique, a number of body modifications were implemented. One notable change involved raising the stock hood by about three inches, resulting in a more imposing and aggressive stance. Additionally, the front end of the car boasts a distinct design element taken from a 1969 Camaro, contributing to its visual appeal.

Further enhancements include the incorporation of frenched headlights, the removal of drip rails for a sleeker look, and the relocation of the rear wheels to achieve a 90-inch wheelbase, further enhancing the car’s overall appearance and performance.

By undertaking these modifications, the 1951 Henry J has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind machine, showcasing a blend of classic styling cues and unique customizations that truly set it apart from the crowd.

A Glimpse Under the Hood: Power and Performance

Underneath the hood of the 1951 Henry J resides a formidable powerhouse – a 700-horsepower 392 Hemi engine borrowed from a 1957 DeSoto. This impressive engine has been meticulously balanced to deliver peak performance and power. To further enhance its capabilities, a 670 blower has been added, boosting the engine’s power output to exhilarating levels. With the combination of the Hemi engine and the supercharger, the 1951 Henry J becomes an unstoppable force on the drag strip, ready to unleash its raw power and dominate the competition.

The integration of the 392 Hemi engine and the supercharger ensures that the 1951 Henry J delivers an adrenaline-pumping experience like no other. Every press of the accelerator unleashes an incredible surge of power, propelling the car down the strip with astonishing speed. The harmonious collaboration between the engine’s brute force and the supercharger’s forced induction creates a thrilling performance that demands respect from fellow racers and captivates the attention of onlookers.

In the realm of drag racing, the 1951 Henry J with its 700-horsepower 392 Hemi engine and supercharger combination represents the pinnacle of power and performance. It stands as a testament to the engineering marvels of its time and a true embodiment of speed and dominance. When this beastly machine roars to life on the drag strip, it leaves no doubts about its capabilities and its unwavering pursuit of victory.

Chassis and Suspension Upgrades

Despite keeping its original chassis, the 1951 Henry J has undergone several enhancements to bolster its strength and performance. To reinforce the structure and ensure safety during high-speed runs, gussets have been strategically added, particularly around the roll bar area. These reinforcements provide additional rigidity and stability, allowing the car to handle the immense power and forces experienced on the drag strip.

In addition to strengthening the chassis, the suspension of the 1951 Henry J has been upgraded for optimal handling and stability. Tubular control arms have been installed, replacing the stock components. This modification offers several advantages, including reduced weight, improved control over suspension geometry, and enhanced responsiveness. The result is a car that confidently tackles corners, maintains stability during acceleration, and delivers a thrilling driving experience.

By reinforcing the chassis and upgrading the suspension with tubular control arms, the 1951 Henry J exhibits improved structural integrity and superior handling characteristics. These enhancements contribute to the car’s overall performance and provide the driver with a heightened sense of control, ensuring that every turn and maneuver can be executed with confidence and precision.

Remarkable Exhaust and Sound System

The 1951 Henry J is equipped with a three-and-a-half-inch stainless steel exhaust system, extending from the headers to the rear of the car. The exhaust pipes exit on the sides, giving the car a distinct look. Additionally, the car features cutouts that can be opened or closed to adjust the volume of the exhaust note, allowing the driver to unleash the car’s full sound potential when desired.

Power from the Hemi engine is transmitted to the wheels through a five-speed truck transmission. This setup allows for comfortable cruising on the street while also providing the necessary gear ratios for high-performance runs on the track. The rear end of the car is a rugged Curry 9-inch unit, capable of handling the engine’s power without breaking a sweat.

Classic Wheels for a Timeless Look

To complement the overall aesthetics of the 1951 Henry J, classic-style wheels were chosen. The wheels are fitted with Mickey Thompson tires, providing excellent traction and a period-correct appearance. These wheels, combined with the car’s lowered stance, enhance its aggressive and purposeful look.

Given the time, effort, and money invested in the 1951 Henry J, it’s only natural that the owner takes security seriously. The car is equipped with several anti-theft devices, ensuring its safety when parked. One particularly eye-catching device is a detachable steering wheel, which adds an additional layer of security to this one-of-a-kind vehicle.

10. Interior Customization: Combining Style and Comfort

The interior of the 1951 Henry J harmoniously combines style and comfort, creating an inviting and visually captivating space. Custom seats, thoughtfully designed with added bolstering for improved support, have been meticulously installed. Not only do these seats enhance the overall aesthetic of the car’s interior, but they also prioritize comfort and ensure a pleasant driving experience even during spirited runs.

To further enhance the interior layout, the dash of the 1951 Henry J was moved back five inches, allowing for a more spacious and ergonomic cockpit. This adjustment not only improves the driver’s seating position but also contributes to a more immersive driving experience. Additionally, a roll bar has been seamlessly integrated into the design, serving both as a safety feature and a visually striking element that adds to the car’s overall allure.

Every detail within the interior of the 1951 Henry J has been carefully considered and meticulously executed. The custom seats, with their added bolstering, provide optimal comfort and support. The repositioning of the dash ensures a driver-focused environment, while the integration of the roll bar adds both safety and style. These elements come together to create an interior that perfectly complements the car’s powerful performance and eye-catching exterior design, making every moment behind the wheel a truly enjoyable one.

An Unforgettable Driving Experience

Driving the 1951 Henry J is an unforgettable experience. The raw power of the blown Hemi engine combined with the precise handling resulting from chassis and suspension upgrades make this car a force to be reckoned with on the drag strip. The roar of the engine and the adrenaline rush of acceleration are sure to leave a lasting impression on both the driver and anyone fortunate enough to witness this drag car in action.

Goose, the owner of the 1951 Henry J, named the car “Little Ruthie” in honor of his mother, Ruth. She had a passion for hot rods, particularly those with eye-catching flame designs and powerful engines. The car serves as a tribute to her love for the automotive world, and the name “Little Ruthie” ensures her memory lives on with every rev of the engine.


The 700HP Blown Hemi Drag Car with Wheelie Bars, a 1951 Henry J, showcased on YouTube’s Autotopia LA channel, embodies the spirit of high-performance drag racing. Its stunning design, powerful engine, and attention to detail make it a true standout among classic drag cars. Whether roaring down the drag strip or turning heads at car shows, this 1951 Henry J is an exceptional machine that captures the essence of American automotive craftsmanship and passion.

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