A Front Engine Dream Come True
By Christon Gerber
Christon Gerber's nostalgia fueler is a dream come true. Photo by Christon Gerber
As most people that I know do, I have always been one who starts reading the National Dragster from the back to front. I have always enjoyed figuring out who was selling what by studying phone numbers, states, and car descriptions in the classifieds. In the Dragster before the first 2001 US Nationals Souvenir Edition, I found an ad for a turnkey, front-engined dragster with an alcohol injected small block with trailer. I thought the price seemed pretty reasonable and noticed the area code for the phone number was the same as mine. After checking the phone number, I found it was just on the other side of the county.
That evening I called the number and the man selling the car gave me some more details. The next day, Friday, I went to Norwalk for the World Nationals. There I talked to one of my best friends, Mark Thomas. Mark said he thought it sounded like a great deal even if it was less than nice.
On Saturday, I called the guy selling the car to set up a time to look at it on Sunday night.
During most of my 32 years, I have been involved in the sport of drag racing with my dad. From the early years of him taking me to Indy for the Nationals, to the twelve years we spent working with Mark Thomas, we have always enjoyed racing together.
Christon hopes to trade the front yard for the starting line soon.
Photo by Christon Gerber
I called my dad on Sunday morning and asked him if he would go for a ride with me. He agreed and I didn't give him a clue of where we were going until we pulled into the driveway of the seller's house. I could tell the lights in the shop were on so I went to the shop door, grabbed the handle, and said I hoped this thing is junk so I can sleep tonight. I then opened the door, looked at the car, closed the door, and told my dad it was beautiful. When we got back to my house, I talked to my mom and dad about going into a 50/50 partnership on the car. (I had already gotten the blessing from my beautiful wife.)
My mom and dad agreed and Thursday of the US Nationals, I was giving the previous owner our down payment. I was worried about the ad being in the Indy Souvenir addition and somebody buying it out from under us.
The car has a 193" Woody Gilmore chassis with a small block Chevy on alcohol. Whoever made it a bracket car left many of the original brackets on the car. We have found the bracket for the hand brake master cylinder and other tabs that are not in use anymore.
Our plans are for me to be the first to get my license. After that, we plan to hit just a few races around home. We have heard that there is going to be a nostalgia race at Thompson Dragway, which is only about two hours from the house. Quaker City Raceway is just up the road and is one of the nicest tracks in the country, so that is were we will probably spend most of our track time.
If anyone has any idea where Woody would have put his Chassis Tag, we would love to know where it is.