Joe Mondello and Racing are synonymous with each other. In 1951, Joe was racing at airports and drag strips throughout Southern California. Those were the days when you started a race with a flag man starter, not a Christmas tree. In the early 1950’s, before Joe was 17 years old, he had already ported & relieved more than 50 Ford flat head blocks for the finest engine builders of that era.
Joe’s first car was a ’40 Ford coupe with a 303 c.i.d. flat head Ford along with 4 Stromberg Carbs, Edelbrock heads & manifold and of course, an Engle camshaft. In the 1960’s, Joe also worked part time for Carroll Shelby building the performance heads and engines that won the Le Mans Grand Prix. Those Shelby Ford Cobras, 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th places respectively. Traco Engineering, known at the time for extremely fast Indy cars and various sprint cars, utilized Mondello heads exclusively. In those days, the shop’s clientele read like a “Who’s Who” of drag racing greats.
Today, Chevrolet performance cylinder heads still utilize the identical combustion chamber, which Joe designed in the early 1960’s known as the “Posi-Flow” chamber. Joe Mondello designed open chamber big and small block Chevy cylinder heads and pistons long before Chevy did.
The famed Mondello-Matsubara Blown Fuel Altered won two National Events in the 1960’s. In the 60’s & 70’s, this was the fastest wedge-head Chevrolet, running a 7.24 E.T. @ 213 mph at the 1969 Indy U.S. Nationals. All of the great drag race cars ran with Mondello. The first 7,6 & 5 second Top Fuel runs and the first 200 mph runs in Top Gas, Top Fuel, Injected Fuel, Fuel Altered were all accomplished using Mondello cylinder heads and Don Garlits set most of these records, making Mondello the most notable, historically recognized heads.
Joe Mondello has set national records and won events over the years with both cars and boats. Bernard Mondello, Joe’s son, grew up surrounded by the richest heritage in drag racing history. During the early 70’s, this winning father-son combination went to work at the Parker Dam 9 hour enduro, winning the Jet Boat class with an Olds 455 in 1972 and in 1975 & 1976, back to back wins with a 500 c.i.d. dual-quad big block Chevrolet. The Mondello’s showed they could excel on the water as well as the dragstrip. Joe’s worldwide clientele bears this axiom out; using Mondello heads & engines, they have set every type of record imaginable.
Joe Mondello began doing research & development work for Oldsmobile in 1968 and his ongoing commitment and dedication has merited him the name of “Dr. Oldsmobile”. Joe celebrated over 40 years in the high performance manufacturing industry. He has given over 50 years of technology & “hands on” experience to the sport of drag racing.
Joseph Mondello passed away in April of 2011, but he will always be known for designing, building and providing us all with the best high performance products money can buy.
Always remember, at Mondello’s you get what you pay for: “Horsepower, not promises”.
Giant Killer by Chris Hemer, Popular Hot Rodding – Bigger isn’t always better and Mondello’s 307 Olds proves the point.
Bulletproof Big Blocks by Chris Hemer, Popular Hot Rodding – If your 455 Olds needs a booster shot, then it’s time to call ‘The Doctor’.
440 Olds Stroker Small Block Photos by Chris Hemer, Popular Hot Rodding – The strong arm solution for weak-kneed 350’s.
Head Porting At Home by Marlan Davis, Car Craft – Professionally prep your own heads with Mondello’s home porting kit.
Porting at Home by Michael Lufty, All Chevy – Head Wizard Joe Mondello offers tricks of the trade.
Unsung Hero by Scott Parkhurst, Popular Hot Rodding – The 403 Olds may be the most overlooked performance engine ever.
Horsepower Secrets by Chris Hemer, Musclecar Review – How to make a stock-looking engine run like the wind.
The Other 350’s: Oldsmobile by Marlan Davis, Car Craft – The Olds 350’s design specs offer ample performance potential.
403 Olds Engine Building by Cam Benty, Popular Hot Rodding – More tips on a 403 buildup.
455 Olds to Go by Marlan Davis, Car Craft – Joe Mondello builds a 500-horse 455 that’s the ‘Torque of the town’.
Project Murderous Overkill by Christian Hazel, JP Magazine – The Mondello Monster.
Rebuilding Your First Engine by Joe Mondello – This is a six part article with step-by-step instructions.