An early car enthusiast, at 16, Jim Oddy joined the Torrid Torkers a Buffalo, New York car club in 1957. Jim entered his inline six-cylinder 1936 Chevy Coupe into competition and, on his first time out, won his class. He was hooked leading to his lifelong career.
He became a fabricator and an engine builder and learned many of his skills from his father, Don Oddy, a shipyard welder and fabricator. These were lessons well learned for Jim was able to incorporate them into building his own cars. Over the years the Western New York native became a feared competitor and a highly respected builder.
Jim and his father built his first race car it 1960, C/Gas 1936 Chevy Coupe powered by a 302 Chevy. The car was an immediate success setting a new AHRA C/Gas class record at 12.20 seconds and 118 MPH. Jim attended the 1964 NHRA US Nationals as a spectator which inspired him to build a B/Gas Anglia coupe powered by a 302 Chevy. He returned to Indy the following year with the Anglia and one the class cementing Oddy’s reputation.
What followed from 1969 to 1974 were a succession of winning cars; a blown Chrysler powered 1948 BB/GS Austin sedan, and Opel GT body BB/GS coupe, and a BB/A Fiat blown altered. These cars carried Oddy to another US Nationals win plus two Division I titles.
Jim’s on-track successes with his creations led him to open the doors to Oddy’s Automotive in Elma, New York in 1975 specializing in supercharged engines of all makes and for a world-wide variety of applications. The demands of building quality engines cost him to scale back his racing.
In 1987 Jim again got the competition itch this time for the new IHRA Top Sportsmen class with a highly potent blown Chrysler powered Chevy Beretta coupe with the talented Fred Hahn at the wheel and Jim tuning the car. It was followed by the iconic flat black blown Corvette which set the top sportsmen class on its ear with a stunning 6.69 second pass at the IHRA race in Darlington, South Carolina. The car moved to the pro modified class in 1990 and won six consecutive Super Chevy events in 1996 and 10 more in 1997, plus the Pro Modified World Championship both years. The Hahn & Oddy magic continued, winning the 2000 IHRA Pro Modified World Championship and the 2003 NHRA AMS Pro Modified World Championship.
As time went on the pressure of the business and race travel started to take their toll on Jim. He retired to Mooresville, North Carolina but his love for building engines and race cars never diminished. Jim’s love for the Gasser’s cost him to build a 1934 Willie’s AA/G two-door sedan, “The Junkyard Dog”, to race at nostalgia Gasser meets with Junior Ward at the wheel.
Throughout the years Jim winning career and is considered one of the founding fathers of the pro modified class. His body of work has gained him many honors including: induction into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in 2004, the Lancaster Speedway inaugural class of the Wall of Fame 2015, and the NHRA lifetime achievement award.