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By Stan Weber

Mr. Quick AHRA Hot Rod '55 Chevy '68. Photo courtesy of Stan Weber

I recently was reminded of the tales regarding a street-driven car embarrassing a "real" race car.

Back in '65, I hung with a group of guys who raced GM stockers (called themselves the GM Team, in fact) here in Nebraska.

My best pal Gene's daily driver was a '63 Pontiac Catalina convert. Since most of us couldn't afford trailers, we "flat-towed" our cars. One of the other guys had a brand new GTO that was a "race only" car and Gene would often tow it behind his convert to Omaha or Sioux City, where we usually raced.

Gene always ran his Catalina (in some low stock class) for fun. It was fairly strong (and "fit" its particular class real well). It ended up facing the GTO in stock eliminations on several occasions. Each time, he beat the "Goat" handily, then would hook the GTO up behind his "streeter" and tow it home!

The GTO guy finally got too embarrassed -- and tired of the teasing everyone gave him -- and bought a pickup to pull his car.

What Mr. Quick had hiding under the flip top fiberglass! Photo courtesy of Stan WeberIn 1968, Gene and I were partners in a speed shop in Springfield, Mo. We sponsored a real nice '55 Chev that we were very proud of 'cause it was a small block, but we regularly beat the big-block cars that made up the bulk of the AHRA "Hot Rod" class (much like NHRA's Modified Production).

Anyway, we got to feelin' pretty cocky and decided to tow down to Green Valley, TX, for a regional meet. Our car was really sharp (tilt front end, "trick" paint, etc.) so we looked great in the pits, got lots of attention -- and did our share of bragging, I'm sure.

Only four cars in our class, and we beat our first guy without trouble. Came up against some 17-year old in a black '57 Chev that he had driven to the track for the class final. We figured he had advanced earlier on a fluke and were already envisioning the class (and maybe street eliminator) trophy on the counter back at the speed shop.

I'm sure you can guess the rest. He beat us by three car lengths, and we headed home with our collective tails between our legs.

You can bet the gruesome details of our ass whippin' by a street-legal car weren't part of our bench racing that following Monday morning!

Here's a shot of the Mother's Speed Shop-sponsored '55, owned by Jack and Jim Taylor (paint was different at Green Valley, but I have no pics). This is late '68 or early '69 and "panel painting" was the thing. Note the "trick" left and right side "reversed-color" motif. I also included an engine shot so people can see a typical late '60s set up, complete with the latest Edelbrock "tunnel ram" intake and two double-pumper 750 cfm Holleys (note that the fuel lines were not yet installed).

In fairness to the Taylors, they and the 55 did win the 1969 AHRA points championship in Street Eliminator -- so they more than redeemed themselves for the earlier letdown in Texas. The car was known as "Mr. Quick" and was the subject of a feature in Car Craft.

Stan Weber
StanW@isco.com

 

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