Modern Rendition of Fat Man Steering Wheel is for Racers

RJ42 Quick-In Surlock Steer Photo 02

If you want to find out how a new product for racers works, skip the salesman and go straight to the manufacturer.   Son Machine Co.  in Evansville, Wis. makes the Quick-In Surlock Steer device that allows racers to get in and out of their cars without completely removing the steering wheel. We spotted the product at the Race Expo event, and contacted Dan Gildner of Son Machine Co. to find out more.

“Basically, when racing you put the unit in the down position, with the Quick-In locked in,” Gildner explained. “There’s a center pull pin and when you’re ready to get out of the car, you pull the pin and you rotate the steering wheel over it The wheel will go up and away about 130 degrees. This gives you half the space the steering wheel takes up—enough room to slip out of the car.”

With the steering wheel up and away, you can exit or enter the car. After entering, you buckle up for the race and rotate the wheel back into position.  Yank the center pull pin and the Quick-In device will latch into place and re-register the steering wheel. You don’t have to worry about the steering wheel coming off, since it hasn’t been disconnected.

Gildner said his partner Gordie Frank developed the Quick-In Surlock Steer system after seeing a very old automobile accessory on an early 1900s car at a show. “Back then, they called it a Fat Man steering wheel,” Gildner noted. “It was hinged to swivel to allow heavyset people to get in and out of the car. The problem with a hinge is it brings the steering wheel towards the driver, so we did more of a rotating deal so the distance the wheel moves out of the way doubles.”

According to Gildner, the billet aluminum contraption will fit just about any racing car that has an existing quick disconnect system. “We have a 3-bolt pattern and a 6-bolt pattern that can be rotated 22.5 degrees to flip the pin where you want it to be. The steering wheel bolts to the other side where there are three options: 3-bolt, 5-bolt and 6-bolt patterns And we’re registering this at about 13o degrees so it will “surlock” in position. The Quick-In Surlock regularly sells for $199. For information call 1-414-550-9626 or 1-608-751-5258.

About John Gunnell 141 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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