Hot Rod Heaven
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Hot Rod Heaven

This is the History of a "Mad Man" on his way to "Hot Rod Heaven"
by Mark Madson

Pre 1977  Pre 1977   "Little Deuce Coupe"


When I was in 7th grade, I took the engine off of my lawn mower, put it on my bicycle, and left home for a week.  In 1995, I restored that bike, and it is now on display in my living room, next to my Harley.  In High School I built my "Model A" with a 430 cubic inch Mercury Super Murader Engine, with a homemade tuned tunnel ram manifold and tuned headers.  It was like the song, "Hot Rod Lincoln."  Then I installed a 427 L88 with a 4 speed tranny and turned 11 seconds in the quarter mile.  In 1971 I bought my 1935 Graham for $15.00 and a case of beer.  I cut it in half, installed a "Big Block" and "Drove" it to Las Vegas with Dennis Osterbur.  It was like the song, "Little Deuce Coupe."

1977 - 1987


I had two REALLY GREAT KIDS, Luke and Laura, and was very happily married for ten years.  I worked very hard until I was this area's highest paid welder-mechanic.  I became the President of the "LITTLE LIMESTONE COMPANY."  I also received 4 labor grade raises as a nuclear code welder in only 3 months at Fairbanks Morse.  I made $10,000 in 5 weeks at the De Long Company as their "ACE MECHANIC."  I bought a damaged 1973 Corvette and totally rebuilt it for my wife.  Then I built some really great custom vans, won the Aeroquip Best Engine Award at the 1985 N.S.R.A. nationals with my Big Block 1935 Graham, and built my Big Block 1963 Ford Econoline Wheelstander for the street.  It has a 427 cubic inch engine with a 6-71 blower, gold plated carburetors, 4 speed tranny, and the rear end is in "Up Side Down and Backwards", which is actually frontwards.

1988  Madson Crossfire Distributor Cap Old Style Distributor Cap


I started "MADSON CROSSFIRE IGNITION" by building the first distributor cap for my Mid Engine Wheelstanding pick-up.  Then I remanufactured eight different styles of "Madson Crossfire Distributor Caps" for my business, and marketed them all over the United States with a start-up cost and advertising budget of less than $1,000.  "Moroso" and "Wire Wizard" also made a similar style cap for only one application.  Their start-up costs were over $175,000 each.  The "Wire Wizard" is out of business, and "Moroso" still only makes one style cap.  In 1990 I sold the business to Ed Winslow and now the distributor cap that I invented can be seen on the finest cars all over the world.  In 1996, G.M. also started making their own style of CROSSFIRE DISTRIBUTOR CAP.

1989  The Big Block Mail Box


My kids and I built our 427 BIG BLOCK MAIL BOX, which won the "Super Chevy Best Mail Box Contest" and was pictured in just about every Hi-Perf Car Magazine.  Unfortunately, some "DIRT BAGS" stole it about three months later.  Two and a half years later, after a lot of undercover work, I called the biggest, meanest, and most unpredictable friend I had, Brice King, to go with me to recover it and have them arrested on felony charges.  Not because I wanted to share the satisfaction of physically tearing these three guys apart with my bare hands, but because if they pulled a gun, I figured they would shoot the "Big Guy" first.   It is now located in my living room, next to my Harley.

1990  The Answer is Blow'n in the Wind


With my MAIL BOX gone and the need to see some "BIG BLOCK ART", we built "THE ANSWER IS BLOW'N IN THE WIND" weather vane.  A 600 lb. 427 cubic inch Big Block mounted on a throw out bearing with a long Bow Tie Tail and spinning fan so I could easily determine the wind speed and direction.  Many people have asked me how I got that long skinny pole to hold that engine up there for so long.  I simply say, The pole isn't holding the engine "UP", the engine is holding the pole "DOWN!"

1991  The Big Block Lawn Mower    The Big Block Lawn Mower


My 11 year old son, Luke, thought he wanted me to help him get into the lawn mowing business.  Boy, was he in for a surprise!  So we built our BIG BLOCK LAWN MOWER from an old John Deere 56" wide side sickle.  It featured Air Ride Seat, Rack and Pinion Steering, and the large diameter TURF SAVER TIRES.

1992  The 12 Second Cadillac


I built my 12 second Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, which is as fast as a new ZR1 Corvette or a Viper in the quarter mile.  It has a 500 cubic inch engine, 400 tranny, 390 posi rear end, special suspension, 10" slicks, 250 HP nitrous, weighs 4500 lbs., has air and is driven daily.  It was also featured in "Hot Rod" and "Popular Hot Rodding" Magazines.  The caddy needed some good CUT-OUTS so I started my "MADSON POWER BLASTER CUT-OUT BUSINESS" for less than $1,000, and now they are sold all over the United States, priced from $50 to $300.

