April 18, 1936 |
Denver, Colorado, United States
|Occupation||Actor and Drag racer|
Tommy Ivo (born April 18, 1936, in Denver, Colorado), also known as "TV Tommy" and "Instant Ivo" is an actor and drag racer, who was active in the 1960s racing community. In the late 1950s, Ivo raced a twin (side by side) Buick nailhead-engined dragster which was the first gasoline-powered dragster to break the nine-second barrier. The car held the Drag News AA/GD et record at 8.69. The Twin Buick also was the first gas dragster to record speeds of 170, 175 and 180 mph which were Standard 1320 records as well. It was unique in appearance and won numerous races, including NASCAR's first National Drag Race. Later he designed a four-engine, four-wheel-drive dragster he called Showboat (with a quartet of Nailheads), but NHRA ruled it the first "exhibition" dragster, and he was unable to race it.
Ivo's acting career began in the early 1940s, with notable performances including Cousin Arne in I Remember Mama (1948), Denny Dennison in Laramie (1949), and William Button in Plymouth Adventure in 1952. In 1955 Ivo appeared as Shelby in the "Heart of a Cheater" episode of the Lone Ranger TV show. From 1959 to 1961, Ivo appeared as Herbie Bailey on the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. He guest starred in an episode of the syndicated adventure television series, Rescue 8 and in two episodes of Leave It To Beaver. He also guest starred on the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot and on the NBC western series The Tall Man.
In 1963, Ivo's Barnstormer (a nitro-burning 392 Hemi-powered slingshot) became one of only two seven-second Top Fuel diggers, so he staged a Seven Second Match Race with the other, the Greer Black Prudhomme car, driven by Don Prudhomme, at San Gabriel Drag Strip. (Prudhomme won.) During 1964, Ivo travelled to England, with Don Garlits, Tony Nancy, Bob Keith, Dante Duce, and other racers to participate in the First International Drag Festival, a six-event series that did much to promote drag racing in the United Kingdom.
- He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2005 for his drag racing career.
- Ranked No.25 on the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000.
- River Road a quick route to memories for old-time Burbank drag racers at the Wayback Machine (archived June 5, 2014)
- Hot Rod, 12/86, p.27.
- Scherr, Elana. "Tommy Ivo's Treasures", in Hot Rod, 8/2014, p.76 caption.
- Scherr, p.77 caption.
- Scherr, pp.78 caption and 83.
- Scherr, p.78 caption.
- No. 25: Tommy Ivo; NHRA; written in 2001; Retrieved March 6, 2008
- Scherr, Elana. "Tommy Ivo's Treasures", in Hot Rod, 8/2014, p75-83.