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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Photo Review: Murray Anderson - The Real Wizard of Oz

By Brian Wood

Photos by John Baremans, Murray Anderson,
John Gall, Roger Richards, and Steve Embling

Victor Bray's Anderson built rides have won every Top Doorslammer title since the category's inception. Photo by John Baremans
Victor Bray's Anderson built rides have won every Top Doorslammer
title since the category's inception. Photo by John Baremans

When the Australian National Drag Racing Association decided to establish Top Doorslammer as a professional category in the early 1990's, top Aussie competitor Victor Bray went to "the best doorslammer chassis builder in the world" for a new Castrol '57 Chevy. With it's sleek lines, light weight and radical swing arm suspension, the car carried Bray to six consecutive Top Doorslammer championships and the National Elapsed Time mark of 6.209 and World Record of 237.40. A new and improved Anderson '57 will be on the track by the time the Top Doorslammers meet again in late January of 2002. Photo by John Baremans.

Robin Judd's Anderson-built Studebaker was the world's quickest for a time at 6.17. Photo by John Baremans
Robin Judd's Anderson-built Studebaker was the world's quickest for a time at 6.17.
Photo by John Baremans

The first '53 Studebaker Anderson ever built was for his friend George Clasby. Constructed around a hybrid four-link suspension, the venerable Stude' is now campaigned by Robin Judd, who piloted it to a sixth-place finish in ANDRA Top Doorslammer competition in 2000-2001 and a World Record elapsed time of 6.179. Photo by John Baremans.

Murray Anderson was inspired to create race cars by viewing Don Garlits' dragster. Photo by Murray Anderson
Murray Anderson was inspired to create race cars by viewing Don Garlits' dragster.
Photo by Murray Anderson

In 1974, not long after Murray had taken his first job as a mechanic, Don Garlits came to Australia with the intention of putting on a demonstration on an unfinished section of freeway in Melbourne. While waiting for government red tape to be cleared, the "Swamp Rat" rail was put on display at a speed shop across from where Murray worked. At the time, he knew nothing of drag racing, and was mesmerized by the huge blown Hemi bolted behind the driver's seat. During his lunch hours, he'd go and look the car over, eventually bringing a camera to work so that he could get a few photos. This chance encounter would one day lead Anderson to become one of the premier car builders in the sport. Photo courtesy of Murray Anderson.

Peter Kapiris' Anderson-built Studebaker is the world's fastest non-nitro door car at 6.07. Photo by John Gall
Peter Kapiris' Anderson-built Studebaker is the world's fastest non-nitro door car at 6.07.
Photo by John Gall

Victoria's Peter Kapiris heats the hides at Kwinana Motorplex during the first round of the 2001/2002 ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championships. Kapiris rocked the drag racing world when he unleashed a stunning 6.07 pass to take out defending champion Victor Bray in the semi-finals. Crew chief Ian Cleland threw everything he had at the Murray Anderson-built rocket in an attempt to run the category's first "five", but a combination of great traction and bags of horsepower sent the "Batmobile" skyward at the hit, forcing Kapiris to abandon the effort. Photo by Jon Gall.

Murray Anderson steers the Victor Bray machine (they ARE right hand drive, you know...) Photo by John Baremans
Murray Anderson steers the Victor Bray machine (they ARE
right hand drive, you know...) Photo by John Baremans

Seeking to expand his hands-on involvement in racecar construction, Murray Anderson started his own engineering and tool-making business in the late 1970's, where he specialized originally in building racing components. Before long, however, his true calling began to strongly influence his efforts, and with the help of his wife Teresa, Anderson Race Cars went into full-time car fabrication in 1983. Photo by John Baremans.

Scotty Cannon went to Australia and became an immediate winner by bolting an engine into a waiting Murray Anderson Stude. Photo courtesty of Murray Anderson
Scotty Cannon went to Australia and became an immediate winner by bolting engine
pieces into a waiting Murray Anderson Stude. Photo courtesy of Murray Anderson

In 1986, after relocating to Brisbane, Queensland for a period of 18 months, Murray broadened his international exposure considerably when he built perennial IHRA Pro Modified World Champion Scotty Cannon a new '53 Studebaker for the 1997 ANDRA Top Doorslammer "USA versus Australia" Series. Cannon was overjoyed when his new Stude' proved to be superior to anything he'd had on the track previously, thanks to the improved traction provided by the swing arm suspension. Photo courtesy of Murray Anderson.

Canadian Al Billes runs hard in North America with a Murray Anderson Studebaker. Photo by Roger Richards
Canadian Al Billes runs hard in North America with a Murray Anderson Studebaker.
Photo by Roger Richards

Canadian Pro Mod pioneer Al Billes took delivery of his new Anderson-built '53 Studebaker less than a week and a half before the IHRA's Mopar Parts World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park in late August. Working non-stop, he and his crew finished the detail work on the flamed yellow coupe just in time for the big event. Photo by Roger Richards.

Perhaps the most famous Murray Anderson customers of all are Fred Hahn and Jim Oddy. Photo by Steve Embling
Fred Hahn and Jim Oddy are the fastest IHRA legal Pro Mod in history in an Anderson chassis.
Photo by Steve Embling

After having its revolutionary new chassis configuration and high-tech aerodynamics package sorted out, Jim Oddy's new Anderson-built C5 Corvette, with defending champion Fred Hahn behind the wheel, took IHRA and NHRA Pro Mod by storm during the second half of the 2001 season. The Summit-sponsored team set an NHRA exhibition record ET of 6.170 at the U.S. Nationals in Indy and then went on to claim a new IHRA World Speed Record with a pass of 6.124 at 231.20 at the President's Cup Nationals in Budds Creek, Maryland in late September. Photo by Steve Embling.

Read the full story: Murray Anderson -- The REAL Wizard of Oz

Brian Wood
Bwood98@hotmail.com

 

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