A Visit with the Queen of European Doorslammer Racing
By Sylvia Hauser
I started racing 1973 with a 1968 Dodge Charger 440 R/T in Production Class
(fully class legal, I might add). I held the class record for many years. I set it originally in my maiden name, Sylvia Read. The car was originally called "Mother Trucker," but I was not allowed to keep the name. I wonder why? <g> We had no real help, but we muddled on anyway.
Then I bought a 1971 Dodge Challenger, a clean car but with a blown up engine. So, I had another go, but got ripped off big time by "people" who I paid to help me build the car. Luckily, I met Geof, my ex-husband. Between us, I worked all hours to pay for it and he worked all hours to build it, and it worked! We took the Production Class Record for many years, and I might add it was totally class legal. I don't know if it still stands now, as since my split with Geof I am "banned" from the race track (in order to let my sons drive the small dragsters he has built. If I go, he won't let them race, so I stay away so they can have some fun! Strange man, my ex!)
I then imported the Paul Rossi "Wheelie Dodge" from Orange County USA, a bit of a mean machine that, check it out in the film HOT ROD - it was in Paul's colors then. It was one of the original "wheelie pulling" cars. This car is also seen in the film "Hot Rod," driving through the pits during the film. Watching the film, I heard it before I saw it! It was in Paul's colors then; check out the film! I had a lot of fun with that car in the Top Modified class, then in Super Gas.
The car had severe handling problems, however, and it was only after it was "sold" to a guy in Sweden called Joran Persaker that Geof realized he had been adjusting things the wrong way, it was a shame as I loved that beast, and once he realized the front end adjustments and sorted them, it actually went STRAIGHT ... damned shame as I would still have it now! I cried when they took it, especially after fighting the damned thing for a few years because we did not understand the "set-up", it was already promised to Joran before Geof sorted out the handing problems, and believe me it WAS a problem - especially off the line, with the wheels in the air, I never knew where I was coming down!!!!! Joran Persaker put a 426 hemi and a 4-speed in it and sat it on its arse -- we did try to tell him!!!
Geof then built me an English bodied car, a Pink Sierra with a 400ci Chrysler. It was originally a six pack, but we had to put a 4-barrel Holley on it and de-tune it big time to stop big foot here breaking out of the 9.90 index. Geof tried a throttle stop, but I kept bending it! - Even after we slowed it down, it was really too quick for the class, but I think we got it right until the prop let go and a rather nasty TOP END crash (not mid track - that was during original testing when it was set up all wrong).
I HATED the car. It was ugly. I am a Dodge person and I love my cars, but muscle cars! So a "Ford Sierra" (yuck)... Anyway, money, sponsors, and costs forced me to do this, although American Muscle Cars are what I loved and still do. That little pink thing was sort of okay, never did get on with it that well. From the first day I tested it (in a mid track crash when it was set up all wrong) until we finally ended up in the fence just after the finish line, I was never happy with the car. While we were building it, every time I got into it to test it , SOMETHING OR OTHER WENT WRONG.
It was like an omen, I knew it was. But anyway, it was quick, powerful, and different. When you work hard to get sponsorship, you have to just get on with it so I did, but was never happy about it. I predicted the crash on my birthday, July 27, 1986, long before it happened. In fact, if anyone cares to check, you will find that Geof and I were both down as drivers for the car at that meeting. Geof qualified third in the car. I qualified first, so had to go for it. I knew it was my last race, and I knew that I would be back to fight another day, but not on the racetrack. No one will ever know how much I miss it. I still do and always will.
I still get to a lot of various events. I made the NHRA at Knebworth the other week, and really enjoyed it. I also went to the Festival of Speed at Goodwood recently. I am still a car/power freak and as I say, only the good die young! That means this fast lady will be blowing yer doors off on the roads for a long time! I still strut my stuff in my Supra 3 liter Injection Turbo! Not a Dodge, but better than a Fiesta <g>. I send my love and hugs to all you guys, and wish I could still be there. Still love my cars, and would love to hear from anyone with news or old friends, etc.
With best wishes and kindest regards,
Sylvia Hauser x x x