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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Hell on Wheels

By Gale Cohen-Frank

Hell on Wheels in its heyday. Photo by Norman Blake
Hell on Wheels in its heyday. Photo by Norman Blake

It's a typical Saturday morning in Tucson and we're heading up to the Phoenix area for some weekend relaxation. When, just as we are about to jump onto I-10 I catch a glimpse of something familiar out of the corner of my eye...

WAIT...could it really be? Hell on Wheels, Bob Perry's premier wheelstander of the 70's and 80's atop a container in front of his surplus yard? I did know that he owned I-10 Surplus so it wasn't totally out of place. Well as it turns out the car was actually Hell on Wheels II...a Monster Tank that Bob Perry ran for several years on the monster truck circuit.

Hell on Wheels in a somewhat less active state. Photo by Gale Cohen-Frank
Hell on Wheels in a somewhat less active state. Photo by Gale Cohen-Frank

I had seen Bob Perry at my very first race at Englishtown in 1974, the car never left the ground and I felt very deprived but upon moving to Tucson in 1975 I came to find out that Bob lived here. I was introduced to him by Bob Huff, late owner of Tucson Dragway one afternoon at the races and I was sure to tell Bob Perry of my disappointment at Englishtown. He chuckled and promised to make it up to me...which he did that day in Tucson.

We took some time on Monday to stop in and say hi and find out what he had been up to. Along with taking a picture of the tank we spent some time comparing notes about where the years had taken us and enjoying a few good laughs. My son, Travis was absolutely in seventh heaven meeting Bob and getting to see Hell on Wheels up close. I always remembered Bob as being a very friendly and funny person...he still is.

Gale Cohen-Frank
http://www.i10surplus.com/hellonwheels.htm

UPDATE! February 2010: 

Sadly, Hell on Wheels master and crea to r, Bob Perry, passed on in 2005.  His wife, Anita Perry, has carried the to rch as far as she can.

Persons with memories and knowledge of Bob and this special machine who could ďtake the reinsĒ for a fair, equitable price should contact anita.perry.hellonwheels2@gmail.com with any nostalgia (or serious cash offers) to bring Bobís vision back to life!  And remember, this just isnít any tank and itís not just any rail.   Itís both.   Love to hear from you.   Anita Perry.

 

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