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Drag Racing Stories
Nov 8, 2009


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Fuel Altered Files, Part 8

 

 

 

Text by Danny White

 

 

 

The beautiful Matsubara & Mondello Fiat Topolino ranks as one of the toughest AA/FAs of all time. The little purple car was wheeled by Sush Matsubara to many wins in the SoCal fuel altered wars while tuned by Joe Mondello and Glen Okazaki. Ron Scrima at Exhibition Engineering built the Fiat to replace the team’s similar first machine. The new Fiat proved up to the job after alterations were made to the chassis and the transmission. The new car was built like funny cars of the day but the car did not respond to the sprung set up and the team changed to a solid rear end. Matsubara ran a great 7.25 at 214 at the US Nationals in one of the car's rare trips east.

 

By 1970, the lure of the funny cars was too great for Matsubara to deny as he teamed with Joe Pisano. Sush had several infamous accidents in Pisano’s cars, but a non-racing accident forced him to quit driving. The flopper spills were ironic because Matsubara did not seem to have any bad accidents while driving the shorter wheelbased fuel altered. Mondello later built a famous Olds Stocker and specialized in building Oldsmobiles. (Photo by L&M Photos, courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories)

 

 

The Scrounger was another great So-Cal altered. Run by Stan Lucas and Tom Koulan, the car’s name was derived from Lucas having to scrounge parts just to run the Bantam altered. The low buck racers ran the altered with moderate success despite having little money. Stan later drove the Beaver Hunter for Nolan Pritchard and teamed with Rod Lucas to help the class survive the early eighties with an AA/FA run under many names.  Tom Koulan moved to Missouri in '74 and teamed with Steve Picou on the Koulan & Picou '23 T pickup AA/FA followed by the Gateway Shaker Mustang II BB/FC, the Koulan & Picou AA/DA and the National Parts Peddler-sponsored  TF car. (Photo by L&M Photos, courtesy of Bob Plumer and Drag Race Memories; additonal text from Bret Kepner)

 

 

Here is a fuel altered from New Zealand called the Hombre. Peter Lodge from Auckland raced the Chrysler Hemi car for two years in 1976 and 1977. Lodge ran a good 7.67, 182 at Champion Raceway in 1977. (Photo by David Cook)

 

 

Jack Maroney’s Blind Faith was one toughest Chevy powered altered of the seventies. The car was the climax of really unique racing vehicles that Maroney raced during the seventies including a Vega Panel powered by injected small Chevy on nitro. The Blind Faith ran low sevens but was replaced by a transformer Ken Cox built car in 1978. The Maroneys currently run a new alcohol fueled version of the Blind Faith from their Arizona home. (Photo by Big Bob Snyder)

 

 

Ron Maroney, the brother of Jack Maroney, joined the family in the fuel altered wars in 2003 with this used 27 Ford altered. The car has had several owners, including the Logue Bros, Eric Boulet, and Eric Buchanan, who ran it on the Outlaw Fuel Altered circuit in Texas. Maroney uses small blowers and a single mag and also mounts a Corvette body in the nostalgia funny car class. Ron has run a know best of 6.68 in altered trim. (Photo by Gary Brown, courtesy of Gary Brown Photos)

 

 

Craig Michael runs the beautiful Vegas Heat AA/FA Bantam that he purchased from Steve Tryon. Michael runs the car as AA/FC and an AA/FA depending on the race. Vince Generalao also takes turns behind the wheel. Michael has a run a good 5.92 at 238 with the car in altered trim. (Photo by Barbara Brown, courtesy of Gary Brown Photos)

 

 

Jay Mageau drove a blown alcohol altered in the nineties before building his Prospector 1957 Chevrolet funny car. Jay came back home to the Fuel Altered class with this new car in 2009, which races as an altered and a swoopy Corvette flopper. (Photo by Paige Sparrow, courtesy of Jay Mageau)

 

 

New to the fuel altered scene this year is Keith Wilson, who has raced the primo Kaos altered a couple of times. Note the telltale signs of rookie nitro racing -- dropped cylinders and a cloud of clutch dust trailing the car! (Photo by Gary Brown, courtesy of Gary Brown Photos)

 

 

Donnie Massey has run the Showtime AA/FA on the Outlaw Fuel Altered circuit for the last decade or so. Massey has run the gamut of racing luck – winning the OFAA championship but also surviving a harrowing crash at Sealy, Texas. In 2009, Donnie ran best of 3.91 at 187 with the clean appearing machine on a stout load of the yellow stuff! (Photo by Joe McHugh, courtesy of Chris Graves and Max Cackle Photos)

 

 

In the mid-nineties, former Pro Stock and alcohol funny car racer Bobby Marriott went altered racing. Marriot bought the Equalizer AA/FA from Don Ewart and formed what has become the Outlaw Fuel Altered Circuit. Bobby ran the car on alcohol to begin with but built a nitro engine for the car earlier this decade. Marriot has run a best of 3.95 at 191 in the eighth mile with the Shockwave machine. (Photo by Joe McHugh, courtesy of Chris Graves and Max Cackle Photos)

 

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