1993  The First Pro Street Lawn Mower


I told my son, Luke, that I could beat his Go Kart with my Lawn Mower, so I built my first Pro Street Lawn Mower by turning it upside down and backwards.  I had a heavier 12HP Briggs engine "BIG BLOCK" with a "4 speed tranny", he had a lighter 5 HP Briggs "SMALL BLOCK" with a centrifugal clutch "Automatic tranny."  Guess who won!  Then we went on to race in the "UNITED STATES LAWN MOWER RACING ASSOCIATION" at the Rockford Speedway and Rockford Metro Center.  Due to our superior design, handling, and horsepower capabilities, they banned us from the final competition to prevent us from "officially" beating them.

1994  Hot Rod Heaven's Tree House


When I converted my 1959 Chevy Fleetside pick-up truck into a tree house, I had no idea that it would be this popular, and get over $100,000 in free advertising.  It's been featured on T.V., radio, magazines, and newspapers all over the world!  People stop everyday to take pictures and tell their friends.   It has now become our symbol of "Hot Rod Heaven."  In 1996, when the tornado came through with 60 mph winds and blew the roof off of our shed, I was up in my tree truck tree house, and it was one hell of a ride!  That old truck was really "Rocking and Rolling."  Even if it would have come crashing down, I don't think it would have killed me.  I can still remember the day when I was walking to work and I looked at my truck and at my tree at the same time.  It was like a "Light from Heaven."  It was a "Perfect Fit."  They were just meant to be together in "Hot Rod Heaven."

1995  The Pro Street Lawn Mower Video    The Pro Street Lawn Mower Video


We had so much fun with our first PRO STREET LAWN MOWER, and wanted to share it with others, so we decided to make a video on "How to Build a Pro Street Lawn Mower."  We built 5 more before we were done filming the video.   The video is now being used as a teaching aid in many Industrial Art classes in high schools all over the United States.  The video "How to Build a Pro Street Lawn Mower" and the 12 page "Project Guide" has been viewed by thousands of people all over the United States and Canada, and can be purchased for $29.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling.  Pro Street, 8729 East Little Lane, Clinton, Wisconsin 53525.   608-676-4283.

1996  Now, That's What I Call a Real Hot Rod!


I always wanted flames to come out of the exhaust of my Wheelstander, so I built this replica to practice on.  First, I did the Model T coil with a spark plug in the end of the exhaust pipe trick, but the flames were only about a foot long.  Then I injected liquid propane gas into the exhaust system, and the flames went up about 6 feet, but they didn't have as much color as I wanted.  So, I injected "Jet Fuel" into the exhaust system at 120 psi.  This was extremely dangerous, and I don't plan on doing it again, but it was worth it!

1997  The General Lee in the Tree


When my buddy "Pig Pen" bought a tavern and named it "The Boar's Nest" I told him that he just had to have a "General Lee" Dukes of Hazzard car jumping over the roof!  So, he made me build it! And, of course, it ended up in my tree for a couple of months while Luke, Scott, and I repainted the "Tree Truck."  Since we had "One for the Roof" we needed "One for the Road," with a 440 magnum engine, headers, and cut-outs.   We were jumping in and out of the windows all the time.  We were just like a couple of kids in a candy store!

1998  The World's Biggest and Coolest Weather Vane


Originally, I was going to mount a Nascar racing pick-up body with the sponsor's name on the side, on top of the boom, as a weather vane.   Apparently, this idea was a couple of decades ahead of its time.  I would think that with 28,000 people driving by on Interstate 43 everyday, articles in every hot rod magazine and newspaper, that I would have sponsors begging me to use their name.   Unfortunately, they didn't see the answer that was "Blow'n in the Wind."   So, I did my Artistic Auto Drop.  Then, I sold the crane to a world famous artist "Peter Lundberg" in New York City who builds "Heavy Metal Structural Steel Sculptures" with this 35 ton crane.  So, now I can go with him, anywhere in the world, to help him set up his sculptures.

1999  The Brickendales' "Bad Boy Merc"


I drive my different kinds of cars like most people wear different kinds of clothes.  So, when I needed a new image for "Brickendales 1999", I decided to build this chopped and lowered flat black "Bad Boy Merc", which seems to be just the right outfit for the night.  It is a no frills "Hot Rodder's Hot Rod" that is a cross between the "James Dean" of the fifties and the "Mad Man" of the nineties.  My highlight of the night came when I did my now-famous "Madson Power Slide!"  I think of my cars as a lot more than just material possessions because of all the great memories, and all the fun that my friends and family have had with them.

2001  The Harley Heartbeat and the Heartbeat Harley


This year's project was the Harley Heartbeat Chevy Truck, and the matching Heartbeat Harley.  See the link to the Harley Heartbeat page above for more info.

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Thank you - Mark Madson